Saturday, 21 April 2018


“I was obliged to be industrious. Whoever is equally industrious will succeed equally well.” - Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) 

I am currently working on the new edition of one of my published works and it involves a lot (and I mean a REAL LOT!) of proof-reading. This is a task that requires much concentration and it is quite tiring on both eyes and brain. One thing that makes the task a little easier is to listen to some music while I am working. Bach always works for me in this context and the music seems to enhance my concentration.

Here is a collection of pieces that I enjoy listening to while I am working. It is Bach's works for the viola da gamba: Sonatas for viola da gamba and obligato harpsichord & Suite for viola da gamba. In this instance performed by Paolo Pandolfo [viola da gamba] and Rinaldo Alessandrini [harpsichord]. 

Sonata in G major BWV 1027:
1. Adagio 0:01
2. Andante 4:26
3. Allegro ma non tanto 7:57
4. Allegro moderato 10:30 

Sonata in D major BWV 1028:
5. [Adagio] 13:24
6. [Allegro] 15:19
7. Andante 18:46
8. Allegro 23:13 

Sonata in G minor BWV 1029:
9. Vivace 27:02
10. Adagio 32:19
11. Allegro 38:39 

Suite for Viola da gamba in D minor [Transcription from Suite Cello No.5 BWV 1011 and Suite for Lute BWV 995 (arr. Paolo Pandolfo)]:
12. Prélude 42:06
13. Allemande 48:12
14. Courante 54:08
15. Sarabande 56:28
16. Gavottes I et II 1:00:12
17. Gigue 1:04:21

Tuesday, 17 April 2018


“There us a kind of flame in Crete – let us call it ‘soul’ – something more powerful than either life or death. There is pride, obstinacy, valour, and together with these something else inexpressible and imponderable, something which makes you rejoice that you are a human being, and at the same time tremble.” ― NikosKazantzakis 

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.
Rethymno (Greek: Ρέθυμνο) is a city of approximately 40,000 people in Greece, the capital of Rethymno regional unit on the island of Crete, a former Latin Catholic bishopric as Retimo and former Latin titular see. Rethymno was originally built during the Minoan civilisation (ancient Rhithymna and Arsinoe). The city was prominent enough to mint its own coins and maintain urban growth. One of these coins is today depicted as the crest of the town: Two dolphins in a circle.

This region as a whole is rich with ancient history, most notably through the Minoan civilisation centred at Kydonia east of Rethymno. Rethymno itself began a period of growth when the Venetian conquerors of the island decided to put an intermediate commercial station between Heraklion and Chania, acquiring its own bishop and nobility in the process. Today’s old town (palia poli) is almost entirely built by the Republic of Venice. It is one of the best-preserved old towns in Crete.

The town still maintains its old aristocratic appearance, with its buildings dating from the 16th century, arched doorways, stone staircases, Byzantine and Hellenic-Roman remains, the small Venetian harbour and narrow streets. The Venetian Loggia houses the information office of the Ministry of Culture and Sports. A Wine Festival is held there annually at the beginning of July. Another festival, in memory of the destruction of the Arkadi Monastery, is held on 7–8 November.

The city’s Venetian-era citadel, the Fortezza of Rethymno, is one of the best-preserved castles in Crete. Other monuments include the Neratze mosque (the Municipal Odeon arts centre), the Great Gate (Μεγάλη Πόρτα or Porta Guora), the Piazza Rimondi and the Loggia. The town was captured by the Ottoman Empire in 1646 during the Cretan War (1645–69) and they ruled it for almost three centuries. The town, called Resmo in Turkish, was the centre of a sanjak (administrative part of a province) during Ottoman rule.

During the Battle of Crete (20–30 May 1941), the Battle of Rethymno was fought between German paratroopers and the Second Australian Imperial Force and Hellenic Army. Although initially unsuccessful, the Germans won the battle after receiving reinforcements from Maleme in the Northwestern part of the island. Today the city’s main income is from tourism, many new facilities having been built in the past 20 years. Agriculture is also notable, especially for olive oil and other Mediterranean products.

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

Sunday, 15 April 2018


“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” - Frank Lloyd Wright
Isaac Ilyich Levitan (Russian: Исаа́к Ильи́ч Левита́н; 30 August [O.S. 18 August] 1860 – 4 August [O.S. 22 July] 1900) was a classical Russian landscape painter who advanced the genre of the “mood landscape”. Levitan was born in a shtetl of Kibarty, Augustów Governorate in Congress Poland, a part of the Russian Empire (present-day Lithuania) into a poor but educated Jewish family. His father Elyashiv Levitan was the son of a rabbi, completed a Yeshiva and was self-educated. He taught German and French in Kowno and later worked as a translator at a railway bridge construction for a French building company.

