Wednesday, January 17, 2018


This my own favourite of the four evening shots I took during the yearly local festivity Kerst in Oud Kampen (Christmas in Old Kampen). It is the same light installation as the previous post on this subject, but at a different location in the street. Decent responses on Flickr as well.

Camera: Canon IXUS 170, 20 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.025 sec (1/40)
Aperture: f/5.0
Focal Length: 22.7 mm
ISO Speed: 400
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0

Copyright statement: image created by myself. Copyright Hennie Schaper.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Promises (RIP Dolores O'Riordan)

This one hit me as hard as David Bowie two years ago. Yesterday Dolores O'Riordan, lead singer of the Cranberries, passed away aged only 46. In her memory, the beautiful Promises. Art Rock score: 10/10, one of  200 best songs of all time.

Copyright statement: image screenshot from the video, considered fair use.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Classical music of the past 100 years [1] 1918-1927

Too many listeners of classical music think that over the past 100 years or so, nothing worthwhile has been composed. In this recurring series, I will be posting one composition per year from 1918 until 2017, with every selected composer featuring only once (and not necessarily with their imo best work). I'm aiming for composers who represent the more modern age, skipping many famous names from before 1918 who also composed in this time slot (such as Sibelius and Richard Strauss). Overall I wanted to get a reasonable mix of symphonies, concertos, other orchestral works, chamber music, solo instrumental compositions, and vocal creations, but excluding opera altogether. I have grouped the works per period of ten years, with one post per month for each subsequent decade. Youtube links are not included as they tend to disappear with time - they are easily googled anyway. If you like classical music, but are reluctant to explore the 20th and 21st century works, this series of posts might give you a bit of a nudge to start listening.

1918 Langgaard - Music of the Spheres
1919 Milhaud - Le boeuf sur le toit
1920 Hába - String quartet 2
1921 Varese - Americas
1922 Warlock - The curlew
1923 Honegger - Pacific 231
1924 Respighi - Pines of Rome
1925 Roussel - Serenade for flute, string trio, and harp
1926 Jongen - Symphonie concertante
1927 Mosolov - Iron foundry

A nice mixture to start, with some works you probably know or at least have heard of (the symphonic poems by Honegger and Respighi, the modernist ballet by Milhaud). The others are well worth exploring too. Langgaard's innovative masterpiece is a tour de force, requiring an orchestra, choir, organ, a "distant" orchestra, and a soprano soloist. Hába's string quartet is an early example of his modern microtonal music. Varèse's work adds 11 percussionists and sirens to a typical large romantic orchestra. Warlock's enchanting song cycle with chamber music accompaniment is a personal favourite of mine. The Roussel chamber music piece is typical French elegance. In contrast, the two final pieces will blow you away. Jongen's work for organ and orchestra rivals Saint-Saens' third symphony for the most impressive composition which combines these two elements, and Mosolov's piece is the prime example of Soviet futurist music.

Copyright statement: image in public domain.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Katharine Hepburn by Cecil Beaton

Please click the picture to open the photograph in a new tab (I had to go this roundabout way to avoid copyright issues). It's not often that a photograph makes such an impression on me as this 1934 shot of a 27 years old Katharine Hepburn by Cecil Beaton did: a fabulous piece of photography and a gorgeous actress. I first saw this in the Flapper girl blog (linked).

Copyright statement: statement:image created via the Photofunia site, who explicitly state that their images have no copyright issues. The original photograph included in the image is thumbnail size and therefore considered fair use.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Anagram generator

I've always loved word plays, and anagrams are among the most fun of them. The linked anagram generation site is a great help if you want to see how words or names can have fascinating anagrams. To keep this post at least a little on-topic for this blog (which for this thread has warped into Stars for Karate!), I made an example of 10 classical music composers, whose names anagram into rather unexpected results:

Free Bulgaria! (Gabriel Faure)
Cruelest prophet (Peter Sculthorpe)
Bulldogs urinal (Douglas Lilburn)
Returnable flaws (Walter Braunfels)
Sour Polish (Louis Spohr)
Trouser labels (Albert Roussel)
Recalls nine (Carl Nielsen)
Kraut timeouts (Toru Takemitsu)
Marble abuser (Samuel Barber)
Personal twit (Walter Piston)

Try it yourself - but be warned, it is addictive.

