Sunday, April 30, 2017

Potpourri [3]

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.

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Artfully awear. Artist Ariel Adkins shows off her art-inspired dresses against the background of the actual art pieces that inspired them (Amazing Stuff). First seen here.
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Wedding shoots from hell. An amazing overview of some of the worst wedding shoots ever done. From tacky to outright ludicrous (Mixed Nuts). First seen here.
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Marais Piano cake packaging. Taken from a long post about the winners of the 2017 Design Competition. This packaging of cake slices takes the biscuit (Special Designs). First seen here.
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Anamorphic artwork by Hurwitz. London artist Jonty Hurwitz uses the centuries old technique of anamorphosis to create stunning sculptures (Remarkable Art). First seen here.
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Pet adoption posters. These white space based pet adoption posters from India are some of the best advertisements I have seen for quite a while (Amazing Stuff). First seen here.
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Crystal mugs. The crystals covered coffee mugs by self-taught artist Katie Marks are somewhere between sculptures and craft work - and they are beautiful (Special Designs). First seen here.
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Cardboard turtle. Japanese artist Monami Ohno makes sculptures from Amazon cardboard boxes. Nothing too spectacular, until I saw that she also made a turtle this way (Remarkable Art). First seen here.
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Horror songs. Graphic artist "The Butcher Billy" takes well-known love songs and transform them into covers of horror magazines/pulp novels. Many examples in the link (Amazing Stuff). First seen here.

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


Saturday, April 29, 2017

Unusual concertos 11-20: From Bandoneon to Basset horn

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.

[11] Bandoneon, a type of concertina particularly popular in Argentina and Uruguay, and an essential ingredient in tango bands. It was Argentine composer and bandoneon virutoso Astor Piazzolla who made this instrument suitable for the classical concert hall. Amongst his compositions for this unusual instrument, there is one concerto, dating back to 1979. It is a fascinating and accessible piece of music, utterly convincing, and one of my favourites in this series of unusual concertos. It is played by Pablo Mainettti Orquestra de Gambra Teatre lliure under Josep Pons on a Harmonia Mundi CD.

[12] Harpsichord, an instrument that was widely used in Renaissance and Baroque music, only to gradually disappear from the musical scene with the rise of the piano. A few composers have resurrected this elegant instrument in the past century, with concertos having been composed by inter alia Poulenc, de Falla, Nyman, Martinu and Glass. I have selected the short two movement concerto by Henryk Gorecki from 1980, a brilliant extrovert showpiece, totally unlike his famous (and magnificent) third symphony. It is played by Elzbieta Chojnacka and the London Sinfonietta under Markus Stenz on a Nonesuch CD.

[13] Ondes martenot, the electronic beast invented in 1928 by Maurice Martenot. It is probably better known for horror movie soundtracks, but serious composers have written for it, probably the best known example being Messiaen's Turangalila symphony. Concertos for this very unusual instrument are rare though - at least by composers with reasonably well known names. I have selected the concerto by Andre Jolivet from 1947, which demonstrates the concertante possibilities of this instrument very well. It is played by Jeanne Loriod and the Orchestre Philharmonique de l'ORTF under the composer, from a CD box that is no longer available.

[14] Dizi, the most common version of the Chinese bamboo flute. Undoubtedly, recent generations of Chinese classical music composers will have written concertos for this traditional instrument, but the only one I could find is by Guo Wenjing, titled Sorrowful Empty Mountain. The performance is by Dai Ja on dizi with the China Broadcast Chinese Orchestra under Peng Jiapeng, recorded in 2006. It can be found on a Chinese double CD dedicated to this composer, entitled Listen to the Mountain - The Music of Guo Wenjing.

[15] Cello, the one instrument in this series where one might start to question the definition of unusual in this connection, as there are many cello concertos by noteworthy composers, in particular in the 19th and even more in the 20th century. Still, a google search shows that it lags behind the violin and piano as concertante instrument, by a considerable amount. I have chosen a very rare concerto for this beautiful instrument, the "concerto ostinato", by the Japanese composer Yasushi Akutagawa. It is played by Kenichiro Yasuda and the New Symphony Orchestra under the composer, from a Fontec CD that is no longer available.

