Venus von Willendorf


Interesting info from Janson History of Art (2nd edition 1977)…
“Stone Age men were content to collect pebbles, as well as less durable specimens, in whose natural shape they saw something that rendered them ‘magic'; echoes of this approach can sometims be felt in later, more fully worked pieces. Thus the so-called Venus of Willendorf, one of many such female fertility figurines, has a bulbous roundness of form that recalls an egg-shaped ‘sacred pebble'; her navel, the central point of the design, is a natural cavity in the stone. “

This reminds me of collecting pebbles as a child.
A kind of connection with unknown people long long ago.
And I feel again the joy of the lovely round forms of the warm pebbles in my hand.

Janson’s History of Art

Naturhistorisches Museum Wien


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20140225-115915 am.jpg

This image does make me feel the intensity of beauty. It is a moment from long ago. Via a small vague picture from a CD cover. Seconds after the sound of music is fading.

This post is short of words. The feeling is so intense, that I can’t find them, the right words. When I do have found them, I’m back.

Mstislav Rostropovich and Emerson String Quartet Schubert String Quintet

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2013 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 870 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 15 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Tristan und Isolde

Wagner Tristan und Isolde.

Needs no explanation. I played it countless times. Hard work in the LP era. Easier now, when the whole Act 2 is on 1 CD, as this one by Karl Böhm. Birgit Nilsson as Isolde and Wolfgang Windgassen as Tristan.
I don’t remember when I heard Tristan und Isolde for the first time. It must be long ago. The prelude, whole Act 2 and Mild und Leise are the highlights. Actually, Tristan und Isolde is one highlight, from beginning to end.
It is a miracle to me how Wagner could have thought and composed this music. Be it physical or spiritual. The music is magical.

Tristan und Isolde
Spotify: Amzenon Playlist Lifelong Love 2

Tristan und Isolde 1
CD:Karl Böhm, Birgit Nilsson, Wolfgang Windgassen, Christa Ludwig, Martti Talvela, Eberhard Waechter, Bayreuther Festspiele 1966. Amazon

Tristan und Isolde 2
CD:Wilhelm Furtwängler, Kirsten Flagstad, Ludwig Suthaus, Blanche Thebom, Josef Greindl, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Chorus of the Royal Opera House, Philharmonia Orchestra. Disadvantage is Act 2 on 2 discs. Amazon

DVD: Not found one yet, that I preferred to the CD’s.

YouTube:Birgit Nilsson Mild und Leise Bayreuth 1966.

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Le Nozze di Figaro

1.Mozart Le Nozze di Figaro.

The music is enchanting. The story is, well, let’s say, a little burlesque. Above all, Susanna, Figaro, La Contessa and the other characters remind me always of my friends. Mozart’s music is all-human.

Le Nozze di Figaro
Spotify: Amzenon Playlist Lifelong Love 1

CD: Karl Böhm, Hermann Prey, Edith Mathis, Gundula Janowitz, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Tatiana Troyanos, Chor and Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin. Amazon

Figaro DVD
DVD: Karl Böhm, Hermann Prey, Mirella Freni, Kiri Te Kanawa, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Maria Ewing, Wiener Philharmoniker. Amazon

YouTube:The Jean-Pierre-Ponnelle movie, Karl Böhm, Hermann Prey, Mirella Freni, Kiri Te Kanawa, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Maria Ewing, Wiener Philharmoniker.

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In a Classical Mood.

Mozart PS 6

I’m always listening to classical music or opera in a certain mood. Or I listen to a composer for days. Always playlists in my head and piles of CD’s next to me. Not the usual playlists. More like Lifelong Love, Nostalgia, Curiosity, and so on. I’ll made them public. Starting slowly. With additions and extensions in the course of time. And references to CD’s, DVD’s, Spotify, YouTube, books, even performances from the past. Maybe some explanation, reasons, feelings.

However, be warned. I’m not very disciplined at sitting down and writing. I rather listen to music. If you write, you can’t listen. Instead of 1 hour writing a day, you can listen to about 3000 Lieder, 600 pieces of chamber music, 300 symphonies or 100 operas a year. Yet, if you know a piece of music, which fits in a playlist and in my mind, let’s publish it in the playlist, with your name and reference of course.

My Classical Playlists will show links to my Spotify Playlists and to Amazon and YouTube.

Amzenon on Spotify:
Lifelong Love
More will follow…

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2012 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,400 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Fantasia ist zauberhaft !

