Monthly Archives: December 2015

Top Ten Posts of 2015

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Top Ten Posts of 2015

Based on numbers of views, these are the ten most popular articles on ARHtistic License in 2015. Have you read them all?

10. Why I Like Pinterest

9. Top Ten Ways to Combat Writer’s Block

8. All That Glittersbrowsing-15824_1280 from pixabay

7. Woodstock

6. Bringing Animals to Water(color)

5. Daring to Don Opera Glasses

4. In the Meme Time: Life is Like a Camera

3. What is My Calling?

2. Soliciting (and Offering) Feedback

1. Sparkle

Which was your favorite post in 2015? What would you like to see in 2016? Answer in the comments below.

Video of the Week #27

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Video of the Week #27

Malian kora player Ballake Sissoko and French cellist Vincent Segal.

Wordless Wednesday: So THAT’S Where It Comes From

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Wordless Wednesday: So THAT’S Where It Comes From

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I Resolve . . . by Andrea R Huelsenbeck

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I Resolve . . . by Andrea R Huelsenbeck

Doing Life Together

Many years ago I gave up on writing New Year’s resolutions. It seemed to me like an exercise in futility—by February I’d forgotten whatever good intentions I had the month before.

It also seemed incorrect to call it a New Year’s resolution, since I was making the same ones year after year.

The Encarta Dictionary has 13 definitions for the word resolution.  I would like to look at the concept of the New Year’s Resolution in light of 9 of them.

  1.  Process of resolving—the process of resolving something such as a problem or dispute. We make resolutions in response to problems. We see something in ourselves that needs changing.
  2. Decision—a firm decision to do something. This is my conundrum. If you make a firm decision to do something, you do it. I forget about it.
  3. Determination—firmness of mind or purpose. This is another thing I’m wishy-washy about. I’m only…

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Monday Morning Wisdom #30

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Monday Morning Wisdom #30

Suzuki

From the Creator’s Heart #26

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From the Creator’s Heart #26

He created everything there is–nothing exists that he didn’t make (John 1:3 TLB).universe by Greg Rakozy

Pictures at an Exhibition

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Pictures at an Exhibition

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky (1839-1881), best known for his opera, Boris Godunov, and also for Pictures at an Exhibition.

Viktor_Hartman

Viktor Hartmann

Mussorgsky had a friend named Viktor Hartmann who was an artist and architect. Both men were devoted to the cause of intrinsically Russian-style art.

Hartmann died from an aneurysm in 1873. The sudden loss of the artist, only thirty-nine years old, shook Mussorgsky along with others in Russia’s art world. An exhibition of over 400 Hartmann works was held in St. Petersburg, Russia, in February and March of 1874. Mussorgsky lent works from his personal collection to the exhibit and viewed the show in person. Inspired by the experience, he composed Pictures at an Exhibition in six weeks. The music depicts an imaginary tour of an art collection. Titles of individual movements allude to works by Hartmann. (Click on the images below to enlarge and see captions.)

Mussorgsky based his musical material on drawings and watercolors by Hartmann produced mostly during the artist’s travels through Poland, France and Italy; the final movement depicts an architectural design for the capital city of Ukraine. Today most of the pictures from the Hartmann exhibit are lost, making it impossible to be sure in many cases which Hartmann works Mussorgsky had in mind. Musicologist Alfred Frankenstein, in a 1939 article for The Musical Quarterly, claimed to have identified seven of the pictures.

Here is the music the above paintings inspired:

Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks

Catacombs

Hut on Fowl’s Legs

Did you catch on that in Russian folklore, Baba Yaga is a witch?

Great Gate of Kiev

Gorgeous, right?

Mussorgsky links the suite’s movements in a way that depicts the viewer’s own progress through the exhibition. Two “Promenade” movements stand as portals to the suite’s main sections. Their regular pace and irregular meter depicts the act of walking.

Mussorgsky_Repin

Modest Mussorgsky

 

Mussorgsky wrote the suite for piano. The French composer, Maurice Ravel, arranged it for orchestra.

After composing Pictures at an Exhibition, Mussorgsky succumbed to deep depression and drank heavily. Undoubtedly, the alcoholic lifestyle contributed to his death at age 42.

A print of this portrait, painted by Ilya Repin shortly before Mussorgsky’s death, hung in my classroom when I taught elementary general music. My students often commented how scary this painting is, opening up a conversation about the dangers of alcohol abuse.