Saturday 5 March 2016


“Music is the divine way to tell beautiful, poetic things to the heart.” - Pablo Casals

Giuseppe Antonio Brescianello (also “Bressonelli”; ca. 1690, Bologna – 4 October 1758, Stuttgart) was an Italian Baroque composer and violinist. His name is mentioned for the first time in a document from 1715 in which the Maximilian II Emanuel appointed him violinist in his court orchestra in Munich. Soon after, in 1716, after the death of Johann Christoph Pez, he got the job of music director and as a maître des concerts de la chambre at the Württemberg court in Stuttgart.

In 1717, he was appointed Hofkapellmeister. Around 1718, he composed the pastorale opera “La Tisbe”, which he dedicated to the Archduke Eberhard Ludwig. Brescianello did this in vain hope that his opera would be listed at the Stuttgart theatre. In the years from 1719 to 1721, a fierce conflict emerged, in which Reinhard Keiser repeatedly attempted to get Brescianello’s post.

In 1731, Brescianello became Oberkapellmeister. In 1737, the court had financial problems which led to the dissolution of the opera staff and Brescianello lost his position. For this reason, he dedicated himself increasingly to composition and this resulted in his “12 Concerti e Sinfonie” op. 1 and some time later the “18 Pieces for Gallichone” (gallichone here means mandora, a type of lute).

In 1744, the financial problems at the court diminished and he was reappointed as Oberkapellmeister by Karl Eugen, Duke of Württemberg, mostly “because of his special knowledge of music and excellent skills”. He led the court and opera music until he was pensioned off in the period between 1751 and 1755. His successors were Ignaz Holzbauer and then Niccolò Jommelli.

Here are some of his Op. 1 Concerti e Sinfonie:
1. Symphony No. 5 in F major, Op.1 [0:00] Allegro, Adagio, Presto
2. Concerto for violin, oboe, strings & continuo in G minor [7:53] Allegro, Grave, Allegro
3. Violin Concerto No. 4 in E minor, Op.1 [18:11] Allegro, Adagio Allegro
4. Ouverture for 2 oboes, 2 violins, viola & continuo in G minor [26:01] Overture, Gavotte, Aria, Rondeau, Aria I,II, Rigaudon, Gigue
5. Symphony No. 1 in D major, Op.1 [42:47] Allegro, Adagio, Presto
6. Concerto for violin, bassoon, strings & continuo in B flat major [48:49]Allegro, Adagio, Allegro
7. Chaconne for 2 violins, 2 violas & continuo in A major [59:43].

Friday 4 March 2016


“On the Continent people have good food; in England people have good table manners.” - George Mikes

The recipe today is for something my mother makes with the Sunday Roast. It is a traditional English recipe, but that’s because my mother has quite a cosmopolitan cuisine and she is very eclectic choosing what she likes best from each country.

Yorkshire Puddings
1 cup beaten egg
1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 cup self-raising flour
1⁄2 cup milk
1⁄2 cup water
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp ground cardamon
2 tablespoon vegetable oil

Place the flours and seasonings into a large bowl. Make a hollow in the centre and add the beaten eggs little by little, mixing to incorporate. Add the water and milk mixture gradually and whisk after each addition. Keep whisking until all the liquids have been added. The batter may still be lumpy but this does not really matter. Cover and leave to rest for up to 1 hour.
Preheat your oven to 240˚C. Pour a little oil into Yorkshire pudding tins (large muffin tins can be used). Put the tins into the pre-heated oven about 5 minutes before you want to cook the Yorkshire Puddings.
Just before cooking, whisk thoroughly again to break down any lumps and to aerate the mixture. Carefully take out the tins. Pour the batter into the tins and immediately return to the oven. Cook for about 20 minutes until well risen and golden brown. Don’t open the oven in the first 10-15 minutes or the puddings will be ruined! If you have two tins cooking, rotate the tins from top to bottom shelves after the 10-15 minutes so they cook evenly. Traditionally served with roast beef and lots of gravy.

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Thursday 3 March 2016


“I sometimes think that never blows so red The Rose as where some buried Caesar bled; That every Hyacinth the Garden wears Dropt in its Lap from some once lovely Head.” ― Omar Khayyám

Hyacinthus orientalis (common hyacinth, garden hyacinth or Dutch hyacinth), is a herbaceous perennial flowering plant, classified in the family Asparagaceae and native to southwestern Asia, southern and central Turkey, northwestern Syria, Lebanon and northern Israel. It was introduced to Europe in the 16th century.

