Wednesday, 16 September 2015


[trigger warning: this post is made up of 100% boasting]

Parasol mushrooms, Macrolepiota procera, Stolt fjällskivling - the mushroom picker's wet dream. We have them on our doorstep! Aren't we lucky?

In fact, in a sudden outburst of smugness, I had to measure exactly how close to our doorstep these guys grow, and I am pleased to tell you that the nearest specimen grew exactly 9.8 meters from the corner of the house, which makes it about 18 meters from the kitchen where it was to be turned into lunch. Parasols are huge size mushrooms and like all fungi they grow incredibly quickly. These two showed up the day before yesterday, and back then they were barely visible!

Parasol mushrooms, when fried, end up tasting a bit like steak but almost better. Like the idealized steak, I would suggest; juicy, savory, meaty... Mmmm!! Mine were sliced and served with pasta today.

Over and out.

Oh... did I mention that I have spotted six more on the go in the immediate vicinity?

Sunday, 6 September 2015


As I write this, I am on my way to hear the final concert of the inaugural Stockholm Piano Festival in the Stockholm Concert Hall. Thanks to the great initiative and hard work by my colleagues Ivetta Irkha, Roland Pöntinen and Love Derwinger we have had a monumental celebration of all things piano for the last few days, involving some 40 pianists from the age of 6 to 77. Last night I had the pleasure of taking part in the Marathon Concert - 19 pianists playing 20 minute recitals back to back - in the gorgeous Grünewald Recital Hall in the Stockholm Concert Hall to an audience of more than 1300 people during the course of 10 hours. The picture below shows my colleague Henrik Måwe on stage, to give you an idea of the wonderful atmosphere in the hall.

I find It is always astonishing in these situations, almost unbelievable even, how the same piano can sound so dramatically different in the hands of different pianists, one after another! And this certainly was the case last night; an almost endless variety of sounds and resonances were drawn from the Steinway which had been beautifully prepared by resident piano technician Tore Persson. Altogether an extraordinary celebration of our wonderful instrument and repertoire!

I had the great honour of giving the world première performance of the Anders Nilsson Chaconne, that I have been writing about in a previous post. A great addition to the treasure that is the piano repertoire, which was very warmly received by the audience last night, including many of my colleagues who were there. After me came one of my old teachers from my student days, legendary Swedish pianist Staffan Scheja, seen playing Brahms' op.10 ballades here through the stage door.

Remains to keep fingers crossed the Stockholm Piano Festival becomes a regular occurrence. And tonight we have a party to look forward to...!