The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams (Eleanor Roosevelt)

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams (Eleanor Roosevelt)


norman lebrecht

April 13, 2018

Anthea Kreston’s diary:

Since last writing, we have played Kalamazoo, Ann Arbor, Carnegie and Cincinnati. It is exhausting but exhilarating – this tour is very social for me – between family, old friends, and this new, energized Slipped Disc family, which shows up at every concert. Last night, people had driven five hours to come hear the Quartet and talk about Slipped Disc. And, more and more readers are writing in, wanting to start physical book clubs in a variety of locations. Please write if you want to participate in or organize your own club!

What an exciting thing to feel the passion of the readers, to be able to speak to you all – you are engaged, thoughtful, filled with interesting observations. One couple who drove from Chicago mentioned that now they look at Quartets differently – and then proceeded to give me a detailed run-down of all the Quartets they had recently seen, contrasting democratic or more old-school approach, differences in set-ups, reports on new members and their adjustments. They said going to Quartet concerts now is much more engaging, that they think of all the different personal and organizational aspects. What fun.

I am also so happy to be back in my mother tongue. Naturally, when speaking English in Germany, I have been simplifying my language, keeping to basic grammar and vocabulary, or hacking mercilessly at my terrible German. As I sidled up to the check-in yesterday, saying “howdy-there”, and “okey-dokey” and even, “yes, I am one-nighting-it”, chatting with the drivers, waitresses, shoe-polisher, I feel a freedom of mind and expression, not having to measure my words.

Today, as we were driven to the airport by a blazer-wearing older gentleman, we got into the inevitable American conversation. The story of our family histories, the emigrations, the settling and eventual spreading out as the next generations grow. Our driver has a Portuguese mother, and Croatian and German grandparents. He spoke about them settling from Croatia to a teeny town in Northern Wisconsin, where his family ran a rooming house (just a large room above their kitchen and living space that they lined with hand-made bunk beds) for lumberjacks. Our driver was in charge of the chickens and ducks as a child, siblings tended the root-vegetable garden, and grandma fed everyone – the top of a large barrel of pickled cabbage was held down by stones in the basement, and he demonstrated, with arms flying above his head, her method of de-feathering a chicken.

I love the easy laughs, the willingness to dive into any topic, the optimism and eagerness of America. And yet, this trip, I am increasingly thankful for all of the things that our adopted country of Germany has afforded us, from the education of our children to incredible social services and a never-ending wealth of beauty and history. Next stop Texas – bring it on!



  • Peter Anderson says:

    The future belongs to those who are in a privileged enough situation to be able to pursue their dreams. I you are living in a war torn or extremely poor country, or come from a background where there is no support things look different.

    This typical US style calendar philosophy is not providing any insight whatsoever.

    • Bruce says:

      Depends on the dream, and on the circumstances of the dreamer. Pursuing dreams doesn’t require privilege as a starting point.

      The future belonged to the not-privileged emigrants from Europe in the 19th/20th centuries who came to the US from “shithole countries” with nothing but the dream of a better life for their children. It might even belong now to the desperate refugees coming to Europe from the Middle East and Northern Africa dreaming of a better life for their children.

      Just a thought.

      • Been Here Before says:

        Bruce, what you say is right, but I would just like to add that in all previous waves of immigration to the U.S., those who managed to succeed and achieve their dreams were able and willing to adopt the language, values and mores of their new country. Would you agree with me on this?

        • Sue says:

          It’s axiomatic. Some immigrants had another ‘dream’ however. Ever heard of the Mafia?

          And Eleanor Roosevelt’s comments are typical of the bogus refulgences one continually hears from hippies. They are still around, strangely enough. It’s interesting to note they must have started with this woman!!!

          But I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Andrea’s wonderful experiences which, no doubt, mean very hard work and discipline for her. Nothing to do with privilege and all to do with talent, commitment and darn hard work. Well done, Andrea.

        • Bruce says:


    • John Borstlap says:

      Alas, it’s true. Also the hype on ‘you can do everything if you really want it!’ etc. creates a lot of frustration because any failure to achieve a goal will be seen as exclusively reflecting one’s own inadequacies. Hence the enormous amount of anger and frustration in the US when the American Dream appears to be out of reach for so many people.

      On the other hand, blaming circumstances for failures turns people into passive pessimists.

      Both ways, an army of Trumpists is the result.

      • Michael Endres says:

        Shouldn’t we admire people who have deservedly achieved their dreams instead of grumbling ? They can be a truly inspirational role model for everybody.

        • John Borstlap says:

          Very funny.

        • Sue says:

          I’ll bet he’s laughing all the way to the bank and thanking the ‘progressive’ (?) Left for creating the Frankenstein monster which is his father!! Now, THAT’S funny!! And deliciously ironic.

          • Michael Endres says:

            The progressives have indeed to answer for the fact that this Oligarch is now president: by vilifying anybody who disagreed with their views and their mind- boggling inability to choose and agree on one credible candidate.
            Another sad aspect is the astonishing degeneration of the GOP:
            a spineless bunch, no longer following even their own principles ( national debt ), instead just clinging on to power, trailing their glorious leader.

          • Bruce says:

            ^ “…no longer following even their own principles, instead just clinging on to power…”

            Whaddaya mean? That is their “principles.” Or at least, it is now. Everything else they say is just details.

    • Anthea kreston says:

      Hi Peter –
      Yes it is always a fine line to walk. That was kindof why I included the Croatian grandparent story. Some day maybe I will talk about my Czech grandfather who was put on a boat alone at age 9 from Bohemia with not a word of English and ended up in a work orphanage in Chicago or my other grandfather, a farmer from Appalachia. Good, strong dreamers who fought their way through life tooth to nail. Have a great week!

  • CYM says:

    a « Slipped Disc-ussion » ??

  • J Savage says:

    If I may intrude, I was able to attend your performance last week in DC. It was quite marvelous, especially the Shostakovich. What was the piece you played for encore? I thought J.S. Bach possibly?

  • Anthea kreston says:

    Hello J –
    Thanks for coming! What an amazing hall. Yes – a Bach Choral – we just read it straight from the score…so simple and beautiful. I love ending that way.
    Have a great week!

  • Marg says:

    Sorry for the late response Anthea …. traveling and also SDisc has stopped arriving in my mail box as it does every so often for a while. Your language musings and the way you used simplified English reminded me of my 2 decades living in the US south where every single day at least one person asked me to repeat something I said because they couldn’t understand the accent! I had some very funny experiences at times but it was always such a relief to come back to Oz for a holiday and everyone understood my words! As for Aussie slang that we use all the time, no-one had a clue what I was on about! Now I’m living back here I’d forgotten about that daily frustration until I read your blog.