Ingres’ violin or piano?

There is a French expression “Violon d’Ingres“.
And now I know that it exists a piano d’Ingres too!

May be some of you have seen the Stamaty family portrait by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres.

Anything surprising here? Yes, the piano!
Isn’t it astonishing that Ingres, a music lover and a violin player himself, gives the piano a strange pattern of three black keys only? Did it happen out of neglect? Yet he pays attention to the details of the dress and even to the little ring on the finger.

The small boy in the picture is the future musician Camille-Marie Stamaty (13 March 1811 – 19 April 1870).

The only portrait of older Camille-Marie that I could find:

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Those who know and love Lewis Caroll’s “Alice in Wonderland “ and “Through the Looking-Glass”, will certainly remember the “Jabberwocky”:

Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”
He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought —
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.
And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!
One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.
“And, has thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
He chortled in his joy.

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

The translation of such a poem is a real challenge. I like the German version which begins like that:

Es brillig war. Die schlichte Toven
Wirrten und wimmelten in Waben:
Und aller-muemsige Burggoven
Die mohmen Räth’ ausgraben…

The version for the French:

II brilgue: les tôves lubricilleux
Se gyrent en vrillant dans le guave,
Enmimés sont les gougebosqueux,
Et le mômerade horsgrave…

For those who read Russian:

Варкалосъ. Хливкие шорьки
Пирялись по наве,
И хрюкотали зелюки,
Как мюмзики в мовел…

Another one I love a lot is the Bulgarian one:

Бе сгладне и честлинните комбурси
тарляха се и сврецваха във плите;
съвсем окласни бяха тук щурпите
и отма равапсатваха прасурси.

And now the musical version for 6 hands and soprano for all! Enjoy:

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Ari Leschnikoff pictures – Аспарух Лешников снимки

The following few pictures of Ari Leschnikoff are from Mr. Mircho Slivenski’s archive. My special thanks to him!
Благодаря на господин Мирчо Сливенски за възможността да представя тук няколко снимки от неговия архив.
Sent from Berlin to his mother in 1929 – На майка си от Берлин през 1929:

Traveling – На път:

Sofia 1936 – София 1936

Also from the 1930s – Също от трийсетте години на 20 век:

Last visit to Germany – Последно посещение в Германия:

In front of his concert poster 1977 with Sashka, his second spouse.
Пред афиша 1977 година с втората си съпруга Сашка.

With a loyal friend – С верен приятел:

Ari kept his unforgettable smile till the end – Ари запази незабравимата си усмивка до края:

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Help Arevik Shmavonyan

Picture from Svetla Encheva’s blog

Although not music related, I would like to post this link about Arevik Shmavonyan. Those who can help – please write paper letters, they have to answer them, e-mails can be simply deleted.
The Bulgarian version is here.
Thank you!

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Beware of musical critics!

There are some aspects of the musical criticism which are hard (for me) to accept. The one is the incredible ease and carelessness with which people borrow and use (and sometimes even worse– misuse) citations. We have already seen it with Kalkbrenner’s concerto.

Talking to various people I realized that the blind copying does not only exist in the musical world. Mikhail Simkin, the author of entertaining quizzes but also an author of many serious papers, has very enlightening conclusions on the subject. In “Copied citations create renowned papers” he writes: “Recently we discovered [5] that copying from the lists of references used in other papers is a major component of the citation dynamics in scientific publication. This way a paper that already was cited is likely to be cited again, and after it is cited again it is even more likely to be cited in the future. In other words, “unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance”[6], [7]. This phenomenon is known as “Matthew effect” [6], “cumulative advantage” [8], or “preferential attachment” [9].
And the abstract from his “Read before you cite!” says it clearly: “We report a method of estimating what percentage of people who cited a paper had actually read it. The method is based on a stochastic modeling of the citation process that explains empirical studies of misprint distributions in citations (which we show follows a Zipf law). Our estimate is only about 20% of citers read the original.

Or even less?

The other disturbing subject (for me) is the easy made and easy given negative opinions about the unknown, forgotten composers and their work. The less a composer is known, the less is the respect for him. The examples could fill a book – in all possible languages. From the French “Histoire da la musique” in 4 volumes, published by Gallimard: “A l’exemple de quelques pianistes d’Europe centrale, notamment de Steibelt, Dussek et Cramer, qui commencent à inonder le monde musical de leurs médiocres et insignifiantes compositions, nos auteurs recherchent de plus en plus l’écriture volubile”. (“Taking example from some pianists of central Europe, like Steibelt, Dussek and Cramer, who begin to flood the musical world with their mediocre and insignificant compositions, our (French) authors seek more and more a voluble way of writing.”) After such information I hardly can imagine the young music student running to the next library in search for Dussek or Cramer…

Larry Todd in his very detailed biography of Mendelssohn surprises with: “Berger composed not only piano sonatas and nondescript etudes reminiscent of Clementi…”. Ludwig Berger (1777-1839), a former student of Clementi and the teacher of Felix and Fanny was a well-known composer and pianist, his “nondescript” etudes, op.12 (1816) and op.22 (1822) were praised by not lesser than Robert Schumann: “… diese Studien die jeder Lernende auswendig wissen müsste”. („These studies (here about op.12), should be known by heart by every student”.) Sorry Mr. Todd, many of the studies are not at all reminiscent of Clementi, they anticipate Mendelssohn, Chopin and yes, even Brahms.

Not otherwise it is in Italy – Andrea Gherzi in his ”La sonata per pianoforte nel 1700 e 1800” affirms that: “Kalkbrenner si può considerare come uno Steibelt più romantico, ma ambedue furono mediocre architetti: le loro sonate mancano di senso dinamico e drammatico, di unitarietà”. (“Kalkbrenner can be condsiderated as more romantic than Steibelt, but both were mediocre architechts: their sonatas lack a dynamical and dramatical sense and unitarity.”)

How could I deprive you of one of the pearls from renowned “The sonata since Beethoven” by William Newman: „But the weak ideas , dull accompaniments, and lack of any compelling sense of form do not suggest that master nor explain the respect in which he was held by his young friend Chopin” – this is written about the first compositions (1805) of August Klengel (1785-1852). Now – can you see any link between the youth sonatas of the composer and the friendship the same shared with Chopin 25 years later? I can’t, but I see my respect for W. Newman drastically diminishing. How strong must have been his urge to deny the talent of a “third-rate” author which led him to such logical mistakes! But who cares?
Certainly we all like some composers more and reject others, but do not the readers of scientific researches deserve a professional, objective presentation instead of cock-and-bull stories wrapped up in scientific disguise?

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