Saturday, 19 May 2018

MUSIC SATURDAY - SALIERI PIANO CONCERTO IN C

“The notes I handle no better than many pianists. But the pauses between the notes - ah, that is where the art resides.”― Artur Schnabel 

Antonio Salieri (18 August 1750 – 7 May 1825) was an Italian classical composer, conductor, and teacher. He was born in Legnago, south of Verona, in the Republic of Venice, and spent his adult life and career as a subject of the Habsburg Monarchy. Salieri was a pivotal figure in the development of late 18th-century opera. As a student of Florian Leopold Gassmann, and a protégé of Gluck, Salieri was a cosmopolitan composer who wrote operas in three languages. Salieri helped to develop and shape many of the features of operatic compositional vocabulary, and his music was a powerful influence on contemporary composers.

Appointed the director of the Italian opera by the Habsburg court, a post he held from 1774 until 1792, Salieri dominated Italian-language opera in Vienna. During his career he also spent time writing works for opera houses in Paris, Rome, and Venice, and his dramatic works were widely performed throughout Europe during his lifetime. As the Austrian imperial Kapellmeister from 1788 to 1824, he was responsible for music at the court chapel and attached school.

Even as his works dropped from performance, and he wrote no new operas after 1804, he still remained one of the most important and sought-after teachers of his generation, and his influence was felt in every aspect of Vienna’s musical life. Franz Liszt, Franz Schubert, and Ludwig van Beethoven were among the most famous of his pupils. Salieri’s music slowly disappeared from the repertoire between 1800 and 1868 and was rarely heard after that period until the revival of his fame in the late 20th century.

This revival was due to the dramatic and highly fictionalised depiction of Salieri in Peter Shaffer’s play “Amadeus” (1979) and its 1984 film version. His music today has regained some modest popularity via recordings. He is popularly remembered as a supposedly bitter rival of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. This includes rumours that Salieri murdered Mozart out of jealousy, when in reality, they were at least respectful peers.

Here is his Piano Concerto in C (1773) performed by Pietro Spada and the Philharmonia Orchestra:
1.Allegro maestoso 00:00
2.Larghetto 08:54
3.Andantino (Rondo) 16:12

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

TRAVEL TUESDAY #131 - MADRID, SPAIN

“God worked six days, and rested on the seventh: Madrileños rest the six, and on the seventh... go to the bullfight.” - H O’Shea 

Welcome to the Travel Tuesday meme! Join me every Tuesday and showcase your creativity in photography, painting and drawing, music, poetry, creative writing or a plain old natter about Travel.

There is only one simple rule: Link your own creative work about some aspect of travel and share it with the rest of us. Please use this meme for your creative endeavours only.

Do not use this meme to advertise your products or services as any links or comments by advertisers will be removed immediately.
The Plaza de Cibeles is a square with a neo-classical complex of marble sculptures with fountains that has become an iconic symbol for the city of Madrid, Spain. It sits at the intersection of Calle de Alcalá (running from east to west), Paseo de Recoletos (to the North) and Paseo del Prado (to the south). Plaza de Cibeles was originally named Plaza de Madrid, but in 1900, the City Council named it Plaza de Castelar, which was eventually replaced by its current name. It is currently delimited by four prominent buildings: The Bank of Spain, the Palacio de Buenavista, the Palacio de Linares and the Cybele Palace.

These constructions are located in four different neighbourhoods from three different adjacent districts: Centro, Retiro and Salamanca. In the years Cybele Palace and her fountain have become symbolic monuments of the city. The Fountain of Cybele is found in the part of Madrid commonly called the Paseo de Recoletos. This fountain is named after Cybele, a Phrygian goddess who had a significant cult in Rome, and is seen as one of Madrid’s most important symbols.

The fountain depicts the goddess, sitting on a chariot pulled by two lions. The fountain was built in the reign of Charles III and designed by Ventura Rodríguez between 1777 and 1782. The goddess and chariot are the work of Francisco Gutiérrez and the lions by Roberto Michel. The fountain originally stood next to the Buenavista Palace, and was moved to its present location in the middle of the square in the late 19th century. Up until the 19th century both the fountain of Neptune and Cybele looked directly at each other, until the city council decided to turn them round to face towards the centre of the city.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Ruby Tuesday meme,

and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

TRAVEL TUESDAY #130 - ERMOUPOLI, GREECE

“The centre of Western culture is Greece, and we have never lost our ties with the architectural concepts of that ancient civilisation.” - Stephen Gardiner 

Welcome to the Travel Tuesday meme! Join me every Tuesday and showcase your creativity in photography, painting and drawing, music, poetry, creative writing or a plain old natter about Travel.

