Cross-border commuters between rock and classical music: the band “Voyager IV”


These were adventurous times as rock musicians crossed the boundaries of classical music. Exactly 50 years ago, on March 26, 1971, the band Emerson, Lake & Palmer recorded their album “Pictures at an Exhibition” (you tube link), live at New Castle City Hall.

With then novel electronic Moog sounds and the Hammond organ, Clavinet as well as an airstream organ for the intro and e-bass, acoustic guitar, vocals and drums, Keith Emerson, Greg Lake and Carl Palmer reinterpreted the fabric of Modest Mussorgsky.Keith Emerson, it goes, had heard and seen a performance of the orchestral work years earlier.

Now the keyboardist Marcus Schinkel managed to get the prize of the “Best German Rock Band” with the formation “Voyager IV”with a contemporary view of the material.

What remains of the groundbreaking recording at the time? How can a combination of classical and jazz rock be presented in a contemporary way?

Keyboardist Marcus Schinkel
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Rhenish carnival in total failure?

On Rose Monday

My niece Milena sent me an “Alaaf”, namely as a greeting from her Cologne fridge. She describes the finest, cold “Kaiser Wetter” at the door, but far and wide no fete in sight. So it was probably the day before yesterday in the carnival stronghold of “Wieverfastelovend”, after about a year Covid-19.

I’m not really a big friend of the carnival. Nevertheless, I am uncomfortable in view of the total failure of the Rhenish cheerfulness.

But I found in daily news messages about “Weiberfastnacht” on the Friday after. It said that it had not been quite so quiet in the city on Thursday. At least 40 reports and calls were investigated by the Cologne Police Department.

Neighbours have mostly given hints of non-Covid-19 regular gatherings of celebrating people, sometimes loud music has been played. That neighbors blacken their neighbors makes thoughtful, virus back and forth. “Kölle, du bes e Jeföhl” and “mer stonn zesamme”, the special feeling of warmth and togetherness get quite nasty to the farce.

Carnival total failure? Or has something happened?

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Winter menus "to go" and "100% organic" from the Türnicher Schlossküche

The text on the website of the Schlosscafé begins as usual the news from the pen of Severin Hoensbroech: “Dear friends of Schloss Türnich…” First of all, the lord of the castle would like to thank all those who have remained loyal to the Hofcafé during the “turbulent roller coaster ride” in the Covid-19 year. With “pleasing many visits” in the guest garden and café, fully booked Friday menu evenings, up to the broad popularity for the “Castle Christmas Menu for Home” available in mason jars and between foil with written instructions for dressing in your own kitchen. “Winter menu for home” is now only logical.

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Christmas Comfort… (Cooper, Riemer & Geschwind, Schmitz Project)

Music for open ears

The Office for Cultural Affairs and the Archive of the Kolping city of Kerpen have long since been housed in the so-called House for Art and History in the immediate vicinity of the area. It is remarkable that birgit Immisch for the Kerpen cultural department as well as Susanne Harke-Schmidt as city archivist and chairwoman of the Kerpen History Association send out Christmas greetings as endearing as they are encouraging.

Both now recommend the music project of their colleague Hermann-Jürgen Schmitz as a common denominator and yet completely independent of each other. I have allowed myself to extend the recommendation to contemporary music.

Photo collage from screenshots of the video posts.

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Funkamateur Heinz Schlagheck overcomes "Social Distancing" worldwide

Silent Keys from France

The world of wireless telegraphy has been marked by many abbreviations since the beginning of the 20th century.Even in today’s digital age, everyone still knows the sequence of numbers “SOS” as an emergency call.With “CQ” usually starts a dialogue, it is the abbreviation for “Come Quickly” and is the world-famous call to all radio operators who are able to receive the sent signal to respond quickly.

The abbreviation “SK” means “Silent Key” in the radio language. “SK” attached to the internationally unique phone number of a radio amateur tells other radio operators about his death, says Heinz Schlagheck.

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"Sweet William" – Homage to Oliver Heuer

Only in the last few years, after many concerts, Oliver Heuer had actually arrived back where it all started, at performances with friends in his Hometown. I visited him in May 2016 in his home in a small town near Cologne, just before his appearance in the Christ Church up there in Sindorf. I brought him an edition of the “Kitzler” – who remembers this marvellous magazine for the “Erftkreis” of those 1980s? Strictly speaking, there were two issues. In this first, with Hans Barz dancing on socks on the cover, a foto of mine in my early works. A review of a performance of Sweet William in the school mensa of “Tagesheimgymnasium Kerpen” was printed.

In 2016 he gave me his last CD and invited me to his next concerts. There has always been something in between that seemed more important to me. And I thought there was still a lot of time to listen to his music live. On 11 December 2019, he died unexpectedly. His wife Birgit Barrero recalls, she found him lying dead on the sofa when she came home from work in the afternoon. The day before, they already had gone to a hospital because Oliver felt weak, they had been sent home.

Here, as a reminder, I once again dig out the text i wrote after visiting him.

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