My first visit to the Royal Concertgebouw concert hall in Amsterdam on 21 May 2019.
The acclaimed pianist Yuja Wang performed with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Lithuanian conductor Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla.
The programme was:
M. Weinberg – Rhapsody on Moldavian Themes, op. 47/1
Prokofjev – Piano Concerto No. 5, op. 55
Prokofjev – Vivo from Piano Concerto No. 5, op. 55 (encore)
Stravinsky – Firebird
It’s been almost 40 years, and I had forgotten how beautiful is Paris in the spring-time.
In fine spring weather, few cities are as attractive and enjoyable to be in.
The consistency of architectural scale in the city. Few modern cities in the world have controlled the height of their buildings, like Paris.
Additionally, the visual consistency of the ‘Paris limestone’ used for building construction over the centuries.
Taiwan is known for ‘street food’, but ‘snack food’ is a better description for what is found throughout all of Taiwan.
Taiwanese cuisine is most obviously Chinese cuisine, but influenced by the Japanese, who ‘ruled’ Taiwan for 50 years from 1895 to 1945.
Japan constructed and organised much of Taiwan’s civic infrastructure and has greatly influenced public behaviour in general – something that is still much in evidence in (orderly and efficient) Taiwan today.
Cuba has been under a USA trade embargo for almost 60 years, since shortly after the ‘Cuban Revolution’ led by Fidel Castro, which brought socialism to Cuba in 1959.
However, since 2009, relations have improved, travel to Cuba has increased.
Cuban food, café and restaurant eateries appear to be rapidly emerging and growing, with increased trading and more foreign visitors.
Peruvians are known for their genial warmth and hospitality.
Peru today has a mixed population but is still predominantly ‘Amerindian’ (indigenous American indians). There are many ‘mestizos’ (mixed Amerindian-Spanish/European) but less so in the Andean highlands, away from the capital, Lima. And also a significant Asian (Japanese, Chinese) population or mixed ethnicity.
Like most of the USA, New Orleans in Louisiana is very much a mixture of races, ethnicities.
Large portions of North America, including Louisiana, were claimed by Spain and France as colonies from the mid-1600s until the Louisiana Purchase from France in 1803.
Louisiana people who descended from those earliest colonial times were known as ‘Creoles’.
Most people interested in popular music, and soul music in particular, will have heard of Stax. And of Memphis, Tennessee, USA.
Stax Records (originally Satellite Records), was created in 1957 by two ‘white’ siblings, Jim Stewart and his sister Estelle Axton – hence the name ST-AX.
Stax soon relocated their studio to an old movie theatre in a ‘black’ neighbourhood in South Memphis – at the time (1961), Memphis was still completely racially segregated.
The Thar Desert or Great Indian Desert, in NW India, occupies half of the state of Rajasthan.
Prior to the 18th Century, spice and silk trade using camel-caravans from the West, enriched the Mughal empire & the fortified city of Jaisalmer in westen Rajasthan.
Srinagar in Kashmir, north India, is a magical place. A beautiful valley, full of lakes and waterways with the Himalayan backdrop, sandwiched between Pakistan and China.
Last month, 35 years after the events, 2 members of Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge regime were
convicted of crimes against humanity.
In total, only 3 of the Khmer Rouge leaders have been brought to justice.