One famous and one nearly forgotten American Bard

It was a cold evening, but as usual, the welcome was warm. So after showing our tickets and obtaining programs, my friends and I quickly found seats. I was especially looking forward to this performance, as the recital would be of works by my favorite poetess.

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Alla Francesca will perform at Paris museum

Drat! One of my favorite early music ensembles, which I got to know through the Utrecht Early Music Festival, will perform twice at one of my favorite museums! Unfortunately, I may not be able to attend. Merde! Merde! Merde!

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Leonard Cohen

Of course, as stated before, Leonard Cohen should have been awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature. He wrote beautiful, impressive poetry and songs for decades. If he had been awarded the prize, bet he wouldn’t have behaved as badly as the present silly Laureat at that.

Missed choice. Missed chance. Missed everything else.

As reactions pour in and obituaries are published, I came across the Guardian’s list of 10 best songs by Leonard Cohen. Such lists are personal, of course. You will have your preferences, I have mine. The complete output of Cohen was staggering.

l-cohen-01My first introduction to him, his songs and music, his writing, was of course “Suzanne”. Either sung by him in English, or in translations by other artists, it remains a haunting song forcing you to listen to its poetry or a haunting poem forcing you to listen to the music.

Other favourites include “Marianne”, “Hallelujah” and especially “Dance me to the end of love” with its link to Nazi horrors.  But also more recent poems which are darker and include ones dealing with getting older. Yes, he could have been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature and would have been a far more acceptable choice than its jury made earlier this year.

As someone twittered: “as if the week could not get any worse.”

Guardian Leonard Cohen
YouTube Leonard Cohen performing “Dance me”

Utrecht Early Music Festival 2016 part 26: Scherzi Musici

Still humming tunes from “Die Zauberflöte” I arrived at RASA. RASA aims to be a stage for world music, Anglo-American pop music, dance courses, western classical music and has been a venue used for fringe concerts during the Utrecht Early Music Festival for years.

Yet, all this did not prevent the Advisory Board of the Dutch system for cultural grants and benefits to advise negatively regarding RASA’s proposed budgetary and business plans for 2017 – 2020. This means RASA will be forced to close.

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Utrecht Early Music Festival 2016 part 25: Café 1800

As usual, I had planned to obtain tickets for a fringe concert at a small venue. Concerto Valiante was going to perform at the period house Huize Molenaar. As had been the case on several days of this Early Music Festival 2016, the fringe ticket boot had opened at 09:00 and within 30 minutes, all tickets for the Concerto Valiante fringe concert had evaporated – while plenty people interested in this particular concert were still on their way to Utrecht.

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Utrecht Early Music Festival 2016 part 24: Duo Serenissima

While browsing the sheet music on offer at a stall of the Early Music market, I noticed the duo again. One was talking to an acquaintance, while the other one was chatting to the stall’s owner. The acquaintance asked after studies and made a remark about the “impressive voice”.

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Utrecht Early Music Festival 2016 part 23: Masako Awaji

The two volunteers welcoming everybody at RASA told us we were not going to hear the fringe concert for which we had come. The duo Double Entendre had had to cancel at the last moment, due to sad family circumstances. So there was not going to be a concert with two harpsichords and works by Vivaldi, Mozart, le Roux .

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Utrecht Early Music Festival 2016 missed concerts

It is not just the Scroll Ensemble’s fabulous fringe concert I will miss Sunday 4th of September. I will also miss Jonatan Alvarado’s second fringe concert at this Early Music Festival 2016.

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Utrecht Early Music Festival 2016 part 21: at Flora’s garden

Walking around Utrecht’s old town centre, it is difficult to miss the huge Dom tower. It literally towers over the city. But during the Early Music Festival, its bells also ring all over this city.

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