Saturday 16 July 2016


“I listen to music when I write. I need the musical background. Classical music. I’m behind the times. I’m still with Baroque music, Gregorian chant, the requiems, and with the quartets of Beethoven and Brahms. That is what I need for the climate, for the surroundings, for the landscape: The music.” - Elie Wiesel

Johann Friedrich Fasch (15 April 1688 – 5 December 1758) was a German violinist and composer. He was born in the town of Buttelstedt, 11 km north of Weimar, the eldest child of schoolmaster Friedrich Georg Fasch and his wife Sophie Wegerig, from Leißling near Weißenfels. After his father’s death in 1700, Fasch lived with his mother’s brother, the clergyman Gottfried Wegerig in Göthewitz, and it was presumably in this way that he came made the acquaintance of the Opera composer Reinhard Keiser.

Fasch was a choirboy in Weissenfels and studied under Johann Kuhnau at the St. Thomas School in Leipzig. It was in Leipzig in 1708 that he founded a Collegium Musicum. In 1711 he wrote an opera to be performed at the Peter-Paul Festival in Naumburg, and a second one for the festival in 1712. In 1714, unable to procure aristocratic patronage for a journey to Italy, Fasch instead travelled to Darmstadt to study composition for three months under his former Leipzig prefect Christoph Graupner and Gottfried Grünewald. He then travelled extensively in Germany, becoming a violinist in the orchestra in Bayreuth in 1714, was an amanuensis in Gera till 1719 and from 1719 until 1721 held a court post as organist in Greiz. His next major post was Prague, where he served for two years as Kapellmeister and court composer to Count Morzin.

In 1722, he “reluctantly accepted the position” of court Kapellmeister at Zerbst, a post he held until his death. (The organist Johann Ulich was his assistant.) Also in 1722, he was invited to apply for the position of Thomaskantor in Leipzig at his alma mater, the St. Thomas School, but he chose to withdraw his name from the competition. The Leipzig opening was eventually filled by Johann Sebastian Bach, who had considerable esteem for Fasch.

His works include cantatas, concertos, symphonies, and chamber music. None of his music was published in his lifetime, and according to The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians in 2014, “it appears that most of his vocal works (including 9 complete cantata cycles, at least 14 masses and four operas) are lost, while the instrumental works are mostly extant.”  However, his music was widely performed in his day and was held in high regard by contemporaries.

Georg Philipp Telemann performed a cycle of Fasch’s church cantatas in 1733 in Hamburg. An organ work once attributed to Johann Sebastian Bach as BWV 585 is now known to be an arrangement of movements from a Fasch trio sonata; and Bach’s Collegium Musicum in Leipzig (a different group than the one founded by Fasch) performed some of Fasch’s Orchestral Suites (ten of them, according to Hugo Reimann in 1900, based on his examination of copies in the library of the St. Thomas School, which Reimann said were partly in Bach’s hand. Only one of these suites survived World War II; it is in the hand of Bach’s student Carl Gotthelf Gerlach).

In 1900, Reimann asserted that Fasch’s style was an important link between the Baroque and Classical periods, and that he was one of those who “set instrumental music entirely on its feet and displaced fugal writing with modern ‘thematic’ style”. A New Grove’s entry on Fasch states, “Later research has largely confirmed [Reimann’s] assessment.”

Fasch died in Zerbst at the age of 70 on 5 December 1758. He was the father of Carl Friedrich Christian Fasch, born on 18 November 1736, like his father a musician of note. The city of Zerbst/Anhalt has been hosting International Festivals since 1983, biennially since 1993. The Thirteenth International Fasch Festival took place in Zerbst/Anhalt on 15–19 April 2015.

Here are some concertos and an ‘Overture’ performed by the English Concert directed by Trevor Pinnock at the harpsichord.

Concerto a 8 in D major, FWV L:D1 - 0:00
1. (Allegro); 2. Largo; 3. Allegro
Concerto in C minor, FWV L:c2 - 6:40
1. Allegro; 2. Largo; 3. Allegro
Ouverture in G minor, FWV K:g2 - 15:52
1. Ouverture; 2. Aria: Largo; 3. Jardiniers; 4. Aria: Largo; 5. Aria: Allegro; 6. Gavotte’ 7. Menuet
Concerto in B flat major, FWV L:B1 - 39:00
1. Largo; 2. Un Poco Allegro; 3. Largo; 4. Allegro
Concerto in D major, FWV L:D14 - 50:23
1. Allegro; 2. Largo; 3. Allegro

The illustration is Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s, “Landscape with the Flight into Egypt”, 1563.

