Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Custard the DRAGON

ABC Wednesday
February 3rd, 2016
The letter is D for DRAGON

Dragons are not as prolific as they once were.
These days they are inclined to live in little white houses, 
and here is the Tale of one such Dragon, named Custard, 
written by Ogden Nash and performed by Dennis Massa

If you are not familiar with Custard quite probably your children are,
or your grandchildren, or your great-grandchildren.
His tale can be found here http://glenavalon.com/custard.html

(if the link doesn't work by clicking try typing it in), 

For more interesting Ds click here to visit Denise and Roger 
at ABC Wednesday, as well as their DETERMINED helpers.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

A very musical day Part 2

January 30th, 2016

I had never heard anyone else play Weber's Last Thought

and my curiousity was piqued

so I went to visit GOOGLE, with high hopes.

There were three videos on You tube,  and the first two dismayed me.  The notes were there, but no music, no feeling.....

I tried the third, which claimed to be Weber's Last Waltz, but it wasn't - it was a really touching rendition of his Last Thoughts, by a United Kingdom pianist, Phillip Sear. 
 I know you will enjoy it.

The second piece he plays is the Fairy Waltz....

I also found a You tube rendition for the guitar

                                      and that Weber's Last Waltz is popular with Bands,
                                                 where it is played by the euphonium
or other bass instruments, -
or a saxophone.,,,,
 Here is a 1920's recording with a concertina and a cornet.....

As to who wrote Weber's Last Thought (Waltz)  Carl Gottleib Reissiger
seems to get the most credit.
He worked for most of his life at the Dresden Court
where he succeeded Carl Maria von Weber as Kappelmeister.
(back in the time of Schubert and Beethoven)

He is best known today for Weber's Last Waltz,
so called because of a manuscript found amongst Weber's belongings.

I was also very impressed with the repertoire that Phillip Sear
has to offer, and his reputation
as a professional musician.
He is just the person my granddaughter is looking
for to play at her wedding,
(but is probably going to have to put up with me,
as I am closer!!!)

Friday, January 29, 2016

A very musical day...

January 29th, 2016

Up early, showered and breakfasted and casting about for something entertaining to do!!!

I tie a few knots on the dummy warp ( will I EVER get it done) but my back complains bitterly....

At eleven I will tune into the Berlin Philharmonic Digital Concert Hall to hear Fisher conduct a rendition of Gustave Mahler's Symphony No 3, but what to do until then??

The ukulele leans against the piano, looking appealing.  I pick it up, cradle it in my arms, and think how nice it will be when I finally know how to play it properly.  Experience tells me that 'practise makes perfect', and so I go hunting on the PC for a teacher.  I have been there before.

Teachers of the ukulele are either old guys or bright young fellows, and of the two I have to admit I find the bright young fellows make it easier for me to learn.  Not because they are bright and young but because they talk slower, are more aware that beginners need gentle guiding, and explain things in much more detail.

So I find this bright young fellow who promises to make five ways of strumming on the ukulele fun and easy - and after an hour when we had finished the lesson and I had practiced as admonished, I had to agree he had met his goal.  Hopefully I will be back for a second lesson tomorrow.....

I can now strum D D U D D U  or D D U U D U D, or D d u d u D u (where D stands for down and U stands for up, and small letters stand for 'do not emphasis - but I'm sure you knew that...) and I know that a ukulele is strummed differently than a guitar, with a nice loose wrist-turning motion.

After a little action in the kitchen it is time for the concert, which was most enjoyable and took me a bit past lunchtime....

A little rest, a little strumming and I went to the piano and an old book of classical organ music, looking for an alternative to Wagner's "Here Comes the Bride" which has evidently lost popularity with young couples now getting married.  Things like Bach's Air on the G String, Pachelbel's Canon in D,  some of Chopin's Preludes  and a Cantabile or two.  The price on this book was $1.25 - you know how old it is.  Too old to have the Canon in D, - Pachelbel is a recent favourite, but among the crisp, yellowed leaves I found pages I had added at the front.  Amongst them was Weber's Last Thought (Carl Maria von Weber) which I was once entranced with but have not played in a long, long time.

So that's how I spent the last of the afternoon, losing myself in Weber's Last Thought, trying to make my fingers familiar with it again, and wondering if there was any way it would fit into our granddaughter's wedding....and hardly noticing the grey skies  and mist that engulfed the valley.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Maria Callas

ABC Wednesday
January 27th, 2016

The letter is C for Maria CALLAS
A superb Coloratura

Maria Callas was born in New York in 1923, of Greek parentage

Her parents separated when she was 14 and she returned to Greece with her mother.  

She had won some acceptance as a singer in America and almost immediately became a pupil of  Maria Trivella.  Maria gained great renown as an Operatic singer, as well as a reputation for being extremely tempestuous and stormy.

In 1949 she married Giovanni Batlista Managhina, a wealthy industrialist and follower of the opera, who took over management of her career.

When in later years she met Aristotle Onassis she left her husband, expecting to marry Onassis.

He, however, married Jacqueline Kennedy, leaving Maria completely devastated.

Her voice failed her, and her health.  In 1977 she died at the age of 53 of a heart attack, 

leaving behind a grand opera legend and a turbulent and tragic image.

Maria Callas singing the Gounod-Bach Ave Maria

I listen to it with prickly eyes.....

For more Cs click here at ABC Wednesday
and see what Roger, Denise and all their helpers
have to offer...
with many thanks.

Friday, January 22, 2016

This and that

Friday, - coming to the end of the week....

As I drifted off to sleep last night I thought,

 'yes, Friday.  Nothing to do all day long.

