Daily Archives: February 25, 2014

QUOTATION: William Shakespeare


Friendship is constant in all other things Save in the office and affairs of love.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) Discuss

 

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TODAY’S HOLIDAY: AYYAM-I-HA


Ayyam-i-Ha

Also known as Days of Ha, the Ayyam-i-Ha are intercalary days (extra days inserted in a calendar) in the Baha’icalendar. The calendar is made up of 19 months of 19 days, plus the period of four days added between the 18th and 19th months, which allows for the year to be adjusted to the solar cycle. The days are set aside for rejoicing, hospitality, gift-giving, special acts of charity, and spiritually preparing for the Baha’i fast from March 2–20. The new calendar was inaugurated by Mirza Ali Mohammad, known as the Bab, founder of the Babi religion from which the Baha’i faith emerged. More…Discuss

 

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TODAY’S BIRTHDAY: WILLIAM FREDERICK “BUFFALO BILL” CODY (1846)


William Frederick “Buffalo Bill” Cody (1846)

Cody’s father passed away when he was just a boy, leaving him to support the family. He worked as a wagoner, trapper, and prospector before joining the Pony Express at 14. After serving in the American Civil War, he became a buffalo hunter—hence the nickname “Buffalo Bill.” Writers chronicled his frontier exploits, making him a folk hero. He capitalized on his fame with “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show,” which toured the US and Europe for decades. How many buffalo did Bill claim to have killed? More… Discuss

 

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THIS DAY IN THE YESTERYEAR: BARINGS BANK COLLAPSE (1995)


Barings Bank Collapse (1995)

A cautionary tale for financial institutions the world over, the collapse of Barings Bank, a centuries-old British bank, resulted from the activities of a single, unscrupulous employee. The man in question, derivatives broker Nick Leeson, made unauthorized, unhedged futures transactions on Nikkei, racking up £827 million ($1.3 billion) in losses in no time. He hid these losses by reporting them as gains and got away with it due to a lack of oversight. What brought the whole scheme crashing down?More… Discuss

 

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GLOBAL BIOMASS


Global Biomass

Biomass is the total amount of living organisms in a given area, expressed in terms of living weight per unit area. It can include microorganisms, plants, and animals. An amazing amount of biomass is created by the approximately 10 quintillion insects living at any one time. In fact, the almost one million known insect species comprise 300 times the total weight of Earth’s human population. What other single class of organisms makes up a staggering 25% of the global biomass? More… Discuss

 

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WORD: CONCORDANT


concordant 

Definition: (adjective) Being in agreement: harmonious.
Synonyms: accordantagreeableconsonantconformable
Usage: No one was surprised that the candidate’s views were concordant with those of the outgoing mayor, as the mayor had long been his mentor. Discuss.

 

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NEWS: POOR SLEEP LINKED TO ACHES AND PAINS


Poor Sleep Linked to Aches and Pains

A good night’s sleep could help keep you pain free. Then again, being in pain could prevent you from sleeping well. A recent study found that people over age 50 who suffer from sleep problems are almost twice as likely as those who sleep well to develop widespread pain. Poor sleep quality was the strongest predictor of pain studied, surpassing anxiety, osteoarthritis, cognitive impairment, and physical health, among other factors. Further investigation is needed to determine whether non-restorative sleep is a cause of widespread pain or vice versa. More… Discuss

 

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Make Music Part of Your Life Series: V.A.Mozart – 12 Variations on a French folk song ”Ah, Vous dirai-je, Maman” .



V.A.Mozart – 12 Variations on a French folk songAh, Vous dirai-je, Maman” .
Composed during 1781-1782 K.265, in C-Dur
This theme is widely known as a children’s song ( such as ”Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”, ”Alphabet Song” and others).
Performed by Anastasia Kaminskagia during a piano recital in Athens on 26th of January 2013.
The lyrics ( French and English) are the following:

Ah! Vous dirai-je, Maman
Ce qui cause mon tourment?
Papa veut que je raisonne
Comme une grande personne
Moi je dis que les bonbons
Valent mieux que la raison.

