30 January, 2011

Drinking is good for you

This evening, I have sung for the first time in concert with the small vocal ensemble Les Métaboles, which I joined last September. It had been somewhat frustrating up to now as I had missed two previous concerts because of my travelling, although just rehearsing with the group had been very fulfilling.

We just gave a world premiere of Dimitri Tchesnokov's Concerto for Piano and Choir. The composer was at the piano and we were the choir. It is a very beautiful piece, reminiscent of the greatest Russian tradition: Mussorgsky and his musical frescoes with chorus, Shostakovitch and his piano fugues. In addition, a touch of Liszt for the virtuoso piano.

The words of the chorus part are rather desperate: a man so disillusioned by life the only thing he wants is salvation from God and vodka, lots of vodka to forget it all. It all ends in drunken abuse. Luckily, it is all in Russian, so hopefully not many people in the audience understood what we were saying...

No drinking before the concert! The piece was so difficult to master we had to be very concentrated to sing it well. However, after the concert, while I was enjoying a glass of red wine with a friend who had come to listen to us, I saw a group from the choir toast our achievement with the composer in the same bar. I joined them later.

I hope we get to sing this beautiful piece again.

Korpiklaani, Karkelo, Nuclear blast

16 January, 2011

Warm my mind near my gentle stove

Back in Paris, I jave just moved into a new apartment, which was custom-designed and renovated for me by a designer friend of my mother's, Afshin. His partner Kevin did all the woodwork.

Although the living space is limited in small Parisian apartments, I have chosen to keep the original separate kitchen so as to have a real kitchen in which to enjoy cooking. Thanks to Afshin & Kevin's intelligent design, I have managed to fit all my cooking utensils and larder items into a kitchen only a third the size the one I had in Bangkok. Furthermore, I still have next to three square meters of flat working space, a big sink and a real stove.

The stove is very modern, with electronic beeping and all. I am still discovering how to operate all the fancy cooking programmes. The German brand is obviously extremely reliable. However, it does not feature cooking tips for one of my favourite week end meat cuts: grilled duck wing confit from my native Southwest of France.

I have prepared one last night using the cooking tips for roasted chicken wing but the result was not perfectly grilled and crunchy as it should have been. I will try again next week by tweaking the preset programmes.

Soul kitchen
The Doors, The very best of The Doors, Rhino/Elektra