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Monday, December 31, 2012

A Romanian Book on Bishop Wulfila

source: Erbiceanu family archive
no copyright infringement intended

(click here for the Romanian version)

I would love to have access to this book, only it is very hard to find it: a book published in Bucharest in 1898, and carrying a pretty long title, Ulfila, Viata si Doctrina lui, sau Starea Crestinismului in Dacia Traiana si Aureliana in Seculul al IV [Ulfila, His Life and Doctrine, or The State of Christianity in Dacia of Trajan and Aurelius in the Fourth Century]. At first view, it seems that the author intended to tackle together two very different subjects. Wulfila was the bishop of Goths and translated the Bible in their language (the manuscript is kept today in Sweden, at Uppsala University). As for the Romanized Dacia of the fourth century, the native populations were everything but Goths.

Actually there was a connection between the two subjects, and the author considered important to stress it out with an annotation on the book cover, on the copy that remained in his family archive: Carte foarte importanta pentru existenta Crestinismului la Romani, C. Erbiceanu [A very important book for the existence of Christianity at Romanians, C. Erbiceanu]. You can see it in the image above, a hand written phrase.

A few details about the author. Constantin Erbiceanu, who lived from 1838 to 1913, was a historian, theologian and Hellenist. He was a member of Junimea, the famous literary circle from Iassy, also he was a member of two scholarly associations from Constantinople, Hellenikos Philologikos Syllogos and Hetairia Mesaionikon Spoudon. He also was a member of the Romanian Academy. The title of one of his books explains very well the main area of his preoccupations: Cronicarii greci care au scris despre romani în epoca fanariota [Greek Chroniclers Who Wrote About Romanians in the Phanariote Epoch]. He dedicated most of his life to the study of Greek manuscripts from the Phanariote epoch, looking there for any information relevant for the Romanian history. He was the road opener (wiki) in the systematic approach of the Phanariote epoch in the Romanian countries, also in the Romanian church history.

Constantin Erbiceannu (1838-1913)
no copyright infringement intended

A comparison comes to mind, with one of his fellows at the Romanian Academy, the philologist Ioan Bogdan. What Erbiceanu did in the field of Hellenistic studies, did Bogdan in Slavistics - search of Slavonic manuscripts to find there information relevant for the history of Romanian language. Both of them realized the paramount importance of situating the studies of Romanian history (language and culture, church and society) in the regional context: a national space is not closed, it is evolving in conjunction with its neighbors, there are continuous influences, and all that happens in the history of each of them echoes in the whole region.

So, coming now back to Erbiceanu's book on Wulfila and the Christianity in Dacia of the fourth century, the connection becomes obvious, I think. Bishop Wulfila lived many years in Nicopolis ad Istrum, in the South of Danube, and the Goths were the rulers of the region for some time. It was at Nicopolis ad Istrum that Wulfila worked on his translation of the Bible. Dacia had been modeled by the epoch of Roman rule, from Trajan to Marcus Aurelius. It was, as Erbiceanu named it, Dacia of Trajan and Aurelius. It was the fourth century, Wulfila was translating the Bible in the Gothic language on the South of Danube, the Romanized population on both sides of the river was in some stage of becoming Christian, all this was happening in the same regional context. Studying one of the subjects brings lights on the other one.

And there is another important thing: after the Tristia and the Epistolae created by Ovid during his exile at Tomis, there was no other literary work produced in this region, till Wulfila's translation of the Bible.

More I cannot say on the book of Constantin Erbiceanu. Could it be today a bit outdated? Well, the science of history is evolving and some of yesteryear's ideas do not hold any more, that's the way with any science. It would keep in any case the importance of a road opener. I have to find it, then I'll come back.

