About

Turning your hearers into listeners

On my About page you may like to listen to some audio and video performances, including a short lesson on a toccata-like piece by the great Swiss organist Lionel Rogg.

Further down the page, you can read some samples of translations in different subjects, especially music, art and architecture, from German and French to English. These passages may show you how I can help you through my lifetime’s experience of study of music and the arts, together with travel throughout Europe. Join me on some of my visits to historic sites, demonstrating instruments played by (e.g.) Bach, Haydn, Liszt and Brahms, giving occasional recitals where I also introduced the items in both English and German. Enjoy snatches of guided tours through the history, art and music of cities such as Dresden and Vienna. Or see the world of Haydn with trips into Hungary and listening to a quartet playing in the music room at the Esterhàzy Palace in Fertöd where it was first heard. And keep me company on my solo travels to France and Italy in the selections on art and architecture.

As I told you then your translation was excellent. It showed a great feeling for style and accuracy and it proofed that you know everything about music. (Dirk Ceelen, Dice Vertalingen bvba)

Our interpreting and translating is very precise.

Here are a few recordings and videos of my playing and speaking which relate to my activities as a translator, musician, teacher and traveller, starting with a commentary (almost a “lesson”) on a thrilling toccata by the Swiss organist and composer Lionel Rogg.

The slow movement from Bach’s Trio Sonata No.2 in C minor for organ stands as one of Bach’s most restful movements, and was composed to teach his eldest son Wilhelm Friedemann.

Then follow some audio recordings of piano and organ music. The slow movement from Chopin’s Sonata in B minor would sound wonderful on the Erard piano now in Liszt’s birthplace – which actually belonged to a friend of the composer.

The Prelude by Dupré is a wonderful, dreamy piece (in spite of the endless rapid triplets and four-note chords in the pedals!) composed in 1912. My performance on a Johannus organ rather places every note under a magnifying glass, but imagine those sounds drifting down to you from the heights of a great French Gothic cathedral!

“The Banjo,” by Louis Moreau Gottschalk, is based on his own tune, which, all the same, happens to sound like “Camptown Races!” In an effort to persuade a student (whose tone could often be described as “doubtful,”) how to make the piano sing, my teacher often used to try and get me to imagine imitating an oboe, or a cello, and occasionally a trumpet. Maybe a banjo was not quite what he had in mind…

The joyful Praeludium in G, by the North German composer Nikolaus Bruhns concludes this short selection of music. Living only to the age of 31, Bruhns left five organ works, three of which, in their marvellously contrasting ways, count amongst the greatest works of their style, and were admired by J.S. Bach. This piece includes double pedalling, and a passage imitating the violin; the composer used to play the violin at the organ console, and accompany himself with his feet on the pedal stops. 

2nd movement, from Sonata No.2 in C minor, for Organ – J.S. Bach
Prelude, from Prelude and Fugue in G minor, Op.7 No.3 for Organ – Dupre
The Banjo, for Piano – Gottschalk

It was a pleasure working with Roger. The quality of the translation was good and we received the files well before the deadline. (Lingual Consultancy Services)

SAMPLES OF TRANSLATIONS FROM GERMAN AND FRENCH TO ENGLISH

Here are some examples of translation, from German and French to English, on music, art and architecture, travel and tourism, and cookery (the original text is below my translation). Please note that this page is still in the process of being built.

  1. Music: Beethoven (German); Vincent d’Indy writing about Berlioz (French)
  2. Art: Bernard Canaletto, nephew of the famous painter of Venetian scenes (French); Jakob Burckhardt on Michelangelo (German)
  3. Architecture: Vignola and the Gesù (German); Cornelius Gurlitt on Meißen (German);
  4. Travel: Le Pont du Gard, by Alexandre Dumas (French)
  5. Cookery: Gugelhupf and Apple Strudel, Linzer Torte (in preparation) from a Viennese cookery book of 1902 (German); French wines (French) (in preparation)
  1. MUSIC

In the section below, the author examines the early works of Beethoven from the slightly unusual point of view of the themes of his scherzos, with thought-provoking conclusions.

