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CD & DVD REVIEWS 2011
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Traumhaus yet another not too well known band for me. I heard them before and found them to be a new Anyone's Daughter really. Lengthy songs dreamy Neo progressive. The Dreamy part was less dreamy in the live environment at Loreley at times I would even call it heavy. The luscious melodies from the albums came across very good and were performed with great joy and enthousiasm by the band.

Next we travel to Poland for a band that seemingly has started a new life. Collage , in my research the last Collage album I could find was released in so 18 years ago, I've known the music since, but have never ever seen them perfom live, so a first time Collage live for me. That Collage are a bunch of great musicians I knew, a new singer starting fresh or I must say their singer really tries to put on a show, the band wasn't pinned down either, besides great music in neo-prog style, we did get to see a show. Not all of Collage's material is in English some of their songs have been written in Polish, so again we heard another language.

Three times lucky I'd say, this is how international prog is. Meantime the temperature was way above 30 degrees the shady spot on the site taken, People thirsty and beer flowing like the water in the river below. What a beautiful festival weather. Wow three bands on, super weather, great atmosphere bringing us back home to the second German band Long Distance Calling.

Many people might say what is a Post-rock band doing at a Prog festival. Apart from being post-rock, Long Distance Calling play full instrumentals, That is another thing at festivals, Does the instrumental song add up and bring enough to entertain the audience.

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I belief so but then again I am a little biased here as a true fan of the music. I was there for really excited to see Long Distance calling in the line up. With all the Neoprog before the band brought the festival something different. Each year at least one band from a lesser known area of Rock should be at the NOTP, Long Distance Calling are a highly acclaimed band in their part of the genre, the show they did at NOTP surely lived up to their name and fame. Well done guys. A band that has had the priveledge of multiple performances at NOTP was up next IQ , with their new album just released an almost must for the Neo-prog masters from England.

As they had been at Loreley before one might expect that they new how to really entertain an audience at a venue like Loreley. They really really had a false start this time, You could see Peter Nichols singing but he could not be heard. A more terrible start could not have happened once the sound was there, it was obvious Nicholls voice did not sound very well. Usually an IQ show is full of bombastic elements not this time, It was more a show of we need to promote our album so here we are no enthusiasm nothing a bit of a tame show not IQ like.

Surely this could have been the weather, with temperatures of over 35 degrees All day, as expected the new album came by but also favourites of older albums Not a bad show all in all but I had surely expected a bit better from a band as popular in progland as IQ is. During the IQ show, may be even earlier, the crowd was getting bigger, no real surprise as the main course for this friday was Transatlantic. With a short delay, due to technical problems, the concert finally did start. That the problems still existed was clear but never mind that it was a good start and the audience realy wanted to hear something.

SMPT and L for the show did kick off with a long track, time enough to solve problems.


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That the guys have it still and know how to entertain is without doubt. The complete show was very tight and left little room for additional play. Musically things were okay and the band enjoyed playing at Loreley. A show with Transatlantic ussualy takes about three hours, that time was not available now so a lot of the songs were shortened or made into medleys a shame really but it also meant hearing and seeing a Transatlantic carreer event. And as usual with the main act they got to play an encores, at 5 to midnite the show ended.

Day 2 saw Synaesthesia kick off a young band from England, highly acclaimed for their musical talents. They have released their debut album in so expectations are high when you get to play at NOTP the same year. I can say they bring good music at times spun out a little too much, but as a whole they stand their ground. Mostly symphonic keyboard dominated, but with excellent guitar play too. That this band is young and need to learn a lot is normal. The temperature was already going past 30 degrees celcius again, meaning a second very hot day to go.

Next up another young band, from the Netherlands this time. For these boys more or less the same thing applies were it not that they brought their new album with them to NOTP and therefore had two albums. They are young and very different from Synaethesia, their music more eclectic.

