3 de febrero de 2013

THANKS FOR YOU ALL! for the wishes and support.
Regards, Musikalische Opfer.

23 de febrero de 2012

Happy Birthday - G.F.Händel - February 23 - 1685

"Handel is the greatest composer who ever lived.
I would bare my head and kneel at his grave" L.v. Beethoven (1824)
February 23 - 1685
George Frideric Handel was one of the greatest composers of the late baroque period and, during his lifetime, perhaps the most internationally famous of all musicians. Handel was in Hallé, to a family of no musical distinction. His own musical talent, however, manifested itself so clearly that before his tenth birthday he began to receive, from a local organist, the only formal musical instruction he would ever have. Although his first position, beginning just after his 17th birthday, was as church organist in Hallé, Handel's musical predilections lay elsewhere. Thus, in 1703 he traveled to Hamburg, the operatic center of Germany. Here, in 1704, he composed his own first opera, Almira, which achieved great success the following year. Once again, however, Handel soon felt the urge to move on, and his inclinations led him to Italy, the birthplace of operatic style. He stopped first at Florence in the autumn of 1706. In the spring and summer of 1707 and 1708 he traveled to Rome, enjoying the patronage of both the nobility and the clergy, and in the late spring of 1707 he made an additional short trip to Naples. In Italy Handel composed operas, oratorios, and many small secular cantatas. He ended his Italian sojourn with the spectacular success of his fifth opera, Agrippina (1709), in Venice.
Handel left Italy for a position as court composer and conductor in Hannover, Germany, where he arrived in the spring of 1710. As had been the case in Hallé, however, he did not hold this position for long. By the end of 1710 Handel had left for London, where with Rinaldo (1711), he once again scored an operatic triumph. After returning to Hannover he was granted permission for a second short trip to London, from which, however, he never returned. Handel was forced to face his truancy when in 1714 the elector at Hannover, his former employer, became King George I of England. The reconciliation of these two men may well have occurred, as has often been said, during a royal party on the River Thames in 1715, during which the F Major suite from Handel's Water Music was probably played. Under the patronage of the duke of Chandos, he composed his oratorio Esther and the 11 Chandos Anthems for choir and string orchestra (1717-20). By 1719 Handel had won the support of the king to start the Royal Academy of Music for performances of opera, which presented some of Handel's greatest operas: Radamisto (1720), Giulio Cesare (1724), Tamerlano (1724), and Rodelinda (1725). In 1727 Handel became a naturalized British subject; in 1728 the academy collapsed. He formed a new company the following year. Forced to move to another theater by the Opera of the Nobility, a rival company, in 1734, he continued to produce opera until 1737 when both houses failed. Handel suffered a stroke and retired to Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle) to recuperate.
Throughout his life Handel avoided the rigorous contrapuntal techniques of his compatriot and exact contemporary Johann Sebastian Bach and achieved his effects through the simplest of means, trusting always his own innate musicianship. The music of both composers, however, sums up the age in which they lived. After them, opera took a different path; the favorite baroque genres of chamber and orchestral music, trio sonata and concerto grosso, were largely abandoned, and the development of the symphony orchestra and the pianoforte led into realms uncharted by the baroque masters. Thus, their influence cannot be found in specific examples. Rather, Handel's legacy lies in the dramatic power and lyrical beauty inherent in all his music. His operas move from the rigid use of conventional schemes toward a more flexible and dramatic treatment of recitative, arioso, aria, and chorus. His ability to build large scenes around a single character was further extended in the dramatic scenas of composers such as Wolfgang Mozart and the Italian Gioachino Rossini. Handel's greatest gift to posterity was undoubtedly the creation of the dramatic oratorio genre, partly out of existing operatic traditions and partly by force of his own musical imagination. Without question, the oratorios of both the Austrian composer Franz Joseph Haydn and the German composer Felix Mendelssohn owe a large debt to those of Handel. He was one of the first composers to have a biography written of him (1760), to have centennial celebrations of his birth (1784-86), and to have a complete edition of his music published (40 volumes, 1787-97) – Ludwig van Beethoven cherished his set. Although today, as in the 19th century, Handel is best known for only a few of his works, such as Water Music and Messiah, more and more attempts are being made to bring his other compositions, especially his operas, to the public acquaintance. Handel's rich and unique musical genius deserves to be remembered in the extraordinary fullness of its entirety.

