Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was born on April 15, 1452, and died on May 2, 1519. He was an Italian polymath of the High Renaissance who was active as a painter, sculptor, architect, engineer, scientist, draughtsman, theorist.
Saturday, January 29, 2022
Friday, January 28, 2022
We have been having many days and nights with double-digit below zero temperatures or "feels like" temperatures. Needless to say, it's not pleasant weather to be outside in. However, we did have a break in Wednesday's weather with it being in the mid-20s. So, Olivia and I went outside to gather some snow for experiments and went on a walk around part of our farm.
We did a couple of different experiments with snow:
We gathered some snow in two clean mixing bowls and brought them inside the house to melt.
Snow Produces Water
We filled a two-cup measuring cup with fresh snow and let it melt.
I looked up how much water a deer needs to survive during the winter. For every 100 pounds, a deer needs to consume 6 cups of water. We figured out that 12 cups of snow equals 4 cups of water. So, a deer would need to eat 18 cups of snow to equal 6 cups of water...and that's just one day! Without reliable water sources during the winter, deer would have to really look for snow to get enough water.
I read about the geometry of a snowflake - page 809 - of The Handbook of Nature Study. A six-rayed snowflake has angles of 60 degrees. If a snowflake only has three rays, the angles between the rays are 120 degrees.
Also of interest is where the snowflakes form. Those that form in the higher clouds where it is cooler, will be more solid in form and "the spaces in the angles being built out to the tips of the rays."
We spent some time outside even though it was cold to see some things that had changed since the fall when we were regularly going out to explore the land.
Even though initially Sophia and Olivia felt the landscape was rather bland with only shades of brown and dull green, there ended up to be much more color and texture than we anticipated.
Thursday, January 27, 2022
Born on January 31, 1797, Franz Peter Schubert was an Austrian composer of the late Classical and early Romantic eras.
Despite his short lifetime (he died on November 19, 1828, at 31 years old), Schubert left behind a vast body of work, including more than 600 secular vocal works, seven symphonies, operas, sacred music, incidental music, and a large number of piano and chamber music pieces.
His major works include Erlkönig (D. 328), Symphony No. 8 in B minor, D. 759 (Unfinished Symphony), Piano Quintet in A major, D. 667 (Trout Quintet), String Quintet (D. 956), "Great" Symphony No. 9 in C major, D. 944, the three last piano sonatas (D. 958–960), the opera Fierrabras (D. 796), the incidental music to the play Rosamunde (D. 797), and the song cycles Die schöne Müllerin (D. 795) and Winterreise (D. 911).
According to Wikipedia, Schubert "was born in the Himmelpfortgrund suburb of Vienna, and showed uncommon gifts for music from an early age. His father gave him his first violin lessons and his elder brother gave him piano lessons, but Schubert soon exceeded their abilities. In 1808, at the age of eleven, he became a pupil at the Stadtkonvikt school, where he became acquainted with the orchestral music of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. He left the Stadtkonvikt at the end of 1813, and returned home to live with his father, where he began studying to become a schoolteacher. Despite this, he continued his studies in composition with Antonio Salieri and still composed prolifically.
"In 1821, Schubert was admitted to the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde as a performing member, which helped establish his name among the Viennese citizenry. He gave a concert of his own works to critical acclaim in March 1828, the only time he did so in his career. He died eight months later at the age of 31, the cause officially attributed to typhoid fever."
While he was alive, Schubert's music was appreciated by only a relatively small circle of admirers in Vienna. In the decades following his death, interest in his work increased greatly; and Felix Mendelssohn, Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms, and other 19th-century composers discovered and championed his works.
"Today, Schubert is ranked among the greatest composers in the history of Western music and his work continues to be admired."
Olivia listened to four pieces by Franz Schubert and commented on them below.Ave Maria - sung by Andrea Bocelli
Wednesday, January 26, 2022
On May 9, 1913, Flavia Arlotta was born in Naples into a cosmopolitan family. Her father Ugo was wealthy and her mother was a Russian sculptress. At the age of 17, Flavia went to live in Florence to study painting.
According to the Giovanni Colacicchi website, Flavia met Giovanni Colacicchi through Felice Cerena, and the two married. She received her diploma at the Accademia in 1935. Giovanni and Flavia then had two sons: Piero in 1937 and Francesco in 1942.
Flavia "participated in various collective exhibitions in the 1930s and 1940s at Palazzo Strozzi in Florence and the Galleria d'arte Moderna in Rome. In 1939 her father bought her the studio house in Via dell'Osservatorio which remained the well-loved residence of Flavia and Giovanni for the rest of their lives.
She painted still lifes, portraits, and landscapes, and had three solo exhibitions in Florence in 1979, 1984, and 1998. Besides her art, Flavia dedicated her life to the conservation of Florence and the environment.
Flavia died in Florence on December 13, 2010, in her house in Via dell'Osservatorio.
Below are five of Flavia's pieces that Olivia observed. Without looking at the pieces, she recalled different aspects of each one as noted.
Tuesday, January 25, 2022
Giuseppe Domenico Scarlatti, also known as Domingo or Doménico Scarlatti, was an Italian composer who was born on October 26, 1685, in Naples and died on July 23, 1757, in Madrid. Although Scarlatti was classified primarily as a Baroque composer chronologically, his music was influential in the development of the Classical style.
Saturday, January 22, 2022
- This is a classic piece that everyone knows.
- I've listened to it on Spotify.
- At around 1 minute, I don't like that part. Then when it changes back, at 1:23, I like that.
- At 1:50 - I didn't care for that part either. I like the nice, flowing part at 2:23 again.
- I prefer the violin version of this one. It seems to flow a little bit better.
- It is a lot of the same thing. That's pretty common for sonata.
