Tag Archives: France

Rostropovich plays the Sarabande from Bach’s Cello Suite # 1: great compositions/performances


Rostropovich plays the Sarabande from Bach’s Cello Suite # 1

quotation: Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent. Victor Hugo


 

Victor Hugo

Victor Hugo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.

Victor Hugo (1802-1885) Discuss

 

today’s birthday: Georges Clemenceau (1841)


Georges Clemenceau (1841)

Clemenceau was a French journalist and statesman whose politics brought him into conflict with Napoleon III’s government. After spending several years in the US, he returned to France and became mayor of Montmartre. In 1880, he began publishing La Justice, which became the primary organ of Parisian radicalism, and he later published Emile Zola’s “J’accuse,” a passionate criticism of the Dreyfus Affair. He served as premier during World War I and was a key architect of what treaty? More… Discuss

Éléonore Darmon et Éric Astoul jouent Tchaikovsky “Souvenir d’un Lieu Cher” op. 42: make music part of your life series


Éléonore Darmon et Éric Astoul jouent TchaikovskySouvenir d’un Lieu Cher” op. 42 

Saint of the Day for Saturday, September 27th, 2014: St. Vincent de Paul


Image of St. Vincent de Paul

St. Vincent de Paul

St. Vincent was born of poor parents in the village of Pouy in Gascony, France, about 1580. He enjoyed his first schooling under the Franciscan Fathers at Acqs. Such had been his progress in four … continue reading

More Saints of the Day

this day in the yesteryear: Two Plus Four Agreement Signed in Moscow (1990)


Two Plus Four Agreement Signed in Moscow (1990)

The Two Plus Four Agreement, also known as the Treaty on the Final Settlement With Respect to Germany, was the final peace treaty negotiated between West Germany and East Germany—the “Two”—and the four powers that occupied Germany at the end of World War II: France, the UK, the US, and the Soviet Union. The treaty paved the way for the German reunification, which took place less than a month later, on October 3. What rights did the four powers renounce under the treaty’s terms? More… Discuss

Roquefort Cheese


Roquefort Cheese

French Roquefort, a famous blue cheese, which ...

French Roquefort, a famous blue cheese, which is required by European law to be made from raw sheep’s milk. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the best-known of all French cheeses, Roquefort comes from ewe’s milk aged in the caves of Roquefort-sur-Soulzon in the south of France. Though similar cheeses are produced elsewhere, European law dictates that only those cheeses aged in Roquefort-sur-Soulzon’s caves may bear the name “Roquefort.” Distinctive veins of blue mold, found in the caves’ soil, give the cheese its characteristic odor and strong taste of butyric acid. According to legend, how was this mold discovered? More… Discuss

today’s holiday: Pfifferdaj


Pfifferdaj

An Alsatian festival of medieval origin, Pfifferdaj—also known as the Fiddlers’ Festival—is celebrated in the city of Ribeauvillé, France. In the Middle Ages, the Ribeaupierre family started a musicians’ union here, and every September the musicians of Alsace gathered to pay homage to the lord of Ribeaupierre by forming a procession to the church of Notre Dame du Dusenbach. Today the custom continues. Wine flows freely from the fountain in front of the town hall, and a procession of fiddlers and other musicians, often playing old instruments, makes its way through the town. More… Discuss

today’s birthday: Marquis de Lafayette (1757)


Marquis de Lafayette (1757)

Lafayette was a French aristocrat most famous for his participation in the American and French revolutions. He fought with distinction in the American Revolution, becoming a close friend of George Washington. Upon returning to France, “the Hero of Two Worlds” turned his attentions to his home country, helping draft the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen and pushing for a constitutional monarchy. Lafayette is one of only seven people to have been accorded what honor by the US? More… Discuss

today’s birthday: Louis XIV of France (1638)


Louis XIV of France (1638)

The “Sun King,” Louis XIV, ruled France for 72 years, longer than any other major European monarch. A strong believer in dictatorship by divine right, he viewed himself as God‘s representative on Earth and became the archetype of the absolute monarch, reigning over a highly centralized state. He waged several wars, built one of Europe’s most elaborate palaces at Versailles, and was a great patron of the arts. What is the meaning of “L’état, c’est moi,” a remark long attributed to Louis? More… Discuss

quotation: To love another person is to see the face of God. Victor Hugo (1802-1885)


To love another person is to see the face of God.

Victor Hugo (1802-1885) Discuss

Lalo / Isaac Stern, 1956: Symphonie Espagnol in D minor, Op. 21 – Complete (Original Vinyl LP): great compositions/performances


Lalo / Isaac Stern, 1956: Symphonie Espagnol in D minor, Op. 21 – Complete (Original Vinyl LP)

Movements/Sections

5 movements:

  1. Allegro non troppo
  2. Scherzando. Allegro molto
  3. Intermezzo. Allegro non troppo
  4. Andante
  5. Rondo
Composition Year 1874

today’s holiday: Wheat Harvest Festival


Wheat Harvest Festival

The small village of Provins in north-central France celebrates its wheat harvest at the end of the summer. On the last Sunday of August, villagers decorate their homes and shops with wheat and wildflowers. There are also exhibits of antique farming tools and parades featuring harvest floats pulled by tractors. The villagers reenact ancient rituals involving wheat and perform demonstrations of how the grain is separated, ground, and baked to make bread. More… Discuss

this day in the yesteryear: Kellogg-Briand Pact Signed (1928)