There is only one simple rule: Link your own creative work about some aspect of travel and share it with the rest of us. Please use this meme for your creative endeavours only.

Do not use this meme to advertise your products or services as any links or comments by advertisers will be removed immediately.
Ermoupoli (Greek: Ερμούπολη), also known by the formal older name Ermoupolis or Hermoupolis (Greek: Ἑρμούπολις < Ἑρμοῦ πόλις “Town of Hermes”), is a town and former municipality on the island of Syros, in the Cyclades, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform, it is part of the municipality Syros-Ermoupoli, of which it is the seat and a municipal unit. It is also the capital of the South Aegean region. The municipal unit has an area of 11.181 km2.

Ermoupoli was founded during the Greek Revolution in the 1820s, as an extension to the existing Ano Syros township, by war refugees from other Greek islands. It soon became the leading commercial and industrial centre of Greece, as well as its main port. The renowned Greek Steamship Company was founded in the city in 1856. Thousands of ships were built in the various Syros shipyards. Eventually Ermoupoli was eclipsed by Piraeus in the late 19th century. In the following decades the city declined. Recently, its economy has greatly improved, based on the service industry.

Ermoupoli is sited on a naturally amphitheatrical site, with neo-classical buildings, old mansions and traditional island houses cascading down to the harbour. The City Hall, on Miaoulis Square is ringed by cafes and seating areas under palm trees. The “City of Hermes” has numerous churches, including Metamorphosis, Koimisis, St. Demetrius, Three Hierarchs, Anastasis, Evangelistria and St. Nicholas. The Archaeological Museum has many significant exhibits and the Municipal Library contains numerous books, including some rare editions. The quarter of the town known as Vaporia is where the sea captains lived. Along its narrow streets, stand many neo-classical mansions of rich and significant architecture.

Ano Syros is the second town of Syros and was built by the Venetians at the beginning of the 13th century on the hill of San Giorgio, north-west of Ermoupoli. Ano Syros maintains a medieval atmosphere. Innumerable steps between narrow streets and houses with brightly coloured doors lead to the top of the town. The medieval settlement of Ano Syros is accessible by car, although the town is served mostly by marble steps. The distance from the harbour up to the main entry point of the town is approximately 1000 metres. The Catholic cathedral of Saint George dominates Ano Syros. The cathedral church was constructed during the 13th century. From the cathedral visitors have a panoramic view of the neighbouring islands of Tinos, Delos, Mykonos, Paros, Andros and Naxos.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

TRAVEL TUESDAY #129 - NIUE, OCEANIA

“The Pacific is my home ocean; I knew it first, grew up on its shore, collected marine animals along the coast. I know its moods, its color, its nature.” ― John Steinbeck 

Welcome to the Travel Tuesday meme! Join me every Tuesday and showcase your creativity in photography, painting and drawing, music, poetry, creative writing or a plain old natter about Travel.

There is only one simple rule: Link your own creative work about some aspect of travel and share it with the rest of us. Please use this meme for your creative endeavours only.

Do not use this meme to advertise your products or services as any links or comments by advertisers will be removed immediately.
Niue (/ˈnjuːeɪ/ NEW-ay; Niuean: Niuē) is an island country in the South Pacific Ocean, 2,400 kilometres northeast of New Zealand, east of Tonga, south of Samoa, and west of the Cook Islands. Niue's land area is about 261 square kilometres and its population, predominantly Polynesian, was about 1,600 in 2016. The island is commonly referred to as "The Rock", which comes from the traditional name “Rock of Polynesia”.

Niue is one of the world’s largest coral islands. The terrain consists of steep limestone cliffs along the coast with a central plateau rising to about 60 metres above sea level. A coral reef surrounds the island, with the only major break in the reef being in the central western coast, close to Alofi. A notable feature are the many limestone caves near the coast.

Niue, whose capital is the village of Alofi, is a self-governing state in free association with New Zealand; and New Zealand conducts most diplomatic relations (though not all) on its behalf. Niueans are citizens of New Zealand, and Queen Elizabeth II is head of state in her capacity as Queen of New Zealand. Between 90–95% of Niuean people live in New Zealand, along with about 70% of the speakers of the Niuean language.

A bilingual country, Niue has over 30% of its population speak both Niuean and English, though the percentage of monolingual English-speaking people is only 11%, while 46% are monolingual Niuean speakers. Niue is not a member of the United Nations (UN), but UN organisations have accepted its status as a freely-associated state as equivalent to independence for the purposes of international law. As such, Niue is a full member of some UN specialised agencies (such as UNESCO, and the WHO), and is invited, alongside the other non-UN member state, the Cook Islands, to attend United Nations conferences open to “all states”.

