Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Bande à Part

I like the idea behind the Nouvelle Vague project: taking New Wave hits from the eighties and have them performed in bossa nova rhythms by models who actually never heard the originals. A fiendishly clever play on words as well, as Nouvelle Vague and bossanova are the French and Portuguese words for New Wave. The album covers are excellent as well; they were designed by Dylan Kendle.

Copyright statement: lower resolution images of album covers considered fair use.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Flowers in December

A suitable song for this time of year. Mazzy Star is an American dream pop group with singer Hope, whose top time was in the 90s when I was not paying attention to pop and rock. I got to know them by the use of some of their songs in TV series, notably House MD. This is one of my favourites from their repertoire. Art Rock score: 8/10 (great song, I'd put it on my MP3 player).

Copyright statement:image created via the Photofunia site, who explicitly state that their images have no copyright issues. The album cover included in the image is thumbnail size and therefore considered fair use.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Winter in the water village (re-post)

An edited re-post from December 2008. This painting of my wife dates back to almost 20 years ago - before we met. It depicts a scene in one of the small ancient water villages around Shanghai, some of which unfortunately have become tourist traps in more recent years. I still remember the strange feeling when I first saw this one, as we lived in Singapore at the time, about as far removed from snow as you can imagine. It has been circulating among family members for many years and was returned to us a few weeks ago - it now decorates our gallery shop window.

Copyright statement: image created by Lu Schaper. Copyright Lu Schaper.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Jupiter blues

What looks like a stunning abstract in the style of van Gogh is actually a photograph of Jupiter's clouds taken by NASA’s Juno spacecraft. Science turned to art. Do click the link for more fascinating Jovian images.

Copyright statement: image understood to be in the public domain.

Saturday, December 09, 2017

The reader

Another example of digital art made possible with the on-line program at the DeepArt site (blogged here). In this case, I took an old candid photograph of a Parisian book reader on top of a bookstall at the Seine, and a detail of Hopper's famous Nighthawk painting (link). The result is an interesting piece of art in my opinion. The link leads to the original photograph.

Copyright statement: image created via the DeepArt site from one of my original images. Copyright Hennie Schaper.

Friday, December 08, 2017

Casablanca at 75: the most quoted movie of all time

The linked BBC art-icle gives an overview of six of the most memorable quotes from that immortal movie Casablanca from 1942, and background information on each of them. Some well-known, some surprising: the song As time goes by ("Play it, Sam. Play As Time Goes By") was supposed to be cut from the movie because composer Max Steiner wanted it replaced by one his own songs - but that idea went out of the window because Ingrid Bergman was not available for a re-shoot. I found it an interesting nostalgic read.

Copyright statement: lower resolution still from the movie considered fair use.

Thursday, December 07, 2017


Blackbox, the title song from the latest album of the Norwegian prog band Major Parkinson, has been released as a single with an astonishing cover - which made me resurrect this topic for the blog. More about this band in the linked Progarchives entry.

Copyright statement: lower resolution images of single covers considered fair use.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017


A beautiful landscape photograph near Kampen by my Flickr friend Sibilla Horst. Excellent composition, and the timelessness of the shot is emphasized by the black and white conversion. Noorddiep used to be a part of the IJssel delta (the IJssel itself being part of the Rhine delta), but was isolated from the other water flows about a century ago.

Copyright statement: posted with explicit permission of the creator who retains all rights.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Unusual concertos 91-100: From cimbalom to banhu

The concerto for solo instrument(s) and orchestra is one of the most popular genres in classical music. However, I think 95+ % of all concertos have been composed for piano or violin. Previously I have run a series on concertos for less common instruments in this blog, reaching an amazing number of 100 in the end (all these posts were reset to draft end March). I will be summarizing these in ten posts in the course of the year, each covering ten unusual concertos, keeping the sequences the same as in the past.

[91] Cimbalom. This is a hammered dulcimer that was very popular in Eastern Europe. Its use in classical music is rather extensive, it having been used in scores by composers such as Kodaly, Stravinsky, Liszt, Bartok, Boulez and Dutilleux. For concertos we have to go to less famous names though, and I have found one on YouTube by Alexander Timofeev. It is played by Ion Curteanu and the Porumbescu youth orchestra under the composer.

