Lindsay Kemp (1938-2018): A Personal Tribute

There is hardly anyone working in theatre today – even those who have never heard of him – who doesn’t owe a debt to the inventiveness of Lindsay Kemp. Kemp’s search for theatrical expression. He studiedly broke down the barriers between mime, acting, designing, dancing, showcasing, vocalising, orchestrating and sundry other arts. It wove together comedy with tragedy, wordlessness with silence, extending an invitation to rethink what might yet be found on the other sides of theatrical expressions. He was by no means the first to understand comedy as the other face of tragedy, but he certainly made a unique contribution to that field. 

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Schubert Life Death Fantasies: An Equation

Arthur and Lucas Jussen (c) Marco Borggreve

The one certainty of life is death, said a wit.

Moreover, the life death process is operative thousands of times a minute within all livings things –animal as well as vegetable.  Understanding what humans have in common with a blade of grass is not without its charm, once you’ve got over the shock.  But until the relatively recent advent of microbiology, Western medicine blithely operated in ignorance of this fundamental.  Microbiology is, however, the very cornerstone of Eastern medical practice, and has been since before written records were kept, which is long before the year the presumed Noah went into the presumed ark.

And Schubert, unobserved by most of us, spent a lifetime exploring this phenomenon in music. The OED’s phenomenal says perceptible through the senses or through immediate experience.  Schubert invokes both.

And perhaps nowhere quite so impressively as the Fantasies in F for piano duet.

Two young Dutch brothers have with surgical precision, taken this music to pieces, but unlike other King’s Men, they have also put Schubert together again. Also with surgical precision.  The Jussen brothers and others mentioned in comparison are all available on YouTube (click here), so readers can conveniently hear these differences for themselves. 

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