Michael Krams Vignettes & Theorems

Michael Krams
Archive for February, 2007
Deep sea fishing

Your fishing rod is exquisitely strong, flexible. You have plenty of line, and with fighting fish it can withstand 100 kiloponds of pressure, but not more: jerks exerting that threshold will make the line break. So the way you set the action controlling your line is crucial to winning the fight: too loose, your adversary […]

The old priest

His biretta made him look ridiculous, like Don Camillo, when I first met him, at the age of 12: I was his new organist, a tiny boy at the time, not to be taken seriously. The old priest by contrast, dressed all in black, looked impressive and powerful, his age didn’t show, he commanded respect. […]

Lisbon – The Day After
Lisbon - The Day After

In 1997 I had to give a talk in Lisbon. I arrived in the twilight of sunset and was impressed – amongst other things – by the large number of statues and monuments all across town, many carved out of white stone. The fin de siecle architecture of the surrounding buildings was accentuated by cast […]

Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff

Mondnacht Es war, als hätt der Himmel Die Erde still geküßt, Daß sie im Blütenschimmer Von ihm nun träumen müßt. Die Luft ging durch die Felder, Die Ähren wogten sacht, Es rauschten leis die Wälder, So sternklar war die Nacht. Und meine Seele spannte Weit ihre Flügel aus, Flog durch die stillen Lande, Als flöge […]

Mis en bouteille au chateau

In the southwest of France, there is a haunted castle that is said to house in its cellar 391 bottles, mis en bouteille au chateau. The label on each is code for an idea, describing a desire dissolved in red wine, waiting to be reborn. Imagine you are the cellar master, tasked with exchanging the […]

Mozart himself

As a young boy I used to stand in front of my father’s loudspeakers and conduct the orchestra that was playing for me, just for me, through the broadcast of the local radio station. In my imagination the musicians were exquisitely reactive to any of my desires. On one of these occasions, however, it suddenly […]

The seventh bullet – or the legal framework of heavenly redemption

Incompetence stinks – but of what: Heaven or Hell? In romantic opera, incompetent marksmen forfeit their soul to the devil and then go off to cast magic bullets, to never miss their target again. In Der Freischütz (Carl Maria von Weber, premiered in Berlin 1821) Max gets seven shots. The price of firing the seventh […]