Artistic Memories 29 June: Franzisca Bernadina Wilhelmina Elisabeth Ney

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Franzisca Bernadina Wilhelmina Elisabeth Ney

Franzisca Bernadina Wilhelmina Elisabeth Ney

Artist: Franzisca Bernadina Wilhelmina Elisabeth Ney

Dates: 26 January 1833 – 29 June 1907

Nationality: German

Title of Piece: Sam Houston

 

Sam Houston by Franzisca Bernadina Wilhelmina Elisabeth Ney

Sam Houston by Franzisca Bernadina Wilhelmina Elisabeth Ney

Brief Biography: Ney went on a week-long hunger-strike when her parents opposed her becoming a sculptor. When they relented she became the first female-student in the Munich Academy of Art. Outspoken about the role of women, Ney refused to use her husband’s name, rode astride horses and wore trousers.

Artistic Memories 25 June: Lawrence Alma-Tadema

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Lawrence Alma-Tadema

Lawrence Alma-Tadema

Artist: Lawrence Alma-Tadema

Dates: 8 January 1836 – 25 June 1912

Nationality: Dutch

Title of Piece: Sappho and Alcaeus

 

Sappho and Alcaeus by Lawrence Alma-Tadema

Sappho and Alcaeus by Lawrence Alma-Tadema

Brief Biography: Although Dutch Alma-Tadema had British denizenship. He incorporated his middle name ‘Alma’ into his surname so he appeared at the beginning of exhibition catalogues; by convention it is now hyphenated. Following the death of his wife and the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian war he relocated to London with his small daughters and his sister. Hs work has been linked to the European Symbolist painters with his use classical motifs, unconventional composition devices, and coded imagery.

Classical Memories 21 June: Nikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov

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Nikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov

Nikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov

Composer: Nikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov

Dates: 18 March 1844 – 21 June 1908

Nationality: Russian

Title of Piece: Symphony No.3 in C-major

 

Brief Biography: Rimsky-Korsakov was a composer and a member of The Five. He frequently used fairy tales and folklore as his subjects. Rimsky-Korsakov combined his musical career with a career in the Imperial Russian Navy.

Literary Memories 9 June: Charles John Huffam Dickens

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Charles John Huffam Dickens

Charles John Huffam Dickens

Author: Charles John Huffam Dickens

Dates: 7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870

Nationality: English

Title of Book: Nicholas Nickleby

There once lived, in a sequestered part of the county of Devonshire, one Mr Godfrey Nickleby: a worthy gentleman, who, taking it into his head rather late in life that he must get married, and not being young enough or rich enough to aspire to the hand of a lady of fortune, had wedded an old flame out of mere attachment, who in her turn had taken him for the same reason. Thus two people who cannot afford to play cards for money, sometimes sit down to a quiet game for love.

Some ill-conditioned persons who sneer at the life-matrimonial, may perhaps suggest, in this place, that the good couple would be better likened to two principals in a sparring match, who, when fortune is low and backers scarce, will chivalrously set to, for the mere pleasure of the buffeting; and in one respect indeed this comparison would hold good; for, as the adventurous pair of the Fives’ Court will afterwards send round a hat, and trust to the bounty of the lookers-on for the means of regaling themselves, so Mr Godfrey Nickleby and his partner, the honeymoon being over, looked out wistfully into the world, relying in no inconsiderable degree upon chance for the improvement of their means. Mr Nickleby’s income, at the period of his marriage, fluctuated between sixty and eighty pounds PER ANNUM.

 

Brief Biography: Dickens is regarded as the greatest novelist of the 19th century. As a boy he was forced to leave school and work in a factory when his father was thrown in debtor’s prison and Dickens lacked a formal education. In his novels his keen observational skills and wit enabled him to use his writing to highlight the rights of children, education and many other social issues.

 

Literary Memories 7 June: Edward Morgan Forster

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Edward Morgan Forster

Edward Morgan Forster

Author: Edward Morgan Forster

Dates: 1 January 1879 – 7 June 1970

Nationality: English

Title of Book: Howards End

One may as well begin with Helen’s letters to her sister.

“Howards End,

“Tuesday.

“Dearest Meg,

“It isn’t going to be what we expected. It is old and little, and altogether delightful–red brick. We can scarcely pack in as it is, and the dear knows what will happen when Paul (younger son) arrives to-morrow. From hall you go right or left into dining-room or drawing-room. Hall itself is practically a room. You open another door in it, and there are the stairs going up in a sort of tunnel to the first-floor. Three bed-rooms in a row there, and three attics in a row above. That isn’t all the house really, but it’s all that one notices–nine windows as you look up from the front garden.