 A great day to get out the vacumn. the mop and the duster'.

Alas, when I woke all thoughts of housecleaning had fled in the night.

I remembered what a mess I had made of adding to my Family Tree
 some exciting genealogy news about my third great grandfather
and how I had failed to straighten things out so that
everybody was in the right place
when I printed out a report,
including his two wives.

And I was glum,  and not the least bit energetic

Yesterday the sun made a brief and glorious appearance.

That will account for the housecleaning thoughts
that sent me off into a virtuous sleep.

Callie thought it was pretty special too.

She has been Confined to Barracks (along

with me, because of slippery streets) and

would dearly love to have the cat-door opened

so she can investigate what has been going

on under the snow, and which cats

have been visiting lately.

Here is something that has been going on under the snow!

I put on some mittens and scraped away an inch or so of snow
to see if the Hellebores were awake!

Once we are past Robbie Burns' Birthday it is all downhill

and we are sliding into spring!!

The hyacinth I brought home from the grocery store sprang up about three inches
overnight, and promises a lovely bloom when I get up tomorrow morning...

A little blue sky outside, - time for lunch
and a little session with the ukulele...
my repertoire is getting slightly longer.

Come and sing Bye Bye Blackbird with me!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Robbie Burns

ABC Wednesday
January 20
The letter is B for Robbie Burns

The anniversary of his Birthdate being January 25th.

                                      Barbara Philips - an African painting

Known as the Bard of Ayrshire (and various other names and epithets) he was widely acclaimed and is still regarded as the national poet of Scotland.  A pioneer of the Romantic movement and a source of inspiration to the founders of both liberalism and socialism, he was a 'cultural icon'  in Scotland, - and indeed wherever in the world Scots have emigrated his birthday is celebrated with great honour and tradition; and there is a plethora of statues, especially throughout Scotland

Those who have been fortunate to have gone to one of the many Burns Night Dinners 

which are held wherever Scots gather, will surely attest to the great passion that accompanies the Address to the Haggis, whether or not it appeals to one's palate!!

The Canadian Scottish Regiment (Princess Mary's) in 2015 at Victoria, B.C.
The Address to the Haggis by 2Lt Drew Shaw of B Company

See what you're missing!!!

Really what the Address is saying is that eating haggis is delicious, it 
is warm and rich and will make you strong and braw;
and that it has a great advantage over French cooking, -
and indeed, that of any other nation. 

I leave you with what some call the Greatest Love Poem of all time, which
will remind you of Robbie Burns' silver tongue and his great fondness
for the ladies...

A Red, Red Rose

O, my luve is like a red, red rose,
That's newly sprung in June;
O, my luve is like a melodie
That's sweetly played in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a' the seas gang dry.

Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi' the sun
And I will luve thee still, my dear.
While the sand o' life shall run.

And fare thee well, my only luve!
And fare thee well awhile!
And I will come again, my luve,
Tho' it were ten thousand Mile !
Robert Burns

For more interesting Bs visit here at ABC Wednesday
with thanks to Roger, Denise and all
brave and bonny helpers.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

A Few Kind Words about Perspective

Thursday, January 14th, 2016

Almost to the middle of January, and I have been quite dissatisfied with myself and my lack of enthusiasm for this wonderful New Year.

Could it be the weather, - all grey and damp and dismal and foggy?  The sun has shone just occasionally, for a minute or two - just long enough to assure us that it is still there, above that grey dome that sometimes sends mist cascading down the hills to tickle their toes....

Or is it because My List has not one check mark on it!!!  I have not tied the first of many (400) knots that must secure my dummy warp on the loom.

I have bent over the Ukulele and The Reader's Digest easy home melodies, and found some consolation there, but no improvement in my strumming!!!!!

I started to do housecleaning on the computer files, but was soon discouraged and easily convinced I could put it off for another day.....

There is a photography course online that I had vowed to tackle in the new year, but somehow I could not bring myself to the first lesson, even....

I was inclined to start knitting again, and I even imagined socks and scarfs all ready for next year's Christmas presents.  But the sock that I picked up to finish while listening to a concert now sits in the the basket with great balls of wool that look at me with accusing eyes whilst I loll around reading.

Well, yes, I have been reading, and I know that counts for something.  Maybe more than I am prepared to admit.

While musing about 'things-to-do-tomorrow' my mind wandered to this great lack of productivity, and what in heaven's name was I going to do about it!  What HAD I been doing for the last two weeks.

Reading, - yes.  Trying diligently to absorb the words and beliefs of Dr. Kenneth R. Miller and Dr. Francis Collins - both scientists who have been able to find compatibility between Science and Religion, particularly in the field of bio-genetics where those in this particular meadow find themselves thrown into the arena 'to grapple with the Almighty".

And I had had a more than slight confrontation with the Dentist!!!!  I count my determination in going to see him and 'taking care of those things that required it' a bit of a moral victory over procrastination and apprehension.  All went well, but as a consequence I have been confined to soups and soft foods, - discouraged from baking (which I love) and even from eating the left over goodies from Christmas.

All of this musing gradually changed my perspective and I decided that perhaps I had not been in the doldrums these last few weeks, but rather that life had taken on a different flavour, and I was back to reading and thinking, rather than up and doing.  Unfortunately the lack of busy-ness is inclined to make me lonely for the company of my dearest, and so I have to find the happy medium....

Perspective is great for the morale!!!  Suddenly I feel that yes, this is just what I needed - a time of solitude and stillness after all the great todo at Christmas,  and I have stopped berating myself for being lethargic.

Perhaps a garden catalogue is the answer, and I can mix a little anticipation into my days......