Saturday, 29 April 2017

MUSIC SATURDAY - MICHEL BLAVET

“Life is like a flute. It may have many holes and emptiness but if you work on it carefully, it can play magical melodies.” - Evan Carmichael

Michel Blavet (March 13, 1700 – October 28, 1768) was a French composer and flute virtuoso. Although Blavet taught himself to play almost every instrument, he specialised in the bassoon and the flute which he held to the left, the opposite of how most flautists hold theirs today. Quantz writes of Blavet: “His amiable disposition and engaging manner gives rise to a lasting friendship between us and I am much indebted to him for his numerous acts of kindness.”

Born in Besançon as the son of wood turner Jean-Baptiste Blavet, a profession which he followed for some time, he accidentally became the possessor of a flute and soon became the finest player in France. Blavet was famous for maintaining impeccable intonation, even when he played in difficult keys, and for the beauty of his tone. Voltaire expressed his admiration for his playing and Marpurg spoke of him as a virtuoso of the highest excellence who preserved his innate modesty despite his unbroken popularity.

In 1721, Blavet entered the service of Louis, Count of Clermont and became his steward of music. In 1726 he joined the Duke of Carignan and took part in the newly formed Concert Spirituel for the first time. In 1728 he published his first book of flute music, containing six sonatas for two flutes without bass. From 1731 to 1735, he performed at the Concert Spirituel with Jean-Marie Leclair, Jean-Pierre Guignon, Jean-Joseph de Mondonville, Jean-Baptiste Senaillé, and Jacques Aubert.

In 1738, Blavet became the principal flute in Louis XV’s personal musical ensemble, the “Musique du Roi”, and in 1740 at the Paris Opera orchestra. He played in the quartet (flute – Blavet, violin – Guignon, viola da gamba – Forqueray the younger, cello – Édouard) that played the premiere performance of the Paris quartets by Telemann. Blavet turned down a post in Frederick the Great’s court, which Quantz eventually accepted after the pay had been increased significantly.

In 1752 Blavet modelled on Italian interludes the first French comic opera, ‘Le Jaloux corrigé’. He also wrote a march for the Grande-Loge, having joined the Masons under the influence of the Comte de Clermont who was Grand Master of the Order in France. Blavet’s three ‘Recueils’ for two flutes are undated, but internal evidence suggests that they come from the early 1750s. The breathing marks (h, for haleine) indicated in the ‘Recueils’ and his op. 2 remain an invaluable aid in understanding eighteenth-century French musical phrasing. He died in Paris in 1768.

Blavet wrote primarily for the transverse flute, in the so-called ‘Italian’ as well as the French style. His surviving works include a concerto and three books of sonatas (1740). His surviving works are written only in the easiest keys, since he published them for amateurs to play.

Here is a selection of flute music by Blavet, played by Frank Theuns, Marc Hantaï, Martin Bauer, Ewald Demeyere, and Wim Maeseele.

Friday, 28 April 2017

FOOD FRIDAY - HOT BREAD!

“There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.” - Mahatma Gandhi 

Nothing better on a cold wet day like fresh, crusty bread well-baked from scratch in the oven. Fortunately, the easy recipe we have allows this indulgence. We have never invested in a bread making machine and probably this is wise given the number of people that have and rarely use them. I have seen countless such machines being sold for peanuts in garage sales...

 Easy Bread
Ingredients

Shortening or oil, for greasing and brushing
250g plain white flour
250g plain wholemeal flour
1/2 tsp ground cardamon seed
1/2 tsp dried mixed herbs
1/2 tsp ground dry mustard
1/2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp (7g/1 sachet) dried yeast
1 tsp sugar
1.5 tsp salt
175ml lukewarm water
100 ml lukewarm milk
1/2 cup olive oil
Extra water, for brushing
1 tsp nigella seeds, for sprinkling (optional)

Method
Brush a 10 x 20cm loaf pan with the shortening to lightly grease. Measure all your ingredients.
Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the lukewarm water and stir to mix. Add the milk and stir well.
Place the flour, herbs and spices and salt in a large bowl and mix well to combine. Make a well in the centre and add the water/milk/yeast mixture and oil to the dry ingredients and mix well.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
Shape the dough into a ball. Brush a large bowl with the shortening or oil to grease. Place the dough into the bowl and turn it over to lightly coat the dough surface with the butter. Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel and then place it in a warm, draught-free place to allow the dough to rise.
Leave the dough to prove until it is double its size, between 45-75 minutes at 30˚C. When the dough is ready, it will retain a finger imprint when lightly pressed.
Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down in the centre with your fist and knead on a lightly floured surface again for 2-3 minutes or until smooth and elastic and returned to its original size.
Preheat oven to 200°C.
Divide the dough into 2 equal portions and shape each into a smooth round. Place the portions of dough side by side in the greased loaf pan. Brush lightly with the melted butter. Stand the pan in a warm, draught-free place, as before, for about 30 minutes or until the dough has risen about 1cm about the top of the pan.
Gently brush the loaf with a little water and then sprinkle with the nigella seeds if desired. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until golden and cooked through.
Turn the loaf immediately onto a wire rack and allow to cool.
Once cool, store the loaf in a well-ventilated place at room temperature.