Kellogg-Briand Pact Signed (1928)

The Kellogg-Briand Pact was an agreement between the US and France to renounce war and seek settlement of disputes by peaceful means. It took its name from US Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg and French foreign minister Aristide Briand. Sixty other nations ultimately ratified the pact, but it made no provision for measures against aggressors and proved ineffective, especially given the practice of waging undeclared wars in the 1930s. What role did it play in the Nuremberg Trials? More… Discuss

today’s birthday: Julio Cortázar (1914) “French: a culture of inclusion”


 

Français : Plaque commémorative, 4 rue Martel,...

Français : Plaque commémorative, 4 rue Martel, Paris 10 e . « Ici vécut Julio Cortázar, 1914-1984, écrivain argentin naturalisé français, auteur de Marelle. » (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Julio Cortázar (1914)

Cortázar was an Argentinean novelist who gained recognition as one of the century’s major experimental writers. A permanent resident of France after 1951, his works reflect his interest in French Surrealism, psychoanalysis, photography, jazz, and revolutionary Latin American politics. His masterpiece, Rayuela—translated as Hopscotch—creates a world in which eroticism, humor, and play offer solace for life’s cruelty and despair. What is unique about the novel’s structure? More… Discuss

Led Zeppelin – Immigrant Song (Live Video) : make music part of your life series



from

Led Zeppelin – Immigrant Song (Live Video)


“Immigrant Song”

Ah, ah,

We come from the land of the ice and snow,

From the midnight sun where the hot springs flow.

The hammer of the gods will drive our ships to new lands,

To fight the horde, singing and crying: Valhalla, I am coming!On we sweep with threshing oar, Our only goal will be the western shore.

Ah, ah,
We come from the land of the ice and snow,
From the midnight sun where the hot springs blow.
How soft your fields so green, can whisper tales of gore,
Of how we calmed the tides of war. We are your overlords.

On we sweep with threshing oar, Our only goal will be the western shore.

So now you’d better stop and rebuild all your ruins,
For peace and trust can win the day despite of all your losing.

Claude Debussy – Printemps (Suite symphonique): great compositions/performances


Claude Debussy – Printemps (Suite symphonique)

Orquestra Sinfônica de Minas Gerais – (OSMG)
Regência: Charles Roussin

quotation: To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark. Victor Hugo


To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.

Victor Hugo (1802-1885) Discuss

Vladimir Horowitz 1950 / Chopin Piano Sonata No. 2 in B-flat minor, Op. 35 “Funeral March”: unique musical moments



From:  ss sabu  ss sabu

Vladimir Horowitz 1950 / Chopin Piano Sonata No. 2 in B-flat minor, Op. 35 “Funeral March”

Vladimir Horowitz 1950
Chopin
Piano Sonata No. 2 in B-flat minor, Op. 35 “Funeral March”

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Chopin, 1835

Frédéric Chopin‘s Piano Sonata No. 2 in B-flat minor, Op. 35, popularly known as The Funeral March, was completed in 1839 at Nohant, near Châteauroux in France. However, the third movement, whence comes the sonata’s common nickname, had been composed as early as 1837.

The sonata comprises four movements:

  1. Grave – Doppio movimento

  2. Scherzo

  3. Marche funèbre: Lento

  4. Finale: Presto

Funeral march

As noted above, the third movement is structured as a funeral march played with a Lento interlude. While the term “funeral march” is perhaps a fitting description of the 3rd movement, complete with the Lento Interlude in D-flat major, the expression “Chopin’s Funeral March” is used commonly to describe only the funeral march proper (in B-flat minor).

It was transcribed for full orchestra in 1933 by the English composer Sir Edward Elgar (in D minor), and its first performance was at his own memorial concert the next year. It was also transcribed for large orchestra by the conductor Leopold Stokowski; this version was recorded for the first time by Matthias Bamert.

The emotive “funeral march” has become well known in popular culture. It was used at the state funerals of John F. Kennedy, Sir Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher and those of Soviet leaders, including Leonid Brezhnev. It was also played in the funeral of the Spanish poet Miguel Hernández and at thegraveside during Chopin’s own burial at Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.

 

this day in the yesteryear: First Transatlantic Telegraph Sent (1858)


First Transatlantic Telegraph Sent (1858)

After the introduction of the working telegraph in 1839, the idea that countries and continents could be connected by a communications network became an exciting possibility. A working telegraph could transmit in mere minutes messages that had once taken weeks to deliver by sea. England and France were linked by submarine cable in 1850, but it took several attempts over the next eight years before a lasting connection could be maintained across the Atlantic. How long was this cable operational? More… Discuss

The Cannes Film Festival


The Cannes Film Festival

This prestigious international film festival is held annually in Cannes, France. It takes place at the Palais des Festivals, and its most illustrious award is the Palme d’Or—meaning “Golden Palm“—for the best film. First held in 1946, the festival marked a resurgence for the film industry, which had been shattered by World War II, and became a meeting place for those interested in the art and influence of the movies. Why wasn’t the festival held in either 1948 or 1950? More… Discuss

this day in the yesteryear: End of the Holy Roman Empire: Francis II Abdicates (1806)


End of the Holy Roman Empire: Francis II Abdicates (1806)

 

English: Map of the Holy Roman Empire, 1789, t...

