Mechanical Sports Betting System

If you read any book about sports betting or any kind of article about sports betting, what will you learn? Bet the underdogs! Every book, website, tout, service, you name it, are always telling you to bet the dogs. If everyone is betting the dogs, are the odds for favourites too high?

European football leagues are starting soon and to prepare myself for them, I did a small study using the data from the last two seasons from Premier League, Bundesleague, Serie A and La Liga Primera.

Premier League

Dogs 760 / 542 / 0.71 / -21.8k

Fav. 760 / 728 / 0.96 / -3.2k


Dogs 612 / 578 / 0.94 / -3.4k

Fav. 612 / 563 / 0.92 / -4.9k

Serie A

Dogs 760 / 551 / 0.73 / -20.9k

Fav. 760 / 717 / 0.94 / -4.3k

La Liga Premier

Dogs 760 / 748 / 0.98 / -1.2k

Fav. 760 / 704 / 0.93 / -5.6k

How do you read that table? Let’s take Premier League for example. In the past 2 seasons you have had 760 games. If you had played every dog, your total odds would have been 542 (btw, I am using the European style odds, 1.35 etc.), return 0.71 (542/760) and for a $100 bet on every dog, you would have lost $21800.

What is interesting is that playing the favourites is a much better tactic in general, IF(!) you play every game. Only in Spain, your best tactic is to play every dog and almost break even.

Well, nobody plays every game. That would be insane. The question now is: can we use some very simple methods to find an edge from either the dogs or the favourites? I know for a fact that you can find an edge using sophisticated probability models and shopping for the best odds BUT for this article we would like to find simple methods for the average punter, who likes to bet for fun and TV-games, and not just for profit.

How about playing only home dogs, home favourites, away dogs, away favourites?

Premier League Bundesleague Serie A La Liga Premier

home fav 0.98 0.91 0.94 0.93

home dogs 0.84 0.94 0.77 1.03

away fav 0.91 0.96 0.95 0.93

away dogs 0.66 0.94 0.71 0.97

home fav 1.55 0.98 0.91 0.90 0.92

away fav 1.55 0.85 0.95 0.95 0.92

Home dogs in La Liga, home favourites under 1.55 in Serie A and away favourites under 1.55 in Premier- and Bundesleague and Serie A would have been a winning bet. Other possible good bets were home favourites in general in Premier, away fav 1.55 1.02 0.95 0.95 0.96

away fav 1.55 0.89 0.99 0.99 0.96

So, in Premier League, play every home favourite and big away favourite, dogs in Bundesleague and big away favourites, big favourites in Serie A and dogs and big away favourites in Spain, and pick the highest odd possible, and you will be just fine!

In the future I will go through more powerful, mathematical methods for finding an overlay in sports betting.

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FC Barcelona Successful Season Review 2010-2011

FC Barcelona started their 2010-11 season with the threat of the special one, Jose Mourinho as he eliminated Barcelona last year from Champions League Semi Final by his unprecedented tactics. But Barca have proved their superlative class once again by winning the Double–La Liga Crown–three times in a row with two games to spare and the big Champions League Crown–twice in three years by teaching their opponent a real good football lesson. Moreover, Barca made a spectacular record of 28 matches unbeaten and 16 consecutive league wins in 2010-2011 La Liga season. Barca is now all about»Dream Team.»

La Liga

Barca was dramatically beaten 2-0 at the Camp Nou in their second match against new comer Hercules CF! It was a shock not a fact Barca proved it in their following games. They managed to win the 3rd straight La Liga Crown with two games to spare.

Series of «El Clasicos»

Five «El Clasico» in a season and four of them took place in April-May only in time range of 18 days. In recent history only in 2001-02 both Giants met four times in a season and before that when they clashed more or as equal as this season I really don’t remember.

The 1st«El Clasico» of the season took place on 29th of November. New coach of Madrid, their outstanding performance in the league before this match, tiredness of Spanish players after the world cup etc was major issues before the game. But as soon as the referee whistled to start the battle it was again the beauty of football drawn by none other than Barca players. Barca gave their fans an unforgettable, Five Star performance a 5-0 win against their eternal rival at the Camp Nou on the 111th birthday of the best club in the world. Barca tops the table, 8 points ahead of Madrid with this win and the leading position was as stable as the Everest till the end of the season.