At the beginning of 1870 the Levitan family moved to Moscow. In September 1873, Isaac Levitan entered the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture where his older brother Avel had already studied for two years. After a year in the copying class Isaac transferred into a naturalistic class, and soon thereafter into a landscape class. Levitan’s teachers were the famous Alexei Savrasov, Vasily Perov and Vasily Polenov. In 1875, his mother died, and his father fell seriously ill and became unable to support four children; he died in 1877. The family slipped into abject poverty. As patronage for Levitan’s talent and achievements, his Jewish origins and to keep him in the school, he was given a scholarship.

In 1877, Isaac Levitan’s works were first publicly exhibited and earned favourable reviews from the press. After Alexander Soloviev’s assassination attempt on Alexander II, in May 1879, mass deportations of Jews from big cities of the Russian Empire forced the family to move to the suburb of Saltykovka, but in Autumn, officials responded to pressure from art devotees, and Levitan was allowed to return. In 1880 his painting Осенний день. Сокольники (“Autumn Day: Sokolniki”) was bought by famous philanthropist and art collector Pavel Mikhailovich Tretyakov.

In the Spring of 1884 Levitan participated in the mobile art exhibition by the group known as the Peredvizhniki and in 1891 became a member of the Peredvizhniki partnership. During his study in the Moscow School of painting, sculpture and architecture, Levitan befriended Konstantin Korovin, Mikhail Nesterov, architect Fyodor Shekhtel, and the painter Nikolay Chekhov, whose famous brother Anton Chekhov became the artist’s closest friend. Levitan often visited Chekhov and some think Levitan was in love with his sister, Maria Pavlovna Chekhova. In the early 1880s Levitan collaborated with the Chekhov brothers on the illustrated magazine “Moscow” and illustrated the M. Fabricius edition “Kremlin”. Together with Korovin in 1885-1886 he painted scenery for performances of the Private Russian opera of Savva Mamontov. In the 1880s he participated in the drawing and watercolour gatherings at Polenov’s house.

Levitan’s work was a profound response to the lyrical charm of the Russian landscape. Levitan did not paint urban landscapes; with the exception of the “View of Simonov Monastery” (whereabouts unknown), mentioned by Nesterov, the city of Moscow appears only in the painting “Illumination of the Kremlin”. During the late 1870s he often worked in the vicinity of Moscow, and created the special variant of the ‘landscape of mood’, in which nature is spiritualised, and becomes symbolic of the condition of the human soul.

During work in Ostankino, he painted fragments of the mansion’s house and park, but he was most fond of poetic places in the forest or modest countryside. Characteristic of his work is a hushed and nearly melancholic reverie amidst pastoral landscapes largely devoid of human presence. Fine examples of these qualities include “The Vladimirka Road”, (1892), “Evening Bells”, (1892), and “Eternal Rest”, (1894), all in the Tretyakov Gallery. Though his late work displayed familiarity with Impressionism, his palette was generally muted, and his tendencies were more naturalistic and poetic than optical or scientific.

In the summer of 1890 Levitan went to Yuryevets (Юрьевец) and among numerous landscapes and etudes he painted “The View of Krivooserski Monastery”. So the plan of one of his best pictures, “The Silent Monastery”, was born. The image of a silent Monastery and planked bridges over the river, connecting it with the outside world, expressed the artist’s spiritual reflections. It is known that this picture made a strong impression on Chekhov. In 1897, already world-famous, he was elected to the Imperial Academy of Arts and in 1898 he was named the head of the Landscape Studio at his alma mater.

Levitan spent the last year of his life at Chekhov’s home in Crimea. In spite of the effects of a terminal illness, his last works are increasingly filled with light. They reflect tranquillity and the eternal beauty of Russian nature. He was buried in Dorogomilovo Jewish cemetery. In April 1941 Levitan’s remains were moved to the Novodevichy Cemetery, next to Chekhov’s tomb. Levitan did not have a family or children. In the 1890s, however, he had an on-again, off-again affair with an older married woman; the painter Sofia Kuvshinnikova, which led to a small scandal — and a play by Anton Chekhov and a threatened duel with the playwright. Isaac Levitan’s hugely influential art heritage consists of more than a thousand paintings, among them watercolours, pastels, graphics, and illustrations.