Friday 15 July 2016


“Bacon and eggs is a day’s work for a chicken and a lifetime achievement for a pig.” - Michael Vizdos

We recently had this meal, which is my take on Eggs Benedict. I found that modifying the classic recipe made for easier preparation and, for our tastes, a more satisfying meal. Although this is supposedly breakfast food, I am of the opinion that some dishes are worthy of being eaten at any mealtime during the day and this is no exception. I think it’s a great lunch dish or perfect for supper.

4 thick slices of brioche (can be store bought or homemade, see here)
4 thin slices of Swiss cheese
4 rashers of lean bacon (chopped)
4 eggs, poached
4 tablespoons mayonnaise (please use the one without sugar in it! Homemade is best, but Aldi sell a good German one which is not sweet)
Chopped parsley

Cook the bacon, and place on kitchen paper to drain the fat until needed. Poach the eggs and keep warm. Preheat oven to 160˚C.
Toast the brioche slices and place the Swiss cheese slices on them. Although you can butter the brioche slices, I don’t because the other ingredients are fatty enough. Place a thin layer of mayonnaise over the cheese.
Divide the bacon pieces over the cheese, the mayonnaise helps them adhere.
Drain the eggs well and place over the bacon.
Spread the remainder of the mayonnaise over each of the eggs. If it is too viscous you can thin it with a little oil/vinegar mixture.
Put in the oven for 5-10 minutes. Garnish with parsley.

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Thursday 14 July 2016


“France cannot be destroyed. She is an old country who, despite her misfortunes, has, and always will have, thanks to her past, a tremendous prestige in the world, whatever the fate inflicted upon her.” - Pierre Laval

Yet another terrorist attack, yet more violence, yet more innocent people slaughtered. France is in mourning again and the whole world weeps with her. The violence of war is horrible enough, but violence against innocent people for whatever ideological or political reason is abhorrent and repugnant, a terrible affront to any civilised person’s humanity.

At least 84 people (including several children) are dead and 18 injured after a truck ploughed into a crowd of late-night revellers celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, in a terrorist attack described as the “worst catastrophe” in the French Riviera’s modern history. The driver of the truck involved was shot dead after ploughing into crowd in Nice. Along the famed Promenade des Anglais seafront, hundreds of terrified people fled as the truck of death left behind it mangled, bloody bodies strewn in its wake. The driver had fired a pistol several times before being shot dead by police. Identity papers belonging to a 31-year-old French-Tunisian citizen were reportedly found inside the 19-tonne truck.

French president François Hollande said France had been hit by a terrorist attack on its national day: “France was hit on the day of her national holiday, the 14th of July, symbol of liberty, because the rights of man are denied by fanatics and France is inevitably their target.” While a motive for the killing spree has as yet not been disclosed, officials are calling the incident a terrorist attack, the worst since a series of coordinated sieges across Paris killed 130 in November and likely the deadliest rampage ever by a lone attacker.

As Joachim du Bellay has said, “France is the mother of arts, of warfare, and of laws.” France will survive this attack and will join the rest of the civilised nations around the world to fight senseless violence that attacks the innocent. All of civilised humanity suffers with this latest bout of terrorism and is mourning in sympathy for the innocent lives lost.

Wednesday 13 July 2016


“Absence from whom we love is worse than death, and frustrates hope severer than despair.” - William Cowper

After a leave of absence, I am returning this week to Poets United, where the topic of the week is quite aptly, “Absence”. Here is my contribution:


The bed has turned to stone tonight,
Its granite sheets as cold as death;
The walls constrict each passing hour
And the room diminishes in size,
Crushing me in its fierce grip.

My empty hand searches in vain
For a familiar touch;
But emptiness crawls slowly on my skin
Eating away my flesh
Like acid corroding all it contacts.

My eyes extinguished,
Stare at the blackness;
But the abyss hides no secret light,
And night elongates
Eating away the days and all my hopes.

My silent lips dare not part,
For none will hear what they may whisper;
Your absence dulls all my senses,
Stops my heart and steals my soul
Leaving me empty, like a useless husk.

Rain falls outside, relentlessly
And inside my tears trickle down;
Your absence is a subtle poison
That robs my body of its will to live –
The only antidote, your swift return…

Tuesday 12 July 2016


“In Amsterdam, the river and canals have been central to city life for the last four centuries.” - Janet Echelon

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.
Amsterdam is the capital and most populous municipality of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Its status as the capital is mandated by the Constitution of the Netherlands, although it is not the seat of the government, which is The Hague. Amsterdam has a population of 840,486 within the city proper, 1,337,743 in the urban area, and 2,431,000 in the Amsterdam metropolitan area. The city is located in the province of North Holland in the west of the country, and is also North Holland’s largest city. It comprises much of the northern part of the Randstad, one of the larger conurbations in Europe, with a population of approximately 7 million.