Copyright statement: image in public domain.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Transformation by Edgar Artis

Edgar Artis from Armenia is an illustrator who likes to turn his sketches into 3D art pieces by adding food or office stationary as dresses. Do click the link to see his creations larger.

Copyright statement: mosaic created from 9 thumbnail sized pictures, regarded as fair use.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

The optimist

Anathema is a British rock band from Liverpool, who combine good music with great album covers. Here is their latest effort, from 2017. The photography for the album, presumably including the cover, is credited to Heather Elizabeth and Travis Smith.

Copyright statement: lower resolution images of album covers considered fair use.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The Pont Neuf (New Bridge) at night

Albert Marquet (1875-1947) was a French painter, originally associated with the Fauvist movement. This is one of his later creations from 1935, where the Fauvist influences make a return to his work. He came to my attention by an informative post in the excellent Art Now and Then blog. More about Marquet in the linked Wikipedia entry.

Copyright statement: image in public domain.

Tuesday, January 09, 2018


Dronestagram, a funny pun on the famous Instagram photographs site, is a relatively new web site where some of the best drone shots are collected. An appetizer is displayed above, but do click the link and look at these shots (and more) in detail.

Copyright statement: image constructed from linked site. Al images are thumbnails and considered fair use.

Sunday, January 07, 2018

The time machine

My Flickr friend Ethan (known previously as Cormend) is currently posting a remarkable series of shots taken during his visit of the Angkor temple complex in Cambodia. This is just one of the masterpieces (I faved a handful already). It's really worthwhile to check out the complete series here.

Copyright statement: posted with explicit permission of the creator who retains all rights.

Saturday, January 06, 2018

The roofs of Bern

Another example of digital art made possible with the on-line program at the DeepArt site (blogged here). In this case, I took a photograph of roofs and houses in Bern, and the Pissarro painting Red roofs (link). The result is a nice piece of impressionism. The link leads to the original photograph.

Copyright statement: image created via the DeepArt site from one of my original images. Copyright Hennie Schaper.

Friday, January 05, 2018

Is your thrown-away art still yours?

Last month's question was bizarre (If you buy an artwork, can you legally eat it?), this one is more serious than it sounds. The basic understanding is that what you throw away is no longer yours, but does this also hold for art, complete with signature? Read the link for the interesting case of Rauschenberg's thrown away film negatives which someone picked up and sold as creations by the master.

Copyright statement: image in public domain.

Thursday, January 04, 2018


For me 2017 as a year for my own photography ended with the yearly local festivity Kerst in Oud Kampen (Christmas in Old Kampen). This picture was the first of a series of four handheld evening snapshots I took with my point and shooter in the evening. The light installation in this street made for the best opportunities.

Camera: Canon IXUS 170, 20 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.1 sec (1/10)
Aperture: f/3.6
Focal Length: 4.8 mm
ISO Speed: 800
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0

Copyright statement: image created by myself. Copyright Hennie Schaper.

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Ripped in December

A selected overview of culture stars relevant to my own tastes who passed away this month. It seems that the Grim Reaper had run out of steam as the year end approached. Nevertheless, rest in peace.

Johnny Hallyday (74), French rock singer, France's 'answer to Elvis Presley'. Not a personal favourite, but he was of tremendous importance for French pop/rock. 
Tuija Lindström (67),  Finnish-Swedish photographer, artist and professor of photography. Famous for her Girls at Bull's Pond images.

Copyright statement: image created via the Photofunia site, who explicitly state that their images have no copyright issues.

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Unusual concertos 101-110: From bass viol to florist

The concerto for solo instrument(s) and orchestra is one of the most popular genres in classical music. However, I think 95+ % of all concertos have been composed for piano or violin. Previously I have run a series on concertos for less common instruments in this blog, reaching an amazing number of 100 in the end (all these posts were reset to draft end March). I have been summarizing these in ten posts in the course of last year, each covering ten unusual concertos, keeping the sequences the same as in the past. I've completed this effort last month. Here we have another ten that I've come across since March 2017, bringing the total so far to 110.

[101] Bass viol. One of the trends of 20th (21st) century classical music is to revive old instruments in a concertante setting. A case in point is the bass viol (from the gamba family), for which John Harbison composed a concerto, which I discovered on Youtube. It is played by Fora Baltacigil and the Minnesota Orchestra (conductor not disclosed).

[102] Conductor. A concerto for conductor and orchestra? Yes, according to this link it exists (composed by John Ostwald), even if I can't find a recording, not even on Youtube.

[103] Pedal steel guitar. An instrument best known for its use in American Country music. The Wikipedia entry states: "A concerto for pedal steel guitar and orchestra has been written by Los Angeles composer Michael A. Levine. It was premiered in 2005, in a performance by the Nashville Chamber Orchestra, with Gary Morse as soloist, and Paul Gambill conducting."

[104] Piano trio. The combination of piano, violin and cello is one of the most frequently used in chamber music. Its use as a concertante 'instrument' is very rare - note that for instance Beethoven's Triple concerto for this combination is not really using it as an integral group. I did come across a real concerto, by a famous composer to boot: Bohuslav Martinu. I have it in a version by the Storioni Trio and the Kammerorchester Ingolstadt under Ruben Gazarian, available on an Ars CD.

[105] Setar. This is a Persian instrument that belongs to the lute family. I found a recent contemporary concerto for setar by Kiawasch Saheb-Nassagh on Youtube. It is played by Masoud Shaari and the Nieuw Ensemble under Gary Walker.

[106] Electric piano. I was surprised to see that I missed this in the first one hundred concertos. I do have a concerto for this instrument which was invented in the late 1920s, composed by Roy Harris. It is played by Johana Harris and the Orchestra of the International String Congress under the composer, available on a Citadel CD.

[107] Kantele. This is a Finnish member of the zither family. I came across a concerto for the instrument, composed by Lasse Jalava, on Youtube. It is played by Viola Uotila and the New Lahti orchestra under Janne Saarinen.

[108] Ukulele. A Hawaiian member of the lute family, that has spread around the world without affecting classical music though. Until recently, when Byron Yasui composed a ukulele concerto. I could not find a recording or a Youtube registration, but some information can be found here.

[109] Oboe d'amore. An oversight that this instrument did not feature in the original one hundred posts. It is part of the oboe family, falling in range between the regular oboe and the cor anglais. Many 20th century composers revived its use, most famously Ravel in the Bolero. I have a concerto for oboe d'amore and orchestra, by Walter Ross, played by Michael Sintal and the Slowak Radio Symphony Orchestra under Kirk Trevor on a Ravello CD.

[110] Florist. This is nothing short of hilarious, and real fun to watch. Mark Applebaum's concerto for florist and orchestra pairs the orchestra's sounds with the visual effects of a florist decorating live on stage. In this Youtube video (starting with some interviews) it is performed by James DelPrince and the La Jolla Symphony under Steven Schick.

Copyright statement: image sourced from here, explicitly stated to be in the public domain.


Monday, January 01, 2018

What's going to change in the blog?

Changes in 2018? Not many, I expect. Most of the currently active subjects will continue - the only one I have not decided on yet is Potpourri. I have been toying with many different new subjects on classical music, but not made a decision yet. I'll continue to strive to post every day (which is easier than it sounds because blogger allows pre-posting). Anyway, we'll see.

Copyright statement: image created by Photofunia, based on an image by myself. Copyright Hennie Schaper.

Happy New Year!

I wish everyone a happy and above all healthy 2018! Make it a good one.

Copyright statement: image in public domain.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Pure champagne

It's that time of year... pop open a nice bottle of champagne (like we will do) and toast to a great 2018. The poster was designed by Leonetto Cappiello (1875 – 1942).

Copyright statement: image in public domain.