Saturday, June 25, 2022

Moi, Je Fai l' Histoire de la Musique by Richard Strauss Edited by Christophe Looten

  Moi, Je Fai L'Histoire de la Musique

by Richard Strauss Edited by Christophe Looten has been a bit surprising. I was in fact waiting for an autobiography, while the reader at first can be deluded. This one is not an autobiography in the common sense of the word but reunites several writings by Richard Strauss to give to the reader a complete idea of this sophiticated musician. These writings were firstly published in 2016. In this book are reunited most of the writings found in that book, in chronoligical sense. This book is precious under many ways, because once the reluctancy will be over,sometimes appears too technical, you will discover a soul impregnated by music, someone who lived just for it, and that was in grade to bring beauty and fascination in the world thanks to his beautiful world.

Strauss and the other composers he treated like Brahms, Mahler, plus the anniversay of the birth of Wagner with celebrations, his contacts with Zweig... 

Richard Strauss considered the center of Europe the most intellectual fertile land and Germany for sure the heart of the world. Strauss explains why he said this: the biggest expressive faculty can be found in the tragedies by Wagner, but also in Bach who lived during the War of Thirty Years...What other can be said of the divine Mozart? The human soul, adds Strauss took more than 2000 years of different philosophies to define what it is: then, surprise! we can find the answer into the melodies developed by Mozart.

300 years where the human spirit presented to the world an immensity of wonderful and immortal works. These centuries offered to an evoluted humanity the biggest pleasure, irrigating the five Continents with harmony. Great was his sadness because Hiter, a mad (fou) without any education, criminal and ignorant has been in grade to destroy a place where lived the most cultivated people of the world, the strongest ones and with a big army. The comparison of Germany with Greece and in particular Athen where flourished the stunning wonderful greek culture is taking in consideration by Strauss.

"Good-bye strong dying Germany, destroyed by the hands of men: Germany that created the german music conducting to a world-culture devoted to it." 

Strauss was shocked by the destruction of the theather of Dresde. Just two days before the anniversary of death of Richard Wagner. "The beauty Dresde and the Saint Weimar are in flame..." writes.  Strauss writes also that the house where Beethoven died was destroyed. 

It is interesting to see the reaction at these tragedies, on Richard Strauss.

"Twelve years of Reign of Bestiality, of ignorance, and inculture . 2000 years have been destroyed par "Une soldatesque criminelle" putting a big finger also againt the technique who had ruined the world where people harmonically lived.

Nothing else must be add. But still Man continues to be brutal, with new wars, new destructions and new ends. 

Highly recommended book.

I thank Fayard for the physical copy of the book.

Anna Maria Polidori

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Un Amico di Kafka by Isaac Bashevis Singer

 Un Amico di Kafka

by Isaac Bashevis Singer is a new book published by Adelphi. 

This master story-teller, with his dense prose where you can find traces of a wisdom more old than the world, will describe an old Polland but also a New World of Jewish immigrated, with characters originals and captivating. 

Singer and his perception of Jewish as an occult power, remarks the necessity to keep the world in peace, because nothing, nothing is more important and urgent than peace and nothing can be built in a war-time. 

Singer knew this story pretty well, when he portrayed in The Family Moscat a world destroyed by the invasion of Hitler in Polland.

The first tale is on a Kafka's friend: another will tell the story of a man who lived in Europe. He desired to contact a guy living in the USA, who was writing a sort of aenciclopedia. 

That American didn't never answer him back. 

Not receiving answers, the man invents a character, a woman, with which to start a correspondence with the American.

This time the American answers back. Time passes by, and after several years this man decides to afford to NYC with the desire to meet this lady with which he was in communication with: other lies and a horrible end for that man. 

A young couple is in crisis. The young man, pretty devoted, can't understand why her wife, for the feast of Yom Kippur, is so agitated. When in the sinagogue, discovers that the wife has just left him for a butcher. Living with relief this fact, this boy will start a life of prayers.

There are magical stories of existing places and the day after, unexisting once, and in this tale the story of a girl who, pretty particular, lives with his father. Once, becoming great friend with a writer, told him that she had spotted Hitler in a bar where they loved to spend some time. We are in NYC. Thinking that she is burned out, the writer didn't search for her anymore, discovering later that she had killed herself. So, the writer reflected. Hitler, the story she told him was absurd and maybe it is wrong what we see, for sure, but if we live in a world of perceptions, she wasn't completely wrong. After all, admitted the writer, hadn't seen her, or so it seemed to him, in company of a very old man once? 

