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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Rembrandt Van Rijn - The Night Watch; Edvard Grieg - Butterfly; Alfred Lord Tennyson - Early Spring

My apologies for getting this post out late - I've had it ready for some time but it completely slipped my mind this week to post it....

This well-known painting by Rembrandt van Rijn is a wonderful display of his ability to portray group action.  He portrays people on four different planes.  A plane is like a row of people with one shown to be behind another.  The two Men in the front, followed by the man in red with the musket and the leg of the boy dashing behind the man in black with the red sash.  Then you have the little girl in yellow behind them, and finally the four men coming down the steps in the background.  Painters use several ways to show us depth and one of these is of course overlapping where the further back item disappears behind the front one, they also dull the colors and contrast as they recede.  Notice that the most contrast is in the two men in front - most light, most dark and clearest colors.  The little girl in yellow is definitely in the bright light, but she has less dark contrast in her shadows.  

Lots of action and fun details to remember in this well-known painting by Rembrandt.

Today's recording is actually played by our composer, Edvard Grieg. It is called Butterfly and that is just what it sounds like!  Following is a quote from the You-tube post featured: Edvard Grieg was much in demand as a soloist in the latter part of his life. His many short works for piano solo, as well as his famous concerto, led to his music being well known and loved across Europe. He left a number of piano rolls, but more importantly in 1903 he recorded a few records for the G&T company in Paris. These show his spirited and fresh approach to performing his own works. His style is flexible, charming, by turns sometimes capricious, but always controlled within the bounds of impeccable taste and musical understanding.

I would also like to recommend the CD "The Stories of Schumann & Grieg in Words and Music".  If you aren't familiar with these Vox Music Master's recordings, they intersperse music by the composer with a narration of the story of his life.   I purchased my copy at Rainbow Resource Center.  It lists here Rainbow Resource Ctr - Grieg CD  $3.95.  It is also available here at Dealoz for under $4 including shipping, either new or used.

Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem, Early Spring, seemed appropriate for this season.  

     Early Spring
Once more the Heavenly Power
Makes all things new,
And domes the red-plow'd hills
With loving blue;
The blackbirds have their wills,
The throstles too.
Opens a door in heaven;
From skies of glass
A Jacob's ladder falls
On greening grass,
And o'er the mountain-walls
Young angels pass.
Before them fleets the shower,
And burst the buds,
And shine the level lands,
And flash the floods;
The stars are from their hands
Flung thro' the woods,
The woods with living airs
How softly fann'd,
Light airs from where the deep,
All down the sand,
Is breathing in his sleep,
Heard by the land.
O, follow, leaping blood,
The season's lure!
O heart, look down and up
Serene, secure,
Warm as the crocus cup,
Like snowdrops, pure!
Past, Future glimpse and fade
Thro' some slight spell,
A gleam from yonder vale,
Some far blue fell,
And sympathies, how frail,
In sound and smell!
Till at thy chuckled note,
Thou twinkling bird,
The fairy fancies range,
And, lightly stirr'd,
Ring little bells of change
From word to word.
For now the Heavenly Power
Makes all things new,
And thaws the cold, and fills
The flower with dew;
The blackbirds have their wills,
The poets too.

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