[16] Coloratura soprano, seriously. A stretch? Soviet composer Reinhold Gliere did not think so, as he created a beautiful coloratura concerto in 1942 - the only other composer that I am aware of to have composed this type of concerto after him is Germaine Tailleferre. The Gliere concerto is performed in the selected sample by Joan Sutherland and the London Symphony Orchestra under Richard Bonynge, from a Decca CD.

[17] Turntables, another baffling choice for the concertante instrument. It is easy to dismiss this as a (bad) musical joke, but the BBC considered this concerto worthy of inclusion in their famous Proms concerts a few years ago. The composer's name might have helped: Gabriel Prokofiev, grandson of the grandmaster himself. I do not have this concerto on CD, but it can be found on YouTube. The soloist is DJ Switch, who performs with the National Youth Orchestra.

[18] Piccolo, the smallest member of the regular orchestral wood wind instrument section. Vivaldi was I think the first to write a concerto for this instrument, with Peter Maxwell Davies probably being the most prominent of more recent composers in this respect. I have opted for the 2001 piccolo concerto by Avner Dorman, taken from a Naxos CD. The soloist is Mindy Kaufman, who performs with the Metropolis Ensemble under Andrew Cyr.

[19] Electric violin, the first amplified instrument in this series. Perhaps not an instrument one would expect a major classical music composer to write for, but living legend John Adams proved the exception to that rule. His Dharma at Big Sur is a fascinating concerto, performed by Tracy Silverman on the electric violin and the BBC Symphony Orchestra under the composer (from a Nonesuch CD).

[20] Basset horn, a distant family member of the clarinet. It makes an occasional appearance in the oeuvre of classical age and early romantic composers (Mozart, Mendelssohn, Dvorak) and has featured in more recent works by the likes of Sessions and Stockhausen. Concertos for the instrument are extremely rare; I have only found the one I featured in this post, by Alessandro Rolla (Concerto in F Major BI. 528 for basset horn and orchestra, around 1800). It is performed by Denis Zanchetta and the Milan Classical Chamber Orchestra under Massimiliano Caldi (from a Dynamic CD).

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


Friday, April 28, 2017

Fading lights

It's been a while since my Flickr friend and fellow Kampen citizen Gert van der Meulen has featured in the blog. Here is a recent work, a gorgeous night shot of the former island of Urk (now encapsulated in the Noord Oost polder). The atmosphere is almost like it's a still from a fantasy movie.

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

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Planets + persona

I have not heard the latest album by Richard Barbieri (ex Japan, ex Porcupine Tree, see also here) yet, but it is on my shortlist for the near future. The album cover is stunning, and it's a pity that I could not find information on its creator.

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

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Vanity Fair December 1922

A spectacular colourful cover for the famous magazine Vanity Fair from the early twenties. The design is credited to Serge Soudeikine.

Copyright statement: image in public domain.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Zwolle church window abstraction

The Broerenkerk in Zwolle is a church that was converted to a bookstore a few years ago. Most of the original parts have been retained, including the stained glass windows, a mixture of old and new designs. While we had coffee there, I zoomed in on the new windows high above us, creating this colourful abstract which got a good response on Flickr, and is a personal favourite as well.

Camera: Canon IXUS 170, 20 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.05 sec (1/20)
Aperture: f/7.0
Focal Length: 54 mm
ISO Speed: 400
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0

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

Monday, April 24, 2017


It was love at first sight when I came across this postcard from the 1910's. The illustration is by Eisen Schaupp, famous for a whole series of these female portraits.

Copyright statement: image in public domain.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Airport abstraction

Another example of digital art made possible with the on-line program at the DeepArt site (blogged here). I submitted a photograph I took at Schiphol airport (the stairway to the train station), and Nicolas de Stael's Composition 1950 (link here). The result is not exactly what I was aiming for, but the abstracted image that resulted is a stunning Stael pastiche. The link leads to the original photograph.