“Then there’s a very big wych-elm–to the left as you look up–leaning a little over the house, and standing on the boundary between the garden and meadow. I quite love that tree already. Also ordinary elms, oaks–no nastier than ordinary oaks– pear-trees, apple-trees, and a vine. No silver birches, though. However, I must get on to my host and hostess. I only wanted to show that it isn’t the least what we expected. Why did we settle that their house would be all gables and wiggles, and their garden all gamboge-coloured paths? I believe simply because we associate them with expensive hotels–Mrs. Wilcox trailing in beautiful dresses down long corridors, Mr. Wilcox bullying porters, etc. We females are that unjust.

“I shall be back Saturday; will let you know train later. They are as angry as I am that you did not come too; really Tibby is too tiresome, he starts a new mortal disease every month. How could he have got hay fever in London? and even if he could, it seems hard that you should give up a visit to hear a schoolboy sneeze. Tell him that Charles Wilcox (the son who is here) has hay fever too, but he’s brave, and gets quite cross when we inquire after it. Men like the Wilcoxes would do Tibby a power of good. But you won’t agree, and I’d better change the subject.

“This long letter is because I’m writing before breakfast. Oh, the beautiful vine leaves! The house is covered with a vine. I looked out earlier, and Mrs. Wilcox was already in the garden. She evidently loves it. No wonder she sometimes looks tired. She was watching the large red poppies come out. Then she walked off the lawn to the meadow, whose corner to the right I can just see. Trail, trail, went her long dress over the sopping grass, and she came back with her hands full of the hay that was cut yesterday– I suppose for rabbits or something, as she kept on smelling it. The air here is delicious. Later on I heard the noise of croquet balls, and looked out again, and it was Charles Wilcox practising; they are keen on all games. Presently he started sneezing and had to stop. Then I hear more clicketing, and it is Mr. Wilcox practising, and then, ‘a-tissue, a-tissue': he has to stop too. Then Evie comes out, and does some calisthenic exercises on a machine that is tacked on to a green-gage-tree– they put everything to use–and then she says ‘a-tissue,’ and in she goes. And finally Mrs. Wilcox reappears, trail, trail, still smelling hay and looking at the flowers. I inflict all this on you because once you said that life is sometimes life and sometimes only a drama, and one must learn to distinguish tother from which, and up to now I have always put that down as ‘Meg’s clever nonsense.’ But this morning, it really does seem not life but a play, and it did amuse me enormously to watch the W’s. Now Mrs. Wilcox has come in.

“I am going to wear [omission]. Last night Mrs. Wilcox wore an [omission], and Evie [omission]. So it isn’t exactly a go-as-you-please place, and if you shut your eyes it still seems the wiggly hotel that we expected. Not if you open them. The dog-roses are too sweet. There is a great hedge of them over the lawn–magnificently tall, so that they fall down in garlands, and nice and thin at the bottom, so that you can see ducks through it and a cow. These belong to the farm, which is the only house near us. There goes the breakfast gong. Much love. Modified love to Tibby. Love to Aunt Juley; how good of her to come and keep you company, but what a bore. Burn this. Will write again Thursday.

“HELEN.”

Brief Biography: Forster was a novelist, short-story writer and essayist. Known for his ironic and well-plotted novels Forster reflected humanistic understanding and sympathy amidst the hypocrisy and class difference of early 20th Century British Society.

Parnassian Moments 2 June: Victoria Mary Sackville-West (Vita)

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Victoria Mary Sackville-West (Vita)

Victoria Mary Sackville-West (Vita)

Poet: Victoria Mary Sackville-West (Vita)

Dates: 9 March 1892 – 2 June 1962

Nationality: English

Title of Poem: Mariana In The North

All her youth is gone, her beautiful youth outworn,
Daughter of tarn and tor, the moors that were once her home
No longer know her step on the upland tracks forlorn
Where she was wont to roam.

All her hounds are dead, her beautiful hounds are dead,
That paced beside the hoofs of her high and nimble horse,
Or streaked in lean pursuit of the tawny hare that fled
Out of the yellow gorse.

All her lovers have passed, her beautiful lovers have passed,
The young and eager men that fought for her arrogant hand,
And the only voice which endures to mourn for her at the last
Is the voice of the lonely land.

 

Brief Biography: Vita was an author and poet. She was also well-known for her exuberant lifestyle, a passionate affair with Virginia Woolf and Sissinghurst Castle Garden. Vita married Harold Nicholson in 1913. The marriage was an open one and both Vita and Harold were involved in same-sex relationships.

