Introduction and Welcome

Welcome to All Things Bright and Beautiful. If you are new to this site, I would recommend that you read my very first entry - which is an introduction and welcome to this blog. You can view it here

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Mary Cassatt - Sara Holding a Cat, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Divertimento No. 17 in D Major, James Whitcomb Riley - The Pixy People

Mary Cassatt was an impressionist painter - her paintings are made with little dabs of paint.  I really like the soft gentle colors in this painting.  This might be a fun painting to try to copy. 
Sara Holding a Cat

 We've been enjoying music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart for quite a few weeks, but I am reluctant to cut our time with this composer short - there are so many wonderful pieces to feature.  So one final piece by Mozart - Divertimento No. 17 in D Major.  You can also use the following link to listen to the Best of Mozart.  The first part is here and is about 2 hours long.  There are three more parts there if you want to pursue them.  The Best of Mozart.

James Whitcomb Riley's poem today is full of grand imagination -

  The Pixy People
It was just a very
Merry fairy dream!
All the woods were airy
With the gloom and gleam;

Crickets in the clover
Clattered clear and strong,
And the bees droned over
Their old honey-song.

In the mossy passes,
Saucy grasshoppers
Leapt about the grasses
And the thistle-burrs;

And the whispered chuckle
Of the katydid
Shook the honeysuckle
Blossoms where he hid.

Through the breezy mazes
Of the lazy June,
Drowsy with the hazes
Of the dreamy noon,

Little Pixy-people
Winged above the walk,
Pouring from the steeple
Of a mullein-stalk.

One-a gallant fellow
Evidently King,
Wore a plume of yellow
In a jewelled ring

On a pansy bonnet,
Gold and white and blue,
With the dew still on it,
And the fragrance, too.

One-a dainty lady,
Evidently Queen
Wore a gown of shady
Moonshine and green,

With a lace of gleaming
Starlight that sent
All the dewdrops dreaming
Everywhere she went.

One wore a waistcoat
Of roseleaves, out and in,
And one wore a faced-coat
Of tiger-lily-skin;

And one wore a neat coat
Of palest galingale';
And one a tiny street-coat,
And one a swallow-tail.

And Ho! sang the King of them,
And Hey! sang the Queen;
And round and round the ring of them
Went dancing o'er the green;

And Hey! sang the Queen of them,
And Ho! sang the King
And all that I had seen of them
-Wasn't anything!

It was just a very
Merry fairy dream!
All the woods were airy
With the gloom and gleam;

Crickets in the clover
Clattered clear and strong,
And the bees droned over
Their old honey-song!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Mary Cassatt - Breakfast in Bed, Mozart - Concerto for Flue and Harp in C Major, James Whitcomb Riley - A Country Pathway

Our new artist this week is Mary Cassatt.  She is an impressionist painter well known for her paintings depicting mothers with their children.
Two links to short biographical sketches follow
Mary Cassatt The Complete Works
Mary Cassatt - Wikipedia

Today's painting is "Breakfast in Bed". I like the warm skin tones of mother and daughter against the cool soft blues of the bedding.  The diagonal lines formed by the little girl's legs and mother's arms then crossed by another diagonal created the little girls arm leading up to and continued in the mother's face gives this otherwise placid picture its action and drama. 
Breakfast in Bed - Mary Cassatt -
Breakfast in Bed by Mary Cassatt

I found a lovely piece of music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart this morning - Concerto for Flute and Harp in C Major.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I am.  Mozart - Flute and Harp

Today's poem by James Whitcomb Riley isn't in quite the same style as the ones we've read so far, but it is filled with beautiful and moving imagery and wording.

A Country Pathway

I come upon it suddenly, alone--
A little pathway winding in the weeds
That fringe the roadside; and with dreams my own,
I wander as it leads.

Full wistfully along the slender way,
Through summer tan of freckled shade and shine,
I take the path that leads me as it may--
Its every choice is mine.

A chipmunk, or a sudden-whirring quail,
Is startled by my step as on I fare--
A garter-snake across the dusty trail
Glances and--is not there.