Niue is subdivided into 14 villages (municipalities). Each village has a village council that elects its chairman. The villages are at the same time electoral districts; each village sends an assemblyman to the Parliament of Niue. A small and highly democratic nation, Niueans enjoy high freedom, and elections are held every 3 years. In 2003, Niue became the first country in the world to provide state-funded wireless internet to all inhabitants.

Niue Island Organic Farmers Association is currently paving way to a Multilateral Environmental Agreement (MEA) committed to making Niue the world’s first fully organic nation by 2020. A leader in green growth, Niue is also transitioning to solar power, with help from the European Union. Niue aims to become 80% renewable by 2025. On the other hand, Niue currently deals with one of the highest rates of greenhouse gas production per capita in the world (second only to Kuwait and Brunei).

In 2015, Niue started providing phone landlines to all of its inhabitants. In 2008, Niue became the first country in the world where laptops are provided to all school students. In January 2004, Niue was hit by Cyclone Heta, which caused extensive damage to the entire island, including wiping out most of the south of the capital, Alofi. The disaster set the island back about two years from its planned timeline to implement the Niue Integrated Strategic Plan (NISP), since national efforts concentrated on recovery. In 2008, Niue had yet to fully recover.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.

Saturday, 28 April 2018

MUSIC SATURDAY - ARNOLD BAX

“The trouble with music appreciation in general is that people are taught to have too much respect for music they should be taught to love it instead.” - Igor Stravinsky 

Sir Arnold Edward Trevor Bax KCVO (8 November 1883 – 3 October 1953) was an English composer, poet, and author. His prolific output includes songs, choral music, chamber pieces, and solo piano works, but he is best known for his orchestral music. In addition to a series of symphonic poems he wrote seven symphonies and was for a time widely regarded as the leading British symphonist.

Bax was born in the London suburb of Streatham to a prosperous family. He was encouraged by his parents to pursue a career in music, and his private income enabled him to follow his own path as a composer without regard for fashion or orthodoxy. Consequently, he came to be regarded in musical circles as an important but isolated figure. While still a student at the Royal Academy of Music Bax became fascinated with Ireland and Celtic culture, which became a strong influence on his early development. In the years before the First World War he lived in Ireland and became a member of Dublin literary circles, writing fiction and verse under the pseudonym Dermot O'Byrne. Later, he developed an affinity with Nordic culture, which for a time superseded his Celtic influences in the years after the First World War.

Between 1910 and 1920 Bax wrote a large amount of music, including the symphonic poem Tintagel, his best-known work. During this period he formed a lifelong association with the pianist Harriet Cohen – at first an affair, then a friendship, and always a close professional relationship. In the 1920s he began the series of seven symphonies, which form the heart of his orchestral output. In 1942 Bax was appointed Master of the King's Music, but composed little in that capacity.

In his last years he found his music regarded as old-fashioned, and after his death it was generally neglected. From the 1960s onwards, mainly through a growing number of commercial recordings, his music was gradually rediscovered, although little of it is heard with any frequency in the concert hall. In more recent years, Bax’s music has been (re-)discovered enthusiastically by a new generation via online distribution services such as YouTube.

Here is his Quintet for Oboe & Strings performed by the Camerata Pacifica (Nicholas Daniel, Catherine Leonard, Ara Gregorian, Richard O'Neill & Ani Aznavoorian). Bax composed the Quintet for Oboe and Strings in the closing months of 1922, on the heels of his First Symphony. At the time, a piece for such forces was unusual; surely, Bax was inspired to write the Oboe Quintet by the playing of the famous oboist, Louis Goossens, to whom the composer dedicated the piece. This was quite an honour for the young Goossens.
1. Tempo molto moderato - Allegro moderato - Tempo primo
2. Lento espressivo
3. Allegro giocoso - Più lento - Vivace

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

TRAVEL TUESDAY - MELBOURNE ANZAC

“What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.” - Pericles

Welcome to the Travel Tuesday meme! Join me every Tuesday and showcase your creativity in photography, painting and drawing, music, poetry, creative writing or a plain old natter about Travel.

There is only one simple rule: Link your own creative work about some aspect of travel and share it with the rest of us. Please use this meme for your creative endeavours only.

Do not use this meme to advertise your products or services as any links or comments by advertisers will be removed immediately.
The Shrine of Remembrance is Victoria’s largest and most visited war memorial and is probably Melbourne’s most recognised landmark. It is a permanent and lasting memorial to the ANZAC spirit and acknowledges those who served and those who died in the Great War of 1914-1918 and armed conflicts and peacekeeping duties since. The Shrine is located on Melbourne’s most famous boulevard, St Kilda Road, just south of the Melbourne central business district.

