Daily Archives: December 23, 2013

A Locked Door, A Secret Meeting And The Birth Of The Fed : Planet Money : NPR


 

A Locked Door, A Secret Meeting And The Birth Of The Fed : Planet Money : NPR.

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BBC History – A slave to no man: Boxer Jack Johnson’s fight against inequality


 

BBC History – A slave to no man: Boxer Jack Johnson’s fight against inequality.

The Fix – FAO Schwarz 1911 Toy Catalog – Smithsonian Libraries Blog


 

The Fix – FAO Schwarz 1911 Toy Catalog – Smithsonian Libraries Blog.

Where the U.S. Government Gets Its Clothes – Graphic – NYTimes.com


 

Where the U.S. Government Gets Its Clothes – Graphic – NYTimes.com.

GREAT PERFORMANCES: Emil Gilels “Symphonic Variations” by C. Franck



Symphonic Variations for Piano and Orchestra
by César Franck
Emil Gilels, piano
Radio Symphony Orchestra of the USSR
Karl Eliasberg, conductor
04.III.1951
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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Symphonic Variations (Variations symphoniques), M. 46, is a work for piano and orchestra written in 1885 by César Franck. It has been described as “one of Franck’s tightest and most finished works”,[1] “a superb blending of piano and orchestra”,[2] and “a flawless work and as near perfection as a human composer can hope to get in a work of this nature”.[3] It is a fine example of Franck’s use of cyclic unity, with one theme growing into various others.[4] The piano and orchestra share equally in the continuous evolution of ideas.[3] The work is in F-sharp minor (with the last movement in F-sharp major). Duration in performance is about fifteen minutes, and the instrumentation is piano solo and orchestra: pairs of flutes, oboes, clarinets, and bassoons; four horns; two trumpets; timpani; and strings.[5]

The work was dedicated to Louis Diémer, who on 15 March 1885 had premiered Les Djinns – a symphonic poem for piano and orchestra that brought Franck one of his rare critical successes. He promised to reward Diémer with “a little something”, and the similarly scored Symphonic Variations was the result.[6] Franck started work in the summer of 1885, and completed the piece on 12 December.

In 1946 the choreographer Frederick Ashton used Franck’s work for a ballet, also called Symphonic Variations.

Ralph Vaughan Williams‘s Fantasia (quasi variazione) on the Old 104th Psalm Tune for piano, chorus, and orchestra (1949) has some similarities to the Symphonic variations, but it lacks Franck’s adherence to classical variation form.[10]

 

Maurice Ravel – Introduction & Allegro for Harp, Flute, Clarinet & String Quartet



Introduction & Allegro for harp, flute, clarinet & string quartet (1905)

Stuttgart Chamber Music Ensemble

The Introduction and Allegro (1905) is one of the few pieces by Ravel that has remained more or less in the shadows — save in the minds of harpists — throughout the last century. While it is certainly not among the composer’s most striking works, it is nevertheless a pleasant enough showpiece that looks forward to the raw sensuality of Daphnis et Chloé while hearkening back with great affection to the music of Chabrier and, especially, Franck. The full title of the work is Introduction and Allegro for Harp, Accompanied by a Quartet of Strings, Flute, and Clarinet. Although it is often conveniently designated a septet, it is really a kind of miniature (10-minute) harp concerto, complete with virtuoso writing and an extended central cadenza for the instrument. Chamber performances of the work, in fact, are few and far between; it is far more frequently heard in the orchestra hall with a full complement of strings. The general simplicity of form and harmony have led some to conclude that the Introduction and Allegro might have originally been composed as a test piece for the Paris Conservatoire; certainly it did not stand out sufficiently in Ravel’s own memory for him to include it in his list of works. 

The brief Très lent introduction presents two themes, the first for the woodwinds in leaping parallel thirds, the second an inverted-arch-shaped gesture sung by the strings in octaves. Presently a shimmering texture of arpeggios and woodwind double-tonguing takes over, inviting the cello to explore another melody before the harp rejoins the lush musical fabric. 

Twenty-six bars into the piece the Allegro commences. Now, as the harp makes an extended solo exploration of the melody presented earlier by the strings, a sonata form begins to take shape. A second, hemiola-ridden theme arrives in the woodwinds, accompanied pizzicato by the strings. The development of this material takes place in the usual fragmentary manner, building to an excited fff climax that breaks away abruptly as the harp assumes center stage with a cadenza. The recapitulation is quite straightforward, and the work ends without extensive fireworks or bombast of any kind. The Introduction and Allegro was first performed in late February 1907. [allmusic.com]

Art by Jean-Léon Gérôme

 

WEB GALLERY OF ARTS – ACCESS HERE (NOW A PERMANENT FEATURE / WIDGET AT EUZICASA)


WEB GALLERY OF ARTS - ACCESS HERE

WEB GALLERY OF ARTS – ACCESS HERE

PLEASE VISIT AND LEAVE YOUR COMMENTS HERE! 