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That the festival is visited by a lot of Dutch progfans is obvious, A liquid Landscape was loudly applauded to and cheered. The band was thrilled to play NOTP like all others before them and showed great musicianship as well. Showmanship will come later that is something they need more.

The audience was already fighting for the shade during the concert because temperature was rising again. Never minding this A liquid Landscape was a joy to see, and listen for your reporter anyway. Their second album has been released in the meantime, produced by Bruce Soord, like they told us. Coming from the other side of the Globe are the next band Dream the Electric Sheep. Dream the Electric Sheep bring a postrock sounding flavoured music with touches of Psychedelia which I think were not really suited for the attending audience today.

I blame this to the hour and the heat at the festival. That a great deal of the audience did not know them was noticeable by the responses. In a different setting DTES will most likely show what they are really capable of I will not hesitate to visit a concert to enjoy the music to the fullest. Going on with our European Journey we end up in Switzerland, with Clepsydra. Like Collage on friday a band busy with a comeback.

The last studio effort by Clepsydra dates back to shortly after the band was disbanded, not to appear again until next year, Clepsydra makes symphonic prog rock a la suisse. The music is highly keyboards dominated and suits well in a NEOprog environament. Not knowing too much of their music I was in for a surprise really. As we have seen bands from all around the globe some new some old. Great atmosphere like every year. The temperature could have been a little less for a better festival.

Clearly everyone was suffering from this scorching heat all day. Resulting in less attention to the gigs of lesser known bands, which is a shame. Clepsydra gave us a good performance certainly worth listening to their music. Now this was the surprise of the festival. Not because of who was playing no, the organizers had found Brian willing to step in at the last minute. Kohl also greatly increased federal spending on arts and culture. After his chancellorship, Kohl's reputation suffered domestically because of his role in the CDU donations scandal and he had to resign from his honorary chairmanship of the CDU after little more than a year in January , but he was partly rehabilitated in later years.

Kohl was described as "the greatest European leader of the second half of the 20th century" by U. Presidents George H. Bush [2] and Bill Clinton. Kohl's family was conservative and Roman Catholic, and remained loyal to the Catholic Centre Party before and after His elder brother died in World War II as a teenage soldier. At the age of ten, Kohl was obliged, like most children in Germany at the time, to join the Deutsches Jungvolk , a section of the Hitler Youth.

Aged 15, on 20 April , Kohl was sworn into the Hitler Youth by leader Artur Axmann at Berchtesgaden , just days before the end of the war, as membership was mandatory for all boys of his age. Kohl was the first in his family to attend university. In , Kohl joined the recently founded CDU , [17] becoming a full member once he turned 18 in In , Kohl became vice-chair of the Junge Union in Rhineland-Palatinate , [19] being a member of the board until In early , Kohl was elected chairman of the Ludwigshafen district branch of the CDU, as well as candidate for the upcoming state elections.

On 19 April , Kohl was elected as the youngest member of the state diet, the Landtag of Rhineland-Palatinate. Following the next state election in , he took over as chairman, a position he held until he became Minister-President in In March , Kohl was elected as chairman of the party in Rhineland-Palatinate, while Altmeier once again ran for minister-president in the state elections in , agreeing to hand the post over to Kohl after two years, halfway into the legislative period. As of , he is the youngest person ever to be elected as head of government in a German Bundesland.

His government abolished school corporal punishment and the parochial school , topics that had been controversial with the conservative wing of his party. Kohl moved up into the federal board Vorstand of the CDU in As a member of the board and the executive committee, Kohl pushed towards a party reform, supporting liberal stances in education and social policies, including employee participation. To make matters worse, in a mistake during the voting process, Kohl himself voted against the proposal, further angering his supporters, such as party treasurer Walther Leisler Kiep.

