(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘Mozart

“All musicians are subconsciously mathematicians”*…

 

Physicist and saxophonist Stephon Alexander has argued in his many public lectures and his book The Jazz of Physics that Albert Einstein and John Coltrane had quite a lot in common. Alexander in particular draws our attention to the so-called “Coltrane circle,” which resembles what any musician will recognize as the “Circle of Fifths,” but incorporates Coltrane’s own innovations. Coltrane gave the drawing to saxophonist and professor Yusef Lateef in 1967, who included it in his seminal text, Repository of Scales and Melodic Patterns. Where Lateef, as he writes in his autobiography, sees Coltrane’s music as a “spiritual journey” that “embraced the concerns of a rich tradition of autophysiopsychic music,” Alexander sees “the same geometric principle that motivated Einstein’s” quantum theory…

Explore the connection at “John Coltrane Draws a Picture Illustrating the Mathematics of Music.”

* Thelonious Monk

###

As we square the circle, we might recall that it was on this date in 1786, at the Burgtheater in Vienna, that Mozart’s glorious Le nozze di Figaro The Marriage of Figaro— premiered.  Based on a stage comedy by Pierre Beaumarchais, La folle journée, ou le Mariage de Figaro (“The Mad Day, or The Marriage of Figaro”), which was first performed two years early, Mozart’s comedic masterpiece has become a staple of opera repertoire, appearing consistently among the top ten in the Operabase list of most frequently performed operas.

Early 19th-century engraving depicting Count Almaviva and Susanna in act 3

source

 

“From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere”*…

 

From Sean Tejaratchi, creator of the zine Crap Hound

More– oh, so much more– at LiarTownUSA.

* Dr. Seuss

###

As we revel in the ridiculous, we might pour a cup of birthday tea for English mathematician, logician, photographer, and Anglican cleric, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson– better known as the author Lewis Carroll– born on this date in 1832.

“There is no use in trying,” said Alice; “one can’t believe impossible things.”

“I dare say you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

Alice in Wonderland (nee “Alice’s Adventures Underground,” then “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”)

Source

And we might might spare a sympathetic thought for Dante Alighieri, who was exiled from Florence on this date in 1302… sympathetic– and grateful– as it was on his subsequent wanderings that he wrote The Divine Comedy

Dante, as painted by Giotto on the wall of the Bargello in Florence; the oldest surviving portrait of the poet, from before his exile

Source

Happy Mozart’s Birthday!

Written by LW

January 27, 2017 at 1:01 am

“Everything we do is Music”*…

 

It was… difficult to put a modern day figure on [the earnings of] the likes of Mozart, Beethoven and Wagner… for a few reasons. For a start, a lot of the musicians we took a look at were paid in long dead currencies such as thalers, ducats and florins – then there’s the fact that composers were also more likely to have made supplemental income from compositions and tutoring. Nevertheless, even with the usual caveats (there are admittedly a few problems with comparing 18th century incomes with 21st century incomes) we still thought you’d want to know if you’re out-earning the musical superstars of their day. So without further ado, why not take a look at the modern day salaries of famous composers…

Play the pay scales at “Do you Make More Money than Mozart?

[via Slipped Disc, thanks to friend MK]

* John Cage

###

As we struggle to keep up with the Johanns, we might spare a thought for (the moderately-remunerated) Joseph Haydn; he died on this date in 1809.  An accomplished composer who was, effectively, the architect of the Classical style, Haydn wrote 106 symphonies, and was instrumental in the development of chamber music. His influence on later composers was immense: he mentored Mozart and taught Beethoven; his contributions to musical form have earned him the epithets “Father of the Symphony” and “Father of the String Quartet.”

Thomas Hardy‘s portrait of Haydn

source

 

Written by LW

May 31, 2016 at 1:01 am

“The greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places”*…

 

Colon, Michigan (the name comes from a pair of nearby lakes shaped like the punctuation mark), a sleepy, one-streetlight town somewhere between Detroit and Chicago proudly bills itself as “The Magic Capital of the World.”  It’s home to around 1,000 residents and holds at least 30 dead magicians [including native son Harry Blackstone, Sr. –The Great Blackstone] in its single small graveyard. The Colon High School mascot is a giant bunny rabbit. Though it lacks the soaring Gothic cathedrals of Hogwarts, it just might be the most magical place in the United States.

For the past 80 years, Colon has hosted Abbott’s Magic Get Together, an annual gathering of several hundred magicians from all over the world who convene for a week of shows, lectures, and trick-jamming. At night, tipsy magicians mingle in bars and restaurants along Colon’s single block of downtown, practicing their craft on passersby. The Get Together is less a conference and more a “family reunion”…

But like any good family reunion, the Get Together has its share of drama. Infighting over the town’s magical heritage has made it harder for aging magicians to cooperate in attracting new members to their community. And modern, everyday technology — not to mention the proliferation of the internet — has made it harder for magic to seem… well, magical.

Still, when you throw hundreds of born-and-bred entertainers into this mecca of illusions, you’re bound to get a party…

email readers click here for video

Prepare to be amazed by the story at “Welcome to Colon, Magic Capital of the World.”

* “And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” – Roald Dahl, The Minpins

###

As we take one card from the deck, remember it, then slip it back in, we might recall that it was on this date in 1791 that Mozart’s last– and arguably most glorious– opera, The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflöte, K. 620), premiered in Vienna.  Mozart conducted the opening, though he’d fallen ill only weeks before in Prague; he died 10 weeks later.

