Showing posts from September, 2012

Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea

Click on photographs to enlarge - far superior

You know there is an entire other side to my nature that never gets an airing living in Europe what with my serious writing and covering all these classical music festivals and competitions. That of the adventurer and explorer of remote destinations. How domesticated I have become!
I was looking by internet chance recently at the marvellous pictures of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visiting the Solomon Islands in Melanesia some years ago. These snaps have put me in a state of frightful and aching nostalgia for my own youth spent wandering the islands of the South Pacific. I wrote a literary travel book about the island provinces of Papua New Guinea which was well received everywhere - even by the Prince of Wales who wrote to me.

It is such a tragedy that mainstream publishers are simply not interested in publishing books on truly remote destinations inhabited by people of fascinating, exotic and instructive cultures. Being ruled by the…

2012 Leeds International Piano Competition

I have not had the time to follow this competition in detail unfortunately except on the internet which is not ideal but I have certainly watched the results with the greatest interest.
Australians should take note that the fine Australian pianist Jayson Gillham reached the Finals and is playing this evening. He was also highly regarded in the 2010 Chopin International Competition in Warsaw. He really is achieving extraordinary things.
Competition Website:

Friday 14th September

Louis Schwizgebel, Beethoven: Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58

Jiayan Sun, Prokofiev: Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 16


Jayson Gillham, Beethoven: Concerto No. 5 in E flat major, Op. 73

Saturday 15th September

Andrejs Osokins, Prokofiev: Concerto No. 3 in C major, Op. 26

Federico Colli, Beethoven: Concerto No. 5 in E flat major, Op. 73


Andrew Tyson, Rachmaninov: Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 30

The Orchestra could not be better or the conduc…

Daniil Trifonov with Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra CD

It was one of those wonderful Warsaw September evenings. May, September and if we are fortunate a golden October are really the most beautiful months in Poland - balmy still and sun-kissed, autumn just brushing the trees with gold, the softest of air as the day draws to a close. Zosia had prepared  a kurki (chanterelle) dish with potatoes, onion and boczek (bacon). We sat on the terrace overlooking the lake and watched the gliders drifting in the blue above Bemowo among high feathery clouds sipping an excellent claret as dusk settled over the land. At the conclusion of the meal and the mint chocolate ice-cream, I had a black Sumatran coffee, a balloon of armagnac and a  Cuban cigar. It was only then, properly prepared and after I had lit the storm lantern, that I put on the recording above.
I am speechless with admiration. I will only say this about Trifonov - buy this recording as soon as you are able. Anyone who reads my blog knows the adoration in which I hold this pianist since I…