This post is part of the Food Friday meme.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

TRAVEL TUESDAY #76 - ANZAC SHRINE, BRISBANE

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old; Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning We will remember them.” - Laurence Binyon

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 located in ANZAC Square, between Ann Street and Adelaide Street, in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. With its 'Eternal Flame', the Shrine is a war memorial dedicated to the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (Anzacs).

The Shrine of Remembrance is a major Brisbane landmark of cultural, architectural and historic importance and is a key component of the Queensland Heritage listed square and annually hosts ceremonies for ANZAC Day and Armistice Day (now referred to as Remembrance Day). A service marking Singapore Day (The Fall of Singapore, 15 February 1942) is held annually on the closest Sunday to the 15th, in remembrance of the losses of the 8th Division during World War 2.

Funds were raised by public subscription for a memorial to fallen soldiers in World War I and in 1928 a competition was held for its design. The competition was won by Sydney architects Buchanan and Cowper who proposed a Greek Revival structure. The Shrine took two years to build and was dedicated on Armistice Day 11 November 1930 by Governor John Goodwin with a dedication plaque.

Designed in the Greek Classic Revival style, the columns of the Shrine of Remembrance are built of Helidon sandstone, and the Eternal Flame is kept in a brass urn within the Shrine. The steps leading to the Shrine of Remembrance from ANZAC Square are made of Queensland granite. The 18 columns of the Shrine symbolise the year 1918, when hostilities ceased.

There is a crypt in the lower section of the Shrine of Remembrance which contains the World War I and World War II Shrine of Memories, which contains memorial plaques to numerous Australian regiments who fought during these campaigns. There is also a World War I memorial sculpture on the Shrine of Memories external wall.

Each year, on ANZAC Day, on 25 April, a Dawn memorial service is held at the Shrine of Remembrance, with wreaths being laid around the 'Eternal Flame' in memory of those who died in conflict. There is also a memorial service held each year on Remembrance Day, 11 November and wreaths are again laid at the 'Eternal Flame'.

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

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Monday, 24 April 2017

MYTHIC MONDAY - EGYPT 9, SEKHMET

“A lioness has got a lot more power than the lion likes to think she has.” - Jacki Weaver 

In Egyptian mythology, Sekhmet (or Sachmis, meaning “the powerful one”) is a warrior goddess as well as goddess of healing. She is depicted as a lioness, the fiercest hunter known to the Egyptians. It was said that her breath formed the desert. She was seen as the protector of the pharaohs and led them in warfare. Her cult was so dominant in the culture that when the first pharaoh of the twelfth dynasty, Amenemhat I, moved the capital of Egypt to Itjtawy, the centre for her cult was moved as well. Religion, the royal lineage, and the authority to govern were intrinsically interwoven in ancient Egypt during its approximately three millennia of existence.

Sekhmet is also a Solar deity, sometimes called the daughter of the sun god Ra and often associated with the goddesses Hathor and Bast. She bears the Solar disk and the uraeus which associates her with Wadjet and royalty. With these associations she can be construed as being a divine arbiter of the goddess Ma’at (Justice, or Order) in the Judgment Hall of Osiris, associating her with the Wadjet (later the Eye of Ra), and connecting her with Tefnut as well.

In order to placate Sekhmet’s wrath, her priestesses performed a ritual before a different statue of the goddess on each day of the year. This practice resulted in many images of the goddess being preserved. Most of her statuettes were rigidly crafted and do not exhibit any expression of movements or dynamism; this design was made to make them last a long time rather than to express any form of functions or actions she is associated with. It is estimated that more than seven hundred statues of Sekhmet once stood in one funerary temple alone, that of Amenhotep III, on the west bank of the Nile.