Above is “Lake. Russia” 1900. The last, unfinished painting Levitan was working on just before his death.

Saturday, 14 April 2018


“What really counts isn’t whether your instrument is Baroque or modern: It’s your mindset.” - Simon Rattle 

Giuseppe Antonio Paganelli (born March 6, 1710 in Padua, died probably before 1764, possibly in Madrid) was a singer and composer of Italian origin, who worked in various European cities. He was a musical representative of the late Baroque, who composed in the gallant style.

Paganelli came from a wealthy family and received a broad education. It is thought that Giuseppe Tartini was one of his teachers. From 1731/32 he performed with the Accademia dei Dilettanti to the public of his hometown, as the composer of an oratorio and various cantatas. In 1732/33 he composed the two operas, “La Caduta di Leone” and “Tigrane” for the Venetian opera.

From 1733 he worked as a keyboard player for an opera company under Antonio Maria Peruzzi in Augsburg. It is known conclusively that in 1736 he was in in Rheinsberg. During 1737-38 he was appointed as “Chamber Music Master” of the Margravine Wilhelmine of Bayreuth, where his wife Johanna worked as a singer. In the Bayreuth Hofkalendern he is dubbed as “Cammermeister”, and in church records in Erlangen, there is a note that a son of his was baptised, Paganelli referred to as “Cammermusikmeister”.

After 1738 documentary evidence regarding his whereabouts activities is lacking. It is known from secondary sources that Paganelli maintained relations with various German courts without a permanent position, especially in Braunschweig (1737-39), Gotha, Durlach and Munich (1747). However, there were also operas by him staged in Venice (1742/43) and Florence (1746).

From 1756 he is referred to as “Director of Chamber Music of the King of Spain”, and one may assume that he probably lived in Madrid at that time. From the Paris edition of his 30 Duets entitled “Opus the Last”, published by Leloup in 1764, it can be concluded that he had died at that time or shortly before.

Paganelli came from the tradition of Italian Opera Seria. In Germany, he combined Italian, French and German stylistic elements, writing in an elegant, gallant style. His keyboard works remained popular until the beginning of the 19th century. Here is his Opus 1, Six trio sonatas for Baroque Flute (Benedek Csalog), Baroque Violin (Léaszló Paulik), Baroque Cello (Balázs Máté) and Harpsichord (Carmen Leoni).

Tuesday, 10 April 2018


“To escape and sit quietly on the beach – that’s my idea of paradise.” - Emilia Wickstead 

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.
Fiji (officially the Republic of Fiji - Fijian: Matanitu Tugalala o Viti) is an island country in Melanesia in the South Pacific Ocean about 1,100 nautical miles (2,000 km) northeast of New Zealand’s North Island. Its closest neighbours are Vanuatu to the west, New Caledonia to the southwest, New Zealand’s Kermadec Islands to the southeast, Tonga to the east, the Samoas and France’s Wallis and Futuna to the northeast, and Tuvalu to the north. Fiji is an archipelago of more than 330 islands (of which 110 are permanently inhabited) and more than 500 islets, amounting to a total land area of about 18,300 square kilometres. The farthest island is Ono-i-Lau. The two major islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, account for 87% of the total population of 898,760.

The capital, Suva on Viti Levu, serves as Fiji’s principal cruise port. About three-quarters of Fijians live on Viti Levu’s coasts, either in Suva or in smaller urban centres like Nadi (with tourism being the major industry) or Lautoka (sugar cane industry). Viti Levu's interior is sparsely inhabited due to its terrain. Fiji has one of the most developed economies in the Pacific due to an abundance of forest, mineral, and fish resources. Today, the main sources of foreign exchange are its tourist industry and sugar exports. The country’s currency is the Fijian dollar. Fiji’s local government, in the form of city and town councils, is supervised by the Ministry of Local Government and Urban Development.

The majority of Fiji’s islands were formed through volcanic activity starting around 150 million years ago. Today, some geothermal activity still occurs on the islands of Vanua Levu and Taveuni. Fiji has been inhabited since the second millennium BC, and was settled first by Austronesians and later by Melanesians, with some Polynesian influences. Europeans visited Fiji from the 17th century, and, after a brief period as an independent kingdom, the British established the Colony of Fiji in 1874. Fiji was a Crown colony until 1970, when it gained independence as the Dominion of Fiji.

