El Caballero de la Triste Figura

Don Quixote, the Knight of the Doleful Countenance, here seen in Daumier’s famous painting (though it seems to me that the star of that particular show is the clapped-out horse, Rocinante – the Don’s doleful countenance just isn’t in evidence and poor old, long suffering Sancho Panza’s reduced to an amorphous blob on the horizon). […]

Tondichtung

The German Tondichtung has several names in English. There’s the literal translation of ‘tone-poem’; there’s the slightly more musical ‘symphonic poem’ and finally there’s ‘programme music’. It’s music that tells a story; and, while composers have from time immemorial been attracted to ventures into the mundane by imitating the sounds of the natural world (birds, […]

Yalta

In the 1890s Yalta – Russia’s southernmost (Black) seaside resort – was home to two famous convalescents. Both were suffering from tuberculosis and both had come to the warm south in the hope of easing their symptoms. The more famous of the two was Anton Chekhov; in Yalta he was to write the plays The […]