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george grella

On the Outside, Looking Out:<br>Alex Mincek

On the Outside, Looking Out:
Alex Mincek

A feature by George Grella

It was music written with an X-Acto knife, with absolute precision and attention to the fine details of phrasing and orchestration. There was almost constant, chattering activity, and the unsettling thrill of ideas racing by just past the point of apprehension, each adding to a complex and constantly changing experience. And then, like a pendulum, the piece swung into a different, but related, structural concept. The level of activity remained the same, but the sense of time and motion was entirely different. The music was like a frothing suspension, holding still via sustained pitches, but simmering through tremolos, rebowings, flutter-tonguing. There was the feeling that the music contained some sort of strange, awesome power.

All These Are the Days My Friends: Ostrava Days 2015

All These Are the Days My Friends: Ostrava Days 2015

A feature by George Grella

Why Ostrava? In a way, because it was there. Along with the resources and the facilities—including several important, excellent new ones that are integral to the city's physical renewal—Ostrava is a place that, in Kotik's phrase, leaves you alone. Still substantially blue collar in look, feel, and social quality, there is no pressure to be hip, to be seen, to do any particular thing, or anything at all in particular. Despite the occasionally irritating air quality (there is still a working steel plant within the city limits), the city is comfortable to be in and to get around, it is spacious and green, with a solid public transportation system. There is not much to do except experience the music, which is the whole point. [...] But, why in Ostrava? Or rather, why do only the professionals and aficionados seem to know about what happens in Ostrava? Why can’t one read about the festival and the city in newspapers and general interest publications? With no particular bourgeois charm, with no particular material culture, with nothing particularly to do or see, rich people don’t go to Ostrava, so publications written in hopes that rich people will read them don’t cover Ostrava. The festival is about nothing but the music.