In another tale important considerations on the modern Jewish people. To Singer modern Jewish people have suicidal purposes. When there is not antisemitism, Jewish tends to re-create it, because the modern jew can't live without antisemitism. 

The Jew must pay blood for humanity, fight against reactionaries: a Jew is worried because of chinese, russians, tends to speak of revolutionary ideals when, at the same time, wants for himself all the priviledges of Capitalism; he wants to destroy the nationalism of other ones, but he is proud to be part of a special folk.

It is too beauty the tale of the professor and the doves. In this case, this doctor, old, is worried because he understand  that their world is ending, and soon war will reach them. We are in Polland.

Hitler and wild antisemitism sentiments are pervading the society everyday more brutally. The professor is a soul pretty wise, and has his own point of views. He is under cure because of his heart. One day, some nasty people throw him some stones and one of them reaches the forehead of the professor. The housemaid immediately take good care of him, but the professor dies that night for a heart attack. 

The professor wasn't just loved by people when in life. He had a passion for doves and birds in general. His house, left at the housemaid once dead, was plenty of cages with singing and joyous birds. Everyday he enjoyed to set free the little animals for his joy and desperation of the housemaid: birds, without fault, can be dirty. The professor loved to feed also the doves close to his house and did it diligently everyday taking great care of them. 

When he died, that animals recognizing that they had lost a friend, accompanied with respect their beloved professor for the entire road to the cemetery. Their loyalty will let you cry.

In another tale we meet a chimneysweepers. He was a modest person, but worked very well, and a lot of people called him for cleaning their fireplaces. Then, once fell rovinously and unfortunately, invalid, could not work anymore. 

His brain after the fall changed. He was in grade to tell you your most hidden desires. Who had stolen objects, what you did yesterday. He became a phaenomenon, and the mother asked also for some money, if people wanted to discover what happened in their existence...

The story of Altele is under many ways...Shocking. This girl married a boy, but after more than a year, they didn't still have any children. 

So she started to search for a solution and per years, years and years, she left her house per months with other ladies going in distant lands, trying to search for a remedy against infertility. 

Once, returned home, her husband wasn't anymore there. So, now, her purpose was also the one to search for her husband and again, again, she left the house for going with other women in other distant lands per months. Once rediscovered her husband she left him again because she didn't recognize anymore that man, so cold with her as a husband and with other women, again, returned to search for her husband. It was a shocking, amazing tale of a wandering and after all, peaceless life.

Adele. another tale, loved dresses. She didn't marry anyone but she bought wagons of clothes, ad she was constantly trendy. Once old, when she discovered that she couldn't wear beautiful clothes once dead, decided to become catholic. In that way she would have resolved everything. Funny tale.

Shloimele is a tale that can be considered pretty similar to the one of Altele. Why this? Because also in this case there is a man into a spiral without any possibility of escapism. Exactly as did Altele, this man lived an existence dreaming of big productions, big theaters, Broadway etc. Oh, yes here we are in NYC.

Time passed by, his partners changed as well and the guy remained more or less in the same situation in which at first, many years before. the writer had firstly met him, without any kind of improvement, but with, still, the idea to become someone one day. One day...

The short tale of Chazkele, the son of an humble man, is beauty. This boy became an heretic. At first studied the Tora, but later developed a big criticism on religion putting people in great difficulty.

A short tale involves a bet: scaring someone to death, letting him think that close to him there is a corpse. At the end it will become a real tragedy!

The tale of Il Figlio, differently, is intimist. There is a father, waiting for the arrival of his son via ship. Many his internal doubts and perplexities, of course resolved once he will meet him! Beautiful! Tender.

Destino, or the story of Bessie Gold will let us descend in that profoundity of a soul that sometimes we don't see. This lady approaches the writer, starting to tell him her existence, after all not bad. The arrival of a wonderful man, who proposed a marriage immediately after having known her. The birth of a baby girl and the joy of a family: broken by the departure of his beloved husband too soon. Then a violent dog, the disappearance of her daughter, who left her, her successes, other disgraceful situations...The writer, listening to her, and looking attentively to her yellow eyes understands that maybe behind this existence, and behind these tragedies, maybe there was a resistance of Besse on optimism or a perfidy and cruelty against other people and animals that couldn't be seen at first sight. The writer started to become scared of her, because he didn't want to descend in the hell she lived or had chosen to live in, or simply, he understood that after all that lady was a dark, dark, dark, lady in grade to poison every person she would have met along her way. One of the most beautiful tales of this book. 