Nevertheless, when Kiesinger stepped down as party chairman in , Kohl was a candidate for his succession. He was unsuccessful, losing the vote to Barzel to The attempt failed, as two members of the opposition voted against Barzel. After Barzel announced on 10 May that he would not run for the post of party chairman again, Kohl succeeded him at a party convention in Bonn on 12 June , amassing of votes, with him as the only candidate. When chancellor Brandt stepped down in May following the unraveling of the Guillaume Affair , Kohl urged his party to restrain from Schadenfreude and not to use the position of their political opponent for "cheap polemics".

What placed Kohl, who intended to run for chancellor, under increased pressure was the fact that the sister parties of CDU and CSU were set to decide upon their leading candidate for the upcoming federal elections in mid On election day, the CDU achieved a result of On 12 May , the federal board of the CDU unanimously nominated Kohl as the candidate for the general elections, without consulting their Bavarian sister party beforehand.

These attempts led to discomfort within the membership base of the CDU and hampered both parties' chances in the upcoming elections. Kohl himself remained silent during these tensions, which some interpreted as a lack of leadership, while others such as future president Karl Carstens praised him for seeking a consensus at the centre of the party.

He was succeeded by Bernhard Vogel. Kohl remained as leader of the opposition, under the third Schmidt cabinet — The motion carried. Many of the important details of the new coalition had been hammered out on 20 September, though minor details were reportedly still being hammered out as the vote took place. Though Kohl's election was done according to the Basic Law , it came amid some controversy.

There were also doubts that the new government had the support of a majority of the people. In answer, the new government aimed at new elections at the earliest possible date. Polls suggested that a clear majority was indeed in reach. As the Basic Law only allows the dissolution of parliament after an unsuccessful confidence motion, Kohl had to take another controversial move: he called for a confidence vote only a month after being sworn in, which he intentionally lost because the members of his coalition abstained.

President Karl Carstens then dissolved the Bundestag at Kohl's request and called new elections. The move was controversial, as the coalition parties denied their votes to the same man they had elected Chancellor a month before and whom they wanted to re-elect after the parliamentary election. In the federal elections of March , Kohl won a resounding victory.

Some opposition members of the Bundestag asked the Federal Constitutional Court to declare the whole proceeding unconstitutional. It denied their claim, but did set restrictions on a similar move in the future. The second Kohl cabinet pushed through several controversial plans, including the stationing of NATO midrange missiles, against major opposition from the peace movement.

Together, they commemorated the deaths of both World Wars. The photograph, which depicted their minutes long handshake became an important symbol of French-German reconciliation. Kohl and Mitterrand developed a close political relationship, forming an important motor for European integration. This French-German cooperation also was vital for important European projects, like the Treaty of Maastricht and the Euro.

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In , Kohl and U. President Ronald Reagan , as part of a plan to observe the 40th anniversary of V-E Day , saw an opportunity to demonstrate the strength of the friendship that existed between Germany and its former foe. During a November visit to the White House, Kohl appealed to Reagan to join him in symbolizing the reconciliation of their two countries at a German military cemetery.

As Reagan visited Germany as part of the 11th G7 summit in Bonn, the pair visited Bergen-Belsen concentration camp on 5 May and, controversially, the German military cemetery at Bitburg. Kohl's chancellorship presided over a number of innovative policy measures. Extensions in unemployment benefit for older claimants were introduced, while the benefit for the young unemployed was extended to age In , a child-rearing allowance was introduced to benefit parents when at least one was employed.

Informal carers were offered an attendance allowance together with tax incentives, both of which were established with the tax reforms of , and were also guaranteed up to 25 hours a month of professional support, which was supplemented by four weeks of annual holiday relief. In , an early retirement scheme was introduced that offered incentives to employers to replace elderly workers with applicants off the unemployment register. In , special provisions were introduced for the older unemployed.

Kohl's time as Chancellor also saw some controversial decisions in the field of social policy. Student aid was made reimbursable to the state [56] while the Health Care Reform Act of introduced the concept by which patients pay up front and are reimbursed, while increasing patient co-payments for hospitalisation, spa visits, dental prostheses, and prescription drugs.