The 2nd«El Clasico» was a 1-1 draw at Santiago Bernabeu while both Messi for the first time scored against Mourinho so did Ronaldo against Barcelona after his arrival at the Santiago Bernabeu. After the match Barca was also eight points ahead of Madrid.

The 3rd«El Clasico» was in «Copa Del Ray Final» so it was a big match for both of them. Mourinho stuck to his super defensive strategy and finally he got a win and a trophy while Ronaldo scored in 102th minutes at Mestalla. Barca possessed 70% of the first half but no real effort before the goal post took place. Barca improved second half, they created chances but all went in vein and it was 0-0 after the 90 minutes. Then Ronaldo scored in 102th minute and this was the decider as Barca failed to score but they kept pushing.

The 4th «El Clasico» was in the much awaited Champions League Semi Final. First leg one was at Santiago Bernabeu. Mourinho criticized Pep Guardiola harshly when Guardiola commented on disqualifying a goal during the Copa Del Rey Final. Right after Mourinho left the press conference Guardiola replied it fast and furiously like never before as he used the «F word.» This incident added an extra spice before the battle. At the battle field we saw the reflection of Guardiola’s anger while Barca players were rushing all together towards the referee as soon as any foul committed by any Madrid player. Barcelona were playing their natural attacking game and Madrid were stuck to their defensive plan. It was 0-0 after the half time. When two teams headed to the dressing room Pinto extra goal keeper of Barca got a red card and there was a clash between the some players of both team. On the hour mark Pepe committed a foul against Dani Alves and the referee booked him a straight red card–Barca’s plan did work. But from the replay we could easily saw that it was master piece acting from Dani Alves. Mourinho also got a red card when he gave an illegal gesture to the referee. Then Barca took the advantage of 10 men and Messi scored 76th minute and he doubled it by a pure magic in 87th minute and the later was undoubtedly one of the best goals of Champions League history. After full time it was a huge advantage of 2-0 and Barca was almost through to the final.

The 5th «El Clasico» was a cruel formality as it was like more than impossible to keep Barca away from Wembley when they had 2-0 away goal advantage. It was 1-1 draw at Camp Nou. Barca scored first and Madrid equalized. Mourinho was not even in the gallery during the match. Barca was off to Wembly.

Champions League

It would be an injustice to Barca if I don’t mention the game against Arsenal. Cesc Fabregas once again played for the losing side. Arsenal had 2-1 home advantage but they failed to utilize it at the Camp Nou where they were humiliated last year by 4-1and all goals scored by the little Argentine wizard Messi. This year Messi once again made the difference, his first goal showed the world that his skill is limitless. Arsenal made an incredible record breaking the record of more than one thousand matches in the Champions League. In this match they were unable to take a single shot in the target! The score line was 3-1 and the sole goal was an own goal scored by Sergio Busquets.

Champions League Final–Obviously it is considered to be the biggest match of a season. Barca players labeled the match as their last Champions League Final of their life as Guardiola did so back in 1992 at Wembley where Barca had won their first ever Champions League Final Trophy. Sir Alex Ferguson labeled it as the «Final of the Decade.» Some said it would be «Dj vu» of 2008-09 season others said ManU got better. When the match begun first ten minutes ManU gave Barca a real good challenge but then it was again the beauty of Football at his supreme level, Manu became the bus stander once again. The game ended 3-1 and it could have been worse a lot. The game is now considered the best ever Champions League Final in terms of the class of Football by any team.

Finally, It was another successful mission of FC Barcelona. They got the Double and created few team and individual records in this season. They are now the very close to the «Dream Team» while some people have already expressed that they are the»Dream Team» or better than that! But one thing is for sure that Lionel Messi is getting closer and closer to stop repeating the question «Who is the best player of all time Pele or Maradona?»

