Thursday, 28 February 2013

Art, Interpretation, Pipes that are not pipes

I know that Banksy isn't from our period but, since we talked about him in class, I decided to look him up.
As it turns out, we can make a connection between this contemporary street artist/political activist and the 1920s, particularly between him and René Magritte. Banksy made his own interpretation of Magritte's surrealist painting "The Treachery of Images". And, like a good surrealist piece of art, it poses the question: what is really real (redundancy intended)?
It also poses the question which the linguists in the class (you know who you are) may appreciate (I know I do): what do words really mean and why do we give something one particular name instead of another one?
Think about these things for a moment as you take in Banksy’s art.
Don't forget to be awesome,
Sara Santos.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

On the class hatred in relation to "Irréversible"...

An interview with Gaspar Noé adapted from here.

  • Why did the rape scene have to last nine minutes?

That is simply as long as it might last in real life. Sometimes you hear stories of someone being raped for half an hour. It seemed the normal timing for the situation. I could have decided not to show the whole thing and panned the camera in and skipped parts.

  • Did you speak to many rape victims in advance of shooting?

Many of the girls I dated had been raped, but people don’t like talking about it. When I ask a woman if she has been raped, she’ll often say “yes”, even, in some cases, “twice”. When you ask questions, you feel like it’s not your business. I guess you just guess what it would be like. Anti-rape associations have expressed appreciation for the movie.

  • Are you talking about date rapes? Or rapes by strangers, ambushes?

I know a lot of people who had been raped violently in the streets. It can be a 50-year-old woman who told you it happened 25 years ago. A member of the crew had been raped, too. I can’t say who she is.

It happens often in real life. It’s rarely portrayed in movies because it’s a much closer [more intimate] crime in everyday life than murder.

On the class hatred in relation to "A Clockwork Orange"...

An interview with Stanley Kubrick adapted from here.

  • You deal with the violence in a way that appears to distance it.

If this occurs it may be because the story both in the novel and the film is told by Alex, and everything that happens is seen through his eyes. Since he has his own rather special way of seeing what he does, this may have some effect in distancing the violence. Some people have asserted that this made the violence attractive. I think this view is totally incorrect.

    • How do you explain the fascination that Alex exercises on the audience?

    I think that it's probably because we can identify with Alex on the unconscious level. The psychiatrists tell us the unconscious has no conscience - and perhaps in our unconscious we are all potential Alexes. It may be that only as a result of morality, the law and sometimes our own innate character that we do not become like him. Perhaps this makes some people feel uncomfortable and partly explains some of the controversy which has arisen over the film. Perhaps they are unable to accept this view of human nature.

      • What was your attitude towards violence in your film?

      The violence in the story has to be given sufficient dramatic weight so that the moral dilemma it poses can be seen in the right context. It is absolutely essential that Alex is seen to be guilty of a terrible violence against society, so that when he is eventually transformed by the State into a harmless zombie you can reach a meaningful conclusion about the relative rights and wrongs. If we did not see Alex first as a brutal and merciless thug it would be too easy to agree that the State is involved in a worse evil in depriving him of his freedom to choose between good and evil. It must be clear that it is wrong to turn even unforgivably vicious criminals into vegetables.

        • What is your opinion about the increasing screen violence in recent years?

        There has always been violence in art. There is violence in the Bible, violence in Homer, violence in Shakespeare, and many psychiatrists believe that it serves as a catharsis rather than a model. I think the question of whether there has been an increase in screen violence and, if so, what effect this has had, is to a very great extent a media-defined issue. I know there are well-intentioned people who sincerely believe that films and TV contribute to violence, but almost all of the official studies of this question have concluded that there is no evidence to support this view. At the same time, I think the media tend to exploit the issue because it allows them to display and discuss the so-called harmful things from a lofty position of moral superiority. 

        I am also surprised at the extremely illogical distinction that is so often drawn between harmful violence and the so-called harmless violence of, say, "Tom and Jerry" cartoons or James Bond movies, where often sadistic violence is presented as unadulterated fun. I hasten to say, I don't think that they contribute to violence either. Films and TV are also convenient whipping boys for politicians because they allow them to look away from the social and economic causes of crime, about which they are either unwilling or unable to do anything.

