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.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Albert Bierstadt - Giant Redwood Trees of California, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Le Nozze di Figaro, James Whitcomb Riley - The Raggedy Man

Albert Bierstadt painted this wonderful painting of the California Redwoods.  If you look up close you can see how tiny the people are in contrast with the majestic pines.  I thought the little waterfall and pool were also lovely.  

Giant Redwood Trees of California - Albert Bierstadt -
Giant Redwood Trees of California by Albert Bierstadt

There are a couple more pieces of music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart that I would like to feature before we move on.  One is the overture from the opera The Marriage of Figero called Le Nozze di Figaro.  I hope you enjoy this lovely piece of music. Mozart - Marriage of Figaro - Overture

James Whitcomb Riley was sometimes called the children's poet.  Here are two links to biographical sketches.  The first is also a good source of his wonderful poetry.  
James Whitcomb Riley Com
A Short Biography of America's Children's Poet

Today's poem - The Raggedy Man

O The Raggedy Man! He works fer Pa;
An' he's the goodest man ever you saw!
He comes to our house every day,
An' waters the horses, an' feeds 'em hay;
An' he opens the shed - an' we all ist laugh
When he drives out our little old wobble-ly calf;
An' nen - ef our hired girl says he can -
He milks the cow fer 'Lizabuth Ann. -
Ain't he a' awful good Raggedy Man?
Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!
W'y, the Raggedy Man -he's ist so good,
He splits the kindlin'4 an' chops the wood;
An' nen he spades in our garden, too,
An' does most things 'at boys can't do. -
He clumbed clean up in our big tree
An' shooked a' apple6 down fer me -
An' 'nother 'n' too, fer 'Lizabuth Ann -
An' 'nuther 'n' too, fer The Raggedy Man. -
Ain't he a' awful kind Raggedy Man?
Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!
An' The Raggedy Man one time say he,
Pick' roast' rambos from a' orchurd-tree,
An' et 'em - all ist roast' an hot! -
An' it's so, too! - 'cause a corn-crib got
Afire one time an' all burn' down
On "The Smoot Farm," 'bout four mile from town -
On "The Smoot Farm"! Yes - an' the hired han'
'At worked there nen 'uz The Raggedy Man! -
Ain't he the beatin'est Raggedy Man?
Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!
The Raggedy Man's so good an' kind
He'll be our "horsey," an "haw" an' mind
Ever'thing 'at you make him do -
An' won't run off - 'less you want him to!
I drived him wunst way down our lane
An' he got skeered, when it 'menced to rain,
An' ist rared up an' squealed and run
Purt' nigh away! - an' it's all in fun!
Nene he skeered ag'in at a' old tin can...
Whoa! y' old runaway Raggedy Man!
Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!
An' The Raggedy Man, he knows most rhymes,
An' tells 'em, ef I be good, sometimes:
Knows 'bout Giunts, an' Griffuns, an' Elves,
An' the Squidgicum-Squees 'at swallers the'rselves:
An', rite by the pump in our pasture-lot,
He showed me the hole 'at the Wunks is got,
'At lives 'way deep in the ground, an' can
Turn into me, er 'Lizabeth Ann!
Er Ma, er Pa, er The Raggedy Man!
Ain't he a funny old Raggedy Man?
Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!
An' wunst, when The Raggedy Man come late,
An' pigs ist root' thru the garden-gate,
He 'tend like the pigs 'uz bears an' said,
"Old Bear-shooter'll shoot 'em dead!"
An' race' an' chase' 'em, an' they'd ist run
When he pint his hoe at 'em like it's a gun
An' go "Bang!-Bang!" nen 'tend he stan'
An' load up his gun ag'in! Raggedy Man!
He's an old Bear-Shooter Raggedy Man!
Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!
An' sometimes The Raggedy Man lets on
We're little prince-children, an' old King's gone
To git more money, an' lef' us there -
And Robbers is ist thick ever'where:
An' nen - ef we all won't cry, fer shore -
The Raggedy Man he'll come and "splore
The Castul-Halls," an' steal the "gold" -
An' steal us, too, an' grab an' hold
An' pack us off to his old "Cave"! - An'
Haymow's the "cave" o' The Raggedy Man! -
Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!
The Raggedy Man - one time, when he
Wuz makin' a little bow-'n'-orry fer me,
Says "When you're big like your Pa is,
Air you go' to keep a fine store like his -
An' be a rich merchunt - an' wear fine clothes? -
Er what air you go' to be, goodness knows?"
An' nen he laughed at 'Lizabuth Ann,
An' I says "'M go' to be a nice Raggedy Man!"
I'm ist go' to be a nice Raggedy Man!
Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Albert Bierstadt - The Oregon Trail, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Serenade No. 13 for Strings, James Whitcomb Riley - When the Frost is on the punkin