A republic was declared in 1987, following a series of coups d’état. In a coup in 2006, Commodore Frank Bainimarama seized power. When the High Court ruled in 2009 that the military leadership was unlawful, President Ratu Josefa Iloilo, whom the military had retained as the nominal Head of State, formally abrogated the Constitution and reappointed Bainimarama. Later in 2009, Iloilo was replaced as President by Ratu Epeli Nailatikau. After years of delays, a democratic election was held on 17 September 2014. Bainimarama’s FijiFirst party won with 59.2% of the vote, and the election was deemed credible by international observer.

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

Saturday, 7 April 2018


“April’s air stirs in Willow-leaves...a butterfly Floats and balances” ― Matsuo Bashō 

Johann Caspar Ferdinand Fischer (c.1656 – August 27, 1746) was a German Baroque composer. Johann Nikolaus Forkel ranked Fischer as one of the best composers for keyboard of his day; however, partly due to the rarity of surviving copies of his music, his music is rarely heard today.

Fischer seems to have been of Bohemian origin, possibly born at Schönfeld, but details about his life are sketchy. Fischer was baptised and spent his youth in Schlackenwerth, north-west Bohemia. The first record of his existence is found in the mid-1690s: by 1695 he was Kapellmeister to Ludwig Wilhelm of Baden, and he may have remained with the court until his death in Rastatt.

Much of Fischer’s music shows the influence of the French Baroque style, exemplified by Jean Baptiste Lully, and he was responsible for bringing the French influence to German music. Fischer’s harpsichord suites updated the standard Froberger model (Allemande - Courante - Sarabande - Gigue); he was also one of the first composers to apply the principles of the orchestral suite to the harpsichord, replacing the standard French ouverture with an unmeasured prelude. Both Bach and Handel knew Fischer’s work and sometimes borrowed from it.

Here is his “Le Journal du Printemps” (1695), played by L’Orfeo Barockorchester. It is a collection of eight orchestral suites (ouvertures) for strings (the first and last with two trumpets ad libitum, that is, optional.) Each suite begins with an introductory ouverture and ends with a chaconne or a passacaglia. Le “Journal du printemps”, Georg Muffat’s “Florilegium” and Benedikt Anton Aufschnaiter’s “Concors Discordia” (all published the same year) were the first collections of orchestral suites published in Germany.

Tuesday, 3 April 2018


“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.” - Nelson Mandela 

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.
Johannesburg (also known as Jozi, Joburg and Egoli) is the largest city in South Africa and is one of the 50 largest urban areas in the world. It is the provincial capital and largest city in Gauteng, which is the wealthiest province in South Africa. While Johannesburg is not one of South Africa’s three capital cities, it is the seat of the Constitutional Court. The city is located in the mineral-rich Witwatersrand range of hills and is the centre of large-scale gold and diamond trade.

 The metropolis is an alpha global city as listed by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network. In 2011, the population of the city of Johannesburg was 4,434,827, making it the most populous city in South Africa. In the same year, the population of Johannesburg’s urban agglomeration was put at 7,860,781. The land area of the municipal city (1,645 km2) is large in comparison with those of other major cities, resulting in a moderate population density of 2,364/km2.

The city was established in 1886 following the discovery of gold on what had been a farm. The city is commonly interpreted as the modern day El Dorado due to the extremely large gold deposit found along the Witwatersrand. The name is attributed to one or all of three men involved in the establishment of the city. In ten years, the population was 100,000 inhabitants.

A separate city from the late 1970s until the 1990s, Soweto is now part of Johannesburg. Originally an acronym for “South-Western Townships”, Soweto originated as a collection of settlements on the outskirts of Johannesburg, populated mostly by native African workers from the gold mining industry. Soweto, although eventually incorporated into Johannesburg, had been separated as a residential area for blacks, who were not permitted to live in Johannesburg proper. Lenasia is predominantly populated by English-speaking South Africans of Indian descent. These areas were designated as non-white areas in accordance with the segregationist policies of the South African government known as apartheid.

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.