Designed by architects Phillip Hudson and James Wardrop who were both World War I veterans, the Shrine is in a classical style, being based on the Tomb of Mausolus at Halicarnassus and the Parthenon in Athens. Built from Tynong granite, the Shrine originally consisted only of the central sanctuary surrounded by the ambulatory.

The Shrine went through a prolonged process of development, which began in 1918 with the initial proposal to build a Victorian memorial. Two committees were formed, the second of which ran a competition for the memorial’s design. The winner was announced in 1922. However, opposition to the proposal (led by Keith Murdoch and The Herald) forced the governments of the day to rethink the design, and a number of alternatives were proposed, the most significant of which was the ANZAC Square and cenotaph proposal of 1926.

In response, General Sir John Monash used the 1927 ANZAC Day march to garner support for the Shrine, and finally won the support of the Victorian government later that year. The foundation stone was laid on 11 November 1927, and the Shrine was officially dedicated on 11 November 1934.

Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that broadly commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders “who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations” and “the contribution and suffering of all those who have served.” Originally 25 April every year was to honour the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought at Gallipoli in the Ottoman Empire during World War I. Anzac Day is also observed in the Cook Islands, Niue, Pitcairn Islands, and Tonga.
Lest we forget...

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.

Saturday, 21 April 2018

MUSIC SATURDAY - BACH

“I was obliged to be industrious. Whoever is equally industrious will succeed equally well.” - Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) 

I am currently working on the new edition of one of my published works and it involves a lot (and I mean a REAL LOT!) of proof-reading. This is a task that requires much concentration and it is quite tiring on both eyes and brain. One thing that makes the task a little easier is to listen to some music while I am working. Bach always works for me in this context and the music seems to enhance my concentration.

Here is a collection of pieces that I enjoy listening to while I am working. It is Bach's works for the viola da gamba: Sonatas for viola da gamba and obligato harpsichord & Suite for viola da gamba. In this instance performed by Paolo Pandolfo [viola da gamba] and Rinaldo Alessandrini [harpsichord]. 

Sonata in G major BWV 1027:
1. Adagio 0:01
2. Andante 4:26
3. Allegro ma non tanto 7:57
4. Allegro moderato 10:30 


Sonata in D major BWV 1028:
5. [Adagio] 13:24
6. [Allegro] 15:19
7. Andante 18:46
8. Allegro 23:13 


Sonata in G minor BWV 1029:
9. Vivace 27:02
10. Adagio 32:19
11. Allegro 38:39 


Suite for Viola da gamba in D minor [Transcription from Suite Cello No.5 BWV 1011 and Suite for Lute BWV 995 (arr. Paolo Pandolfo)]:
12. Prélude 42:06
13. Allemande 48:12
14. Courante 54:08
15. Sarabande 56:28
16. Gavottes I et II 1:00:12
17. Gigue 1:04:21

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

TRAVEL TUESDAY #127 - RETHYMNO, GREECE

“There us a kind of flame in Crete – let us call it ‘soul’ – something more powerful than either life or death. There is pride, obstinacy, valour, and together with these something else inexpressible and imponderable, something which makes you rejoice that you are a human being, and at the same time tremble.” ― NikosKazantzakis 

Welcome to the Travel Tuesday meme! Join me every Tuesday and showcase your creativity in photography, painting and drawing, music, poetry, creative writing or a plain old natter about Travel.

There is only one simple rule: Link your own creative work about some aspect of travel and share it with the rest of us. Please use this meme for your creative endeavours only.

Do not use this meme to advertise your products or services as any links or comments by advertisers will be removed immediately.
Rethymno (Greek: Ρέθυμνο) is a city of approximately 40,000 people in Greece, the capital of Rethymno regional unit on the island of Crete, a former Latin Catholic bishopric as Retimo and former Latin titular see. Rethymno was originally built during the Minoan civilisation (ancient Rhithymna and Arsinoe). The city was prominent enough to mint its own coins and maintain urban growth. One of these coins is today depicted as the crest of the town: Two dolphins in a circle.

This region as a whole is rich with ancient history, most notably through the Minoan civilisation centred at Kydonia east of Rethymno. Rethymno itself began a period of growth when the Venetian conquerors of the island decided to put an intermediate commercial station between Heraklion and Chania, acquiring its own bishop and nobility in the process. Today’s old town (palia poli) is almost entirely built by the Republic of Venice. It is one of the best-preserved old towns in Crete.