Dies ist eine fantastische CD. Die Miniaturen sind hervorragend gespielt. Die Töne sind bezaubernd. Durch die Wahl wird es zu einer Reise durch eine erstaunliche Fülle von Klänge. Besonders liebe ich Dukas/Staub L’Apprenti sorcier, Saint-Saëns/Liszt/Horowitz Danse macabre und Scriabin Poème.

Und natürlich das wunderschöne Gretchen am Spinnrade von Schubert/Liszt. “Ich liebe dieses Drama, erzählt sie, denn es steckt so viel Menschliches darin.”

Aber alle Miniaturen sind fantastisch.
Es gibt eine ausgezeichnete Erklärung in das CD Büchlein.
Versuchen Sie Yuja Wang im Konzertsaal zu hören.
Und hören Sie diese CD.

Yuja Wang Fantasia

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Opera in Daily Life: Don Juan in Hankey, PA

Don Juan in Hankey is a novel about an opera company, which is preparing a new production of Don Giovanni, about the acts and the thoughts of all the people involved. It is a wonderful story. The plot you must read yourself.

It reads as a satire, but with serious nuances. There is a lot to laugh about, as always, about the protagonists and about you, if you recognize yourself in one or more of the characters. It was difficult for me to stop reading, because of the many cliffhangers. I was curious each chapter, each page, sometimes each sentence, to the next event.


The description of the acts and the emotions of the characters is especially bright. I had the feeling as if I was there myself.

What makes this novel so special, that are the many levels to discover and enjoy, as in every good novel.

There is the story about the lives of the principal characters.
The story about the opera company, which is creating a new production and trying to overcome all the problems, recalls the difficulties of teamwork.
In the communication between the protagonists, you can hear them thinking, anticipating, preparing their responses to the other members of the Guild. It is a way of communication in our modern times. Be careful for the feelings of others in what you say and be willing to soften you words.

It is also a story about the essence of human life, of the energy of human beings, of getting up after a setback, of optimism.

The ‘colors of the language’, a good story can be like a painting, remind me of the bright colors of modern city life.

The storyline and the way of telling remind me of the opera Don Giovanni, with its many scenes and its lively phrases.

Above all, the ‘music of the language’, language can have a musical quality, is like the music of Mozart and Don Giovanni, lively and bright.

It was a great pleasure to read this musical novel. I think it will be for all members of opera companies, opera singers and opera lovers, and for all lovers of a novel about modern life. Recommended!

Don Juan in Hankey, PA

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Reading in Silence

Series: Favorite Paintings

Catena Saint Jerome in his Study from the National Gallery

Catena St Jerome in his Study

Catena St Jerome in his Study

Standing alone before St Jerome.
Wandering through the National Gallery in London, I am always looking for my favorite paintings. One of them is St Jerome in his Study by Catena. Some years ago, I fell in love with this painting. As no other people seemed interested, I could watch St Jerome for a long time without being disturbed. It gave me a wonderful feeling, to stand alone before this painting. I felt totally quiet.

Readers and silence.
There is silence. The bird does not make noise.
The lion is sleeping. St Jerome is reading
It is this act of reading which is holding my attention. Reading is an interaction between two people, the author and the reader, actually from author to reader. It is a lonely activity. Readers are alone with their thoughts. Before this painting, I forget all the people, walking behind me through the National Gallery rooms.
I am just there with another reader, although he cannot talk with me. That does not matter. Readers like other readers. Readers like silence.

Colors and composition.
The quiet green and brown colors and the geometrical composition with right lines are greatly contributing to the feeling of rest.

Favorite details.
The reading St Jerome in his red and blue gown.
The view through the window of the blue grey mountains and the sea.
And especially the sleeping lion.

Some thoughts.

I love paintings because of the pleasure of lines and colors.
Moreover, they are arousing old and new thoughts and feelings.
Some feelings are reminding of personal life events, sad and happy ones.
New thoughts are sometimes more interesting. They can produce another way of looking, of thinking, about personal life, about humanity, about the world.

Perhaps this painting is representing another meaning than a reading St Jerome. I am sure it has many different meanings. Sometimes that is important, sometimes not.
The painter creates, the art lover re-creates.

I am an art lover. I value art historians and art books highly. Art books show me details, I could overlook. They help me seeing more. However, when I am standing before a painting, it is between the painter and me. It is about what he wants to show and say, and about what I think and feel.

Jerome – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Vincenzo Catena | artist | active 1506 – 1531 | The National Gallery, London
Vincenzo Catena | Saint Jerome in his Study | NG694 | The National Gallery, London

Other paintings of St Jerome

Cavarozzi St Jerome in his Study

Bellini St Jerome Reading in the Countryside

Ghirlandaio St Jerome in his Study

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