Saturday, 31 March 2018


“A man who was completely innocent, offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the world. It was a perfect act.” - Mahatma Gandhi 

J.S. Bach (1685 – 1750) wrote an enormous amount of music (much of it secular), however, like most composers of his age, he spent most of his professional life writing and directing music for the church. Consequently, he wrote well over 200 sacred cantatas (sometimes up to one a month) to provide music for the busy church calendar. 209 survive to the present day and of these, around 25 were written for the period starting on Easter Sunday and ending on Pentecost, four weeks later. Therefore, we have an embarrassment of riches to choose from for this season. Here is his “Der Himmel lacht, die Erde jubilieret” BWV 31 of 1715.

1. Sonata
2. Chorus (S, A, T, B) at 2:33
The heavens laugh!
The earth doth ring with glory,
And all she beareth in her lap;
Our Maker liveth!
The Highest standeth triumphant
And is from bonds of death now free
He who the grave for rest hath chosen,
The Holy One, seeeth not corruption.
3. Recit. (B) at 6:09
O welcome day!
O soul, again be glad!
The A and O,
The first and also last one,
Whom our own grievous guilt in death’s own prison buried,
Is now torn free of all his woe!
The Lord was dead,
And lo, again he liveth;
As liveth our head, so live as well his members.
The Lord hath in his hand
Of death and also hell the keys now!
He who his cloak
Blood-red did splash within his bitter passion,
Today will put on finery and honour.

Text: Salomo Franck. 21 April 1715, Weimar 1
Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, Ton Koopman, Director

Friday, 30 March 2018


“A loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and thou.” - Omar Khayyam

We have a house guest for Easter and amongst the things we had to eat were these bread sticks, from a recipe a friend of ours gave us. They are always a hit! 

Bread Sticks
Ingredients - dough
1 (7g) package active dry yeast
4 and 1⁄4 cups plain flour, plus more for dusting
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon sugar 1 tablespoon fine salt
Ingredients – topping
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1 pinch dried oregano
1 pinch dried thyme
1 pinch dried sage
1 pinch dried tarragon
1/2 teaspoon ground paprika 

Place 1/4 cup warm water in the bowl of a mixer; sprinkle in the yeast and sugar, stirring to mix. Set aside in a warm place until foamy, about 5-10 minutes.
Add the flour, butter, salt and 1 and 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons warm water; mix with the dough hook until a slightly sticky dough forms (about 5 minutes).
Knead the dough by hand on a floured surface until very smooth and soft (about 3 minutes). Shape into a 60 cm roll; cut into 16 pieces, each just under 4 cm long. Knead each piece slightly and shape into a 17 cm long breadstick; arrange 4 cm apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Cover with a cloth; let rise in a warm spot until almost doubled, about 45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200˚C.
Brush the breadsticks with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the butter and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bake until slightly golden, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt with the garlic powder and oregano. Brush the warm breadsticks with the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter and sprinkle with the flavoured salt.

Tuesday, 27 March 2018


“I fall asleep thinking there is no better elixir than travel. Old things always bored me, boredom always scared me, while travel - travel is a carnival of wild affairs.” - Carol Vorvain  

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.   
Tahiti (previously also known as Otaheite) is the largest island in the Windward group of French Polynesia. The island is located in the archipelago of the Society Islands in the central Southern Pacific Ocean, and is divided into two parts: The bigger, northwestern part, Tahiti Nui, and the smaller, southeastern part, Tahiti Iti. The island was formed from volcanic activity and is high and mountainous with surrounding coral reefs. The population is 189,517 inhabitants (2017 census), making it the most populous island of French Polynesia and accounting for 68.7% of its total population. 

Tahiti is the economic, cultural and political centre of French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity (sometimes referred to as an overseas country) of France. The capital of French Polynesia, Papeete, is located on the northwest coast of Tahiti. The only international airport in the region, Fa'a'ā International Airport, is on Tahiti near Papeete. 

Tahiti was originally settled by Polynesians between 300 and 800 CE. They represent about 70% of the island’s population, with the rest made up of Europeans, Chinese and those of mixed heritage. The island was part of the Kingdom of Tahiti until its annexation by France in 1880, when it was proclaimed a colony of France, and the inhabitants became French citizens. French is the only official language, although the Tahitian language (Reo Tahiti) is widely spoken. 

One of the most widely recognised images of the islands is the world-famous Tahitian dance. The 'ote'a (sometimes written as otea) is a traditional dance from Tahiti, where the dancers, standing in several rows, execute figures. This dance, easily recognised by its fast hip-shaking and grass skirts, is often confused with the Hawaiian hula, a generally slower more graceful dance which focuses more on the hands and storytelling than the hips. 