The town still maintains its old aristocratic appearance, with its buildings dating from the 16th century, arched doorways, stone staircases, Byzantine and Hellenic-Roman remains, the small Venetian harbour and narrow streets. The Venetian Loggia houses the information office of the Ministry of Culture and Sports. A Wine Festival is held there annually at the beginning of July. Another festival, in memory of the destruction of the Arkadi Monastery, is held on 7–8 November.

The city’s Venetian-era citadel, the Fortezza of Rethymno, is one of the best-preserved castles in Crete. Other monuments include the Neratze mosque (the Municipal Odeon arts centre), the Great Gate (Μεγάλη Πόρτα or Porta Guora), the Piazza Rimondi and the Loggia. The town was captured by the Ottoman Empire in 1646 during the Cretan War (1645–69) and they ruled it for almost three centuries. The town, called Resmo in Turkish, was the centre of a sanjak (administrative part of a province) during Ottoman rule.

During the Battle of Crete (20–30 May 1941), the Battle of Rethymno was fought between German paratroopers and the Second Australian Imperial Force and Hellenic Army. Although initially unsuccessful, the Germans won the battle after receiving reinforcements from Maleme in the Northwestern part of the island. Today the city’s main income is from tourism, many new facilities having been built in the past 20 years. Agriculture is also notable, especially for olive oil and other Mediterranean products.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

ART SUNDAY - ISAAC LEVITAN

“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” - Frank Lloyd Wright
Isaac Ilyich Levitan (Russian: Исаа́к Ильи́ч Левита́н; 30 August [O.S. 18 August] 1860 – 4 August [O.S. 22 July] 1900) was a classical Russian landscape painter who advanced the genre of the “mood landscape”. Levitan was born in a shtetl of Kibarty, Augustów Governorate in Congress Poland, a part of the Russian Empire (present-day Lithuania) into a poor but educated Jewish family. His father Elyashiv Levitan was the son of a rabbi, completed a Yeshiva and was self-educated. He taught German and French in Kowno and later worked as a translator at a railway bridge construction for a French building company.

At the beginning of 1870 the Levitan family moved to Moscow. In September 1873, Isaac Levitan entered the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture where his older brother Avel had already studied for two years. After a year in the copying class Isaac transferred into a naturalistic class, and soon thereafter into a landscape class. Levitan’s teachers were the famous Alexei Savrasov, Vasily Perov and Vasily Polenov. In 1875, his mother died, and his father fell seriously ill and became unable to support four children; he died in 1877. The family slipped into abject poverty. As patronage for Levitan’s talent and achievements, his Jewish origins and to keep him in the school, he was given a scholarship.

In 1877, Isaac Levitan’s works were first publicly exhibited and earned favourable reviews from the press. After Alexander Soloviev’s assassination attempt on Alexander II, in May 1879, mass deportations of Jews from big cities of the Russian Empire forced the family to move to the suburb of Saltykovka, but in Autumn, officials responded to pressure from art devotees, and Levitan was allowed to return. In 1880 his painting Осенний день. Сокольники (“Autumn Day: Sokolniki”) was bought by famous philanthropist and art collector Pavel Mikhailovich Tretyakov.

In the Spring of 1884 Levitan participated in the mobile art exhibition by the group known as the Peredvizhniki and in 1891 became a member of the Peredvizhniki partnership. During his study in the Moscow School of painting, sculpture and architecture, Levitan befriended Konstantin Korovin, Mikhail Nesterov, architect Fyodor Shekhtel, and the painter Nikolay Chekhov, whose famous brother Anton Chekhov became the artist’s closest friend. Levitan often visited Chekhov and some think Levitan was in love with his sister, Maria Pavlovna Chekhova. In the early 1880s Levitan collaborated with the Chekhov brothers on the illustrated magazine “Moscow” and illustrated the M. Fabricius edition “Kremlin”. Together with Korovin in 1885-1886 he painted scenery for performances of the Private Russian opera of Savva Mamontov. In the 1880s he participated in the drawing and watercolour gatherings at Polenov’s house.

Levitan’s work was a profound response to the lyrical charm of the Russian landscape. Levitan did not paint urban landscapes; with the exception of the “View of Simonov Monastery” (whereabouts unknown), mentioned by Nesterov, the city of Moscow appears only in the painting “Illumination of the Kremlin”. During the late 1870s he often worked in the vicinity of Moscow, and created the special variant of the ‘landscape of mood’, in which nature is spiritualised, and becomes symbolic of the condition of the human soul.