Although they are short tales, these ones, I left aside some of them you musn't imagine that the reading will be light, because they are absorbing, written with great wisdom and knowledge of the human existence and most important, human nature. Singer is one of the best narrators of our recent decades, still greatly missed for the intensity of his stories and the ability to portray unique characters.

I thank Adelphi for the physical copy of the book.

Anna Maria Polidori 

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Adieu Romy by Violaine de Montclos

 I hadn't never read before a book on Romy Schneider although she is one of my favorite actresses. I remember her for Sissi, I guess like everyone else, but I had really enjoyed seeing some characteristics old-fashioned movies on her State. 

So, with great joy I received the book Adieu Romy

by Violaine de Montclos. 

Written wonderfully well, and without to forget any details, the life of Romy Schneider will continuously be intersected with that day 29 may 1982: the day in which Romy was found dead at home.

Romy was a dreaming personality and a special character under many reasons. She could appear extremely sophisticated or also comical when she put on too much make-up on her face. Pretty childish, she didn't have any pale idea of many aspects of the existence. When she didn't work, she loved spending time at bed, with wagons of magazines, books, cups of teas. She loved writing letters: not just them of course. She was an addicted in senging postcards, writing down recipes and whatever you can think you can do with manual writing.  She adored to keep a special correspondence with every collaborator, and she passionately wrote with the same intensity to her dear ones, and co-workers of movies. People, who, sometimes didn't know her well. 

Simply, she loved to taking good care of everyone. 

She loved to be surrounded by people she trusted and was affectionated at, like with Mo, a costume designer with a story behind, incredible. She worked in a circus, but then she fell and she couldn't work anymore there: later she learned the work of costume designer, and she became one of the most researched one. Romy simply adored her and like for her makeup artist, known in a production, she will desire to continue the collaboration...Simply, forever.

Romy didn't have any pale idea of her personal financial situation: she divorced two times but never asked too much about what was going on. Recently there were financial problems, although the biggest problem in her existence was the horrible tragedy that touched her beloved son David. She survived just few months: in the while people noticed Romy suffering of a severe lack of sleeping: a peaceless woman, who day every day was more pale, desperate.

The day of the tragedy, Alain Delon stopping by at the house of Romy, he was at long companion of Schneider, put a lot of disorder. The mother of the actress organized the funeral.

What remains of Romy?

That sweet eyes, with an intensity that was disarming and at the same time so sweet and a character, difficult, childish, but also unforgettable, like her movies are and will be. Forever.

A great, good and felt book, where the author participated emotively at the process of writing on Romy.

Highly recommended-

I thank Grasset for the physical copy of the book.

Anna Maria Polidori 

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Nick&Vera by Peter Sis

 This new album for children Nick&Vera

by Peter Sis released by Grasset Jeunesse should be kept in every house, and read attentively. Children must know the people who make the positive difference in the existence of a community or, more important, for the humanity.

A man was a silent hero: his name was Nichola Winton. He was  a rich youg man, lived in London, his origins were Jewish but the family became catholic: in 1938 afforded to Prague. His purpose became the one to save as many Jewish children as possible, bringing them all to England. Nick, it was called in this way, worked hardly, finding money, but also once returned to UK, adding ads in the newsmagazines for trying to find as many families as possible for these children.

Vera Gissing at that time was just 11 years. The story starts when she is 10 years and she lives a brilliant, beautiful existence surrounded by animals, but also love and affection in company of his parents. Unfortunately situation changed abruptly and the parents of Vera decided to give to their daughter the chance to survive. The father donated her a journal. "Please, write here everything: it will be an experience". He would have wanted to read what Vera wrote once returned home; but it didn't happened. The father of Vera died in a camp and the mother returned but then fell sick with typhus and died before to see another time her daughter.

699 children saved. 

There are many, many people who saved Jewish people without publicity, keeping the story silent. But once, after many decades, the wife of Nick, searching for something, discovered the archive that the husband hadn't never shared with her.

