Friday, 27 January 2012

Hungry birds

So far this winter has been really mild here in the Øresund region. Still, for birds it´s a season when food is scarce. That´s why they clearly appreciate a little free food. Here are a couple of photos of bramblings, European greenfinches, a blue tit and a great tit enjoyng the bird banquet in my garden this morning.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Simple pleasures nr 17: Watching sunsets

This was the view close to sunset this January 26 afternoon here in my part of the Øresund region.
A sunset is always nice to observe. That´s why I decided to add it to my list of simple pleasures.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

The beauty of Edvard Grieg´s songs

Monica Groop, one of the great mezzos of our time, has made over 60 recordings covering a wide range of music from baroque arias to contemporary opera. One of her major projects has been Grieg´s "Complete 172 Songs For Voice And Piano", which is now available as a box set (catalogue number: BISCD160709) of seven discs.

The seven discs have previously been released separately, to great acclaim from reviewers around the world:

"Grieg’s songs are among the gems of the song literature, and they have remained in the international repertoire because of their many qualities... Monica Groop is a singer with the ability to color her voice to suit the text and mood of a song, and with real dramatic and poetic insight... [H]er singing is so supremely musical... This complete cycle is a valuable addition to the catalog, and serious collectors may wish to obtain it all."

Henry Fogel, FANFARE

..."the distinctive artistry of the Finnish mezzo-soprano is providing an irresistable new take, thrilling to both the shadows and the bright, high-latitude light in this music."

Hilary Finch, BBC Music Magazine

"It is music of rare beauty, and these two performers give it the best presentation you could ask for."

Robert Beale, Manchester Evening News on Volume 4

"Groop and Vignoles are masters of what they have chosen to survey. Technical fluency may be taken as read — but not ignored, for simple-sounding Grieg, like simple-sounding Mozart, is often anything but. Groop knows precisely how far to take her vocal characterisation of the many forlorn lovers — and the even more numerous dramatic turns in the weather — and does a nice line in male seducers. Vignoles's bright, direct and alert playing feels totally idiomatic. Sound and balance are ideal"

Mike Ashman, Gramophone, on Grieg 'The Complete Songs, Volume 5'

For all those who love the music of Edvard Grieg - and beautiful songs and singing in general - this box set is a real treasure chest. Strongly recommended!

Sunday, 22 January 2012

A grey ship on a grey day

This gray afternoon the 199 x32 m car carrier Columbia Highway passed by here in the Helsingborg/Helsingør area of Øresund.

Snow report

The first snow this winter is falling in my part of the Øresund region! However, it is not likely to stay on the ground for very long.


It did not take more than half an hour for this work of art to appear:

The story of the Disco Volante, Mr. Largo´s ship in the fourth Bond movie

The Disco Volante in the Caribbean night

Thunderball, the fourth James Bond film starring Sean Connery was a huge success already in its opening year 1965 and is, to date, the most financially succesful movie in the series. (Adjusting for inflation the movie had made $966.4 million in 2008 currency).

Mr. Largo´s ship Disco Volante plays an important role in Thunderball. A recent viewing of the beautifully restored blu-ray version of the movie, made me curious about the ship´s story.

Thanks to Wikipedia it did not take more than a few seconds to find out:

The real craft used in the film was a hydrofoil ferry, The Flying Fish, built by Rodriquez Cantieri Navali, who had built the first successful one at Freccia del Sole. The "cocoon" was built on set. It was purchased for the film for $500,000 and brought from Puerto Rico to Miami for refitting and refurbishment. The hydrofoil never sailed again after the filming. It was rented as a stationary houseboat, docked at a marina on Miami's MacArthur Causeway, until it sank at the dock in the early 1980s.

A sad end to the Disco Volante, both in the movie and in real life.

The Disco Volante was able to reach a decent speed even with the "cocoon"

Here Mr. Largo gets rid of the $500,000 "cocoon"
This is the real hydrofoil in good speed somewhere in the Bahamas

This is the moment when Bond and his lady partner jump into the water before the ship hits the rocks