        Superman 1932

        "Superman is a fictional character, a comic book superhero who appears in comic books published by DC Comics. He is widely considered to be an American cultural icon. Created by American writer Jerry Siegel and Canadian-born American artist Joe Shuster in 1932 while both were living in Cleveland, Ohio, and sold to Detective Comics, Inc. (later DC Comics) in 1938, the character first appeared in Action Comics #1 (June 1938) and subsequently appeared in various radio serials, television programs, films, newspaper strips, and video games. With the success of his adventures, Superman helped to create the superhero genre and establish its primacy within the American comic book. The character's appearance is distinctive and iconic: a blue, red and yellow costume, complete with cape, with a stylized "S" shield on his chest. This shield is typically used across media to symbolize the character.

        The origin story of Superman relates that he was born Kal-El on the planet Krypton, before being rocketed to Earth as an infant by his scientist father Jor-El, moments before Krypton's destruction. Discovered and adopted by a Kansas farmer and his wife, the child is raised as Clark Kent and imbued with a strong moral compass. Very early he started to display superhuman abilities, which upon reaching maturity he resolved to use for the benefit of humanity.

        Superman has fascinated scholars, with cultural theorists, commentators, and critics alike exploring the character's impact and role in the United States and the rest of the world. Umberto Eco discussed the mythic qualities of the character in the early 1960s, and Larry Niven has pondered the implications of a sexual relationship involving the character.[9] The character's ownership has often been the subject of dispute, with Siegel and Shuster twice suing for the return of legal ownership. Superman placed first on IGN's Top 100 Comic Book Heroes in May 2011" (

        ~ César ~

        Sunday, 24 February 2013

        The essence of America lies not in the headlined heroes . . .

        In keeping with the subject of American folk music, I bring you two other iconic names in American culture: John and Alan Lomax. Both father and son dedicated their careers to collecting and preserving folk music through the Archive of American Folk Song.
         John Lomax (1867-1948) was a pioneer musicologist, folklorist and teacher. Having been brought up in a farm, Lomax never stopped trying to improve his education, attending annual lecture-and-concert series at New York State's Chautauqua Institute, majored in English Literature and studied under George Lyman Kittredge, celebrated professor and scholar on Shakespeare and Chaucer, at Harvard University, the centre of the American folklore studies at the time. He published an anthology of Western songs, Cowboy Songs and Other Frontier Ballads, sparked a nationwide interest for folk material, and co-founded the Texas Folklore Society, a branch of the American Folklore Society.
        Lomax began working with the Library of Congress in 1932 and continued until 1942. The entire Lomax family, namely his second wife and four children, assisted him in his folksong research. His son Alan went with him on field trips across the whole country, during which they recorded pieces of folk and blues songs from both famous musicians and social nobodies. They focused mainly on African-American community, because they considered it was there they could find a wider range of musical genres. However, since a disproportionate number of African-American men were held at prisons at the time, Lomax and Robert Gordon (his predecessor in the endeavour to create an archive of folk music) toured Texas prison farms. It was, in fact, at the Louisiana State Penitentiary that John Lomax found Huddie Ledbetter, also known as Lead Belly, a twelve-string guitar player and folk/blues singer (By the way, this guy was very important for American folk music. Look him up.)
        Alan Lomax followed in his father’s footsteps and contributed to further complete the Archive of Folk Culture, even after the Library of Congress had cut off funding for folksong collecting. While his father collected songs from 33 states within the US, Alan Lomax went searching for material outside American borders, touring Britain, Ireland, Italy, Spain and the Caribbean. He also devoted much of his life advocating Cultural Equity, which he tried to put on a solid theoretical foundation with his “Cantometrics” research (“song measurements”, a method developed for relating elements the world’s traditional vocal music with the social organization). But that’s a story for another day.
        Here are some very helpful links if you want to know more about this subject. For once, Wikipedia is actually very informative. 
        Unknown Fiddler from Southern US Field Trip, 1959. Photo by Alan Lomax.
        Don't forget to be awesome,
        Sara Santos.

