Saturday, 24 June 2017


“A man calumniated is doubly injured - first by him who utters the calumny, and then by him who believes it.” - Herodotus 

Antonio Salieri (18 August 1750 – 7 May 1825) was an Italian classical composer, conductor, and teacher. He was born in Legnago, south of Verona, in the Republic of Venice, and spent his adult life and career as a subject of the Habsburg Monarchy. Salieri was a pivotal figure in the development of late 18th-century opera. As a student of Florian Leopold Gassmann, and a protégé of Gluck, Salieri was a cosmopolitan composer who wrote operas in three languages. Salieri helped to develop and shape many of the features of operatic compositional vocabulary, and his music was a powerful influence on contemporary composers.

Appointed the director of the Italian opera by the Habsburg court, a post he held from 1774 until 1792, Salieri dominated Italian-language opera in Vienna. During his career he also spent time writing works for opera houses in Paris, Rome, and Venice, and his dramatic works were widely performed throughout Europe during his lifetime. As the Austrian imperial Kapellmeister from 1788 to 1824, he was responsible for music at the court chapel and attached school.

Even as his works dropped from performance, and he wrote no new operas after 1804, he still remained one of the most important and sought-after teachers of his generation, and his influence was felt in every aspect of Vienna’s musical life. Franz Liszt, Franz Schubert, and Ludwig van Beethoven were among the most famous of his pupils. Salieri’s music slowly disappeared from the repertoire between 1800 and 1868 and was rarely heard after that period until the revival of his fame in the late 20th century.

This revival was due to the dramatic and highly fictionalised depiction of Salieri in Peter Shaffer’s play “Amadeus” (1979) and its 1984 film version. His music today has regained some modest popularity via recordings. He is popularly remembered as a supposedly bitter rival of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. This includes rumours that Salieri murdered Mozart out of jealousy, when in reality, they were at least respectful peers.

Here is a series of Twenty-six Variations on the Popular Theme of “La Folìa” for orchestra written in 1815, which is astonishing by its modernity, its luminous and light orchestration (contrary to the trends of Salieri’s time). The use of the harp, the short and sharp orchestral tutti, orchestral soloists (bassoon, oboe, flute, etc), is simply brilliant. Salieri has composed here a work of an indisputable thematic solidity in turn, dreamy, dramatic, playful, romantic, seductive, and served by an impeccable orchestration.

This work is emblematic of a trend that progressed well into the nineteenth century, notably in France and Italy, from Paganini to Saint-Saëns, Rossini and Debussy, who all believed that music should be clear and simple if it carries within its foundation a clear depth and density. There are still some typical passages in classical variation form in this piece, a rather rough finish, and a very shy use of brass, but 15 years before the “Symphonie Fantastique” of Berlioz we cannot expect similar treatments that are more Romantic in their scope. On the other hand, some passages involving the harp and the violin are worthy of the finest impressionist melodies of the end of the 19th century. Enjoy!

Friday, 23 June 2017


“Go vegetable heavy. Reverse the psychology of your plate by making meat the side dish and vegetables the main course.” - Bobby Flay

We recently had this tart made from a recipe a friend gave us and it was quite delicious. We did “tamper” a little with it to make it a trifle more agreeable to us and it all worked out very nicely!

1 Middle Eastern flatbread large enough to line the bottom of a quiche pan
Olive oil
400g butternut pumpkin, peeled, cubed
1 red capsicum, sliced
1 red onion, cut into thin wedges
1/3 cup chopped chives
4 eggs
1/4 cup cream
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground dry mustard
1 ripe tomato

Preheat oven to 180°C fan-forced. Place baking tray on top shelf of oven. Line another baking tray with baking paper.
Use olive to brush both sides of the flatbread thoroughly. Place it on the bottom of a 30 cm quiche pan.
Place pumpkin, capsicum and onion in a bowl and drizzle olive oil in it, tossing the vegetables until they are thoroughly coated with oil (but not too much!). Season with salt and pepper.
Spread the vegetables on the prepared baking tray and place on lower shelf of oven. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until vegetables are just tender. Remove vegetables from oven. Reduce oven temperature to 160°C fan-forced.
Place eggs, cream, cheese and spices in a large jug. Whisk to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange vegetables in the quiche pan. Pour egg mix over the vegetables. Decorate with finely sliced tomato rondels. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden and just set. Serve hot.

This post is part of the Food Friday meme.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017


“Glasgow is less polite than Edinburgh but that’s a good thing - they keep it very real.” - Nik Kershaw 

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.
Glasgow (Scots: Glesga; Scottish Gaelic: Glaschu) is the largest city in Scotland, and third largest in the United Kingdom. Historically part of Lanarkshire, it is now one of the 32 council areas of Scotland. It is situated on the River Clyde in the country’s West Central Lowlands. Inhabitants of the city are referred to as Glaswegians. Glasgow grew from a small rural settlement on the River Clyde to become the largest seaport in Britain.