English: Map of the Holy Roman Empire, 1789, translated (somewhat) from original German version on Wikipedia Commons (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Francis II, the last Holy Roman Emperor, came to power just before the outbreak of war with Napoleon’s France. His armies were defeated, and he ceded the left bank of the Rhine to France in exchange for Venetia and Dalmatia. In 1798, he joined the Second Coalition against France, but he was again defeated. He eventually consented to the virtual dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire and assumed the title of emperor of Austria. Though he despised Napoleon, Francis allowed him to marry whom? More… Discuss

this day in the yesteryear: The Statue of Liberty’s Cornerstone Is Laid (1884)


The Statue of Liberty’s Cornerstone Is Laid (1884)

The Statue of Liberty—officially “Liberty Enlightening the World”—is located on Liberty Island in New York Harbor. It was a gift to the US from France to commemorate France’s alliance with the colonies during the American Revolution. Though it is now an iconic landmark, many forget that “Lady Liberty” also served as a functioning lighthouse from 1886 to 1902. Designed by French sculptor F.A. Bartholdi, the statue depicts Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom. Who served as Bartholdi’s model? More… Discuss

this day in the yesteryear: Feudalism Abolished in France (1789)


Feudalism Abolished in France (1789)

The monarchical absolutism of King Louis XIV of France destroyed the roots of feudalism, but outward feudal forms persisted and became increasingly burdensome. Therefore, just weeks after the storming of the Bastille, the National Assembly held a meeting in which the nobles and clergy—driven partly by fear and partly by an outburst of idealism—relinquished their manorial rights within the course of a few hours. What are the National Assembly’s August 1789 decisions collectively called? More… Discuss

quotation: Wisdom is a sacred communion. Victor Hugo (1802-1885)


Wisdom is a sacred communion.

Victor Hugo (1802-1885) Discuss

this day in the yesteryear: Maximilien Robespierre Guillotined (1794)


Maximilien Robespierre Guillotined (1794)

Known as “the Incorruptible” for his emphasis on civic morality, Robespierre became one of the leading figures of the French Revolution. He was an influential member of the Committee of Public Safety, the political body that controlled France during the bloody revolutionary period known as the “Reign of Terror.” However, popular discontent with the committee’s brutal measures soon grew, and Robespierre was guillotined in the coup of 9 Thermidor. What might have been his last words? More… Discuss

Marlene Dietrich “Je m’ennuie” 1933


Marlene Dietrich “Je m’ennuie” 1933

LilyMarleneDietrich

Marlene Dietrich (1901-1992) enregistrée le 15 juillet 1933 à Paris.

De ce que fut mon enfance,
Je n’ai plus de souvenirs.
C’est peut-être que la chance
Ne m’offrit pas de plaisirs.
Et chaque jour qui se lève
Ne m’apporte aucun espoir.
Je n’ai même pas de rêve
Quand luit l’etoile du soir.

Moi, je m’ennuie,
C’est dans ma vie
Une manie.
Je n’y peux rien..
Le plaisir passe,
Il me dépasse.
En moi sa trace
Ne laisse rien.
Partout je traîne,
Comme une chaîne,
Ma lourde peine,
Sans autre bien.
C’est dans ma vie
Une manie.
Moi, je m’ennuie…

Par de longs vagabondages,
J’ai voulu griser mon coeur,
Et souvent, sur mon passage,
J’ai vu naître des malheurs.
Sur chaque nouvelle route,
A l’amour j’ai dû mentir ;
Et le soir, lorsque j’écoute
La plainte du vent mourir…

Moi, je m’ennuie…
C’est dans ma vie
Une manie.
Je n’y peux rien..
Le plaisir passe,
Il me dépasse.
En moi sa trace
Ne laisse rien.
Partout je traîne,
Comme une chaîne,
Ma lourde peine,
Sans autre bien.
C’est dans ma vie
Une manie.
Moi, je m’ennuie…

this day in the yesteryear: Henry IV of France Converts to Catholicism (1593)


Henry IV of France Converts to Catholicism (1593)

Henry IV was the first of the Bourbon kings of France, reigning from 1589 until his death. A Protestant, Henry was involved in the Wars of Religion before his accession to the throne. He then converted to Catholicism, allegedly explaining his pragmatic philosophy with the statement, “Paris is well worth a mass.” Five years later, he signed the Edict of Nantes, granting religious and civil liberties to Protestants, and ruled as one of the most popular French kings. Who assassinated him in 1610? More… Discuss

La prise de la Bastille (Sketch Guru – my art collection)


Prise de la Bastille (MyArtCollection)

Prise de la Bastille (MyArtCollection) 

I sketch this painting with Sketch Guru on my Android phone :-) http://bit.ly/sketchguru

After that, I turned to Fast Stone Image Editor to resize, adjust colors and crop…

 

today’s holiday: Bastille Day (prise de la Bastille)