The Oregon Trail by Albert Bierstadt is another example of his marvelous far-reaching scenes of grand landscapes.  In this painting you also have the human element and a reference to history.  His skies are wonderfully dramatic and colorful but this doesn't diminish his careful attention to portraying realistically the details in the foreground.  This painting was painted in 1869 and is 30 7/8 inches by 49 3/8 inches. It would be fun to see this painting  up close in full size....

The Oregon Trail - Albert Bierstadt -
The Oregon Trail - Albert Bierstadt

Today's featured piece by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is Serenade No. 13 for Strings.  Hear it performed here

Today's poem, When the Frost is on the Punkin, has been on my mind all Fall. It is by James Whitcomb Riley Here it is.  Hope you enjoy it.  Next week we'll do the biographical sketches of our new poet.

You may enjoy this  YouTube video of Kent Risley reciting this poem.

01 - When the Frost is on the Punkin

When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock,
And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin' turkey-cock,
And the clackin' of the guineys, and the cluckin' of the hens,
And the rooster's hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence;
O, it's then's the times a feller is a-feelin' at his best,
With the risin' sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest,
As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes to feed the stock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

They's something kindo' harty-like about the atmusfere
When the heat of summer's over and the coolin' fall is here --
Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossums on the trees,
And the mumble of the hummin'-birds and buzzin' of the bees;
But the air's so appetizin'; and the landscape through the haze
Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days
Is a pictur' that no painter has the colorin' to mock --
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

The husky, rusty russel of the tossels of the corn,
And the raspin' of the tangled leaves, as golden as the morn;
The stubble in the furries -- kindo' lonesome-like, but still
A-preachin' sermons to us of the barns they growed to fill;
The strawsack in the medder, and the reaper in the shed;
The hosses in theyr stalls below -- the clover overhead! --
O, it sets my hart a-clickin' like the tickin' of a clock,
When the frost is on the punkin, and the fodder's in the shock!

Then your apples all is gethered, and the ones a feller keeps
Is poured around the celler-floor in red and yeller heaps;
And your cider-makin's over, and your wimmern-folks is through
With their mince and apple-butter, and theyr souse and saussage, too!
I don't know how to tell it -- but ef sich a thing could be
As the Angles wantin' boardin', and they'd call around on me --
I'd want to 'commodate 'em -- all the whole-indurin' flock --
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Albert Bierstadt - , Wolfgang Amadeaus Mozart - Violin Concerto No. 1 ,

If you haven't had a chance yet to look at the many gorgeous paintings by Albert Bierstadt you can view them on this link -
Here is another fine painting by this skilled artist.  He manages to capture this wave and the light shining through it as well as the rocks, shells and sand of the seashore.  This might be a fun painting to try to copy in watercolor or colored pencil.
Emerald Sea - Albert Bierstadt -

This is the first of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Violin Concertos.  It was written in 1775 when Mozart was only 19.  It has three parts with a slower movement sandwiched between two faster movements. The following is a definition of "concerto" by Wikipedia:  concerto is a musical composition usually composed in three parts or movements, in which (usually) one solo instrument (for instance, a pianoviolincello or flute) is accompanied by an orchestra.
You can listen to Mozart's Concerto No. 1 here