        The Silent Shakespeare

           Last Wednesday, February 20th at 6pm, there was a session entitled      
        "The Silent Shakespeare" in room 5.2  

        Here is a clip of  Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream (Silent) 1909 

        and two silent clips of The Tempest 

        You will notice I took most of the videos from or this site 
        These were most of the videos that were shown during the session, followed by a brief commentary on the difficulties of transforming Shakespeare's plays into the early cinema. From rich, colorful language into a black and white mute motion picture, relying on the expressiveness of the actors and the music in the background to give life to Shakespeare's words. Furthermore, the importance of photography and the theater were referred to as influences of the early cinematic adaptations of plays and other forms of literature. 

        From Stage to Screen was recommended for further studies. Below is a link to an available online version by Google Books

        I found these links for a bit of reading:

        And this final link about movies

        a post by Catherine Santos

        Macbeth the movie

                                                   To whoever might be interested you can watch
                                                    the full version of the 1997 movie on youtube:

                                                                                                                                             Cheers, César

                                           On a side note, there's also a Rap video clip with the story,    
                                              which sounds pretty awesome, made by Flocabulary.

                  Flocabulary produces educational hip-hop music and learning materials to make content come to life. Free songs and lessons are available here:

                                    BBC created an animated series based on it, although the art is a bit lame:

        Saturday, 23 February 2013

        To a Mouse

        Just felt like sharing the poem "To a Mouse" by Robert Burns of whom we spoke about a few classes back.

        This is the poem in modern English:

        To a mouse

        Small, sleek, cowering, timorous beast,
        O, what a panic is in your breast!
        You need not run away so quickly
        Squeaking with alarm!
        I would not want to run and chase you,
        With a murdering spade.

        I'm truly sorry man's dominion
        Has broken Nature's social union,
        And justifies that ill opinion
        Which makes thee startle
        At me, thy poor, earth born companion
        And fellow mortal!

        I don't doubt that sometimes you may steal;
        What then? Poor beast, you must live!
        An oocasional ear of twenty-four bundles
        Is a small request;
        I'll get a blessing with what's left,
        And never miss it.

        Your small house, too, in ruin!
        It's fragile walls the winds are blowing!
        And nothing now, to build a new one,
        Of thick green grass!
        And bleak December's winds coming,
        Both harsh and keen!

        You saw the fields laid bare and wasted,
        And weary winter coming fast,
        And cozy here, beneath the blast,
        You thought to dwell,
        Till crash! the cruel ploughshare past
        Out through your cell.

        That small bit heap of leaves and stubble,
        Has cost you many a weary nibble!
        Now you are turned out, for all your trouble,
        Without house or holding,
        To endure the winter's sleety dribble,
        And hoar-frost cold.

        But Mouse, you are not alone,
        In proving foresight may be vain:
        The best laid schemes of mice and men
        Go often awry,
        And leave us naught but grief and pain,
        For promised joy!

        Still you are blest, compared with me!
        The present only touches thee:
        But oh! I backward cast my eye,
        On prospects dreary!
        And forward, though I cannot see,
        I guess and fear!

        Read out loud version:

        You can have a look at all of his works here:

        There's the original and modern english version for each of his poems.


        While taking a "walk" on my facebook feed I found a really amazing picture which conveys a similar sense of Dali's clocks, hope you enjoy the picture as much as i did. ~ César ~

        The message is by C. S. Lewis, 1898-1963, mostly known for writing "The Chronicles of Narnia".
        The author of the picture is Igor Morski, a Polish graphic designer, illustrator and set designer. You can check out his portfolio here

        Friday, 22 February 2013


        I hate a song that makes you think that you are not any good. I hate a song that makes you think that you are just born to lose. Bound to lose. No good to nobody. No good for nothing. Because you are too old or too young or too fat or too slim too ugly or too this or too that. Songs that run you down or poke fun at you on account of your bad luck or hard traveling. ... I am out to fight those songs to my very last breath of air and my last drop of blood.
        I am out to sing songs that will prove to you that this is your world and that if it has hit you pretty hard and knocked you for a dozen loops, no matter what color, what size you are, how you are built, I am out to sing the songs that make you take pride in yourself and in your work.
        Woody Guthrie, in a performance monologue
        Woody Guthrie is probably one of the most famous and important names in American music. Along with Cisco Houston and Lead Belly, he was at the root of American folk music, and later inspired what is called the American folk music revival, serving as a mentor to singers Bob Dylan (a favourite of mine) and Ramblin' Jack Elliott.
        What is interesting about Woody Guthrie is that he sang about the people and for the people. His protest songs criticized injustice, intolerance and inequality. His first album, Dust Bowl Ballads, reflects the situation of many Americans during the Great Depression: going from town to town, from farm to farm, working hard for a meager living, "with no home in this world anymore".
        Oh, and he also hated fascists. Very much.