G. Becking: Studien zu Beethovens Personalstil: das Scherzothema (Leipzig, 1921), S. 77-8

As was shown in the brief overview of the first chapter, the year 1800 marks a decisive point in the story of Beethoven’s scherzos. At a stroke, their most immediate competitor, the quick minuet, disappears from his sonatas. If Lenz believed that the first period ended around this time, we have every reason to agree with his division, without wishing to make any statement about the validity of his reasoning.

On the whole, Beethoven’s output in his first period makes a much more colourful impression than in later ones. Although it is easier to determine the technical improvements of the young composer than the revisions of the mature and “late” Beethoven, one cannot in the first period find evidence of continuous development in the same sense as later on. Examining the scherzo themes confirms this impression. While the movements that appear after 1800 form a clearly observable sequence, the themes of the first period follow each other in a motley array, each bears little relation to its predecessor and, instead of consistently developing the demands of the scherzo, seeks to satisfy them in a different way. Certain individual characteristics at this time point towards later periods and are handled successfully only then. Many things yield no lasting benefit and are allowed to drop.

As has often been stated, especially by H. Riemann, Beethoven arrived on the spot in Vienna with his Op.1 as a finished master. Most of the pieces that followed, in spite of the composer’s progress in individual cases, did not reach the level of the Piano Trios. Some movements, such as the Finale of Op. 13, were never once surpassed during the whole of the first period. Analysis of the scherzi also endorses this view. Even here the Theme from Op.11 stands as an exemplar for the whole period all the way to the Menuett of the 1st Symphony; the terseness and simplicity of the scherzo elements are not achieved again. Thus it is impossible to speak of development towards a peak in the themes of the first period. The impression of a colourful succession is merely enhanced.

Cours de Composition – Vincent d’Indy

La Poème Symphonique Orchestral, pp.315-16

It is always interesting to read the opinions of one composer upon another, especially when the commentator is also a teacher. D’Indy was a pupil of César Franck who was also very self-assured, insisting, for example, on the wonders of cyclic form, just because Franck often (but not invariably) used it. In translating this very brief section from D’Indy’s composition course, I have attempted to trim some of the author’s wordiness, which reads rather as if someone had taken down an unscripted talk verbatim. I have also adapted the paragraphing.

Hector Berlioz, whatever anyone says, did not invent the symphonic poem; however, he is its uncontested reviver, the true initiator of a new orchestral form, in which formerly there were only the most rudimentary essays. Each work of this composer that is not a music drama in the full sense is in the form of a symphonic poem, that is to say, subject to an extra-musical idea. Of course, we will recognize here the natural inclination of his talent, his eminently “romantic” culture, his personal tastes; but one may wonder if this entirely sentimental explanation was not simply a pretext for another consideration: the simple fact of his ignorance of composition and form, and the belief, too common at that time and indeed since, that education in these matters was impossible and useless. 

His technical formation was, by his own admission (1)[1], very rudimentary. His biographers usually tell us that he could manage without it; it is not certain that this was his own opinion, especially as he grew older. On the contrary, we believe that he was cruelly aware of this gap in his early education, and that he was forced to let himself be guided by a “programme”, because he did not possess the slightest technique that would have permitted him to do otherwise. We have already seen Beethoven proceeding cautiously in his exact imitation of the symphonic form bequeathed by his predecessors, before continually demanding of himself some logical attempt to innovate based on experience. 

On the contrary, we see Berlioz accepting without control (or rather, for lack of control) suggestions that were often out of line with his inventive faculties; and his work was not always well served, indeed far from it, by this lack of discernment due above all to his ignorance. Also, while admiring the magnificent surges of energy that we find, we cannot consider them models for imitation, for there is always some presumption that one possesses sufficient qualities of talent to overcome deficiencies in knowledge. This illusion manifests itself, consciously or not, in most imitators of Berlioz.