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24 horas con Youssef En-Nesyri

Nuestras cámaras siguieron al delantero marroquí del Sevilla FC durante una jornada completa en el stage de pretemporada de Lagos.

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La Liga Rules for Non-European Players

La Liga or La Liga BBVA is the top-level professional club football competition in Spain. It is considered one of the most popular as well as competitive domestic leagues throughout the world, with English Premier League, Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1 being other most viewed national leagues. Just like every football league in the world, La Liga is also guided by specific rules as prepared by the Spanish football authority in alignment with the FIFA guidelines. Let us now take a closer look at the La Liga rules for the non-EU players.

Rules for Non-European Players in La Liga

According to the rules in La Liga, a club playing in the top division Spanish football league is not allowed to recruit more than three non-EU players. The same figure is 2 for the second division football clubs (LigaAdelate). The clubs in the Segunda Division B are not allowed to recruit any non-EU player. The clubs relegated to the second or third division are, however, permitted to retain the non-EU players until their contracts expire.

According to a decision adopted by the Spanish Federation, the teams playing in La Liga and the second division football in the country should make an optimum use of the rules and construct their squads with the foreign payers as many as permissible by the authority.

Citizenship for Foreign Players

As per La Liga rules, the players can claim citizenship of Spain from their native lands. A non-European player can apply for Spanish citizenship. However, he must play for five years in Spain in order to be eligible for Spain citizenship. Furthermore, the players arriving from Caribbean, African and the Pacific counties (commonly referred to as ACP countries) are not included in the non-EU category due to the Kolpak Ruling.


From La Liga, we will head our way towards English Premier League side Arsenal. Fondly called as the Gunners, they are one of the most successful Premier League sides in England. Currently managed by Arsene Wenger, Arsenal have their own home ground at the Emirates Stadium. They have produced some of the big names in the world football and attracted several top-tier players to London.

Achievements by Arsenal

Arsenal has a good number of silverware in their collection. The club has won Premier League titles 13 times. They won their last Premier League title in 2004 and currently lead the league table to make it 14 in their profile. They have won FA Cup 12 times in their history and lifted FA Community Shield.

Arsenal honors are not limited to only achievements within domestic field but also extended to international level. They have won UEFA Champions League as well as former UEFA Europa League (Former UEFA Cup). They are also the winner of FIFA Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup. In 1994, Arsenal wrapped up UEFA Cup Winners Cup.

Arsenal has several stars on their board. They brought German International Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid on a club record deal in summer of 2013.

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Así se vivió el éxtasis en Nervión tras vencer al Atleti

Nuestras cámaras no se perdieron detalle de la victoria sevillista sobre la bocina en el Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán. ¡Qué noche y qué afición!

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Learn La Liga Rules in Regards to Transfer, Promotion, Relegation & Non-EU Players

La Liga refers to the first division Spanish League. The top professional football league in Spain is officially called as Liga BBVA for the reason of sponsorship. It is one of the most professional and exciting leagues in Europe, attracting some best football talents from all over the globe.

Just like any other leagues, La Liga is also guided by some strict rules and regulations regarding promotional and relegation of the clubs as well as how many non-EU players can play in the league. Let us take a quick glance over the La Liga rules.

Rules of Promotion-Relegation

Every year, 20 teams take part in the competition. The three teams finishing at the bottom of the league table are relegated to the 2nd division of the Spanish league system, with the top two rankers in the immediately lower division and the winner in a play-off replacing the relegated clubs.

Inclusion of Non-EU Players

There is an upper cap in regards to retaining of non-EU players in this top-most division of Spanish league. In La Liga, every team is allowed to retain a maximum of three offshore players. Even in the second division, each participating clubs can keep hold of only 2 players. If any La Liga club is relegated to the lower division, it is allowed to keep hold of the same number of foreign players until their contracts are expired.

What does it mean by «Non-EU»? The phrase has been repeated many times following several verdicts from the European Court of Justice. According to a decision adopted by the Spanish Federation in this regard, the participating La Liga teams are entitled to make the best use of the rules and bring many foreign players to their squad.