Bastille Day

Prise de la Bastille Jean-Pierre Houël (1735-1813) – Bibliothèque nationale de France

The Bastille was a 14th-century fortress that became a notorious state prison in Paris. An angry mob assaulted the Bastille—which had come to symbolize the French monarchy‘s oppression of the people—on July 14, 1789, freeing the political prisoners held there and launching the French Revolution. July 14 has been celebrated since that time in France as Fête Nationale, as well as in French territories in the Pacific, with parades, fireworks and dancing in the streets. In Tahiti and the rest of French Polynesia, it is called Tiurai or Heiva, and is celebrated for most of the month. More… Discuss

 

Great AudioBooks: LES MISERABLES – Victor Hugo Part 1 Livre Audio Francais Audio Book


LES MISERABLES – Victor Hugo Part 1 Livre Audio Francais Audio Book [GreatAudioBooks]

Jean Valjean.JPG

Author Victor Hugo
Illustrator Emile Bayard
Country France
Language French
Genre Epic novel, historical fiction
Publisher A. Lacroix, Verboeckhoven & Cie.
Publication date
1862

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this day in the yesteryear: Hugh Capet Crowned King of France (987)


Hugh Capet Crowned King of France (987)

Capet was the son of Hugh the Great, to whose vast territories he succeeded in 956. After the death of Louis V, the last Carolingian king of France, the nobles and prelates elected Capet king—setting aside the last Carolingian claimant, Charles I, who proceeded to fight Capet through most of his reign. Capet ruled France from 987 to 996 and was succeeded by his son, whom he had crowned in 987 to secure the succession. Today, members of the Capetian dynasty are heads of state in what countries? More… Discuss

quotation: There is nothing like a dream to create the future. Victor Hugo


QUOTATION

There is nothing like a dream to create the future.

Victor Hugo (1802-1885) Discuss

Eleanor of Aquitaine


Eleanor of Aquitaine

Eleanor was the queen consort of Louis VII of France and then of Henry II of England and mother of two kings of England, Richard I and John. She established a court at Poitiers noted for its cultivation of the concept of courtly love and later helped Richard secure the throne. When he was held captive in Europe, she forestalled John’s plots against him and worked to collect ransom for his release. She later facilitated the brothers’ reconciliation. Who was she rumored to have poisoned? More… Discuss

today’s birthday: Jean Moulin (1899)


Jean Moulin (1899)

Jean Moulin was a high-profile member of the French resistance during World War II. At Charles de Gaulle‘s

Logo Résistance française (Jean Moulin et Croi...

Logo Résistance française (Jean Moulin et Croix de Lorraine) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

bidding, he formed the National Council of the Resistance, which coordinated the actions of the different groups that made up the Resistance. A day after his birthday in 1943, he was captured and tortured by the Gestapo and died soon after. He is remembered as a symbol of civic virtues, moral rectitude, and patriotism. Why is Moulin often depicted wearing a scarf around his neck? More… Discuss

this day in the yesteryear: Battle of Waterloo: Napoleon’s Last Battle (1815)


Battle of Waterloo: Napoleon’s Last Battle (1815)

After returning from exile at Elba, Napoleon reinstalled himself on the throne of France. As he traveled to Paris to take power, a coalition of European powers organized against him. On June 18, Napoleon began a direct offensive against British forces, but the British held the line until Prussian troops arrived, marking a turning point in the battle. Routed, the French retreated, and Napoleon left the field and signed his second abdication. To what continent did he allegedly try to escape? More… Discuss

make music part of your life series: Yves Montand – Le temps des cerises


Please access the original video for comments and lyrics!

Le Temps des Cerises

Quand nous en serons au temps des cerises
Et gai rossignol et merle moqueur
Seront tous en fête
Les belles auront la folie en tête
Et les amoureux du soleil au cœur

Quand nous chanterons le temps des cerises
Sifflera bien mieux le merle moqueur
Mais il est bien court le temps des cerises
Où l’on s’en va deux cueillir en rêvant
Des pendants d’oreilles
Cerises d’amour aux robes pareilles
Tombant sous la feuille en gouttes de sang
Mais il est bien court le temps des cerises
Pendants de corail qu’on cueille en rêvant

Quand vous en serez au temps des cerises
Si vous avez peur des chagrins d’amour
Evitez les belles Moi qui ne crains pas les peines cruelles
Je ne vivrai pas sans souffrir un jour
Quand vous en serez au temps des cerises
Vous aurez aussi des chagrins d’amour

J’aimerai toujours le temps des cerises
C’est de ce temps-là que je garde au cœur
Une plaie ouverte
Et Dame Fortune, en m’étant offerte
Ne saura jamais calmer ma douleur
J’aimerai toujours le temps des cerises
Et le souvenir que je garde au cœur

— lyrics by Jean-Baptiste Clément and music by Antoine Renard

 

Georges Brassens: La Prière (The Prayer)


La Prière

Par le petit garçon qui meurt près de sa mère
Tandis que des enfants s’amusent au parterre
Et par l’oiseau blessé qui ne sait pas comment
Son aile tout à coup s’ensanglante et descend
Par la soif et la faim et le délire ardent
Je vous salue, Marie.