        I leave you with a small biography.

        Woodrow Wilson Guthrie (yes, he had the same name as the 28th President of the USA) was born on July 14th, 1912, in Okemah, Oklahoma, to Nora Bell and Charles Edward Guthrie, a businessman actively involved in politics and Democratic candidate for the county office. His father was involved in the lynching of the African-Americans Laura and Lawrence Nelson. His mother suffered from Huntington’s disease and was later committed to the Hospital for the Insane. From an early age, Guthrie and his siblings had had to rely on his older brother Roy for support. When he was 14, Woody had to beg meals and sleep at friends’ homes.
        Those were, as Dickens would put it, hard times. He had anything but an idyllic childhood. But it was also when he was 14 years old that Woody Guthrie bought his first harmonica, and learned to “play by ear” old ballads and traditional English songs. Although he did not finish high school, he was an avid reader and once wrote a manuscript summarizing everything he had read about Psychology (seriously!).
        He traveled a lot in his life. In the 30s, he left his wife and joined many other Okies who went to look for work in California. Around that time, he began singing in radio shows, writing and performing protest songs such as Talkin’ Dust Bowl Blues and I Ain’t Got No Home In This World Anymore. Now in New York, and tired of the radio playing Irving Berlin’s God Bless America constantly as nationalist propaganda, Woody Guthrie wrote the song for which he would become famous for decades to come: This Land Is Your Land. Feeling too restricted with the radio rules, and disgruntled with New York, Guthrie and his family moved to Washington, only to come back later as a member of the Almanac Singers, a group created by Pete Seeger, performing “hootenanny” shows (kind of like folk-singing jam sessions).
        During WWII, Guthrie served in the US Merchant Marine as a mess man and dishwasher, although he preferred to fight fascism with songs and poems. He would afterwards be dismissed due to his association with Communism and then be drafted into the U.S.Army. In 1952, he was diagnosed with Huntington’s disease, the same as his mother. He got married for the third time and had a daughter. Then he hurt his arm in a campfire accident, and was no longer able to play the guitar. Later on, he was hospitalized in several institutions. Bob Dylan visited him at Brooklyn State Hospital and sang to him, when Guthrie recognized him. Woody Guthrie passed away on October 3rd 1967 due to complications of Huntington’s disease.
        Bob Dylan would later say of Guthrie: "The songs themselves were really beyond category. They had the infinite sweep of humanity in them."
        All You Fascists Bound To Lose (
        I Ain't Got No Home In This World Anymore (

        Don't forget to be awesome,
        Sara Santos.

        The Cameraman (1928)

        Buster Keaton's The Cameraman is one of the last silent films to be produced.

        Here is the link to the film's plot:

        It is worth seeing.

        Thursday, 21 February 2013

        Macbeth, William Shakespeare

        For anyone interested I found a site where you can read Macbeth online, or download it in different formats.

        Here you go :)

        Academy Awards

        The Academy Awards, which were re-branded as The Oscars yesterday (February 20, 2013), are organised and overseen by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS).
        The first ceremony of the Oscars took place at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, on the 16th of May, 1929.
        The award for Best Picture went to the movie Wings (1927). It is the only silent film to have won the Oscar for Best Picture.

        Fifteen statuettes were awarded that night, however the winners had been announced 3 months earlier. The current system, in which the winners are known only in the ceremony, has been used since 1941.

        Wednesday, 20 February 2013

        La belle Polonaise...

