Author: 63mago

Aufräum’

Zeit zum Aufräum’. So the smallish pile of books needs to be attacked – smallish, tiny, ach … In no special order follow titles of books I read since the last list was published sometime in September.

Aperture Masters of Photography : Manuel Alvarez Bravo. Cologne 1997
Nicely done reproductions of ALVAREZ BRAVOs (Ger., Eng., Getty)  b/w photographs. A small tome with an essay by A.D. COLEMAN (Eng.). No special reason, I just wanted to look at good photography.
The same goes for another volume of the mentioned series :

Aperture Masters of Photography : Paul Strand. Cologne 1997
With an essay by Mark HAWORTH-BOOTH (Eng., website). I always admired Paul STRAND (Ger., Eng., Heilbrunn), somewhere around here is his New England book. Just look and enjoy.

DEUERLEIN, Ernst G. ; PAULUS, Herbert ; WILHELM, Hermann : Beiträge zur Kunstpflege in Erlangen. 50 Jahre Kunstverein Erlangen 1904-1954. Erlangen 1954
Erlangen (Ger., Eng.) is a city in Middle Franconia. There are no special things to know about Erlangen. Of course interested citizens founded an art society, and after ups & downs they presented themselves and the rest of the world with a festschrift for the fifty year jumbilee. Here it is.

SPROTTE, Bernhard : Geleit im Tauberland. Als Nünberger Kaufleute zur Frankfurter Messe zogen. Wertheim 1973 (Veröffentlichungen d. Historischen Vereins Wertheim, 1)
Merchants need to go to the market. Large markets were held through the Middle Ages right into Early Modern Times in free cities, like Frankfurt am Main, Nürnberg, Augsburg, and others. To travel safe merchants formed convoys and bought an escort from local rulers. For these domini terrae it was a good business ; fares, taxes and of course the segments where who had the right to escort, were fixed, but nevertheless disputed from time to time.
The valley of the Tauber is a natural East-West connection for travelling merchants. Also there were turnings towards Würzburg, in generally Northern direction, and to the South, generally in direction of the very rich Augsburg. SPROTTE, about whom I could find nothing more, depicts these aspects of the local history (of traffic, of commerce, of public safety) in a clear and even entertaining way. Of course it is only interesting for a local historian, and / or for someone who knows the area and places.

GOMBRICH, Ernst H.: Die Krise der Kulturgeschichte. Gedanken zum Wertproblem in den Geisteswissenschaften. München, September 1991
(zuerst : Ideals and Idols, Oxford 1979)
Damn, I wish I had read this twenty or more years ago. I always thought of GOMBRICH (Ger., Eng., archive) as an art historian – yes he is this too, but he is a cultural historian. I will not repeat here what Sir Ernst has thought, written & discussed in his unique way. This book, or better these articles published in one tome, are still today definitely worth a read, and thought or two.

WEIGAND, Waldemar : Das Königliche Spiel. Eine kulturgeschichtliche Studie. Berlin 1959
It is a small history of chess, with the emphasis of the origins. Simply nice. Could find nothing more on Mr WEIGAND.

GLENDINNING, Victoria : Edith Sitwell. 1. Auflage dt., Frankfurt (am Main) 1995
(zuerst : Edith Sitwell. A Unicorn Among Lions. 1981. Übersetzt von Karl A. KLEWER)
Edith (Ger., Eng.) and her brothers, reviled and revered. I think Ms GLENDINNING (Ger., Eng.) did an outstanding good biography of Ms SITWELL. She never ridicules her, never puts her on a piedestal, no worship, no bashing, but a clear view on this unique lady. Even if you are not especially interested in English poetry, or the intrigues etc. – just follow this strange person through her life, I find it terribly interesting.

That’s it. Maybe you found something interesting, and hence will start reading ?

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Sunday Music

The last week was uneventful, and good so – no catastrophe on international & national level, in the neighbourhood or the personal environment, it may go on through the rest of this year.
I was unsure what to bring as Sunday Music. My thoughts went in the jazz-rock / prog-rock direction (think Gong or King Crimson), but they always feel the need to play so long – is the art of the short & luscious song extinct ?
When I looked outside I realised that it was already dark, and it will be dark tomorrow when I have to get up & step out, it will be dark for some time while I work in the morning, and the evening too. But I will move into the morning, hopefully a colourful one with sun, not a grey foggy snow affaire.
So we turn to the old masters, who estimate small forms, and sometimes pack more into two or three minutes than modern composers and performers into twelve. We hear LASSUS’  song La Nuict Froide et Sombre (wiki), sadly I did not find who is performing.

La nuit froide et sombre
Couvrant d’obscure ombre
La terre et les cieux,
Aussi doux que miel
Fait couler du ciel
Le sommeil aux yeux.

Puis le jour suisant
Au labeur duisant
Sa lueur expose,
Et d’un tein divers
Ce grand univers
Tapisse et compose.