(on the life of Consatntin Erbiceanu, see also Istoria Familiei Erbiceanu, pagina din Crestin Ortodox consacrata lui Erbiceanu, articolul din Dictionarul Teologilor Romani, Vieţa şi activitatea literară a protosinghelului Naum Rîmniceanu: Discurs de receptiune la Academia Romana, rostit la 17 (30) martie 1900)

(Bishop Wulfila)

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Friday, December 28, 2012

Mesopotamian Lyre

source: British Museum
(published on Facebook by Veterodoxia)
no copyright infringement intended

Silver lyre; the silver which covers this lyre and its bull's head, and the shell, lapis lazuli and red limestone inlay decoration are ancient, but the frame, the pegs, strings and bridge are modern; the original silver pegs are exhibited separately; the panel on the front of the lyre depicts fallow deer and a tree on a hill, lions attacking a goat, and a lion attacking a gazelle. Excavated in Ur (present day Iraq). Date: 2600 BCE (British Museum)

(Old Masters)

The San Francisco Swedenborgian Church

(published on Facebook by SF Swedenborgian Church)
no copyright infringement intended

One day I will come with my own story about a Swedenborgian church I once discovered. Give me some time, though.

(Church in America)


Die Feuerzangenbowle (1944)

Okay, before starting the talk over Feuerzangebowle the movie, let's explain a little bit what a Feuerzangenbowle means. It's a traditional German drink, a punch made basically from rum and mulled wine: a rum-soaked sugarloaf is set over a bowl filled with heated dry red wine (mixed with the usual ingredients, cinnamon, cloves, all that stuff). Important details: the sugarloaf (more exactly a hat made of sugar, ein Zuckerhut) should be around seven inches high and the rum should have at least 54% alcoholic concentration. The bowl (with the sugarloaf on top) is suspended over a fire, thus the sugar saturated with rum drips into the wine. After the whole Zuckerhut disappears into the bowl, you start drinking. Here is the impression of someone who was visiting Germany and attended such a celebration: one shot ignites a deep warmth and sense of charitable giving, two shots bypass one's social inhibitions and encourages inviting strangers to waltz, three shots disconnect one's legs, hastening the necessity of a taxi for the 3 minute journey back to the hotel (http://bourbonandpearls.blogspot.com/2011/12/die-feuerzangenbowle.html). The name translates literally as fire-tongues bowl, which makes sense: after four shots one starts to speak in tongues. What's essential, this drink is prepared on the spot, during the meeting of those who will consume it, thus preparation and drinking form together a sophisticated ritual, calling in mind masonic initiations or chivalric stories. It's not for everyone, and actually the honor of a Feuerzangenbowle is reserved for those who deserve it, a Studentenverbindung or something.

The movie opens with a group of gentlemen gathered around a Feuerzangenbowle, each one is telling great stories from distant schooldays as the shots go on. There is among them a guy without such memories: a well-known writer, Dr. Pfeiffer (played by Heinz Rühmann) who hadn't go to the public school in his childhood, being taught at home. After a sufficient number of shots, Dr. Pfeiffer decides to masquerade in a student and go to the high school, and get this way his own stories to remember. He quickly becomes the number one prankster in school and together with the other students torments the professors. Did Dr. Pfeiffer really go incognito to the high school or rather was it a dream due to drunkenness? You'll never know, but does it matter? The continuous flow of pranks, going crazier and crazier, is simply irresistible.

It was the most famous movie of Heinz Rühmann and it got in Germany a cult status: during party-like showings in university auditoriums in early December, students bring props to participate in the movie’s action; for example, the audience will ring alarm-clocks whenever an alarm-clock rings in the movie and use flashlights when Pfeiffer uses a pocket mirror to pinpoint the location of the Goths on a map behind the teacher in order to help a fellow student in history class; in 2006, more than 10,000 students participated in this tradition in Göttingen alone (wiki).

Now, the thing is that if you aren't fluent in German, you will miss most of the charm this movie has: it's about wordplays and about old teachers having funny accents. Well, I'm far from fluency in German, so I could only imagine how much I were to be gained by the film. It remained though the rhythm of the follies: even if you don't know the language, you get the atmosphere, it doesn't give you a moment to breathe.

