Claire’s Evening of Cultural Appreciation

Good evening! Welcome to Claire’s Evening of Cultural Appreciation. This evening we will be reviewing art, music and poetry that you might enjoy. To start with, let us enjoy this rather piece from Eric Whitacre:

The Seal Lullaby; Eric Whitacre

Eric Whitacre

Originally written for a movie soundtrack, its rather lovely sweeping score borrows from Scottish melodies to create a very sweet lullaby. From Eric Whitacre’s website: “Eric Whitacre is one of the most popular and performed composers of our time, a distinguished conductor, broadcaster and public speaker. His first album as both composer and conductor on Decca/Universal,  Light & Gold, won a Grammy® in 2012, reaped unanimous five star reviews and became the no. 1 classical album in the US and UK charts within a week of release.”

And a poem to go with it, from Rudyard Kipling:

We now move on to our first piece of art. This marvellous piece was created by Louis Comfort Tiffany, a magnificent craftsman (his glass windows are an excellent example). This vase has incorporated into it the structure of peacock feathers, and the luster alone would silence the viewer:

Louis Comfort Tiffany (American, 1848–1933) | Vase | ca. 1900

How often do you see something of that quality in your daily life? How uncommon is that magnificent subtlety?

The next piece in our musical programme is Claude Debussy’s Girl with the Flaxen Hair. This piece would have my mother’s eyes roll; she thought Debussy had all the originality of the top of a biscuit tin (she was more a fan of Liszt or Chopin). None the less, its included this evening as it has a marvellously romantic air, and is soothing to the frayed nerves.

Girl with the Flaxen Hair

And to enjoy with it, is Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus*. Painted in 1486, it hangs in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, where, I can attest, if you get too close they give out to you.

File:Sandro Botticelli - La nascita di Venere - Google Art Project - edited.jpg

The  cold of winter is still with us, so our next piece is Anuna, Winter Fire and SnowThis piece, sung so marvellously by Kate McMahon, is haunting in its beauty.

And to enjoy with it, a poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley;

Also appropriate for this time of the year, is this German Hannukkah Lamp, dating from the 17th century.

Our time together draws to a close. To end, I bring you Bach’s Prelude, played by Yo-Yo Ma. Life is so short, don’t you find? There is never enough time to do the things we want to do.

Yo-Yo Ma

Model for the Cathedral Pieta: To visualize lifesize or colossal marbles, the great Roman Baroque sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini began by making small, spirited clay models.

So it is, that the years go on, and despite desires and wishes, inclinations, we are left with the life that is only just a tiny bit closer to what we want.

William Blake’s Illustration for his poem The Laughing Song

I hope that you have enjoyed our brief interlude of music and art, and that 2013 brings to you all you desire.

Paul Signac, Woman on the Terrace 1898


*”What’s the matter, Homer? Ain’t you never seen a naked chick on a clam before?”

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