 

 

Classical Memories 29 May: Mily Alexeyevich Balakirev

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Mily Alexeyevich Balakirev

Mily Alexeyevich Balakirev

Composer: Mily Alexeyevich Balakirev

Dates: 2 January 1837 – 29 May 1910

Nationality: Russian

Title of Piece: Symphonic Poem “Russia”

Brief Biography: As a boy Balakirev lived with Oulibichev, where he wrote the biography of Mozart. Although a composer in his own right Balakirev is better known for bringing together ‘The Five’ or Balakirev Circle of composers consisting of himself, Cui, Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov and Borodin.

Literary Memories 22 May: Victor Marie Hugo

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Victor Marie Hugo

Victor Marie Hugo

Author: Victor Marie Hugo

Dates: 26 February 1802 – 22 May 1885

Nationality: French

Title of Book: Napolean the Little

On Thursday, December 20, 1848, the Constituent Assembly, being in session, surrounded at that moment by an imposing display of troops, heard the report of the Representative Waldeck-Rousseau, read on behalf of the committee which had been appointed to scrutinize the votes in the election of President of the Republic; a report in which general attention had marked this phrase, which embodied its whole idea: “It is the seal of its inviolable authority which the nation, by this admirable application of the fundamental law, itself affixes on the Constitution, to render it sacred and inviolable.” Amid the profound silence of the nine hundred representatives, of whom almost the entire number was assembled, the President of the National Constituent Assembly, Armaud Marrast, rose and said:–

“In the name of the French people,

“Whereas Citizen Charles-Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte, born at Paris, fulfils the conditions of eligibility prescribed by Article 44 of the Constitution;

“Whereas in the ballot cast throughout the extent of the territory of the Republic, for the election of President, he has received an absolute majority of votes;

“By virtue of Articles 47 and 48 of the Constitution, the National Assembly proclaims him President of the Republic from this present day until the second Sunday in May, 1852.”

There was a general movement on all the benches, and in the galleries filled with the public; the President of the Constituent Assembly added:

“According to the terms of the decree, I invite the Citizen President of the Republic to ascend the tribune, and to take the oath.”

The representatives who crowded the right lobby returned to their places and left the passage free. It was about four in the afternoon, it was growing dark, and the immense hall of the Assembly having become involved in gloom, the chandeliers were lowered from the ceiling, and the messengers placed lamps on the tribune. The President made a sign, the door on the right opened, and there was seen to enter the hall, and rapidly ascend the tribune, a man still young, attired in black, having on his breast the badge and riband of the Legion of Honour.

All eyes were turned towards this man. A pallid face, its bony emaciated angles thrown into bold relief by the shaded lamps, a nose large and long, moustaches, a curled lock of hair above a narrow forehead, eyes small and dull, and with a timid and uneasy manner, bearing no resemblance to the Emperor,–this man was Citizen Charles-Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte.

During the murmurs which greeted his entrance, he remained for some instants, his right hand in the breast of his buttoned coat, erect and motionless on the tribune, the pediment of which bore these dates: February 22, 23, 24; and above which were inscribed these three words: Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.

 

Brief Biography: Hugo was a poet, novelist and dramatist of the Romantic Movement. In his youth he was a committed royalist but his views changed dramatically as he got older and his work reflects the political, social and artistic issues of his day. Hugo’s eldest daughter drowned, along with her husband, in 1843 and many of his poems reflect her life and death.

 

Parnassian Moments 21 May: Thomas Warton

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Thomas Warton

Thomas Warton

Poet: Thomas Warton

Dates: 9 January 1728 – 21 May 1790

Nationality: English

Title of Poem: Written at Stonehenge

Thou noblest monument of Albion’s isle!
Whether by Merlin’s aid, from Scythia’s shore,
To Amber’s fatal plain Pendragon bore,
Huge frame of giant-hands, the mighty pile
T’ entomb his Britons slain by Hengist’s guile:
Or Druid priests, sprinkled with human gore,
Taught ‘mid thy massy maze their mystic lore:
Or Danish chiefs, enrich’d with savage spoil,
To Victory’s idol vast, an unhewn shrine,
Rear’d the rude heap: or, in thy hallow’d round,
Repose the kings of Brutus’ genuine line;
Or here those kings in solemn state were crown’d:
Studious to trace thy wondrous origine,
We muse on many an ancient tale renown’d.

 

Brief Biography: At the age of just 17 Warton wrote his most famous poem The Pleasures of Melancholy. He was Poet Laureate of Oxford and then of England as well as Professor of Poetry at Oxford University. Warton preferred to write light verse, odes and sonnets and his sonnets helped a revival of the form as it had fallen out of fashion.

Classical Memories 19 May: Charles Edward Ives

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Charles Edward Ives

Charles Edward Ives

 

Composer: Charles Edward Ives

Dates: 20 October 1874 – 19 May 1954

Nationality: American

Title of Piece: He Is There!

Brief Biography: Ives was a modernist composer. He was one of the first American composers to gain international renown.

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