Par les gosses battus, par l’ivrogne qui rentre
Par l’âne qui reçoit des coups de pied au ventre
Et par l’humiliation de l’innocent châtié
Par la vierge vendue qu’on a déshabillée
Par le fils dont la mère a été insultée
Je vous salue, Marie.

Par la vieille qui, trébuchant sous trop de poids
S’écrie: ” Mon Dieu ! ” par le malheureux dont les bras
Ne purent s’appuyer sur une amour humaine
Comme la Croix du Fils sur Simon de Cyrène
Par le cheval tombé sous le chariot qu’il traîne
Je vous salue, Marie.

Par les quatre horizons qui crucifient le monde
Par tous ceux dont la chair se déchire ou succombe
Par ceux qui sont sans pieds, par ceux qui sont sans mains
Par le malade que l’on opère et qui geint
Et par le juste mis au rang des assassins
Je vous salue, Marie.

Par la mère apprenant que son fils est guéri
Par l’oiseau rappelant l’oiseau tombé du nid
Par l’herbe qui a soif et recueille l’ondée
Par le baiser perdu par l’amour redonné
Et par le mendiant retrouvant sa monnaie
Je vous salue, Marie.

The Prayer

For the little boy who lays dying close to his mother
While children play on the flower bed
And for the wounded bird that doesn’t know how
His wing became suddenly bloody and falls from the sky
For the thirst and the hunger and the feverous delirium
Hail, Mary

For the beaten children, for the drunk who returns home
For the ass who gets kicked in the stomach
And for the humiliation of the innocents who are punished
For the sold virgin that is undressed
For the son whose mother has been insulted
Hail, Mary

For the old woman who stumbles under too much weight
Exclaiming “My God!”, for the unfortunate ones whose arms
Couldn’t rely on a human love
Like Simon of Cyrene bearing the Cross of the Son
For the fallen horse under the chariot that it drags
Hail, Mary

For the four horizons that crucify the world
For all those whose flesh is torn or dies
For all those who are without feet, who are without hands
For the sick that are operated on and moan
And for the just put among the ranks of killers
Hail, Mary

For the mother learning that her son is healed
For the bird calling the fallen bird back to the nest
For the thirsty grass that gathers rain
For the lost kiss returned by love
And for the beggar who finds his money again
Hail, Mary

this day in history: Last Public Execution in France (1939)


Last Public Execution in France (1939)

Eugen Weidmann, a convicted thief, kidnapper, and murderer, was the last person to be publicly executed in France. After his arrest, Weidmann confessed to murdering five people and was sentenced to death. Shortly thereafter, he was beheaded by guillotine. The “hysterical behavior” of spectators at the event was so scandalous that French President Albert Lebrun immediately banned all future public executions. Executions by guillotine in France continued in private until what date? More… Discuss

this pressed: Dan Munro – The Healthcare Compass – Forbes (the true face of healthcare for profit)


Dan Munro

Dan Munro – The Healthcare Compass – Forbes.

Healthy lives: The U.S. ranks last overall with poor scores on all three indicators of healthy lives — mortality amenable to medical care, infant mortality, and healthy life expectancy at age 60. Overall, France, Sweden, and Switzerland rank highest on healthy lives.

Perhaps the biggest single takeaway was this one:

The most notable way the U.S. differs from other industrialized countries is the absence of universal health insurance coverage. Other nations ensure the accessibility of care through universal health systems and through better ties between patients and the physician practices that serve as their medical homes. The Commonwealth Fund “Mirror, Mirror On The Wall — 2014 Update” 

Unfortunately, many still equate “universal healthcare” with “Government run” or “single payer” healthcare. It isn’t (Universal Coverage Is Not “Single Payer” Healthcare — here).

this day in the yesteryear: France’s Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle Founded (1793)


The Museum of Natural History in the Garden of...

The Museum of Natural History in the Garden of Plants ( Jardin des plantes ), in Paris (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

France’s Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle Founded (1793)

The Jardin des Plantes, the main botanical garden in France, is situated near the left bank of the river Seine in Paris and is home to the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, France’s museum of natural history, as well as an elaborate rose garden, numerous hothouses, and a zoo. The museum is now a center for research and education. Although it was founded during the French Revolution, the museum was born out of a medicinal plant garden created by what French monarch in 1635? More… Discuss

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today’s holiday: St. Médardus’s Day


St. Médardus’s Day

St. Médardus, or Médard, who lived from about 470 to 560 CE, was the bishop of Vermandois, Noyon, and Tournai in France. Because he was the patron saint of farmers and good weather, he has come to play a role in weather lore similar to that of the English St. Swithin. In Belgium he is known as the rain saint, and there is an old folk rhyme that says, “If it rains on St. Médard‘s Day, it will rain for 40 days.” More… Discuss

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Leonard Cohen – The Partisan the “…freedom comes from shadows…”


Leonard Cohen – The Partisan

The Partisan.
When they poured across the border
I was cautioned to surrender,
this I could not do;
I took my gun and vanished.
I have changed my name so often,
I’ve lost my wife and children
but I have many friends,
and some of them are with me.

An old woman gave us shelter,
kept us hidden in the garret,
then the soldiers came;
she died without a whisper.