In fact, Berlioz formed a “school,” and that is precisely why he had reason to wonder if this “rebirth of the symphonic poem,” which is in large part due to him, was an advantage for those destined towards music? Despite all contradictory opinions which have been formulated, one would do well to recognize today that the influence of Berlioz on symphonic music was far more rapid and profound than that of Wagner on music drama. One cannot help thinking that the law of “minimum effort” applied in the matter of composition, and perhaps despite himself, the composer of Symphonie Fantastique had been responsible for the reckless confidence shown by a whole generation of composers of symphonic poems.


[1] Adrien Barthe, who was professor of harmony at the Conservatoire t the timer of Amboise Thomas, told his students that, in his youth (c. 1850) he went regularly to Berlioz to “work” with him. The work consisted of listening to tunes which Berlioz sang or whistled and write them for him, and choose harmonies which sited them best, to then realize them correctly all things that the author of Damnation of Faust knew himself to be incapable of; it suited him also with the most touching simplicity. A.S. [Auguste Sérieyx, editor of the volume, 1901-1902.]

2. ART

Bernardo Bellotto, famous especially for his invaluable paintings of 18th century Dresden, was the nephew of Canaletto.

Les deux Canaletto

by Octave Uzanne

Published 1907 by H. Laurens in Paris . 
Written in  French / français

This was the period when in all senses Bellotto roamed Dresden of former times, largely disappeared today [1907], but seen again in the evocative pictures which so notably enrich galleries in Germany.

Whether rich neighbourhoods ornamented by palaces, or poor neighbourhoods overshadowed by their finely trimmed steeples, Bellotto painted them all with a facility that was a credit to his spirit as an artist; he was a master of technique and an apostle of his art.

Sometimes the memory of his Venetian birthplace haunted him. He took the opportunity to monetize the precision of his memory. He composed canvasses where, before his eyes in his voluntary exile, the beauty of his homeland lived again.

Maybe some preserved sketches helped him, or earlier etchings, or even etchings made after works by his uncle. The fact remains that, even though these were studio works, the canvasses that resulted from this Venetian nostalgia are worthy of high regard and render the truth of the layout and colouration with almost rigorous precision. From time to time, if only slightly, a façade may be wider in the picture than it is in reality, an island moved slightly to the left, an arm of the Canal broadened (1).[1] Bernardo Bellotto, a citizen of Dresden by choice, remained Venetian at heart.

Moreover, you only have to look at the skies of Germany to see again the undeniable reflection of great swathes of light which, on bright days, pour over the lagoon and its horizons. And it was not only the facades of those German palaces, where the cool tonalities of Venetian marble reappear, that opened his eyes to the splendour of art.


[1] La Piazzetta – Musée de Lille.

In this second extract on the subject, Jakob Burckhardt, one of the most important 19th-century authors on the history of art discusses Michelangelo’s Last Judgement. I wonder if anyone would dare to speak of the master’s “greatest error” today, and in the context, it seems jolly decent of Burckhardt to admit at the end that this work remains unique.

Jakob Burckhardt: DER CICERONE

Vol III: Malerei

Burckhardt, Jacob 
Der Cicerone: eine Anleitung zum Genuss der Kunstwerke Italiens (Band 3): Malerei (Nebst Register über alle drei Theile) — Basel, 1860, pp.876-77

https://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/burckhardt1860bd3/0166