Expanding from the medieval bishopric and royal burgh, and the later establishment of the University of Glasgow in the 15th century, it became a major centre of the Scottish Enlightenment in the 18th century. From the 18th century the city also grew as one of Great Britain’s main hubs of transatlantic trade with North America and the West Indies. With the onset of the Industrial Revolution, the population and economy of Glasgow and the surrounding region expanded rapidly to become one of the world’s pre-eminent centres of chemicals, textiles and engineering; most notably in the shipbuilding and marine engineering industry, which produced many innovative and famous vessels.

Glasgow was the “Second City of the British Empire” for much of the Victorian era and Edwardian period, although many cities argue the title was theirs. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries Glasgow grew in population, reaching a peak of 1,127,825 in 1938. Comprehensive urban renewal projects in the 1960s, resulting in large-scale relocation of people to new towns and peripheral suburbs, followed by successive boundary changes, reduced the population of the City of Glasgow council area to 599,650 with 1,209,143 people living in the Greater Glasgow urban area. The entire region surrounding the conurbation covers about 2.3 million people, 41% of Scotland’s population.

Glasgow hosted the 2014 Commonwealth Games and is also well known in the sporting world for the football rivalry of the Old Firm between Celtic and Rangers. Glasgow is also known for Glasgow patter, a distinct dialect that is noted for being difficult to understand by those from outside the city.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday 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, 18 June 2017


“Don’t work for recognition, but do work worthy of recognition.” - H. Jackson Brown, Jr. 

Ivan Ivanovich Godlevsky (Russian: Иван Иванович Годлевский; March 9, 1908, Kholm Governorate, Russian Empire – August 20, 1998, Saint Petersburg, Russia) was born in the town of Dobromychi (then the territory of Poland) in 1908. In 1913 his parents died in the First World War and he was admitted into the shelter of Countess Veniaminova in Moscow, but after the revolution he was brought up in an orphanage.

Since his early childhood Ivan was fond of drawing and painting. In 1926 he graduated from the Mirgorod Art School and then entered the Kiev Academy, where his talent was noted by a professor at the Krichevsky Academy. After the Kiev Academy he was drafted into the army, where he served until 1935. In 1936 he was admitted to the Leningrad Art Academy for the quality of his work without exams. He studied at the studio of Alexander Aleksandrovich Osmyorkin, was his favorite student and was a friend of the master for the rest of his life.

The war found the artist in Gurzuf, where he was writing his thesis. Godlevsky went into the army, went to war, was awarded a medal and was demobilised in 1946. He was able to graduate from the Academy only in 1949 and began to teach in the famous Muchinka. At the same time he was elected chairman of the painting section of the Leningrad branch of the Union of Artists.

Party member, war hero, professor of a prestigious university and head of the painting section, Godlevsky could have had a successful career. However, he was extremely honest in his relations with art and never changed his artistic principles. Godlevsky worked not for recognition, but for art. In his diary he wrote: “Creativity is the way to absolute happiness and the only meaning of life.” In 1956 Godlevsky fulfilled an important state order and received a considerable sum of money for it. He retired as professor and completely devoted himself to his passion - painting. To create pictures for him was a vital necessity. That is why in his paintings it is easy to see not only the great talent of the artist, but also his own sense of the fullness of being. Having thoroughly studied the foundations of impressionism, the artist created his own bright, easily recognizable, individual style in painting back in the early 1950s. It is noteworthy that this style remained characteristic of the artist until the end of his life.

The most devoted admirer of Godlevsky’s creativity was his wife, Vera Dmitrievna Lyubimova. It so happened that at first she fell in love with his paintings, and then in the artist himself. They were married in 1957.

In 1961 the first solo exhibition of Ivan Godlevsky’s works was held in the exhibition hall of the Leningrad Union of Artists. As soon as it opened, people stood in line in the street in order to be admitted. Newspapers reviews were not as complimentary and the artist was criticised for “formalism and Frenchness”. Still, the exhibition was so successful that it was approved for a visiting display in 12 more cities, but after Leningrad it was held only in Lviv. The second solo exhibition was organised in the Union of Artists only in 1978.

In 1990 the artist was invited to Paris and after the first successful exhibition of 150 of his works, they were submitted for sale to the French public at the famous Parisian auction house, Drouot, where 148 were sold. Godlevsky became a famous artist in France and decided to stay there continuing his painting. He settled with his wife in the South of France in the town of Le Pradet, near St. Tropez. Subesquently, further exhibitions of Godlevsky’s works were organised in France, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Holland, Sweden and Italy. In December 1996 the artist decided to return to Russia, to his studio in St. Petersburg. In 1998 he died in his native land, his work finally acknowledged as significant and original.

The painting above is “On the Banks of the Ancient Volkhov River”, painted in 1970. It is rathe rdark and brooding, contrasting with others of his works that are brighter and perhaps more decorative such as his “Fishing Boats” or some that are more exotic and reminiscent of the orientalist tradition such as his “Samarkand”.

