Friday, 8 June 2012

Classic cruise ship Marco Polo passes by on a rainy evening

On this grey and rainy evening the classic cruise ship Marco Polo (176 x 24m) passed by on its way from Copenhagen to Warnemünde.

A restless Schönbrunn Summer Night Concert

The setting was beautiful, but the overall impression was restlessness

Last night I watched with great anticipation the Vienna Philharmonic´s Summer Night Concert broadcast live from Vienna. The setting could not have been more beautiful: One of the world´s best - if not the best - orchestras, under the baton of the young, charismatic musical magician Gustavo Dudamel, playing in the UNESCO world heritage listed Schönbrunn palace gardens. 

It was nice to see several female musicians in the orchestra
And, of course, the Vienna Philharmonic never disappoints. This time it was also nice to see a few more ladies than previously in the orchestra. And it is always a joy to see the charismatic young maestro Dudamel in action. 

Gustavo Dudamel did his best to cheer up the audience
Sadly, though, something was missing on this beautiful viennese summer evening. There seemed to be too much of everything: The television director constantly switched from one moving or zooming camera to another, creating a restless general impression, added by the lights from the flashing spotlights installed all over in this enormous park. Often the director chose to add to the restlessness by showing people walking and talking, instead of listening to the music. The great Brian Large would not have done it this way. 

The uneasiness was also apparent in the "water ballet", which failed to light up Debussy´s rather boring La Mer. The Wiener Staatsoper´s fine dancers were not to be blamed for this; not even the best dancers can produce anything spectacular when the "floor" is covered by water. 

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

The French minehunter M642 Cassiopée in Øresund

This the French Navy´s mine warfare vessel M642 Cassiopée passing Helsingør/Helsingborg late this afternoon. The M642 is one of the Marine National´s twelve Tripartite class minehunters - built in the 1980s - currently being upgraded by the Thales Group

A Swedish sailing boat and a Danish motor boat observerd the Cassiopée passing by

The Tripartite class ships, a joint venture of France, Belgium and the Netherlands, were built in the 1980s. The navies of Pakistan, Indonesia, Latvia and Bulgaria also use Tripartite class vessels. 

Specifications for the Tripartite class: 
Displacement:536 t (528 long tons) empty
605 t (595 long tons) full load
Length:51.5 m (169 ft)
Beam:8.96 m (29.4 ft)
Height:18.5 m (61 ft)
Draught:3.6 m (12 ft)
Propulsion:1 × 1370 kW "Werkspoor RUB 215" V12 diesel
2 × 180 kW ACEC active rudders
1 × HOLEC bow propellor
Speed:15 knots (28 km/h)
Range:3,000 nautical miles (5,600 km) at 12 knots (22 km/h)
Boats and landing
craft carried:
2 × rigid-hulled inflatable boats
1 × remote controlled submersible for mine identification and disposal:
(source: Wikipedia)

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

The amazing Paul McCartney at the Diamond Jubilee Concert

Paul McCartney at last nigh´s Diamond Jubilee Concert in London

Paul McCartney was without doubt the highlight of last night´s huge Diamond Jubilee Concert in front of Buckingham Palace. McCartney´s ability to stay fresh, exciting and creative for over fifty years now is a feat as amazing as the Queen´s six decades of service. 

Somebody at the German ZDF Kultur television channel seems to share my feelings. Last night, just before the Jubilee Concert, the channel showed McCartney´s 2009 "Good Evening New York", which, at least in my opinion is one of the best - if not the best - concert recordings ever.

McCartney at the New York City Field stadium in 2009
Another shot from the "Good Evening New York" concert

It is not difficult to agree with what the BBC´s Will Dean wrote about the event

When Citi Field, the Met's recession-defying new stadium, announced its first musical act, it wasn't tremendously surprising that McCartney was going to be declaring the building open. In July 2009, Britain's greatest living musician (heck, person) entertained 120,000 New Yorkers with a career-straddling set of Beatles classics, Wingsfavourites (both of them) and solo tracks.
Anyone who saw McCartney's on his huge Back in the World tour will know what to expect from his modern show. The band, featuring Rusty Anderson, Brian Ray and Abe Laboriel Jr, is wildly accomplished, giving a slick stadium-rock edge to tracks that, when The Beatles played Shea, would have been barely heard through the stadium's PA. But that's not always a great thing, as some period studio shakiness is lost. But it's always a joy to hear a real Beatle singing real Beatles songs, and during I'm Down some video trickery even allows Macca to duet with John and George, as they play the same song at the 1965 Shea show.
There are tributes to old pals past – Here Today for John and Something for George ("I played this to George, and I'm not sure he was very impressed"). Even if you've seen him do these things ten times before, it's still nearly enough to bring a tear to your eye.
As the undying thirst for Beatles media proves, these songs are both for everyone and timeless – just look at the diversity of attendees captured enthralled on the DVD. And then look at the last ten selections of this mammoth 33-song set: that kind of closing chapter to a show doesn't need words here telling you how great it is.
Always incredibly hard-working, McCartney never relents here – his patter isn't cool, but it absolutely doesn't matter, as he could turn up and play on a washboard and it'd still be worth 20 quid. Good Evening… is a wonderful souvenir for those who were there or who've seen his tour over the last few months, and a perfectly pleasant second-hand experience for those who weren't.

The outstanding musicians in McCartney´s band should not be forgotten,either: 
  • Rusty Anderson - electric and acoustic guitars, backing vocals.
  • Brian Ray - bass, electric and acoustic guitars, backing vocals.
  • Paul Wickens - keyboards, electric guitar, accordion, harmonica, percussion, backing vocals.
  • Abe Laboriel Jr. - drums, percussion, backing vocals.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Enterprising young ladies

This afternoon I found these enterprising young ladies on the local "beach boulevard". Not too many customers around today; people chose to stay inside because of the chilly and windy weather. But one of these days, when the sun reappears, their business will 
thrive ...

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Bramora - a gorgeous Baltic 73 yacht

This gorgeous yacht, here shown in the Helsingborg harbour today, is the Bramora, owned by Norwegian billionaire Per G. Braathen, who is a keen sailor. "There is nothing that makes me feel as relaxed as when I am sailing", he told an interviewer a few years ago.

The Bramora, a 73 feet yacht built by Baltic Yachts in Finland, should be ideal for a serious sailing enthusiast like Braathen.

Here is how the builders describe the yacht, previously called Baltic 73 Canica:

"A European client asked Baltic Yachts to build a 73ft pilothouse yacht to a Judel/Vrolijk design. With this kind of design, however, comes a challenge in maintaining a high level of sailing performance, due to the additional weight in the superstructure of the pilothouse along with the high levels of equipment typically installed on this kind of yacht. However, careful design and the use of high-tech composites still enabled us to achieve a ballast to displacement ratio of around 40 per cent."


LOA:22,30 m
DWL:18,50 m
Beam:5,50 m
Draft:3,30 m
Displacement:35 000 kg
Ballast:14 300 kg


Based on the information on the Baltic Yachts webpage, it appears that the Bramora has undergone a complete refit, and is consequently looking like new now.

Follow Bramora on here.