Claim of Citizenship

The foreign players are allowed to apply for Spanish citizenship from the countries where their ancestors descended from. In La Liga, a non-EU player can claim for Spanish Citizenship if he has played in Spain for at least, five years and it may result into triple citizenship. Let us give you an example. Leo Franco was born in Argentina and has Italian ancestry. He is capable of applying for Spain citizenship, having played in the country for more than five years.

The players arriving from the ACP countries including Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific, are not considered against the Non-EU category as per the Kolpak ruling.

Breach of Rules & Conduct

All the La Liga clubs are required to abide by the rules and regulations as clearly specified by the highest authority in the Spanish football league system that, in turn, ensures compatibility with the guidelines made by FIFA, the governing body of football in the world. In recent times, Barcelona have been handed punishment by FIFA for failing to conform to the rules regarding transfer of the players after allegation of transfer of the under-age players (below 18).

The defending La Liga champions are not allowed to play any new player until January of 2016. The club applied against the ban but it was not lifted. However, they have been allowed to sell players during the time of transfer ban.

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Con esta afición se resiste TODO

El Sevilla FC consiguió un meritorio empate frente al FC Barcelona tras jugar gran parte de la segunda mitad con un jugador menos. Así vivimos desde dentro el último choque del año en el Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán.

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The Bahamas Offshore Company

The Bahamas is a chain of islands comprising 5,358 square miles, located 40-50 miles east of Florida, it has a population of 300,000. Most Bahamians live in two major urban centers: Nassau (its capital) and Freeport.

The Bahamas is a member of the British Commonwealth, but maintains absolute independence in government matters (Government of the Bahamas). It is well served by International Accountants, International Banks, and long established Law Firms, and an advanced telecommunications service.

Apart from tourism, the Banking and Finance sector is the second most important aspect of the Bahamian economy. The Bahamas is one of the largest offshore financial centers in the hemisphere with over 400 banks, trust companies and other licensed financial institutions. It is renowned for its tax haven status and banking secrecy. Since the International Business Companies Act 1989 came into effect in 1990, The Bahamas has become one of the most popular areas for registering an I.B.C. (Banks and Trust companies in the Bahamas).

Advantages of Bahamas Offshore Companies (IBC’s)

The IBC: The International Business Companies Act established a corporate entity, which requires the minimum of administration. Total secrecy and anonymity is maintained, and there is no need to disclose the beneficial owners of the Company. There is no requirement to file annual returns or financial statements, or to hold annual general meetings of the shareholders or directors. Meetings of shareholders and/or directors may be held in any country and same may attend meetings by proxy or by electronic means (telephone, facsimile etc.).

Proposed Names

The word «Limited» may be used in a Company’s name. However, use of the following words is restricted: «Assurance», «Bank», «Building Society», «Chamber of Commerce», «Chartered», «Cooperative», «Imperial», «Insurance», «Municipal», «Royal», «Trust», or any word conveying a similar meaning. Endings such as «Limited», «Incorporated», «Société Anonyme», or «Sociedad Anónima» or its abbreviations may be used.

Shelf Companies

There is a number of existing offshore companies for sale. These offshore companies have never traded or engaged in any transaction whatsoever.


The standard capital is $50,000.00 USD, divided into 50,000 shares of $1.00 USD each which may be issued as Bearer or as Registered shares, at the discretion of the Directors. Capital up to the equivalent of $50,000.00 USD attracts the smallest license fee – $250.00 USD.
Directors Meetings may be held in any part of the world. There are no limitations as to their number or nationality of shareholders.


Bearer, Nominative, par or no par value shares, as desired.

Shareholders Meetings

Shareholders’ meetings may be held in any part of the world. The format will depend on what is set forth in the Articles of Association.

Registered Agent/Registered Office

The IBC Act requires that every offshore company (IBC) have a Registered Office and a Registered Agent, qualified to act as such, in The Bahamas. In our standard Memorandum of Association, our own office is the Registered Office and we act as the Registered Agent of the IBC in The Bahamas.


Income of IBCs is exempt from income tax in The Bahamas. This includes all dividends, interest, rents, royalties, compensations, capital gains realized with respect to any shares, debt obligations or other securities, and any other amounts paid to the company. In addition to this, no estate, inheritance, succession or gift tax, rate, duty, levy or other charge is payable with respect to shares, debt obligations or other securities of a company incorporated under the IBC Act.


An IBC, being an offshore company, is a company that cannot:

  • Carry on business with residents of The Bahamas;
  • Own an interest in real property situated in The Bahamas or a lease of real property other than a lease of property for use as an office from which to communicate with members or where books and records of the company are prepared or maintained;
  • Carry on banking and/or trust business;
  • Carry on business as an insurance or reinsurance company; or
  • Carry on the business of providing the registered office for companies

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Another Culture of Benidorm, Alfas Del Pi, Alicante and the Costa Blanca

Some years ago I wrote a piece entitled A Culture of Benidorm. I wanted the article to register the fact that the Costa Blanca´s principal mass tourism resort could offer much more than mass tourism, a resort, a one euro pint of beer and a reheated British Sunday lunch with Y pud and real Bisto gravy. At the time, plans were afoot to build a new cultural centre in the town and a while later work did indeed start. Economic hardship coupled with political hiatus conspired to stall the project for over a decade, but now work has restarted and we nearby residents can look forward to another cultural venue within ten minutes of our collective front doors.

But in this article, I merely want to describe a cultural experience of four days from 13 February to 17 February 2020. Benidorm is nearby, but these four days were spent in Alfas del Pi and Alicante and were devoted to four concerts, three in Alfas del Pi and one in Alicante. My motive is entirely personal. I am not trying to promote the areas and I have no financial interest in either the location or the events. I do, however, I admit to being President of La Sociedad de Conciertos de Musica Clasica de Alfas del Pi, who hosted three of these four concerts and I gladly acknowledge the fact that our non-profit concert society would not exist without financial support from the Ajuntament de Alfas del Pi. But I restate that my intentions remain personal. For 45 years I have kept a commonplace book and I regularly write reviews of books, concerts, exhibitions, travel and much else in its pages. It is not and never has been a diary, though it is definitely an aide memoir. In this case, such was the quality of the music played that I have decided to publish this commonplace book entry to publicize the supreme achievements of these performers. It will also illustrate what is available to residents of this area, even before the new cultural centre in Benidorm comes on stream.

The Alfas del Pi music Society operates for eight months of each year and is now in its twelfth season. We have presented almost 300 concerts and have settled into a pattern of doing three concerts a month in different locations, basically over an extended weekend. On Thursdays we are hosted by Forum Mare Nostrum, a residential complex in the town. On Saturdays we occupy the town´s Casa Cultura and then on Sunday lunchtime we present a concert in the Centro Social in the beach resort of Albir. For those who do not know this area, I will offer the context that Alas del Pi is a town of 20,000 people of whom 50% are foreigners. Alfas includes a beach area called Albir, which serves mainly a residential rather than tourist population. Alfas is between the more famous Altea and the beach destination for millions of tourists each year, Benidorm. From the tourist areas of Benidorm, Alfas and Albir are just 10 minutes by car and there is a regular bus service between the towns, which are some 40 km or so north of Alicante, a city to which we are connected by a motorway, whose tolls were generously removed at the start of this year, making the journey into town just half an hour.

This musical journey began on Thursday 13 February 2020, with our society´s concert in Forum Mare Nostrum. The duo performing were Joaquin Palomares, violin, and Elena Segura, piano. Both teach at the music conservatory in Murcia and Joaquin has been vice president and artistic director of our society since it began.

The duo programmed three challenging and very different violin sonatas, beginning with, for our audience, the unfamiliar sonata by Leos Janacek. Personally, I have been hooked on the Czech composer´s music for over 50 years and would claim to know not every, but certainly most notes of this work. Like all Janacek, this is music of introversion, of doubt and conscience. But it is also passionate, thoroughly modern and full of energy. This is music of 1920´s cubism, where something utterly familiar, a folk tune, a minuscule repeated phrase, is seen from multiple, simultaneous perspectives. The music, like the art, recognizes how little we humans actually know about anything, perhaps most of all about ourselves, and the work ends almost apologetically, appearing to be sorry for having occupied our time.