During work in Ostankino, he painted fragments of the mansion’s house and park, but he was most fond of poetic places in the forest or modest countryside. Characteristic of his work is a hushed and nearly melancholic reverie amidst pastoral landscapes largely devoid of human presence. Fine examples of these qualities include “The Vladimirka Road”, (1892), “Evening Bells”, (1892), and “Eternal Rest”, (1894), all in the Tretyakov Gallery. Though his late work displayed familiarity with Impressionism, his palette was generally muted, and his tendencies were more naturalistic and poetic than optical or scientific.

In the summer of 1890 Levitan went to Yuryevets (Юрьевец) and among numerous landscapes and etudes he painted “The View of Krivooserski Monastery”. So the plan of one of his best pictures, “The Silent Monastery”, was born. The image of a silent Monastery and planked bridges over the river, connecting it with the outside world, expressed the artist’s spiritual reflections. It is known that this picture made a strong impression on Chekhov. In 1897, already world-famous, he was elected to the Imperial Academy of Arts and in 1898 he was named the head of the Landscape Studio at his alma mater.

Levitan spent the last year of his life at Chekhov’s home in Crimea. In spite of the effects of a terminal illness, his last works are increasingly filled with light. They reflect tranquillity and the eternal beauty of Russian nature. He was buried in Dorogomilovo Jewish cemetery. In April 1941 Levitan’s remains were moved to the Novodevichy Cemetery, next to Chekhov’s tomb. Levitan did not have a family or children. In the 1890s, however, he had an on-again, off-again affair with an older married woman; the painter Sofia Kuvshinnikova, which led to a small scandal — and a play by Anton Chekhov and a threatened duel with the playwright. Isaac Levitan’s hugely influential art heritage consists of more than a thousand paintings, among them watercolours, pastels, graphics, and illustrations.

Above is “Lake. Russia” 1900. The last, unfinished painting Levitan was working on just before his death.

Saturday, 14 April 2018

MUSIC SATURDAY - G. A. PAGANELLI

“What really counts isn’t whether your instrument is Baroque or modern: It’s your mindset.” - Simon Rattle 

Giuseppe Antonio Paganelli (born March 6, 1710 in Padua, died probably before 1764, possibly in Madrid) was a singer and composer of Italian origin, who worked in various European cities. He was a musical representative of the late Baroque, who composed in the gallant style.

Paganelli came from a wealthy family and received a broad education. It is thought that Giuseppe Tartini was one of his teachers. From 1731/32 he performed with the Accademia dei Dilettanti to the public of his hometown, as the composer of an oratorio and various cantatas. In 1732/33 he composed the two operas, “La Caduta di Leone” and “Tigrane” for the Venetian opera.

From 1733 he worked as a keyboard player for an opera company under Antonio Maria Peruzzi in Augsburg. It is known conclusively that in 1736 he was in in Rheinsberg. During 1737-38 he was appointed as “Chamber Music Master” of the Margravine Wilhelmine of Bayreuth, where his wife Johanna worked as a singer. In the Bayreuth Hofkalendern he is dubbed as “Cammermeister”, and in church records in Erlangen, there is a note that a son of his was baptised, Paganelli referred to as “Cammermusikmeister”.

After 1738 documentary evidence regarding his whereabouts activities is lacking. It is known from secondary sources that Paganelli maintained relations with various German courts without a permanent position, especially in Braunschweig (1737-39), Gotha, Durlach and Munich (1747). However, there were also operas by him staged in Venice (1742/43) and Florence (1746).

From 1756 he is referred to as “Director of Chamber Music of the King of Spain”, and one may assume that he probably lived in Madrid at that time. From the Paris edition of his 30 Duets entitled “Opus the Last”, published by Leloup in 1764, it can be concluded that he had died at that time or shortly before.

Paganelli came from the tradition of Italian Opera Seria. In Germany, he combined Italian, French and German stylistic elements, writing in an elegant, gallant style. His keyboard works remained popular until the beginning of the 19th century. Here is his Opus 1, Six trio sonatas for Baroque Flute (Benedek Csalog), Baroque Violin (Léaszló Paulik), Baroque Cello (Balázs Máté) and Harpsichord (Carmen Leoni).

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

TRAVEL TUESDAY #126 - FIJI

“To escape and sit quietly on the beach – that’s my idea of paradise.” - Emilia Wickstead 

Welcome to the Travel Tuesday meme! Join me every Tuesday and showcase your creativity in photography, painting and drawing, music, poetry, creative writing or a plain old natter about Travel.

There is only one simple rule: Link your own creative work about some aspect of travel and share it with the rest of us. Please use this meme for your creative endeavours only.