Amsterdam’s name derives from Amstelredamme, indicative of the city's origin as a dam of the river Amstel. Originating as a small fishing village in the late 12th century, Amsterdam became one of the most important ports in the world during the Dutch Golden Age (17th century), a result of its innovative developments in trade. During that time, the city was the leading centre for finance and diamonds.

In the 19th and 20th centuries the city expanded, and many new neighbourhoods and suburbs were planned and built. The 17th-century canals of Amsterdam and the 19–20th century Defence Line of Amsterdam are on the UNESCO World Heritage List. As the commercial capital of the Netherlands and one of the top financial centres in Europe, Amsterdam is considered an alpha world city by the Globalization and World Cities (GaWC) study group. The city is also the cultural capital of the Netherlands. Many large Dutch institutions have their headquarters there, and seven of the world’s 500 largest companies, including Philips and ING, are based in the city.

In 2012, Amsterdam was ranked the second best city in which to live by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and 12th globally on quality of living for environment and infrastructure by Mercer . Famous Amsterdam residents included Anne Frank the diarist, the artists Rembrandt van Rijn and Vincent van Gogh, and the philosopher Baruch Spinoza. The Amsterdam Stock Exchange, the oldest stock exchange in the world, is located in the city centre.

Amsterdam’s main attractions, including its historic canals, the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, Stedelijk Museum, Hermitage Amsterdam, Anne Frank House, Amsterdam Museum, its red-light district, and its many cannabis coffee shops draw more than 5 million international visitors annually.

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.

Add your own travel posts using the Linky tool below,and don't forget to be nice and leave a comment here, and link back to this page from your own post!

Monday 11 July 2016


“A real friend tells the bitter truth.” – Turkish Proverb

We have just started watching a Turkish TV series at the moment. This is the fifth we have seen and I must say that overall I am quite impressed by the excellent standards of production, well-written scripts, faultless direction and great acting. Turkey is a large country with immense resources and a large population. Its economy is healthy enough to support many different industries with movie-making and TV series production definitely falling into the category of an economic success story.

TV series are amazingly popular both in Turkey and internationally, and are among the country’s most well known economic and cultural exports. Turkey is world’s second highest TV series exporter after the USA. The television series industry has played an immense role in increasing Turkey’s exposure in the Balkans, the Caucasus, Russia, Latin America, Turkic countries, Central Asia, Azerbaijan, Iran, the Arab world and Pakistan.

The shows are almost always available in multiple languages, dubbed or subtitled to fit the target country’s language. The success of Turkish television series has boosted tourism as well, as visitors are keen to see the locations used for their favourite shows. The Turkish TV series' sudden immense international popularity since the 2000s has been widely commented on as a social phenomenon.

Needless to say that there have been some negative comments also, some countries abhorring the “cultural invasion” and lamenting the fact that their own home-produced series fail to entice viewers to keep turning on the TV to watch the next episode… These ultra-nationalists should remember that quality does not have a home country and that despite our country of origin and the basic humanity we all should possess is independent of language and national culture. Good is good wherever it comes from.

Production costs of TV series in Turkey average at nearly $100,000 per hour for high quality series. In 2012, Turkish TV series exports were worth $130 million, up from just $1 million in 2007. Turkish series are mostly produced in Istanbul, as television companies chose to settle there after the wave of liberalisation for private television in the 1990s. The Turkish TV series market is marked by stiff local competition: Out of the 60 series produced every year in the country, almost 50% don’t run for longer than 13 episodes due to the strong competition among the different local channels, resulting in the high-quality of the productions and contributing to their popularity.

I have reviewed Turkish series and movies here before, for example: the Series What is Fatmagül’s Fault?” and the movie “MyGrandfather’s People”, another movie “From the Sea”. I will not review the TV series we are watching yet, as we have only seen a few episodes, but it seems to be a good one. When we have finished it, I’ll review it here.


“Men have become the tools of their tools.” - Henry David Thoreau

I have just found out that Telstra our internet provider will interrupt our internet service for three days and I am using alternative access to write this, which of necessity will be a very short entry. Thank you, for not advising us Telstra, I had to find out through your "service down pages"!