Waves of the Danube Flowing in Korea, or the Death Song

•29/03/2019 • Lasă un comentariu

Hymn of Death-1

Yun Sim-deok was born in Pyongyang in 1897. She was Korea’s first professional soprano and the first Korean student at Tokyo Music School.

Kim U-jin was a poet, essayist, dramatist and an English literature student at Waseda University, also in Tokyo. He will become the first professional literary critic in the history of Korean literature. Despite his brief career, Kim wrote five plays and numerous essays on Western theatre. Born to a big landowner in Jeolla Province, Kim was married and had a wife and children in his hometown.

Yun and Kim met in 1921, during a road tour, and they fell in love. Five years later, on 4th of August 1926, the modern single woman and the married poet committed suicide together, jumping off of a passenger ship crossing the sea from Japan to Korea. They were both 29 years old.

Yun’s last and most famous recording, 1926’s „In Praise of Death,” is considered the first „popular/pop” Korean song. It was recorded in Osaka by the Japanese Nitto recording company, with Yun’s sister accompanying her on piano. The song is set to the tune of the waltz „The Waves of Danube”, by the Romanian composer Ion Ivanovici. Some say Yun wrote the lyrics herself, others believe they were written by Kim U-jin.

The shocking double suicide of the two lovers created a sensation in Korea. Yun’s last album – In Praise of Death – became an unprecedented success, selling 100 000 copies, in spite of being very expensive. The figure was considered extraordinary at the time.

Their story continues to be told.

Listen to the original song here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lG4Lol…
Hymn of Death
 Through the vast wilderness, in this life of uncertainties
 You are running, yet where are you going?
 In this lonely world, through the rough seas,
 What are you searching for?
This world that will become tears, will everything end if I die?
Those lives searching for happiness, it is really sadness that you are seeking for.
Those smiling flowers and those crying birds,
Their destinies would all be the same.
Engrossed in living this miserable life,
You are the one dancing on the blade of a knife.
This world that will become tears, will everything end if I die?
Those lives searching for happiness, it is really sadness that you are seeking for.
This far-flung life that has fallen to vanity,
You are being deceived, don’t you know?
Everything in this world to you is emptiness;
After you die, nothing exists anymore.
This world that will become tears, will everything end if I die?
Those lives searching for happiness, it is really sadness that you are seeking for.


Living in Barcelona – first thoughts

•26/09/2016 • Lasă un comentariu

Barcelona is that city that managed to get itself up there on a podium and doesn’t want to get back down even after the show is over. Yes, it is a great place to visit, lots of things to do here and sites that you should see at least once in your lifetime, but no, it is not a good place to live in. You might enjoy staying here for a year or two, especially as a student, and you might be impressed with all the ways in which you could spend your free time, but if you have a family with kids and all you want at the end of the working day is some peace and quiet, then this might not be the place for you.

Barcelona is noisy. Whether there is another fiesta happening in your neighbourhood or your appartment is close to one of the super-busy streets of the city, it won’t be easy to fall asleep in the evening. You can’t even open the windows without immediately feeling that you moved in the middle of a busy railway station.

And then there is the high pollution. Each day there are more than 500.000 cars entering and leaving Barcelona. And it’s not a myth, they strongly impact public health. Yes, it’s nice to take a stroll on Barceloneta Beach, but the air you’re breathing is another story.

Apart from the constant noise and the contamined air, you’ll also miss privacy in your own home. Sometimes the windows of the flats ar so close to those of other buildings that you’ll either befriend or hate your vis-a-vis neighbour, no in-betweens.

Quality of life?? Not so much. Not to mention the hoards of tourists occupying the city half of the year. Forget about the image of you walking down the streets of Barcelona in summer, admiring the intricate architectural details on the facades of the buildings. Doesn’t happen. You’ll be followed everywhere by a group of 100 people, ready to knock you down if you dare to stop for one second. But in winter you might get a chance to discover the beauties of the city in which you live and then you begin to love Barcelona.

Well, Barcelona is for those who can afford giving up sleep and money. Accomodation (rent or buy) is outrageously expensive. Salaries are low. No idea how the locals survive, it’s still a mystery. No, I wouldn’t like to be in my 30’s and still live with my parents, as some do here. And I don’t want to share an apartment with other people. There are, of course, nice places you can rent if you are willing to spend more than 1500 euro/month. Well, are you?

Otherwise, Barcelona is Barcelona.





Heroes of Brno

•18/07/2013 • Lasă un comentariu

František Pavlík and the fight for a Czech university

A peaceful demonstration calling for the founding of a new Czech university in Brno left a young carpenter, František Pavlík (1885–1905), stabbed to death on October 1 1905 by the bayonet of an imperial army soldier.