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Night cold and sombre,
Covering with dark shade
Earth and heaven,
Pours from the sky
Sleep, as sweet as honey,
On the eyes.

Then day, following
And leading men to toil,
Spreads its light,
And with varying colours
Weaves and ordains
This great universe.

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I especially like the “tapisse et compose” in the last vers – the day weaves and sorts the Great universum. In the end it is sol invictus, the old unbeatable GOd of Light, who comes back and allows us another round of living life.
I hope you enjoy the music, may our weeks be peaceful, friendly, and full of light.

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Rattle. No Roll

Yet. I am still a bit rattled.
If you follow my waffle here – for what I am thankful – you may remember that I took up a job as driver some moons ago. It is a job to pay the rent, really. That’s how it started, nowadays I would miss the boys if I’d get the chance to work in my profession again, but I’d do this without any question and hesitation. BTW I had a job interview two weeks ago, well, I’m still driving. But it was very nice to see that I am at least still eligible.
I do not write about the day job here, simply because it is just what it is, and because I do not want to be whining.
A driver drives, I do more than three thousand kilometers a month in the vehicle, a pretty large, white, diesel-powered passenger transporter fitted out for the special demands my passengers have. I drive on Bundesstraßen, A-roads, Landstraßen, B-roads, and narrow country lanes. I avoid autobahn, especially when my passengers are aboard. It is simply a risk I do not want to take.
On average it is all three months that a dangerous situation occurs – dangerous as in : A heavy impact is narrowly avoided – and every time this happened on slip roads or on motorway-style enlarged A-roads. On the country lanes everybody, with the notable exception of the dumb boy racer in his old testosterone-fulled BMW or Golf GTI, is careful, the professionals know what they can do with their vehicles. And if it takes ten minutes more, so what ?
The guy who tried to wipe out my codriver and me this evening on the other hand needs a special award.
I was on a motorway-style A-road in the fast lane (that is the left one on the continent). From the right a motorway exit slip feeds in, while to the left is a motorway access regulated by traffic signals. I was not particular fast, noticed a red car on the far right well ahead, my codriver was telling a story. Next I know is that the red car was basically vertically coming from the right, crossing over all lanes to reach the slip road to my left, I was in the process of t-boning him. Thankfully nothing was to my right while I pulled the vehicle over, heavy on the brakes, sliding on the mean trickle we had for the whole day.
While I was still rolling ahead & sorting my gears to stabilise my swaying bus the little piece of crap came back. It was seemingly not the gateway he liked, or the red lights did not match his seats, or maybe he just wanted to avoid ramming the car that was waiting at this damn traffic light, I do not know. All I know is that we had the same affaire again, this time from the left. He pulled in front of me less than a meter away while I was accelerating to control my vehicle and all of a sudden I thought that it would be a good idea to ram the basted to nirvana.
He drove a kind of cabriolet in red, I think it was Mercedes, and now he put the pedal to the metal and outpaced me easily. I realised that he lifted the foot when I came closer. Some hundred meters ahead to the right is a parking slot, and all of a sudden he pulled sharply to the right over the slow lane and the exit into said parking area, of course without indicator or any shown regard he rammed the car in there, still sliding with locking wheels when I thundered by. Following in would have meant a serious disaster with an unavoidable collision. I only hope he ran his car into the mud and ripped the suspension out.
All this took less time to happen than it takes you to read this, I am pretty sure it was less than ten seconds : No time to think & reflect, just action.
My vehicle took it easy, afterwards she was revving freely doing hundred km/h without any effort at 1600 rpm. Smart thing – I want to thank FORD for building a reliable and stable vehicle that one can throw around over three lanes like a wet towel without any damage done to suspension, brakes, or wheels : After more than hundred thousand kilometers, or sixty thousand miles, of heavy duty – well done !
Oh yes, thanks to the unknown driver in red, adrenalin is good, keeps the veins free from stuff. See you in three months again, bloody moron.

Sunday Music

Roughly one hour ago the ongoing rain became a bit different, white pieces started to mix in. Now I look outside and see only white, no structures, nothing but white, with some whitish objects swirling by, big & wet snowflakes. I wonder how long it will go on, will some of the snow even stay ? The temperature is actually still over the freezing point. Tomorrow morning will be interesting. At least snowdrifts are not mysterious obstacles.
Les Barricades Mystérieuses (Eng.) on the other hand, are a bit of an enigma (please read here, if you are interested ; of course the painting by MAGRITTE is not only mentioned, but shown in the intended context of use). COUPERIN’s little piece can be killed easily by players who simply go much too fast, who skim the musical text just like a cheap novel for the beach. Of course one can read too much into it also. Or one uses it for a play, and re-arranges the material.
This is what Thomas ADÈS (Ger., Eng.) did : He arranged the piece as quintet for clarinet, bass clarinet, viola, cello and double bass. If I understand wikipedia correctly, the piece can be found on the album America: A Prophecy.
I hope you like the music. May we all have an easy week before us.

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