Font: ClassicalNet

18 de febrero de 2012

Leonardo da Vinci and Musical Instruments

A group in New York is set to unveil a musical instrument devised – but never built - by Leonardo da Vinci. Enthusiasts have constructed a "viola organista" that, like a Renaissance one-man band, is designed to be played while walking.
The viola organista has been built from drawings in the Codex Atlanticus, made around 1488. The 1,000-page set of notebooks covers everything from weaponry to plants, and the viola organista is just one of several musical instruments. Also known as a harpsichord-viola, it combines the bowed sound of a viola with a harpsichord. Though pianos did not exist in da Vinci's time, the viola organista offers the same advantage the piano has over the harpsichord – it can play chords.
While the New York demonstration, by the Piffaro Renaissance Band, is billed as a "world premiere", Japanese harpsichord-maker Akio Obuchi has built several instruments using the same da Vinci plans. Whereas Obuchi's "geigenwerks" are more traditional keyboard instruments, powered by a rotating hand-crank, the viola organista's internal motor is hooked up to the musician's striding legs.
In both cases, the player's movements pull a looping bow, similar to the fan-belts in most cars. As buttons on the keyboard are depressed, they press internal strings into the bow – and the appropriate pitch is sounded.

21 de enero de 2012

Homage to Gustav Leonhardt "Great Master" !

30 May 1928 - 16 January 2012
Requiescat in pace!

26 de noviembre de 2011

Homage to Montserrat Figueras

Barcelona, 15 March 1942 - 23 November 2011 ( Catalan Soprano )
Today all of the homages are addressed to Montserrat Figueras.This sublime and angelical voice that she gave us so much knowledge the Early Music. Her work, dedication was a great incentive so that we could know beautiful voice and interpretations in Early Music. We lost a big one interpreter, but God won one of the best sopranos to sing in his choir. Be blessed always.May she rest in peace (Requiescat in pace)!
A homage of Musikalische Opfer.

15 de noviembre de 2011

Battle of Alarcos

Gustave Doré, illustrator
Battle of Alarcos (July 18, 1195),was a battle between an alliance of Almohads led by Abu Yusuf Ya'qub al-Mansur and some Castilian cavalry led by Pedro Fernández de Castro against King Alfonso VIII of Castile.
In 1188 the Almohad caliph Abu Yusuf Ya'qub al-Mansur returned from Africa to defend his European possessions against the Portuguese and Castilians.
In 1190 Yusuf Ya'qub al-Mansur forced an armistice on the Christian kings of Castile and León, after repulsing their attacks on Muslim territories in the Iberian Peninsula. At the expiration of the truce, and having received news that a revolt was underway in North Africa, King Alfonso VIII of Castile decided to attack the region of Seville. A strong host under the archbishop of Toledo Martín López de Pisuerga), which included the military Order of Calatrava, ransacked the province. The governors of al-Andalus petitioned so strongly for help that Yaqub al-Mansur decided to leave his North African capital, Marrakech, and led an expedition against the Christians.
On the first day of June, 1195, he landed at Tarifa. Passing through the province of Seville, the main Almohad army reached Córdoba on June 30, reinforced by the few troops raised by the local governors and by a Christian cavalry contingent under Pedro Fernández de Castro, who held a personal feud against the Castilian king. On July 4 Ya'qub moved out of Córdoba; his army crossed the pass of Muradal (Despeñaperros) and advanced through the plain of Salvatierra. A cavalry detachment of the Order of Calatrava, plus some knights from nearby castles, tried to gather news about the Almohad strength and its heading; they were surrounded by Muslim scouts and almost exterminated, but supplied enough information to seriously alarm the Castilian king.
Alfonso hurriedly gathered his forces at Toledo and marched down to Alarcos (al-Arak, in Arabic), near the Guadiana river, a place which marked the Southern limit of his kingdom and where a fortress was under construction. He was determined to bar the enemy access to the rich Tagus valley, and in his haste he did not wait for the reinforcements the Kings Alfonso IX of León and Sancho of Navarra were sending. When on July 16 the great Almohad host came in view, Alfonso found himself clearly outnumbered, but even so he rashly formed his army next day, offering battle, instead of retreating towards Talavera, which the Leonese troops had already reached, and which was but a few marching days away. Abu Yusuf Ya'qub al-Mansur did not accept battle on this day, preferring to give rest to his forces; but early next day, Wednesday, July 18, the Almohad army formed for battle around a small hill called La Cabeza, two bow-shots from Alarcos.

