Saturday, February 17, 2018

Cubist Jazz

Of course, it is impossible to start the Year of the dog without thinking about our beloved Jazz, whom we had to say goodbye to five months ago - we really miss him. I created this cubist image with the on-line program at the DeepArt site (blogged here). I took a photograph of Jazz, and the 1910 Braque painting Violin and Candlestick (link). 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, February 16, 2018

Judge September 1922

A suitable cover for the Year of the dog..... made me smile.

Copyright statement: image in public domain.

Happy New Year!

Happy Chinese New Year to our Shanghai and Singapore friends and family, and anyone else who celebrates the lunar new year. May the Year of the dog be a good one for all of you.

Copyright statement: image in public domain.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Opera posters by Rafał Olbiński

The opera posters by Polish illustrator Rafał Olbiński are simply stunning. He takes the ideas of the likes of Magritte and Dali, and applies them to the operas of Puccini, Verdi, Wagner, Britten, Strauss and many others (see more here). More about Rafał Olbiński in the linked wikipedia article.

Copyright statement: all images displayed are thumbnail size, considered fair use.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The lovers

Especially for Valentine's day, this suitable painting from 1916 by Franco-Russian artist Marc Chagall (1887-1985). More about Chagall in the linked Wikipedia entry.

Copyright statement: image in public domain.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Royal Mail special stamps

British stamps have become among the most beautiful in the world in recent decades, thanks to many special subject series. These often coincide with themes of this blog, for instance music, movies or architecture (shown above). The linked Royal Mail web site gives a beautiful overview, all in high  resolution.

Copyright statement: mosaic created from images on the linked site. All depicted as thumbnails, considered fair use.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Was macht jede Nacht so ein kleines Baby in der Bar?

A beautiful jazz age song sheet cover from the twenties by an unknown illustrator. The German title translates as "what is such a small baby doing every night at the bar?". Cheers!

Copyright statement: situation unclear. Song from the 20s, but no year found. Designer unknown.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Classical music of the past 100 years [2] 1928-1937

Too many listeners of classical music think that over the past 100 years or so, nothing worthwhile has been composed. In this recurring series, I will be posting one composition per year from 1918 until 2017, with every selected composer featuring only once (and not necessarily with their imo best work). I'm aiming for composers who represent the more modern age, skipping many famous names from before 1918 who also composed in this time slot (such as Sibelius and Richard Strauss). Overall I wanted to get a reasonable mix of symphonies, concertos, other orchestral works, chamber music, solo instrumental compositions, and vocal creations, but excluding opera altogether. I have grouped the works per period of ten years, with one post per month for each subsequent decade. Youtube links are not included as they tend to disappear with time - they are easily googled anyway. If you like classical music, but are reluctant to explore the 20th and 21st century works, this series of posts might give you a bit of a nudge to start listening.

1928 Nielsen - Clarinet concerto
1929 Bax - Symphony 3
1930 Ravel - Piano Concerto for the Left Hand in D major
1931 Avshalomov - Hutongs of Peking
1932 Bliss - Clarinet quintet
1933 Schmidt - Symphony 4 in C major
1934 Hindemith - Mathis der Maler Symphony
1935 Berg - Violin concerto
1936 Ireland - London overture
1937 Bartok - Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion

In this second helping, we find a mix of famous names, and almost unknowns. Ravel and Bartok are the most prominent composers here, with Hindemith, Nielsen and Berg not far behind. The selected works for this quintet of composers are among the acknowledged masterpieces of the century: three of the most stunning concertos, a beautiful symphony based on the opera of the same name, and a chamber music piece unlike any other. With respect to the other five: the reputation of Bax is not as solid as it should be. For me, he is one of the best composers of the 20th century - his third symphony is as good a starting point to explore his work as any. Bliss and Ireland are two British composers worth hearing as well. The selected works may not be their most famous (that would probably be the Colour symphony and the Piano concerto, respectively), but they make a good introduction. Schmidt was a late romantic Austrian composer, especially noted for his four symphonies. Finally we have Avshalomov, a Russian composer who lived a large part of his life in China, and it shows in his unique music.

Copyright statement: image in public domain.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Ask the deep

Scary? Weird? Yes, both, but beautiful as well. Icelandic singer Soley specializes in combining great music and great album covers. The art work on her 2015 album Ask the deep is credited to Ingibjörg Birigisdóttir.

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

Friday, February 09, 2018

Café de Flore

One of the most famous little cafés of Paris, Café de Flore is a must see for many visitors, and we usually drop by as well whenever we are in the City of Light. The linked Vintage Everyday contribution shows picture of this hotspot through the decades, from 1900 (above) to 1975.

Copyright statement: image in public domain.

