April 12, 2015

The face of evil

Meet Philipp Nedel, the remastering engineer for the 2012 DVD issue of "Horowitz in Vienna" - the first DVD release of the recital previously available 'officially' only on a VHS stereo tape.  Since I have a copy of that VHS tape (in a pirate DVD transfer from Japan), it took me only a few minutes of listening to Mr. Nedel's work to appreciate the remarkable consistency with which major classical labels (in this case Sony) entrust restoration of historically invaluable recordings to incompetent and evil motherfuckers like Mr. Nedel and the issue producer Robert Russ.  (Unfortunately the latter's photo could not be found on the web.  Perhaps Mr. Russ suspects that the quality of his work makes it prudent for him to do what he can to remain maximally anonymous.)

April 8, 2015

Mother-in-law's ultimate revenge...

I still remember mother-in-law jokes I heard as a kid growing up in Russia.  Many were predictably homicidal:

A man stands on a high floor balcony, holding an older woman just over the railing.  
The man says, "Ivan shot his mother-in-law.  Fyodor strangled his.  But I am letting you go."

A few were downright surreal:

Late at night.  A room in a communal apartment.  Mother-in-law sleeps in the corner partitioned off from the rest of the room by a curtain.   
     Son-in-law loudly whispers, "Mother!  Mother!"
     Awaken mother-in-law responds from behind the curtain: "What?  What is it, Vasili?"
     "Mother, would you like some fish?"
     "Sure, I'd love some, Vasenka."
     "Then get up and fry some."
     "But Vasenka, we don't have any."
     "Then shut the fuck up and sleep!"

No wonder I was startled when I saw the news item below.  Truly a metaphysical case of the ultimate revenge...

Mother-in-law's tombstone topples on Pennsylvania man, killing him

Reuters March 30, 2015 6:48pm EDT
A Pennsylvania man was helping decorate his mother-in-law’s tombstone on Monday ahead of the Easter holiday when it suddenly toppled over, pinning him underneath and killing him, a cemetery caretaker said.
The 400-pound stone fatally injured Stephen Woytack, 74, of Scranton, said Edward Kubilas, caretaker of St. Joseph’s Catholic Cemetery in the eastern Pennsylvania town of Throop, just outside of Scranton.

April 2, 2015

Cute puppies sell anything...

I have nothing against cute boys and girls exploiting the advantages of their phenotype, be it in modeling or in soliciting sugar daddies on Craigslist.  But when it comes to serious music, I would expect a musician's success to be based on more artistically relevant factors than just 'cute puppy' looks.  Which, of course, makes me a hopeless imbecile - a depressing self-assessment, true, but amply justified by the meteoric career trajectory of the Canadian-born, still very young,  and singularly mediocre pianist Jan Lisiecki (b. 1995).