29 de octubre de 2011

Athanasius Kircher - Musurgia universalis - 1650

The title page is a compendium of philosophical conceptions linked to the theme of the harmony of the universe. Kircher adds acoustical physics and heavenly music to mundane, human and instrumental music. In one of the illustrations in the work, Kircher portrays the universe as an organ.
Athanasius Kircher was a German Jesuit scholar who published around 40 works on a wide variety of subjects including Egyptology, geology, music theory, oriental studies, geology and medicine. Sometimes referred to as "the last Renaissance man" the wide range of Kircher’s interests typifies an era predating the strict boundaries maintained between different disciplines today. In particular, Kircher is noted for being ahead of his time in proposing that the plague was caused by an infectious microorganism and in suggesting effective measures to prevent the spread of the disease.
In his musical encyclopedia Musurgia Universalis (1650) Kircher produced not only one of the most important musical texts of the 17 th century, but a testament to wider philosophies indicative of how the world was understood in his day. Not a musician himself, Kircher held the essentially medieval view that the cosmos was revealed in musical ratios and that musical harmony mirrored God’s harmony. In this approach Kircher drew upon scholasticism of ancients such as Pythagoras albeit in accordance with Catholic orthodoxy. In Musurgia Universalis Kircher’s learning is conveyed with the assistance of a sophisticated utilisation of diagrams, tables, allegorical engravings and other visual material. In Reading’s copy a number of the illustrations have been coloured by a former owner.
In this frontispiece Kircher presents a cosmic scheme embodying Catholic doctrine and revealing his philosophical standpoint. The triangle at the top represents the Trinity. It is surrounded by nine choirs of angels, each choir singing in four parts. Together they are singing a complex canon (or part song) in a total of 36 parts (shown in more detail later in this work). It was thought that through the art of singing in parts (known as polyphony) man had imitated cosmic harmony. Such polyphony manifested the relationships between the six planetary ratios and the six basic intervals in music. In the bottom left hand corner of the page sits Pythagoras, who according to legend discovered the secret of the mathematical basis of harmony after comparing the pitches made by hammers on a blacksmith’s forge (see bottom centre). This same secret was believed to underpin the very workings of the entire Universe.

8 de octubre de 2011

Happy Birthday!! Heinrich Schütz (October 8,1585)

was a German composer and organist, generally regarded as the most important German composer before Johann Sebastian Bach and often considered to be one of the most important composers of the 17th century along with Claudio Monteverdi. He wrote what is thought to be the first German opera, Dafne, performed at Torgau in 1627, of which the music has since been lost. He is commemorated as a musician in the Calendar of Saints of the Lutheran Church on July 28 with Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frideric Handel. He was buried in the Dresden Frauenkirche but his tomb has been destroyed.
Schütz's compositions show the influence of his teacher Gabrieli (displayed most notably with Schütz's use of resplendent polychoral and concertato styles) and of Monteverdi. Additionally, the influence of the Netherlandish composers of the 16th century is prominent in his work. His best known works are in the field of sacred music, ranging from solo voice with instrumental accompaniment to a cappella choral music. Representative works include his three books of Symphoniae sacrae, the Psalms of David (Psalmen Davids), the Sieben Worte Jesu Christi am Kreuz (the Seven Last Words on the Cross) and his three Passion settings.