        Tamara de Lempicka Self-portrait driving 'her' green bugatti. (1925)

        Ana Tomaz

        Topic for discussion: Advertising

        ~ César ~

                                                     Article about advertising in the 20's
                                                           eye witness to

        Tuesday, 19 February 2013

        Influential Artists in the 20’s and 30’s

        Since we've been trying to find as many artists from the 20's and 30's as we could, I decided to start a list where we can add all the artists we can come up with, I wrote down a "few" already :)      cheers, César 

        Influential Artists in the 20’s and 30’s

        1. Agatha Christie, 1890-1976, crime writer, "Murder on the Orient Express"
        2. Charles Lee Smith, 1887-1964, attorney, author, atheist activist, "Truth Seeker"
        3. Christopher Isherwood, 1904-1986, novelist, "The Berlin Stories", "Frankenstein: the true story"
        4. D.H.Lawrence 1907–1930, novelist, poet, playwright, essayist, literary critic, "Lady Chatterley's Lover"
        5. e.e. Cummings, 1894-1962, poet, painter, essayist, author, and playwright, "Tulips and chimneys", "Fairytales"
        6. Edith Wharton, 1962-1937, Novelist, "The Age of Innocence"
        7. Edna St. Vincent Millay, 1892-1950, lyrical poet, "Euclid alone has looked on Beauty bare"
        8. Ernest Hemingway, 1899-1961, writer and journalist, "The Old Man and the Sea"
        9. Eugene O'Neill, 1888-1953, playwright, "The Iceman Cometh", "The Great God Brown", "Ah, Wilderness!"
        10. Ezra Pound, 1885-1972, poet and  literary critic, "Ripostes", "Hugh Selwyn Mauberley"
        11. F. Scott Fitzgerald 1896-1940, writer, "The Great Gatsby"
        12. Fernando Pessoa, 1888-1935, poet, writer, literary critic, translator, publisher and philosopher, "Forever Someone Else", "Message", "Book of Disquiet"
        13. George Orwell, 1903-1950, novelist, journalist, "Animal Farm", "Nineteen Eighty-Four", "Keep the Aspidistra Flying"
        14. Gertrude Stein, 1874-1946, experimental novelist, poet and playwright, "The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas"
        15. H.G. Wells, 1866-1946, writer, "The War of the Worlds"
        16. H.L. Mencken, 1880-1956, journalist, essayist, magazine editor, satirist, critic, "The American Language"
        17. Haldous Huxley, 1894-1963, writer, "Brave New World"
        18. Harper Lee, 1926-1961, writer, "To Kill a Mockingbird"
        19. Hart Crane, 1899-1932, poet, "The Bridge"
        20. James Joyce, 1882-1941, novelist, poet, Ulysses, "Dubliners", "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man", "Finnegans Wake"
        21. John Steinbeck, 1902-1968, writer, "Of Mice and Men", "The Grapes of Wrath", "East of Eden"
        22. J R.R. Tolkien, 1892-1973, writer, poet, philologist, "The Hobbit", "The Lord of the Rings", "The Silmarillion"
        23. Langston Hughes, 1902-1967, poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist, "The Weary Blues"
        24. Luigi Pirandello, 1867-1936, dramatist, novelist, poet, "Playful Evil", The Man, "The Beast and The Virtue"
        25. Robert Frost 1874-1963, poet, "The Gift Outright"
        26. Sinclair Lewis, 1885-1951, novelist, playwright, "Main Street"
        27. T.S. Eliot 1888-1965, poet and literary critic, "The Waste land"
        28. Virginia Woolf, 1882-1941, writer, "Mrs Dalloway", "To the Lighthouse", "Orlando"
        29. William C Williams, 1883-1963, poet, "The Red Wheelbarrow", "Spring and All", "Paterson"
        30. William Faulkner, 1897-1962, writer, "As I lay Dying"
        31. W.H. Auden, 1907-1973, poet, "The Age of Anxiety"

        Eugene O'Neill, ,playwright, "A Long Day's Journey Into Night"