[92] Pipa. Sometimes called the Chinese lute the pipa is one of the most popular Chinese instruments and has been played for almost two thousand years in China Its use in Western style classical music is rare though. I have a concerto for this instrument by Minoru Miki, played by Yang Jing and the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra under Otomo, available on a Camerata CD.

[93] Aluphone. This is a very recent addition to the family of tuned percussion instruments, its sound having been described as those of a vibraphone, tubular bells and singing bowls coming together in beautiful harmony. There is already a concerto for this instrument, by Anders Koppel. On the YouTube link it is played by Evelyn Glennie and the Odense Symphony Orchestra under Marc Soustrot.

[94] Accordion. We have already dealt with its cousins, the bandoneon and the bayan, but here is the main member of the family. The squeeze box is associated more often with folk music than classical music, but perhaps surprisingly, there have been a number of concertos composed for it. I have selected one from my own collection, by Maltese composer Charles Camilleri. It is played by Franko Bozac and the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra under Vaupotic on a Naxos CD.

[95] Chinese percussion. Various Western types of percussion have already featured in this series, but with more and more Chinese composers turning to concertos, it was a matter of time before a concerto for Chinese percussion and orchestra appeared. I have one in my own collection, by Jia Daqun. It is a Chinese mini CD without further information on performers, unfortunately.

[96] Gamelan ensemble. This traditional Indonesian group has slowly penetrated classical music, thanks mainly to American composers like Lou Harrison. I came across one concerto where it is used as the concertante "instrument" in combination with a classical Western symphony orchestra. It was composed by Matthew Martin, and a performance is available on YouTube.

[97] Suona. This traditional Chinese instrument is a bit like the western oboe. I have in my CD collection one concerto for it, composed by Kwan Nai Chung, and in a performance by Kwok Chin Chye and the Kaohsiung City Chinese Orchestra under the composer. It is available on a rare Hugo CD.

[98] Toy piano. Composers of name such as Cage, Crumb and Kagel, have composed for this unlikely instrument. I came across a concerto for toy piano and orchestra recently. It is by Matthew McConnel, and an excerpt can be seen on YouTube here.

[99] Nei, or Romaninan pan flute. Over the last decades, this instrument has become synonymous with the worst type of muzak, but I do have a concerto for pan flute and orchestra by one of its main masters, Gheorghe Zamfir. It is available on a Philips CD, played by the composer and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo under Lawrence Foster.

[100] Banhu. This is a Chinese instrument akin to the better known erhu, but with a coconut shell as soundbox. I have one concerto for this unlikely instrument, by Kwan Nai-Chung. It is available on a Hugo CD, played by Ding Lu-Feng and the Kaohsiung City Chinese Orchestra under the composer.

This completes the survey of the 100 unusual concertos that I had posted about in the period until March this year. Meanwhile, the list has grown further, so there will be 1-2 additional posts over the coming months.

Copyright statement: image sourced from here, explicitly stated to be in the public domain.


Monday, December 04, 2017

Parallel lines

A rather uncomplicated shot, but it was well received at Flickr. It is a close-up of curtains, with a black and white conversion and diagonal composition that enhances the image.

Camera: Canon IXUS 170, 20 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.125 sec (1/8)
Aperture: f/3.6
Focal Length: 4.5 mm
ISO Speed: 800
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0

Copyright statement: image created by myself. Copyright Hennie Schaper.

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Ripped in November

A selected overview of culture stars relevant to my own tastes who passed away this month. A very quiet month indeed. Rest in peace.

John Hillerman (84), American actor. Starred as Higgins in Magnum, P.I., one of my favourite TV series of the 80s.
Hans Vermeulen (70), Dutch composer and lead singer of Sandy Coast. A handful of their hits, including Just a friend and The eyes of Jenny, made it to our car MP3 USB stick.
Luis Bacalov (84),  Argentine-born Italian composer of film scores (Oscar winner for Il Postino)and classical music. We have 2 CD's with his classical compositions in our collection.

Copyright statement: image created via the Photofunia site, who explicitly state that their images have no copyright issues.

Saturday, December 02, 2017

Life July 1927

A beautiful Life cover from the golden days of Art Deco. It was created by one of the most famous illustrators of the time, Coles Phillips (1880 - 1927).

Copyright statement: image in public domain.

