Thursday, November 20, 2014

ABC Wednesday - S

I've made it to the letter "S" for ABC Wednesday (one day late), the most consistent I've been after posting sporadically to Mrs. Nesbitt's super-stimulating meme for several years now.  Many thanks to her and her steadfast volunteers who have given it such sedulous support.

Lots of music for you this morning, but if time is of the essence, skip ahead to the stuff of our daily comings and goings just past the videos.

Here are several versions of  Schubert's Serenade (St√§ndchen) from the Swan Song (Schwanengesang) collection.  It is a melody that soothes and brings serenity to many.  He wrote it in the last year of his very short life.  

You can listen to Christoph Berner singing it at this link.  If you would enjoy forest footage that includes birdsong, this video with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau's voice and the lyrics in the sub-titles is sublime.

Liszt's piano arrangement of it is played by Horowitz below.  At the 1:00 minute mark, there is a photograph of his standard poodle leaning on his forearm as he plays.
This version for string orchestra has sybaritic stimulation throughout the video.   
My second choice of "S" related music is very, very different, so prepare for a shock to your senses and perhaps turn your volume down to start.  This is the Hua Family Shawm (the double-reed instrument that preceded the oboe) band.  If you listen to it, I hope you will hang in until at least the 30-second mark  as the style changes dramatically at that point. 

We walked to Harrison Galleries yesterday.  I gave my newly repaired small lens one more chance, but it worked for only a few shots and then went into hunt-and-peck mode.  Back to the shop it goes.  The sky was cold and grey as we started out in David Lam Park but watching Bill and Black Jack make their way across the lawn kept me smiling.
Surprisingly, there was more colour in the surroundings than I had anticipated.. 
and I had some fun playing with the swaying branches..
as I scanned.. 
the spectrum of orangey shades in the treetops.
This magnolia tree was in full Spring mode.  Now how did that happen?
A faint tinge of pink began to appear as the sun prepared to set.
We walked along the seawall, and a familiar bush caught my eye in a new way.
It goes through several stages every year, but this was the first time I noticed how it wraps..
its sweet arms around that park bench.
Bill and Black Jack obliged me by standing on the park bench for this shot.
Another first to notice these symmetrical trees on my home street.  I've walked by them so many times, but seeing them from this angle yesterday made them look entirely different.  
Scintillescent reflections in False Creek had to be shared..
as did the warm shades of these leaves around a light standard.
And, for just plain silly, how about this add that Bill spotted on a Yaletown lamp post.  Oh my goodness, we had laughed to see the date of 2015 on it, thinking how ridiculous it was to be advertising a party over a year ahead, but I'm feeling a bit sheepish to realize at this very second that it will indeed be 2015 in just over a month!  I do find solace in the fact that Bill and I were in sync, though :) 
I don't know why I took this next shot.  It just appealed to me as we walked to Harrison Galleries.  It may not be obvious in the photograph but the crane is white, and somehow,, the contrast of strong lines resting against white clouds brought a softness to the image.
I posted about Jennifer Kostuik's gallery once before, but that day, we had stared from outside the window.  On Tuesday, we went inside for a few minutes.
I have been a bit sad that, for most performing arts, taking photos is a no-no.  
I love that this isn't the situation for the visual arts.
The price of all of these works by Matt Devine and Alex Couwenberg was out of our league, but there is a Silent Auction event coming up very soon with all works priced $3000 or less.
From November 27th until December 11th, you have an opportunity to suggest..
a sum that you can afford.
I zoomed in on sections of some of the works, loving the precision..
and textures of these metal clippings that I think could be defined as..
We finally did make it to our favourite gallery cafe, and though these photos are too dark, I really want you to meet Kitana (left) and Genny.  Those smiles..
warm hearts and soothe souls and I think they make a perfect conclusion to this ABC Wednesday (on Thursday) post.  For many more ideas of ways to celebrate "S", do take a trip over to that sensational meme. Thank you so much for stopping by here on your way! 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Our World Tuesday (on Wednesday)

I am posting our comings and goings over the past few days to Our World Tuesday with many thanks to hosts, ArijaGattinaLady FiSylviaSandy and Jennifer, but first..