Saturday, 17 June 2017


“Musicians own music because music owns them.” - Virgil Thomson 

Johann Vierdanck (also: Virdanck, Vyrdanck, Feyertagk, Feyerdank, Fierdanck; ca. 1605–1646) was a German violinist, cornettist, and composer of the Baroque period. Vierdanck was born near Dresden. In 1615 he joined the court chapel of Dresden, where he became a student of Heinrich Schütz and of William Brade. His instrumental works were influenced by the Italian violinist Carlo Farina, also active in the Dresden court.

After visits to Copenhagen and Lübeck, Vierdanck occupied the post of organist in Stralsund from 1635 until his death. He was buried in Stralsund on 1 April 1646.The group Parnassi Musici has recorded several of his instrumental works, from his 1641 publication, for the CD label Classic Produktion Osnabrück.

Here are some of his chamber works performed by the group Parnassi Musici.
1. Canzona in C (No. 21) [04:30]
2. Capriccio in d minor (No. 11) [00:49]
3. Capriccio in a minor (No. 17) [04:11]
4. Capriccio in a minor (No. 2) [01:33]
5. Canzona in G (No. 23) [03:32]
6. Capriccio in a minor (No. 8) [02:26]
7. Passamezzo in a minor (No. 15) [07:23]
8. La sua Gagliarda in a minor (No. 16) [01:54]
9. Capriccio in d minor (No. 3) [02:45]
10. Capriccio in a minor (No. 20) [04:41]
11. Capriccio in d minor (No. 10) [01:50]
12. Capriccio in d minor (No. 18) [03:27]
13. Sonata in d minor (No. 4) [04:11]
14. Canzona in g minor (No. 22) [03:34]
15. Capriccio in d minor (No. 9) [01:01]
16. Capriccio in g minor (No. 19) [03:35]
17. Capriccio in d minor (No. 1) [01:34]
18. Canzona in a minor (No. 24) [05:45]
19. Capriccio in a minor (No. 7) [01:12]
20. Capriccio ‘auff Quodlibethische Art’ in C (No. 25) [06:20]

Friday, 16 June 2017


“Tea time is a chance to slow down, pull back and appreciate our surroundings.” - Letitia Baldrige 

Afternoon tea in Winter is a lovely tradition and having the right cakes is absolutely essential. One of the cakes we often have is the "1-2-3-4" Yoghurt Cake from Greece. It’s lovely and light and moist.

 Yoghurt Cake

1 cup (250 mL) Greek yoghurt (use the same cup to measure the other ingredients)
1 cup light vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
3 cups self-raising flour
4 eggs
1 tsp Vanilla essence
Your favourite icing to decorate or a simple dusting with icing sugar

Separate the eggs, beating the yolks with the sugar until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks (reserve).
Add the oil little by little while beating the yolk-sugar mixture. Once incorporated, add the yoghurt, a little at a time, mixing slowly. Add the vanilla essence.
Stop beating the mixture and add about a quarter of the flour and a quarter of the beaten egg-white alternately until they are used up, folding gently with a spatula to mix thoroughly.
Empty in a well-greased and floured ring cake tin and bake in an oven pre-warmed to 180˚C for 55 to 60 minutes in the centre shelf. Don’t open the oven door for the first 40 minutes or so, but later you may need to cover the cake with a little foil to prevent the top burning. Check if it’s done by inserting a skewer. Leave in the tin for 10 minutes after you take it out of the oven and then upend onto your serving platter. Ice or dust when cake is cold.

This post is part of the Food Friday meme.

Thursday, 15 June 2017


“People can choose between the sweet lie or the bitter truth. I say the bitter truth, but many people don’t want to hear it.” - Avigdor Lieberman 

Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare) is a perennial, herbaceous flowering plant of the aster family, native to temperate Europe and Asia. It has been introduced to other parts of the world including North America, and in some areas has become invasive. It is also known as common tansy, bitter buttons, cow bitter, or golden buttons. Tansy is absent from Siberia and some of the Mediterranean islands. The ancient Greeks may have been the first to cultivate it as a medicinal herb. In the sixteenth century it was considered to be “necessary for a garden” in Britain.

The plant is a flowering herbaceous species with finely divided compound leaves and yellow, button-like flowers. It has a stout, somewhat reddish, erect stem, usually smooth, 50–150 cm tall, and branching near the top. The leaves are alternate, 10–15 cm long and are pinnately lobed, divided almost to the centre into about seven pairs of segments, or lobes, which are again divided into smaller lobes having saw-toothed edges, giving the leaf a somewhat fernlike appearance.

The roundish, flat-topped, button-like, yellow flower heads are produced in terminal clusters from mid-to-late summer. The scent is similar to that of camphor with hints of rosemary. The leaves and flowers are toxic if consumed in large quantities; the volatile oil contains toxic compounds including thujone, which can cause convulsions and liver and brain damage. If you intend to use tansy as a culinary herb do not use it to excess and do not use it at all if you are allergic to it. Some insects, notably the tansy beetle Chrysolina graminis, have resistance to the toxins and subsist almost exclusively on the plant.