This event had a major effect on the Brno citizens of the day and Pavlík’s funeral on 5th October 1905 turned into a Czech patriotic demonstration: nearly 80,000 people took part in the largest funeral to take place in Brno during the 20th century. It was also reflected in the contemporary arts – within just a few days Leoš Janáček composed his only piano sonata František Pavlík. AMB foto, XVIIIa, inv.è.311., in which he expressed his solidarity with František Pavlík and other fighters for Czech rights. Exactly twenty years later a memorial plaque was dedicated to František Pavlík at Besedni Dum in Brno House. This was to become a symbolic meeting place for the citizens of Brno in times of oppression.



Jiří Mahen and the occupation of  Czechoslovakia

Jiří Mahen (1882 – 1939), journalist, writer, playwright and theatrical manager of the Brno National Theatre, was a prime shaper of pre-war Brno. His influence on the culture of the day was defining, it appears that almost nothing took place without his blessing. Mahen’s impact can be felt even today – his long lasting legacy to the citizens of Brno
was his public lending library, grown literally from nothing. Today the library bearing his name has several branches and has raised multiple generations of readers.
mahen_ve_30.letechThe Munich agreement and the occupation which followed aggravated Mahen’s fragile mental health: the author reacted to these dramatic events by committing suicide on 22nd May 1939. His funeral in Brno three days later became a demonstration of the Czech people against the occupation.
Pavel Haas and the Brno Jewish Holocaust
Pavel Haas (1899-1944)       During the war, the concentration camps saw the death of a number of important cultural representatives of Brno – the painters Otto Ungar and Jaroslav Král (in whose honour one of the exhibition rooms
in the House of Arts is named), leading pianist Bernard Kaff, literary specialist Bedřich Václavek and many others. Many others were driven from Brno by the war, for example Ernst Wiesner and the linguist Roman Jakobson.
Another victim of the Holocaust was Pavel Haas (1899 – 1944), one of the most distinctive of Janáček’s students, a talented composer. His creative portfolio includes a number of orchestral works and compositions for chamber ensemble – the Brno Quartet and Quintet, as well as a number of vocal works in which he made use of reminiscences of folk and historical songs. His opera Charlatan and his musical accompaniments to three of his brother Hugo Hass’s films were both well-known and successful in their day.
With the murder of Pavel Haas, Brno lost an outstanding musical phenomenon of the inter-war years.

26 mai 2012

•26/05/2012 • Lasă un comentariu

Cat de repede se goleste o casa pe care te-ai straduit cativa ani sa o umpli…

Always alone…

•21/05/2012 • Lasă un comentariu

cimitir evreiesc-Trebic

…always alone…


•13/02/2012 • Lasă un comentariu

As  is the case with all Trier’s movies, Melancholia cannot be labeled. It’s not a sci-fi movie, no matter how much some people would like to prove this. It is mostly a treatise on the effects of depression, a painful insight into the nature of a particular illness. The director goes straight forward and says it all, again and again, in an explicit but well balanced manner: the title of the movie and the colour of the destructive planet are obvious metaphors,while the prologue tells how the story will end. No surprises there. The images of classic paitings are pointing directly to the sources of influence. This time Lars von Trier is not at all cryptic, and yet… mysteries build up.

The Prologue is a montage of images, some symbolic, some announcing what is yet to unfold, some rendered in such extreme slow-motion that movement is barely perceptible. To the music of Richard Wagner’s brooding prelude for Tristan and Isolde, we see ashes falling over Peter Bruegel’s painting “Hunters in the Snow.” Justine, in her white wedding gown, struggles to run, held back by heavy strands of black yarn. A horse collapses under a black, apocalyptic sky. A woman carrying a young boy moves imperceptibly across a golf course, passing by Hole 19. Planets collide.

The performances are superb. Kirsten Dunst’s character, Justine, is often completely unlikable and in the same time she still has an identifiable sympathy and vulnerability to her. As disaster looms, her eyes seem to see purpose. She has already peered into the abyss. Gainsbourg, as Claire, is very much the emotional heart of the film.

The ending to Lars von Trier’s apocalyptic drama is one of the most masterfully executed and unforgettable endings of any movie seen before. Even if we already knew what was going to happen, it does not loose its intensity. Trier’s words, with Justines’s melancholic voice, warned us: “What did you expect? ”  What should we expect from a melancholic person, what should we expect from a movie that opens its meanings in front of our eyes right form the start?

“What did you expect? ”

Lars von Trier creates psychodramas hard to watch and difficult to forget, in the same register as Vincent van Gogh, Hieronimus Bosch or Boris Vian.


•12/02/2012 • Lasă un comentariu


When it’s cold outside, I miss dusty hot Florence and its Boboli Gardens.

Camille Corot - Florence