I am reluctant to leave John Greenleaf Whittier and his wonderful poetry but it's time to move on to another poet.  There are many more fine poems he has written - we've barely scratched the surface.  If you would like to continue with this poet here are a couple of links to more of his works. 
Ambleside Online - John Greenleaf Whittier
 Poet's Corner - John Greenleaf Whittier
 Poem Hunter = John Greenleaf Whittier
 A final poem by John Greenleaf Whittier -

              The Barefoot Boy

    BLESSINGS on thee, little man,
    Barefoot boy, with cheek of tan!
    With thy turned-up pantaloons,
    And thy merry whistled tunes;
    With thy red lip, redder still
    Kissed by strawberries on the hill;
    With the sunshine on thy face,
    Through thy torn brim's jaunty grace;
    From my heart I give thee joy,-
    I was once a barefoot boy!
    Prince thou art,- the grown-up man
    Only is republican.
    Let the million-dollared ride!
    Barefoot, trudging at his side,
    Thou hast more than he can buy
    In the reach of ear and eye,-
    Outward sunshine, inward joy:
    Blessings on thee, barefoot boy!
    Oh for boyhood's painless play,
    Sleep that wakes in laughing day,
    Health that mocks the doctor's rules,
    Knowledge never learned of schools,
    Of the wild bee's morning chase,
    Of the wild flower's time and place,
    Flight of fowl and habitude
    Of the tenants of the wood;
    How the tortoise bears his shell,
    How the woodchuck digs his cell,
    And the round mole sinks his well
    How the robin feeds her young,
    How the oriole's nest is hung;
    Where the whitest lilies blow,
    Where the freshest berries grow,
    Where the groundnut trails its vine,
    Where the wood grape's clusters shine;
    Of the black wasp's cunning way,
    Mason of his walls of clay,
    And the architectural plans
    Of gray hornet artisans!-
    For, eschewing books and tasks,
    Nature answers all he asks;
    Hand in hand with her he walks,
    Face to face with her he talks,
    Part and parcel of her joy,-
    Blessings on thee, barefoot boy!
    Oh for boyhood's time of June,
    Crowding years in one brief moon,
    When all things I heard or saw
    Me, their master, waited for.
    I was rich in flowers and trees,
    Humming birds and honeybees;
    For my sport the squirrel played,
    Plied the snouted mole his spade;
    For my taste the blackberry cone
    Purpled over hedge and stone;
    Laughed the brook for my delight
    Through the day and through the night,
    Whispering at the garden wall,
    Talked with me from fall to fall;
    Mine the sand-rimmed pickerel pond,
    Mine the walnut slopes beyond,
    Mine, on bending orchard trees,
    Apples of Hesperides!
    Still, as my horizon grew,
    Larger grew my riches too;
    All the world I saw or knew
    Seemed a complex Chinese toy,
    Fashioned for a barefoot boy!
    Oh for festal dainties spread,
    Like my bowl of milk and bread,-
    Pewter spoon and bowl of wood,
    On the doorstone, gray and rude!
    O're me, like a regal tent,
    Cloudy-ribbed, the sunset bent,
    Purple-curtained, fringed with gold;
    Looped in many a wind-swung fold;
    While for music came the play
    Of the pied frog's orchestra;
    And to light the noisy choir,
    Lit the fly his lamp of fire.
    I was monarch: pomp and joy
    Waited on thebarefoot boy!
    Cheerily, then my little man,
    Live and laugh, as boyhood can!
    Though the flinty slopes be hard,
    Stubble-speared the new-mown sward,
    Every morn shall lead thee through
    Fresh baptisms of the dew;
    Every evening from thy feet
    Shall the cool wind kiss the heat:
    All too soon these feet must hide
    In the prison cells of pride,
    Lose the freedom of the sod,
    Like a colt's for work be shod,
    Made to tread the mills of toi,
    Up and down in ceaseless moil:
    Happy if their track be found
    Never on forbidden ground;
    Happy if they sink not in
    Quick and treacherous sands of sin.
    Ah! that thou shouldst know thy joy
    Ere it passes, barefoot boy!
    John Greenleaf Whittier

Monday, October 29, 2012

Albert Bierstadt - Among the Sierra Nevadas, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Clarinet Concerto in A Major, John Greenleaf Whittier -

This lovely painting by  Albert Bierstad is a beautiful mountain scene.  He is extravagant in his wonderful skies and does a great job of portraying the grandeur of the scene.