Tansy has a long history of use. It was first recorded as being cultivated by the ancient Greeks for medicinal purposes. In the 8th century AD it was grown in the herb gardens of Charlemagne and by Benedictine monks of the Swiss monastery of Saint Gall. Tansy was used to treat intestinal worms, rheumatism, digestive problems, fevers, sores, and to bring out measles. During the Middle Ages and later, high doses were used to induce abortions. Contrary to this, tansy was also said to help women conceive and to prevent miscarriages. In the 15th century, Christians began serving tansy with Lenten meals to commemorate the bitter herbs eaten by the Israelites. Tansy was thought to have the added Lenten benefits of controlling flatulence brought on by days of eating fish and pulses and of preventing the intestinal worms believed to be caused by eating fish during Lent.

Tansy was used as a face wash and was reported to lighten and purify the skin. In the 19th century, Irish folklore suggested that bathing in a solution of tansy and salts would cure joint pain. Although most of its medicinal uses have been discredited, tansy is still a component of some medicines and is listed by the United States Pharmacopeia as a treatment for fevers, feverish colds, and jaundice.

Tansy has also been cultivated and used for its insect repellent and in the worm warding type of embalming. It was packed into coffins, wrapped in funeral winding sheets, and tansy wreaths were sometimes placed on the dead. During the American colonial period, meat was frequently rubbed with or packed in tansy leaves to repel insects and delay spoilage. Tansy was frequently worn at that time in shoes to prevent malaria and other fevers; it has been shown, however, that some mosquito species including Culex pipiens take nectar from tansy flowers.

Tansy can be used as in companion planting and for biological pest control. It is planted alongside potatoes to repel the Colorado potato beetle, with one study finding tansy reduced the beetle population by 60 to 100%. In England tansy is placed on window sills to repel flies; sprigs are placed in bed linen to drive away pests, and it has been used as an ant repellent. In the 1940s, distilled tansy oil mixed with fleabane, pennyroyal and diluted alcohol was a well-known mosquito repellent. Some research studies support these insect-repellent uses.

Tansy was formerly used as a flavouring for puddings and omelettes, but this culinary use is now almost unknown. The herbalist John Gerard (c. 1545–1612) noted that tansy was well known as “pleasant in taste”, and he recommends tansy sweetmeats as “an especial thing against the gout, if every day for a certain space a reasonable quantitie thereof be eaten fasting.” In Yorkshire, tansy and caraway seeds were traditionally used in biscuits served at funerals. During the Restoration, a “tansy” was a sweet omelette flavoured with tansy juice. In the BBC documentary “The Supersizers go ...Restoration”, Allegra McEvedy described the flavour as “fruity, with a sharpness to it and then there’s a sort of explosion of cool heat a bit like peppermint.” However, the programme’s presenter Sue Perkins experienced tansy toxicity. According to liquor historian A. J. Baime, in the 19th century Tennessee whiskey magnate Jack Daniel enjoyed drinking his own whiskey with sugar and crushed tansy leaf.

Many tansy species contain a volatile oil, which can cause contact dermatitis in sensitive individuals. If taken internally, toxic metabolites are produced as the oil is broken down in the liver and digestive tract. It is highly toxic to internal parasites, and for centuries tansy tea has been prescribed by herbalists to expel worms. Tansy is an effective insecticide and is highly toxic to arthropods.

In the language of flowers, tansy leaves mean "the truth is bitter", while flowering stems indicate "hate, bitterness and a declaration of war".

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017


“Caring about others, running the risk of feeling, and leaving an impact on people, brings happiness.” - Harold Kushner 

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.   
Mytilene (Greek: Μυτιλήνη; Mytilini in Modern Greek) is a town and a former municipality on the island of Lesbos, North Aegean, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Lesbos, of which it is a municipal unit. It is the capital of the island of Lesbos. Mytilene, whose name is pre-Greek, is built on the southeast edge of the island. It is also the seat of a metropolitan bishop of the Orthodox church. Mytilene has a port with ferries to the nearby islands of Lemnos and Chios and Ayvalık and at times Dikili in Turkey. The port also serves the mainland cities of Piraeus, Athens and Thessaloniki.The city produces ouzo. There are more than 15 commercial producers on the island.The city exports sardines harvested from the Bay of Kalloni and olive oil and woodwork.

An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.2 Richter has badly damaged scores of homes on the Eastern Greek island of Lesbos, killing one woman and injuring at least 10 people. Lesbos Mayor Spyros Galinos and the fire service said the woman was found dead in the Southern village of Vrisa that was worst-hit by the quake, which had its epicentre under the sea, to the South of the island.