The movie was actually a remake: the first version, made in 1934 (So ein Flegel), was also starring Heinz Rühmann. Here is this original movie, as I found it on youTube:

Some consider that first version better (see for instance Jan Onderwater), but most reviewers saw the version from 1944 as the timeless escapist masterpiece. There is however the ambivalence of an escapist German movie produced in 1944. Here are pros and cons, naturally, and I'll send you in this respect to the considerations that I found in Die Feuerzangenbowle (1944 film) / Historic context and criticism.

And another remake was made in 1970 (with Nadja Tiller in the role of Marion, I knew her from El Hakim):

Dieser Film ist ein Loblieb auf die Schule, aber es ist möglich, daß die Schule es nicht merkt.

Die Feuerzangebowle, 1970 (Trailer)
(video by TobisFilmclub)

(Heinz Rühmann)

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

O Poveste cu Mos Craciun

(click here for the English version)

Povestea a inceput intr-o zi de sambata. Ma dusesem sa vad bradul de Craciun din fata Casei Albe. Ca intotdeauna era inconjurat de trenulete care alergau pe sine, iar copii erau pretutindeni, galagiosi si fericiti.
Evident ca primul gand care mi-a venit in cap a fost sa incerc sa fac un video, numai ca soarele imi juca feste, asa ca filmuletul a iesit asa si asa, mai ales asa decat asa, insa nimeni nu e perfect.

Un pic mai departe era ceva ce arata ca o coliba. iar in fata ei statea o pustoaica, imbracata destul de curios. Am intrebat-o care era treaba.

Mi-a raspuns ca era nepoata lui Mos Craciun si ca pazea intrarea in coliba, iar aceasta coliba era de fapt atelierul lui Mos Craciun.

Ei bine, asta m-a facut curios, voiam sa il vad si eu pe Mosul, mai ales ca ii dusesem dorul un an intreg, asa ca m-am asezat la coada, impreuna cu copii, parinti si bunici. Ma gandeam in timpul asta la nepoatele mele, care erau intr-o vacanta undeva departe, intr-un loc in care iarna nu era deloc diferita de vara.

Pana la urma am intrat inauntru si l-am vazut pe Mos, avea o barba alba, o burta respectabila si un zambet blajin, semana perfect cu Adrian, un prieten din Toronto. De fapt nu am avut niciodata ocazia sa ma intalnesc in carne si oase cu Adrian, insa l-am vazut in poze: barba alba, burta respectabila, zambet blajin. Asa ca aveam argumente puternice sa il aseman cu Mos Craciun.

Ei bine, ca si la Adrian, barba Mosului nu era numai alba, era si adevarata! Pana atunci vazusem numai Mosi cu barba de vata, asa ca eram impresionat.

A doua zi, duminica, eram prin Georgetown, un cartier foarte chic al Washingtonului, si am intrat intr-un Starbucks. M-am asezat la coada sa imi iau o cafea, iar in fata mea era insusi Mos Craciun. De data asta era imbracat in civil, insa barba alba si burta respectabila il tradau. Sa fi fost totusi Adrian?

Nu, imposibil, Adrian era in Toronto, iar masinile care te muta instantaneu in spatiu-timp inca nu sunt disponibile. Asa ca nu putea fi decat Mosul.

L-am intrebat, Esti Mos Craciun?

Mi-a raspuns pe loc, Da, si trebuie sa imi dai bani sa le cumpar copiilor jucarii.

Bun, daca imi raspunsese astfel, putea de fapt foarte bine sa fie Adrian, dar nu eram sigur. Am mormait ceva si am zambit. Mi-a zambit si el.

Peste vreo ora m-am intalnit cu el din nou, pe strada.

Iarasi dau de tine? m-a intrebat el.

I-am zis, Domle, ieri am fost la Casa Alba si Mos Craciun era acolo intr-o coliba. Esti dumneata Mosul sau nu, sa stiu cum te iau.

Daca sunt sau nu Mos Craciun? Poti sa spui si asa, mi-a raspuns.

Pe urma m-a intebat, De unde esti, ca ai un accent ciudat si destul de caraghios.