Michelangelo’s greatest error came from deep within his being. Since he had long parted company with everything considered as ecclesiastical norms or as a religious appeal to the heart, and since he always and consistently represents human beings – whoever they may be – with exalted physical power, in which nakedness was an integral part of his statement, there is absolutely no recognisable difference between saints, the blessed, and the damned. The portrayals of the higher groups are made no more ideal, their movements no nobler than those of the lower. One seeks in vain for that restful glory of angels, apostles and holy ones, which in other pictures of this subject simply through their clear symmetry exalt the main figure, greatly raising the Judge, fully so by Orcagna and Fiesole who, with their wonderful expression of spirit, create a spiritual cloud around him. Naked figures, as Michelangelo wished them, can in no way serve to express such an atmosphere; they require gestures, movement and a quite different gradation of motives. The master had indeed foreseen this last point. Indeed there are in his works many and very great poetic thoughts; of the two upper groups of angels, the one on the left with the instruments of martyrdom is splendid in its onrush; Life wrestles itself wonderfully from Death with the rising souls that have been saved. The wavering damned are represented in two groups, of which one is powerfully pushed back by combative angels and torn back by devils, forming a quite extraordinary demonic scene; the other, however, presents that figure of deepest shame, which is dragged down as if by a heavy weight by two angry spirits clinging together. The lower scene to the right, where a demon with a raised oar chases the unhappy souls out of the boat, and as they are taken into captivity by the servants of hell, is carried over with grandiose audacity from an indefinite into a definitely sensory scene, etc. As significant as this poetic substance emerges on closer inspection, yet the determining element was the scenic conception as a whole. Michelangelo revels in the Promethian bliss of being able to summon into reality every possibility of movement, position, foreshortening and grouping of the outright human figure. The Last Judgement was the only scene which, by virtue of the figures floating freely, allowed absolute liberty in this. From a scenic point of view, it is indeed a work certain of eternal admiration. It would be pointless to try and enumerate each motive individually; no part of the whole great composition is neglected in this regard; one can question the why and how of position and movement and will receive answers.

Even if the group around the Judge with their display of the instruments of martyrdom may awaken distaste with their brutal call for retribution, even if the Judge of the World is just a figure like any other and indeed one of the most bashful, the complete ensemble remains unique in the world.

3. ARCHITECTURE

The following is taken from August Schmarsow: Barock und Rokoko, pp.132-33. Here he discusses the second phase of the Roman Baroque, describing Vignola’s work on the Gesù, which began in 1568. Schmarsow was writing in 1897, and there is a certain lovely Gemüth to the style, which I have broken up into paragraphs.  

The church of the Florentine community in Rome probably formed the basis of the chancel, which here likewise is enclosed in a semicircle, with a square crossing before it but with short arms either side; the aisles, however, such as they are, are subordinated to the unity of the nave. Thus the nave is closer to its other precursor, the hall church Santa Maria degli Angeli, whose walls Michelangelo too had penetrated with chapels. These combine in strict subservience to the wider nave; as with the short transepts together with the crossing, there is a darker area, then here a brighter area, and the entire plan forms a closed rectangle up to the apse. 

Nevertheless in the interior, the crossing with the cupola suspended above it is set apart from the nave with its three bays tangibly enough as a central plan. The latter certainly appears, when you follow the structure from the entrance, only as a preparation for the former, but reaches through to the chancel tribune, and the structure itself remains recognisable with exemplary clarity, as awareness of the strict architecture demands. The Late Renaissance master did not discredit himself. Coupled pilasters with low plinths and composite capitals accompany the chapel openings, whose arches do not reach the architrave, but permit strong horizontal emphasis in further gallery-like mountings above them in a single section of wall, which thus functions together with the entablature. This is therefore low, but above it emerges a raised attic with mighty sculpture up to the cornice of the massive barrel vault which spans the entire space in front of the crossing. 

The barrel vault, which was conceived by Vignola as uniformly continuous, is the most important factor both for the cohesion of the broad nave which is like an ancient hall, and that of the domed structure at the end.

A visit to Meissen is not just a demonstration of how to decorate porcelain. It was once a very important city, and Dresden was its subsidiary, not the other way around. Here, one of the most important writers on architecture of the early 20th century describes the work of Arnold von Westfalen, who built the castle between 1471 and 1500:

Cornelius Gurlitt: Meißen (Burgberg) Dresden, 1920

Meißen, Albrechtsburg (p.408)

b) Central building (fig. 494 to 497)

On the ground floor the new sally port forms a division. A once narrow door, but widened during rebuilding, leads directly from the court to a downward stairway, which, however, was later moved further out. It descends 23 steps from ground floor level of the court to the Upper Cellar, in order to reach the sally door via a downward slope. The open staircase leading down to the slope, which is now in front of the latter, is of recent origin. The door itself, however, like the vaulting over the entrance, belongs to the time of Master Arnold. The hexagonal form would have been an unlikely choice without a good reason, unless either an old tower was used or the structure of the chapel had been planned earlier. Beneath the room in front of the door is a yet smaller Lower Cellar, which has embrasures and probably served as defence of the ascent to the sally port. One has to assume that this was via a ladder.

