It’s always a pleasure to drop in on our good friend Erwin Schröttner once in a while. In a new segment from his series Erwin Cooks, he heads to the lovely Finger Lakes in upstate New York to visit the Dr. Konstantin Frank winery, where he explores the history of these unique vineyards (planted in 1958, they’re among the oldest in the United States; a fourth generation of Franks now runs the place) in “Tenaciousness and Innovation: A Familiar Immigrant Story.”
Dr. Frank himself was a U.S. transplant from Ukraine, from which he emigrated at the age of 52, bringing with him the knowledge that made it possible to make such great Central European wines as riesling and grüner veltliner only a few hours north of New York City. And that sparkling riesling shown in the video already has me thirsty for more. Fortunately for me, Astor Wines & Spirits carries a few fine varieties.
A few years ago, Erwin Schrottner and his Erwin Cooks team travelled to Salzburg to film the below segment about Salzburg’s Mozart Kinderorchester — an ensemble of more than 60 performers aged between seven and twelve, run by the Stiftung Mozarteum Salzburg. Annually, they present two concerts during Mozart Week, featuring music from C.P.E Bach and Mozart to Elliott Carter and Arvo Pärt under the baton of conductor and leader Peter Manning.
Unlike many youth orchestras, in which musicians are usually in their teens, the Kinderorchester gets its players when they’re particularly young. “The Mozart Children’s Orchestra is intended as a motivation for young musicians,” the ensemble’s web page says:
We are convinced that Mozart’s music is particularly suitable as the prime aim of such a project, and we hope the orchestra will provide a strong incentive and an exemplary contribution to early musical training. Even very young musicians are capable of fulfilling the technical and musical demands of works by Mozart and other composers, and of conveying their enthusiasm to audiences.
Above all the experience of playing in an orchestra is crucial for the motivation for young children. In our region it is difficult to become part of an ensemble at an early age (usually not before a musician is 15 years old) and so the orchestra should also be an example for other children, motivating them perhaps to learn to play an instrument.
As the segment below will indicate, this ain’t no high school band; if there’s anything like it in the US, I’d like to know about it. This is ensemble playing of a high order; no wonder Austria’s always been a capital of classical music. More about the ensemble can be found here, but for now, relax and enjoy the show. (And to learn more about Erwin Cooks, try this.)
I often note here that I enjoy spending my Friday afternoons at Cafe Katja, the lovely Lower East Side Beisl owned and operated by my friends Andrew Chase and Erwin Schrottner. I haven’t seen much of Erwin lately, but he’s been busy with Erwin Cooks, his new show for PBS39 dedicated to Central European cuisine and culture.
And more recently he was apparently in Pennsylvania, picking up his Mid-Atlantic Emmy Award for “Lifestyle Program – Feature/Segment” for the Erwin Cooks episode on schnitzel and reisling (scroll down to #47 here). Not bad for a first-season show, and I must offer him congratulations and kind wishes on his well-deserved win. You’ll agree; the Emmy-winning episode is below. I’m hungry (and thirsty) already.
A rather slow week — I was away from a working computer for most of it, and I’m none the worse for it — but on Tuesday I posted this review of a recent book about Monty Python’s Life of Brian, a film I watched again a few days ago. I’m glad to report that it still holds up and I can recommend it highly.
I’m delighted to offer for your Friday enjoyment episode 1 of Erwin Cooks, a new series from my good friend Erwin Schröttner at Cafe Katja — so if you can’t join us in person, you can join us in spirit. In this episode, Chef Erwin deconstructs the iconic Wiener Schnitzel (with the secret to making it perfect every time), goes deep into the potato (cucumber/potato salad and parsley potatoes with a butter glaze), discusses Riesling with one of America’s top vintners, and travels to the Alps to cook another version of schnitzel. Erwin Cooks runs on PBS39 in Bethlehem, PA (and below, when I can find it). Prost!