It is widely cultivated everywhere in the temperate world for its strongly fragrant flowers which appear exceptionally early in the season, and frequently forced to flower at Christmas time. It is a bulbous plant, with a 3–7 cm diameter bulb. The leaves are strap-shaped, 15–35 cm long and 1–3 cm broad, with a soft, succulent texture, and produced in a basal whorl. The flowering stem is a spike, which grows to 20–35 cm (rarely to 45 cm) tall, bearing 2–50 fragrant flowers 2–3.5 cm long with a tubular, six-lobed perianth.

H. orientalis has a long history of cultivation as an ornamental plant, grown across the Mediterranean region, and later France (where it is used in perfumery), the Netherlands (a major centre of cultivation) and elsewhere. It flowers in the early spring, growing best in full sun to part shade in well-drained, but not dry, soil. It requires a winter dormancy period, and will only persist in cold-weather regions.

It is grown for the clusters of strongly fragrant, brightly coloured flowers. Over 2,000 cultivars have been selected and named, with flower colour varying from blue, white, pale yellow, pink, salmon, red or purple; most cultivars have also been selected for denser flower spikes than the wild type, bearing 40–100 or more flowers on each spike.

In Greek mythology, Hyacinthus was a beautiful youth and lover of the god Apollo, though he was also admired by West Wind, Zephyr. Apollo and Hyacinth took turns throwing the discus. Hyacinthus ran to catch it to impress Apollo, was struck by the discus as it fell to the ground, and died. A twist in the tale makes the wind god Zephyrus responsible for the death of Hyacinthus: His beauty caused a feud between Zephyrus and Apollo. Jealous that Hyacinthus preferred the radiant archery god Apollo, Zephyrus blew Apollo’s discus off course, so as to injure and kill Hyacinthus.

When he died, Apollo did not allow Hades to claim the youth; rather, he made a flower, the hyacinth, from his spilled blood. According to Ovid’s account, the tears of Apollo stained the newly formed flower’s petals with the sign of his grief. The flower of the mythological Hyacinthus has been identified with a number of plants other than the true hyacinth, such as the iris. According to a local Spartan version of the myth, Hyacinthus and his sister Polyboea were taken to Elysium by Aphrodite, Athena and Artemis. Thamyris is said by Pseudo-Apollodorus of Athens to have been a lover of Hyacinthus and thus to have been the first man to have loved another male.

The name of Hyacinthus is of pre-Hellenic origin, as indicated by the consonant cluster “nth”. According to classical interpretations, his myth, where Apollo is a Dorian god, is a classical metaphor of the death and rebirth of nature, much as in the myth of Adonis. It has likewise been suggested that Hyacinthus was a pre-Hellenic divinity supplanted by Apollo through the "accident" of his death, to whom he remains associated in the epithet of Apollon Hyakinthios.

Hyacinthus was the tutelary deity of one of the principal Spartan festivals, the Hyacinthia, held every summer. The festival lasted three days, one day of mourning for the death of the divine hero Hyacinthus, and the last two celebrating his rebirth as Apollo Hyakinthios, though the division of honours is a subject for scholarly controversy.

In the language of flowers, a bouquet of multicoloured hyacinths means “games and sports; rashness.” A blue flower denotes “constancy”; a purple one says “I am sorry; Please forgive me: sorrow”.  The red or pink hyacinth has the meaning: “play”, while a white one says “loveliness; I'll pray for you”. A yellow hyacinth has the meaning “jealousy, I am jealous of you”.

This post is part of the Floral Fridays meme.

Wednesday 2 March 2016


“Life is the flower for which love is the honey.” - Victor Hugo

This week, PoetsUnited gives the following directive:
Begin YOUR poem with: “A flower was offered to me,”
And I obliged:

The Flower

A flower was offered to me,
And I, used to thorns and sticks and stones and venom,
Accepted it.

A flower was offered to me,
But it was a thorny rose, which cut me deep
And I bled.

A flower was offered to me,
But it was covered in birdlime, and I stuck fast,
My wings useless.

A flower was offered to me,
But it was made of stone and in its rocky embrace
I was crushed.

A flower was offered to me,
And I breathed in deep its poisonous aroma
And was forever lost.

I offered back a wreath of flowers,
Sweet primroses, cowslips, fragrant pinks and daisies,
Innocent blossoms and herbs whose touch healed
And whose sight cheered and gladdened heart.