The Great Hall (fig. 506 and 507) makes up the first floor with the two spiral staircases leading up to it and the Chapel. The Hall is 28 m long and at 12.2 m wide takes up the entire breadth of the building. Two pillars, each with four attached columns, bear wide transverse arches with the walls of the second floor resting on them, and at the same time with a third central pillar, with six attached columns (fig 508) and the rich rib vault and the richly ornamented cell vaulting. Most of the ribs have been renewed. On the walls, corresponding pillars bear the ribs. To the west are three windows with deep alcoves, and to the east two windows. The western window tracery (fig. 510) is a new addition modelled on the old east windows. Stone masons’ marks can be found on

some of the building materials. (Fig. 511). From the southern part of the Hall, doors lead westwards to the Great Spiral Staircase and along the passage to the Cathedral, eastwards to the anteroom to the chamber in front of the Hall. A thin ogee arch crowns the first door; the second door reveals the mason’s marks shown in Fig. 511. The aisle door has distorted side-walls. On it is the mason’s mark shown here:  

From the northern section a door leads to the Small Spiral Staircase to the west (Fig. 507) and a wide opening to the Chapel at the east. Two entrances break into the north wall to the Large Hofstube, whose walls were completed during restoration. They show a reasonable likeness of Arnold with a round bar (Fig. 509), while the openings to the adjoining room hold to characteristic forms.

Above this aisle is the Trumpeter’s Seat, where the balustrade is decorated with tracery on the side facing the Great Hall, while on the side of the Great Hofstube, window-like openings are inserted. It is accessible from the Small Spiral Staircase.

Fig. 506. Albrechtsburg. Section through southern [deleted in pencil: central] building, according to photo of 1839
Fig. 507. Albrechtsburg. Great Church Hall prior to painting.

Key: Window, door and pillar are shown rotated to a parallel plane

Fig. 511: Albrechtsgurg, Great Hall, east pillar with door to the adjoining room to the east wing. Next to it, the stone masons’ marks found there.

Fig. 512: Central pillar on the south wall, with plan next to it, Fig. 516.

Fig. 513. Profile of ribs. Fig. 514. Arch of northern window alcove, profile. Fig. 515. Profile of the semi-circular arches G.

Fig. 511 to 516. Albrechtsburg. Church Hall, details.

4. TRAVEL

IMPRESSIONS DE VOYAGE – MIDI DE LA FRANCE

Alexandre Dumas

The journey started in Paris on 15 October 1834, on a visit that was to include the south of France, Corsica, Italy, Calabria and Sicily. As Dumas says in his opening chapter, this was to be an artistic pilgrimage with no definite itinerary. 

LE PONT DU GARD.

It is impossible to get any idea of the effect produced by this chain of granite which joins two mountains, this stone rainbow which fills the entire skyline, these three storeys of arcades which have turned a magnificent gold colour through eighteen centuries of sun. I have seen a few of the wonders of this world: Westminster, so proud of its royal tombs; Reims Cathedral, with stones made transparent like lace; that city of palaces called Genoa; Pisa and its leaning tower; Venice and St. Mark’s Square; Rome and the Coliseum; the port of Naples; Catania and its volcano; I have been down the Rhine, carried away like an arrow, and I passed by Strasbourg and its wonderful tower which looked to have been built by spirits. I have seen the sun rise on the Righi hills and set behind Mont Blanc. And yet, I have seen nothing (though I except the Temple of Segesta, also lost in a desert) which appeared so beautiful, so great, so Virgilian, as this magnificent granite epic which we call the Pont du Gard.