I-am zis, Pai daca esti Mos Craciun, poti sa ghicesti singur.

Din Germania? m-a intrebat.

Si crezi ca daca traiam in Germania mai era nevoie sa ma mut aici?


Hai ca esti departe, i-am zis.


Nu, Romania.

Mi-a zis, Omule, sunt batran si am vazut o gramada de lucruri ciudate in viata, dar asa ceva nu mi s-a mai intamplat, sa vad un roman!

Odata si odata tot trebuia sa se intample, am raspuns.

L-a pufnit rasul, Bai, tu chiar ai crezut ca sunt Mos Craciun?

Mi-am dat atunci seama, era Adrian.

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Praying Knife

left and right views of an etched, engraved and gilded steel knife
ivory, brass and silver handle
unknown maker, Italy, 1500–50
Victoria and Albert Museum
(published on Facebook by Sine musica nulla vita)
no copyright infringement intended

Knives with musical notes on the blade, known as notation knives, are extremely rare. This example is etched with notations expressing gratitude for a meal. The inscription on one side of the blade reads The blessing of the table. May the three-in-one bless that which we are about to eat. This would be sung before the meal was taken. On the other side the inscription gives thanks after the meal: The saying of grace. We give thanks to you God for your generosity. The point of the knife allowed meat to be skewered and offered to a diner or guest.
  • Blade A: Benedictio mensae, Tenor, Quae sumpturi sumus benedicat trinus et unus.
  • Blade B: Gratiarum actio, Tenor, Pro tuis deus beneficiis gratias agimus tibi.

(Old Masters)


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

René-Xavier Prinet: Kreutzer Sonata

René-Xavier Prinet: La Sonate à Kreutzer
signed R.X.Prinet (lower right)
oil on canvas
(published on Facebook by Sine musica nulla vita)
no copyright infringement intended


Sotheby's Catalogue Note (reproduced by Sine musica nulla vita):

The subject of the present work comes from Leo Tolstoy's novella of the same title published in 1889 (though quickly censored for its controversial content) and recounts the tale of Pozdnyshev, a man who has abandoned music while his wife continues to play the piano, often with the violinist, Trukachevsky. Pozdnyshev's jealousy becomes all consuming after attending the duo's recital of Beethoven's Kreutzer Sonata, a piece known for its musical range suggesting emotions from dark anger to deep meditation to exuberant joy (soon after its debut in 1803 the Violin Sonata No. 9 in A Major for piano and violin, Opus 47 was dedicated to virtuoso violinist George Bridgetower, but when Beethoven felt Bridgetower insulted a female friend it was rededicated to the French violinist Rodolphe Kreutzer). Pozdnyshev confuses the impassioned playing with a physical affair and, unable to rid his mind of the haunting music and the images it inspires, he takes his wife's life in a murderous rage.

As depicted by Prinet, the violinist pulls the pianist from her stool, his hand sinking into the golden fabric of her gown as her fingers brush the keys. The soft illumination and green cast from the small shaded candle leave the room with deep pools of shadow while the edges of the room dissolve into haze. In his narrative, Tolstoy does not make it clear if the embrace was anything more than Pozdnyshev's delusion, making Prinet's dream-like setting particularly effective and suggests an interest in the symbolist techniques of his friend and fellow artist Edmond Aman-Jean.

In 1941, decades after the Kreutzer Sonata's exhibition at the Paris Salon of 1901, it was chosen by the Dana perfume company for a marketing campaign designed to promote Tabu, a new scent created in 1931. In a series of advertisements widely published over decades in fashion magazines and newspapers, an image of the Kreutzer Sonata hung on walls behind elegantly dressed models personifying the forbidden perfume, while others illustrated the painting alone with teasing tag-lines like when you want what's going on to go on and on. Tabu's intoxicating floral, spicy, and musky notes became synonymous with Prinet's sensual image and the lasting popularity of the campaign earned Kreutzer Sonata's fame in depicting the longest kiss in advertising history.

