Sunday, May 28, 2017

7 UP

An older shot of my Flickr friend Ethan (known previously as Cormend), which did not make the blog before because I was not posting Flickr favourites anymore at the time. It is a beautiful and unusual shot, with the clever title as the icing on the cake.

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

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Kwikzilver

Please click the thumbnail above to open the image in a separate window. Kwikzilver (mercury) is the title of a Dutch 1926 girls' novel by Cissy van Marxveldt. The cover is a beautiful illustration of a flapper girl.

Copyright statement: image shown as thumbnail, considered fair use.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Unusual concertos 21-30: From Baritone saxophone to Clarinet

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.

[21] Baritone saxophone, the lowest-pitched saxophone in common use. Although it has been used in orchestral compositions by the likes of Bartok, Gershwin and Strauss, I am not aware of any baritone saxophone concerto by a famous composer. I do have one on my hard drive though, by Brazilian composer Joelio Santos, subtitled The weeping tree.  It is played by Marcos Cafe and an unnamed orchestra.

[22] Marimba, another one of the tuneful members of the percussion group like the previously discussed vibraphone.The marimba has become a relatively popular concertante instrument in recent decades, with concertos having been composed inter alia by Milhaud, Creaston, Musgrave, Koppel and Rosauro. I have selected the short but beautiful marimba concerto by Akira Miyoshi, played by Evelyn Glennie and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra under Paul Daniel, taken from an RCA CD.

[23] Sho. This ancient Japanese woodwind instrument consists of 17 bamboo pipes (two of which are silent, but included for aesthetic reasons). Even among Japanese composers, its use in classical music is rare. I have found one concerto, by Toshio Hosokawa. It is titled Cloud and Light, and is performed by Mayumi Miyata and the Munchener Kammerorchester under Alexander Liebreich (taken from an ECM CD).

[24] Organ, the king of instruments. Organ concertos date back to the baroque period (Vivaldi, JS Bach, Handel), and have never gone out of fashion, with composers like CPE Bach, FJ Haydn, Rheinberger, Hindemith and Poulenc as the more famous names. Among the less known but beautiful concertos written for this instrument in the later 20th century are those by Tristan Keuris and Petr Eben. I have opted for the single movement organ concerto by the American composer Howard Hanson, which was composed in 1926. It is played by Joseph Jackson with the Philadelphia Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra under Daniel Spalding, taken from a Naxos CD.

[25] Trombone, one of the orchestra's regular instruments. Concertos for this brass instrument have been relatively rare throughout the centuries - the first one was possibly composed by Wagenseil or Albrechtsberger, whilst during the 19th century only the Rimsky-Korsakov concerto has entered the repertoire. In the 20th century, trombone concertos have been composed by the likes of Aho, Milhaud, Rota, Sandstrom, Larsson, Holmboe, Nyman and Tomasi. I have selected my own favourite, the 1991 concerto by Christopher Rouse. It is played by Joseph Alessi and the Colorado Symphony Orchestra under Marin Alsop, taken from a BMG CD.

[26] Untuned percussion, basically the collected orchestral "pots and pans", setting it aside from tuned percussion like marimba, xylophone and vibraphone. A late arrival on the concertante scene, the percussionists can still boast concertos by the likes of Milhaud, MacMillan and Schwantner. I have selected the untuned percussion concerto by Richard Rodney Bennett, played by Evelyn Glennie and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra under Paul Daniel, taken from an RCA CD.

[27] Recorder, an instrument many of us will have played as a child, but long surpassed by the flute in the conventional classical music orchestra. Recorder concertos have been rare since the baroque days, with Malcolm Arnold possibly the most famous name to have contributed to the repertoire.  I have selected the recorder concerto by contemporary Swedish composer Bjoern Lindh, played by Dan Laurin and the Sundsvall Chamber Orchestra under Niklas Willen, taken from a BIS CD.