It was just then I remembered the Pont de Remoulins, which was built to save the traveller the trouble of going via the Pont du Gard. In fact, thanks to this industrious combination, where it was formerly 500 leagues to get to Camposanto[1], Trajan’s Column and Pompeii, it is now two leagues less, and unknowingly passes close to a marvel that cannot be found anywhere else.

For the rest, these two bridges are each a fine emblem of the two societies which gave them birth, and they offer the perfect contrast between ancient and modern engineering. One, full of belief in itself, resting on a colossal base, believing in the future, built for eternity; the other sceptical, fickle, frivolous, an everyday achievement, built as a provisional monument for a passing generation; one is the Agrippa Bridge; the other the Seguin

In fact, it is said to have been the son-in-law of Augustus, the curator perpetuus aquarum, who came among the Gauls to renew some of the hydraulic constructions which the Romans had built. Nîmes, Arles’ rival, lacked water, but there was water at Uzès, seven leagues away, with an abundant fountain, sound and flowing. Agrippa gave his soldiers the order to guide this source to whatever point he wished, and the aqueduct arose under the hands of an army, flattening hills, breaking rocks, following the lines of hills, uniting mountains, crossing ponds, passing beneath villages, and finally leading to Nîmes, where it brought this laborious water which had by turn passed through the clouds and beneath the earth. Certainly, modern civilization has made magnificent discoveries in industry and commerce, but if Agrippa had known about artesian wells, we would probably never have had the Pont du Gard.


[1] Dumas probably means Camposanto in Modena, but may be referring to the Campo Santo, or, Camposanto Monumentale (cemetery) in Pisa.

5. COOKERY

Die süddeutsche Küche für Anfängerinnen und praktische Köchinnen

By Katharina Prato Edle von Scheiger, 1902

Gugelhupf. Beaten*. (pp.508-9)

Sprinkle 2 dl (200 g) yeast with milk, a little flour and 2 teaspoons of sugar to make a thin fermentation test**, and leave to rise. Then sieve 7 dl (700 g) warm flour in a bowl, add a little salt and a little vanilla (or lemon peel, crushed anise, or even mace), 2 or 3 egg yolks, which have been whisked together with 1 dl (100 ml) milk, 7 dl (700 g) lukewarm butter or lard and add the yeast mixture and mix everything together. If the dough is not soft enough, add a little more milk. Beat the dough thoroughly straightaway, then mix in three handfuls of raisins. Now butter or lard the Gugelhupf tin thoroughly, scatter with flaked almonds, and fill the tin half full with the dough and leave to rise until it is full. Bake the Gugelhupf for up to one hour and coat it once with butter during baking. When it comes away from the sides of the tin, it is fully cooked and can be turned out immediately, coated with plenty of butter and covered with a serviette. Do not put it in a cool place straightaway.

You can similarly prepare Gugelhupf from a chilled yeast dough (p.81)

Beaten Gugelhupf is even finer when you use 7 dl (700 g) flour, 4 or 5 egg yolks, 10 dl (1 kg) butter, and cream instead of milk, 7 dl (700 g) sugar, a little vanilla (or lemon or bitter orange peel), add 14 dl (1.4 kg) raisins and a handful of pine nuts or flaked almonds to the dough and coat the baked Gugelhupf with vanilla sugar after removing it from the tin.

Marbled Guglhupf
Bund tins

Strudel Pastry. (p.70)

No.1. Take 3 ½ dl (350 g) fine flour on the pastry board, sprinkle an egg or just an egg white with a little salt and lukewarm but not boiling water and knead it with the flour until you have a soft dough, which at first will stick both to your hands and the board. When it begins to come away, lay it on a floured part of the board, wash your hands and work the dough until it starts to blister, at which point flour your hands more frequently. Then coat it with lukewarm water, cover with a cold dish if it is soft, or a warm dish if it is hard, and leave it to rest for half an hour. 