At the same time Vera Gissing released a book where she talked of her experience and the person she had to thank for being still alive. Vera had written everyday in the journal presented by her father.

One day a TV program interviewed so mr. Nicholas Winton. He shared his story and he still didn't know that a lot of ex-children, the same one he saved that distant 1938 were waiting for him.

It was a moving moment. Some of these children became important people in the social tissue of their countries: Hugo Maron, Karel Reisz, Gerda Mayer, Alfred Dubs.

In the National Museum of Prague you find the Winton Trail.

Touching children's book with illustrations that speak of broken dreams, the unknown but also of the realization and creation of a new life thanks to the goodness, the bonheur of a wonderful man.

Why recommending this book?

Because it's important not to lose the memory of what happened; but not just for that reason.

We musn't lose the idea of the importance of peace as the biggest value for a society, but also in our communities or families: war as we see everyday because of the Ukrainian-Russian one. It is dilaniating families, creating separation between children and fathers, distance, a lot of worries, death, desperation, uncertainty for the future. Lack of peace in a few words.

More than in any other historical moments this children's book is necessary for a profound understanding: a destiny sometimes starts in a country, for continuing and ending in other ones.

Sad story but plenty of hope!

I thank Editions Grasset for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori 

Briciole della Vita by Petr Andreevic Vjazemskij

 Briciole della Vita

by Petr Andreevic Vjazemskij is one of the sunniest and funniest books that you can read! Recently published by Adelphi, this book contains a series of little sunny and funny events occurred to the most eminents people in the Russia of 1800 taking in consideration also people of the rest of European countries as well. Petr was the son of prince Andrej Ivanovic and of his second wife, Jenny O'Reilly, irish. He was born in Moscow. He studied in an institute of Jesuits and when his parents disappeared the tutor became Karamzin. He paid a lot of attention on Petr, who worked constantly with success becoming an affirmed poet and writer as well.

In this short but exhilarating book, you'll find more than a good laugh.

Some facts that you'll find? 

Ok, let's start.

Someone was in love to extract teeth: he wasn't a dentist, but a common man with this passion. Everyday he didn't leave his house without the necessary and poor relatives or friends, when they communicated him that they had pain became ready for an extraction!

You know: South Russia has always been a bit revolutionary. Once when Emperor Alessandro decided to visit Odessa,  he was received by the local governor in the big mansion where he stayed. They started a long conversation in his studio, when, at a certain point, the governor left the room locking the Emperor in the studio. After a while, Alessandro searched for some help.

Oh, a man had a good reputation because he loved to eat and drink massively. Once, this man discovered a beautiful tavern for wealthy people, where it was served a wonderful capon. He appreciated that whole capon so badly that he returned the day after, and again, the day after to eat an entire capon everyday! At the same time, the owner of the tavern shared the news: a man, just a man everyday eats an entire capon in his tavern! You can just imagine what happened: the tavern plenty of people ready to see the show. When the man understood what was going on he didn't return anymore in the tavern and the owner was also punished because too undiscreet.

Once a man went to a post office asking if there were some mails for him. "Yes, please, your last name?" asked the staffer of the post office. "I have no idea. Should I have a last name?" So he left, and without remembering his last name thought that he would have met someone along the street saying him: hi! And in fact someone called him with his last name! All happy returned to the post office telling them which was his last name.

Another time during a feast, yes this man lived a bit in the clouds, (but was a very important man!)  the coat and then took what he thought that was the hat: it was the chamber-pot! and with that one in his hand, entered triumphantly in the room where there were the other guests!

Once, some people were invited to a dinner in a beautiful house in the countryside, when a fire started to burn the house. Everyone cried for "water! water!" just a man said: "Oh, no please, you can drink water: I want just vodka!"

Someone had been punished for some reason and couldn't leave his land: he walked one day in the city when he met a friend: "What are you doing here? Shouldn't you be confined in your lands?" He replied: "Yes, I am still searching where my lands are."

Once a man from Moscow spent some days in Israel. They asked him if he had enjoyed the trip. He complained: he couldn't find a decent cream because of the heat, but doves was an excellent dish, so, confirmed he really enjoyed to visit Bethlem and other territories.

Yes: Russian people love to eat and Petr tells that once, some very rich men loved to invite every possible person to their luncheon. They could be also strangers, or friends of other friends, like it is common to do in some part of Italy. Once a man, maybe there was some lack of food that day, talked with the host of the luncheon. The host asked if he had eaten sufficiently: "Yes, I have seen all the dishes...." replied discomforted the guest.