And my offering was taken, the flowers torn,
The fragrant herbs scattered in mud,
My gift defiled, polluted and my true love derided.

A flower was offered to me,
And I, used to thorns and sticks and stones and venom,
Accepted it,
Not knowing that in expert hands accustomed to killing,
The lethal weapon can even be but a single flower …

Tuesday 1 March 2016


“Gambling: The sure way of getting nothing for something.” - Wilson Mizner

Welcome to the Travel Tuesday meme! Join me every Tuesday and showcase your creativity in photography, painting and drawing, music, poetry, creative writing or a plain old natter about Travel!

There is only one simple rule: Link your own creative work about some aspect of travel and share it with the rest of us! Please use this meme for your creative endeavours only.

Do not use this meme to advertise your products or services as any links or comments by advertisers will be removed immediately.
Las Vegas, officially the City of Las Vegas and often known as simply Vegas, is a city in the United States, the most populous city in the state of Nevada, the county seat of Clark County, and the city proper of the Las Vegas Valley. Las Vegas is an internationally renowned major resort city known primarily for gambling, shopping, fine dining and nightlife and is the leading financial and cultural centre for Southern Nevada.

The city bills itself as The Entertainment Capital of the World, and is famous for its mega casino–hotels and associated entertainment. A growing retirement and family city, Las Vegas is the 29th-most populous city in the United States, with a population of 603,488 at the 2013 United States Census Estimates. The 2013 population of the Las Vegas metropolitan area was 2,027,828. The city is one of the top three leading destinations in the United States for conventions, business, and meetings. In addition, the city's metropolitan area has more AAA Five Diamond hotels than any other city in the world, and is a global leader in the hospitality industry.

Today, Las Vegas is one of the top tourist destinations in the world. Established in 1905, Las Vegas was incorporated as a city in 1911. At the close of the 20th century, Las Vegas was the most populous American city founded in that century (a similar distinction earned by Chicago in the 19th century). The city's tolerance for numerous forms of adult entertainment earned it the title of Sin City, and has made Las Vegas a popular setting for films, television programs, and music videos. Las Vegas is generally used to describe not just the city itself, but areas beyond the city limits (especially the resort areas on and near the Las Vegas Strip) and the Las Vegas Valley. The 6.8 km stretch of South Las Vegas Boulevard known as the Las Vegas Strip is in the unincorporated communities of Paradise, Winchester, and Enterprise, located in Clark County.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Ruby Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.

Monday 29 February 2016


“The only vice that cannot be forgiven is hypocrisy. The repentance of a hypocrite is itself hypocrisy.” - William Hazlitt

This is not a pleasant Movie Monday to write. It all stems from the fact that “Spotlight”, the 2015 Tom McCarthy film, won this year’s Academy Award for “Best Motion Picture”. It stars Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams and Liev Schreiber and it is based on a true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child sexual abuse and its cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese, shaking the entire Catholic Church to its core.

I have not seen the film yet, but I was aware of the events in Massachusetts because they were referenced in the wake of similar events that have transpired here in Australia, with scandals involving paedophile priests in the Catholic Church in Australia. The tragedy is that this has been happening throughout the world and such cases that are now being exposed are only the tip of the iceberg. The Oscar being awarded to this film is highly topical as presently in Australia we have a Royal Commission in progress, which is investigating child sex abuse by members of the Catholic Clergy. Central to the investigation is Cardinal George Pell.

George Pell AC (born 8 June 1941) is an Australian cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church and the inaugural and current Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, since 2014. He previously served as the eighth Archbishop of Sydney (2001–2014), auxiliary bishop (1987–1996) and archbishop (1996–2001) of the Archdiocese of Melbourne. He was created a cardinal in 2003.

In June 2002, Pell was accused of having sexually abused a 12-year-old boy at a Roman Catholic youth camp in 1961 whilst a seminarian. Pell vigorously denied all the accusations and stood aside as soon as the allegations were made public, but he did not resign as archbishop. The complainant agreed to pursue his allegations through the church’s own process for dealing with allegations of sexual misconduct, the National Committee for Professional Standards (NCPS).

Justice A.J. Southwell, hired by the church to investigate the matter, found that the complainant gave the impression of “speaking honestly from actual recollection.” Justice Southwell concluded, however, that notwithstanding this impression, he could not regard the complaint as established. Pell claimed to have been exonerated, while the complainant’s solicitor said his client had been vindicated.