Albert Bierstadt - Among the Sierra Nevadas

This week's piece by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is Clarinet Concerto in A Major is a rather sedate piece but beautiful and peaceful.  For more information on the Clarinet and to see a picture of one read here.

A final celebration of Fall as we wait for winter's snows (at least here in the Midwest) with a poem by John Greenleaf Whittier
The Huskers
It was late in mild October, and the long autumnal rain
Had left the summer harvest-fields all green with grass again;
The first sharp frosts had fallen, leaving all the woodlands gay
With the hues of summer's rainbow, or the meadow flowers of May.

Through a thin, dry mist, that morning, the sun rose broad and red,
At first a rayless disk of fire, he brightened as he sped;
Yet, even his noontide glory fell chastened and subdued,
On the cornfields and the orchards, and softly pictured wood.

And all that quiet afternoon, slow sloping to the night,
He wove with golden shuttle the haze with yellow light;
Slanting through the painted beeches, he glorified the hill;
And, beneath it, pond and meadow lay brighter, greener still.

And shouting boys in woodland haunts caught glimpses of that sky,
Flecked by the many-tinted leaves, and laughed, they knew not why;
And school-girls, gay with aster-flowers, beside the meadow brooks,
Mingled the glow of autumn with the sunshine of sweet looks.

From spire and barn looked westerly the patient weathercocks;
But even the birches on the hill stood motionless as rocks.
No sound was in the woodlands, save the squirrel's dropping shell,
And the yellow leaves among the boughs, low rustling as they fell.

The summer grains were harvested; the stubblefields lay dry,
Where June winds rolled, in light and shade, the pale green waves of rye;
But still, on gentle hill-slopes, in valleys fringed with wood,
Ungathered, bleaching in the sun, the heavy corn crop stood.

Bent low, by autumn's wind and rain, through husks that, dry and sere,
Unfolded from their ripened charge, shone out the yellow ear;
Beneath, the turnip lay concealed, in many a verdant fold,
And glistened in the slanting light the pumpkin's sphere of gold.

There wrought the busy harvesters; and many a creaking wain
Bore slowly to the long barn-floor is load of husk and grain;
Till broad and red, as when he rose, the sun sank down, at last,
And like a merry guest's farewell, the day in brightness passed.

And lo! as through the western pines, on meadow, stream, and pond,
Flamed the red radiance of a sky, set all afire beyond,
Slowly o'er the eastern sea-bluffs a milder glory shone,
And the sunset and the moonrise were mingled into one!

As thus into the quiet night the twilight lapsed away,
And deeper in the brightening moon the tranquil shadows lay;
From many a brown old farm-house, and hamlet without name,
Their milking and their home-tasks done, the merry huskers came.

Swung o'er the heaped-up harvest, from pitchforks in the mow,
Shone dimly down the lanterns on the pleasant scene below;
The growing pile of husks behind, the golden ears before,
And laughing eyes and busy hands and brown cheeks glimmering o'er.

Half hidden, in a quiet nook, serene of look and heart,
Talking their old times over, the old men sat apart;
While up and down the unhusked pile, or nestling in its shade,
At hide-and-seek, with laugh and shout, the happy children played.

Urged by the good host's daughter, a maiden young and fair,
Lifting to light her sweet blue eyes and pride of soft brown hair,
The master of the village school, sleek of hair and smooth of tongue,
To the quaint tune of some old psalm, a husking-ballad sung.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Albert Bierstadt-Harbor Scene, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Turkish March, John Greenleaf Whittier - Storm on Lake Asquam

Albert Bierstadt was a Hudson River School painter like Thomas Cole.  His paintings are wonderfully detailed scenes of early America in a realistic style. 

 Two sites with background biographies follow:  Wikipedia - Albert Bierstadt or Albert Bierstadt The second site has many of his paintings that you can view.  