She was envisioned as a fierce lioness, and in art, was depicted as such, or as a woman with the head of a lioness, who often was dressed in red, the color of blood. Sometimes the dress she wears exhibits a rosetta pattern over each breast, an ancient leonine motif, which can be traced to observation of the shoulder-knot hairs on lions. Occasionally, Sekhmet was also portrayed in her statuettes and engravings with minimal clothing or naked. Tame lions were kept in temples dedicated to Sekhmet at Leontopolis.

To pacify Sekhmet, festivals were celebrated at the end of battle, so that the destruction would come to an end. During an annual festival held at the beginning of the year, a festival of intoxication, the Egyptians danced and played music to soothe the wildness of the goddess and drank great quantities of wine ritually to imitate the extreme drunkenness that stopped the wrath of the goddess—when she almost destroyed humanity. This may relate to averting excessive flooding during the inundation at the beginning of each year as well, when the Nile ran blood-red with the silt from up-stream and Sekhmet had to swallow the overflow to save humankind.

In a myth about the end of Ra’s rule on the earth, Ra sends Hathor or Sekhmet to destroy mortals who conspired against him. In the myth, Sekhmet’s blood-lust was not quelled at the end of battle and led to her destroying almost all of humanity, so Ra poured out beer dyed with red ochre or haematite so that it resembled blood. Mistaking the beer for blood, she became so drunk that she gave up the slaughter and returned peacefully to Ra. The same myth was also described in the prognosis texts of the Calendar of Lucky and Unlucky Days of papyrus Cairo 86637, where the actions of Sekhmet, Horus, Ra and Wadjet were connected to the eclipsing binary Algol.

Sekhmet later was considered to be the mother of Maahes, a deity who appeared during the New Kingdom period. He was seen as a lion prince, the son of the goddess. The late origin of Maahes in the Egyptian pantheon may be the incorporation of a Nubian deity of ancient origin in that culture, arriving during trade and warfare or even, during a period of domination by Nubia. During the Greek dominance in Egypt, note was made of a temple for Maahes that was an auxiliary facility to a large temple to Sekhmet at Taremu in the delta region (likely a temple for Bast originally), a city which the Greeks called Leontopolis, where by that time, an enclosure was provided to house lions.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

MUSIC SATURDAY - CARLO FARINA

“There is nothing more to be said or to be done tonight, so hand me over my violin and let us try to forget for half an hour the miserable weather and the still more miserable ways of our fellowmen.” ― Arthur Conan Doyle 

Carlo Farina (ca. 1600 – July 1639) was an Italian composer, conductor and violinist of the Early Baroque era. Farina was born at Mantua. He presumably received his first lessons from his father, who was sonatore di viola at the court of the Gonzaga in that city. Later he was given further education probably by Salomone Rossi and Giovanni Battista Buonamente.

From 1626 to 1629, he worked as concertmaster in Dresden. In Dresden he worked with Heinrich Schütz, who interested him in composing. From 1629 to 1631, he was a prominent member of the electoral court orchestra in Bonn, until he returned to Italy, where he worked in Parma and later in Lucca until 1635. In 1635 he held position at the court of Carlo I Cybo-Malaspina, Prince of Massa, and between 1636 and 1637 in Gdańsk. From 1638 he lived in Vienna, where he died of the plague probably a year later.

He is considered to be one of the earliest violin virtuosos and he made many contributions to violin technique. For example, in his work Capriccio Stravagante (1627) he used the violin to imitate animal sounds like dogs barking or cats fighting. According to Cecil Forsyth’s Orchestration, he “is generally credited” with “the invention of the double-stop” (although nearly a century earlier Ganassi’s Regola rubertina (1542–3) describes the technique, suggesting it was common among contemporary viol players). Musical lineage aside, Carlo Farina was granted the title of Count of Reggio di Calabria by Charles Emmanuel II, Duke of Savoy. He was head of music for the Royal Court of the Prince of Messa from 1626-1630.

During his stay in Dresden he published five volumes, among them sonatas for 2, 3, 4 instruments and basso continuo. The pieces have often the same program as the title. Thus he uses Polish dance rhythms in the sonata La Polacca or Hungarian motifs in La Cingara.

Here are some of his violin sonatas played by Lukas Friedrich and Christine Busch (violins); Barbara Noeldecke (cello); Hubert Hoffmann (archlute); Jörg Hannes Hahn (harpsichord and organ):
Sonata detta ‘La Polacca’ – 9:11
Sonata detta ‘La Capriola’ – 8:19
Sonata detta ‘La Moretta’ – 11:56
Sonata detta ‘ La Franzosina’ – 9:26
Sonata detta ‘La Farina’ – 6:12
Sonata detta ‘La Greca’ – 7:46
Sonata detta ‘La Cingara’ – 5:40
Sonata detta ‘La Fiama’ – 2:20
Sonata detta ‘La Semplisa’ – 3:47
Sonata detta ‘La Desperata’ – 8:33

Friday, 21 April 2017

FOOD FRIDAY - PUMPKIN SOUP

“Only the knife knows what goes on in the heart of a pumpkin.” - Simone Schwarz-Bart 

We harvested some butternut pumpkins from our garden today, so pumpkin soup is on the menu. 

Pumpkin Soup
Ingredients
2 + 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 leek, white part only, finely sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 kg pumpkin
1 large potato, peeled, grated
1L vegetable stock
1/2 cup cream

Method 
Cut pumpkin in half and microwave the two halves for three minutes to soften slightly. This makes peeling and cutting easy. Scoop out seeds and cut into thick slices. Rub 2 tbsp oil and salt on the pumpkin slices and bake on baking tray in a hot oven until pumpkin is cooked and browned on both sides. Remove from oven, mash and reserve.
Heat oil in a large saucepan over low heat, add onion and leek and cook for 2-3 minutes, until softened but not coloured. Add garlic and spices and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add potato and stir thoroughly until softened. Add pumpkin and stock and bring to the boil. Turn heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Allow to cool slightly, then blend in batches.
Return soup to pan, stir through cream and reheat gently. Season and add a little more nutmeg if desired.
Serve with toasted slices of crusty bread and some grated parmesan for those that want to sprinkle on top of the soup.

This post is part of the Food Friday meme.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

TRAVEL TUESDAY #75 - PUEBLO TAOS, USA

“Beauty Way: Today my heart will have harmony; My spirit singing the songs of happiness. My mind will seek balance, one with Mother Earth and the Creator. My eyes will look for good and there I will find it. My mouth will whisper the words of gratitude. Today I will walk the beauty way.” ― Howard T. Rainer 

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. 

Taos Pueblo (or Pueblo de Taos) is an ancient pueblo belonging to a Tiwa-speaking Native American tribe of Puebloan people. It lies about 1.6 km north of the modern city of Taos, New Mexico, USA. The pueblos are considered to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the United States. This has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Taos Pueblo is a member of the Eight Northern Pueblos, whose people speak two variants of the Tanoan language. The Taos community is known for being one of the most private, secretive, and conservative pueblos. A reservation of 38,000 hectare is attached to the pueblo, and about 4,500 people live in this area.

The pueblo was constructed in a setting backed by the Taos Mountains of the Sangre de Cristo Range. The settlement was built on either side of Rio Pueblo de Taos, also called Rio Pueblo and Red Willow Creek, a small stream that flows through the middle of the pueblo compound. Its headwaters come from the nearby mountains. Taos Pueblo’s most prominent architectural feature is a multi-storied residential complex of reddish-brown adobe, built on either side of the Rio Pueblo. The Pueblo’s website states it was probably built between 1000 and 1450. The pueblo was designated a National Historic Landmark on October 9, 1960. In 1992 it was designated as a UNESCO Heritage Site. As of 2006, about 150 people live in the historic complex full-time.

The north-side Pueblo is said to be one of the most photographed and painted buildings in North America. It is the largest multistoried Pueblo structure still existing. It is made of adobe walls that are often several feet thick. Its primary purpose was for defence. Up to as late as 1900, access to the rooms on lower floors was by ladders on the outside to the roof, and then down an inside ladder. In case of an attack, outside ladders could easily be pulled up.

The homes in this structure usually consist of two rooms, one of which is for general living and sleeping, and the second of which is for cooking, eating, and storage. Each home is self-contained; there are no passageways between the houses. Taos Indians made little use of furniture in the past, but today they have tables, chairs, and beds. In the pueblo, electricity, running water, and indoor plumbing are prohibited.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme.

Add your own travel posts using the Linky tool below, and don't forget to be nice and leave a comment here, and link back to this page from your own post:

Monday, 17 April 2017

MYTHIC MONDAY - EGYPT 8, HORUS

“A falcon is the perfect hunter.” - Jean Craighead George

Horus is one of the most significant ancient Egyptian deities. He was worshipped from at least the late prehistoric Egypt until the Ptolemaic Kingdom and Roman Egypt. Different forms of Horus are recorded in history and these are treated as distinct gods by Egyptologists. These various forms may possibly be different perceptions of the same multi-layered deity in which certain attributes or syncretic relationships are emphasised, not necessarily in opposition but complementary to one another, consistent with how the Ancient Egyptians viewed the multiple facets of reality.