Joaquin and Elena followed with the single movement sonata by Granados. Its visual equivalent is surely the symbolist painters of the turn of the 20th century. But in the case of Granados, the overtly Spanish feel in the harmonies, coupled with its vivid colours surely suggests the painting of Sorolla, a Valencian artist, who is a superstar in Spain but little-known elsewhere, apart from New York where he painted an immense commission for the Hispanic Society of America. The music is almost an homage to Debussy and reminds us that Granados was perhaps the most international of the Spanish composers of that era, and his sophistication is ever present in his music.

Joaquin Palomares and Elena Segura ended their recital with the monumental sonata of Cesar Franck. This is surely the impressionism of Manet in sound, a vast canvas reminiscent of Le Dejeuner sur l´herbe, where apparently straight-laced besuited gentlemen recline alongside a naked woman who seems to be less than interested in the proceedings. The sonata´s passionate lines are similarly kept in check by the formalism, the imposed decorum of the work´s construction. The music is always trying to burst into full-blown emotion, but some controlling reserve always seems to button up its collar, smooth down its skirt, as if it has been discovered in flagrante delicto. Joaquin and Elena offered Massenet´s Meditation of Thais and a little sentimental Portuguese song as encores before the audience adjourned to their wine-lubricated conversation with the performers.

Friday 14 February, besides being Valentine´s Day, was also a date for a concert in Alicante´s recently-built ADDA concert hall. It is a beautiful venue, seating an audience of over a thousand amid a perfect acoustic. And, for just over a year, we have had our own resident orchestra to present about two thirds of the concerts in the annual subscription series. The hall, by the way, and the orchestra, though new, is utterly adored by its public This is an orchestra that has become used to being applauded onto as well as off the stage. It is a great tribute to the work of artistic director, Josep Vicent – another Costa Blanca local – to have established and directed such a wonderful new orchestra in such a short time.

But this time he was not directing, and gave way to Alvaro Albiach, who was superb. They began with Ibert´s Homage to Mozart, a surrealistic joke of a piece. Marta Espinos then joined the ADDA orchestra to perform Sonata del Sur, the opus 52 of Alicante composer, Oscar Espla. It is a piece that mixes French idiom with its Spanish signature and also regularly dips into jazz. This was truly surprising music, wonderfully played and enthusiastically received. The concert concluded with Mozart´s Jupiter Symphony, number 41, in a performance full of energy and attack. Personally, I am no great fan of Mozart, but here the pedestrian formalism that often characterises performances of his music was thankfully lacking and the players´ enthusiasm was palpable.

And so we move on to Saturday 15 February and also back to Alfas del Pi´s Casa Cultura for a much anticipated visit by Trio Metamorphosi from Italy to play a concert in honour of the 250th anniversary of Beethoven´s birth. The three works they performed were the Variations, opus 44, the Trio, opus 1 number 3, and the Archduke. The Trio Metamorphosi comprises a violinist from Milan and brothers from Terni near Rome and they have been playing together for many years. Chosen by Decca to record the piano trios of Beethoven in honour of his 250th anniversary, they have devoted the last four years to preparing, playing, performing and recording this music. The degree of communication they achieved and the perfection of ensemble they exhibited kept the audience in a rapt silence that allowed every note to make its point, every phrase to tell its story. It was perfect to the extent that we all felt completely part of the music making. This was not merely performers and audience. This was truly a shared experience by everyone in the hall. And the sense of sharing was only enhanced when the musicians joined their audience for refreshments at the interval and to sign copies of their cds at the end, recordings they offered at truly bargain prices. It´s a concert that will live long in the memory, not least for the choice of encore because, after an hour and a half of Beethoven, the group chose a movement from the Piano Trio of Leonard Bernstein, stylistically quite different, but still profound in its rather stand-offish, twentieth century way.

