Khachaturian performed by Khachatryan

Hurrah, this blog still works!

On Friday January 26, I went to the De Doelen concert hall in Rotterdam, to listen to performances of:

  • Khachaturian’s violin concerto, performed by Sergey Khachatryan (“sounds like…”) from Armenia
  • Rachmaninov’s Second symphony, conducted by Stanislav Kochanovsky, from Russia.

The violinist was the first one to play with such a volume without being overwhelmed by the orchestra. Maybe it’s because he’s a man, and most of the previous ones I had heard were women.


Published in: on 28 January 2018 at 12:39  Leave a Comment  

The Concertgebouw Revisited

Today I visited the Concertgebouw for the first time in more than 10 years. I went to a concert of the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, who would perform 3 works:

  • Borodin: “In the Steppes of Central Asia”
  • Tiensuu: “Teoton”, performed by Wu Wei on the Sheng1, a Chinese “mouth organ” .
  • Rachmaninov’s Second Symphony

The conductor Edo de Waart, who is a legend in Holland, had visibly aged since the 1990s, when I considered buying his Mahler Symphonies box, but never got around to it. He had a stool behind him, but didn’t sit on it all the time; only in the short breaks between the different movements of the symphony.

The Chinese artist was giving a very impressive performance, producing so many different sounds from his instrument, all this while swinging and dancing. After the applause he also gave an encore of several minutes. While the programmed work was a modern composition, the encore was probably some traditional Chinese piece. Much easier on the ear, although the modern piece was definitely nice to listen to as well. Just a bit, different.



Published in: on 30 January 2016 at 20:47  Leave a Comment  

Useful Programs

This weekend, I found and used the following very useful programs:


  • YouTube to MP3 convert, by DVDVideoSoft. My Dad wanted to save some music tracks after having found them on YouTube.
  • Partition Master Home, by EaseUS. A real life-saver, to convert a Dynamic Disk back to a Basic Disk. I had accidentally converted my Basic Disk to a Dynamic Disk when trying to resize it in Windows 7. Had no idea at all what the consequences would be: many tools simply wouldn’t work anymore; including Acronis True Image, to create an image of my OS.
  • GemistDownloader, to download videos from Uitzending Gemist or YouTube.
  • Family Tree Builder. It can create nicely formatted family trees.
Published in: on 1 May 2012 at 9:30  Leave a Comment  

Popular Words

#1: Defenestration: a throwing of a person or a thing out of a window; or a usually swift expulsion or dismissal

Ex: If you were expecting Michael Steele to stay angry at Republicans over his defenestration from the Repub. Party, you were wrong

#2 Flibbertigibbet: a silly flighty person
Ex: I was good at being quite flighty and dippy and a flibbertigibbet.

#3 Kerfuffle: disturbance; fuss
‘Glee’ Cast Members React to (the) GQ Kerfuffle

#4: Persnickety: fussy about small details; fastidious
Ex: I have seen the most reluctant and persnickety buyers change before my eyes,
when they at last encounter the Perfect House.

#5: Callipygian: having shapely buttocks
Ex: hard-bodied heroes and bosomy, callipygian damsels in distress.

#6: Serendipity: luck that takes the form of finding valuable or pleasant things that are not looked for

#7: having a smooth rich flow. Ex: a newspaper reporter delivering lines in a mellifluous radio voice. Zoetgevooisd

#8: Discombobulated: upset; confused

#9: Palimpsest: writing material used one or more times after earlier writing has been erased; or, something with diverse layers or aspects apparent beneath the surface
Ex: Rome, the old hands always say, is a palimpsest

#10: Sesquipedalian: long; characterized by the use of long words
Ex: he has a weakness for sesquipedalian excess: Look out for such terms as ‘epiphenomenal,’ ‘diegetic’ and ‘proprioceptive.

Published in: on 2 December 2011 at 16:23  Leave a Comment  

Beethoven 4 & 5 @ De Doelen

Two days ago, I got an unexpected phone call from a friend, a former Latin / Greek teacher, who asked if I was interested in a concert at De Doelen, Beethoven’s Fourth and Fifth symphony. Before the interval they played the Fourth, after that the Fifth.
I was impressed that Yannick, the chief conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic, knew all the score by heart. But I guess that’s what many young conductors nowadays excel at.

Published in: on 6 February 2011 at 19:39  Leave a Comment  

Rachmaninov & Shostakovich @ De Doelen

For the first time after the renovation, I went to a concert again in De Doelen.
It had been renovated so nicely, that I couldn’t resist taking a picture. So did the Italian tourists in front of me.

Before the interval, the Ukrainian performed Rachmaninov’s first piano concerto.
As an encore he also played the incredibly difficult transcription of Mendelssohn’s famokus Wedding March.
After the interval, the Rotterdam Philharmonic performed Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, a young French Canadian guy…

Published in: on 13 November 2010 at 19:36  Leave a Comment  

Palm Pre

I had set my mind on the so-called Google Phone, aka HTC G1, ever since I’d heard of it. However, I’ve also been a happy Palm user since November 2000, first an m100, then since 2005 a Tungsten-C.

Yesterday, Palm presented their new Palm Pre, and now I’m so tempted to get one of those instead… Hope my – sometimes temperamental – Nokia will still last until the Pre hits the stores here.

Published in: on 9 January 2009 at 20:42  Leave a Comment  

Lilla Svea reborn

Today I finally have the time to reinstall my Swedish laptop, which I bought 2.5 years ago, and had recently become so pollluted, that even the Windows start-up tune had become “crackled”…

First I failed to use the official Packard Bell Master recovery DVD, which didn’t come with the machine. No, you had to create them yourself, which I did about a year ago. However, after booting up the Win/98 PE version, it just crashed with a stack overflow. Wonderful! So I installed a student version of XP Pro Swedish, which seems to work fine.

However, I was still missing PackardBell specific drivers (like for video, audio, touchpad, etc.). Luckily I was able to download them here .

Published in: on 31 December 2008 at 12:47  Comments (1)  

Today we still went to a mass at the nearby St. Sauveur church, which was also a bit interesting. THe priest approached us when we came in, and welcomed us, asked where we were from etc. And at the start of mass we were asked to introduce ourselves to our neighbors. Nice! After the mass we headed for Roncq, probably the closest village to the Belgian border, and did some more shopping at Auchan. Lunch at Flunch concluded the trip, and we headed back to Holland again.

Published in: on 28 December 2008 at 19:18  Leave a Comment  

Third Day in Lille

On Saturday, we went looking for another store of our favorite (?) hypermarket: Auchan, in the village of Fache-Thumesnil. I got a small universal carrying case for my iPod with nice colors: black with an orange lining = very cheerful!. Unfortunately my iPod doesn’t fit in it, so now I’m using it for my cellphone instead…

In the afternoon, we went back to Carrefour at the Euralille train station, to search for an inexpensive ‘cabin size’ suitcase that I had seen in an ad in the TV guide. We found it, and unlike the well-known Delsey and Samsonite brands, which only come in red and black, this “Faraway” brand (from China, where else?) had a nice BROWN color. So it will require a lot less effort to recognize it on an airport conveyor belt (for those times I can’t keep it in the cabin). Will show a picture of it later.

For dinner we went to Le Palais du Dragon on the corner; I just couldn’t stand having stayed in that area for 5 times without having tried the Chinese restaurant there. We had
– fried fish fillet with lemon
– fried fish fillet on a hot plate with sweet&sour sauce.
– beef with “satay sauce”: my dad got this, but was disappointed by the curry-like taste of it.

Published in: on 27 December 2008 at 19:14  Leave a Comment