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

Saturday, April 22, 2017

The girl and the bull

You may have seen images of the new statue of the little girl facing the Wall Street bull before, but the linked art-icle opens up an interesting discussion. Artist Arturo Di Modica, who created the Charging Bull sculpture in 1989, has asked for the new sculpture to be moved with the argument that it is taking use of his piece and therefore violates his copyright. See the link for the complete piece.

Copyright statement: image created by Anthony Quintano, licensed by creator under Creative Commons.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Turbo DeepArt

I have blogged before about the DeepArt site (here), which has become the basis of most of my digital art that I post on the blog. One of the few problems was the waiting time between submission and obtaining the result - which could take a few days. They have now started a turbo version where you can create artistic versions of your photographs with over three dozen of filters (rather than selecting an image of your own choice as a filter). Results are almost instantaneous. Above is my Facebook picture treated this way,

Copyright statement: image created by myself from a photograph by Lu Schaper. Copyright Lu Schaper.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Cathedral Noir

My Flickr friend Ethan (known previously as Cormend) took this brilliant shot of the Cathedral of Leon in Nicaragua. A clear example how black and white shots benefit from extreme contrasts. There's another one in his stream with the same subject that is just as stunning.

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

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The one that got away

This century's chart hits usually don't do much for me, but this song is a positive exception. Katy Perry's The one that got away, accompanied by a good video, is a catchy pop tune that is worth to hear repeatedly. Art Rock score: 8/10 (great song, I'd put it on my MP3 player).

Copyright statement: image in public domain.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

IJssel reflections

One of my most faved reflection shots of recent weeks. It is also the first picture I took with a Nikon mirror reflex (thanks to my father in law!). The kick-ass 18-300 mm lens allowed me to shoot this reflection of a restaurant boat in the river IJssel near our home.

Camera: Nikon D3200 (Nikkor 18-300 mm), 24 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.0025 sec (1/400)
Aperture: f/5.6
Focal Length: 165 mm
ISO Speed: 100
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0

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

Monday, April 17, 2017

Potpourri [2]

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.

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Genetics. This funny image by French photographer RenĂ© MaltĂȘte is well worth checking out. Many other examples in the link are great as well (Just for fun). First seen here.
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Chocolate geodes. Stunning to look at, and probably great to eat as well, these huge geodes made from chocolate by Alex Yeatts and Abby Lee Wilcox (Special Designs). First seen here.
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Thanks Donald! One of many photographs in the link that show animals who really don't give a f.... This duck pair is my favourite (Just for fun). First seen here.
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Edible cactuses. Indonesian baking artist Ivenoven creates a large selection of desserts that are shaped like cactuses. Beautiful stuff (Special Designs). First seen here.
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Why? Just why? I don't care for dogs dressed up, but the expression of this cocker spaniel - who looks a lot like our Jazz - is priceless (Just for Fun). First seen here.
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Aurora Australis. The Southern hemisphere equivalent of the northern lights is almost as spectacular as shown in a series of images in the link (Natural Beauty). First seen here.
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Ikeda's Rebirth. Manabu Ikeda‘s monumental Rebirth is a 13′ x 10′ pen and ink drawing that the artist worked on for 3.5 years, putting in 10 hours a day (Remarkable Art). First seen here.
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Fallen cherry blossoms. Japan is justly famous for its cherry blossoms, but this photograph is really special. Shot by a drone, it shows the petals having dropped into a lake (Natural Beauty). First seen here.

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


Sunday, April 16, 2017

Vogue January 1922

This Vogue cover already hints at the Art Deco years to come in its choice of dog breed to accompany the girl. The illustration is credited to the famous Helen Dryden.

Copyright statement: image in public domain.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Morning has broken

The impressive photostream of my Mexican Flickr friend Rodolfo Anzaldua is very varied, from macros to landscapes. This is one of the most impressive ones in the latter category, showing a church near his home town against the background of a towering volcano.

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

Friday, April 14, 2017

Bach's St. John's Passion

A suitable post for the Friday before Easter. Bach's St. John's Passion is the second most beautiful passion ever composed, surpassed only by his St. Matthew's Passion. The linked video is a complete live performance of almost two hours by one of the leading Bach ensembles of the day: Bach Collegium Japan directed by Masaaki Suzuki. Simply beautiful.

Copyright statement: image in public domain.