Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Tiger! Tiger!

Once more one of my attempts at digital art based on my own photographs, created with the free software SuperPhoto that came with my new laptop. This is a shot I took in the Shanghai Zoo some years ago. The link leads to the original photograph.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Trouble will find me

Another suggestion from my long-time friend Paul. Trouble will find me, released in 2013, is the sixth album by the American band the National, once more a name that was completely new to me - and very worthwhile to listen to. The impressive cover art is by Bohyun Yoon.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Orange crush

Today the Netherlands celebrate our national holiday King's Day - for the first time, after over a century of queens. For the occasion, since orange is the colour of the Dutch royal family, that haunting R.E.M. song Orange crush. Art Rock score: 8/10 (great song, I'd put it on my MP3 player).


Friday, April 25, 2014

Grand Prix Switzerland 1931

I am not particularly interested in motorcycles or racing, but when I came across this powerful Art Deco image recently, I had to earmark it for the blog. The design is by an artist called Ruprecht.

Vintage Posters

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Vanity Fair November 1928

The vintage Vanity Fair magazine covers are second only to Vogue in terms of excellence. Here is another gem from the roaring twenties. The design is by Victor Bobritsky.


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Taxi ride

Tori Amos is one of those artists who tend to give extra attention to the packaging of their creations. This single from her beautiful Scarlet's Walk album from 2002 is no exception - echoing the album's mock polaroid cover in its overall design. More about Tori Amos on the linked Wikipedia page.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Purple yellow

A seasonal shot by my Flickr friend Alex V. Fitting because today we plan our own tulip fields shoot. I can only hope to encounter such a beautiful coincidence as he did - that colour combination is stunning indeed! As usual, all rights retained by the creator.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Chinese Rembrandt

A portrait of my wife taken during last year's  Christmas celebrations in Kampen. As part of the two-day festivities, in which the atmosphere of centuries gone by is recreated, she dressed up like this and painted in the window of our gallery. The title is based on remarks from passers-by that I overheard.

Camera: Canon EOS 400D Digital 10 Megapixels, tripod
Exposure: 0.125 sec (1/8)
Aperture: f/5.6
Focal Length: 78 mm
ISO Speed: 1600
Post-processing: Lu Schaper


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Blute nur, du liebes Herz!

Easter Sunday and Bach's St. Matthew's Passion are for me a must-have combination every year. For today's post, I have selected one of the many highlights of this masterpiece, the aria Blute nur, du liebes Herz!, sung by Helen Donath with the Muenchener Bach-Orchester under Karl Richter.


Saturday, April 19, 2014

The mysterious lady

A beautiful poster of a classic 1928 Garbo movie, directed by Fred Niblo. As usual for movies of that time, several quite different movie posters can be found on the web, but this one really stood out for me.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Links [41]

Once more an overview of interesting links on topics related to the blog, that I encountered recently, but that will probably not make the blog as separate entries. The picture above is by my Flickr friend knirps2007.

Sony World Photography Awards 2014.
Kate Bush: Her Career in Pictures.
The Portrait in the 21st Century.
The World's Most Spectacular Organs.
The World's 30 Ugliest Buildings.
Proposed Designs for London's Tower Bridge (1893).
The World's Most Viewed Photograph (XP).

Monday, April 14, 2014

The weight of your love

I have my long-time friend Paul to thank for this one. I had never heard of the Editors (a British band from Birmingham), until his recommendation. Well, the music is indeed excellent, but the cover of their latest album (The weight of your love, from 2013) is great as well. The photography is credited to Charles Emerson.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Electric sunset

Once more one of my attempts at digital art based on my own photographs, created with the free software SuperPhoto that came with my new laptop. This is a shot I took a few years ago near our home (at that time). The local artificial lake had frozen over, rendering a special array of colours when the sun set - enhanced by the software's post-treatment. The link leads to the original photograph.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Jawlensky and Werefkin

Three expressionist masters for the price of one: this relaxed portrait from 1909 by Gabriele Münter (at the time the partner of Kandinsky) depicts her colleagues Marianne von Werefkin and Alexej von Jawlensky. More on Münter in the linked Wikipedia article.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Knoxville: Summer of 1915

As it is my birthday today, I decided to treat myself to one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written: Samuel Barber's Knoxville: Summer of 1915, in the perfect version by soprano Dawn Upshaw and the Orchestra of St. Luke's under David Zinman.


Monday, April 07, 2014

Vogue April 1919

A beautiful Vogue cover from the days before Art Deco. This spring beauty was created by one of its most famous illustrators, Helen Dryden.


Sunday, April 06, 2014


One of the most stunning vintage posters I have come across in recent months. The Swiss branch of Chrysler produced this beauty in the 1930s. The contrast between the natural shape of the car and the stylized contours of the alps, enhanced by the colours chosen, is simply amazing.

Vintage Posters

Friday, April 04, 2014

Paul Wittgenstein: The man with the golden arm

Many classical music lovers will have heard of Paul Wittgenstein (Unknown photographer - BFMI, CC BY 3.0 nl), the man who commissioned such famous works for piano left hand only as Ravel's second piano concerto and Prokofiev's fourth. He had lost his right arm on the Russian front in 1914 - which did not stop him pursuing a career as pianist. The linked article gives a lot of information on this character, who was not always pleasant - for instance, he disallowed others to play pieces he commissioned even if he disliked them so much that he would never play them himself. A famous case is the aforementioned Prokofiev concerto, of which he said: “Thank you for the concerto, but I do not understand a single note in it, and I will not play it.” Recommended reading if you are into classical music.

web site

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Apeldoorn abstraction

Back to doing one of the things I like best in photography: discovering painting-like abstracts at unusual places. In this case, by taking close-ups of the seats of chairs of an Apeldoorn restaurant (first in a series of four). That it became my 60th picture to reach Flickr Explore, the 500 most interesting photographs of the day, is a welcome bonus.

Camera: Canon IXUS 115 HS, 12 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.025 sec (1/80)
Aperture: f/5.0
Focal Length: 5 mm
ISO Speed: 100
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0


Tuesday, April 01, 2014

My obsession with ranking

This post was triggered by discussions in recent months at the Talk Classical forum, about the (in)ability to rank composers. First off, I am a firm believer that there is no such thing as an objective measure for a composer's greatness. At best, one can average a large number of subjective preferences and come to a  result that some might call objective greatness (but I do not). That said, subjectively I can rank composers or compositions in order of preference, and it is a fact that I love doing so. Well, it appears that although I am not alone in this, there are also large numbers of classical music aficionados to whom this whole ranking concept is alien and incomprehensible. This weekend I suddenly realized where my preference for rankings comes from. When I first got really interested in music, it was in pop and rock as broadcast on the Dutch radio in the seventies. Charts played a big role for me at that time, seeing how well (or badly) songs I liked were doing in the top40. Every year there was also a top100 of all time on the radio, as chosen by the listeners. This inspired me to rank my all-time favourite songs many times over the years. And this conditioned behaviour with respect to pop and rock songs is in hindsight almost certainly what is behind my ranking obsession (as others call it) in classical music. Anyway, it does not hurt anyone, so I will continue doing it.