He was most often depicted as a falcon, most likely a lanner falcon or peregrine falcon, or as a man with a falcon head. The earliest recorded form of Horus is the tutelary deity of Nekhen in Upper Egypt, who is the first known national god, specifically related to the king who in time came to be regarded as a manifestation of Horus in life and Osiris in death. The most commonly encountered family relationship describes Horus as the son of Isis and Osiris, and he plays a key role in the Osiris myth as Osiris’s heir and the rival to Set, the murderer of Osiris. In another tradition Hathor is regarded as his mother and sometimes as his wife. Horus served many functions, most notably being a god of the sky, war and hunting.

Horus was born to the goddess Isis after she retrieved all the dismembered body parts of her murdered husband Osiris, except his penis, which was thrown into the Nile and eaten by a catfish (or sometimes by a crab), and according to Plutarch’s account used her magic powers to resurrect Osiris and fashion a golden phallus to conceive her son (older Egyptian accounts have the penis of Osiris surviving). Once Isis knew she was pregnant with Horus, she fled to the Nile Delta marshlands to hide from her brother Set, who jealously killed Osiris and who she knew would want to kill their son. There Isis bore a divine son, Horus.

Horus was told by his mother, Isis, to protect the people of Egypt from Set, the evil god of the desert, who had killed Horus’ father, Osiris. Horus had many battles with Set, not only to avenge his father, but to choose the rightful ruler of Egypt. In these battles, Horus came to be associated with Lower Egypt, and became its patron. Egyptologists have often tried to connect the conflict between the two gods with political events early in Egypt’s history or prehistory. The cases in which the combatants divide the kingdom, and the frequent association of the paired Horus and Set with the union of Upper and Lower Egypt, suggest that the two deities represent some kind of division within the country.

Egyptian tradition and archaeological evidence indicate that Egypt was united at the beginning of its history when an Upper Egyptian kingdom, in the south, conquered Lower Egypt in the north. The Upper Egyptian rulers called themselves “followers of Horus’, and Horus became the tutelary deity of the unified nation and its kings. Yet Horus and Set cannot be easily equated with the two halves of the country. Both deities had several cult centers in each region, and Horus is often associated with Lower Egypt and Set with Upper Egypt.

Horus the Younger, Harpocrates to the Ptolemaic Greeks, is represented in the form of a youth wearing a lock of hair (a sign of youth) on the right of his head while sucking his finger. In addition, he usually wears the united crowns of Egypt, the crown of Upper Egypt and the crown of Lower Egypt. He is a form of the rising sun, representing its earliest light.

Harpocrates (Ancient Greek: Ἁρποκράτης) was the god of silence, secrets and confidentiality in the Hellenistic religion developed in Ptolemaic Alexandria (and also an embodiment of hope, according to Plutarch). Harpocrates was adapted by the Greeks from the Egyptian child god Horus. To the ancient Egyptians, Horus represented the newborn sun, rising each day at dawn. When the Greeks conquered Egypt under Alexander the Great, they transformed the Egyptian Horus into the Hellenistic god known as Harpocrates, a rendering from Egyptian Har-pa-khered or Heru-pa-khered “Horus the Child”.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

ART SUNDAY - VICTOR BORISOV-MUSATOV

“All the real things in Russia are done in the villages.” - Ernest Poole 

VictorElpidiforovich Borisov-Musatov (Russian: Ви́ктор Эльпидифо́рович Бори́сов-Муса́тов; April 14 [O.S. April 2] 1870 - November 8 [O.S. October 26] 1905) was a Russian painter, prominent for his unique Post-Impressionistic style that mixed Symbolism, pure decorative style and realism. Together with Mikhail Vrubel he is often referred as the creator of Russian Symbolism style.

Victor Musatov was born in Saratov, Russia (he added the last name Borisov later). His father was a minor railway official who had been born as a serf. In his childhood he suffered a spinal injury, which made him humpbacked for the rest of his life. In 1884 he entered Saratov real school, where his talents as an artist were discovered by his teachers Fedor Vasiliev and Konovalov. He was enrolled in the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in 1890, transferring the next year to the Imperial Academy of Arts in Saint-Petersburg, where he was a pupil of Pavel Chistyakov. The damp climate of Saint-Petersburg was not good for Victor’s health and in 1893 he was forced to return to Moscow and re-enrol in the Moscow School of painting, sculpturing and architecture.

