Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Fuchs, the serenading teacher

One of my main discoveries of recent months: the Austrian composer Robert Fuchs (1847 – 1927) is practically forgotten nowadays, but the usually so critical Brahms thought very highly of him ("Fuchs is a splendid musician, everything is so fine and so skillful, so charmingly invented, that one is always pleased"). Moreover, the list of his students is jaw-dropping: it includes Enescu, Mahler, Wolf, Sibelius, von Zemlinsky, Korngold, Schmidt, and Schreker. His piano concerto (recorded in the Hyperion Romantic Piano concerto series) and organ music (available on Motette) are well worth listening to, but Fuchs was especially renowned for his five orchestral serenades. These are wonderful late romantic compositions that should be programmed far more than they are. The Naxos CD I selected as an introduction includes the first two serenades (composed probably in the 1870's), as well as a charming Andante grazioso and Capriccio, dating from much later. Impeccable playing by the Cologne Chamber Orchestra under Christian Ludwig. Warmly recommended.

Amazon

Monday, November 28, 2011

Abstract photographs at Advanced Photography

Advanced Photography is a great site for photographers, featuring both tips (technical and composition) and themed selections. It was brought to my attention because I saw several of my photographs being visited via their site. It turns out that their latest subject matter, abstracts, is illustrated by 35 photographs including no less than five of mine (the bottom row in the mosaic I created above).

web site

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Mai Tai - Inspired

High time to feature my Flickr friend missnoma (Claire) again in my blog. This is probably the best shot I have seen of her so far - and certainly one of the best uses of the technique of textures, which turns a good flower shot into an exquisite one.

All rights retained by the photographer.

Flickr

Heartattack in a layby

Today marks the one year anniversary of my heart attack. For the occasion, one of my favourite and very fitting Porcupine Tree songs.

The album In Absentia is really an embarrassment of riches, and I keep finding new nuggets every time I play it. By early 2007, this was the fifth track of the album that makes my list of greatest songs - and then it still took half a year to get moved to 10/10 status. A deceivingly simple, highly melodic track, Heartattack in a layby evokes a profound sadness that suits its lyrics of a man who is planning to make up with his wife, but is suffering a heart attack on the side of the road. The multi-layered vocals and beautiful acoustic guitar play suit the atmosphere particularly well.
Art Rock score: 10/10 (brilliant masterpiece, one of 200 best songs of all time)

YouTube

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Where a little girl used to be

This portrait is absolutely gorgeous. The model is of course a stunner, but the way her face is framed by the scarf is brilliant. Add top notch lighting, and this is a real magazine quality photograph. However, what lifts it to a further level is the personal factor. The model is Laura, the teenage daughter of the photographer, my esteemed Flickr friend andy_57. And his feelings about seeing his little girl grow up into a confident young woman are summed up perfectly by the title.

All rights retained by the photographer.

Flickr

Links [13]

Once more an overview of interesting links on topics related to the blog, that I encountered recently (some undoubtedly via a Jenny Downing buzz), but that will probably not make the blog as separate entries. The picture above is by myself.

The Five Best Crossovers of Art and Fashion.
New York in Black and White (1936-1951).
Spectacular Scenery of Magnificent Milford Sound.
18 Places to Feel Dwarfed by Nature.
Huge Wooden Art Structure Comes Crashing Down.
Alternative Photoshoot for Bowie's Heroes.
New 7 Wonders of Nature.
Aerial Photos of the Netherlands.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ye Olde Eye

A London contribution in my ongoing series of creating surreal landscapes by making a modern architecture shot look ancient with selected post-processing. This is of course the famous London Eye, as seen from the North bank. The shot itself was nothing special (it is included in the link), but adding a texture (taken from the stream of fellow Flickrite SkeletalMess) really makes it unique. One of my own favourites of the year so far.

Camera: Canon EOS 400D Digital 10 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.006 sec (1/160)
Aperture: f/8.0
Focal Length: 18 mm
ISO Speed: 400
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0, texture

Flickr

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Journey

A wonderful farewell present, before embarking on another journey, by my Flickr friend aftab. Beautifully composed, wonderful tones and a dramatic sky that reminds me of some of Jan Saudek's best efforts. The small silhouetted figure adds to the inherent drama. A gorgeous shot.

All rights retained by the photographer.

Flickr

Monday, November 07, 2011

The four times of day

A first souvenir from our visit to the National Gallery in London: a painter I have not featured in my blog so far, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (1796-1975). Corot was the leading artist of the Barbizon school of France in the mid-nineteenth century, and an important landscape painter. I have always liked his work, even though my taste tends to be more modern that that. I particularly liked this set of four paintings from 1858, depicting four times of the day (morning, afternoon, evening, night) in the National Gallery. I created this quadiptych myself from the separate paintings. More on Corot in the wikipedia article linked to below.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Bliss, a colourful composer

Continuing the London theme of recent posts, time to put the spotlight on one of the city's great musical sons. Sir Arthur Bliss (1891-1975) is one of many British composer who are unjustly neglected in other countries. His style is less pastoral than Delius or Vaughan Williams, less startling than Rawsthorne, but very much British throughout. His best work is probably his only symphony dating back to 1921. This "Colour symphony" is in four movements based on heraldic colours (purple, red, blue and green) and is one of the better symphonies of its time. I have selected the Naxos disc with this masterpiece as the introduction to Bliss. The other composition on this CD is the later ballet Adam Zero (1946), a stunning score making use of contemporary nightclub tunes to set the scene. Excellent playing by the English Northern Philharmonia under David Lloyd-Jones. A composer well worth investigating.

Amazon