Ah! Shall I tell you, Mommy
What is tormenitg me?
Daddy wants me to reason
Like a grown-up person
Me, I say that sweets
Are worth more than reasoning.

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Make Music Part of Your Life Series: Brahms, Symphony Nr 3 F Dur op 90 Leonard Bernstein, Wiener Philharmoniker


Brahms, Symphony Nr 3 F Dur op 90 Leonard Bernstein, Wiener Philharmoniker

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Symphony No. 3 in F major, Op. 90, is a symphony by Johannes Brahms. The work was written in the summer of 1883 at Wiesbaden, nearly six years after he completed his Second Symphony. In the interim Brahms had written some of his greatest works, including the Violin Concerto, two overtures (Tragic Overture and Academic Festival Overture), and the Second Piano Concerto.

The premiere performance was given on 2 December 1883 by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, under the direction of Hans Richter. The shortest of Brahms’ four symphonies, a typical performance lasts between 30 and 40 minutes.

Form

The symphony consists of four movements, marked as follows:

  1. Allegro con brio (F major), in sonata form.
  2. Andante (C major), in a modified sonata form.
  3. Poco allegretto (C minor), in ternary form (A B A’).
  4. Allegro (F minor/F major), in a modified sonata form.

History

Hans Richter, who conducted the premiere of the symphony, proclaimed it to be Brahms’ Eroica. The symphony was well received, more so than his Second Symphony. Although Richard Wagner had died earlier that year, the public feud between Brahms and Wagner had not yet subsided. Wagner enthusiasts tried to interfere with the symphony’s premiere, and the conflict between the two factions nearly brought about a duel.[1]

After each performance, Brahms polished his score further, until it was published in May 1884. His friend and influential music critic Eduard Hanslick said, “Many music lovers will prefer the titanic force of the First Symphony; others, the untroubled charm of the Second, but the Third strikes me as being artistically the most nearly perfect.”[1]

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Make Music Part of Your Life: Horowitz plays Wagner-Liszt Isolde’s Liebestod



Last but not least. It took the legendary pianist three separate days to record this piece to his satisfaction, and he died a mere four days after its completion on November 5, 1989. 

Horowitz did not record the other Liszt transcriptions of Wagner such as the Tanhauser Overture, though the biography by authored Harold Schonberg noted that he played an enormous amount of his own transcriptions of operatic music, including the Ride of the Valkyrie. However, Horowitz did not programme most of them once he arrived in the United States.

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Wagner -Make Music Part of Your Life Series: Prelude and Liebestod from ‘Tristan Und Isolde’ (Karajan-BPO-Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra)



From  the Author-DjangoMan1963:  “This is my personal vote for the greatest piece of music ever.
The version here is by the Berlin Philharmonic, conducted by the late, great Herbert Von Karajan.

The jewish coductor Daniel Barenboim aptly said: “The music is bigger than the man”. Anyone who dismisses Wagner’s music on the basis of his views as a man, is missing something truly wonderful.

I’ve chosen Karajan’s version because he gets the tempo and the feel just right. Not too much vibratro here, which other conductors sometimes bring to the piece, making it sound too overwrought. He gets it spot on. A touch of vibrato, but he let’s the notes speak for themselves, whilst the languid tempo evokes a mystical atmosphere to the piece.

I hope you enjoy this wonderful music.”

