REVIEW POTPOURRI – Pianist: Paul Baumgartner; TV Series: Cold Justice

Peter Catesby Peter Cates

Paul Baumgartner

Piano Recital
recorded February 17, 1964; Ermitage-ERM 200-2 ADD, CD.

Paul Baumgartner

Swiss-born Paul Baumgartner (1903-1976) was most definitely below-the-radar, when compared to Rubinstein, Brendel, Ashkenazy or Horowitz, but he was highly revered by connoisseurs of really fine piano recordings. This CD preserves a live concert of the following works – Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata and An­dante Favori, the Brahms Opus 117 3 Intermezzi, Debussy’s 1st Images and Masques, Schubert’s 6th Moment Musical and Chopin’s 4th Ballade and 3rd Waltz of Op. 70.

Baumgartner’s artistry was splendid but of the quieter mode, rather than of cheap, virtuosic self-indulgence. Instead he used virtuosity, of which he possessed infinite amounts, scholarship, exquisitely honed dynamics, passion and soul-filled intelligence to convey the particular beauty of each selection in the program, whether it be the muscularity of Beethoven, the nobility and reserved sentiment of Brahms, the dew drops of Debussy, the lyricism of Schubert or the captivating, grace of Chopin. My favorite performance, by a tiny margin over the others, is of the lesser known but very engaging Beethoven Andante Favori in which Baumgartner pours out his soul in each note, one of the most moving performances I have heard in a long time!

Most, if not all, of this recital is accessible via individual yts !

Cold Justice

featuring Kelly Siegler and Yolanda McClary; produced by Dick Wolf; premiered 2013, each episode one hour, accessible via Netflix

Kelly Siegler

For the last two or three weeks, I have been viewing one or two episodes of this investigative program most evenings and am on the second season. It follows former Hous­ton prosecutor Kelly Siegler and her colleague, retired Las Vegas homicide investigator Yolanda McClary, as they travel around the country investigating cold cases of murder that are languishing in local police department files. According to the pronouncements at the beginning of each episode, a murder is committed in the US about every 36 minutes and there are over 200,000 unsolved homicides since 1980.

Yolanda McClary

What I find most engaging and endearing about the show is the absence of melodramatics, especially eerie music and the use of actors in staged re-enactments. Also, the 2 women’s warm personalities; their very caring interactions with families of the victims; their very personable working relationships with colleagues; and finally their comprehensive knowledge of investigative science contribute immeasurably to the well paced unfolding of each story.

Not to mention the remarkable advances in DNA processing just in the last ten years. These innovations alone led to the apprehension of a rapist/murderer of a young 25 year old Pocatello, Idaho, woman; ten years earlier, his hand print had been found on the outside of the victim’s back door. But, his priors were a few burglaries, he had no known connection to the victim and he left no other implicating marks, while the police had two other major suspects and scratched him off their list! With new techniques, the investigators were able to find new, more incriminating DNA within the existing DNA and to figure out the hand print came from within the house rather than outside!


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