Once a boy in love for a girl didn't know how to tell her his feelings: they were eating and so started to caress her footh under the table. The girl said him: "Tell me, if you love me. Don't touch my footh because I have painful callus."

I stop the anecdots here, leaving to you the pleasure of a wonderful reading, where you'll meet Pushkin and Tolstoj, Catherine the Great, her son, Napoleon, of course, because defeated by the Russians, and many many more little or big facts that will let you smile or laugh.

One of the best readings that you can search this summer. Really enjoyable book.

I thank Adelphi for the physical copy of the book.

Anna Maria Polidori 



Monday, June 13, 2022

Femmes by Mihail Sebastian


by Mihail Sebastian, published by Editions de L'Herne is a passionate book on a lot of different Femmes and a man: the alter ego of the author. When I started to read Femmes Stefan appeared immediately like a sorta of Casanova; a man in grade to open the heart of every single woman; and the most differentiated one, because a latin-lover can't resist to any single women.

Some of them had virginal touches, other ones pretty navigated or busy in other relationships, where not married: Stefan won't find any kind of difficulty to conquer them all, seeing in every woman the fragility that would have later permitted him to become the favorite one. 

Different will be to stay in the existence of a woman for a conqueror. 

Oh, sometimes it happenes that women fell sick becoming consumed because of him, but to Stefan to conquer means also the satisfaction of having added someone else in his numerous conquests: sure there have been other cases in which very young girls preferred him for starting their sexual existence, without, after that, to be desperate when they left him. These short tales, in different shades, reports some of the stories lived by this avatar of the author.

I didn't like the story of Emilie, but in that case the love-story is pretty sad. The latest one, Arabella is spectacularly sophisticated with, at the end, for our hero, a new...loss.

The book is written elegantly, it is plenty of fascination, with that light erotism that keeps the story more intriguing, refined descriptions of people, places, situations. The adventures experienced by Stefan are located in several cities and places: Paris, but also Bucharest and Wien, South France and many other places. 

Michail Sebastian was a factotum of the word: he was in fact a journalist, writer, in love for journaling. Roumain writer, he is one of the most eminent one in the panorama of the XX century in his country.  "Juif, romains and danubien" as he classified himself, fought against the nazi-fascism, experiencing a lot of drama during his existence: his death has been also remarkably sad.

Femmes will add a touch of light in your life, and will entertain you.

I highly recommend you Femmes. Great reading during a vacation!

I thank L'Editions de L'Herne for the physical copy of the book.

Anna Maria Polidori 

Summertime with Snowman Paul by Yossi Lapid

 Sometimes children are frustrated, depressed, they think that they can't cope with certain situations, not the best ones to them: school, friends, competitions: life can be hard sometimes. 

It's important to understand that there is always something that we can do to better these personal situations, having fun with family and friends. It's, this one, one of the main thematics of the newest and adorable children's book: Summertime with Snowman Paul

by Yossi Lapid Illustrated by Joanna Pasek Art Direction, Lettering & Design by Richard Bruning. 

This children's book is an encouraging message to everyone, children and after all, adults. 

In this adventure, our cute and sweet Snowman Paul shares with Dan, the kid of the family where he has been built, his biggest worry: oh, summer will be a difficult, difficult season for him. He doesn't adore it. Winter is his favorite time of the year: spring as well, fall presents him beautiful colors and a lot of fruits and fun, but summer...Snowman Paul falls depressed, reading in the newsmagazine also worrying news regarding the warm season dangerously approaching. Plus: he tried several summer activities without any result. Dan is worried, because he can't see Snowman Paul crying desperate: and thinking thinking tells to Snowman Paul his plan for a wonderful summer season: selling ice creams! 

Snowman Paul in that refreshing situation is at his best and really, really enjoy this involvement, admitting at the end with Dan, after a long day of work that maybe summer, thanks to him, is his best season!

The second and most important message that the children's book wants to vehicle, is this one: thanks to our friends, our problems can be successfully resolved.

Extremely cute, sweet, every Snowman Paul's adventure is a joy because of the goodness that Snowman Paul is in grade to transmit to everyone, children and adults.

Highly recommended children's book.

I thank the author for the copy of the book.

Anna Maria Polidori