- It is very slow...it's not sad.
- Right...this one. I've heard this a lot.
- Wasn't this in the Little Einsteins...the ones who were going into a cave?
- At 1:27, that's the part I hear a lot.
- I like this one.
According to Wikipedia, Debussy was among the most influential composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. "Born to a family of modest means and little cultural involvement, Debussy showed enough musical talent to be admitted at the age of ten to France's leading music college, the Conservatoire de Paris. He originally studied the piano, but found his vocation in innovative composition, despite the disapproval of the Conservatoire's conservative professors. He took many years to develop his mature style, and was nearly 40 when he achieved international fame in 1902 with the only opera he completed, Pelléas et Mélisande.
Debussy's music was a reaction against the German musical tradition. "He regarded the classical symphony as obsolete and sought an alternative in his 'symphonic sketches'....His piano works include sets of 24 Préludes and 12 Études. Throughout his career, he wrote melodies based on a wide variety of poetry, including his own."
Wikipedia also stated that, "His works have strongly influenced a wide range of composers including Béla Bartók, Olivier Messiaen, George Benjamin, and the jazz pianist and composer Bill Evans. Debussy died from cancer at his home in Paris at the age of 55 after a composing career of a little more than 30 years."
Olivia listened to four pieces by Claude Debussy and had comments about them while she listened to them. The songs are below.
Olivia's thoughts and comments:
- I don't think I've heard this one. I've played a couple of his pieces of his before, but this one doesn't sound familiar at all.
- It is a relaxing song.
- It's not sad, but it's not overly happy either.
- It's a very soft piece. The lower keys...the pedaling...it's flowy.
Olivia's thoughts and comments:
- I might have played this song. I'm guessing that it is either this one or the other one (Arabesque No. 2).
- He does a lot of flowy pieces. In terms of rhythm, they are much easier to play. You don't have to be right on the dot with it which is nice.
- This is definitely a harder version than what I played. I also think that the piece I played wasn't this long.
Olivia's thoughts and comments:
- He was the only composer who I know of who wrote the accents and some of his terms that you have in music in French. I believe it was him. Everything else is Italian-based.
- I feel like he does a lot of scale work. It makes it easy [to play] since you're only going up or down the scale.
- The chords do sound nice together starting at 3:21.
- You can always tell when the ending is coming up with his pieces. It's always a soft ending.
Olivia's thoughts and comments:
- It's like he is watching the girl from afar. Saying that out loud, it kind of sounds creepy.
- Soft ending.
- That's a short piece.
- I liked his music. It was nice. His stuff falls in the more contemporary area of music.
Monday, January 17, 2022
Antonín Leopold Dvořák, a Czech composer, was born on September 8, 1841 and died on May 1, 1904. He was one of the first Czech composers to achieve worldwide recognition.
According to Wikipedia, "Dvořák frequently employed rhythms and other aspects of the folk music of Moravia and his native Bohemia, following the Romantic-era nationalist example of his predecessor Bedřich Smetana. Dvořák's style has been described as 'the fullest recreation of a national idiom with that of the symphonic tradition, absorbing folk influences and finding effective ways of using them.'"
From the age of six years old, Dvořák was a talented violin student. In 1872, the first public performances of his works were occuring in Prague. Wikipedia also stated that "in 1874, he made a submission to the Austrian State Prize for Composition, including scores of two further symphonies and other works. Although Dvořák was not aware of it, Johannes Brahms was the leading member of the jury and was highly impressed. The prize was awarded to Dvořák in 1874 and again in 1876 and in 1877, when Brahms and the prominent critic Eduard Hanslick, also a member of the jury, made themselves known to him. Brahms recommended Dvořák to his publisher, Simrock, who soon afterward commissioned what became the Slavonic Dances, Op. 46."
Wikipedia continues, "In his career, Dvořák made nine invited visits to England, often conducting performances of his own works. His Seventh Symphony was written for London. Visiting Russia in March 1890, he conducted concerts of his own music in Moscow and Saint Petersburg. In 1891, Dvořák was appointed as a professor at the Prague Conservatory. In 1890–91, he wrote his Dumky Trio, one of his most successful chamber music pieces. In 1892, Dvořák moved to the United States and became the director of the National Conservatory of Music of America in New York City. The President of the National Conservatory of Music in America, Jeannette Thurber, offered Dvořák an annual salary of $15,000 – an incredibly lavish sum for the era (equivalent to $432,056 in 2020), 25 times what he was paid at the Prague Conservatory. While in the United States, Dvořák wrote his two most successful orchestral works: the Symphony From the New World, which spread his reputation worldwide, and his Cello Concerto, one of the most highly regarded of all cello concerti.
"In the summer of 1893, Dvořák moved from New York City to Spillville, Iowa, following the advice of his secretary, J.J. Kovarík. Dvořák had originally planned to come back to Bohemia, but Spillville was made up of mostly Czech immigrants, and thus he felt less homesick....This is where he wrote his most famous piece of chamber music, his String Quartet in F major, Op. 96, which was later nicknamed the American Quartet.
"Shortly after his time in Iowa, Dvorák extended his contract at the National Conservatory for another two years. However, the economic crisis of April 1893 resulted in Thurber's husband's loss of income, and directly influenced the National Conservatory's funding. Shortfalls in payment of his salary, along with increasing recognition in Europe and an onset of homesickness, led him to leave the United States and return to Bohemia in 1895.
"All of Dvořák's nine operas, except his first, have librettos in Czech and were intended to convey the Czech national spirit, as were some of his choral works. By far the most successful of the operas is Rusalka.
Dvořák has been described as "arguably the most versatile... composer of his time". In fact, as a celebration of his life and works, there's an annual Dvořák Prague International Music Festival.