Tribute to Franz Joseph Haydn

Austrian composer Franz Joseph Haydn was born on 31st March 1732  and grew up to be one of the most prolific and prominent composers of the Classical period. He is often called the “Father of the Symphony” and “Father of the String Quartet” because of his important contributions to these forms. He was also instrumental in the development of the piano trio and in the evolution of sonata form.   A lifelong resident of Austria, Haydn spent much of his career as a court musician for the wealthy Esterházy family on their remote estate. Isolated from other composers and trends in music until the later part of his long life, he was, as he put it, “forced to become original” and developed his musical talent with support from Austrian and Hungarian aristocratic families before rising to fame in London and Vienna. Joseph Haydn sadly passed away on  31st May in 1809, At the time of his death, he was one of the most celebrated composers in Europe and left the world with some wonderful music. Joseph Haydn was the brother of Michael Haydn, himself a highly regarded composer, and Johann Evangelist Haydn, a tenor. He was also a close friend of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and a teacher of Ludwig van Beethoven.

To commemorate the music of Haydn, The 20th Annual Bridgnorth Haydn Festival takes place from Wednesday 5th June until Sunday 9th June 2013 and this year’s theme is Haydn’s Legacy and focuses on Joseph Haydn’s influence on his pupils, his friends and composers from the 18th century to the present day. This year there is a A host of Internationally acclaimed soloists including:

Simon Standage, Crispian Steele-Perkins, Christophe Coin,Yoko Kaneko, Maria Tecia Andreotti.

Anthony Halstead will also be Conducting The Chiaroscuro Quartet, The Salomon Quartet and The Haydn Festival Ensemble who will be performing a variety of music including Music by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Johann Christian Bach, Pleyel, Hummel, Viotti and Kraft

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John Constable

John_Constable_The_Hay_WainEnglish Romantic painter John Constable sadly passed away on 31st March 1837. Born 11th June in 1776 in East Bergholt, Suffolk, He is known principally for his landscape paintings of Dedham Vale, the area surrounding his home—now known as “Constable Country”—which he invested with an intensity of affection. “I should paint my own places best”, he wrote to his friend John Fisher in 1821, “painting is but another word for feeling”.

In his youth, Constable embarked on amateur sketching trips in the surrounding Suffolk and Essex countryside that was to become the subject of a large proportion of his art. In 1799, Constable persuaded his father to let him pursue art, and Golding even granted him a small allowance. Entering the Royal Academy Schools as a probationer, he attended life classes and anatomical dissections as well as studying and copying Old Masters. Among works that particularly inspired him during this period were paintings by Thomas Gainsborough, Claude Lorrain, Peter Paul Rubens, Annibale Carracci and Jacob van Ruisdael. He also read widely among poetry and sermons, and later proved a notably articulate artist. By 1803, he was exhibiting paintings at the Royal Academy.   In 1802 he refused the position of drawing master at Great Marlow Military College, a move which Benjamin West (then master of the RA) counselled would mean the end of his career. In that year, Constable wrote a letter to John Dunthorne in which he spelled out his determination to become a professional landscape painter. His early style has many of the qualities associated with his mature work, including a freshness of light, colour and touch, and reveals the compositional influence of the Old Masters he had studied, notably of Claude Lorrain.

Constable’s usual subjects, scenes of ordinary daily life, were unfashionable in an age that looked for more romantic visions of wild landscapes and ruins. Constable quietly rebelled against the artistic culture that taught artists to use their imagination to compose their pictures rather than nature itself.   Although Constable produced paintings throughout his life for the “finished” picture market of patrons and R.A. exhibitions, constant refreshment in the form of on-the-spot studies was essential to his working method, and he never satisfied himself with following a formula. “The world is wide”, he wrote, “no two days are alike, nor even two hours; neither were there ever two leaves of a tree alike since the creation of all the world; and the genuine productions of art, like those of nature, are all distinct from each other.”   Constable painted many full-scale preliminary sketches of his landscapes in order to test the composition in advance of finished pictures. These large sketches, with their free and vigorous brushwork, were revolutionary at the time, and they continue to interest artists, scholars and the general public. The oil sketches of The Leaping Horse and The Hay Wain, for example, convey a vigour and expressiveness missing from Constable’s finished paintings of the same subjects. Possibly more than any other aspect of Constable’s work, the oil sketches reveal him in retrospect to have been an avant-garde painter, one who demonstrated that landscape painting could be taken in a totally new direction.   Constable’s watercolours were also remarkably free for their time: the almost mystical Stonehenge, 1835, with its double rainbow, is often considered to be one of the greatest watercolours ever painted. When he exhibited it in 1836, Constable appended a text to the title: “The mysterious monument of Stonehenge, standing remote on a bare and boundless heath, as much unconnected with the events of past ages as it is with the uses of the present, carries you back beyond all historical records into the obscurity of a totally unknown period.”