[28] Hardanger fiddle, a traditional Norwegian variation on the violin, but with eight or nine strings rather than four as on a standard violin, and thinner wood. Most people will be familiar with the sound of this instrument through its extensive use in the soundtrack of the movie Lord of the Rings, where it was used for the theme of the riders of Rohan. Concertos for the instrument are extremely rare - I am only aware of the two by Norwegian composer Geirr Tveitt. I have selected the second concerto from 1965, played by Arvfe Moen Bergset and the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra under Ole Kristian Ruud, taken from a BIS CD.

[29] Duduk, a traditional Armenian woodwind instrument that is used in the Middle East and Central Asia. Its use in Western classical music is predictably rare, although it has featured in several movie soundtracks, including Peter Gabriel's beautiful score for Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ. I have found one concerto for duduk and orchestra, composed by Henrik Anassian, and played by Pedro Eustache and the Orquesta Sinfonica de la Juventud Venezolana "Simon Bolívar" under Alfredo Rugeles.

[30] Clarinet, which brings us back to one of the more regularly used symphony orchestra concertante instruments. Numerous clarinet concertos have been composed over the centuries, with the best-known examples being those by Mozart, Spohr, Weber, Nielsen and Stravinsky. Less known but well worth checking out are the concertos by Kozeluch, Crusell, and Finzi. For this series, I have selected the 2001 clarinet concerto by Stephan Hartke, titled Landscape with Blues. It is played by Richard Stolzman and the IRIS chamber Orchestra under Michael Stern from a Naxos CD.

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

Flickr

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Sweet Lorraine

No particular reason for posting this today, except that it is a great rock song that deserves to be wider known than it is, It is from Uriah Heep's 1972 album The magician's birthday, and was also released as a single, which was a minor hit in the USA. The photograph is from a concert at the time.  Art Rock score: 9/10 (awesome song, one of the 1000 best of all time).

Copyright statement: image created by Heinrich Klaffs (licensed for non-commercial use under Creative Commons).

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Ghent Triptych 2

The second of two shots I took in Ghent of a door that is in need of a paint job - but for now makes for a great abstract photograph. This is my personal favourite of the two.

Camera: Nikon D7000 (Nikkor 18-300 mm), 16 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.0016 sec (1/640)
Aperture: f/6.3
Focal Length: 77.7 mm
ISO Speed: 1000
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0

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

Ghent Triptych 1

The first of two shots I took in Ghent of a door that is in need of a paint job - but for now makes for a great abstract photograph. This is the more popular one of the two on Flickr.

Camera: Nikon D7000 (Nikkor 18-300 mm), 16 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.0016 sec (1/640)
Aperture: f/6.3
Focal Length: 77.7 mm
ISO Speed: 1000
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0

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

Monday, May 22, 2017

Max Reger at work

Franz Nölken (1884-1918) was a German expressionist painter, and member of Die Brücke. Like the more famous Macke and Marc, he was killed in World War I. I came across his name via his 1913 portrait of German composer Max Reger.

Copyright statement: image in public domain.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

What is Contemporary Art?

The linked art-icle gives an interesting overview of the various parallel streams in contemporary art. The usual suspects are discussed, such as Warhol, Koons, Richter, Hirst, Ai Weiwei, and Abramovic. A good introduction to a difficult subject. The photograph above is by myself (link), and shows a detail of Ai Wei Wei's (in)famous art work Sunflower seeds in the Tate Modern London.

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

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Rainy day windshield distortions

Abstractions involving water are among the specialties of my Flickr friend Peggy Reimchen (peggyhr). This is a beautiful shot, photographed through the window of a parked car.

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

Friday, May 19, 2017

Pansy

Another example of digital art made possible with the on-line program at the Turbo DeepArt site (blogged here). Amazing how a simple pansy shot gets transformed into something that in the details resembles the work of HR Giger. The link leads to the original photograph.

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

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The history of blue pigments in art

The linked art-icle gives an interesting overview of the various blue pigments used over the years, including Ultramarine (as in the depicted works of Sassoferrato and Vermeer), Klein blue, and the latest YInMn. Worth a read.

Copyright statement: images in public domain.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Shostakovich's string quartets

Most composers of name starting with Haydn and Mozart have tried their hands on the string quartet genre, often seen as the most difficult and most rewarding chamber music. For complete cycles, most listeners tend to favour Beethoven's sixteen, but I prefer Shostakovich's fifteen, composed between 1938 and 1974. I was delighted to come across the linked web site, which gives details on every single one of these quartets, with a lot of additional information about the composer and his music as well. Highly recommended.

Copyright statement: image stated to be in public domain.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Centric

A rather surprising minor hit on Flickr, collecting far more faves than my average shots. This is an ornament on an old wooden door in Quedlinburg, converted to black and white for more emphasis.

Camera: Nikon D7000 (Nikkor 18-300 mm), 16 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.000125 sec (1/8000)
Aperture: f/4.5
Focal Length: 35.6 mm
ISO Speed: 800
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0

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

Monday, May 15, 2017

Bleriot car headlights

I would have estimated this vintage poster to have been created in the twenties, because of the lay-out and the font. In fact it is a full decade earlier. The designer is Sandy Hook. Taken from a post in the excellent Art and Artists blog on car-related posters.

Copyright statement: image in public domain.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Potpourri [4]

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
Best. Pond name. Ever. Forget the ship Boaty McBoatface - this pond received the best name that could have come up through the internet (Just for Fun). First seen here.
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Brilliantly lazy or lazily brilliant? Dave asked a poster designer by mobile for a poster displaying the timing of the music performances. He did not quite expect the result (Just for Fun). First seen here.
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Ink in motion. The idea is not new, but the execution very impressive. Macro Room created videos and photographs of ink in water, adding some 3D effects with plants etc (Remarkable Art). First seen here.
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LV Painting bags. The famous fashion house Louis Vuitton has introduced a new line of bags, all based on classical paintings, from da Vinci to van Gogh (Special Designs). First seen here.
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We'll always have Aaris. Taken from a post with many more examples of designs by people who should have known better (Mixed Nuts). Recommended to click the link. First seen here.
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Aurora Borealis. The link collects some of the most beautiful photographs of that stunning natural phenomenon, the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights (Natural Beauty). First seen here.
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Wordless movie posters. That's wordless, not worthless. The link collects a large number of famous movie posters with all text removed  to show their beauty even better (Amazing Stuff). First seen here.
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Starry starry cappuccino. Add Korean barista Kangbin Lee to the growing ranks of people who think coffee is a canvas for them to be creative on (Amazing Stuff). First seen here.

Copyright statement: image based on a photograph created by myself. Copyright Hennie Schaper.

Flickr

Saturday, May 13, 2017

County Kerry Mary

Vintage music sheets are a recurring topic under Anything goes, and this is one of the very best. It dates back to 1921. Unfortunately, no information on the designer.

Copyright statement: image in public domain.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Il pomeriggio

Here we have another stunning abstract shot by my Flickr friend Lorraine Kerr in her trademark square format. This is actually a combination of Sicilian walls and corners in the early afternoon sun.

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

Flickr

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Bois de Boulogne

Dutch artist Isaac Israëls (1865-1934) had not featured yet in the blog. His late-impressionist style is quite attractive and still draws attention from collectors and museums. The featured painting is from his Paris period (1904-1914).

Copyright statement: image in public domain.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Guggenheim Museum Modern Art books

This is a real treasure trove. The Guggenheim Museum has made over 200 books about Modern Art available for free on the linked site. The illustration is from the book Expressionism, a German intuition, 1905-1920.

Copyright statement: screen shot from on-line book; illustrations are in public domain.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Hasselt reflections

In recent weeks, I have frequently revisited the subject of abstracted photography by water reflections. This is a reflection in the canal of the little nearby Hanseatic city of Hasselt, shot with my new Nikon mirror reflex. Good reactions on Flickr as well.

Camera: Nikon D7000 (Nikkor 18-300 mm), 24 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.0006 sec (1/1600)
Aperture: f/10.0
Focal Length: 120 mm
ISO Speed: 1000
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0

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