Friday, November 30, 2012

The greatest art thief of the past decades

Forget all the art robberies that have made the headlines in recent years - the linked article points to the late former president-dictator of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos, as the greatest art thief of recent times. He used government funds to buy over a hundred masterpieces by the likes of Picasso, Van Gogh, Renoir, Rembrandt and Cezanne - which have all gone missing after his removal from power. Well worth reading.

web site

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Say a prayer

Here is a Flickr friend who has not featured yet in my blog: fellow Kampen citizen Gert2010. This is his take on a local monument to remember the soldiers who fell in the post-WW2 conflict between the Netherlands and Indonesia. Compared to my own effort (here on Flickr), his take is far more dramatic and of superior photographic quality. A gripping shot. As always, all rights retained by the creator.

Suk, a Czech worth checking out

Condemned to a life as a footnote in musical dictionaries for decades, Josef Suk (1874-1935) finally gets the attention he deserves in recent years. He was Dvorak's son-in-law, and grandfather of the famous violin player of the same name. His music is late-romantic with a dash of impressionism, which particularly shines through in his long symphonic poems. His second symphony, titled Asrael, is his masterpiece, one of my all-time favourites in the genre, but unfortunately not available on Naxos. I have chosen the disc which contains one of his best symphonic poems (Pohadka or Fairy Tale), coupled with two other substantial works (the Fantasy for violin and orchestra, and the Fantastic Scherzo). Excellent performances by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra under JoAnn Falletta, with Michael Ludwig as the soloist. Suk is a composer that has never disappointed me, and that should be represented in any decent classical music collection.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Borderland

The Chevin are an indie band from Leeds who released their first album earlier this year. I have no clue what they sound like, but I like the cover design in its colourful collage-style very much. I could not find any information on the designer unfortunately.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Everything must change

My musical discovery of the year in the jazz genre: Karrin Allyson's rendition of Everything must change. The original version is by Quincy Jones from his 1974 Body Heat album, but this cover version is mindblowingly beautiful to throw out a cliche. Karrin Allyson is an American jazz singer who has released 13 albums so far, including Daydream from 1996, which includes this song. The video is just a (good) picture, but if you do not know this version, treat yourself to it by clicking the link.

YouTube

Friday, November 23, 2012

Buttermere green velvet

She has been absent from Flickr for a while, and therefore also from my blog. But I was glad to see her return a few weeks ago, once more posting minimalist abstracts of superior quality. I am of course talking about one of my favourite Flickr friends, Lorraine Kerr (caeciliametella). She added a footnote about the subject, which I never would have guessed: we are looking at an antique lampshade.... As always, all rights retained by the creator.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

God put a smile upon your face

The much maligned popular rock band Coldplay actually produced a number of great records at the start of their career, and one of the best is the album A rush of blood to the head, which included the excellent single God put a smile upon your face. The original and stunning art work for the album and the subsequent singles covers was all done by photographer Sølve Sundsbø, utilizing a new technique of taking shots of band members using a three-dimensional scanning machine (details here). More about Coldplay on the linked wikipedia page.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

October water reflections 4

The fourth in a series of autumnal water reflections, captured in the canal near our home. The first was posted in the blog here, you can find the others at my Flickr site. This one did not make Explore, but has turned out to be quite popular as well. Intriguing how the distortions caused by the water movement seem to created repeating patterns.

Camera: Canon IXUS 115 HS, 12 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.013 sec (1/80)
Aperture: f/5.6
Focal Length: 17.3 mm
ISO Speed: 640
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0

Flickr

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The bewitched mill

It has been far too long since I last featured one of the expressionist masterpieces of my favourite painter, Franz Marc (1880-1916). This is a less known painting of his, dating back to 1913. He painted it after a visit to the city of Merano in southern Tirol. The work's title reflects the magical harmony he sensed there between human life, represented by the houses and mill on the left, and nature, embodied by the trees and animals on the right. More on Marc in the linked wikipedia article.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Broken China

A beautiful album cover for the second solo album of the late Rick Wright, mainly known of course for his Pink Floyd years. The use of the double diagonal is a great compositional tool, and it is no surprise that the design is by one of the grandmasters, Hipgnosis' Storm Thorgerson.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Conversation

A fascinating photograph: if I would have been shown this with the question who is the photographer at Flickr, I would have immediately said: my Flickr friend jenny downing. And yet, it is unlike any other shot of hers that I remember. The minimalist approach and the fantastic choice of focal point and dof are echt Jenny though. As usual, all rights retained by the creator.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Artists who fell in the "Great" War