25 de septiembre de 2011

Happy Birthday! J.P.Rameau - September 25, 1683

Jean-Philippe Rameau, (baptized Sept. 25, 1683, Dijon, France—died Sept. 12, 1764, Paris), French composer of the late Baroque period, best known today for his harpsichord music, operas, and works in other theatrical genres but in his lifetime also famous as a music theorist.
Rameau’s father, Jean, played the organ for 42 years in various churches in Dijon and hoped one day to see his son on a lawyer’s, rather than an organist’s, bench. These hopes were dashed by the boy’s deplorable performance in school. At the age of 17 he is said to have fallen in love with a young widow who laughed at the errors of grammar and spelling in his letters to her. He tried to refine his language, but, to judge by the prolixity of his later theoretical writings, his efforts resulted in no permanent improvement.
To some ears there was, indeed, too much music. Those who had grown up with the operas of Jean-Baptiste Lully were baffled by the complexity of Rameau’s orchestration, the intensity of his accompanied recitatives (speechlike sections), and the rich and often dissonant diversity of his harmonies. Among those at the first performance of Hippolyte was the great Voltaire, who quipped that Rameau “is a man who has the misfortune to know more music than Lully.” But he soon came around to Rameau’s side and wrote for him a fine libretto, Samson, which was banned ostensibly for religious reasons but really because of a cabal against Voltaire; the music was lost. Their later collaboration on two frothy court entertainments is preserved, however: La Princesse de Navarre and Le Temple de la Gloire (both 1745). The former was condensed and revised as Les Fêtes de Ramire (1745) by Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
Rousseau, Jean Le Rond d’Alembert, and other writers associated with Denis Diderot’s Encyclopédie began as ardent Rameau enthusiasts, but, by the mid-1750s, as they warmed more and more to Italian music, they gradually turned against him. Rameau appreciated the new Italian music as much as anyone, but the works he composed in this style, such as the overtures to Les Fêtes de Polymnie (1745) and to his final work, Abaris ou les Boréades (1764), do not bear the mark of individuality.

Font: Encyclopædia Britannica

17 de septiembre de 2011

Hildegard von Bingen 1098 - 17 September 1179 - Hace 832 Años

Visionary, Composer, Writer
Born in Bemersheim (Böckelheim), West Franconia (now Germany), she was the tenth child of a well-to-do family. She'd had visions connected with illness (perhaps migraines) from a young age, and in 1106 her parents sent her to a 400-year-old Benedictine monastery which had only recently added a section for women. They put her under the care of a noblewoman and resident there, Jutta, calling Hildegard the family's "tithe" to God. Jutta, whom Hildegard later referred to as an "unlearned woman," taught Hildegard to read and to write. Jutta became the abbess of the convent, which attracted other young women of noble background. In that time, convents were often places of learning, a welcome home to women who had intellectual gifts. Hildegard, as was true of many other women in convents at the time, learned Latin, read the scriptures, and had access to many other books of religious and philosophical nature. Those who have traced the influence of ideas in her writings find that Hildegard must have read quite extensively. Part of the Benedictine rule required study, and Hildegard clearly availed herself of the opportunities.
When Jutta died in 1136, Hildegard was elected unanimously as the new abbess. Rather than continue as part of a double house -- a monastery with units for men and for women -- Hildegard in 1148 decided to move the convent to Rupertsberg, where it was on its own, not directly under the supervision of a male house. This gave Hildegard considerable freedom as an administrator, and she traveled frequently in Germany and France. She claimed that she was following God's order in making the move, firmly opposing her abbot's opposition. Literally firmly: she assumed a rigid position, lying like a rock, until he gave his permission for the move. The move was completed in 1150.
The Rupertsberg convent grew to as many as 50 women, and became a popular burial site for the wealthy of the area. The women who joined the convent were of wealthy backgrounds, and the convent did not discourage them from maintaining something of their lifestyle. Hildegard of Bingen withstood criticism of this practice, claiming that wearing jewelry to worship God was honoring God, not practicing selfishness. Part of the Benedictine rule is labor, and Hildegard spent early years in nursing, and at Rupertsberg in illustrating ("illuminating") manuscripts. She hid her early visions; only after she was elected abbess did she receive a vision which she said clarified her knowledge of "the psaltery..., the evangelists and the volumes of the Old and New Testament." Still showing much self-doubt, she began to write and to share her visions.
Hildegard of Bingen lived at a time when, within the Benedictine movement, there was stress on the inner experience, personal meditation, an immediate relationship with God, and visions. It was also a time in Germany of striving between papal authority and the authority of the German (Holy Roman) emperor, and by a papal schism.
Hildegard of Bingen, through her many letters, took to task both the German Emperor Frederick Barbarossa and the archbishop of Main. She wrote to such luminaries as King Henry II of England and his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine. She also corresponded with many individuals of low and high estate who wanted her advice or prayers.
Richardis or Ricardis von Stade, one of the convent's nuns who was a personal assistant to Hildegard of Bingen, was a special favorite of Hildegard. Richardis' brother was an archbishop, and he arranged for his sister to head another convent. Hildegard tried to persuade Richardis to stay, and wrote insulting letters to the brother and even wrote to the Pope hoping to stop the move. But Richardis left, and died after she decided to return to Rupertsberg but before she could do so.
A final famous incident happened near the end of Hildegard's life, when she was in her eighties. She allowed a nobleman who had been excommunicated to be buried at the convent, seeing that he had last rites. She claimed she'd received word from God allowing the burial. But her ecclesiastical superiors intervened, and ordered the body exhumed. Hildegard defied the authorities by hiding the grave, and the authorities excommunicated the entire convent community. Most insultingly to Hildegard, the interdict prohibited the community from singing. She complied with the interdict, avoiding singing and communion, but did not comply with the command to exhume the corpse. Hildegard appealed the decision to yet higher church authorities, and finally had the interdict lifted.

