In English

Oh Fred

A couple of years ago Pierre, my Better Half, was invited by a close friend of his to host a small conference around topics involving architecture and urbanism. He personally chose and invited his interlocutor – Graham McKay, an architect who has taught at universities around the world and is a wonderfully original thinker. (You really have to have a look at his blog, misfits’ architecture – extremely well written, concise, funny, erudite, with plenty of really interesting information onRead More

In memory of a truly wonderful person, whom I knew very little

It’s always difficult to accept when someone young dies before their time. I think in the case of Paulina Sokołowska it’s doubly difficult – she was so full of life. Right now her Facebook page is flooded with testimonials and goodbyes from friends, co-workers, students, people who heard her concerts. I only met her once – but I’m so happy I had the chance. “Carpe diem” has become such a cliché, and so have the stories of people who fallRead More

Nice things that happened within the span of one week

A little over a week ago, I played a concert with my quartet. It was an open-air concert, and as much as we musicians are always afraid of these (there’s no walls that the sound can bounce off, and therefore it’s harder than usual to try and make our instruments sound beautiful), it was just perfect. The surroundings were beautiful – it was a nature reserve on the Belgian coast, known for the huge variety of birds which live there.Read More

My grandma, her stories, and the future of the world

As in many Polish families in the 90s, I grew up with my grandma living with us. She was a survivor – born in 1914, in the first year of her life her father was conscripted in the army. He went fighting and when he came back, he was physically ruined and never got better any more. Her mother, during the absence of her newly wedded husband, did her best to take care of her two small babies and whatRead More

Queen and huntress, chaste and fair

Here’s a fantastic piece of music that I recently had the pleasure to play. Didn’t know this one before and I really fell in love with it. Made me remember also an amusing thing I heard once in a chamber music lesson, playing some English pieces to a fantastic Czech musician. He admitted he was not the biggest fan of English music, saying it was a bit too bland for his taste… that all those Elgars and Vaughan Williamses lackedRead More

Hilde Güden, my new girl crush

24 October 2018 In English, People and music

The other day back home in Poland, my dad put on a recording of Le Nozze di Figaro, his favourite one. The one with Vienna Philharmonic, Erich Kleiber and a bunch of amazing singers. I had never heard this one before (shame on me, apparently everyone says it is THE recording of Le Nozze), and my attention was immediately caught by the voice of Susanna. I wonder if I listen to opera often enough to issue such criticism, but I’llRead More

A zero waste, no-nonsense gift guide

On the couple of blogs I follow regularly, in the last two months before Christmas there happens a huge inundation, a mass attack of gift guide posts. It gets worse and worse every year. And I get more and more irritated, when I visit a website to look up some, ya know, apartment makeovers or fashion trends in New York (bear with me), and instead I get a gift guide post. And another. And another. And… Not only is itRead More

Human faces

27 January 2018 In English, People and music

A friend invited me to join a community project. It is organised in a small town school near Brussels, the students of which are performing an opera written specially for them by a young composer. The school – I will clarify for my Polish readers, who might smile with disbelief – is a “normal” school, not a music one. My dear Polish readers, let’s take a moment to imagine executing a music-theatre performance with a complete amateur orchestra and choirRead More

Music in public spaces

Yesterday I was running errands with my boyfriend (some may think, seeing as I keep mentioning him, that writing about him is the raison d’être of this blog :-)) and one of our to-do items was visiting the maison communale, a sort of town hall in our district. The building itself is magnificent, constructed in the beginning of the 20th century in Neo-Renaissance style, with fancy staircases, sculptures and plenty of marble. The hall where we had to wait isRead More

I wish people took Austen seriously

30 March 2017 In English, Literature

Recently I thought it would be a good idea to read something in French, to improve my French. (Seems like a no-brainer.) I dug up Le rouge et le noir, which I read in Polish a long time ago and loved. I also left Le Père Goriot lying around, planning to read it next, and this one was immediately snatched by my boyfriend who is now sacrificing hours of precious sleep over it. So one evening we were doing thisRead More