Archive for the 'culture' Category

Nearly Wordless Wednesday: Ballet Shorts

Storytime: The Jolly Witch

Year: 1990
Author: Dick King-Smith
Illustrator: Frank Rodgers

Mrs Jolly was the school caretaker. She had a short nose and two, comfy round chins and curly brown hair, going grey.

Mrs Jolly had a ginger cat. Mrs Jolly was friendly, nice and cuddly.

But there was something the headmistress didn’t know. Or the other teachers. Or the children.

In the Autumn term when Mrs Jolly swept the playground clear of leaves with a broomstick, even then, nobody guessed that she was… a witch!

At the end of school each day when everyone had gone home, Mrs Jolly, the caretaker became Mrs Jolly, the witch.

This was the time when she used her magic powers, though she looked just the same. Friendly and cuddly.

Buy to find out more!

Music Monday: March roundup

I don’t think we’ve ever seen a tie before on this chart, but numbers do have a sense of humour. Extra videos around!

1. HIM (146)
2. Evanescence (129)
3. Diary of Dreams (116)
3. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds (116)

The Cult of the Maestro

After Wagner took conducting to new heights, baton waving was accompanied by tantrums, assaults and bitter rivalry. Michael Tanner discovers why some time keepers turned into dictators.

Conducting, now the most glamorous of all musical occupations, only got going in the form we now know it comparatively recently. All that most people have heard about its early history is that the French composer of opera ballets Jean Baptiste Lully (1632-87) died from gangrene after accidentally stabbing his foot with the cane that he was using to keep time with. More recent stars of the podium, such as Klemperer and Solti, have sustained injuries from emphatic gesturing within a confined space, but no more mortalities have been recorded; in some cases I wish they had.

In fact, until the middle of the nineteenth century the function of the conductor was to keep the players in the orchestra together, and if he could, he would conduct from the keyboard, or the first violin would give the lead. The whole notion of the conductor as a person collaborating with the composer to recreate a work originated with Wagner. While he was in charge of musical life in Dresden, during the 1840s, he raised the standards of orchestral playing to previously undreamt of heights. More importantly, he began to develop the concept of the inspired interpretation of a work, which, as a great composer himself, he was in a unique position to do. With Beethoven as his idol, he set to work on performing the nine symphonies in such a way that they could be felt to embody a whole view of life. The climax of this activity was a performance of the Ninth Symphony on Palm Sunday 1846. previously judged as unplayable and lunatic, it became a symbol of creative endeavour mixed with hope and joy. As an artistic struggle to achieve a masterpiece it reflected and served as an incentive for suffering humanity to achieve its potential.

Continue reading ‘The Cult of the Maestro’

Storytime: Duncan’s Tree House

Year: 1992
Author: Amanda Vesey
Illustrator: Amanda Vesey

On his birthday, Duncan’s parents gave him a tree house.

Duncan’s father was a builder. He had made the tree house in his workshop and he had fixed it to the tree the night before Duncan’s birthday, when Duncan was asleep.

It was a complete surprise to Duncan.

Inside the tree house was a camp bed and a rug and a table and a chair and a shelf with cups and plates on it. There was a bookcase and a tin box for keeping things in. The window had real glass in it, and opened and shut.

Duncan leaned out of the window and waved to his parents in the garden below.

‘Thank you!’ yelled Duncan.

Buy to find out more!


Month at a Glance

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