Thursday, February 08, 2018

At the Café

Another artist who has not featured yet in the blog: Swiss/French painter Félix Vallotton (1865-1925). His style was predominantly neo-impressionist, but in some examples his works seem to foreshadow Hopper. Browsing through his oeuvre, this 1909 café scene stood out for me. Difficult to describe why, but maybe it is the somewhat depressed atmosphere that is so unexpected in such a location. More about Vallotton in the linked Wikipedia entry.

Copyright statement: image in public domain.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018


Animated movies like Ferdinand from 2017 will not end up on my "to view" list, but the movie poster is excellent, from the minimal design, to the pinned poster gimmick.

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

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Vogue May 1918

A vintage Vogue cover from a century ago, and fittingly an image inspired by the Great War which ended half a year later. That same war lead to the British edition of Vogue because the American one could no longer be shipped.

Copyright statement: image in public domain.

Monday, February 05, 2018

Hindemith's Flying Dutchman Overture

The title may have you scratching your head if you know a little bit about classical music in general and opera in particular. The Flying Dutchman is a famous opera by Wagner, so where does the later composer Hindemith come in? Well, he took the famous Wagner tune and distorted it into his own composition Overture to the Flying Dutchman as played at sight by a second-rate Concert Orchestra at the Village Well at 7 o'clock in the morning. And the result is hilarious, as well as stunningly musical. Do give this one a try.

Copyright statement: image by George Grie [GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons.

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Smoke on the water

One from the Flickr archives. I took this street candid in the French city of Tours in September 2009, and never posted it in this blog. For some reason, it has gathered more faves recently on Flickr, and as my own recent photography is not exciting, I decided to post this one..

Camera: Canon Powershot Pro1 8 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.006 sec (1/160)
Aperture: f/4.0
Focal Length: 25 mm
Post-processing: Picasa 2.0

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

Saturday, February 03, 2018

Ripped in January

A selected overview of culture stars relevant to my own tastes who passed away this month. A busy month for Death, with Dolores as the most shocking victim. Rest in peace.

Ray Thomas (76), British flautist and singer, founding member of the UK progressive rock band The Moody Blues. Many of their songs are on our car MP3 USB stick, including Nights in white satin with the famous Thomas flute solo.
France Gall (70), French pop singer. She had numerous hits in France and other European countries in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Her signature song Poupée de cire, poupée de son, the winner of the 1965 Eurovision song contest, is on our car MP3 USB stick.
Erling Mandelmann (82), Danish photographer. He was noted especially for his portraits, ranging from Noel Coward to Nina Hagen.
Dolores O'Riordan (46), Irish rock singer. As lead singer of the Cranberries, she will be remembered for a string of excellent albums and dozens of marvelous songs, including Promises and Zombie.
Edwin Hawkins (74), American gospel singer and leader of the Edwin Hawkins Singers, famous for the hit Oh happy day. Not a personal favourite, but a key figure in his genre.
Peter Mayle (78), British author. Although I never read his works, his 1989 memoir A Year in Provence was responsible for us spending a few very nice holidays in the Luberon.
Ursula K. Le Guin (88), American fantasy and science fiction author. In the 70s I read several of her novels, including The Left Hand of Darkness.

Copyright statement: image in public domain.

Friday, February 02, 2018

Non, Merci! Pas de Koons!

In the aftermath of the 2015 Paris terrorist attacks, kitsch artist Jeff Koons has offered the City of light one of his creations for free. A huge hand, holding a huge bouquet of tulips, to be installed in a small plaza between Paris’s municipal Museum of Modern Art and the Palais de Tokyo contemporary art museum. "Free" is a relative term though - it turns out Koons is only giving his idea for free, and the bill for construction and installation of the 36 t sculpture (4 million dollars) would go to Paris. As a reaction, a group of 24 French artists, museum workers, politicians, and others have published an open letter in Libération, rejecting this "gift" completely. Full story in the link.

Copyright statement: image in public domain.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Ten 20th century prog classics beyond UK and US

It is widely believed that 20th century progressive rock (or prog) was mainly a British affair, with some contributions from the USA and the English speaking part of Canada. In this post I'd like to draw attention to ten very worthwhile prog albums from other parts of the world, released from the mid seventies to the early nineties, triggered by finding all of these albums completely present at YouTube (links provided). I opted for maximum one per country. Enjoy!

Netherlands: Hamburger concerto by Focus (YouTube)
Germany: Battlement by Neuschwanstein (YouTube)
France: Au-Delà Du Délire by Ange (YouTube)
Italy: Per Un Amico by Premiata Forneria Marconi (YouTube)
Sweden: Hybris by Änglagård (YouTube)
Poland: Memento z Banalnym Tryptykiem by SBB (YouTube)
Canada (French): Si on avait besoin d'une cinquième saison by Harmonium (YouTube)
Brazil: Depois do fim by Bacamarte (YouTube)
Chile: Alturas de Machu Pichu by Los Jaivas (YouTube)
Japan: Shingetsu by Shingetsu (YouTube)

Copyright statement: mosaic image created by myself. All covers are thumbnail size and considered fair use.