Saturday 21 April 2018


“I was obliged to be industrious. Whoever is equally industrious will succeed equally well.” - Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) 

I am currently working on the new edition of one of my published works and it involves a lot (and I mean a REAL LOT!) of proof-reading. This is a task that requires much concentration and it is quite tiring on both eyes and brain. One thing that makes the task a little easier is to listen to some music while I am working. Bach always works for me in this context and the music seems to enhance my concentration.

Here is a collection of pieces that I enjoy listening to while I am working. It is Bach's works for the viola da gamba: Sonatas for viola da gamba and obligato harpsichord & Suite for viola da gamba. In this instance performed by Paolo Pandolfo [viola da gamba] and Rinaldo Alessandrini [harpsichord]. 

Sonata in G major BWV 1027:
1. Adagio 0:01
2. Andante 4:26
3. Allegro ma non tanto 7:57
4. Allegro moderato 10:30 

Sonata in D major BWV 1028:
5. [Adagio] 13:24
6. [Allegro] 15:19
7. Andante 18:46
8. Allegro 23:13 

Sonata in G minor BWV 1029:
9. Vivace 27:02
10. Adagio 32:19
11. Allegro 38:39 

Suite for Viola da gamba in D minor [Transcription from Suite Cello No.5 BWV 1011 and Suite for Lute BWV 995 (arr. Paolo Pandolfo)]:
12. Prélude 42:06
13. Allemande 48:12
14. Courante 54:08
15. Sarabande 56:28
16. Gavottes I et II 1:00:12
17. Gigue 1:04:21

Tuesday 17 April 2018


“There us a kind of flame in Crete – let us call it ‘soul’ – something more powerful than either life or death. There is pride, obstinacy, valour, and together with these something else inexpressible and imponderable, something which makes you rejoice that you are a human being, and at the same time tremble.” ― NikosKazantzakis 

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.
Rethymno (Greek: Ρέθυμνο) is a city of approximately 40,000 people in Greece, the capital of Rethymno regional unit on the island of Crete, a former Latin Catholic bishopric as Retimo and former Latin titular see. Rethymno was originally built during the Minoan civilisation (ancient Rhithymna and Arsinoe). The city was prominent enough to mint its own coins and maintain urban growth. One of these coins is today depicted as the crest of the town: Two dolphins in a circle.

This region as a whole is rich with ancient history, most notably through the Minoan civilisation centred at Kydonia east of Rethymno. Rethymno itself began a period of growth when the Venetian conquerors of the island decided to put an intermediate commercial station between Heraklion and Chania, acquiring its own bishop and nobility in the process. Today’s old town (palia poli) is almost entirely built by the Republic of Venice. It is one of the best-preserved old towns in Crete.

The town still maintains its old aristocratic appearance, with its buildings dating from the 16th century, arched doorways, stone staircases, Byzantine and Hellenic-Roman remains, the small Venetian harbour and narrow streets. The Venetian Loggia houses the information office of the Ministry of Culture and Sports. A Wine Festival is held there annually at the beginning of July. Another festival, in memory of the destruction of the Arkadi Monastery, is held on 7–8 November.

The city’s Venetian-era citadel, the Fortezza of Rethymno, is one of the best-preserved castles in Crete. Other monuments include the Neratze mosque (the Municipal Odeon arts centre), the Great Gate (Μεγάλη Πόρτα or Porta Guora), the Piazza Rimondi and the Loggia. The town was captured by the Ottoman Empire in 1646 during the Cretan War (1645–69) and they ruled it for almost three centuries. The town, called Resmo in Turkish, was the centre of a sanjak (administrative part of a province) during Ottoman rule.

During the Battle of Crete (20–30 May 1941), the Battle of Rethymno was fought between German paratroopers and the Second Australian Imperial Force and Hellenic Army. Although initially unsuccessful, the Germans won the battle after receiving reinforcements from Maleme in the Northwestern part of the island. Today the city’s main income is from tourism, many new facilities having been built in the past 20 years. Agriculture is also notable, especially for olive oil and other Mediterranean products.

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

Sunday 15 April 2018


“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” - Frank Lloyd Wright
Isaac Ilyich Levitan (Russian: Исаа́к Ильи́ч Левита́н; 30 August [O.S. 18 August] 1860 – 4 August [O.S. 22 July] 1900) was a classical Russian landscape painter who advanced the genre of the “mood landscape”. Levitan was born in a shtetl of Kibarty, Augustów Governorate in Congress Poland, a part of the Russian Empire (present-day Lithuania) into a poor but educated Jewish family. His father Elyashiv Levitan was the son of a rabbi, completed a Yeshiva and was self-educated. He taught German and French in Kowno and later worked as a translator at a railway bridge construction for a French building company.