His earlier works like “May Flowers” of 1894, were labelled decadent by the school administration, who sharply criticised him for making no distinction between the girls and the apple trees in his quest for a decorative effect. The same works however were praised by his peers, who considered him to be the leader of the new art movement. In 1895 Victor once again left Moscow School of painting, sculpture and architecture and enrolled in Fernand Cormon’s school in Paris. He studied there for three years, returning in summer months to Saratov. He was fascinated by the art of his French contemporaries, and especially by the paintings of ‘the father of French Symbolism’ Pierre Puvis de Chavannes and by the work of Berthe Morisot.

In 1898 Borisov-Musatov returned to Russia and almost immediately fell into what it is called ‘fin de siècle nostalgia’. He complained about ‘the cruel, the truly iron age’, ‘dirt and boredom’, ‘devil’s bog’, and he had acute money problems that were somewhat alleviated only in the last years of his life when collectors started to buy his paintings. Musatov’s response was creating a half-illusory world of the 19th century nobility, their parks and country-seats. This world was partially based on the estate of princes Prozorvky-Galitzines Zubrilovka and partially just on Musatov’s imagination. Borisov-Musatov also abandoned oil paintings for the mixed tempera and watercolour and pastel techniques that he found more suitable for the subtle visual effects he was trying to create.

Borisov-Musatov was a member of the Union of Russian Artists and one of the founders and the leader of the Moscow Association of Artists, a progressive artistic organization that brought together Pavel Kuznetsov, Peter Utkin, Alexander Matveyev, Martiros Saryan, Nikolai Sapunov, and Sergei Sudeikin. The most famous painting of that time is “The Pool” of 1902 (see above). The painting depicts two most important women in his life: his sister, Yelena Musatova and his bride (later wife), artist Yelena Alexandrova. The people are woven into the landscape of an old park with a pond. Another famous painting is “ThePhantoms” of 1903, depicting ghosts on the steps of an old country manor. The painting was praised by the contemporary Symbolist poets Valery Bryusov and Andrey Bely.

In 1904 Borisov-Musatov had a very successful solo exhibition in a number of cities in Germany, and in the spring of 1905 he exhibited with Salon de la Société des Artistes Français and became a member of this society. The last finished painting of Borisov-Musatov was “Requiem”, which was devoted to the memory of Nadezhda Staniukovich, a close friend of the artist. The painting may indicate Borisov-Musatov’s evolution towards the Neo-classical style. Borisov-Musatov died on October 26, O.S. 1905 of a heart attack and is buried on a bank of Oka River near Tarusa. On his tomb there is a sculpture of a sleeping boy by Musatov’s follower Alexander Matveyev.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

MUSIC SATURDAY - A RUSSIAN EASTER

“We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won’t need to tell anybody it does. Lighthouses don’t fire cannons to call attention to their shining - they just shine.” - Dwight L. Moody 

The St. Petersburg Chamber Choir and their director, Nikolai Korniev, show off subbasement basses, soaring sopranos and a rich, well-blended sound in “Russian Easter”, a group of eleven settings for Easter worship by Alexander Grechaninov, Dmitri Bortnyansky and other masters of Russian church music. The compositions were written variously from the 18th century through the present, but all stay true to the spirit and aesthetic of the Orthodox tradition. Those who find plainchant a little on the monotonous side but are still looking for a spiritual element in music will find much to admire and enjoy in these beautifully sung presentations.

1. 00:00 Alleluia. Behold The Bridegroom (Anon. XVIII cent.)
2. 05:08 Gentle Light (Viktor Kallinikov)
3. 08:14 Of Thy Mystical Supper, Op. 58 (Alexander Grechaninov)
4. 14:34 The Wise Thief, Op. 40 No. 3 (Pavel Chesnokov)
5. 17:04 Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent, Op. 27 No. 1 (Pavel Chesnokov)
6. 21:24 In the Flesh Thou Didst Fall Asleep (Hieromonk Jonathan)
7. 24:34 The Paschal Hours (Pavel Chesnokov)
8. 39:04 Paschal Hymns To The Virgin (Pavel Chesnokov)
9. 43:04 Today All Creation (Stephan Dekhteryov)
10. 48:46 Concerto No. 5: Come, O People (Concerto No. 5) (Dmitri Bortnyansky)
11. 55:24 Give Ear To My Prayer, Op. 26 (Alexander Grechaninov)



HAPPY EASTER!

Friday, 14 April 2017

FOOD FRIDAY - GREEK EASTER SWEET LOAF

“Easter is meant to be a symbol of hope, renewal, and new life.” - Janine di Giovanni

It’s Easter and as is traditional in Greek households we have done our traditional baking of Easter cookies, sweet Easter loaf, the dyeing of eggs red and the preparations for the “mageiritsa” soup and the roast lamb for Easter Sunday. Here is the recipe for the sweet Easter loaf, which is considered a “difficult” baking project as while the loaf should be well baked, it should also be light, yielding, sweet, aromatic and full of textured “trails” of baked dough.

