Aug 25 2011
I ran into double bass player Jeffrey Grubbs on my way to the train station. Jeffrey was just back from some light shopping. The train station, the Bahnhof, was great for bakeries. At Kamps Backstube I picked up a cheese pretzel and raspberry streusel. Immer Ofenfrisch! Von Hand Gemacht! (Always oven-fresh! Hand made!) The Payot bookstore featured at least five titles on the tenth anniversary of 9/11 such as Der Heilige Krieg (The Holy War), 11/9: Zehn Jahr Danach (9/11: Ten Years After) by Mathias Bröckers, and Nine Eleven by Elmar Theuessen. There were also books in German about Paul Allen, Helmut Schmitt, the latest from Bill Bryson, and Der Arabische Frühling (The Arabian Spring) by Jörg Armbruster. Stern Magazine has a cover story on why Germans are getting bigger, “Echt Fett Warum die Deutschen immer dicker werden und wer daran schuld ist,” (Why the Germans are really fat and who is to blame.) Remind me to ask at Kamps Backstube.
I love the German Saturn stores–a chain like Best Buy. In the CD department, Adele is #1. Someone I don’t know. Lady Gaga is big. So is a German rapper named Samy Deluxe with a CD called Schwarz/Weiss, along with Kanye West and Jay Z. In the classical department, there was a 3-DVD set from BBC Video of Benjamin Britten as composer, pianist and conductor; Lang Lang’s latest release in honor of the Liszt bicentennial; and a multiple-disc set of Berlin Philharmonic recordings with a DVD of Simon Rattle conducting.
Then it was time for a stroll through the old part of town with the courthouse, or Rathaus, and church next door — the Marktkirche. A statue of Wilhelm I stands in front of the red brick church.
The imposing Hessian State Theater has a wonderful statue of Friedrich Schiller, the German playwright and poet. At the Kurhaus, where the Pittsburgh Symphony rehearses in the morning, I just had to time to try the raspberries with cream. Two tiny chocolate bowls contain sugar and raspberry sauce, and next to a glass of raspberries you have the whipped cream. The daily cocktail was a concoction of Pimm’s Cup, tonic, and mint with a slice of orange. Refreshing!
The evening concert featured the young French orchestra Les Siecles, and the Maitrise de Caen – a youth choir that turned up in the final moments of Liszt’s Dante Symphony in honor of the composer’s 200th birthday.
Francois-Xavier Roth conducted. The first half of the concert featured Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto played by a 23-year-old pianist from Russia, Denis Kozhukhin, who won a 15,000 Euro prize presented by the Rheingau Festival and its sponsor, the Hessian Lotto.
I’m just now turning off the TV, and I notice the German ads for McDonald’s which declare “Ich Liebe Es” (I’m Lovin’ It) in reference to the Milchshakes and McFlurrys.