10 de septiembre de 2011

"Astrological man" - 1416 Limbourg brothers

Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry - Anatomical Man
This symbolic picture, of a type found in calendars of the late fifteenth century and known as an "anatomical man" ("astrological man" would be a better appellation), exists in no other illuminated manuscript. An extension of the calendar, to which it was added in the form of an inset page, the present example is a remarkable exception explained by Charles V's passionate interest in astrology, shared by his brothers and satisfied by his astrologer, Thomas Pisani, father of the celebrated Christine de Pisan.The miniature claims to show the influence of the zodiacal stars on the human hody. According to the comments inscribed in the corners, humanity can he divided into several different categories.First, temperaments are based on one of the four traditional humors: sanguinous or full-blooded, phlegmatic or lymphatic, choleric or bilious, and melancholic or acrimonious. Man may he further categorized according to his degree of heat or dryness, according to the proportions of masculinity or femininity of his character, and finally, what is more obscure, in relationship to the cardinal points.Combinations of these categories result in four main groupings of the signs of the zodiac: Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius are hot and dry, choleric, masculine, and oriental; Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn are cold and dry, melancholic, feminine, and occidental; Gemini, Aquarius, and Libra are hot and wet, masculine, sanguinous, and meridional; Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces are cold and wet, phlegmatic, feminine, and nordic. Such categories and connections were held dear in the Middle Ages.
Two figures standing back to back illustrate these categories. The frontal figure is slenderer and obviously represents the feminine character, the figure seen from the back and only in part is more vigorous, representing the masculine character. One is blonde, the other dark in contrast. The Limbourgs succeeded in making a graceful image of these figures.
Fernand de Mely has noted that the female figure seems to he inspired from an ancient group of the Three Graces, now in the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Siena. The signs of the zodiac are shown on the figure at the points where they influence the human hody: Aries the ram is at the head, Taurus the bull at the neck, and so on to Pisces at the feet. In an almond-shaped hand around both figures the signs of the zodiac are repeated, a little differently from those in the calendar months but not without grace. Above, just under the inscriptions in the upper corners, are painted the arms of the Duc de Berry, while in the lower corners are the mysterious initials, VE, inexplicably adopted by him.

Dutch Painter

2 de septiembre de 2011

Richard the Lionheart - Coeur de Lion

King of England (1189-1199) and Duke of Aquitaine (1168-1199), Count of Anjou and Duke of Normandy was born in Oxford, England, prototype of the medieval knight and hero of countless romantic legends. Third son of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, after William, Count of Poitiers, who died a child, and Henry the Younger. He was educated mainly by his mother and when she decided to separate himself from Henry II and go live in Poitiers (1170), took him in their company. While the prince received an excellent education, but rather facing the French culture. Ricardo never learned to speak English and little or no importance given to England during his vida.aliou to the king of France, Philip II, against his father. Heir to 11 years, took over the county final (1172) and his mother and brother Henry promoted a rebellion that broke the Aquitaine (1173) against his father, but was defeated and had to undergo to obtain forgiveness (1174) But Eleanor remained incarcerated. In a new revolt against his father (1188), managed to beat him with the help of Philip II Augustus of France. With the death of Henry the Younger (1183), unexpectedly became the successor to the English throne and the Duchy of Normandy, as the eldest surviving sons of the monarch, and heir to the duchy of Normandy and the county of Anjou. After being crowned in Westminster Abbey, began to prepare the expedition to the Holy Land would be the Third Crusade and did not remain long in England. He resigned from the French alliance and began to sell real treasures and public offices in order to finance a fleet and an army, which led to Palestine (1190) Domain liberate Jerusalem from Saladin, sultan of Egypt and Syria. Philip II of France persuaded to join the crusade and also departed to Sicily (1190), where he and Philip involving themselves in local politics, sacking cities along the way and for this reason, it became frowned upon by the Holy Roman Empire . Of the ten years of his reign he spent nine out of England, attending the 3rd Crusade. He earned victories in the crusade as the conquest of Cyprus (1191), but alienated Leopold V, Duke of Austria, while Philip II Augustus encouraged his brother John Landless to revolt against the king, now known as the Lionheart, the which forced him to leave Palestine (1192), after signing with Saladin, a truce of three years that allowed Christians access to holy places. Returning (1192), was taken prisoner by Duke Leopold of Austria, who handed him over to Emperor Henry VI of Germany. After two years in prison in the castle of Dürrenstein on the Danube, was released in exchange for valuable redemption and the promise of allegiance. Crowned for the second time (1194), returned to the mainland to try to recover the territories taken by Philip Augustus, but died from wounds inflicted by an arrow that hit him in the abdomen, at a time that was without armor during the castle siege Chalus, in the French region of Limousin. His body was buried in Fontevraud Abbey, along with Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Leader of the Third Crusade and considered in its day as a hero, his exploits were immortalized by Sir Walter Scott's novel Ivanhoe (1819). Muslims in the Middle East gave him the nickname of Melek-Ric pel, and used that figure to threaten the children who misbehaved.

12 de julio de 2011

Hieronymus Bosch - The Garden of Earthly Delights

Netherlandish master

The Garden of Earthly Delights is a triptych painted by the early Netherlandish master Hieronymus Bosch (c. 1450–1516), housed in the Museo del Prado in Madrid since 1939. Dating from between 1490 and 1510, when Bosch was about 40 or 50 years old, it is his best-known and most ambitious work..It reveals the artist at the height of his powers; in no other painting does he achieve such complexity of meaning or such vivid imagery.
EXTERIOR-When the triptych's wings are closed, the design of the outer panels becomes visible. Rendered in a green–gray grisaille, the outer panels lack colour, probably because most Netherlandish triptych are thus painted, but possibly indicating that the painting reflects a time before the creation of the sun and moon, which were formed, according to Christian theology, to "give light to the earth". It was common for the outer panels of Netherlandish altarpieces to be in grisaille, such that their blandness highlighted the splendid colour inside.The outer panels are generally thought to depict the Creation of the world, showing greenery beginning to clothe the still-pristine Earth. God, wearing a crown similar to a papal tiara (a common convention in Netherlandish painting), is visible as a tiny figure at the upper left. His expression and gestures seem hesitant and morose, according to the art historian Hans Belting, "as though the world he had created was already slipping beyond his control". Bosch shows God as the father sitting with a Bible on his lap, creating the Earth in a passive manner by divine fiat. Above him is inscribed a quote from Psalm 33 reading "Ipse dixit, et facta sunt: ipse mandávit, et creáta sunt"—For he spake and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.The Earth is encapsulated in a transparent sphere recalling the traditional depiction of the created world as a crystal sphere held by God or Christ Refracting light, it hangs suspended in the cosmos, which is shown as an impermeable darkness, whose only other inhabitant is God himself.
INTERIOR-Scholars have proposed that Bosch used the outer panels to establish a Biblical setting for the inner elements of the work, and the exterior image is generally interpreted as set in an earlier time than those in the interior. As with Bosch's Haywain triptych, the inner centerpiece is flanked by heavenly and hellish imagery. The scenes depicted in the triptych are thought to follow a chronological order, flowing from left-to-right they represent respectively, Eden, the garden of earthly delights, and Hell.God appears as the creator of humanity in the left hand wing, while the consequences of his will are implied in the right. However, in contrast to Bosch's two other "true" triptychs, The Last Judgment (around 1500) and The Haywain (after 1510), God is absent from the central panel. Instead, this panel shows humanity acting with free will and engaging in various sexual activities. The right hand panel is believed to show God wreaking vengeance for these sins in a Last Judgment hellscape.
CENTER PANEL-The skyline of the center panel matches exactly with that of the left wing, while the positioning of its two central pools echoes the lake in the earlier panel. The center image depicts the expansive "garden" landscape which gives the triptych its name. The panel shares a common horizon with the left wing, suggesting a temporal and spatial connection between the two scenes. The garden is teeming with male and female nudes, together with a variety of animals, plants and fruit. The setting is not the paradise shown in the left panel, but neither is it based in the terrestrial realm. Fantastic creatures mingle with the real; otherwise ordinary fruits appear engorged to a gigantic size. The figures are engaged in diverse amorous sports and activities, both in couples and in groups.
During the Middle Ages, sexuality and lust were seen as evidence of man's fall from grace, and the most foul of the seven deadly sins. This sin is depicted in the left-hand panel through Adam's gaze towards Eve, and there are many indicators in the center panel to suggest that the panel was created as a warning to the viewer to avoid a life of sinful pleasure. The penalty for such sins is shown in the right panel of the triptych. In the lower right-hand corner, a man is punished for lust as he is beaten by a sow wearing the veil of a nun. The pig is shown forcing the man to sign legal documents.Lust is further symbolised by the gigantic musical instruments and by the choral singers in the left foreground of the panel. Musical instruments often carried erotic connotations in works of art of the period, and lust was referred to in moralising sources as the "music of the flesh". It may also be that Bosch's representation here is a rebuke against traveling minstrels, widely thought of as purveyors of bawdy song and verse.

9 de julio de 2011

Meindert Hobbema - Avenue at Middelharnis

Dutch Painter

Meindert Hobbema, was a landscape painter of the Dutch school. In the exercise of his craft Hobbema was patient beyond all conception. It is doubtful whether any one ever so completely mastered as he did the still life of woods and hedges, or mills and pools. Nor can we believe that he obtained this mastery otherwise than by constantly dwelling in the same neighbourhood, say in Guelders or on the Dutch Westphalian border, where day after day he might study the branching and foliage of trees and underwood embowering cottages and mills, under every variety of light, in every shade of transparency, in all changes produced by the seasons.
The best of Hobbema's dated pictures are those of the years 1663 to 1667. Of the former, several in the galleries of Brussels and St Petersburg. Of several pieces in the National Gallery, including the Avenue at Middelharnis, which some assign to 1689, and the Ruins of Brederode Castle, two are dated 1667.

17 de junio de 2011

Hans Holbein der Jüngere - Portrait of Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam with Renaissance Pilaster, 1523

Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus, known as Erasmus of Rotterdam, was a Dutch Renaissance humanist, Catholic priest, and a theologian. Erasmus was a classical scholar who wrote in a pure Latin style and enjoyed the sobriquet "Prince of the Humanists. He lived through “ the Reformation period”, but while he was critical of the Church, he could not bring himself to join the cause of the Reformers. In relation to clerical abuses in the Church, Erasmus remained committed to reforming the Church from within. Initially Erasmus was sympathetic with the main points in Martin Luther's criticism of the Catholic Church, describing him as "a mighty trumpet of gospel truth" and admitting that, "It is clear that many of the reforms for which Luther calls are urgently needed.” He had great respect for Martin Luther, and Luther always spoke with admiration of Erasmus's superior learning. Luther hoped for his cooperation in a work which seemed only the natural outcome of his own. In their early correspondence, Luther expressed boundless admiration for all Erasmus had done in the cause of a sound and reasonable Christianity and urged him to join the Lutheran party. Erasmus declined to commit himself, arguing that to do so would endanger his position as a leader in the movement for pure scholarship which he regarded as his purpose in life. Only as an independent scholar could he hope to influence the reform of religion. When Erasmus hesitated to support him, the straightforward Luther felt angered that Erasmus was avoiding the responsibility due either to cowardice or a lack of purpose. However, any hesitancy on the part of Erasmus stemmed, not from lack of courage or conviction, but rather from a concern over the mounting disorder and violence of the reform movement.