On 27 May 2013, Pell gave evidence before Victoria's Parliamentary Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and other Organisations. “He admitted his church had covered up abuse for fear of scandal; that his predecessor Archbishop Little had destroyed records, moved paedophile priests from parish to parish and facilitated appalling crimes.”

On 19 February 2016, it was reported that Pell had been under investigation for the past year by Victoria Police over multiple child molestation allegations. Pell issued an immediate and vehement denial. Two days later came news that detectives in Victoria wanted to fly to the Vatican to interview Pell regarding the allegations, which were of the sexual abuse of “up to 10 minors between 1978 and 2001”, and were waiting for “senior figures to ‘give them the go-ahead’.”

Currently, George Pell is giving evidence to the Royal Commission now in progress about what he knew of sexual abuse by paedophile priests and brothers in Victoria in the 1970s. The cardinal, who is now the Vatican’s finance chief, was too ill to return to Australia for questioning and is testifying via videolink from the Hotel Quirinale in Rome in front of a group of survivors from Ballarat.

The Cardinal said he was lied to and deceived by a bishop and priests who knew about the child sexual abuse crimes of a fellow clergyman, who was repeatedly moved to new parishes where he continued to offend. Cardinal Pell told the child abuse royal commission that while he didn’t know why Father Gerald Ridsdale was moved on to new parishes in the Victorian diocese of Ballarat in the 1970s, Bishop Ronald Mulkearns and other priests knew of repeated paedophilia allegations. Commissioner Justice Peter McClellan asked: “You say the bishop deceived you, is that right?” Cardinal Pell replied: “Unfortunately, correct.”

In the most shocking revelation of Cardinal Pell’s evidence so far, he told the Royal Commission that he didn’t know if the offences of priest Ridsdale was common knowledge or not. Cardinal Pell said: “I couldn’t say everyone knew, I knew a number of people did, I didn’t know if it was common knowledge or not. It was a sad story and it wasn’t of much interest to me.”

At that point I did not want to watch any more as I became indignant, offended, dismayed, exasperated and extremely angry. The Cardinal struck me as a completely cold and calculating man who had put the interests of his powerless innocent and underage parishioners last on his list (had he put them there at all) and chose to ignore the crimes that he knew that his fellow clergy were committing. It is a disgrace and whatever punishment is meted out to all guilty parties within the Church is not severe enough…

I shall watch the film “Spotlight”, but I must say that it will be distressing, having known personally people who have been abused by the clergy.

Sunday 28 February 2016


“A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.” -  Oscar Wilde

Knud Andreassen Baade (28 March 1808 - 24 November 1879) was a Norwegian painter, mostly of portraits and landscapes. He was particularly known for his moonlight paintings which are characterised by strong and dramatic contrasts between light and shadow.

Baade was born in Skjold, a former municipality now in Vindafjord in Rogaland county, Norway. While still a boy he moved to Bergen with his family. He began his artistic education at the age of fifteen, under the Danish-Swedish painter, Carl Peter Lehmann (1794-1876). In 1827 he went to Copenhagen, where he studied at the Academy for about three years, until financial difficulties forced him to move to Christiania (now Oslo) and take up portrait-painting.

When his father became a magistrate in Sogn, he followed his family to the parish of Solvorn in Luster. The mountains, fjords and rocky bays offered ample subjects for his work. He also travelled northward to Trondheim and as far north as Bodø in search of material for his pictures. In 1836 he was persuaded by the well-known landscape painter, Dahl, to go to Dresden, where he studied for three years. There that he met Caspar David Friedrich and was strongly influenced by him.

He returned to Norway in 1839 due of a disease in his eyes. In 1846 he moved to Munich, where he soon earned a reputation as a landscape painter, producing views of his native country and the scenes around its coasts, mostly depicted with moonlight effects. Though but an invalid, he worked at Munich continually until his death there in 1879.

Baade was painter to the Court of Sweden, and a member of the Academy of Arts at Stockholm. He painted some fine portraits, especially in younger years, including portraits of his parents (1836). In addition to several trips to Sogn and Hardanger, Baade travelled widely in Germany. He also painted landscape scenes from Bavaria, Saxony, Tyrol and Switzerland. He is represented in the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design with 52 paintings.

The painting above is “Coastal Landscape in Moonlight”, painted in 1852. The work is typical of Baade’s oeuvre and shows his affinity with Friedrich’s canvases. The darkness of night and effects of moonlight on both sea and land have been rendered painstakingly and would appeal to the Romantic ideals of Baade’s time.