Today marks the 94th anniversary of the end of World War One, the so-called Great War, one of the most futile and cruel conflicts in human history. In the span of four years, sixteen million people died from the conflict, of which the ever stagnant western front has become the most notorious. From an art point of view, the losses were considerable as well. Some of the best and/or most promising painters in the world fell in the conflict, such as Franz Marc (fell in 1916, aged 36), August Macke (fell in 1914, aged 27), Umberto Boccioni (fell in 1916, aged 33), and Henri Gaudier-Brzeska (fell in 1915, aged 23). The classical music suffered great losses as well, with Alberic Magnard (died defending his home, aged 49), George Butterworth (fell in 1916, aged 31), Ernest Farrar (fell in 1918, aged 33), Rudi Stephan (fell in 1915, aged 28), Cecil Coles (fell in 1918, aged 29), and Enrique Granados (died as civilian in a torpedo attack in 1916, aged 48). And who knows what famous buildings would have materialized from the brain of architect Antonio Sant'Elia (fell in 1916, aged 28)? Given the young age of many of the casualties, the actual loss is probably much higher - many talents that never even got the chance to shine. A terrible waste. A terrible war. Image sourced from here.

link

Lest we forget (links)

Over the past few years, I have made many posts inspired by the so-called Great War (1914-1918), on the occasion of Armistice Day (11 November). Here I collect links to all of them rather than re-post one or two. If you want to click just one, I suggest the first one, which has some astonishing background information. The image above is by myself (Les poppies, enhanced by the on-line tilt-shift programme).

11-11-08 Poem: In Flanders' fields.
11-11-08 YouTube: Documentary on Britten's War Requiem.
11-11-08 Paintings: Returning to the trenches (Nevinson).
11-11-08 Flickr favourites: Lest we forget.
11-11-09 Vintage posters: In Flanders' fields.
11-11-09 Paintings: La guerre (Gromaire).
11-11-09 Photojournalism: Remembrance.
11-11-10 Paintings: Over the top (Nash).
11-11-10 En Vogue: Vogue May 1914.
11-11-10 Poem: Suicide in the trenches.
11-11-10 Photojounalism: The fallen.
11-11-11 Under cover: Motion Picture May 1918.
12-11-11 Photojournalism: Armistice day in London.
12-11-11 Photojournalism: Armistice day in Minsk.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Shiny glossy (beautiful) girl

It's been far too long since I posted one of those gorgeous model shoots by my esteemed Flickr friend andy_57. He has had many fantastic models in front of his camera, but I think Julie is my favourite of the lot. Not only is she a beautiful woman but she can show such different sides of herself in different settings. If you like this shot, one of my favourites of her recent shoots, do yourself a favour and look at all of them in Andy's stream (link). As usual, all rights retained by the creator.

Left Bank

A recent digital creation by my wife, taking a photograph shot at the Left Bank of the Seine in Paris as starting point. I love the atmosphere she has created here.

The Art of Lu Schaper

Friday, November 09, 2012

From 3D to 2D

A fairly popular shot of mine dating back to our September holiday. In photographing art, there is always the challenge to add something rather than just register. Here I tried to convert a 3 D sculpture in the Pompidou Museum into a 2D art piece, including its shadow and adding the frame to increase the illusion that this is a painting rather than a sculpture.

Camera: Canon IXUS 115 HS, 12 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.017 sec (1/60)
Aperture: f/5.0
Focal Length: 15.0 mm
ISO Speed: 800
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0

Flickr

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Ives, the American original

As I am pre-posting this on Tuesday morning, I don't know yet whether Obama or Romney won the presidential race. In either case, it seems appropriate to post Charles Ives today, the composer who has been dubbed the American original. Ives (1874-1954) was overlooked for most of his life, but is now recognized as a key figure in the history of classical music. His works are not easy to get into, but very interesting in their collage style. This Naxos CD makes a great introduction, as it contains some of his most important works in excellent performances. The third symphony (The Camp Meeting) from 1910 is probably the best of his efforts in that genre, with its intriguing mix of conventional romanticism, songs, and dances. It evokes country meetings during his childhood, when people gathered in fields to sing, preach, and listen. Central Park in the dark from 1909 is a tone poem unlike any other I have heard, aptly described as "alternatingly spooky and impressionistic". The unanswered question from 1906 is another key work in Ives' repertoire, a study in contrasts that packs quite a punch in four minutes. The other works on the CD are less essential but still good to have. Outstanding performances by the Northern Sinfonia under James Sinclair. If your collection warrants just one Ives CD, this would make a good choice. Alternatively, it would be a great stepping stone to explore this strange but rewarding composer further.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Umbrella

The third in a series of umbrella posts. Barbados' singer Rihanna looks excellent and classy in this shot, the cover of a song that went #1 world-wide - and which I have never heard. More about Rihanna on the linked wikipedia page.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Autumnal

It may not have reached Flickr Explore, but given the reactions and faves it must have been a near-miss. And it is one of my favourites of the year so far. The leafless trees reflecting in the canal near our home, with the yellow leaves drifting on the water - flipped upside down for more effect.

Camera: Canon IXUS 115 HS, 12 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.013 sec (1/80)
Aperture: f/5.6
Focal Length: 17.3 mm
ISO Speed: 500
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0

Flickr