Do not use this meme to advertise your products or services as any links or comments by advertisers will be removed immediately.
Fiji (officially the Republic of Fiji - Fijian: Matanitu Tugalala o Viti) is an island country in Melanesia in the South Pacific Ocean about 1,100 nautical miles (2,000 km) northeast of New Zealand’s North Island. Its closest neighbours are Vanuatu to the west, New Caledonia to the southwest, New Zealand’s Kermadec Islands to the southeast, Tonga to the east, the Samoas and France’s Wallis and Futuna to the northeast, and Tuvalu to the north. Fiji is an archipelago of more than 330 islands (of which 110 are permanently inhabited) and more than 500 islets, amounting to a total land area of about 18,300 square kilometres. The farthest island is Ono-i-Lau. The two major islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, account for 87% of the total population of 898,760.

The capital, Suva on Viti Levu, serves as Fiji’s principal cruise port. About three-quarters of Fijians live on Viti Levu’s coasts, either in Suva or in smaller urban centres like Nadi (with tourism being the major industry) or Lautoka (sugar cane industry). Viti Levu's interior is sparsely inhabited due to its terrain. Fiji has one of the most developed economies in the Pacific due to an abundance of forest, mineral, and fish resources. Today, the main sources of foreign exchange are its tourist industry and sugar exports. The country’s currency is the Fijian dollar. Fiji’s local government, in the form of city and town councils, is supervised by the Ministry of Local Government and Urban Development.

The majority of Fiji’s islands were formed through volcanic activity starting around 150 million years ago. Today, some geothermal activity still occurs on the islands of Vanua Levu and Taveuni. Fiji has been inhabited since the second millennium BC, and was settled first by Austronesians and later by Melanesians, with some Polynesian influences. Europeans visited Fiji from the 17th century, and, after a brief period as an independent kingdom, the British established the Colony of Fiji in 1874. Fiji was a Crown colony until 1970, when it gained independence as the Dominion of Fiji.

A republic was declared in 1987, following a series of coups d’état. In a coup in 2006, Commodore Frank Bainimarama seized power. When the High Court ruled in 2009 that the military leadership was unlawful, President Ratu Josefa Iloilo, whom the military had retained as the nominal Head of State, formally abrogated the Constitution and reappointed Bainimarama. Later in 2009, Iloilo was replaced as President by Ratu Epeli Nailatikau. After years of delays, a democratic election was held on 17 September 2014. Bainimarama’s FijiFirst party won with 59.2% of the vote, and the election was deemed credible by international observer.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.

Saturday, 7 April 2018

MUSIC SATURDAY - JCF FISCHER

“April’s air stirs in Willow-leaves...a butterfly Floats and balances” ― Matsuo Bashō 

Johann Caspar Ferdinand Fischer (c.1656 – August 27, 1746) was a German Baroque composer. Johann Nikolaus Forkel ranked Fischer as one of the best composers for keyboard of his day; however, partly due to the rarity of surviving copies of his music, his music is rarely heard today.

Fischer seems to have been of Bohemian origin, possibly born at Schönfeld, but details about his life are sketchy. Fischer was baptised and spent his youth in Schlackenwerth, north-west Bohemia. The first record of his existence is found in the mid-1690s: by 1695 he was Kapellmeister to Ludwig Wilhelm of Baden, and he may have remained with the court until his death in Rastatt.

Much of Fischer’s music shows the influence of the French Baroque style, exemplified by Jean Baptiste Lully, and he was responsible for bringing the French influence to German music. Fischer’s harpsichord suites updated the standard Froberger model (Allemande - Courante - Sarabande - Gigue); he was also one of the first composers to apply the principles of the orchestral suite to the harpsichord, replacing the standard French ouverture with an unmeasured prelude. Both Bach and Handel knew Fischer’s work and sometimes borrowed from it.

Here is his “Le Journal du Printemps” (1695), played by L’Orfeo Barockorchester. It is a collection of eight orchestral suites (ouvertures) for strings (the first and last with two trumpets ad libitum, that is, optional.) Each suite begins with an introductory ouverture and ends with a chaconne or a passacaglia. Le “Journal du printemps”, Georg Muffat’s “Florilegium” and Benedikt Anton Aufschnaiter’s “Concors Discordia” (all published the same year) were the first collections of orchestral suites published in Germany.




Tuesday, 3 April 2018

TRAVEL TUESDAY #125 - JOHANNESBURG, STH AFRICA

“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.” - Nelson Mandela 

Welcome to the Travel Tuesday meme! Join me every Tuesday and showcase your creativity in photography, painting and drawing, music, poetry, creative writing or a plain old natter about Travel.

There is only one simple rule: Link your own creative work about some aspect of travel and share it with the rest of us. Please use this meme for your creative endeavours only.

