Thursday, 31 January 2013


“Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.” - Robert Frost

Today is the anniversary of the birth of:
Lachlan Macquarie
, Governor of NSW (1762);
Franz (Peter) Schubert
, composer (1797);
Zane Grey
, writer (1875);
Irving Langmuir
, scientist (1881);
Anna Pavlova
, ballerina (1882);
Eddie Cantor
(Edward Israel Iskowitz), Broadway entertainer (1892);
Freya Stark
, traveller/writer (1893);
Tallulah Bankhead
, actress (1903);
Lord (Donald) Soper
, Methodist minister/pacifist (1903);
John Henry O’ Hara
, writer (1905);
(Elaine) Carol channing
, actress (1921);
Mario Lanza
(Alfredo Arnold Cocozza), singer (1921);
Norman Mailer
, US writer (1923);
Jean Simmons
, actress (1929);
Christopher Chataway
, athlete (1931);
Philip Glass
, US composer (1937);
Suzanne Pleshette
, actress (1937);
Dutch queen (1938);
Phil Collins
, singer (1951).

Catharanthus roseus (Vinca major), the white periwinkle is the birthday flower for today. It symbolises tender recollections and pleasant memories. Astrologically, the plant is ruled by Venus.  The vinca has yielded two important cancer-fighting drugs, vincristine and vinblastine, that are useful in many forms of cancer chemotherapy.

St John Bosco (1815-1888) is the patron saint of young boys, apprentices and editors. St John  Bosco was only two years old when his father died. His early life was full of poverty and it was at the age of 16 when he was able to enter the seminary in Turin to become a priest. Early in his career he established a boarding house for 40 neglected boys in Turin, with workshops in tailoring and shoemaking. In 1859 he established the Salesian Order which specialised in education and pastoral work.

Franz Peter Schubert (1797–1828) was an Austrian romantic composer. German lieder reached their greatest expression in his beautiful lyrical songs, especially in the great cycles Die Schöne Müllerin [Fair Maid of the Mill] (1823) and Die Winterreise [The Winter’s Journey] (1827). His symphonies are the final flowering of the classical sonata forms, and the Fifth (1816), Eighth (the Unfinished, 1822), and Ninth (1828) rank with the best orchestral music. His chamber works include the well-loved Quartet in D Minor (Death and the Maiden, 1824) and the Quintet in A Major (The Trout, 1819). Schubert also wrote stage music, choral music, Masses, and much piano music.

Here is Franz Schubert’s “Der Hirt auf dem Falsen”, D965 (The Shepherd On The Rock) with Helen Donath, soprano, Dieter Kloecker, clarinet and Klaus Donath, piano.

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