Every July, the Heiva Festival is celebrated. Heiva comes from the Tahitian words hei and va, which mean “to assemble” and “community places”. It is a time of celebration, a national get together in a festival which showcases the very best of the Polynesian culture – by far the most exotic in the South Pacific Islands. It is a month-long celebration of life in paradise, a time to respect the past, and a time to share with the rest of the world the rich Polynesian heritage.

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.

Tuesday, 20 March 2018


“A city is not gauged by its length and width, but by the broadness of its vision and the height of its dreams.” - Herb Caen 

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.   
Perth is the capital and largest city of the Australian state of Western Australia (WA). It is the fourth most populous city in Australia, with an estimated population of 1.97 million (on 30 June 2013) living in Greater Perth. Part of the South West Land Division of Western Australia, the majority of the metropolitan area of Perth is located on the Swan Coastal Plain, a narrow strip between the Indian Ocean and the Darling Scarp, a low coastal escarpment. The first areas settled were on the Swan River, with the city’s central business district and port (Fremantle) both located on its shores.

Perth is formally divided into a number of local government areas, which themselves consist of a large number of suburbs, extending from Two Rocks in the north to Rockingham in the south, and east inland to The Lakes. Perth was originally founded by Captain James Stirling in 1829 as the administrative centre of the Swan River Colony, and gained city status in 1856 (currently vested in the smaller City of Perth). The city is named for Perth, Scotland, by influence of Sir George Murray, then British Secretary of State for War and the Colonies.

The city’s population increased substantially as a result of the Western Australian gold rushes in the late 19th century, largely as a result of emigration from the eastern colonies of Australia. During Australia's involvement in World War II, Fremantle served as a base for submarines operating in the Pacific Theatre, and a US Navy Catalina flying boat fleet was based at Matilda Bay. An influx of immigrants after the war, predominantly from Britain, Greece, Italy and Yugoslavia, led to rapid population growth. This was followed by a surge in economic activity flowing from several mining booms in the late 20th and early 21st centuries that saw Perth become the regional headquarters for a number of large mining operations located around the state.

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.

Monday, 19 March 2018


“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! - When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.” – Jane Austen

I have been working rather hard lately proof-reading a major technical work of which I am co-editor-in-chief. This takes up a great deal of time and it is very demanding as it is an activity that requires a great deal of concentration and attention to detail. One must remain focussed and not be distracted. When fatigue sets in, I like to go out for a walk, watch a movie or read something that is completely different and not related to work.

So here are a few of the things I have been reading lately:
The Book Of Eels by Tom Fort (Published August 18th 2003 by HarperCollins Publishers).
The humble eel (about which most of us feel squeamish about nowadays) once was the food of kings and the nobility, a delectable delicacy and a mysterious creature about which not much was known, given its strange life cycle and curious migratory habits. Fort examines everything to do with eels in great detail, yet writes in a lucid, at times chatty style, with engrossing detail and subtle humour. There is also sympathy for a creature that is losing its habitat and its once high place in the gastronomic ladder, one that seems to be disappearing not only from our plates, but also from its former environmental niche. 

Romantic Composers” by Wendy Thompson (Published 2003, Anness Publishing).
This is a large format book designed for the layperson who is interested in music of the Romantic Era and wishes to find out a little more about the life, times, works and historical interactions of these composers. A wealth of colour photographs show where these composers lived and worked as well as scenes from their ballets or operas, or historical events that influenced them. An easy to read book, but also one that can quite easily browse in now and then. Good one for introducing Romantic Era music to younger listeners. 

Tea: A Miscellany Steeped with Trivia, History andRecipes” by Emily Kearns (Published 1st May 2015, Summersdale Publishers Ltd).
If you drink tea and enjoy it, a perfect little book to delve into, as the title says, it’s a miscellany of all things tea-related. Another book that is good to read when one is chilling out and doesn’t want to think about things work-related!

Sunday, 18 March 2018


“Our influences are who we are. It’s rare that anything is an absolutely pure vision.” - Eddie Vedder 

Maurice Sterne (August 18, 1878 in Latvia – July 23, 1957 in USA), was an American sculptor and painter remembered today for his association with philanthropist Mabel Dodge Luhan, to whom he was married from 1916 to 1923. He began his career as a draughtsman and painter, and critics noted the similarity of his work, in its volume and weight, to sculpture.