Do not use this meme to advertise your products or services as any links or comments by advertisers will be removed immediately.
Johannesburg (also known as Jozi, Joburg and Egoli) is the largest city in South Africa and is one of the 50 largest urban areas in the world. It is the provincial capital and largest city in Gauteng, which is the wealthiest province in South Africa. While Johannesburg is not one of South Africa’s three capital cities, it is the seat of the Constitutional Court. The city is located in the mineral-rich Witwatersrand range of hills and is the centre of large-scale gold and diamond trade.

 The metropolis is an alpha global city as listed by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network. In 2011, the population of the city of Johannesburg was 4,434,827, making it the most populous city in South Africa. In the same year, the population of Johannesburg’s urban agglomeration was put at 7,860,781. The land area of the municipal city (1,645 km2) is large in comparison with those of other major cities, resulting in a moderate population density of 2,364/km2.

The city was established in 1886 following the discovery of gold on what had been a farm. The city is commonly interpreted as the modern day El Dorado due to the extremely large gold deposit found along the Witwatersrand. The name is attributed to one or all of three men involved in the establishment of the city. In ten years, the population was 100,000 inhabitants.

A separate city from the late 1970s until the 1990s, Soweto is now part of Johannesburg. Originally an acronym for “South-Western Townships”, Soweto originated as a collection of settlements on the outskirts of Johannesburg, populated mostly by native African workers from the gold mining industry. Soweto, although eventually incorporated into Johannesburg, had been separated as a residential area for blacks, who were not permitted to live in Johannesburg proper. Lenasia is predominantly populated by English-speaking South Africans of Indian descent. These areas were designated as non-white areas in accordance with the segregationist policies of the South African government known as apartheid.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Ruby Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.

Saturday, 31 March 2018

MUSIC SATURDAY - BACH FOR EASTER

“A man who was completely innocent, offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the world. It was a perfect act.” - Mahatma Gandhi 

J.S. Bach (1685 – 1750) wrote an enormous amount of music (much of it secular), however, like most composers of his age, he spent most of his professional life writing and directing music for the church. Consequently, he wrote well over 200 sacred cantatas (sometimes up to one a month) to provide music for the busy church calendar. 209 survive to the present day and of these, around 25 were written for the period starting on Easter Sunday and ending on Pentecost, four weeks later. Therefore, we have an embarrassment of riches to choose from for this season. Here is his “Der Himmel lacht, die Erde jubilieret” BWV 31 of 1715.

1. Sonata
2. Chorus (S, A, T, B) at 2:33
The heavens laugh!
The earth doth ring with glory,
And all she beareth in her lap;
Our Maker liveth!
The Highest standeth triumphant
And is from bonds of death now free
He who the grave for rest hath chosen,
The Holy One, seeeth not corruption.
3. Recit. (B) at 6:09
O welcome day!
O soul, again be glad!
The A and O,
The first and also last one,
Whom our own grievous guilt in death’s own prison buried,
Is now torn free of all his woe!
The Lord was dead,
And lo, again he liveth;
As liveth our head, so live as well his members.
The Lord hath in his hand
Of death and also hell the keys now!
He who his cloak
Blood-red did splash within his bitter passion,
Today will put on finery and honour.

Text: Salomo Franck. 21 April 1715, Weimar 1
Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, Ton Koopman, Director

Friday, 30 March 2018

FOOD FRIDAY - BREAD STICKS

“A loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and thou.” - Omar Khayyam

We have a house guest for Easter and amongst the things we had to eat were these bread sticks, from a recipe a friend of ours gave us. They are always a hit! 

Bread Sticks
Ingredients - dough
1 (7g) package active dry yeast
4 and 1⁄4 cups plain flour, plus more for dusting
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon sugar 1 tablespoon fine salt
Ingredients – topping
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1 pinch dried oregano
1 pinch dried thyme
1 pinch dried sage
1 pinch dried tarragon
1/2 teaspoon ground paprika 

Method
Place 1/4 cup warm water in the bowl of a mixer; sprinkle in the yeast and sugar, stirring to mix. Set aside in a warm place until foamy, about 5-10 minutes.
Add the flour, butter, salt and 1 and 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons warm water; mix with the dough hook until a slightly sticky dough forms (about 5 minutes).
Knead the dough by hand on a floured surface until very smooth and soft (about 3 minutes). Shape into a 60 cm roll; cut into 16 pieces, each just under 4 cm long. Knead each piece slightly and shape into a 17 cm long breadstick; arrange 4 cm apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Cover with a cloth; let rise in a warm spot until almost doubled, about 45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200˚C.
Brush the breadsticks with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the butter and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bake until slightly golden, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt with the garlic powder and oregano. Brush the warm breadsticks with the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter and sprinkle with the flavoured salt.