Now spread a cloth over a table and sprinkle it with flour. Place the slightly stretched dough on the cloth and pull it out all round with both hands until it is quite transparent. If there is only one person to pull it out, you will have to use a rolling pin so that it holds. If two people can work on it, both can use floured hands beneath a little stretched dough and pull it with the backs of their hands until it is thin enough in the centre, after which it is left on the cloth and drawn outwards thinly all the way round with the fingers. Cut away the remaining thick edges. 

Spread the dough with the filling and slowly lift up the cloth on one side slowly with both hands so that it rolls up. 

Apple Strudel

If the strudel is going to be baked, turn it into a crescent shape and place in a buttered casserole. To steam it, shape it the same way and place on a flat tin.

If you are going to simmer it, cut it into three or four finger-length slices prior to cooking; however, before cooking, use the handle of a floured wooden spoon to press down the edges where you have cut it, so the filling does not come out. You can also shape it to a crescent and place it in a casserole and steam it whole and cut it afterwards. 

Notes: Measurements: I have converted the original decilitres to grams and millilitres for ease of modern cooks. 

I have retained Katharina Prato’s spelling, Gugelhupf, which may also be spelled Guglhupf. This classic Viennese sponge is sometimes rendered in English as Bundt Cake after the type of tin used, a charlotte bund (the spelling again may vary!)

*Beaten, as opposed to the other type of yeast dough, which is stirred.

**Fermentation test: The author has used an Austrian expression, Dampfl, which is a means of testing whether or not the yeast is active.

Other cookbooks consulted: 

Lotte Scheibenpflug: Das Beste aus Österreichs Küche, Pinguin-Verlag, Innsbruck, 1970

Gretel Beer: Austrian Cooking, André Deutsch, 1954, 1979

Elisabeth Mayer-Browne: Best of Austrian Cuisine, Hippocrene, New York, 1997/2001

A. Cutler & C.Wagner (English translation: Mý Hué McGowran): The New Sacher Cookbook, Pichler, 2005

Susan Spaull and Fiona Burrell: Leiths Baking Bible (Bloomsbury, 2006)


This is a recipe by the same author for the famous Linzertorte. This tart (more than a gateau) comes in a number of forms, and this recipe is for “Linzertorte braun” (brown Linzertorte), so-called because it uses unblanched almonds.

Die süddeutsche Küche für Anfängerinnen und praktische Köchinnen

By Katharina Prato Edle von Scheiger, 1902

Linzer Torte and tartlets

Linzer dough: Crumble 1.4 kg butter with 1.4 kg flour; with a knife mix in 3 hard-boiled, mashed egg yolks, 1.4 kg sugar, 1.4 kg unskinned finely split almonds, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, juice and zest of half a lemon and a raw egg yolk. Knead the dough just for a short time with your hands, roll out to a thin finger thickness, cut out a round leaf the size of the tart tin, lay the leaf on the metal, coat around the edge with egg and within this coat with raspberry or red currant or apricot jam; cover with a lattice formed from the remaining slices of dough formed with your hands. Lay a stick of dough in the middle over the circle of dough, and another to make a slightly oblique cross, then two more over this one in the same direction as the first, but a finger width away from the first; then two in the same direction as the second stick, so that you already have to lift the first one a little bit at the ends in order to lay it down. Continue to lay and plait in the same way until the lattice is complete. The spaces in between should take the form of finger-breadth, offset rectangles. Cut round the edge of the lattice evenly, twist a roll of dough, then coat the dough and the lattice with beaten egg and place the circle of a springform tin around the cake, or encircle it twice with a sheet of strong paper and stick the ends firmly with flour paste. Bake the cake, and once it has been taken out of the oven, sprinkle with sugar and add more fresh liquid from the coating mixture.

The next sample concerns Burgundy wines, and comes from a report on the Universal Exposition of 1900.

EXPOSITIONS UNIVERSELLE INTERNATIONALE DE 1900.