According to Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management, the epicentre was at a shallow depth of seven kilometres. At least 25 aftershocks were recorded following the initial quake at 3:28 pm local time, Monday 12th June. The tremor was also felt in densely populated Istanbul and the western Turkish province of Izmir, but no injuries were reported there. Earthquakes are common around the Aegean Sea, and both Greece and Turkey frequently report tremors and even more serious quakes. Despite this, people have learnt to live with and survive earthquakes, with most new buildings constructed, being adequate earthquake-resistant structures.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Ruby Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday 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, 12 June 2017


“Writing is an extreme privilege but it's also a gift. It's a gift to yourself and it's a gift of giving a story to someone.” - Amy Tan 

Seshat, under various spellings, was the Ancient Egyptian goddess of wisdom, knowledge, and writing. She was seen as a scribe and record keeper, and her name means ‘she who scrivens’ (i.e. she who is the scribe), and is credited with inventing writing. She also became identified as the goddess of accounting, architecture, astronomy, astrology, building, mathematics, and surveying. These are all professions that relied upon expertise in her skills. She is identified as Safekh-Aubi in some late texts. Mistress of the House of Books is another title for Seshat, being the deity whose priests oversaw the library in which scrolls of the most important knowledge were assembled and spells were preserved.

One prince of the fourth dynasty, Wep-em-nefret, is noted as the Overseer of the Royal Scribes, Priest of Seshat on a slab stela. Heliopolis was the location of her principal sanctuary. She is described as the goddess of history. In art, she was depicted as a woman with a seven-pointed emblem above her head. It is unclear what this emblem represents. Pharaoh Tuthmosis III (1479-1425 BCE) called her Sefket-Abwy (‘She of seven points’). Spell 10 of the Coffin Texts states “Seshat opens the door of heaven for you”.

Usually, she is shown holding a palm stem, bearing notches to denote the recording of the passage of time, especially for keeping track of the allotment of time for the life of the pharaoh. She was also depicted holding other tools and, often, holding the knotted cords that were stretched to survey land and structures. She is frequently shown dressed in a cheetah or leopard hide, a symbol of funerary priests. If not shown with the hide over a dress, the pattern of the dress is that of the spotted feline. The pattern on the natural hide was thought to represent the stars, being a symbol of eternity, and to be associated with the night sky.

As the divine measurer and scribe, Seshat was believed to appear to assist the pharaoh in both of these practices. It was she who recorded, by notching her palm, the time allotted to the pharaoh for his stay on earth. Seshat assisted the pharaoh in the ‘stretching the cord’ ritual. This ritual is related to laying out the foundations of temples and other important structures in order to determine and assure the sacred alignments and the precision of the dimensions. Her skills were necessary for surveying the land after the annual floods to reestablish boundary lines. The priestess who officiated at these functions in her name also oversaw the staff of others who performed similar duties and were trained in mathematics and the related store of knowledge. Much of this knowledge was considered quite sacred and not shared beyond the ranks of the highest professionals such as architects and certain scribes.

She also was responsible for recording the speeches the pharaoh made during the crowning ceremony and approving the inventory of foreign captives and goods gained in military campaigns. During the New Kingdom, she was involved in the Sed festival held by the pharaohs who could celebrate thirty years of reign. Later, when the cult of the moon deity, Thoth, became prominent and he became identified as a god of wisdom, the role of Seshat changed in the Egyptian pantheon when counterparts were created for most older deities. The lower ranks of her priestesses were displaced by the priests of Thoth. First, she was identified as his daughter, and later as his wife.

After the pairing with Thoth the emblem of Seshat was shown surmounted by a crescent moon, which, over time, degenerated into being shown as two horns arranged to form a crescent shape, but pointing downward (in an atypical fashion for Egyptian art). When the crescent moon symbol had degenerated into the horns, she sometimes was known as Safekh-Aubi, meaning she who wears the two horns. In a few images the horns resemble two cobras, as depicted in hieroglyphs, but facing each other with heads touching.

Saturday, 10 June 2017


“The way that I see astrology is as a repository of thought and psychology. A system we’ve created as a culture as way to make things mean things.” - Eleanor Catton 

Gustav Theodore Holst (born Gustavus Theodore von Holst; 21 September 1874 – 25 May 1934) was an English composer, arranger and teacher. Best known for his orchestral suite “The Planets”, he composed a large number of other works across a range of genres, although none achieved comparable success. His distinctive compositional style was the product of many influences, Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss being most crucial early in his development. The subsequent inspiration of the English folksong revival of the early 20th century, and the example of such rising modern composers as Maurice Ravel, led Holst to develop and refine an individual style.

There were professional musicians in the previous three generations of Holst’s family and it was clear from his early years that he would follow the same calling. He hoped to become a pianist, but was prevented by neuritis in his right arm. Despite his father’s reservations, he pursued a career as a composer, studying at the Royal College of Music under Charles Villiers Stanford. Unable to support himself by his compositions, he played the trombone professionally and later became a teacher—a great one, according to his colleague Ralph Vaughan Williams. Among other teaching activities he built up a strong tradition of performance at Morley College, where he served as musical director from 1907 until 1924, and pioneered music education for women at St Paul’s Girls’ School, where he taught from 1905 until his death in 1934. He was the founder of a series of Whitsun music festivals, which ran from 1916 for the remainder of his life.

Holst’s works were played frequently in the early years of the 20th century, but it was not until the international success of “The Planets” in the years immediately after the First World War that he became a well-known figure. A shy man, he did not welcome this fame, and preferred to be left in peace to compose and teach. In his later years his uncompromising, personal style of composition struck many music lovers as too austere, and his brief popularity declined. Nevertheless, he was a significant influence on a number of younger English composers, including Edmund Rubbra, Michael Tippett and Benjamin Britten. Apart from The Planets and a handful of other works, his music was generally neglected until the 1980s, when recordings of much of his output became available.