Sunday 16 February was the last concert of our extended weekend. At midday the weather was particularly unlike the Costa Blanca norm. After several days of sunshine and elevated temperatures, a sudden cool air stream drenched our coast in a fog. A fretting sea kept out the sun and temperatures were once again wintry, where they really ought to have been all along.

But the weather did not affect our pair of Spanish pianists, Antonio Soria and Claudia Sevilla, who were to present a programme of four hands piano with a Spanish flavour. They began with a Sonata by Joaquin Tadeo de Murghia. My own collection of recordings now numbers almost 30,000 and I don’t tend to repeat myself by holding multiple copies of a piece. But Joaquin Tadeo does not figure amongst the four thousand plus composers in the list, so this was new territory for all concerned, except the performers. If ever one needed a reminder as to why live performance can never be replaced by a diet comprising only recordings then this was it. The music is broadly classical, a cross between Mozart and early Beethoven, on the piano similar to Fernando Sor on the guitar. They followed with a veritable gem in La Procession du Rocio, opus 9, of Joaquin Turina. Anyone who has not yet discovered the music of Turina, certainly Spain’s greatest composer of the modern era, should take time to research this genius. Antonio Soria certainly knows something about Turina’s music because back in the 1990s he recorded on 16 cds the composer’s entire piano music. This brilliant, vivid piece truly lit up a still dull day.

They followed with a Zapateado of Anton Garcia Abril. Almost minimalist in style, its driving rhythms drilled home its presence with considerable force. This was again music to cut through the day’s greyness with a vivid swathe of colour. Next came Montsalvatge’s Three Divertimenti on Themes by Forgotten Authors. This surprising and inspired music was perhaps the high point of the four days. Laden with humour, verging on the intellectual kitsch, Montsalvatge plays with the audience’s expectation, memories and predilections. These pieces are full of familiar melodies, but they are somehow presented as if via a distorting mirror, recoloured, like threatening jokes. The final piece, presented as a waltz-jota was bitonal, with the two pianists apparently together and yet musically completely apart. Antonio Soria later likened Montsalvatge’s music to the paintings of Picasso. I could see his point, but for me they are closer to the oeuvre of Miro, because of their brilliance of colour and the simplified familiarity of much of the shapes.

A final work was the Rhapsodie Español of Ravel. Of all the works listed thus far, this is perhaps the most difficult, the hardest to penetrate. Some years ago, I attended a concert of Ravel’s piano music, an hour and a half of the composer’s music. For about a week afterwards, I felt I might be in a different universe, transported and then abandoned by this composer’s unique style and vision. Ravel always goes to strange places, despite some of his works having become almost pop icons. The Rhapsodie Español was no exception, with its gentler moments truly surreal alongside the bravura and abandon of the feria. An encore of a Romance by Rachmaninov brought four concerts in four days to a close.

Incidentally, by the time we do this again next month, I will already have been to a further six concerts, equally varied and all of the same wonderful standard. I will also have been to Valencia for a performance of Rossini´s Il Viaggio a Reims, quite a change from the Elektra of Richard Strauss, which we heard last month. And, you may notice, I have not previously mentioned Valencia, which is just over an hour away and an easy return trip for an evening at the opera. I may even have had a pint or two in a Benidorm Brit bar, but a Sunday lunch with Y pud and real Bisto gravy out of the freezer I may just forego, but it is still there if I want it. Oh yes, there´s ballet from London´s Covent Garden live in our local cinema as well.

Years ago, as a recently arrived resident, I wrote A Culture of Benidorm to underline the fact that this cosmopolitan area is truly sophisticated in ways that casual observers of mass tourism may be completely unaware. It is possible on a visit to the northern Costa Blanca to hear a concert, stage work, opera, film or even a pop gig every night of the week, without travelling more than forty kilometres to a venue. Near Benidorm, you could do the same within ten kilometres, but you would have to forego the truly international events at Valencia´s opera or Palau de la Musica and the ADDA orchestra of Alicante. At least that is currently true, but when the new Cultural Centre in Benidorm opens, who knows what we might have on our doorstep?

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