Some of Constable’s most famous paintings include Dedham Vale of 1802 and The Hay Wain of 1821. Although his paintings are now among the most popular and valuable in British art, he was never financially successful and did not become a member of the establishment until he was elected to the Royal Academy at the age of 52. He sold more paintings in France than in his native England. He could never have imagined how influential his honest techniques would turn out to be. Constable’s art inspired not only contemporaries like Géricault and Delacroix, but the Barbizon School, and the French impressionists of the late nineteenth century.

Angus Young AC/DC

Angus Young, the Scottish-born Australian guitarist and founding member of Rock Band AC/DC was born 31st March 1955. AC/DC were Formed in 1973 by Angus and his brother Malcolm Young, who have remained the sole constant members. The band are commonly classified as hard rock, and are considered pioneers of heavy metal, though they themselves have always classified their music as simply “rock and roll”. To date they are one of the highest grossing bands of all time.   AC/DC underwent several line-up changes before releasing their first album, High Voltage, on 17 February 1975.

Bass player Cliff Williams replaced  Mark Evans  in 1977 for the album Powerage. Within months of recording the album Highway to Hell, lead singer and co-songwriter Bon Scott died on 19 February 1980, after a night of heavy alcohol consumption. The group briefly considered disbanding, but Scott’s parents urged them to continue and hire a new vocalist. Ex-Geordie singer Brian Johnson was auditioned and selected to replace Scott. Later that year, the band released their highest selling album, and ultimately the third highest-selling album by any artist, Back in Black.   The band’s next album, For Those About to Rock We Salute You, was their first album to reach number one in the United States. AC/DC declined in popularity soon after drummer Phil Rudd was fired in 1983 and was replaced by future Dio drummer Simon Wright, though the band resurged in the early 1990s with the release of The Razors Edge. Phil Rudd returned in 1994 (after Chris Slade, who was with the band from 1989–1994, was asked to leave in favour of him) and contributed to the band’s 1995 album Ballbreaker.

Since then, the band’s line-up has remained the same. Stiff Upper Lip was released in 2000 and was well received by critics, and the band’s latest studio album, Black Ice, was released on 20 October 2008. It was their biggest hit on the charts since For Those About to Rock, reaching No.1 on all the charts eventually.   As of 2010, AC/DC had sold more than 200 million albums worldwide, including 71 million albums in the United States alone. Back in Black has sold an estimated 49 million units worldwide, making it the third highest-selling album by any artist, and the second highest-selling album by any band, behind Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of The Moon and Michael Jackson’s Thriller. The album has sold 22 million units in the U.S. alone, where it is the fifth-highest-selling album of all-time. AC/DC ranked fourth on VH1′s list of the “100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock” and were named the seventh “Greatest Heavy Metal Band of All Time” by MTV. In 2004, AC/DC were ranked number 72 in the Rolling Stone list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time”. In 2010, AC/DC were ranked number 23 in the VH1 list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time

Charlotte Brontë

Charlotte_Bronte2English novelist and poet Charlotte Brontë Sadly passed away on 31 March 1855, at the young age of 38. Born 21st April 1816  She was  the eldest of the three Brontë sisters who survived into adulthood, whose novels are English literature standards. She wrote Jane Eyre under the pen name Currer Bell. Charlotte was born in Thornton, Yorkshire in 1816, the third of six children. In August 1824, Charlotte was sent with three of her sisters, Emily, Maria, and Elizabeth, to the Clergy Daughters’ School at Cowan Bridge in Lancashire (Charlotte later used the school as the basis for the fictional Lowood School in Jane Eyre). She and the other surviving children — Branwell, Emily, and Anne – created their own literary fictional worlds, and began chronicling the lives and struggles of the inhabitants of these imaginary kingdoms. Charlotte and Branwell wrote Byronic stories about their imagined country (“Angria”) and Emily and Anne wrote articles and poems about theirs (“Gondal”). The sagas which they created were elaborate and convoluted (and still exist in partial manuscripts) and provided them with an obsessive interest during childhood and early adolescence, which prepared them for their literary vocations in adulthood.[