“The Planets”, Op. 32, is a seven-movement orchestral suite by Holst, written between 1914 and 1916. Each movement of the suite is named after a planet of the Solar System and its corresponding astrological character as defined by Holst.

From its premiere to the present day, the suite has been enduringly popular, influential, widely performed and frequently recorded. The work was not heard in a complete public performance, however, until some years after it was completed. Although there were four performances between September 1918 and October 1920, they were all either private (the first performance, in London) or incomplete (two others in London and one in Birmingham). The premiere was at the Queen’s Hall on 29 September 1918, conducted by Holsts friend Adrian Boult before an invited audience of about 250 people. The first complete public performance was finally given in London by Albert Coates conducting the London Symphony Orchestra on 15 November 1920.

Here is “The Planets” suite:
0:00 Mars
7:27 Venus
14:52 Mercury
18:39 Jupiter
26:11 Saturn
35:26 Uranus
41:12 Neptune

Friday, 9 June 2017


“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: It is the time for home.” ― Edith Sitwell 

We have been having more crisp winter days in Melbourne, and as the evening falls earlier and earlier with the night cold and dark, some hearty comfort is definitely needed. Here is a favourite vegetarian dish of ours that foots the bill!

Vegetable and Bean Winter Stew

3 tbsp of olive oil
+ 2 tbsp of olive oil
1 tender celery stick, finely chopped
1 leek, white part, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
400g can of chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 sweet red capsicum, finely chopped
2 cups vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp ground coriander seed
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground sage
1/2 tsp ground smoked paprika
4 cups of a mixture of cooked and drained, black-eyed beans, haricot beans and butter beans
Chopped parsley and red chilli (if desired) for garnish

Heat the 3 tbsp of oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the celery, leek and onion and stir. Cook until the celery looks almost transparent and then add the garlic and tomato paste and cook for a minute, stirring all the time.
Add the canned tomatoes, red peppers and 2 cups of vegetable stock and boil for about 30 minutes, stirring to break down the tomatoes, until the sauce is starting to reduce and the peppers are soft.
In a skillet, put the 2 tbsp of oil and once hot, add the drained beans, stirring through to heat up. Add the herbs and spices, stirring thoroughly.
Add the beans to the vegetable mixture and boil for about 15 minutes, stirring now and then. Add a little water if the mixture becomes too thick. Season with salt and pepper.
When ready, serve in individual warmed bowls and top with some chopped parsley and chilli if desired.

This post is part of the Food Friday meme.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017


“Contrary to what the cynics say, distance is not for the fearful; it's for the bold. It's for those who are willing to spend a lot of time alone in exchange for a little time with the one they love.” — Meghan Daum

When the one we love is far away from us we discover a new way of loving. The experience of our affections alter in quite subtle ways and hits us with quite a punch in our everyday life. The longer the period of absence is protracted, the greater our change and our every action and thought begins to be coloured by that absence. The poem below is for the Poets United Midweek Motif, “Oceans”.
Across the Oceans

Though far away, you are close to me,
Because your distant presence
Attunes within my heart, your heart.

Though far away, I hear your voice,
When you call me; and its lingering echo
Resonates deep within my soul.

Though far away, I see your face,
Your smile a distant sun that warms
Each ice-cold fibre of my body.

Though far away, I taste your kiss,
Each time I bite into a ripe strawberry,
Fragrant, lush, juicy and succulent.

Though far away, I speak your name,
And my winged words fly out,
Across the oceans, swiftly to find you;
And in their beaks they carry my kisses,
And in their claws grasp my solitude.

Though far away, you’ll hear my words,
Calling your name, giving you kisses.
And my solitude, delivered to you, will be no more,
As you open your arms and in your dream of me
Will feel my love enveloping you softly.

Across the oceans, distance is annulled,
Love bends both time and space, taming them
And the oceans lose their breadth and depth;
Together our souls will meld and fly above
The crashing waves to find our sunny place.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017


“A poor fisherman who knows the beauties of the misty mornings is much richer than a wealthy man who sleeps till noon in his palace!” ― Mehmet Murat ildan 

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.   
Castellammare del Golfo (Sicilian: Casteddammari) is a town and ‘comune’ in the Trapani Province of Sicily. The name is roughly translated ‘Sea-Fortress (castle [on the] sea) of the Gulf’, deriving from the medieval fortress in the harbour. The body of water it sits upon also takes its name from the fortress, Golfo di Castellammare.

In ancient times, Castellammare had been the harbour of Segesta, one of the main towns of the Elymian people.  Fishing has been important in Castellammare del Golfo dating back to ancient times. Today the town’s economy continues to be based on fishing with the addition of tourism.

