Rest in Peace, Christopher Tolkien

Christopher John Reuel Tolkien died on 16 January 2020, at the age of 95, in Draguignan, Var, France.

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien’s third son Christopher passed on an year ago today.  He was his father’s literary executor and spent countless hours sorting, deciphering, interpreting, editing and publishing his father’s mountains of unpublished literary output.  With him, the person who was most closely connected with and most knowledgeable about his father’s work from an early age on left Middle Earth and sailed into the West.  Don’t even know where to start expressing our gratitude…  Maybe best to keep it simple:

Rest in Peace, Mr. Tolkien.  Thank you for all the work you have done.

In this video, published in 1992, Christopher Tolkien comes alive again.  Among others, you will also meet his father again, two of Christopher’s siblings (one of whom is still alive), and well-known scholars interested in the world of J.R.R.T. such as Tom Shippey.

Classical Sunday: Vivaldi’s Amor Sacro (Motets)

In furore iustissimae irae…

Antonio Vivaldi: Amor Sacro (Motets)

Selection of Antonio Vivaldi’s solo-motets.

  1. In furore iustissimae irae 00:00
  2. Nulla un mundo pax sincera 15:22
  3. In turbato mare irato 29:10
  4. Sum in medio tempestatum 46:50

Sung by the amazing German coloratura soprano Simone Kermes.
Played by the Venice Baroque Orchestra under the Italian conductor, organist, harpsichordist, and scholar Andrea Marcon.

(Neo-) Classical Sunday: Braveheart – Sound of Freedom

Braveheart is a 1995 American epic historical fiction war film directed and co-produced by Mel Gibson, who portrays William Wallace, a late-13th-century Scottish warrior. The film depicts the life of Wallace leading the Scots in the First War of Scottish Independence against King Edward I of England.

Braveheart – Sound of Freedom

A Soundtrack-Mix of the film Braveheart.

(Neo-) Classical Sunday: Corigliano’s Red Violin

Distraught, Nicolò returns to his shop and varnishes the violin with a red color…

Corigliano: Suite from “The Red Violin” / Misha Rachlevsky • Chamber Orchestra Kremlin

“Recorded at the Chamber Hall of the Moscow International House of Music, with Mr. John Corigliano in the audience, March 2003. Russian premiere. With author’s permission, Misha Rachlevsky amended the Suite with other episodes from the film’s score, giving every violinist of the orchestra a chance to shine.” (from the description of the above video on YouTube)

“The Red Violin (French: Le Violon Rouge) is a 1998 drama film directed by François Girard and starring Samuel L. Jackson, Carlo Cecchi and Sylvia Chang. It spans four centuries and five countries as it tells the story of a mysterious red-coloured violin and its many owners. The instrument, made in Cremona in 1681 with a future forecast by tarot cards, makes its way to Montreal in 1997, where an appraiser identifies it and it goes to auction.” (Wikipedia)

Cultured Wednesday: Karl Friedrich Schinkel

Karl Friedrich Schinkel’s most famous extant buildings are found in and around Berlin.

If you have ever visited or seen pictures of Berlin, Germany, you most likely have seen a building drafted, re-designed or approved by Karl Friedrich Schinkel, Prussian city planner, architect and painter. Born on 13 March 1781 in Neuruppin, Schinkel was one of the most prominent neoclassical and neogothic architects of 19th century Germany and despite his influence and achievements, people still think he had even more potential that he could not live up to due to the political circumstances of his time.

Medieval City on a River, 1815

Schinkels most famous extant buildings in and around the German capital include the Neue Wache (1816–1818), the National Monument for the Liberation Wars (1818–1821), the Schauspielhaus (1819–1821) at the Gendarmenmarkt and the Altes Museum on Museum Island (1823–1830). He also carried out improvements to the Crown Prince’s Palace and to Schloss Charlottenburg.

The header to this post shows Schinkel’s stage set for the 1st Act of Mozart’s Magic Flute, dated 1815 just like the above painting, a design that is still quoted by modern-day stage designers when planning the set for this opera. We find his style quite wholesome, a good example of a time when people still had a clear idea of what was good and beautiful, and pleasing in an aesthetic sense, as well as where such ideas originated in the first place.

Castle by the River 1820

Schinkel, like so many artists of the 19th century, traveled a lot in Europe and particularly to Italy, the landscape and cities of which were and still are especially inspiring, it seems – just look at Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and his love for Italy, for instance. Of course, Goethe and Schinkel met and respected each other, in fact, the list of names the family Schinkel were acquainted with reads almost like a who-is-who of Germany’s 19th century artistic and royal circles. But returning to the Italian influences, Schinkel’s style, generally speaking, was defined rather by a turn to Greek than Roman architecture. “He believed”, they claim in his Wikipedia entry, “that in order to avoid sterility and have a soul, a building must contain elements of the poetic and the past, and have a discourse with them.” I guess the same kind of discourse between tradition and poetry can be found in his paintings if you are able to discern Nature’s voice in the lay of the land, or the trees that surround Schinkel’s painted buildings.

Karl Friedrich Schinkel died on 9 October 1841 in Berlin, leaving behind his wife Susanne and four children, three girls and a boy, the youngest daughter being 19 years old at the time. He was buried in the Dorotheenstädtischen Friedhof in Berlin-Center, where twenty years later his wife was laid to rest along with their two older daughters.

The Schinkel grave in Berlin

Eventually, several generations of architects from Berlin who were influenced by Schinkel’s style were classified as the “Schinkelschule“. So, if you ever visit Germany’s capital, keep a look out for building designed or re-designed by Schinkel, or later on built true to Schinkel’s style.

Remembering Our Ancestors: ‘Stumbling Stones’ in Honor of Jupp and Änne

Bochum has not forgotten Jupp and Änne. I am sure they’d be happy about that.

Stolperstein for Änne Kappius, nee Ebbert.
Photo: City of Bochum
Stolperstein for Jupp Kappius.
Photo: City of Bochum

Our father and grandfather Jupp Kappius and his first wife Änne Ebbert have been honored with their own “Stolpersteine” in front of Änne’s birthplace, which is also Jupp’s and Änne’s last address in Bochum before the Third Reich began.

When Jupp left his home in Bochum-Grumme to live with the Ebbert family and Änne, they lived at Theodorstrasse 8 in central Bochum, right along the railroad track. Apparently, today this street is called Theodor-Imberg-Strasse, and in front of #8.

Stolpersteine“, or Stumbling Stones, are memorial plaques in the pavements of many European cities in memory of victims of the Third Reich. The City Archive of the City of Bochum oversees the project in their city. For more detailed information about the project, please follow the link provided.

We are pleased and quite happy about the honor, and glad that Bochum has not forgotten Jupp and Änne, both of whom were born in Bochum and counted it as their home town, even if they eventually settled in Dortmund after the war. Although we as Jupp’s and Änne’s family were sadly unaware of the honor until after the ceremony and thus missed the event, we are proud that our husband, father, father-in-law and grandfather and his first wife are now commemorated in this fashion.

Stolpersteine for Jupp Kappius und Änne Kappius, nee Ebbert, in the pavement in front of 8, Theodor-Imberg-Straße in 44787 Bochum. Photo: City of Bochum.

A special Thank You goes to the City Archive of the City of Bochum who helped us acquire photos of the new Stolpersteine in a very friendly and timely fashion, and who unceremoniously allowed us to use their photos on our sites. All pictures in this post are property of the City of Bochum.

R.I.P J.R.R.T.

There is The Bard, and then there is The Professor.

Today 47 years ago, J.R.R. Tolkien sailed into the West.  We hope that on the Blessed Shore, he is raising a glass today with his son Christopher, looking back at their handiwork, hopefully satisfied with the gift they have given to us who remain behind on the Hither Shore.

JRR and Christopher

Requiescat in Pace, Professor.

beren and luthien donato

Featured Image by Alan Lee, above painting by Donato Giancola.

Classical Sunday: Mozart’s Don Giovanni

Well, we have a thing for Italian at the moment, ever since we posted Rossini’s Barbiere. So here’s another opera sung in Italian, and with subtitles, too!

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Don Giovanni

Conducted by Riccardo Muti

Teatro alla Scala, 1987

Don Giovanni: Thomas Allen
Il Commendatore: Sergej Koptchak
Donna Anna: Edita Gruberova
Don Ottavio: Francisco Araiza
Donna Elvira: Ann Murray
Leporello: Claudio Desderi
Masetto: Natale De Carolis
Zerlina: Susanne Mentzer

Classical Sunday: 10 Sonatas by Henry Purcell


Top 10 Sonatas by Henry Purcell

Artwork by Joseph Wright of Derby (1734 – 1797)

Sonata No. 5 in G Minor, Z. 806 (10 Sonatas in Four Parts – c.1680):
I. Adagio 00:03
II. Canzona 01:40
III. Largo 02:48
IV. Adagio 05:16
V. Presto – Allegro – Adagio 06:00

Sonata No. 2 in B-Flat Major, Z. 791 (12 Sonatas of Three Parts – 1683):
I. Adagio 08:33
II. Largo – Presto 10:15
III. Adagio 11:36
IV. Allegro 13:12

Sonata No. 6 in G Minor, Z. 807 (10 Sonatas in Four Parts – c.1680):
I. Chaconne. Adagio 14:41

Sonata No. 3 in A Minor, Z. 804 (10 Sonatas in Four Parts – c.1680):
I. Grave 22:56
II. Largo 24:31
III. Adagio 26:21
IV. Allegro 29:01

Sonata No. 1 in G Minor, Z. 790 (12 Sonatas of Three Parts – 1683):
I. Adagio 30:57
II. Vivace 32:36
III. Adagio – Presto 33:42
IV. Largo 36:04

Sonata No. 3 in D Minor, Z. 792 (12 Sonatas of Three Parts – 1683):
I. Grave, Adagio 37:49
II. Canzona 39:30
III. Poco largo – Allegro 41:19

Sonata in G Minor for Violin and Basso Continuo, Z. 780:
I. Adagio 44:07
II. Allegro 47:08
III. Largo 48:28
IV. Vivace 49:55

Sonata in D Major for Trumpet, Strings and Basso Continuo, Z. 850 (1694):
I. Allegro 50:48
II. Adagio 52:05
III. Presto 53:47

Sonata No. 2 in E-Flat Major, Z. 803 (10 Sonatas in Four Parts – c.1680):
I. Adagio 55:06
II. Canzona. Allegro 56:31
III. Adagio 58:27
IV. Largo – Allegro 1:00:08

Sonata No. 1 in B Minor, Z. 802 (10 Sonatas in Four Parts – c.1680):
I. Adagio – Canzona. Allegro 1:02:41
II. Largo 1:04:53
III. Vivace 1:07:18

Classical Sunday: Savall’s Caravaggio Lachrimae

From the Maguelone Festival 2012

The video might not play on the site but only on YouTube.  Just follow the link that will be provided if they block it from playing on here.

Jordi Savall and Hespèrion XXI: Lachrimae Caravaggio

Lachrimae Caravaggio – Musical Europe in the Time of Caravaggio

From the Maguelone Festival 2012

Jordi Savall – viola da gamba
Ferran Savall – voice
Philippe Pierlot – viola da gamba
Sergi Casademunt – viola da gamba
Lorenz Dufschmidt – viola da gamba
Xavier Puertas – violone
Xavier Diaz-Latorre – lute, theorbo & guitar
Perdo Estevan – percussions

2:03 Anonymous – Pavana del re
3:56 Anonymous – Galliarda la traditora
5:37 Jordi Savall – Saltarello
7:22 Giovanni M.Trabaci – Durezze E Ligature
13:15 John Dowland – Lachrimae Pavan
17:06 Orlando Gibbons – In Nomine a 4
19:16 William Brade – Ein Schottisch Tanz
22:15 Jordi Savall – Passacaglia Libertas
25:00 Jordi Savall – Deploratio II
27:43 Luys del Milà – Pavana and Gallarda
30:47 Joan Cabanilles – Corrente Italiana
34:17 Jordi Savall & Dominique Fernandez – Concentus Aria
35:36 Jordi Savall & Dominique Fernandez – Concentus Recitativo
37:52 Jordi Savall – Folias
41:51 Anonymous – Pavane de la Petite Guerre
44:06 Anonymous – Bourrée d’avignonez
46:27 Consonanze Stravaganti (d’après trabaci)
47:57 Jordi Savall – Deploratio III
51:14 Samuel Scheidt – Paduan & Courant dolorosa
57:56 Jordi Savall – Spiritus Morientis
1:00:53 Jordi Savall – Deploratio IV
1:05:29 Luigi Rossi – Fantasie “Les Pieurs d`Orphée”
1:08:40 Anonymous – Sarabande Italienne
1:10:16 Cantus Caravaggio III “In Memoriam”

A co-production of Calicot – Mezzo – TV Sud – Maguelone Festival
Video director: Olivier Simonnet

Jordi Savall in 2016

Featured: Caravaggio’s ‘Saint Francis of Assisi in Ecstasy’ (c. 1595), Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, CT

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