Above the arching jimson-weeds flare twos
And twos of sallow-yellow butterflies,
Like blooms of lorn primroses blowing loose
When autumn winds arise.

The trail dips--dwindles--broadens then, and lifts
Itself astride a cross-road dubiously,
And, from the fennel marge beyond it, drifts
Still onward, beckoning me.

And though it needs must lure me mile on mile
Out of the public highway, still I go,
My thoughts, far in advance in Indian file,
Allure me even so.

Why, I am as a long-lost boy that went
At dusk to bring the cattle to the bars,
And was not found again, though Heaven lent
His mother all the stars

With which to seek him through that awful night
O years of nights as vain!--Stars never rise
But well might miss their glitter in the light
Of tears in mother-eyes!

So--on, with quickened breaths, I follow still--
My avant-courier must be obeyed!
Thus am I led, and thus the path, at will,
Invites me to invade

A meadow's precincts, where my daring guide
Clambers the steps of an old-fashioned stile,
And stumbles down again, the other side,
To gambol there a while.

In pranks of hide-and-seek, as on ahead
I see it running, while the clover-stalks
Shake rosy fists at me, as though they said--
'You dog our country walks

'And mutilate us with your walking-stick!--
We will not suffer tamely what you do,
And warn you at your peril,--for we'll sick
Our bumblebees on you!'

But I smile back, in airy nonchalance,--
The more determined on my wayward quest,
As some bright memory a moment dawns
A morning in my breast--

Sending a thrill that hurries me along
In faulty similes of childish skips,
Enthused with lithe contortions of a song
Performing on my lips.

In wild meanderings o'er pasture wealth--
Erratic wanderings through dead'ning lands,
Where sly old brambles, plucking me by stealth,
Put berries in my hands:

Or the path climbs a boulder--wades a slough--
Or, rollicking through buttercups and flags,
Goes gaily dancing o'er a deep bayou
On old tree-trunks and snags:

Or, at the creek, leads o'er a limpid pool
Upon a bridge the stream itself has made,
With some Spring-freshet for the mighty tool
That its foundation laid.

I pause a moment here to bend and muse,
With dreamy eyes, on my reflection, where
A boat-backed bug drifts on a helpless cruise,
Or wildly oars the air,

As, dimly seen, the pirate of the brook--
The pike, whose jaunty hulk denotes his speed--
Swings pivoting about, with wary look
Of low and cunning greed.

Till, filled with other thought, I turn again
To where the pathway enters in a realm
Of lordly woodland, under sovereign reign
Of towering oak and elm.

A puritanic quiet here reviles
The almost whispered warble from the hedge,
And takes a locust's rasping voice and files
The silence to an edge.

In such a solitude my somber way
Strays like a misanthrope within a gloom
Of his own shadows--till the perfect day
Bursts into sudden bloom,

And crowns a long, declining stretch of space,
Where King Corn's armies lie with flags unfurled,
And where the valley's dint in Nature's face
Dimples a smiling world.

And lo! through mists that may not be dispelled,
I see an old farm homestead, as in dreams,
Where, like a gem in costly setting held,
The old log cabin gleams.

. . . . . . .

O darling Pathway! lead me bravely on
Adown your valley-way, and run before
Among the roses crowding up the lawn
And thronging at the door,--

And carry up the echo there that shall
Arouse the drowsy dog, that he may bay
The household out to greet the prodigal
That wanders home to-day.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Albert Bierstadt - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Symphony No. 41 Jupiter in C Major, James Whitcomb Riley - The Bumblebee

A final painting by Albert Bierstadt though there are many more wonderful paintings of his you can enjoy at the following link: 
Albert Bierstadt  I chose this one because it has lots of things for young students to notice and remember.
The Golden Gate - Albert Bierstadt -

Today's piece of music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is Symphony No. 41 "Jupiter" in C Major.  I hope you enjoy watching the orchestra play it while you listen. Mozart Symphony No. 41 Jupiter

I found a couple of links on Youtube to the best of Mozart if you want to listen to more of his music the links follow.  They are about 2 hours each:
 The Best of Mozart Part 1
The Best of Mozart Part 2 