The small town is noted, however, for having been the birthplace of many American Mafia figures, including Salvatore Maranzano, Stefano Magaddino, Joseph Barbara, Gaspare Milazzo, Peter Magaddino, Giovanni Bonventre, Pietro Caiozzo, Gaspare DiGregorio, Matteo DiGregorio, Sebastiano Domingo, Giovanni D’Anna, Francesco Puma, Camillo Galante, Pietro Crociata, Michele Adamo, Girolamo Asaro, Francesco Garofalo, Giovanni Fiordilino, Giovanni Tartamella, Joseph Buccellato, Francesco Buccellato, Vito Buccellato, Natale Evola, Vincenzo Danna, Charles DiBenedetto, Jimmy Costa, Giovanni Romano, Sasa Parrino, Cola Schiro, Joseph Notaro and Joseph Bonanno. From this name comes also the Castellamarese war, fought by Joe Masseria clan against Salvatore Maranzano clan for the leadership of the Italian Mafia in New York City.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Ruby Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday 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, 5 June 2017


“We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far.” - H. P. Lovecraft 

Ḥeḥ (also Huh, Hah, Hauh, Huah, Hahuh and Hehu) was in Egyptian mythology, the personification of infinity or eternity in the Ogdoad, his name itself meaning “endlessness”. His female counterpart was known as Hauhet, which is simply the feminine form of his name. Like the other concepts in the Ogdoad, his male form was often depicted as a frog, or a frog-headed human, and his female form as a snake or snake-headed human. The frog head symbolised fertility, creation, and regeneration, and was also possessed by the other Ogdoad males Kek, Amun, and Nun. Together with his female counterpart Ḥauḥet, Ḥeḥ represented a member of the Ogdoad of eight primeval deities whose worship was centred at Hermopolis Magna. The other members of the Ogdoad , Nu and Naunet, Amun and Amaunet, Kuk and Kauket, who joined together to create the cataclysmic event that gives rise to the sun and sun god, Atum. 

The other common representation depicts him crouching, holding a palm stem in each hand (or just one), sometimes with a palm stem in his hair, as palm stems represented long life to the Egyptians, the years being represented by notches on it. Depictions of this form also had a shen ring at the base of each palm stem, which represented infinity. Depictions of Heh were also used in hieroglyphs to represent one million, which was essentially considered equivalent to infinity in Ancient Egyptian mathematics. Thus this deity is also known as the “god of millions of years”.

The god Ḥeḥ was usually depicted anthropomorphically, as in the hieroglyphic character, as a male figure with divine beard and lappet wig. Normally kneeling (one knee raised), sometimes in a basket (the sign for “all”), the god typically holds in each hand a notched palm branch (palm rib). These were employed in the temples for ceremonial time-keeping, which use explains the use of the palm branch as the hieroglyphic symbol for rnp.t, “year”. Occasionally, an additional palm branch is worn on the god's head. In Ancient Egyptian Numerology, Gods such as Heh were used to represent numbers in a decimal point system. Particularly, the number 1,000,000 is depicted in the hieroglyph of Heh, who is position in his normal seated position.

The personified, somewhat abstract god of eternity Ḥeḥ possessed no known cult centre or sanctuary; rather, his veneration revolved around symbolism and personal belief. The god’s image and its iconographic elements reflected the wish for millions of years of life or rule; as such, the figure of Ḥeḥ finds frequent representation in amulets, prestige items and royal iconography from the late Old Kingdom period onwards. Heh became associated with the King and his quest for longevity. For instance, he appears on the tomb of King Tutankhamen, in two cartouches, where he is crowned with a winged scarab beetle, symbolizing existence and a sun disk. The placement of Heh in relation to King Tutankhamen's corpse means he will be granting him these “millions of years” into the afterlife.

Sunday, 4 June 2017


“I think cubism has not fully been developed. It is treated like a style, pigeonholed and that’s it.” - David Hockney 

Alexander Bogomazov or Oleksandr Bohomazov (Russian: Александр Константинович Богомазов, Ukrainian: Олександр Костянтинович Богомазов; born April 7, 1880 in Yampol, Russian Empire – died on June 3, 1930 in Kiev, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union) was a Ukrainian painter, known artist and modern art theoretician of the Russian Avant-garde (historically the term “Russian Avant-garde” refers to the art of all countries which were parts of Russia/USSR in the beginning of 20th century). In 1914, Alexander wrote his treatise “The Art of Painting and the Elements”. In it he analysed the interaction between Object, Artist, Picture, and Spectator and sets the theoretical foundation of modern art. During his artistic life Alexander Bogomazov mastered several art styles. The most known are Cubo-Futurism (1913–1917) and Spectralism (1920–1930).

Alexander Bogomazov was born in Yampol, Kharkov Governorate, as a second child to Konstantin Bogomazov. His mother Anisia abandoned the family shorty after his baptism. His ethnic background was Russian, yet Alexander spent virtually all his life in Kiev. From 1896 to 1902, Aleksander Bogomazov attended the Institute for Agriculture in Kherson. From 1902 to 1905, he attended the Kiev Art School (KKHU), at the same time he had close contact with Alexander Archipenko and Aleksandra Ekster.