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
Richard Wagner
Photo of Wagner

Tristan und Isolde (Tristan and Isolde, or Tristan and Isolda, or Tristran and Ysolt) is an opera, or music drama, in three acts by Richard Wagner to a German libretto by the composer, based largely on the romance by Gottfried von Straßburg. It was composed between 1857 and 1859 and premiered in Munich on 10 June 1865 with Hans von Bülow conducting. Wagner referred to the work not as an opera, but called it “eine Handlung” (literally a drama. a plot or an action), which was the equivalent of the term used by the Spanish playwright Calderón for his dramas.
Wagner’s composition of Tristan und Isolde was inspired by the philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer (particularly The World as Will and Representation) and his affair with Mathilde Wesendonck. Widely acknowledged as one of the peaks of the operatic repertory, Tristan was notable for Wagner’s unprecedented use of chromaticismtonality, orchestral colour and harmonic suspension.
The opera was inexorably influential among Western classical composers and provided direct inspiration to composers such as Gustav MahlerRichard StraussKarol SzymanowskiAlban BergArnold Schönberg and Benjamin Britten. Other composers like Claude DebussyMaurice Ravel and Igor Stravinsky formulated their styles in contrast to Wagner’s musical legacy. Many see Tristan as the beginning of the move away from common practice harmony and tonality and consider that it lays the groundwork for the direction of classical music in the 20th century.[1] Both Wagner’s libretto style and music were also profoundly influential on the Symbolist poets of the late 19th Century and early 20th Century.[2]

Composition history

Wagner was forced to abandon his position as conductor of the Dresden Opera in 1849, as there was a warrant posted for his arrest for his participation in the unsuccessfulMay Revolution. He left his wife, Minna, in Dresden, and fled to Zürich. There, in 1852, he met the wealthy silk trader Otto Wesendonck. Wesendonck became a supporter of Wagner and bankrolled the composer for several years. Wesendonck’s wife, Mathilde, became enamoured of the composer. Though Wagner was working on his epic Der Ring des Nibelungen, he found himself intrigued by the legend of Tristan and Iseult.

The re-discovery of mediæval Germanic poetry, including Gottfried von Strassburg‘s version of Tristan, the Nibelungenlied and Wolfram von Eschenbach‘s Parzival, left a large impact on the German Romantic movements during the mid-19th century. The story of Tristan and Isolde is a quintessential romance of the Middle Ages and theRenaissance. Several versions of the story exist, the earliest dating to the middle of the 12th century. Gottfried’s version, part of the “courtly” branch of the legend, had a huge influence on later German literature.[3]

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Make Music Part of Your Life series: Schumann – Symphony No. 2 in C Op.61 – Leonard Bernstein (live recording)



Robert Schumann (1810 – 1856) – Symphony n°2 in C major opus 61

I. Sostenuto assai (00:00) – Allegro ma non troppo (03:41)
II. Scherzo. Allegro vivace (12:26)
III. Adagio espressivo (19:20)
IV. Allegro molto vivace (32:46)

Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra (Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks), dir Leonard Bernstein
(live recording 1983)
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Make Music Part of Your Life Series: The Moldau/Vltava by Bedřich Smetana – Symphonic poem from “Ma Vlast- My Country”



Vltava– Ma Vlast:  Bedřich SmetanaSymphonic poem
The London Symphony Orchestra,  Alfred Scholz 
conducting

 

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Make Music Part of Your Life Series: Shostakovich – Symphony No. 1 in F minor, Op. 10 [Kirill Kondrashin, USSR State SO, 1951]



Symphony No. 1 in F minor, Op. 10 (1923-25)

I. Allegretto – Allegro non troppo [0:00]
II. Allegro (Scherzo) [9:16]
III. Lento – [13:43]
IV. Allegro molto [23:29]

The first symphony by Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975), which he dedicated to his friend Mikhail Kvadri. Shostakovich completed the work at age 19 as his graduation assignment for the Petrograd (formerly St. Petersburg, later Leningrad) Conservatory, which was directed at the time by Alexander Glazunov. Shostakovich’s main composition teacher Maximilian Steinberg oversaw the project. The composer initially wished to use his Scherzo, Op. 7 (1923-24) as the second movement of the symphony, but Steinberg was appalled by its grotesque character and suggested that Shostakovich compose a different movement. He followed his teacher’s advice in composing a new movement, but it was ever more steeped in grotesquerie than the earlier scherzo, and the same brash, brittle character pervades much of the symphony; as Shostakovich wrote to his friend Lev Oborin, “It would be more fitting to call this work the ‘Symphony-Grotesque’.” Although the symphony is vintage Shostakovich, it also bears the influence of earlier Russian masters – from the piquant harmonies of Stravinsky’s Petrushka and the sharp wit of the young Prokofiev to the lush colours and chromaticism of Scriabin and the long-drawn lyricism of Tchaikovsky.