At the beginning of 1870 the Levitan family moved to Moscow. In September 1873, Isaac Levitan entered the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture where his older brother Avel had already studied for two years. After a year in the copying class Isaac transferred into a naturalistic class, and soon thereafter into a landscape class. Levitan’s teachers were the famous Alexei Savrasov, Vasily Perov and Vasily Polenov. In 1875, his mother died, and his father fell seriously ill and became unable to support four children; he died in 1877. The family slipped into abject poverty. As patronage for Levitan’s talent and achievements, his Jewish origins and to keep him in the school, he was given a scholarship.

In 1877, Isaac Levitan’s works were first publicly exhibited and earned favourable reviews from the press. After Alexander Soloviev’s assassination attempt on Alexander II, in May 1879, mass deportations of Jews from big cities of the Russian Empire forced the family to move to the suburb of Saltykovka, but in Autumn, officials responded to pressure from art devotees, and Levitan was allowed to return. In 1880 his painting Осенний день. Сокольники (“Autumn Day: Sokolniki”) was bought by famous philanthropist and art collector Pavel Mikhailovich Tretyakov.

In the Spring of 1884 Levitan participated in the mobile art exhibition by the group known as the Peredvizhniki and in 1891 became a member of the Peredvizhniki partnership. During his study in the Moscow School of painting, sculpture and architecture, Levitan befriended Konstantin Korovin, Mikhail Nesterov, architect Fyodor Shekhtel, and the painter Nikolay Chekhov, whose famous brother Anton Chekhov became the artist’s closest friend. Levitan often visited Chekhov and some think Levitan was in love with his sister, Maria Pavlovna Chekhova. In the early 1880s Levitan collaborated with the Chekhov brothers on the illustrated magazine “Moscow” and illustrated the M. Fabricius edition “Kremlin”. Together with Korovin in 1885-1886 he painted scenery for performances of the Private Russian opera of Savva Mamontov. In the 1880s he participated in the drawing and watercolour gatherings at Polenov’s house.

Levitan’s work was a profound response to the lyrical charm of the Russian landscape. Levitan did not paint urban landscapes; with the exception of the “View of Simonov Monastery” (whereabouts unknown), mentioned by Nesterov, the city of Moscow appears only in the painting “Illumination of the Kremlin”. During the late 1870s he often worked in the vicinity of Moscow, and created the special variant of the ‘landscape of mood’, in which nature is spiritualised, and becomes symbolic of the condition of the human soul.

During work in Ostankino, he painted fragments of the mansion’s house and park, but he was most fond of poetic places in the forest or modest countryside. Characteristic of his work is a hushed and nearly melancholic reverie amidst pastoral landscapes largely devoid of human presence. Fine examples of these qualities include “The Vladimirka Road”, (1892), “Evening Bells”, (1892), and “Eternal Rest”, (1894), all in the Tretyakov Gallery. Though his late work displayed familiarity with Impressionism, his palette was generally muted, and his tendencies were more naturalistic and poetic than optical or scientific.

In the summer of 1890 Levitan went to Yuryevets (Юрьевец) and among numerous landscapes and etudes he painted “The View of Krivooserski Monastery”. So the plan of one of his best pictures, “The Silent Monastery”, was born. The image of a silent Monastery and planked bridges over the river, connecting it with the outside world, expressed the artist’s spiritual reflections. It is known that this picture made a strong impression on Chekhov. In 1897, already world-famous, he was elected to the Imperial Academy of Arts and in 1898 he was named the head of the Landscape Studio at his alma mater.

Levitan spent the last year of his life at Chekhov’s home in Crimea. In spite of the effects of a terminal illness, his last works are increasingly filled with light. They reflect tranquillity and the eternal beauty of Russian nature. He was buried in Dorogomilovo Jewish cemetery. In April 1941 Levitan’s remains were moved to the Novodevichy Cemetery, next to Chekhov’s tomb. Levitan did not have a family or children. In the 1890s, however, he had an on-again, off-again affair with an older married woman; the painter Sofia Kuvshinnikova, which led to a small scandal — and a play by Anton Chekhov and a threatened duel with the playwright. Isaac Levitan’s hugely influential art heritage consists of more than a thousand paintings, among them watercolours, pastels, graphics, and illustrations.

Above is “Lake. Russia” 1900. The last, unfinished painting Levitan was working on just before his death.