In 1905, he participated in political demonstrations and strikes. In the same year he was expelled from the Kiev Art School. In 1906, he studied in the studio of S. Swiatoslavskiy. Bogomazov had an exhibition in Kiev, together with Archipenko. That year he moved to Moscow and became the student of Fyodor Rerberg and Konstantin Yuon. In 1907, he returned to Kiev. After 1907, he had regular exhibitions in Kiev, including the Association of Russian Artists and the Moscow Society of Independent Artists. In 1908, he participated in the exhibition with the group of artists Zveno (“The Link”) in Kiev together with David Burliuk, Wladimir Burliuk, Aleksandra Ekster and others.

In 1911, he journeyed to Finland. From 1912 to 1915, he taught at a school for the deaf and mute in Kiev. From 1913 to 1914, he studied the works of the Italian Futurists. At this time he developed art theories, and published his essay The Art of Painting and the Elements. In 1914, he organized the exhibition Kiltse (“The Ring”) in Kiev, together with Aleksandra Ekster, Eugène Konopatzky among others. In 1915, Bogomazov moved to the Caucasus, where he worked as a teacher and painter. In 1919, he taught at the First State Studio for Paintings and Decorative art in Kiev. From 1919 to 1920, he was the Head of the Department for Art Education in the Ukrainian Commissariat for Visual Art. At the same time he was the co-founder of the Ukrainian Agitprop Movement, and created designs for the Agitprom movement.

From 1922 to 1930, he taught at the Kiev Art Academy (KKHI) together with Vadim Meller, Vladimir Tatlin, Victor Palmov. In 1927, he was a founding member of the Association of the Revolutionary Masters of Ukraine (ARMU), together with D.Burliuk, V.Meller, V.Palmov, V. Yermilov and others. In the same year, he participated in the All-Ukrainian Exhibition Ten years October (Kharkov, Kiev, Odessa), together with Tatlin, Meller, Palmov, Epshtein among others. Alexander Bogomazov died on June 3, 1930 in Kiev.

The painting above is his “Sharpening Saws” of 1927.

Saturday, 3 June 2017


“Wonder rather than doubt is the root of all knowledge.” - Abraham Joshua Heschel 

Tomaso Antonio Vitali (March 7, 1663 – May 9, 1745) was an Italian composer and violinist from Bologna, the eldest son of Giovanni Battista Vitali. He is known mainly for a ‘Chaconne in G minor for violin and continuo’, which was published from a manuscript in the Sächsische Landesbibliothek in Dresden in Die Hoch Schule des Violinspiels (1867) edited by German violinist Ferdinand David). That work’s wide-ranging modulations into distant keys have raised speculation that it could not be a genuine baroque work.

Vitali studied composition in Modena with Antonio Maria Pacchioni, and was employed at the Este court orchestra from 1675 to 1742. He was a teacher, whose pupils included Evaristo Felice dall’Abaco, Jean Baptiste Senaillé, Girolamo Nicolò Laurenti and Luca Antonio Predieri. Authentic works by Vitali include a set of trio sonatas published as his opus numbers 1 and 2 (1693), sonatas da camera (chamber sonatas), and violin sonatas (including his opus 6) among other works. Among those that have been recorded include all of the op. 1 (on Naxos 8.570182), three of the violin sonatas (on the Swiss label Gallo), and some of the sonatas from the opp. 2 and 4 sets (opus 4, no. 12 on Classica CL 101 from Finland). He died at Modena.

A chaconne is a musical form used as a vehicle for variation on a repeated short harmonic progression over a ground bass. The Chaconne was marked by the copyist, at the time of transcription, in the upper margin of the first page of the Dresden manuscript as “Parte del Tomaso Vitalino” (Tomaso Vitalino’s part), who may or may not be Vitali. One striking feature of the Vitali Chaconne’s style is the way it wildly changes key, reaching the far-flung territories of B-flat minor and E-flat minor, modulations uncharacteristic of the Baroque era, as change of key signature became typical only in Romanticism. The manuscript, Sächsische Landesbibliothek Dresden, Mus. 2037/R/1, has more recently been identified as being in the hand of Jacob Lindner, a known copyist who was working at the Dresden Hofkapelle between 1710 and 1730, which lends credit to its authenticity.

Despite musicological doubts, the piece has been ever popular amongst violinists. For example, Jascha Heifetz chose it, in a very much arranged and altered version, with organ accompaniment, to open his New York debut in Queen’s Hall on 5 May 1920. Arrangements of it exist for violin and piano by Ferdinand David and by Léopold Charlier, for violin and organ, for violin and orchestra by Ottorino Respighi, and there are transcriptions of it for viola and piano by Friedrich Hermann (1828-1907) and by Alan Arnold (contemporary American violist and music publisher, owner of “Viola World Publications”) and for cello and piano by Luigi Silva.

Here are Vitali’s ‘Trio Sonatas, Op. 1’, played by Semperconsort.

And here is the ‘Chaconne in G Minor’ played by Oliver Colbentson accompanied by Erich Appel.