Tsoureki (Greek Sweet Easter Loaf)
Ingredients
180 mL water
100 mL milk
650 g plain flour (high gluten, “strong” flour”
1 tsp baking powder
15 g dry active yeast
2 large eggs
50 g unsalted butter (melted)
200 g caster sugar
40 mL invert syrup
Pinch salt
1/2 tsp ground mahlepi
1/2 tsp ground gum mastic
1/2 tsp cardamom
Extra egg for glazing
Blanched flaked almonds

Method
In the large mixer bowl, mix the lukewarm milk and water and dissolve in it about a third of the sugar and the salt. Add the yeast and mix well so that it dissolves. Leave in a warm place for about 10 minutes to ensure that the yeast is activated (bubbles will appear).
Add the rest of the sugar and invert syrup to the yeast mixture, the lightly beaten eggs, the spices, the butter and begin mixing with the dough hook.
Once the ingredients are well mixed, add the flour (into which you have mixed the baking powder) little by little and continue mixing with the dough hook with large speed until the (soft) dough adheres to the hook. Do not add extra flour.
Stop mixing and cover the bowl with some plastic wrap and place it in a warm place to rise.
Once the dough has doubled in size, place some melted butter on your hands and punch it down. Cut the dough into three equal lots and form three long slender rolls. Form the dough rolls into a plait and place on a buttered baking tray. Glaze with beaten egg and sprinkle with the blanched flaked almonds. Cover and leave in a warm place to rise.
Warm the oven to 160˚C and before placing the loaf to bake, place a fire-proof bowl filled with boiling water in the lowermost shelf. Bake the loaf for 30-40 minutes until golden brown.

This post is part of the Food Friday meme.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

POETS UNITED - BOOKS

“The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who’ll get me a book I ain’t read.” - Abraham Lincoln

This week, the midweek motif of Poets United is “books”. I thought that for a bibliophile like me, this poem would be an easy one to write, but perhaps when we are faced with stating the obvious, therein we flounder and find difficulty…

Books

When times were tough,
I delved into your pages and found strength;
When I was sad,
I looked inside and found mirth;
When feeling haughty, proud –
I read and became humble.

In days of desperation,
I searched for hope therein;
In times of mindless frivolity,
I was sobered by your wise words;
In hours of need,
I found within what I sought.

When friendless, lonely,
I found in books the most loyal companion;
When bored and flat,
In books I found the spark of the divine;
When feeling small and insignificant,
I discovered in books my self-respect.

In all my turns of fortune,
I found stability and calm inside;
In every step I took, in every journey started,
I found a true and steady compass there;
In all my life’s every situation,
Each question answered, each problem solved
In books all truth, all hope and all enjoyment…

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

TRAVEL TUESDAY #74 - HAARLEM, HOLLAND

“The Dutch are a very practical people.” - Famke Janssen 

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. 

Haarlem (predecessor of Harlem in the English language) is a city and municipality in the Netherlands. It is the capital of the province of North Holland and is situated at the northern edge of the Randstad, one of the most populated metropolitan areas in Europe. Haarlem had a population of 155,758 in 2014. It is a 15-minute train ride from Amsterdam, and many residents commute to the country’s capital for work. 

Haarlem was granted city status or stadsrechten in 1245, although the first city walls were not built until 1270. The modern city encompasses the former municipality of Schoten as well as parts that previously belonged to Bloemendaal and Heemstede. Apart from the city, the municipality of Haarlem also includes the western part of the village of Spaarndam. Newer sections of Spaarndam lie within the neighbouring municipality of Haarlemmerliede en Spaarnwoude.

There are several museums in Haarlem. The Teylers Museum lies on the Spaarne River and is the oldest museum of the Netherlands. Its main subjects are art, science and natural history, and it owns a number of works by Michelangelo and Rembrandt. Another museum is the Frans Hals Museum of fine arts, with its main location housing Dutch master paintings, and its exhibition halls on the Grote Markt housing a gallery for modern art called De Hallen. Also on the Grote Markt, in the cellar of the Vleeshal is the Archeologisch Museum Haarlem, while across the square on Saturdays, the Hoofdwacht building is open with exhibitions on Haarlem history. Other museums are Het Dolhuys (a museum of psychiatry), the Ten Boom Museum (a hiding place for Jews in World War II) and the Historisch Museum Haarlem, across from the Frans Hals Museum.

