Belg(e)

Time to talk about Belgian products in this blog. Small country, amazing tradition of good food. Best restaurant in the world is from Belgium, remember.

So, a typical product from my home region is Sirop de Liege. Amazing with brown bread and goat cheese and to cook rabbits… You need to try this. Rabbit with oignons, belgian beer (what else), mustard (belgian mustard of course) and Sirop. A great dish for winter time. I grew with this natural product (apple, pears, that’s about it).

Added on Feb. 28, 2016:

Advokaat (with a K, not a C) is a typical product from Flanders/Holland. OK, better not to count the Kcal of this product. But, hey, you should taste with moderation anyway. Very nice with vanilla ice cream or pure. Some alcohol in it. Incredible, bright yellow color too.

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Chemin principal et chemins secondaires

This place is for me to share paintings from THE Guiding Light I cherish above any other in visual arts: Paul Klee.

Let’s start with ‘Chemin principal et chemins secondaires’. Nile valley. And an underlying statement about main road vs. secondary roads (in art and life).

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Added on Feb 23, 2016:

Klee had a very simple yet effective numbering system for his paintings (i guess you can find out by looking at paintings). Below another great, early, north africa-influenced painting. And Klee indeed worked with small canvas.

  

French chamber music (1850-1950)

 

This post is a shrine for French chamber music from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

For one reason, apart from other favorite chamberists of mine like Brahms or Schumann, I always go back to French composers…. There is here a wit and lightness you find nowhere else.

Let me start this series with a most charming musician.

Francis Poulenc

Francis+Poulenc

Nicknamed ‘half-monk, half-delinquent’ by some (he also wrote moving church music), he exemplifies the clarity of purpose, simplicity, acidity and charm of french chamber music. He wrote great pieces for woods.

How to choose? Maybe two sonata’s stand out (for me), the sonata for clarinet and the sonata for oboe (see below).

 

 

 

Guitars

This post is all about my guitar heroes and their great songs.

Steven Wilson is THE guiding lights these days in terms of progrock (i hate the word to be fair). 

If you do not get moved/electrified by ‘drive home’ then i guess you must be a robot.

  

Added in March 5, 2016:

Robert Fripp‘s solo on David Bowie’s heroes contributed to making that song memorable. But there are so many great guitar parts in his career. Take for instance the sheltering sky on King Crimson’s Discipline album. I will come back to Fripp later on as there are so many pearls in his discrete oyster.

  

Ouvrages de référence

In this post i plan to share a few books I really enjoyed reading. Some of them are fairly practical in nature and focus on what i call ‘Life in Balance’. A good book is a book you read more than once, either in full or bit by bit. This is definitively the case with these.

To start with, a recent book by Chris Bailey about productivity (ie, doing more or the same with less).  The good thing here is that the author walked the talk and experimented tools that work and others that don’t.

Added in Feb 23, 2016:

One companion for life is Baltasar Gracián. His book ‘The Art of Wordly Wisdom’ (dd 1647) is a page turner, full of short maxims that make you a balanced individual.

  

Orchestral lush

This part of VDR on Sound is all about luxuriant orchestral pieces.

One name who is very british and relatively unknown in continental europe is Arnold Bax.

Have a go at his tone poems. See  Arnold Bax

Added on Feb 28, 2016:

I recently discovered the symphonies of Alexander Glazunov. He for too long remained in the shadow of other famous russian composers. Squeezed between two eras of music, he was either too old-fashioned or academic (Stravinsky’s view) or a Rimsky-Korsakov ‘me too’ follower. None of this true is you listen for instance to his third symphony.

Added on Apr 2, 2017:

I just finished reading a great biography about Albert Roussel by Damien Top.

Roussel

Roussel, French musician used to work in the marine and as such travelled the world… But he quickly afterwards fell in love with forests, settled in a pavillon in France and produced several works of high quality. These works are influenced by far travels (the opera Padmavati), the sea and the Woods (first symphony), among others. He also composed great chamber music (more about this another time).

One of his biggest successes, and the one that fits in this ‘orchestral lush’ section must be the third symphony. See as an example the first movement thereof, so powerful. He was an example for many musicians of his time and a beloved teacher to famous other artists like Satie, Varese or another favorite of mine: Martinu. I will later also come back to one of his teachers from the Schola Cantorum: D’Indy.

 

 

Good protein (not from meat though)

This post will deal with my favorite good food. They taste nice and are good for me.

To start with, flaxseed.

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Great taste, super good in white-egg omelet.

Added on Feb 19, 2016:

Next on the list is pumpkin seeds (no, not a rock band).

You can eat that all day long. Delicious. Beats any crunchy, sugary cereals.

  
 

Vetiver

This is about one of the only fragrances that is very hard to synthetize. This is my favorite scent. Hence this section that is only about Vetiver.

I will talk here about a few vetiver-based perfumes. The ones that i cherish at home (even though i don’t wear them). So stay tuned.

Added on Feb 2, 2016:

The one i prefer is Vetiver Extraordinaire. It’ fresh, full of quality ingredients and long lasting.

Added on Feb 23, 2016:

Another great Vetiver classics is Encre Noire from Lalique.

Well, actually it smells (at least the top note) as… black ink. If you, like me, was exposed to writing with a fountain pen early on, its a great souvenir. Super quality material and of course, from Lalique, great ‘bottle’.