Charlotte continued her education at Roe Head, Mirfield, from 1831 to 32, where she met her lifelong friends and correspondents, Ellen Nussey and Mary Taylor. During this period, she wrote her novella The Green Dwarf (1833) under the name of Wellesley. Charlotte returned to Roe Head as a teacher from 1835 to 1838. In 1839, she took up the first of many positions as governess to various families in Yorkshire, a career she pursued until 1841. In 1842 Charlotte and Emily travelled to Brussels to enroll in a boarding school run by Constantin Heger In return for board and tuition, Charlotte taught English and Emily taught music. Their time at the boarding school was cut short when Elizabeth Branwell, their aunt who joined the family after their mother died Charlotte returned alone to Brussels in January 1843 to take up a teaching post at the boarding school but returned to Haworth in January 1844 and later used her time at the boarding school as the inspiration for some experiences in The Professor and Villette

In May 1846, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne self-financed the publication of a joint collection of poetry under the assumed names of Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell. Charlotte’s first manuscript, called The Professor, did not secure a publisher, although she was heartened by an encouraging response she received from Smith, Elder & Co of Cornhill, who expressed an interest in any longer works which “Currer Bell” might wish to send.Charlotte responded by finishing and sending a second manuscript in August 1847, and six weeks later this second manuscript (titled Jane Eyre: An Autobiography) was published. Jane Eyre was a success, and initially received favourable reviews. It was followed by the subsequent publication of the first novels by Charlotte’s sisters: Emily’s Wuthering Heights and Anne’s Agnes Grey.

In June 1854, Charlotte married Arthur Bell Nicholls, her father’s curate and, in the opinion of many scholars, the model for several of her literary characters such as Jane Eyre’s Edward Rochester and St. John Rivers. She became pregnant soon after the marriage. Her health declined rapidly during this time, and according to Gaskell, her earliest biographer, she was attacked by “sensations of perpetual nausea and ever-recurring faintness.” Charlotte Sadly passed away shortly afterwoods on 31 March 1855, at the young age of 38 Her death certificate gives the cause of death as phthisis (tuberculosis), but many biographers suggest she may have died from dehydration and malnourishment, caused by excessive vomiting from severe morning sickness or hyperemesis gravidarum. There is also evidence to suggest that Charlotte died from typhus she may have caught from Tabitha Ackroyd, the Bronte household’s oldest servant, who died shortly before her. Charlotte was interred in the family vault in The Church of St. Michael and All Angels, Haworth, West Yorkshire, England. Her endurng popularty & legacy stll lives on To this day and all Charlotte Bronte’s novels Particularly Jane Eyre, are still as popular as ever. There have also been many Television Radio and Film adaptations of her novels and her classic novel’s are stll widely taught in schools

Labyrinth

KM-C KM-sepulchreHaving read Kate Mosse’s internationally bestselling novels Labyrinth, Sepulchre and Citadel, I would like to watch the lavish two-part TV adaptation based on Kate Mosse’s novel Labyrinth which has been made by Ridley Scott’s production company, Scott Free and is being screeened during Easter 2013. Part of the story is set in Medieval Carcasonne during 1209 on the night before a brutal civil crusade to rid the land of Cathars and concerns a young woman named Alais (Jessica Brown Findlay) who works as a healer and herbalist and finds a dead man in the river with his thumb cut off. Anais then finds herself custodian of the mysterious Book of Words, Although she cannot understand the symbols and diagrams the book contains, Alais finds out that the book could reveal the location of The Holy Grail itself and knows her destiny lies in protecting their secret, at all costs,