James Whitcomb Riley has a unique and characteristic style.  Today's poem is a fun nature poem with a twist of humor.  You can read Wikipedia's entry about James Whitcomb Riley here or a piece written in remembrance of him by a niece here or check out this site James Whitcomb

 The Bumblebee
You better not fool with a Bumblebee! --
Ef you don't think they can sting -- you'll see!
They're lazy to look at, an' kind o' go
Buzzin' an' bummin' aroun' so slow,
An' ac' so slouchy an' all fagged out,
Danglin' their legs as they drone about
The hollyhawks 'at they can't climb in
'Ithout ist a-tumble-un out ag'in!
Wunst I watched one climb clean 'way
In a jimson-blossom, I did, one day, --
An' I ist grabbed it -- an' nen let go --
An' "Ooh-ooh! Honey! I told ye so!"
Says The Raggedy Man; an' he ist run
An' pullt out the stinger, an' don't laugh none,
An' says: "They has be'n folks, I guess,
'At thought I wuz predjudust, more er less, --
Yit I still muntain 'at a Bumblebee
Wears out his welcome too quick fer me!"

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Celebrating the Birth of Christ

I'd like to take a break from our usual progression of featured artist, composer and poet to focus on art music and poetry for the holiday season.  This is only a brief sampling of all the beautiful things there are to enjoy.  May your celebration of the birth of Christ be meaningful and joyous.
Adoration of the Shepherds - van Honthorst
The following link will bring you to Google Images for the Adoration of the Shepherds Google Images - Adoration of the Shepherds There are many famous paintings of the birth of Christ.  You might also look on Google Images for "Birth of Christ" or "Adoration of the Magi".

A Reading of the Christmas Story from the book of Matthew here

Handel's Messiah - For Unto Us A Son is Born Choir and Orchestra here.  If you have lots of time you may want to listen to Handel's Messiah performed in its entirety - here.

Bach's Christmas Oratorio is here.  It isn't in English but it has English subtitles for the words.

Following are some favorite Christmas songs you might also enjoy.
   Silent Night
   Mendelssohn: Hark the Herald Angels Sing
   Classical Christmas Medley
   It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
   Away in a Manger

Two poems we have featured in the past at Christmas time by my favorite poet Amy Carmichael follow:

When the morning stars sang together, and all
The sons of God shouted for joy,
He was there--who was laid in a manger made
For little calves of the stall:
  The King, the King of Eternity,
  Laid His glory by for thee and for me.

Who hung the round world upon nothing--He lay
A babe on His mother's lap.
Who made of the clouds swaddling bands for the sea,
Her gentle hands did Him wrap:
  The king, the King of Eternity,
  Laid His glory by for thee and for me.

Oh, well may we love our kingly Lord,
Oh, well may we love our King
Who for love of us all became weak and small
As any baby thing.
  The King, the King of Eternity,
  Laid His glory by for thee 


Once a star rose in the sky,
Silver star of mystery,
But the wise men, pondering, knew
What it said that they must do.

So, in that first Christmastide,
On their camels they did ride--
Rode to far Jerusalem,
Rode to farther Bethlehem;

Found the little, precious child,
On the ground before Him piled
Gold and frankincense and myrrh;
Hailed Him Royal Conqueror.

Once again, led by a Star.
Do we come from near and far,
Drawn by Love's beloved cords,
Hail our Savior, Lord of lords.

And as holy Seraphim
Veil their faces, worship Him,
Pray we now this Christmas grace--
Reverence as we seek His Face.

 and a beautiful poem by Christina Rosetti

A Christmas Carol

by Christina Rossetti

In the bleak mid-winter
   Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
   Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
   Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter 
   Long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him
   Nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away
   When He comes to reign:
In the bleak midwinter
   A stable-place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty
   Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim
   Worship night and day,
A breastful of milk
   And a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels
   Fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel
   Which adore.

Angels and archangels
   May have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim
   Thronged the air;
But only His mother
   In her maiden bliss
Worshipped the Beloved
   With a kiss.

What can I give Him,
   Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
   I would bring a lamb,
If I were a Wise Man
   I would do my part,—
Yet what I can I give Him,
   Give my heart.