Every year in April the bloemencorso (flower parade) takes place. Floats decorated with flowers drive from Noordwijk to Haarlem, where they are exhibited for one day. In the same month there is also a funfair organised on the Grote Markt and the Zaanenlaan in Haarlem-Noord. Other festivals are held on the Grote Markt as well, in particular the annual Haarlem Jazz & More (formerly known as Haarlem Jazzstad), a music festival, and Haarlem Culinair, a culinary event, as well as the biannual Haarlemse Stripdagen (Haarlem comic days). Bevrijdingspop is a music festival to celebrate the Dutch liberation from the Nazis after World War II. It is held every year on 5 May, the day that the Netherlands were liberated in 1945, at the Haarlemmerhout. At the same location, the Haarlemmerhoutfestival is also held every year, which is a music and theatre festival.

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

Add your own travel posts using the Linky tool below, and don't forget to be nice and leave a comment here, and link back to this page from your own post:

Sunday, 9 April 2017

ART SUNDAY - FRANTIŠEK ŽENÍŠEK

“I go to Prague every year if I can, value my relationships there like gold, and feel myself in a sense Czech, with all their hopes and needs. They are a people I not only love, but admire.” - Ellis Peters 

František Ženíšek (25 May 1849, Prague – 15 November 1916, Prague) was a Czech painter. He was part of the “Generace českého Národního divadla” (Generation of the Czech National Theatre), a large group of artists with nationalistic sympathies.

He was born into a family of merchants and displayed an affinity for art at an early age. Reluctantly his father agreed to let him pursue his interests and allowed him to take lessons from Karel Javůrek while he was still in school. From 1863 to 1865, he was at the Academy of Fine Arts, studying with Eduard von Engerth. After a brief stay in Vienna, assisting Engerth with work at the State Opera, he was back at the Academy in Prague, working with Jan Swerts and the history painter Josef Matyáš Trenkwald.

In 1875, he received his first major commission; painting murals at the city hall in Courtrai, Belgium. Then, in 1878, while making a study trip to Paris, he gained an important friend and supporter in Josef Šebestián Daubek, a well-known patron of the arts, who engaged him to decorate his home in Liteň. He later accompanied Daubek on his honeymoon to Holland, and painted a portrait of the new couple.

Soon after returning from Paris, he and Mikoláš Aleš won a competition to decorate the foyer of the National Theatre with historical and allegorical designs. Ženíšek went on to decorate the auditorium ceiling and design a curtain, although the curtain was destroyed by a fire in 1881. He also designed windows at the church in Karlín and lunettes at the National Museum as well as over 80 portraits.

From 1885 to 1896, he was a Professor at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design, where his assistant was Jakub Schikaneder. Then, from 1896 to 1915, he was a Professor at the Academy of Fine Arts, where his students included Jaroslav Špillar and Jan Preisler. In 1898, he was one of the founders of “Jednota umělců výtvarných” (Creative Artists), in an effort to strengthen the Czech nationalist viewpoint in the arts. His son, František (1877–1935) was also a painter of some note.

Above is his painting, “Oldřich and Božena” of 1884. Božena (Křesinová - died after 1052) was the second wife (and probably earlier the mistress) of Duke Oldřich of Bohemia and mother of Bretislaus I of Bohemia. The historian Cosmas of Prague recorded the legend of Oldřich and Božena, in his Chronica Boëmorum (“Chronicle of the Bohemians”). According to the legend, the young (and married) Oldřich set out on a hunt and travelled to Peruc. There, he spied a beautiful peasant girl, Božena, by a well known today as Božena's Spring and was immediately entranced by her. Oldřich abandoned his hunt and took Božena back to Prague, where she eventually gave birth to his illegitimate son Bretislaus. In the legend, Oldřich's first meeting with Božena took place in sight of the Oldřich Oak.

Božena was indeed the saviour of the Czech House of Přemysl. Oldřich had two brothers, but one of them, Jaromír, was castrated by the eldest sibling, Boleslaus III. Boleslaus himself was imprisoned in Poland, possibly having only a daughter. Thus Oldřich was the one Přemyslid able to have a son and heir. His first wife is thought to have borne no children. Božena’s low birth is alluded to in the chronicle of Cosmas, which states that Oldřich first met her “riding through the village”. The illegitimate birth of her son Bretislaus to a low-born mother is believed to have made it necessary for him to resort to abduction when he later sought to marry a noble bride (Judith of Schweinfurt). At any rate, she was held to be a peasant woman already by the author of the early 14th-century Chronicle of Dalimil.