In the late 1890s, Sterne studied under Alfred Maurer and Thomas Eakins at the National Academy of Design, and then travelled widely in Europe and the Far East. A trip to Greece in 1908 introduced him to archaic Greek statues, inspiring him to experiment with the form himself in stone. Between 1911-1914 he and his friend Karli Sohn-Rethel, a German painter, travelled together to India, the Far East and settled in Bali to paint and sketch, which further informed his later work.

Sterne came to New Mexico in 1916 at the suggestion of his friend, Paul Burlin, and settled in Taos until 1918. His reputation was established by a show at the Scott and Fowles Gallery in 1926 and furthered by a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in 1933. In the mid-1930s, Sterne lived in San Francisco and taught at the California School of Fine Arts. He returned to the East Coast in 1945 and established a studio in Mount Kisco, New York. He was named to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1938.

From 1945 to 1950, he served on the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts. In addition to his murals in the library of the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., Sterne’s works are in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, and the Phillips Collection. Sterne was one of a dozen sculptors invited to compete in the Pioneer Woman statue competition in 1927, which he failed to win. Sterne died in 1957.

Sterne’s painting is quite varied and shows his many influences, with a lot of his canvases being derivative of his artistic interests at the time he painted them. Above is “New Mexico Still Life” c.1919. Cezanne still life painting has influenced this work, but there are also some some elements of the more expressionistic, freer work of pre-cubist Picasso. Quite different to Sterne’s painting of “Entrance of the Ballet” that reminds one of Degas, or some of his portraits reminiscent of very early Modigliani, or some of the early Soviet portraiture. His sculpture is sometimes reminiscent of Art Nouveau, at other times pseudoheroic fascist propaganda.

An interesting artist whose work needs a more in-depth exploration.

Saturday, 17 March 2018


“There is nothing greater than the joy of composing something oneself and then listening to it.” - Clara Schumann 

Nicola (Antonio) Porpora (or Niccolò Porpora - 17 August 1686 – 3 March 1768) was an Italian composer and teacher of singing of the Baroque era, whose most famous singing student was the castrato Farinelli. Other students included composers Matteo Capranica and Joseph Haydn.

Porpora was born in Naples. He graduated from the music conservatory Poveri di Gesù Cristo of his native city, where the civic opera scene was dominated by Alessandro Scarlatti. Porpora’s first opera, “Agrippina”, was successfully performed at the Neapolitan court in 1708. His second, “Berenice”, was performed at Rome. In a long career, he followed these up by many further operas, supported as maestro di cappella in the households of aristocratic patrons, such as the commander of military forces at Naples, prince Philip of Hesse-Darmstadt, or of the Portuguese ambassador at Rome, for composing operas alone did not yet make a viable career. However, his enduring fame rests chiefly upon his unequalled power of teaching singing.

At the Neapolitan Conservatorio di Sant’Onofrio and with the Poveri di Gesù Cristo Porpora trained Farinelli, Caffarelli, Salimbeni, and other celebrated vocalists, during the period 1715 to 1721. In 1720 and 1721 he wrote two serenades to libretti by a gifted young poet, Metastasio, the beginning of a long, though interrupted, collaboration. In 1722 his operatic successes encouraged him to lay down his conservatory commitments. After a rebuff from the court of Charles VI at Vienna in 1725, Porpora settled mostly in Venice, composing and teaching regularly in the schools of La Pietà and the Incurabili.

In 1729 the anti-Handel clique invited him to London to set up an opera company as a rival to Handel’s, without success, and in the 1733–1734 season, even the presence of his pupil, the great Farinelli, failed to save the dramatic company in Lincoln’s Inn Fields (the ‘Opera of the Nobility’) from bankruptcy. An interval as Kapellmeister at the Dresden court of the Elector of Saxony and Polish King Augustus from 1748 ended in strained relations with his rival in Venice and Rome, the hugely successful opera composer Johann Adolph Hasse and his wife, the prima donna Faustina, and resulted in Porpora’s departure in 1752.

From Dresden he went to Vienna, where among other pupils he trained the young Marianne von Martinez, a future composer. As his accompanist and valet he hired the youthful Joseph Haydn, who was making his way in Vienna as a struggling freelancer. Haydn later remembered Porpora thus: “There was no lack of Asino, Coglione, Birbante [ass, cullion, rascal], and pokes in the ribs, but I put up with it all, for I profited greatly from Porpora in singing, in composition, and in the Italian language.” He also said that he had learned from the maestro “the true fundamentals of composition”.