(Old Masters)


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Prayer in Christmas

Yesterday I found in NY Times an op-ed with the name The Moral Animal. It was making a conjunction between evolutionism and religion. I have encountered such opinions also before: that religion appeared at some point in the beginnings of humanity, due to the necessity of primitive communities to survive: individuals could better survive within organized communities, and religion offered the organizational backbone. Maybe it is true up to a point. The importance of myths and rituals in a Darwinian perspective: in the struggle for survival, the most fitted individuals are those that are part of a community, and the most fitted communities are those disciplined by myths and rituals. Even atheistic societies are careful to cultivate their own atheistic mythology and atheistic rituals.

This is when we consider the collective faith. Let's talk also about the individual. I had in my life moments of faith and moments of skepticism. And I am sure this will continue toward the end. Sometimes you simply need to pray. Some other times you simply cannot believe any more. Or some other times you don't need the faith, as you feel it as a too tight coat for you. Then moments come when you simply need to pray again. Then moments come when you simply cannot pray any more, as you cannot believe any more. When you loose someone very dear to you, life appears as useless, makes no sense, and faith becomes also useless, senseless. Then, when life offers you great satisfactions and great enthusiasm, faith gets again useless, as you have everything here and now. And suddenly the need for prayer will arise, through fear or through love.

I found today an article in NY Times where the author was telling in great sincerity a similar chain of experiences within faith and out of faith. I was deeply touched.


Leo Monosson

Leo Monosson (1897-1967)
no copyright infringement intended

(Les Troubadours du Temps Jadis)

Monday, December 24, 2012

Heinz Rühmann

Heinz Rühmann lived a long life and had a wonderful career. I saw some movies starring him, I was a teenager, and I enjoyed them a lot. I wonder how they would seem to me now, after so many years, still I remember them with pleasure. There are some on youTube and I will come back here with some impressions.

For now just a few glimpses: a small video I found right now, Heinz Rühmann is singing Ich brech' die Herzen der stolzesten Frau'n (which means something like I Break The Hardest Women's Hearts) while the video shows photos and posters from movies he played in during the thirties. The song is from Fünf Millionen suchen einen Erben, which was released in 1938. The movies I have seen were later works, from the end of the fifties or so, when Rühmann was rather old, here in this video he appears in his young years.

Berlin sings: Heinz Rühmann
(video by 240252)

Ich brech' die Herzen der stolzesten Frau'n
weil ich so stürmisch und so leidenschaftlich bin
mir braucht nur eine ins Auge zu schau'n
und schon isse hin

Ich hab' bei Frauen so schrecklich viel Glück
das ist kein Wunder
denn mein Sternbild ist der Stier
mein Blut ist Lava, und das ist mein Trick
das liebt man an mir

Ich lach' sie an und sage schlau
sie sind die richtige, gnädige Frau
komm' ich in Glut
dann ist mir jede so gut

(German and Nordic Cinema)


Jean Pierre Ferland: Je reviens chez nous

Fais du feu dans la cheminée
no copyright infringement intended

Il a neigé à Port-au-Prince
Il pleut encore à Chamonix
On traverse à gué la Garonne
Le ciel est plein bleu à Paris

Ma mie l'hiver est à l'envers
Ne t'en retourne pas dehors
Le monde est en chamaille
On gèle au sud, on sue au nord

Fais du feu dans la cheminée
Je reviens chez-nous
S'il fait du soleil à Paris
Il en fait partout

La Seine a repris ses vingt berges
Malgré les lourdes giboulées
Si j'ai du frimas sur les lèvres
C'est que je veille à ses côtés

Ma mie j'ai le cœur à l'envers
Le temps ravive le cerfeuil
Je ne veux pas être tout seul
Quand l'hiver tournera de l'œil

Fais du feu dans la cheminée
Je reviens chez-nous
S'il fait du soleil à Paris
Il en fait partout

Je rapporte avec mes bagages
Un goût qui m'était étranger
Moitié dompté, moitié sauvage
C'est l'amour de mon potager

Fais du feu dans la cheminée
Je reviens chez-nous
S'il fait du soleil à Paris
Il en fait partout

Fais du feu dans la cheminée
Je rentre chez moi
Et si l'hiver est trop buté
On hibernera

Living in Montreal, dreaming of Paris. It's Jean Pierre Ferland. I love his song. Thank you, Adrian!

