Saturday, 22 April 2017


“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


“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
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

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


“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


“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


“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.