BOURGOGNE – BURGUNDY

As for red wines, apart from the ordinary ones that are light, fresh and fruity, the Yonne region produces great table wines, full-bodied wines that are sinewy with a solid constitution as are most of those of Coulange-la-Vineuse and Iraney, and the great wines which have created this region’s reputation. They can be found at Avallon, Joigny, and above all at Auxerre, Tonnerre and Épineul. These are generous wines, with a strength sometimes of more than 12%, with unusual finesse and a very spicy bouquet.

Nevertheless, Yonne triumphs above all in its white wines. These ordinary whites, with their straightforward taste are spicy, dry and never leave the impression on the palate of non-inverted sugar, and are sought above all others on the Parisian market.

But all this fades before the universal reputation of Chablis, which sums up the great white wines of Yonne.

It is typical of great white dry wines; in this class, it comes second in the world after the inimitable Meursaults and Montrachets. “Spirited without the spirit realizing it,” said J. Guyot. It has body, finesse and a charming scent; its paleness and smoothness are remarkable. Above all, it stands out in its health and digestive qualities, its energisation is lively, benign and full of the lucidity it gives to the intelligence.” If it is pleasant on the nose, its length retained as it goes over the palate, its range of its overtones is equally varied. It is surprisingly robust, it can go all around the world, park itself in icy harbours, or put in at a scorching hot port with no damage to its marvellous stability.

Posh scrambled eggs follow now, together with a rather unexpected recipe for Hollandaise, and one for Gâteau Pithiviers that makes you thankful for modern cooking methods. They are taken from a cookery book from Provence, dating from 1900:

La Cuisinière Provençale, par J.-B. Reboul, Chef de Cuisine (Marseille, 1900)

Œufs brouillés aux truffes

Scrambled eggs with truffles

Place a knob of butter the size of an egg in a large flat pan and let it melt; add 3 or 4 fine shaved or sliced truffles; allow them to heat without, however, allowing the butter to brown. When the truffles begin to release their aroma, break in 5 or 6 eggs, season with salt and pepper, and stir over a low heat with a wooden spoon. When you decide they are cooked, that is, they are a suitable texture, add two soup spoons of double cream and serve with butter fried croutons.

Using the same method, you can prepare the eggs with asparagus tips, mushrooms, ham, etc. The filling should be cooked beforehand.

Sauce Robert

Sauce Robert

Finely slice an onion and put it in lard [melted in a pan]. When it is well coloured, add a tablespoon of flour; do not let it brown, and moisten it with a few tablespoons of stock. Season and allow to boil for a few minutes. Add the juice of one lemon and a tablespoon of mustard at the point of serving.

Sauce Hollandaise

Hollandaise

Place a knob of butter the size of a nut in a pan, add a tablespoon of flour, moisten with a glass of boiling water, mix this sauce well until there are no lumps. Do not let it boil, though it must be very thick. Add two egg yolks, mix well gradually adding 50 g fresh butter; season and add lemon juice.

Gâteau Pithiviers ou Tourte aux amandes

Gateau Pithiviers (Twelfth Night Cake) or Almond Cake

In a mortar, place 250 g blanched and dried almonds, including a few bitter almonds with 250 g sugar cubes.

Begin to pound all the almonds together with a quarter of the indicated quantity of sugar; pass through a sieve; replace any that did not go through the sieve in the mortar with another quarter of the sugar, and continue likewise until everything has passed through.

Replace all the almonds and sugar in the mortar in order to add six whole eggs, followed by 150 g creamed butter and flavour with a soup spoon of orange blossom water.

From puff pastry made beforehand, make two crusts the desired size of the cake. Place one on a pie dish, and in the middle place the prepared almond cream extending it with a knife to 3 cm away from the edge; moisten the pastry border; place the second crust of pastry on top and apply weight to the edges to clamp them together; glaze with egg and bake in a hot oven.

Our interpreting and translating is very precise.

You are always very helpful and precise. (Caterina Fedrigucci, EuroTrad)

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