Friday, December 01, 2017

Shades of Richter

Another example of digital art made possible with the on-line program at the DeepArt site (blogged here). In this case, I took another photograph of my wife's palette with fresh oil paint, and a painting by Gerhard Richter (Abstract Painting (726)). The result is an abstract image that is very much in Richter's style. The link leads to the original photograph.

Copyright statement: image created via the DeepArt site from one of my original images. Copyright Hennie Schaper.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Potpourri [14]

An overview of recent images that would have ended up in my parallel blog Art's Potpourri (now stopped). Clicking the icons in the left side of the table takes you to the picture on the site where I found it in a new window. The text includes a link to the site.

web site
Gender bender. All the discussions these days about the existence of more than two genders is a bit confusing by now - I've seen lists of over 70 options. Having toilets decorated like this sure does not help. Another example of the "you had one job" syndrome (Mixed Nuts). First seen here.
web site
Underwater restaurant. Scheduled to be built in Norway, the Under restaurant, largely located under water, looks like something straight out of a science fiction movie - or the next installment in the James Bond franchise (Special Designs). First seen here.
web site
Will it go round in circles? A stunning optical illusion that I had not seen before. Although the image appears to consist of straight lines only, forming a number of squares, at a certain moment your mind flips and you see 16 circles (Amazing Stuff). First seen here.
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The crowd goes wild. Nothing special to see in this photograph, just a crowd going wild at a rock concert. Until you look twice, and see that it is a corn field and a cotton harvester. Just goes to show you how easy it is to trick the eye (Just for Fun). First seen here.
web site
Fearful symmetry. Hungarian photographer Zsolt Hlinka creates fascinating images by mirroring building shots so that the combination looks like a building on the corner of the street. Rather addicting to watch, and something I may try myself (Remarkable Art). First seen here.
web site
Stamps of vanished countries. I found this a fascinating read, with many countries (and their stamps) that I had never heard of - examples are Manchukuo, Upper Yafa, South Kasai, Eastern Karelia, and the depicted Ryukyu (Amazing Stuff). First seen here.
web site
Hokusai's The Great Wave Watch. Taken from a post about several art-inspired accessories, ranging from Botticelli laptop covers to Mondriaan earrings. I like this watch with the famous Hokusai painting in particular (Special Designs). First seen here.
web site
Miniature origami. Origami, the Japanese art to created small sculptures by folding paper, is already a very delicate type of art, but German artist Anja Markiewicz goes one step further, creating nano-pieces that fit on the tip of your finger (Remarkable Art). First seen here.

Copyright statement: image created by myself. Copyright Hennie Schaper.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Digital sculptures by Chad Knight

Chad Knight is a 41 years old artist, who creates digital sculptures that look amazingly real - and really deserve to be created in real life rather than stay on the computer screen. Many more examples in the link.

Copyright statement: image created via the Photofunia site, who explicitly state that their images have no copyright issues. The art image included is thumbnail size and therefore considered fair use.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Rethinking Guernica

Picasso's Guernica is not a personal favourite of mine, but there's no denying its importance. The linked website is a real treasure trove for anybody interested in this painting, including loads of background documentation, and most importantly a stunning 436-gigabyte image of the work, allowing one to zoom in on details (as shown above), showing all details of strokes and canvas.

Copyright statement: image is a screen shot of a small part of the complete work, and regarded as fair use.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Archaia Corinthia

A fascinating image by my Flickr friend Lorraine Kerr, that had me completely stumped. I thought I was looking at a palisade, with some weird light effect going on. It turns out it is a sunset over electric wires, rotated 90 degrees. Stunning.

Copyright statement: posted with explicit permission of the creator who retains all rights.

Sunday, November 26, 2017


An outstanding movie poster should ideally combine a high degree of artisticity with a design that immediately draws one'a attention - and this poster for the 2017 Rob Hawk movie Worthless succeeds on both accounts.

Copyright statement: lower resolution images of movie posters considered fair use.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Drive home

Steven Wilson's 2013 album The Raven That Refused to Sing (And Other Stories) continues to go up in my personal all-time albums ranking, and is now firmly in the top 10. Here is one of the best songs, Drive home, with a beautiful video. Art Rock score: 10/10, one of  200 best songs of all time.

Copyright statement: image is a screenshot of the video, considered fair use.