        1. Alfred Hitchcock, The 39 Steps
        2. Carl Dreyer, Vampyr
        3. Charles Chaplin, City Lights, Modern Times
        4. Frank Capra, Mr. Smith goes to New York
        5. Fritz Lang, M
        6. Harold Young, The Scarlet Pimpernel
        7. Howard Hawks, Scarface,
        8. Jack Conway, A Tale of Two Cities
        9. James Whale, Frankenstein, The Bride of Frankenstein
        10. Jean Renoir, The Rules of the Game
        11. Jean Vigo, L’Atalante
        12. Josef Sternberg, The Blue Angel
        13. Leo McCarey, Duck Soup
        14. Lewis Milestone, Of Mice and Men
        15. Mark Sandrich, Top Hat
        16. Merian Cooper, King Kong
        17. Merwyn LeRoy, Little Caeser
        18. Michael Curtiz, The Adventures of Robin Wood, Angels with dirty faces
        19. William Dieterle, The Hunchback of Notre Dame
        20. Orson Wells, 1915-1985, actor, director, writer, "Citizen Kane"
        21. Sam Wood, A Night at the Opera
        22. Tod Browning, Dracula, Freaks
        23. Victor Fleming, Gone with the Wind, “The Wizard of Oz
        24. William Gotrell, Snow White and the seven Dwarfs
        25. W.S. Van Dyke, The Thin Man, Manhattan Melodrama

        1. Claude Monet, 1840-1926, French Impressionist Painter
        2. Edgar Degas, 1834-1917, French Realist/Impressionist Painter and Sculptor
        3. Edvard Munch, 1863-1944, Norwegian Symbolist/Expressionist Painter
        4. Edward Hopper, 1882-1967, American Scene Painter       
        5. Georgia O'Keeffe, 1887-1986, American Painter
        6. Gustav Klimt, 1862-1918, Austrian Art Nouveau Painter
        7. H. Matisse, 1869-1954, French Fauvist Painter and Sculptor
        8. Jackson Pollock, 1912-1956, American Abstract Expressionist Painter
        9. Joan Miró i Ferrà, 1893-1983, Spanish Surrealist Painter and Sculptor
        10. Pablo Picasso, 1881-1973, Spanish Cubist Painter and Sculptor
        11. Paul Cézanne, 1839-1906, French Post-Impressionist Painter
        12. Paul Klee, 1879-1940, Swiss Expressionist Painter
        13. Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1841-1919, French Impressionist Painter
        14. Salvador Dali, 1904-1989, Spanish Surrealist Painter
        15. Vasilij Kandinskij, 1866-1944, Russian-born French Expressionist Painter

        1. Art Deco - Le Corbusier, 1887-1965, architect, designer, urbanist, and writer, 
        2. Bauhaus - Walter Gropius, 1883-1969, German architect,
        3. Constructivist – Vladimir Tatlin, 1885-1953, painter and architect
        4. De Stijl (Neoplasticism) - Theo Van Doesburg, 1883-1931, painter, writer, poet, architect,
        5. Fascist - Giuseppe Terragni, Marcello Piacentini, and Albert Speer.
        6. Functionalism – Louis Sullivan, 1856-1924, American Architect aka “father of skyscrapers”
        7. Futurist – Antonio Sant'Elia, Mario Chiattone, architects, and Fillipo Tommaso Marinetti, 1876-1944, poet and editor
        8. International Style - Henry Hitchcock, 1903-1987, architectural historian,  and Philip Johnson, 1906-2005, architect,
        9. Neues Bauen (New objectivity) - Walter Gropius and Adolf Meyer's
        10. Organic Architecture and Usonia – Frank Lloyd Wright, 1867-1959, American architect, interior designer, writer and educator
        11. Streamline Moderne (Art Moderne)(new Art Deco in the 30’s) Raymond Loewy, Walter Dorwin Teague, Gilbert Rohde, Norman Bel Geddes

        1. Al Jolson, 1886-1950, American singer, comedian, and actor
        2. Benjamin Selvin, 1898-1980, musician, bandleader, record producer and innovator
        3. Benny Meroff, 1899-1973, composer and musician
        4. Benny Goodman, 1909-1986, American jazz and swing musician, clarinetist and bandleader
        5. Duke Ellington, 1899-1974, American composer, pianist, and big-band leader
        6. Guy Lombardo, 1902-1977, Canadian-American bandleader and violinist.
        7. Harry Richman, 1895-1972, singer, actor, dancer, comedian, pianist, songwriter, bandleader, and night club performer
        8. Leo Reisman, 1897-1961, violinist and bandleader  
        9. Nat Shilkret, 1889-1982, American composer, conductor, clarinetist, pianist, business executive, and music director
        10. Paul Whiteman, 1890-1967, American bandleader and orchestral director
        11. Rudy Vallee, 1901-1986, American singer, actor, bandleader, and entertainer
        12. Ruth Etting, 1897-1978, American singing star and actress
        13. Roy Ingraham, 1895-1988, Songwriter, composer and conductor
        14. Son House, 1902-1988, American blues singer and guitarist
        15. Ted lewis, 1890-1971, American entertainer, bandleader, singer, and musician
        16. Ted Weems, 1901-1963, American bandleader and musician
        17. Tommy Dorsey, 1905-1956, American jazz trombonist, trumpeter, composer, and bandleader