Works: In Praise of Folly, Adagia, Copia: Foundations of the Abundant Style ,The Praise of Folly,The first tome or volume of the Paraphrase of Erasmus vpon the newe testamente ,A playne and godly Exposytion or Declaration of the Commune Crede, A handbook on manners for children, The Education of a Christian Prince (1516), De recta Latini Graecique Sermonis Pronunciatione (1528)

German Painter

9 de octubre de 2010

Happy Birthday Heinrich Schütz!! 9-10-1585

Heinrich Schütz was a German composer and organist, generally regarded as the most important German composer before J.S. Bach and is often considered to be one of the most important composers of the 17th century along with Claudio Monteverdi. He wrote what is thought to be the first German opera, Dafne, performed at Torgau in 1627; however, the music has since been lost.

Heinrich Schütz's compositions show the influence of his two main teachers, Gabrieli (displayed most notably with Schütz's use of resplendent polychoral and concertato styles) and Monteverdi. Additionally, the influence of the Netherlandish composers of the 16th century is also prominent in his work. His best known works are in the field of sacred music, ranging from solo voice with instrumental accompaniment to a cappella choral music. Representative works include his three books of Symphoniae sacrae, the Psalms of David, the Sieben Worte Jesu Christi am Kreuz (the Seven Last Words on the Cross) and his three Passion settings. Schütz's music, while starting off in the most progressive styles early in his career, eventually grows into a style that is simple and almost austere, culminating with his late Passion settings. Practical considerations were certainly responsible for part of this change: the Thirty Years' War had devastated the musical infrastructure of Germany, and it was no longer practical or even possible to put on the gigantic works in the Venetian style which marked his earlier period.

22 de agosto de 2010

Memory of Thomas Becket

Thomas Becket (1118 – 29 December 1170), was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1162 until his murder in 1170. He is venerated as a saint and martyr by both the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion. He engaged in conflict withHenry II of England over the rights and privileges of the Church and was assassinated by followers of the king in Canterbury Cathedral. Soon after the death of Thomas Becket, Pope Alexander canonised him and the murdered priest was elevated to sainthood. He achieved his final position of power as the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1162, several months after the death of Theobald. Henry intended to further his influence by directing the actions of Thomas, his loyal appointee, and diminish the independence and influence of the Church in England. The famous transformation of Becket into an ascetic occurred at this time. A rift grew between Henry and Thomas as the new Archbishop dropped his Chancellorship and consolidated the landed revenues of Canterbury under his control. So began a series of legal conflicts, such as the jurisdiction of secular courts over English clergymen, which accelerated antipathy between the two great offices. Attempts by King Henry to foment the opinion and influence of the other bishops against Thomas began in Westminster in October 1163, where the King sought approval of stated royal privileges. This led to Clarendon, where Thomas was officially asked to sign off on the King’s rights or face political repercussions.
Canterbury, because of its religious history, had always seen a large number of pilgrims. However, after the death of Thomas Becket, the number of pilgrims visiting the city grew rapidly.

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Murder of Thomas Becket

The Canterbury Tales

The Canterbury Tales is a collection of stories written in Middle English by Geoffrey Chaucer at the end of the 14th century. The tales (mostly in verse, although some are in prose) are told as part of a story-telling contest by a group of pilgrims as they travel together on a journey from Southwark to the shrine of Saint Thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral. In a long list of works, including "Troilus and Criseyde", "House of Fame", "Parliament of Fowls", the Canterbury Tales was Chaucer's magnum opus. He uses the tales and the descriptions of the characters to paint an ironic and critical portrait of English society at the time, and particularly of the Church. Structurally, the collection bears the influence of The Decameron, which Chaucer is said to have come across during his first diplomatic mission to Italy in 1372. However, Chaucer peoples his tales with 'sondry folk' rather than Boccaccio's fleeing nobles.