The Web Gallery of Art is a virtual museum and searchable database of Western (European) fine arts of the Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Neoclassicism, Romanticism, Realism, and Impressionism periods (1000-1900), currently containing over 33.300 reproductions. Artist biographies, commentaries, guided tours, period music, catalogue, free postcard and mobile services are provided.

CONTEMPORARY CHRISTMAS HYMNS: Morten Lauridsen – O Magnum Mysterium



Composer: Morten Lauridsen (b:1943)
Piece: O Magnum Mysterium (1994)

Los Angeles Master Chorale, Paul Salamunovich

FEDERICO FIORI BAROCCI - THE NATIVITY

FEDERICO FIORI BAROCCI – THE NATIVITY (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

Latin text
O magnum mysterium,
et admirabile sacramentum,
ut animalia viderent Dominum natum,
jacentem in praesepio!

Beata Virgo, cujus viscera
meruerunt portare
Dominum Christum.
Alleluia.
English translation
O great mystery,
and wonderful sacrament,
that animals should see the new-born Lord,
lying in a manger!
Blessed is the Virgin whose womb
was worthy to bear
Christ the Lord.
Alleluia!

FABULOUS COMPOSERS/COMPOSITIOINS: Johann Nepomuk Hummel: Piano Concerto No. 3 in B minor, Op 89



Johann Nepomuk Hummel (1778-1837)

Piano Concerto No. 3 in B minor, Op. 89

I. Allegro moderato
II. Larghetto 16:55
III. Finale: Vivace 24:48

Stephen Hough, piano
English Chamber Orchestra
Bryden Thomson, conductor

Johann Nepomuk Hummel (November 14, 1778 — October 17, 1837) was an Austrian composer and virtuoso pianist. His music reflects the transition from the Classical to the Romantic musical era.

Hummel was born in Pressburg, Kingdom of Hungary, then a part of the Austrian Habsburg Monarchy (now Bratislava in Slovakia). His father, Johannes Hummel, was the director of the Imperial School of Military Music in Vienna and the conductor there of Emanuel Schikaneder’s theatre orchestra at the Theater auf der Wieden; his mother, Margarethe Sommer Hummel, was the widow of the wigmaker Josef Ludwig. He was named after St John of Nepomuk. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart offered the boy music lessons at the age of eight after being impressed with his ability. Hummel was taught and housed by Mozart for two years free of charge and made his first concert appearance at the age of nine at one of Mozart’s concerts. Continue reading

QUOTATION: Sophocles ABOUT LIVING AND LEARNING (BLOGGING: DOES IT QUALIFY?)


Though a man be wise, it is no shame for him to live and learn.

Sophocles (496 BC-406 BC) Discuss

TODAY’S BIRTHDAY: MADAM C.J. WALKER (1867)


Madam C.J. Walker (1867)

Thought to be America’s first black female millionaire, this daughter of ex-slaves was orphaned at 7, working at 10, married at 14, and a widow with an infant at 20. She worked as a domestic and laundress and in her scant spare time developed a treatment system to stop hair loss in African-American women and create smooth, shiny coiffures. She soon expanded her product line, and by 1917, her cosmetics empire was the largest black-owned business in the US. What did she do with her riches? More… Discuss

 

THIS DAY IN THE YESTERYEAR: FESTIVUS (1997)


Festivus (1997)

The holiday of Festivus, celebrated on December 23, was popularized by an episode of the 1990s TV show Seinfeld. Unfulfilled by the year-end holidays, character Frank Costanza invents Festivus “for the rest of us.” The centerpiece of Festivus is a plain, unadorned aluminum pole placed in a bucket of cement. One by one, attendees grab the pole and air their grievances, detailing how other people have disappointed them in the past year. What happens after this gripe session? More… Discuss

ARTICLE: THE CARSON MANSION


The Carson Mansion

The word “mansion” does not do justice to the castle-like Carson Mansion in Eureka, California. Completed in 1886 and considered one of the highest executions of American Queen Anne architecture, it is perhaps the most photographed Victorian building in the US. The stately residence was built for failed-gold-miner-turned-lumber-baron William Carson, who came to the US from Canada seeking his fortune and, after some initial missteps, found it. What has been housed in the residence since 1950? More…Discuss

 

NEWS: SWISS TO VOTE ON INCOME FOR ALL, JOB OR NOT


Swiss to Vote on Income for All, Job or Not

The Swiss people will soon vote on whether to adopt a plan that guarantees a basic income to all legal residents, working or not. If passed, every adult in Switzerland will receive a monthly income from the state in the amount of 2,500 Swiss francs, the equivalent of 2,800 US dollars. Supporters of the scheme say it will provide residents with a financial safety net, eliminate poverty, and afford people the freedom to pursue their passions rather than a paycheck, but opponents worry that it will deincentivize working and create a nation of loafers. More… Discuss