Harbor Scene - Albert Bierstadt -

Our music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart today is a light energetic piano piece called Turkish March.

 Wonderful descriptive words follow in this week's poem by
 John Greenleaf Whittier -

                     Storm on Lake Asquam
A cloud, like that the old-time Hebrew saw
On Carmel prophesying rain, began
To lift itself o'er wooded Cardigan,
Growing and blackening. Suddenly, a flaw

Of chill wind menaced; then a strong blast beat
Down the long valley's murmuring pines, and woke
The noon-dream of the sleeping lake, and broke
Its smooth steel mirror at the mountains' feet.

Thunderous and vast, a fire-veined darkness swept
Over the rough pine-bearded Asquam range;
A wraith of tempest, wonderful and strange,
From peak to peak the cloudy giant stepped.

One moment, as if challenging the storm,
Chocorua's tall, defiant sentinel
Looked from his watch-tower; then the shadow fell,
And the wild rain-drift blotted out his form.

And over all the still unhidden sun,
Weaving its light through slant-blown veils of rain,
Smiled on the trouble, as hope smiles on pain;
And, when the tumult and the strife were done,

With one foot on the lake and one on land,
Framing within his crescent's tinted streak
A far-off picture of the Melvin peak,
Spent broken clouds the rainbow's angel spanned.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Frederic Remington - Small Oaks, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Piano Concerto No. 21 - Andante, John Greenleaf Whittier - Dear Lord and Father of Mankind

A final painting by Frederic Remington this week. Perhaps I was drawn to this painting because our family enjoys camping.  The book I found this painting in said that this painting "reflects the comfortable Adirondack-style camping favored by the artist and his wife."  
Small Oaks - Frederic Remington
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart -

 Mozart - Piano Concerto No. 21 - Andante

Our poem this week by John Greenleaf Whittier is sung as a hymn.
you can hear it here
or print an alternate tune (one I'm more familiar with) here
or download tunes from The Cyber Hymnal here 

            Dear Lord and Father of Mankind
Dear Lord and Father of mankind,
Forgive our foolish ways;
Reclothe us in our rightful mind,
In purer lives Thy service find,
In deeper reverence, praise.

In simple trust like theirs who heard,
Beside the Syrian sea,
The gracious calling of the Lord,
Let us, like them, without a word,
Rise up and follow Thee.

O Sabbath rest by Galilee,
O calm of hills above,
Where Jesus knelt to share with Thee
The silence of eternity,
Interpreted by love!

With that deep hush subduing all
Our words and works that drown
The tender whisper of Thy call,
As noiseless let Thy blessing fall
As fell Thy manna down.

Drop Thy still dews of quietness,
Till all our strivings cease;
Take from our souls the strain and stress,
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of Thy peace.

Breathe through the heats of our desire
Thy coolness and Thy balm;
Let sense be dumb, let flesh retire;
Speak through the earthquake, wind, and fire,
O still, small voice of calm.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Frederic Remington - Radisson and Groseilliers, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, John Greenleaf Whittier - Requirement

I was thinking of moving on from Frederic Remington but I found two more paintings in a library book on Remington and Russell that are quite different from the others we've done and I'd like to feature them this week and next before we move on.  Remington was asked to do an illustrated series on the early explorers of North America.  This is a picture of French voyageurs.  One thing I noticed, even though the canoe is almost horizontal in the picture, the artist manages to make it look like the right side is more distant and the left end is much closer.  He does this by making the right side of the canoe about half the height of the left side.  He also makes more of the contrast between light and dark in the closer end of the canoe and more detail in the Indians in the front (left side).  I've mentioned before Remington's common use of red, yellow and blue and you notice that in this painting.  Artists show water by using reflections - this might be a fun painting to try to copy.  The French explorer stands in the middle of the canoe.  He is dressed quite differently from the Indians.  

Radisson and Groseilliers - Frederic Remington

An energetic piece by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Symphony #40. 
 Mozart - Symphony No. 40 in G minor

John Greenleaf Whittier's poem today has some meaty thoughts clothed in beautiful language.  

We live by Faith; but Faith is not the slave
Of text and legend. Reason's voice and God's,
Nature's and Duty's, never are at odds.
What asks our Father of His children, save
Justice and mercy and humility,
A reasonable service of good deeds,
Pure living, tenderness to human needs,
Reverence and trust, and prayer for light to see
The Master's footprints in our daily ways?
No knotted scourge nor sacrificial knife,
But the calm beauty of an ordered life
Whose very breathing is unworded praise!--
A life that stands as all true lives have stood,
Firm-rooted in the faith that God is Good.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Frederic Remington, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Piano Concerton No. 21 Andante, John Greenleaf Whittier - Trust

Another bronze sculpture by Frederic Remington this week. So many of his works include horses and action - this is no exception. If you are looking for a more of Remington's work check out this site.

The Mountain Man by Frederic Remington

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is well known and much loved in classical music.  I hope you enjoy the next few weeks as we feature his work.  Following are a couple of links to short biographical sketches of his life and information about his life and works.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Wikipedia
The Mozart Project

I hope you will enjoy this peaceful piece by Mozart - Mozart - Piano Concerto No.21 Andante (You can skip the ad after the first bit.)

Another wonderful poem by John Greenleaf Whittier:

The same old baffling questions! O my friend,
I cannot answer them. In vain I send
My soul into the dark, where never burn
The lamps of science, nor the natural light
Of Reason's sun and stars! I cannot learn
Their great and solemn meanings, nor discern
The awful secrets of the eyes which turn
Evermore on us through the day and night
With silent challenge and a dumb demand,
Proffering the riddles of the dread unknown,
Like the calm Sphinxes, with their eyes of stone,
Questioning the centuries from their veils of sand!
I have no answer for myself or thee,
Save that I learned beside my mother's knee;
"All is of God that is, and is to be;
And God is good." Let this suffice us still,
Resting in childlike trust upon His will
Who moves to His great ends unthwarted by the ill.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Frederic Remington - The Bronco Buster, Brahms - Requiem, John Greenleaf Whittier - All's Well

A look at the work of Frederic Remington wouldn't be complete without a look at a couple of his sculptures. The Bronco Buster which he sculpted in 1909 was his most popular work.  It measures 31 1/8" by 13" by 17 1/2".  Remington was a self-taught sculptor and this was his first work cast in bronze. 

The following is a link to a museum article about this bronze statue The Bronco Buster Article

A final work by Johannes Brahms this week, an excerpt from Requiem.  A Requiem is a mass for the souls of the dead.  Brahms Requiem How Lovely is Thy Dwelling Place

John Greenleaf Whittier had an amazing faith and it comes through with powerful spiritual insights like this one.

                  All's Well
The clouds, which rise with thunder, slake
Our thirsty souls with rain;
The blow most dreaded falls to break
From off our limbs a chain;
And wrongs of man to man but make
The love of God more plain.
As through the shadowy lens of even
The eye looks farthest into heaven
On gleams of star and depths of blue
The glaring sunshine never knew!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Frederic Remington - The Old Stage Coach of the Plains, Johannes Brahms - Walz,

Last week's painting by Frederic Remington was also a night scene.  This one is even darker and yet the artist successfully portrays his subject even in the limited light.  Notice that there is very little color and what is there is grayed at night so things have to be shown with dark and light. Your eye goes up, up to the stagecoach with your eye drawn to the lantern and window which are placed in an ideal position for the focus according to the rule of thirds. (see article here).  You feel the lonely ruggedness both by the atmosphere and by the attentiveness of men and animals.  I hope your computer screen shows this painting more clearly than mine especially as this was the largest I could make the image - if not consider finding a book of Remington's works.  A link follows to a short article about this painting here.