In 1753 Porpora spent three summer months, with Haydn in tow, at the spa town Mannersdorf am Leithagebirge. His function there was to continue the singing lessons of the mistress of the ambassador of Venice to the Austrian Empire, Pietro Correr. Porpora returned in 1759 to Naples. From this time Porpora’s career was a series of misfortunes: his florid style was becoming old-fashioned, his last opera, “Camilla”, failed, his pension from Dresden stopped, and he became so poor that the expenses of his funeral were paid by a subscription concert. Yet at the moment of his death, Farinelli and Caffarelli were living in splendid retirement on fortunes largely based on the excellence of the old maestro’s teaching.

A good linguist, who was admired for the idiomatic fluency of his recitatives, and a man of considerable literary culture, Porpora was also celebrated for his conversational wit. He was well-read in Latin and Italian literature, wrote poetry and spoke French, German and English. Besides some four dozen operas, there are oratorios, solo cantatas with keyboard accompaniment, motets and vocal serenades. Among his larger works, his 1720 opera “Orlando”, one mass, his Venetian Vespers, and the opera “Arianna in Nasso” (1733) have been recorded.

Here are his “Twelve Sonatas for Violin and Basso” performed by Giovanni Guglielmo (Violin); Pietro Bosnan (Cello); and Andrea Coen (Harpsichord).

Tuesday, 13 March 2018


“Those who own much have much to fear.” - Rabindranath Tagore 
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.  
New Delhi is the capital of India and one of Delhi city’s 11 districts. Although colloquially Delhi and New Delhi are used interchangeably to refer to the National Capital Territory of Delhi, these are two distinct entities, with New Delhi forming a small part of Delhi. The National Capital Region is a much larger entity comprising the entire National Capital Territory of Delhi along with adjoining districts.

It is surrounded by Haryana on three sides and Uttar Pradesh on the east. The foundation stone of the city was laid by George V, Emperor of India during the Delhi Durbar of 1911. It was designed by British architects, Sir Edwin Lutyens and Sir Herbert Baker. The new capital was inaugurated on 13 February 1931, by Viceroy and Governor-General of India Lord Irwin. New Delhi has been selected as one of the hundred Indian cities to be developed as a smart city under Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi’s flagship Smart Cities Mission.

New Delhi is a cosmopolitan city due to the multi-ethnic and multi-cultural presence of the vast Indian bureaucracy and political system. The city’s capital status has amplified the importance of national events and holidays. National events such as Republic Day, Independence Day and Gandhi Jayanti (Gandhi’s birthday) are celebrated with great enthusiasm in New Delhi and the rest of India. On India’s Independence Day (15 August) the Prime Minister of India addresses the nation from the Red Fort. Most Delhiites celebrate the day by flying kites, which are considered a symbol of freedom.

The Republic Day Parade is a large cultural and military parade showcasing India’s cultural diversity and military might. Religious festivals include Diwali (the festival of light), Maha Shivaratri, Teej, Durga Puja, Mahavir Jayanti, Guru Nanak Jayanti, Holi, Lohri, Eid ul-Fitr, Eid ul-Adha, Raksha Bandhan, Christmas and Chhath Puja. The Qutub Festival is a cultural event during which performances of musicians and dancers from all over India are showcased at night, with the Qutub Minar as the chosen backdrop of the event.

Other events such as Kite Flying Festival, International Mango Festival and Vasant Panchami (the Spring Festival) are held every year in Delhi. There are also a number of Iglesia ni Cristo members, most of them Filipinos and some Indians who are married to the members. In 2007, the Japanese Buddhist organisation Nipponzan Myohoji decided to build a Peace Pagoda in the city containing Buddha relics. It was inaugurated by the current Dalai Lama.

The Akshardham or Swaminarayan Akshardham complex (seen above) is a Hindu mandir, and a spiritual-cultural campus in New Delhi, India. Also referred to as Akshardham Temple or Swaminarayan Akshardham, the complex displays millennia of traditional Hindu and Indian culture, spirituality, and architecture. The temple, which attracts approximately 70 percent of all tourists who visit Delhi, was officially opened on 6 November 2005 by Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam. It sits near the banks of the Yamuna River adjacent to the 2010 Commonwealth Games village in eastern New Delhi. The temple, at the centre of the complex, was built according to the Vastu shastra and Pancharatra shastra.

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.