        Sunday, 17 February 2013

        Never too late to do what you want :)

        Just saw this little piece of text, and thought about posting it here since we mentioned Fitzgerald in class.

                                                                                                                                                 ~ César ~

        Notes on composers

        Hello again!

        This a list of some composers from "our "period and some of their most interesting (or intriguing) works

        - Alban Berg - Lulu (opera with only two acts - 1937; finished post mortem)

        -John Cage (this one is VERY difficult but...well perhaps Sonata for Clarinet and Sonata for two voices - 1933)

        -Manuel de Falla ( The Ballet The Magistrate and the Miller´s Wife - El corregidor y la molinera. In 1917, it became known as The Three Cornered Hat - El sombrero de tres picos)

        -George Gershwin (Rhapsody in Blue, 1924; Porgy and Bess - folk opera, 1935)

        -Arthur Honegger (Jeanne D´Arc au Bûcher, 1935)

        -LeoŠ JaváČek (String Quartet No.2 - "Intimate Letters"- 1928)

        -Aram Kachaturian (Sabre Dance from the Ballet Gayane, 1942)

        -Carl Orff (Also Sprach Zarathustra - Thus Spoke Zarathustra - 1911/1912; The trilogy Trionfi - Triumphs - where Carmina Burana is included - 1937)

        -Sergei Prokofiev (Ballet Romeu and Juliet - 1935/1936 which includes the famous March of the Capulets; Ballet Cinderella - 1940-1944; Peter and the Wolf - 1936)

        -Giacomo Puccini (Il Trittico, a three-one act operas: Il Tabarro, Suor Angelica and Gianni Shicchi. The last one is the most popular, thanks to the famous aria "O mio Babbino Caro" 

        :) Ana de Fátima

        Schoenberg and the dodecaphonic revolution

        «Arnold Schoenberg remains one of the most controversial figures in the history of music. From the final years of the nineteenth century to the period following the World War II, Schoenberg produced music of great stylistic diversity, inspiring fanatical devotion from students, admiration from peers like Mahler, Strauss, and Busoni, riotous anger from conservative Viennese audiences, and unmitigated hatred from his many detractors.» (in
         There is no better way to introduce this 20th century austrian composer to the general public. Schoenberg´s ideas were misunderstood by critics in the Twenties and even today we miss the point of his achievement. Fear not because I will do my best not to enter into details concerning music theory. steps then.
        Schoenberg (Schönberg in german) invented the twelve tone composition or, as it is commonly known, the dodecaphonic serial method or just serialism. Basically, you have 12 notes of a chromatic scale organized equally and independently.They are arranged in what is called a row, or series, chosen by the composer. Each note can be repeated whenever you want, as long as you bear in mind that, when you change the note, you are also changing the row. Therefore, you cannot use the notes you used before until you play all the twelve notes of the current row you decided to use. The composer is also entitled to do some transformations: prime ( the initial row), inversion (transpose the row to begin in another note but with the same intervals), retrograde (play the row backwards) and retrograde-inversion ( a combination of the former two). Schoenberg also used several mathematical formulas to manipulate the series, breaking it into several parts and work them separately. By this time, we are all screaming "That is just...atonal!". And Schoenberg was indeed accused of making atonal pieces. In 1908, when String Quartet #2, op.10 with a soprano was performed for the first time, the audience was throwned into confusion. They declared the composer "insane" and the title of "inventor of atonalism" was bestowed upon him by reporters.