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After the federal elections Kohl won a slightly reduced majority and formed his third cabinet. Following the breach of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the East German Communist regime in , Kohl's handling of the East German issue would become the turning point of his chancellorship. Kohl, like most West Germans, was initially caught unawares when the Socialist Unity Party was toppled in late Well aware of his constitutional mandate to seek German unity, he immediately moved to make it a reality. Taking advantage of the historic political changes occurring in East Germany, Kohl presented a ten-point plan for "Overcoming of the division of Germany and Europe" without consulting his coalition partner, the FDP, or the Western Allies.

On 18 May , Kohl signed an economic and social union treaty with East Germany. This treaty stipulated that when reunification took place, it would be under the quicker provisions of Article 23 of the Basic Law. That article stated that any new states could adhere to the Basic Law by a simple majority vote. The alternative would have been the more protracted route of drafting a completely new constitution for the newly reunified country, as provided by Article of the Basic Law. An Article reunification would have opened up contentious issues in West Germany, and would have been impractical in any case since by then East Germany was in a state of utter collapse.

In contrast, an Article 23 reunification could be completed in as little as six months. In the end, this policy would seriously hurt companies in the new federal states. He received assurances from Gorbachev that a reunified Germany would be able to choose which international alliance it wanted to join, although Kohl made no secret that he wanted the reunified Germany to inherit West Germany's seats at NATO and the EC. A reunification treaty was signed on 31 August , and was overwhelmingly approved by both parliaments on 20 September These states had been the original five states of East Germany before being abolished in , and had been reconstituted in August.

East and West Berlin were reunited as the capital of the enlarged Federal Republic. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Kohl confirmed that historically German territories east of the Oder-Neisse line were definitively part of Poland, thereby relinquishing any claim Germany had to them. In , Kohl confirmed, via treaty with the Czech Republic, that Germany would no longer bring forward territorial claims as to the pre ethnic German Sudetenland. This treaty was a disappointment for the German Heimatvertriebene "displaced persons".

Reunification placed Kohl in a momentarily unassailable position. He then formed his fourth cabinet. After the federal elections of Kohl was reelected with a somewhat reduced majority, defeating Minister-President of Rhineland-Palatinate Rudolf Scharping. In foreign politics, Kohl was more successful, for instance getting Frankfurt am Main as the seat for the European Central Bank.

By the late s, Kohl's popularity had dropped amid rising unemployment. He immediately resigned as CDU leader and largely retired from politics. He remained a member of the Bundestag until he decided not to run for reelection in the election. Kohl's life after political office in the beginning was dominated by the CDU donations scandal. The party financing scandal became public in , when it was discovered that the CDU had received and kept illegal donations during Kohl's leadership. In , Kohl left the Bundestag and officially retired from politics.

Later, he was largely rehabilitated by his party.

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The second part, published on 3 November , included the first half of his chancellorship — On 28 December , he was air-lifted by the Sri Lankan Air Force, after having been stranded in a hotel by the Indian Ocean earthquake. In late February , Kohl suffered a stroke in combination with a fall which caused serious head injuries and required his hospitalization, after which he was reported as bound to a wheelchair due to partial paralysis and with difficulty speaking. In , he had a gall bladder operation in Heidelberg, [86] and heart surgery in In , Kohl, despite frail health, began giving a number of interviews and issued statements in which he sharply condemned his successor Angela Merkel, whom he had formerly mentored, on her policies in favor of strict austerity in the European debt crisis and later also towards Russia in the Ukrainian crisis , [89] which he saw as opposed to his politics of peaceful bi-lateral European integration during his time as chancellor.

The two had a one-hour conversation and released a joint press statement regarding the European migrant crisis , saying that both doubted that Europe was capable of continuing to absorb refugees indefinitely. The efforts of [Merkel] point in the same direction. In , Kohl sued Random House , his former ghost writer Heribert Schwan and co-author Tilman Jens for publishing without his consent comments allegedly made by Kohl during interviews in and and published in an unauthorised biography in called Legacy: The Kohl Protocols.

Parallel to this he was committed to German reunification. Although he continued the Ostpolitik of his social-democratic predecessors, Kohl supported Reagan's more aggressive policies in order to weaken the Soviet Union. Kohl faced stiff opposition from the West German political left and was mocked for his physical stature, alleged provinciality, simplistic language, and local dialect. Similar to historical French cartoons of Louis-Philippe of France , Hans Traxler depicted Kohl as a pear in the left-leaning satirical journal Titanic.

Comedians like Thomas Freitag and Stefan Wald imitated the chancellor, [] and books were sold with jokes rewritten with Kohl as the stupid protagonist. When Kohl died, left wing newspaper TAZ presented a title page showing a flower set typical for funerals, with a pear and the caption flourishing landscapes , Kohl's euphemism for East Germany after reunification. Following protests the editor-in-chief apologized.

The minister-president of Rhineland-Palatinate — was a young reformer in a somewhat backward state, and a newcomer who heavily criticized the older party leaders. The national media, for as much as they took notice of him, regarded him with curiosity. But this changed when Kohl became chair of the federal party in , and even more dramatically when in late his party made him candidate for the chancellery. His opponents within the federal party, but also journalists and other observers, had their doubts whether the parochial but successful modernizer of a manageable smaller state was the right person to lead the Federal Republic, a huge and complicated industrial country.

Biographer Hans Peter Schwarz names five problems of the 46 year old candidate: being unfamiliar with the complicated relations in the Bundestag faction, having no international experience, having no profound knowledge of economics, but also: a lack of charisma and no cultural acceptance in Northern Germany. In small circles Kohl was fascinating and a perfect host; the larger the crowd, the vaguer, weaker and paler he appeared.

His gaze into TV cameras made him look helpless. When attacked, e. But in general he was no great orator, his speeches were lengthy and verbose. Additionally, the catholic with his Palatinate dialect, a folksy man who had culture but was simply no intellectual — to North German journalists like from the important newspapers made in Hamburg he just felt foreign, more than any previous CDU chairman. Kohl was a true people's person and loved to be in company of groups. His tremendous memory about people and their lives helped him to build up his networks in the Christian Democratic Union, in government and abroad.

In a study of German chancellorship as political leadership, Henrik Gast gives examples how much time Kohl invested into personal relationships even with the backbenchers in the Bundestag and also party officials up to the local level. This worked, because it fitted Kohl's character and was authentic. Kohl knew that all these people were the basis of his political power and that he needed their loyalty and personal affection. He could also be rude to subordinates and assistants, and confront political adversaries. If you did not do what he wanted, empathy was over!

There was also a difference between the younger Kohl and the chancellor in his later years, a parliamentary state secretary recalled: "A sense of tact and politeness? The early and the later Kohl — that was a tremendous difference. In the early years he had all of that, in the later years no more. On 27 June , Kohl married Hannelore Renner , after he had already asked for her hand in marriage in , delaying the ceremony until he was financially stable.

Hannelore Kohl had studied languages and spoke fluent French and English; during her husband's political career, she was an important adviser to him, especially on world affairs. Walter Kohl worked as a financial analyst with Morgan Stanley in New York City and later founded a consulting firm with his father in Peter Kohl worked as an investment banker in London for many years.

On 5 July , his wife, Hannelore , committed suicide; she had suffered from photodermatitis for many years. While in hospital in after suffering serious head trauma, [] Kohl, then aged 78, married Maike Richter , a former Chancellery employee who was 44 years old; they had no children. For the entire duration of this marriage, Kohl had a brain injury, was barely able to speak, and was wheelchair-bound. According to Helmut Kohl's son Peter Kohl , Helmut Kohl did not intend to marry Richter and had stated this clearly; "then came the accident and a loss of control," Peter Kohl said, suggesting that Richter had pressured his then seriously ill father into marrying her.