Meanwhile back in modern day Languedoc an amatuer Archeologist named Alice Tanner (Vanessa Kirby) discovers two skeletons during an archaeological dig in a mysterious cave which has strange symbols drawn on the walls and contains a Ring. She begins to suspect that that she has unearthed a link with a horrific and brutal past. But it’s not just the sight of the shattered bones that makes her uneasy; there’s an overwhelming sense of evil in the tomb that Alice finds hard to shake off. Puzzled by the             words carved inside the chamber, Alice has an uneasy feeling that she has disturbed something which was meant to remain hidden and finds herself drawn into a conspiricy involving an age old mystery concerning The location of the Book of Words and the Holy Grail…

Kirby also recently starred alongside Douglas Booth and Gillian Anderson. in Great Expectations and is also the love interest “Nicole” in gritty but heart-warming British indie movie, The Rise – Rowan Athale’s feature film debut, formerly known as Wasteland, which is about to be released in the UK later this year and centes on four young guys on an estate in Leeds who plan a heist; headed up by Luke Treadaway (Attack the Block, currently in the stage version of A Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time), with Iwan Rheon (Simon in Misfits), Gerard Kearns (Ian in Shameless) and Matthew Lewis (Neville in Harry Potter).

Kirby also starred in The Acid Test, written by Royal Court wunderkind Anya Reiss, when he was only 18. This hilarious tale is about a trio of girls in their twenties, who are unsure of what they’re doing with their lives (aside from getting determinedly drunk). She also stars as Rachel McAdams’s brash best friend. Kirby has also been cast as Queen Isabella in a production of Marlowe’s Edward II at the National Theatre during September 2013.

Easter Sunday

easter-clipartEaster  is a Christian feast and holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day after his crucifixion at Calvary as described in the New Testament. Easter is preceded by Lent, a forty-day period of fasting, prayer, and penance. The last week of Lent is called Holy Week, and it contains the days of the Easter Triduum, including Maundy Thursday, commemorating Maundy and the Last Supper, as well as Good Friday, commemorating the crucifixion and death of Jesus. Easter is followed by a fifty-day period called Eastertide or the Easter Season, ending with Pentecost Sunday. The festival is referred to in English by a variety of different names including Easter Day, Easter Sunday, Resurrection Day and Resurrection Sunday.

Easter is a moveable feast, meaning it is not fixed in relation to the civil calendar. The First Council of Nicaea  established the date of Easter as the first Sunday after the full moon (the Paschal Full Moon) following the northern hemisphere’s vernal equinox. Ecclesiastically, the equinox is reckoned to be on 21 March (even though the equinox occurs, astronomically speaking, on 20 March in most years), and the “Full Moon” is not necessarily the astronomically correct date. The date of Easter therefore varies between 22 March and 25 April. Eastern Christianity bases its calculations on the Julian calendar whose 21 March corresponds, during the 21st century, to 3 April in the Gregorian calendar, in which the celebration of Easter therefore varies between 4 April and 8 May.   Easter is linked to the Jewish Passover by much of its symbolism, as well as by its position in the calendar. In many languages, the words for “Easter” and “Passover” are etymologically related or homonymous. Easter customs vary across the Christian world, but attending sunrise services, exclaiming the Paschal greeting, clipping the church and decorating Easter eggs, a symbol of the empty tomb, are common motifs.Additional customs include egg hunting, the Easter Bunny, and Easter parades, and are observed by both Christians and non-Christians

It’s a time-machine, you never have to wait for Breakfast

Dr who=bellsThe new series of Doctor Who began on Saturday 30th March 2013 with a jazzy new theme tune and a redesigned T.A.R.D.I.S interior and starts with an episode called The Bells of Saint John.  The episode starts with The Doctor (Matt Smith) eventually tracking down Clara Oswald (Jenna Louise Coleman) who has no memory of him or any previous events surrounding him, but soon finds herself in danger.

Meanwhile a sinister woman named Miss Kizlet (Celia Imrie) is working as the boss of a shadowy corporation inside The Shard in London, who are able to hack into people’s minds through the WI-FI, mess with people’s heads, control them and make them behave very oddly, by using robots known as Spoonheads, which re effectively Moving Base Station disguised as people which are being used  to hack into people’s minds in order to collect human thoughts and harvest human minds through the WI-FI and feed a being known as the Great Intelligence who requires a diet of human Brains in order to survive.