Hear the overture here.

 

Librettist Emanuel Schikaneder, shown performing in the role of Papageno.

source

Playbill from opening night

source

 

Written by LW

September 30, 2014 at 1:01 am

Chicken, out…

One week from today, millions will gather on couches across America (and the world) to watch the Harbaugh brothers’ teams duel in Superbowl XLVII.  And on the coffee tables in front of many– if not most– of them will sit heaping mounds of (now traditional) chicken wings.  But this year those mounds will be both fewer and smaller:  in all, it’s estimated that Americans will consume 12.3 million fewer chicken wings as they watch the 49ers and the Ravens than they did watching the Giants and Patriots last year.

Live Science explains:

It’s not that our appetite for these zesty, protein-rich snacks [sic] has diminished. Quite the contrary, said Bill Roenigk, chief economist and market analyst at the National Chicken Council, a Washington, D.C.-based trade group.

“Chicken companies produced about 1 percent fewer birds last year, due in large part to record high corn and feed prices,” Roenigk said.  “Corn makes up more than two-thirds of chicken feed and corn prices hit an all-time high in 2012, due to two reasons:  last summer’s drought and pressure from a federal government requirement that mandates 40 percent of our corn crop be turned into fuel in the form of ethanol.  Simply put, less corn equals higher feed costs, which means fewer birds produced…”

Consumption is estimated to be 1.23 billion wing segments during the 2013 Super Bowl– as noted above, 12.3 million fewer than last year.  Still it’s a hefty number:  laid end to end, 1.23 billion wings would stretch from Candlestick Park, the home of the 49ers, to the Raven’s M&T Bank Stadium 27 times over.

Wings have become the most expensive part of a chicken, having risen over 50% in price (to the highest on record at the U.S. Department of Agriculture), while the cost of a whole chicken is up only about 6%.

What’s a poor host to do?  It appears that, increasingly, he/she will have to revert to the older meaning of “winging it.”

[For a more substantial look at “how food intersects with public health and the environment as it moves from field to plate,” browse this series of lectures from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.]

Sources of the images above:  photo, chart

###

As we note that ranch dressing has surpassed the original bleu cheese as the dip of choice, we might spare an avian thought for John James Audubon; he died on this date in 1851.  An ornithologist, naturalist, and artist, Audubon documented all types of American birds with detailed illustrations depicting the birds in their natural habitats.  His The Birds of America (1827–1839), in which he identified 25 new species, is considered one of the most important– and finest– ornithological works ever completed.

Book plate featuring Audubon’s print of the Greater Prairie Chicken

 source

Happy Mozart’s Birthday!

Written by LW

January 27, 2013 at 1:01 am

Mixed media…

Kurt Vonnegut, meet Brenda Walsh… Slaughterhouse 90120 pairs stills from famous TV series with apposite passages from novels of note…

“Fearlessness in those without power is maddening to those who have it.”
― Tobias Wolff, This Boy’s Life

“Judging the mistakes of strangers is an easy thing to do – and it feels pretty good.”
― Haruki Murakami, Sputnik Sweetheart

“I wanted to try this new drink: That’s all we do, isn’t it – look at things and try new drinks?”
― Ernest Hemingway, The Complete Short Stories

Many, many more at Slaughterhouse 90120.

***

As we juxtapose radically, we might recall that it was on this date in 1784 that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart bought a starling that sang a passable version of the opening theme of the third movement of his Piano Concerto No. 17 in G, K. 453.  (In fact, the bird inserted a fermata on the last beat of the first full measure, and sang G sharp instead of G in the following measure.  Still…)

Mozart kept the bird as a pet until the warbler’s death on June 4, 1787.  Mozart wrote and recited a commemorative poem that he read as the pet was buried in the composer’s backyard.

a European Starling

Mozart’s transcription of the starling’s song

source

Written by LW

May 27, 2012 at 1:01 am

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water…

As the regular resort to allergy meds testifies, Spring is upon us; and with it, thoughts of Summer and the sea…

Thankfully, the prudent folks at SimplyBeach have shared “The 15 Deadliest Beach Creatures.”  Given the presence of the predators featured there, one simply can’t be too cautious.  Consider, for example,

The Marble Cone snail shell looks beautiful but the sea creature inside is deadlier than any other possible beach inhabitant listed here. One drop of venom could kill 20 or more people. Found in warm, tropical salt water, if you find one, don’t touch it.  A sting immediately begins showing symptoms or the onset may be days later. The intense pain, numbness, swelling and tingling-feeling can result, in severe cases, muscle paralysis, respiration shut down and vision changes or death. It is fortunate that only 30 people have been killed by envenomation because there is still no anti-venom available.  (source)

As we replan and rebook for the mountains, we might recall that it was this date in 1742 that George Frideric Handel’s oratorio Messiah (often incorrectly called The Messiah) made its world-premiere in Dublin.  The version debuted then was composed in in the summer 1741.  But Handel revised his masterpiece repeatedly; the version with which modern listeners are familiar was first performed in 1754.  (In fact, a version orchestrated by Mozart in 1789 was the most frequently heard until the mid-twentieth century, and the return of the “historically-informed” performance.)

George Frideric Handel

%d bloggers like this: