Monday, February 20, 2017


[Passion Week] was composed in St Petersburg during the turbulent years of the Bolshevik Revolution and Russian Civil War, in an environment where repression against the Church was already being felt, and arrests of nobility, clergy, artists, intellectuals, as well as ordinary believers, were commonplace: Steinberg’s own brother-in-law, Vladimir Rimsky-Korsakov, a professional violist, was arrested. Shortly after the work was completed, the performance of all sacred music was banned by the Bolshevik cultural commissars. On December 12, 1923, Steinberg made the following entry in his diary: ‘Today I learned from Klimov that all sacred music has been banned, with exception of two classic works. That means there is no hope of hearing Passion Week…'

You can vote now in the BBC Classical Music Awards (voting is open until the 24th). I enjoyed listening to the nominees, all top-notch. I was struck by Maximilian Steinberg's Passion Week, performed by The Clarion Choir with conductor Steven Fox.

From the BBC site about Passion Week: Written for the Russian Orthodox Church in the early 1920s by Shostakovich’s composition teacher Maximilian Steinberg, this profoundly beautiful choral piece lay forgotten for over 90 years.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Sweet dreams of warmth and light

I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape - the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn't show.
~Andrew Wyeth

Two seasonal (for my part of the world) poems today, plus a bonus.

Mockingbird by Carolyn

excerpt from Lament of a Mocking-Bird
by Frances Anne Kemble

What didst thou sing of, O thou wingëd voice?
Dark, bronze-leaved oaks, with silver mosses crowned,
Where thy free kindred live, love, and rejoice,
With wreaths of golden jasmine curtained round.

These didst thou sing of, spirit of delight!
From thy own radiant sky, thou quivering spark!
These thy sweet southern dreams of warmth and light,
Through the grim northern winter drear and dark.


The Wind, the Sun And the Moon
by Anne Stevenson

For weeks the wind has been talking to us,
Swearing, imploring, singing like a person.
Not a person, more the noise a being might make
Searching for a body and a name. The sun
In its polished aurora rises late, then dazzles
Our eyes and days, pacing a bronze horizon
To a mauve bed in the sea. Light kindles the hills,
Though in the long shadow of Moelfre
Winter won't unshackle the dead house by the marsh.

Putting these words on paper after sunset
Alters the length and asperity of night.
By the fire, when the wind pauses, little is said.
Every phrase we unfold stands upright. Outside,
The visible cold, the therapy of moonlight.


Here's a bonus (non-seasonal) poem by Anne Stevenson:

On Going Deaf

I've lost a sense. Why should I care?
Searching myself, I find a spare.
I keep that sixth sense in repair,
And set it deftly, like a snare.


Check It Out has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Jone!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Seaweed Art

A beach is not only a sweep of sand, but shells of sea creatures, the sea glass, the seaweed, the incongruous objects washed up by the ocean.
~Henry Grunwald

Sharing works by AlgaNet, a French-Spanish seaweed artist, today, plus a painting of a seaweed harvester:

Pressed seaweed art in red

Pressed kelp seaweed art

Blue sea fan art

Natural seaweed collage

Ocean flowers

A Moliceira (The Seaweed Harvester)
by António Carvalho de Silva Porto (1850 - 1893)

Monday, February 13, 2017

In the Car

He who sings frightens away his ills.
~Miguel de Cervantes

I've posted songs I've sung in the car before (here and here, for instance). I've got some more for Music Monday:

Barry Tuckwell playing Richard Strauss:

Brett Young:

Friday, February 10, 2017

So I'll fight the dragons 'til you can

He wanted the songs, the stories, to save everybody.
~Sherman Alexie

Three songs today...the first one is from a poem by Dana Gioia (I shared it a while back).

The second song is from a musical based on a novel. I haven't seen Big Fish, but I heard Aaron Tveit sing this song (brought a tear to my eye!). I think Poetry Fridayers will appreciate the desire to bring your stories to someone else.

Lastly, we have the Eric Whitacre Singers performing an ee cummings poem. (Yes, I'm fangirling Eric Whitacre again!)

I Will Wade Out
by ee cummings

i will wade out
            till my thighs are steeped in burning flowers
I will take the sun in my mouth
and leap into the ripe air
                with closed eyes
to dash against darkness... the rest here

Some of y'all will be into the song about homemade canned food I shared for Music Monday.

You can find the Poetry Friday round-up at The Logonauts. Thanks, Katie!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Olga in Ukraine

This landscape is animate: it moves, transposes, builds, proceeds, shifts, always going on, never coming back, and one can only retain it in vignettes, impressions caught in a flash...
~Ann Zwinger

Felted landscapes on brooches by a Ukrainian artist:

Htsvetuschih hills and trees
by Olga

White-flowered landscape
by Olga

by Olga


Purple flowers
by Olga

Yellow flowers
by Olga

Felt Art tutorials

One last quote. This one's about plain unfelted wool:

My mother told me once that she had her talk with God whenever she started a new sweater: 'Please don't take me in the middle of the sweater.' And as soon as she finished knitting a sweater, and it was blocked and put together, she already had the wool to start the next sweater so that nothing bad would happen.
~Judy Blume

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Bad dreams

The sigh of all the seas breaking in measure round the isles soothed them; the night wrapped them; nothing broke their sleep, until, the birds beginning and the dawn weaving their thin voices in to its whiteness.
~Virginia Woolf

I had thought about talking about sleep for Wellness Wednesday, but I am actually typing this after having only been asleep for an hour and a half. I woke up violently, dreaming that politics was about to literally make me throw up (I wish I were kidding!). So clearly, I am not ready to talk about how to get a good night's sleep. Maybe a better topic would be how to calm yourself down after a bad dream or anything that makes you need calming down.

Of course, staying away from the computer is a good idea. I've been reading Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, and I should probably be cuddled up with that right now instead of here. The irony of me wanting to write about sleep was too great to ignore, however. Here's what I'm using (but not the whole thing! I need to go back to bed :-) ):

I'm not sure this next one would work if you actually play piano because you would probably be too distracted by his technique etc., but I find this view mesmerizingly soothing: