Saturday 8 April 2017


“When I started learning the cello, I fell in love with the instrument because it seemed like a voice - my voice.” - Mstislav Rostropovich 

Salvatore Lanzetti (born around 1710 in Naples; died around 1780 in Turin ) was an Italian cellist and composer of late baroque and pre-classical music. Little is known of his life, surprisingly as he seemed to have been one of the earliest cello virtuosi of the 18th century.

Lanzetti was a student of the Conservatory in Naples, and he devoted himself to the cello and composition. He was in service to the court chapel in Lucca and to Vittorio Amedeo II in Turin. The post at Turin was maintained by Lanzetti even though he made extensive tours in Europe. He was in London in the 1730s and may have lived there until 1754. While in London Lanzetti was able to increase the popularity of his instrument.

By 1760 he was once again in Turin and a member of the chapel until his death. Before Boccherini, Lanzetti began to establish the cello as a solo instrument. In his compositions the cello was not merely relegated to the bass line and required the touch of a virtuoso particularly in the bowing demands. From the fruit of his labours the cello sonata took root. Lanzetti almost brought the level of cello music to that of the violin concerto. His works were arranged in three movements with an intense slow secondary movement and well-developed ideas in the first and third movements.

Lanzetti must have been one of the great cello virtuosi of his time. This conclusion is necessary, given the degree of difficulty of his works in the middle of the 18th century, with multi-finger technique, a wide range of sounds, complicated bow-movements, thumb movements, large jumps and other difficult techniques.

Lanzetti’s most well-known publications are his six sonata collections for cello and basso continuo (Opus II, transcribed for Opus I for flute) and a method published in Amsterdam in 1779: “Principles de l’application du Violoncelle par tous les Tons”. Other sonatas are preserved in manuscript.

Here are Balázs Máté (Baroque Cello), Dénes Karasszon (Baroque Cello), and Jeremy Joseph (Harpsichord, Organ) playing six cello sonatas by Lanzetti:
Sonata No. 5 in D major 0:00
Sonata No. 1 in G major 17:14
Sonata No. 2 in A minor 29:51
Sonata No. 3 in F major 41:51
Sonata No. 4 in C major 52:16
Sonata No. 6 in E minor 1:05:05

Thursday 6 April 2017


“Love is like a beautiful flower, which I may not touch, but whose fragrance makes the garden a place of delight just the same.” - Helen Keller 

Cicely or sweet cicely (Myrrhis odorata) is a herbaceous perennial plant belonging to the celery family Apiaceae. It is one of two accepted species in the genus Myrrhis. The genus name Myrrhis derives from the Greek word “myrrhis” [μυρρίς], an aromatic oil from Asia with a characteristic smell. The Latin species name odorata means scented. All parts of the plant are fragrant.

 Myrrhis odorata is a tall herbaceous perennial plant growing to 2 m tall, depending on circumstances. The leaves are fern-like, 2-4-pinnate, finely divided, feathery, up to 50 cm long, with whitish patches near the rachis. The plant is softly hairy and smells strongly of aniseed when crushed. The flowers are creamy-white, about 2–4 mm across, produced in large umbels. The flowering period extends from May to June. The fruits are slender, 15–25 mm long and 3–4 mm broad.

 Sweet cicely is native to mountains of southern and central Europe, from the Pyrenees to the Caucasus. It has been introduced and naturalised elsewhere in cultivated areas, woodland margins, roadside verges, river banks and grassland. The herb loves partial shade and will happily grow under trees, and in damp, though not waterlogged, spots. Sow in autumn (the seed needs winter cold to germinate). Sweet cicely is not one to grow permanently in pots as it has a long root that likes to burrow down.

 In fertile soils it grows readily from seed, and may be increased by division in spring or autumn. Its leaves are used as a herb, either raw or cooked, with a rather strong taste reminiscent of anise. The roots and seeds also are edible. Additionally, it has a history of use as a medicinal herb. Like its relatives anise, fennel, and caraway, it can also be used to flavour akvavit. Its essential oils are dominated by anethole.

If you aren’t immediately keen on the flavour of sweet cicely, give it time as it can grow on you. The herb also has two other fine qualities: It reduces the acidity of other ingredients, giving the sensation of sweetening, which means that when adding sweet cicely to rhubarb, gooseberries and cooking apples you can use less sugar than usual. It also complements other herbs when used in combination, bringing out their flavour, while remaining in the background itself. You definitely need to experiment with this herb!

Sweet cicely is a prolific self-seeder, which is either a delightful bonus or a nuisance depending on your situation and disposition – if the latter, just pick off the large seeds as they form: They are useful chopped into home-made fudge or crumble topping, or may be used in baking much like aniseed is.

In the language of flowers, a sprig of sweet cicely means: “You are humble but your presence is commanding”. A flowering sprig implies: “Your sweet nature matches your beauty.”

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday 5 April 2017


“It is hard to contend against one’s heart’s desire; for whatever it wishes to have it buys at the cost of soul.” - Heraclitus

I am nearly done with my surfeit of work and things are beginning to return to normal – a slightly more relaxed day-to-day existence. I may think of other things again and what better than to participate in the Poets United Midweek Motif this week, which states: “Write a new poem capturing the details of an outdoor scene or day in April.”
Here is my contribution:

April in the Antipodes

My heart stirs silently like a swollen seed,
Its thirst slaked after a long Winter’s rains.
Green vibrant juices begin to flow
Under a cracking husk.
I feel within me rise Spring’s viridian sap;
Life awakens yet again,
The seed must germinate, the flower must bloom.
The clock within has struck the hour.

But all the Spring that I conceal within
Each April dies as Antipodean moon
Wanes, waxes cold, looking at me
Up in the sky fixed upended.

The burgeoning cotyledons every April will unfurl,
In cold grey Autumn skies and chilling winds
They find no shelter, no encouragement.
The first, emerald-green leaves will wither,
As yet another seedling lies shrivelled up, yellow, unfulfilled.
Sleep yet again my Northern April,
As Winter, Winter follows here in the South,
Spring merely poetic licence...

Tuesday 4 April 2017


“Switzerland is a country where very few things begin, but many things end.” - F. ScottFitzgerald 

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.
Basel (also Basle; French: Bâle; Italian: Basilea) is a city in northwestern Switzerland on the river Rhine. Basel is Switzerland’s third-most-populous city (after Zürich and Geneva) with about 175,000 inhabitants. Located where the Swiss, French and German borders meet, Basel also has suburbs in France and Germany. In 2014, the Basel agglomeration was the third largest in Switzerland with a population of 537,100 in 74 municipalities in Switzerland and an additional 53 in neighbouring countries (municipal count as of 2000).

The official language of Basel is (the Swiss variety of Standard) German, but the main spoken language is the local variant of the Alemannic Swiss German dialect. The city is known for its various internationally renowned museums, ranging from the Kunstmuseum, the first collection of art accessible to the public in Europe, to the Fondation Beyeler (located in Riehen), and its centuries long commitment to Humanism, offering a safe haven among others to Erasmus of Rotterdam, the Holbein family, and more recently also to Hermann Hesse and Karl Jaspers.

Basel has been the seat of a Prince-Bishopric since the 11th century, and joined the Swiss Confederacy in 1501. The city has been a commercial hub and important cultural centre since the Renaissance, and has emerged as a centre for the chemical and pharmaceutical industry in the 20th century. It hosts the oldest university of the Swiss Confederation (1460).

Basel has often been the site of peace negotiations and other international meetings. The Treaty of Basel (1499) ended the Swabian War. Two years later Basel joined the Swiss Confederation. The Peace of Basel in 1795 between the French Republic and Prussia and Spain ended the First Coalition against France during the French Revolutionary Wars. In more recent times, the World Zionist Organization held its first congress in Basel on 3 September 1897. Because of the Balkan Wars, the Second International held an extraordinary congress at Basel in 1912. In 1989, the Basel Convention was opened for signature with the aim of preventing the export of hazardous waste from wealthy to developing nations for disposal.

This post is part of the Our World 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 3 April 2017


“We should honour Mother Earth with gratitude; otherwise our spirituality may become hypocritical.” - Radhanath Swami 

Isis (original Egyptian pronunciation more likely “Aset” or “Iset”) is a goddess from the polytheistic pantheon of Egypt. She was first worshiped in ancient Egyptian religion, and later her worship spread throughout the Roman Empire and the greater Graeco-Roman world. Isis is still widely worshiped by many pagans today in diverse religious contexts; including a number of distinct pagan religions, the modern Goddess movement, and interfaith organisations such as the Fellowship of Isis.

In ancient Egypt Isis was worshipped as the ideal mother and wife as well as the patroness of nature and magic. She was the friend of slaves, sinners, artisans and the downtrodden, but she also listened to the prayers of the wealthy, maidens, aristocrats and rulers. Isis is often depicted as the mother of Horus, the falcon-headed deity associated with king and kingship (although in some traditions Horus’s mother was Hathor). Isis is also known as protector of the dead and goddess of children.

The name Isis means “throne”. Her headdress is a throne. As the personification of the throne, she was an important representation of the pharaoh’s power. The pharaoh was depicted as her child, who sat on the throne she provided. Her cult was popular throughout Egypt, but her most important temples were at Behbeit El Hagar in the Nile delta, and, beginning in the reign with Nectanebo I (380–362 BCE), in the sumptuous island temple complex of Philae in Upper Egypt. In the typical form of her myth, Isis was the first daughter of Geb, god of the Earth, and Nut, goddess of the Sky, and she was born on the fourth intercalary day.

She married her brother, Osiris, and she conceived Horus with him. Isis was instrumental in the resurrection of Osiris when he was murdered by Set. Using her magical skills, she restored his body to life after having gathered the body parts that had been strewn about the earth by Set. This myth became very important during the Graeco-Roman period. For example, it was believed that the Nile River flooded every year because of the tears of sorrow, which Isis wept for Osiris. Osiris’s death and rebirth was relived each year through rituals. The worship of Isis eventually spread throughout the Graeco-Roman world, continuing until the suppression of paganism in the Christian era. The popular motif of Isis suckling her son Horus, however, lived on in a Christianised context as the popular image of Mary suckling her infant son Jesus from the fifth century onward.

Isis worship typically took place within an Iseum. In Egypt, Isis would have received the same sort of rituals as other Egyptian Deities, including daily offerings. She was served by both priests and priestesses throughout the history of her cult. By the Graeco-Roman era, the majority of her priests and priestesses had a reputation for wisdom and healing, and were said to have other special powers, including dream interpretation and the ability to control the weather, which they did by braiding or not combing their hair. The latter was believed because the Egyptians considered knots to have magical powers. The cult of Isis and Osiris continued at Philae up until the 450s CE, long after the imperial decrees of the late 4th century that ordered the closing of temples to pagan gods. Philae was the last major ancient Egyptian temple to be closed.