There were three of us this morning
I’m the only one this evening
but I must go on;
the frontiers are my prison.

Oh, the wind, the wind is blowing,
through the graves the wind is blowing,
freedom soon will come;
then we’ll come from the shadows.

Les Allemands e’taient chez moi, (The Germans were at my home)
ils me dirent, “Signe toi,” (They said, “Sign yourself,”)
mais je n’ai pas peur; (But I am not afraid)
j’ai repris mon arme. (I have retaken my weapon.)

J’ai change’ cent fois de nom, (I have changed names a hundred times)
j’ai perdu femme et enfants (I have lost wife and children)
mais j’ai tant d’amis; (But I have so many friends)
j’ai la France entie`re. (I have all of France)

Un vieil homme dans un grenier (An old man, in an attic)
pour la nuit nous a cache’, (Hid us for the night)
les Allemands l’ont pris; (The Germans captured him)
il est mort sans surprise. (He died without surprise.)

Oh, the wind, the wind is blowing,
through the graves the wind is blowing,
freedom soon will come;
then we’ll come from the shadows.

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historic musical moments: Amédée-Ernest Chausson – Poeme for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 25 ( State Symphony Orchestra – Kyrill Kondrashin, David Oistrakh – violin)


Amédée-Ernest Chausson – Poeme for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 25

State Symphony Orchestra – Kyrill Kondrashin, David Oistrakh – violin
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ernest Chausson, cabinet card photo by P. Frois, Biarritz (France), ca. 1885, Bibliothèque nationale de France
Amédée-Ernest Chausson (French: [ʃosɔ̃]; 20 January 1855 – 10 June 1899) was a French romantic composer who died just as his career was beginning to flourish.

Life

Ernest Chausson was born in Paris into a prosperous bourgeois family. His father made his fortune assisting Baron Haussmann in the redevelopment of Paris in the 1850s. To please his father, Chausson studied law and was appointed a barrister for the Court of Appeals, but had little or no interest in the profession. He frequented the Paris salons, where he met celebrities such as Henri Fantin-Latour, Odilon Redon, and Vincent d’Indy.

Before deciding on a musical career, he dabbled in writing and drawing.

Chausson page-turning for Debussy, Luzancy, 1893

In October 1879, at the age of 25, he began attending the composition classes of the opera composer Jules Massenet at the Paris Conservatoire; Massenet came to regard him as ‘an exceptional person and a true artist’. Chausson had already composed some piano pieces and songs. Nevertheless, the earliest manuscripts that have been preserved are those corrected by Massenet. At the Paris Conservatoire, Chausson also studied with César Franck. Chausson interrupted his studies in 1881, after a failed attempt to win the Prix de Rome. [1] During 1882 and 1883, Chausson, who enjoyed travel, visited Bayreuth to hear the operas of Wagner. On the first of these journeys, Chausson went with d’Indy for the premiere of Wagner’s Parsifal, and on the second trip he went with his new spouse Jeanne Escudier (1862-1936), with whom he was to have five children.

From 1886 until his death in 1899, Chausson was secretary of the Société Nationale de Musique. In his own home (22 Boulevard de Courcelles, near Parc Monceau), he received a great many eminent artists, including the composers Henri Duparc, Gabriel Fauré, Claude Debussy, and Isaac Albéniz, the poet Mallarmé, the Russian novelist Turgenev, and the impressionist painter Monet. Chausson also assembled an important collection of paintings

Death

Chausson’s tomb, Père Lachaise, Paris

When only 44 years old,

Chausson died while staying at one of his country retreats, the Château de Mioussets, in Limay, Yvelines. Riding his bicycle downhill, Chausson hit a brick wall and died instantly. The exact circumstances remain unclear; although apparently a freak accident, there has been the suggestion of suicide, as Chausson had been suffering from depression for some time. This suicide theory was propounded by Debussy’s biographer Edward Lockspeiser,[1] but has been firmly rejected more recently by Chausson’s own biographer Ralph Scott Grover.[2]

Chausson was buried in Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, his funeral attended by many leading figures of the arts, including Duparc, Fauré, Albeniz, Redon, Edgar Degas, Auguste Rodin, Henri de Régnier, Pierre Louÿs, and Debussy, although his friendship with Debussy had ended abruptly five years earlier following his disapproval of Debussy’s promiscuity.[3][4]

Eponymy

A small park, Square Ernest Chausson, in the 17th arrondissement of Paris is named in his honour.

Music

Ernest Chausson, photograph by Guy & Mockel, Paris, ca. 1897, Bibliothèque nationale de France.

The creative work of Chausson is commonly divided into three periods. In the first, which was dominated by Massenet, the composer exhibits primarily fluid and elegant melodies. The second period, dating from 1886, is marked by a more dramatic character, deriving partly from Chausson’s contacts with the artistic milieux in which he moved. From his father’s death in 1894 dates the beginning of his third period, during which he was especially influenced by his reading of the symbolist poets and Russian literature, particularly Turgenev, Dostoyevsky, and Tolstoy.

Chausson’s work is deeply individual, but it does reflect some technical influences of both Wagner and his other musical hero Franck. Stylistic traces of Massenet and even Brahms can be detected sometimes. In general, Chausson’s compositional idiom bridges the gap between the ripe Romanticism of Massenet and Franck and the more introverted Impressionism of Debussy.