a plea for help to find a lost dog in Vancouver.  She is greatly missed after slipping her collar on Hallowe'en night, terrified by fire crackers and trick or treaters.  I have never met her but her name is Zoe and she is around 30 pounds (smaller than she may appear in this photo).  She's a nervous dog, so if you should happen to spot her, please do not chase after her.  That would cause her to bolt again. She isn't interested in treats but does like dogs and is curious about people if they don't come at her. She is very sweet and does not bite or bark. There were two possible sightings of her near David Lam Park on November 10th.  You can learn more about her by going to this site.
Have you seen Zoe?  If so, call Cathy at 604-825-6913
On Saturday, with darkness falling, Bill and I rode our bikes to this spot along False Creek.  Just behind the dock is a grassy patch.  On days when we feel Black Jack hasn't had quite enough opportunity to let off steam, we love that she can run safely there, even in the dark. 
You can sort of see that grassy patch behind Bill.  I asked him to stand in front of the cement beam, thinking the light coming from the ground would be enough to catch the shot of him with Black Jack.  As soon as he stood there, I realized my idea wasn't working.  Moving to the side didn't really work either.  Ever-patient Bill knew that would happen but didn't say a word.  He's the best!      
That evening we attended a concert by Novo Ensemble.  I've blogged about Novo before.  This is Marina, a fine cellist and delightful person.
Her determination and talent went hand in hand to organize a diverse and stimulating program of music featuring contemporary Canadian composers.  Here, Jordon Nobles discusses his work, Lux, a world premiere.
Below, Marina and double bassist, Mark Haney, prepare to perform a work by James Maxwell titled "Nihtscada"(translates as "Nightshade").
The composer, Mr. Maxwell (on the right), talked of the inspiration and process that led him to write a piece for bass and cello.  It was a first for me to hear this combination of instruments in duo and I loved the warm sonorities and criss-crossing melodies.
As for Marina, her creative and organizational energy leave me in awe.  A concert such as this with so much to coordinate and so much new music to learn would leave most overwhelmed.  She not only handles the music with what appears to be the greatest of ease, but throughout, her sheer happiness makes you glad to be there.
Below, Owen Underhill explains something of his thought process, before the performance of his piece called Ten Miniatures.  Each piece was inspired by Indian Miniature paintings in the tradition of the Mughal period, seen when he visited the National Museum in New Delhi.
I loved hearing "Ten Miniatures" - each one a minute or so long and each one very different. The ten titles were intriguing and this morning, I visited the New Delhi Museum site and looked at the painting, "Ladies Hunting Tigers".. the only title of the ten that I could find.  The music was wonderful (you can listen to it by clicking on the second piece at this link), and it was interesting to learn that this Kotah miniature represented a popular theme of hunting in medieval paintings, but the idea of setting up tigers to be killed as a way to entertain guests and charm princesses saddens me.  Such a long history of exploitation of animals! 

But the performance was breathtaking and no tigers were harmed in the listening :) 
The final bows of appreciative performers receiving warm applause from their listeners.
On Sunday morning, I awoke, still basking in the afterglow of the concert.  Black Jack was finding her own glow in the moment :)
She has several large and plush beds, but this one is used a lot as well. I smiled to see her achieve the perfect angle to receive the sun's warmth against her neck and ear.
She noticed me right away..
but could barely keep her eyes open.
Later, she left her bed to follow the sun spot. Sometimes, there's a chance of a treat after the camera clicks and her sleepy mood was replaced  by suddenly perked up ears here. 
I looked past her and over our balcony to one of the last..  
trees on our street with colour.
There was great sunshine on Sunday and we enjoyed a short outing on our bikes, though..
it was quite cold.  This rather dismal looking hallway leads to the bike-room in our building. We had just come back from our outing and as you can see, Black Jack was so cozy in her basket, she didn't even ask to be taken out.  She sure does settle in there for the long term :)    
On Monday, both Bill and I had happy adventures.  I rode to UBC for a piano lesson with Bogdan Dulu, a young concert pianist now working to complete his doctorate in music performance.  It was a big deal for me.  I am retired after a long career as a music (band and choir) teacher and it's been years since I took a piano lesson, but my "never too old to learn" philosophy has stood me in good stead, and my goodness it was fun!  I left feeling very grateful to Bogdan for his fine teaching.  It was a longer than usual bike ride for me, and up a big hill that I haven't tackled in a while, so that was a big deal too.  I took Black Jack along in her basket.  (She listened in on the lesson.)  Bill not only encouraged me, but rode his bike to meet me afterwards, listening and asking questions with genuine interest while we ate a late lunch near the university.  That was Bill's first significant ride alone since his illness.  As I said to my sister in a recent email, I can almost hear his brain healing.  We stopped on the way home to give Black Jack a ride in a park we don't often visit.  A nice change.  
All in all,  
a wonderful day, though.. 
some test shots with my newly repaired lens revealed that its problem has not been solved. 
Another trip to the camera store is, unfortunately, in the offing.  In the mean time, here are my out of focus but still beautiful Bill and Black Jack.  The three of us thank you for stopping by to share in our world.  If you have the time, a click on Our World Tuesday (yes, I'm a day late) will take you to many other events in the lives of people from around the world.  A very happy Wednesday to each one of you!