        String Quartet #2 op.10 (1908) Mov.3-;

        Schoenberg´s goal wasn´t to cut ties with the 19th century composers nor with the traditional classical forms. He was a Wagner, Brahms and a Strauss fan and their influence is evident in some of his pieces. What the austrian composer wanted was to stretch the boundaries of harmony and composition and to leave his mark on this world because, and I am quoting him, «I believe what I do and do only what I believe; and woe to anybody who lays hands on my faith. Such a man I regard as an enemy, and no quarter given

        Take Mozart and Wagner into consideration. When you listen to a piece of music from the first composer, your ears can pick a familiar melody no matter the change of tempos. For example, his Piano Sonata N.11 in A major. The name might not ring any bells but listen to the first ten seconds and I am certain you will recognize it instantly.

        Piano Sonata N.11 in A major. Andante grazioso-

        You know which keys will going to be played next. You realise along the way that it doesn´t matter what modulations or changes of keys might happen - that familiar melody, that theme, is bound to return.
        Now, remember Wagner? Listen to Siegfried´s Funeral March from Götterdämmerung (The Twilight of the Gods), the last opera in The Ring (for short) cycle.

        Siegfried´s Funeral March  -

        Harmonic freedom towards its zenith. Don´t you get lost in a whirlwind of emotions and visual images? The keys have no structural boundaries, they change so quickly or so slowly and far more often, I dare to say, than in Mozart´s time. You don´t know what to expect because, as before, you feel overwhelmed (it is Wagner after all...what could we expect? Die Valküre/Ride of the Valkyries is just the tip of the iceberg!), but that familiar melodie didn´t even make an appearance...can you grasp it? Was there even one?

        Schoenberg´s idea was to look beyond tonality but without losing the classical stucture components. He admired Wagner´s genius but thought that composition needed order. The tonic and the dominant  don´t get special treatment within Schoenberg´s twelve tone-technique. By arranging the musical lines and notes separately, he gave them independence and power of its own. All together, they make way to a spellbound harmony when the listener least expects it. His works inspired composers such as Gershwin and John Cage. Alongside Stravinsky, Arnold Shoenberg is considered to be one of the greatest influences in 20th century music.


        For further reading on - harmony, intervals, transformation, theme, tempo, traditional classical forms, tonic, dominant, row, and other music terms
        More information on Schoenberg:exextrac biography, works and ideas-
        Excerpt from Schoenberg´s "atonal opera" Moses und Aron" (1932) - ; Piano Concert op.42 (1942)

        Ana de Fátima

        Thursday, 14 February 2013

        This is not a blog post


        "Thanks to art, instead of seeing one world only, our own, we see that world multiply itself and we have at our disposal as many worlds as there are original artists, worlds more different one from the other than those which revolve in infinite space (...)"
                                                                                                                                                  Marcel Proust

        The breaking of every social and artistic convention in the beginning of the 20th century paved the inherited place we live in today. Modernism, they called it. An explosion of innovation, a thirst to bend and break the dogmas of society and surpass the "self".   
        Art was reborn and depicted through a canvas of infinite possibilities, and though the artist transformed art, they were also transformed by it.  
        The very concept of art not only changed but infected society, and art became a way of life, in every aspect of life. 

        Speaking of concept, what better example than  The Treachery of Images by René Magritte.

        Magritte himself is said to have commented: "The famous pipe. How people reproached me for it! And yet, could you stuff my pipe? No, it's just a representation, is it not? So if I had written on my picture 'This is a pipe,' I'd have been lying!"

        Magritte challenged not only language, but shattered the abstract and built up notion of a pipe. He amazed and confused people by representing something considered vulgar and obvious of it's use, and dared others to question it before letting themselves be blurred by conceptualization.                                                                                                                                                         

        by Catherine Santos

        Wednesday, 13 February 2013

        Some paintings

        Hi everyone just wanted to share what in my belief are the greatest paintings ever done by Man, which arguably in my opinion belong to one of the greatest painters to ever have lived.

                                                   The first one is called "The Persistence of Memory"

                                                   The second is a rebuild of the first and is called
                                                  "The Disintregation of the Persistence of Memory"

                    Both are by Dali and the wiki articles on both of them are really good food for thought:
                                                                                                                                                 Cheers, César ;)