Several delicate and admirable songs came from Chausson’s pen. He completed one opera, Le roi Arthus (King Arthur). His orchestral output was small, but significant. It includes the symphonic poem Viviane; the Symphony in B-flat, his sole symphony; Poème for violin and orchestra, an important piece in the violin repertoire; and the dramatic, and haunting, song-cycle Poème de l’amour et de la mer.

Chausson is believed to be the first composer to use the celesta. He employed that instrument in December 1888 in his incidental music, written for a small orchestra, for La tempête, a French translation by Maurice Bouchor of Shakespeare‘s The Tempest.[5]

Not at all prolific, Chausson left behind only 39 opus-numbered pieces. Musical creation for him always proved to be a long, painful struggle. However, the quality and originality of his compositions are consistently high, and they continue to make occasional appearances on programs of leading singers, chamber music ensembles and orchestras.

“There are moments when I feel myself driven by a kind of feverish instinct, as if I had the presentiment of being unable to attain my goal, or of attaining it too late.” Ernest Chausson

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Yo-Yo Ma


Yo-Yo Ma

World-famous American cellist Yo-Yo Ma was born in France to Chinese parents in 1955. A musical prodigy, he gave a public recital in Paris at age six and his first performance at Carnegie Hall at age nine. He later attended the prestigious Julliard School of Music and ascended rapidly to the highest rank of international soloists, winning the Avery Fisher Prize in 1978. What became of a centuries-old cello valued at $2.5 million that Ma accidentally left in a New York City taxi in 1999? More… Discuss

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make music part of your life series: GABRIEL FAURÉ – CANTIQUE DE JEAN RACINE (Op. 11) (lyrics in French, English and Romanian)


GABRIEL FAURÉ – CANTIQUE DE JEAN RACINE (Op. 11)

Gabriel Urbain Fauré was a French composer, organist, pianist and teacher. He was one of the foremost French composers of his generation, and his musical style influenced many 20th century composers. Among his best-known works are his Nocturnes for piano, the songs “Après un rêve” and “Clair de lune” and his Requiem.

Cantique de Jean Racine (Op. 11) is a work for mixed chorus and piano or organ by Gabriel Fauré. Written by the nineteen year old composer in 1864-5, the piece won Fauré the first prize when he graduated from the École Niedermeyer and was first performed the following year on August 4, 1866, with accompaniment of strings and organ. It was first published around 1875 or 1876 (Schoen, Paris, as part of the series Echo des Maîtrises) and appeared in a version for orchestra (possibly by the composer) in 1906. The accompaniment has also been arranged for strings and harp by John Rutter.

Jean Racine, baptismal name Jean-Baptiste Racine was a French dramatist, one of the “Big Three” of 17th century France (along with Molière and Corneille), and one of the most important literary figures in the Western tradition. Racine was primarily a tragedian, producing such ‘examples of neoclassical perfection’ as Phèdre, Andromaque, and Athalie, although he did write one comedy, Les Plaideurs, and a muted tragedy, Esther, for the young.

Cantique De Jean Racine

 

Verbe égal au Très-Haut, notre unique espérance,
Jour éternel de la terre et des cieux;
De la paisible nuit nous rompons le silence,
Divin Sauveur, jette sur nous les yeux!

Répands sur nous le feu de ta grâce puissante,
Que tout l’enfer fuie au son de ta voix;
Dissipe le sommeil d’une âme languissante,
Qui la conduit à l’oubli de tes lois!

O Christ, sois favorable à ce peuple fidèle
Pour te bénir maintenant rassemblé.
Reçois les chants qu’il offre à ta gloire immortelle,
Et de tes dons qu’il retourne comblé!

English

Hymn of Jean Racine

Versions: #1#2

Verb equal to God, the Almighty, our only hope,
Eternal day of the earth and heavens;
We break the silence of the peaceful night,
Divine Saviour, look upon us!

Fan the fire of your powerful grace upon us,
So that all Hell may flee at the sound of your voice;
Shake off the sleep of a languishing soul,
Who has forgotten your laws!

O Christ, be kind to these faithful people
Who have now gathered in thanks.
Listen to the chants they offer to your immortal glory,
And may they come away fulfilled with your gifts!

Romanian

Imnul lui Jean Racine

Cuvântul Celui de Sus, singura noastră speranţă,
Ziua veşnică a pământului şi a cerurilor;
Rupem tăcerea acestei nopţi liniştite,
Mântuitor divin, întoarce-Ţi privirea către noi!

Revarsă-Ţi asupra noastră focul slavei tale atotputernice
Astfel ca iadul întreg să fugă la auzul vocii tale;
Alungă somnul unui suflet ostenit,
Care l-a dus la uitarea legilor tale!

O, Hristoase, fii milostiv cu acest popor credincios
Ce acum s-a adunat pentru a te preamări.
Ascultă cântecele pe care ţi le închină pentru slava ta veşnică
Şi fie ca ele să fie întoarse prin harul tău!