The symphony’s premiere on May 12, 1926 in the Great Hall of the Leningrad Philharmonic (conducted by Nikolai Malko) was a resounding success. Shostakovich’s mother recalled the performance: “All went more than brilliantly – a splendid orchestra and magnificent execution … At the end, Mitya was called to the stage over and over again. When our handsome young composer appeared, looking almost like a little boy, the enthusiasm turned into one long thunderous ovation.”

This recording dates from 1951. The conductor Kirill Kondrashin leads the USSR State Symphony Orchestra.

 

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TODAY’S HOLIDAY: VIÑA DEL MAR INTERNATIONAL SONG FESTIVAL


Viña del Mar International Song Festival

The seaport of Viña del Mar in Valparaiso, Chile, is the site of one of the continent’s biggest music events, the Viña del Mar International Song Festival. Established in 1960, this annual weeklong festival takes place at an outdooramphitheater called the Quinta Vergara. From its inception, the festival has held a song competition that traditionally features performers from about 10 Spanish-speaking countries. There is also a program featuring folk musicians and an international show that includes English-speaking as well as Latinperformers. More… Discuss

 

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QUOTATION: Gilbert Chesterton


“My country, right or wrong,” is a thing that no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying, “My mother, drunk or sober.”

Gilbert Chesterton (1874-1936) Discuss

TODAY’S BIRTHDAY: MERWAN SHERIAR IRANI, MEHER BABA (1894)


Merwan Sheriar Irani, Meher Baba (1894)

Born into a Zoroastrian family of Persian descent, Meher Baba underwent a spiritual awakening at 19 and in time concluded that he was the avatar—the incarnation of God in human form—of his age. He formulated a belief system that identified the goal of life as realizing the oneness of God, from whom the universe emanates. In an effort to bring others to that realization through love, he worked extensively with the poor and the physically and mentally ill. For how many years did he remain silent? More…Discuss

 

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THIS DAY IN THE YESTERYEAR: IMELDA MARCOS PARTS WITH HER SHOES (1986)


Imelda Marcos Parts with Her Shoes (1986)

When Philippine political leader Ferdinand Marcos and his wife Imelda were driven into exile following the assassination of opposition leader Benigno Aquino, they left behind evidence of a lavish lifestyle that pointed to possible corruption and embezzlement. The former first lady’s shoe collection, which numbered in the thousands, became a symbol of the Marcos’s excesses. Despite her alleged misdeeds, Imelda returned to home after Ferdinand’s death and ran for president with what result? More… Discuss

 

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NEWS: BULLYING’S EFFECTS ADD UP


Bullying’s Effects Add Up

Studies have consistently shown that bullying is tied to worse physical and mental health, but few have looked at the cumulative effects of bullying over time. As might be expected, a longitudinal study of bullying found that teens who had been subject to bullying throughout their schooling had a lowerquality of life than those who had either been bullied in the past or who were being bullied at the time of the study. The findings further highlight the importance of preventing bullying or, at the very least, putting a stop to it soon after it starts. More… Discuss

 

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ARTICLE: THE MAMLUKS


The Mamluks

The Mamluks were members of a warrior caste that ruled Egypt from about 1250 to 1517. Islamic rulers created the caste by collecting non-Muslim slave boys, grooming them as cavalry soldiers, and converting them to Islam during training. The Mamluks initially served the Ayyubid sultans but grew powerful enough to challenge them and claim the sultanate. Though the Ottomans crushed the Mamluks and took Cairo in 1517, the word “mamluk” lives on in various cultures today. What meanings does it have? More… Discuss

 

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