Johannes Brahms Waltz has a wonderful happy swing to it.  You can easily count the three beats per measure.  Johannes Brahms - Waltz  

I have enjoyed a few of John Greenleaf Whittier's poems before but when I started looking for poems to post I was amazed by the deep, rich lines of his poetry.  It's hard to choose which ones to share.  The following link will take you to Ambleside Online's listing of his poems Ambleside - John Greenleaf Whittier.  In this long poem celebrating his humble, love relationship with God Whittier rhymes the first and third lines and the second and fourth in each stanza.

The Eternal Goodness
O friends! with whom my feet have trod
The quiet aisles of prayer,
Glad witness to your zeal for God
And love of man I bear.

I trace your lines of argument;
Your logic linked and strong
I weigh as one who dreads dissent,
And fears a doubt as wrong.

But still my human hands are weak
To hold your iron creeds:
Against the words ye bid me speak
My heart within me pleads.

Who fathoms the Eternal Thought?
Who talks of scheme and plan?
The Lord is God! He needeth not
The poor device of man.

I walk with bare, hushed feet the ground
Ye tread with boldness shod;
I dare not fix with mete and bound
The love and power of God.

Ye praise His justice; even such
His pitying love I deem:
Ye seek a king; I fain would touch
The robe that hath no seam.

Ye see the curse which overbroods
A world of pain and loss;
I hear our Lord's beatitudes
And prayer upon the cross.

More than your schoolmen teach, within
Myself, alas! I know:
Too dark ye cannot paint the sin,
Too small the merit show.

I bow my forehead to the dust,
I veil mine eyes for shame,
And urge, in trembling self-distrust,
A prayer without a claim.

I see the wrong that round me lies,
I feel the guilt within;
I hear, with groan and travail-cries,
The world confess its sin.

Yet, in the maddening maze of things,
And tossed by storm and flood,
To one fixed trust my spirit clings;
I know that God is good!

Not mine to look where cherubim
And seraphs may not see,
But nothing can be good in Him
Which evil is in me.

The wrong that pains my soul below
I dare not throne above,
I know not of His hate, -- I know
His goodness and His love.

I dimly guess from blessings known
Of greater out of sight,
And, with the chastened Psalmist, own
His judgments too are right.

I long for household voices gone,
For vanished smiles I long,
But God hath led my dear ones on,
And He can do no wrong.

I know not what the future hath
Of marvel or surprise,
Assured alone that life and death
His mercy underlies.

And if my heart and flesh are weak
To bear an untried pain,
The bruisèd reed He will not break,
But strengthen and sustain.

No offering of my own I have,
Nor works my faith to prove;
I can but give the gifts He gave,
And plead His love for love.

And so beside the Silent Sea
I wait the muffled oar;
No harm from Him can come to me
On ocean or on shore.

I know not where His islands lift
Their fronded palms in air;
I only know I cannot drift
Beyond His love and care.

O brothers! if my faith is vain,
If hopes like these betray,
Pray for me that my feet may gain
The sure and safer way.

And Thou, O Lord! by whom are seen
Thy creatures as they be,
Forgive me if too close I lean
My human heart on Thee!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Frederic Remington

Frederic Remington's painting The Scout: Friends or Enemies? gives a feeling of great expanse.  Notice how the snow in the foreground looks white but is really gray next to the white of the tracks and the snow in the distance is blue.  You can see a camp with lights in the far distance where the scout is gazing.  

A fun and energetic piece  by Johannes Brahms today, Hungarian Dance No. 5 .

A new poet today - John Greenleaf Whittier.  Here are a couple of links to short biographical sketches of his life. 

 John Greenleaf Whittier - Wikipedia
John Greenleaf Whittier - 
John Greenleaf Whittier - Encyclopedia Brittanica  
And a poem by him:  
      The Light That is Felt
A tender child of summers three,
Seeking her little bed at night,
Paused on the dark stair timidly.
"Oh, mother! Take my hand," said she,
"And then the dark will all be light."

We older children grope our way
From dark behind to dark before;
And only when our hands we lay,
Dear Lord, in Thine, the night is day,
And there is darkness nevermore.

Reach downward to the sunless days
Wherein our guides are blind as we,
And faith is small and hope delays;
Take Thou the hands of prayer we raise,
And let us feel the light of Thee!