(Promoted from http://lyricstranslate.com/en/cantique-de-jean-racine-hymnn-jean-racine.html#ixzz33bGSGChl)
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Jacques Brel | Le Plat Pays (“…Avec des cathédrales pour uniques montagnes, Et de noirs clochers comme mats de cocagne…”)


Jacques Brel | Le Plat Pay

Avec |Ne Me Quitte Pas|, |Quand On N’a Que L’amour| et |La Ville S’endormait|, |Le Plat Pays| restera comme une des meilleures chansons de | Jacques Brel|. C’est aussi un superbe poème d’évocation du pays natal

Chansons: Le Plat Pays – Jacques Brel
Auteurs: Jacques Brel
Compositeurs: Jacques Brel

Avec la mer du Nord pour dernier terrain vague,
Et des vagues de dunnes pour arrêter les vagues,
Et de vagues rochers que les marées dépass’nt,
Et qui ont à jamais le coeur à marée basse.
Avec infiniment de brumes à venir
Avec le vent d’ouest écoutez le tenir
Le plat pays qui est le mien.

Avec des cathédrales pour uniques montagnes,
Et de noirs clochers comme mats de cocagne
Ou des diables en pierre décrochent les nuages,
Avec le fil des jours pour unique voyage,
Et des chemins de pluie pour unique bonsoir,
Avec le vent de l’est écoutez le vouloir,
Le plat pays qui est le mien.

Avec un ciel si bas qu’un canal s’est perdu,
Avec un ciel si bas qu’il fait l’humilité
Avec un ciel si gris qu’un canal s’est pendu,
Avec un ciel si bas qu’il faut lui pardonner.
Avec le vent du nord qui vient s’écarteler,
Avec le vent du nord écoutez le craquer,
Le plat pays qui est le mien.

Avec de l’Italie qui descendrait l’Escaut,
Avec Frida la Blond’ quand ell’devient Margot,
Quand les fils de Novembr’ nous reviennent en Mai,
Quand la plain’est fumant’ et tremble sous Juillet,
Quand le vent est au rire quand le vent est au blé,
Quand le vent est sud écoutez le chanter,
Le plat pays qui est le mien.

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TODAY’S BIRTHDAY: Franz Anton Mesmer (1734)


Franz Anton Mesmer (1734)

Mesmer was a German physician who experimented with an early form of hypnosis, known as “mesmerism.” He developed a doctrine of “animal magnetism,” believing that harmony could be restored in the human body by inducing “crises”—trance states often ending in delirium or convulsions. He carried out dramatic demonstrations of his ability to “mesmerize” his patients using magnetized objects. Accused by Viennese physicians of fraud, he left Austria for France. What scandal plagued Mesmer’s career? More… Discuss

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Make Music Part of Your Life Series: Jean-Philippe Rameau – Naïs


Jean-Philippe RameauNaïs

Jean-Philippe Rameau (1983 – 1764), France:

- Naïs (Suite orchestrale)
I. Ouverture
II. Musette
III. Entrée majestueux des Dieux
IV. Gavotte pour Zephirs
V. Gavotte gracieuse en Rondeau
VI. Rigaudons
VII. Sarabande
VIII. Entrée des Luteurs et Chaconne
IX. Tambourins
X. Loure
XI. Sarabande
XII. Musette

Orchestre de la dix-huitième siècle
(Orchestra of the Eighteen Century)
Frans Brüggen

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HISTORIC PERFORMANCES: Saint-Saens Cello Concerto No.1 Op.33 In A Minor – Jacqueline Du pré


 

Camille Saint-Saëns composed his Cello Concerto No. 1 in A minor, Op. 33 in 1872, when the composer was 37 years old. He wrote this work for the Belgian cellist, viola de gamba player and instrument maker Auguste Tolbecque. Tolbecque was part of a distinguished family of musicians closely associated with the Société des Concerts du Conservatoire, France’s leading concert society. The concerto was first performed on January 19, 1873 at a conservatoire concert with Tolbecque as soloist. This was considered a mark of Saint-Saëns’ growing acceptance by the French musical establishment.

Sir Donald Francis Tovey later wrote “Here, for once, is a violoncello concerto in which the solo instrument displays every register without the slightest difficulty in penetrating the orchestra.” Many composers, including Shostakovich and Rachmaninoff, considered this concerto to be the greatest of all cello concertos.

The work can be split into three different sections as follows:

  1. Allegro non troppo
    The concerto begins unusually. Instead of the traditional orchestral introduction, the piece begins with one short chord from the orchestra. The cello follows, stating the main motif. Soon, countermelodies flow from both the orchestra and soloist, at times the two playfully “calling and answering” each other.
  2. Allegretto con moto
    This turbulent opening movement leads into a brief but highly original minuet, in which the strings are muted, and which contains a cello cadenza.
  3. Tempo primo
    A restatement of the opening material from the first movement opens the finale. While Saint-Saëns uses the finale mainly as a recapitulation of earlier material, he concludes it with the introduction of an entirely new idea for the cello.

Saint-Saëns very often uses the solo cello here as a declamatory instrument. This keeps the soloist in the dramatic and musical foreground, the orchestra offering a shimmering backdrop. The music is tremendously demanding for soloists, especially in the fast third section. This difficulty has not stopped the concerto from becoming a favourite of the great virtuoso cellists.

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