Jean Pierre Ferland: Je reviens chez nous
(video by retro60QCFR)



Episcopul Wulfila

ilustratie de Gustave Doré
(publicata in madamepickwickartblog)
no copyright infringement intended

Gustave Doré: Episcopul Ulfilas, in veacul al patrulea, si-a luat sarcina talmacirii Biblei pe limba gotilor lasand insa ceva la o parte, ceea ce sigur ca pare de mirare: Cartile Regilor. Gotii, socotea el, erau si asa prea indragostiti de razboaie, deci “le trebuia in privinta asta doar o bucatica sa muste, si nu un pinten sa-i imboldeasca si mai mult.” Si nu pot sa zic ca nu i-as da dreptate.

(click here for the English version)

Sa va explic interesul meu pentru Episcopul Wulfila, pai asta-i o istorie lunga. A inceput in liceu, cand profesorul nostru de istorie ne-a pomenit de el si de traducerea Bibliei facuta de el. Wulfila fusese episcopul gotilor candva prin veacul al patrulea, si scrierile lui sunt pastrate astazi intr-o veche universitate suedeza, la venerabila Uppsala. Numai ca el a lucrat la traducerea lui in timp ce traia aproape de malurile Dunarii, intr-un tinut locuit de populatii trace, asa incat opera lui a fost prima realizare literara in aceasta parte a lumii: populatii trace aflate in lungul proces al romanizarii.

Exista mai multe feluri de a-i ortografia numele: Wulfila, Ulfilas, Ulfila, Ulphilas, Orphila. Diferentele sunt minore, desigur, insa altfel aproape fiecare aspect al vietii lui este pentru specialisti subiect de controversa. De fapt doar cateva lucruri pot fi considerate certitudini: in principal ca a tradus Biblia in vreme ce era episcop la Nicopole ad Istrum, in sudul Dunarii.

Sa cauti date despre viata lui Wulfila este un lucru fascinant, oricat de controversat poate fi ceea ce gasesti. Poate si pentru ca orice noua informatie aduce lumini noi asupra unei perioade de timp atat de indepartate, despre cei ce au trait atunci, despre locuri dela sud si dela nord de Dunare, cum erau pe atunci si cum sunt acum, despre intamplari legate de aceste locuri, din vremea lui Wulfila, dar si din veacurile ce au urmat, si multe alte asemenea lucruri.

Asa ca as vrea sa revin aici si sa mai vorbesc despre subiectul asta, insa intr-un mod cat mai informal. Cumva este si povestea mea proprie, un fel de poveste despre o calatorie in timp (doar ca va rog sa nu o luati literal: nu e domeniul meu de specialitate, o fac doar de placere). Voi reveni deci.


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Bishop Wulfila

image by Gustave Doré
(published in madamepickwickartblog)
no copyright infringement intended

Gustave Doré: Bishop Ulfilas, in the fourth century, undertook the task of translating the Bible into the Gothic language with a curious omission: he left out the Book of Kings. The Goths, in his opinion, were already too fond of fighting, and “needed in that matter the bit, rather than the spur.” I can’t say that I blame him.

(click here for the Romanian version)

About my interest for Bishop Wulfila, that is a long story. It began in the high school, when our history teacher told us about him and about his translation of the Bible. Wulfila had been the bishop of the Goths sometime in the fourth century, and his writings are now kept in a Swedish university, at the venerable Uppsala. He had worked on the translation while he was living near the borders of Danube, in a land inhabited by Thracian populations, and so his output was the first literary achievement in this part of the world: Thracian populations in the long process of Romanization.

There are several spellings in use for his name: Wulfila, Ulfilas, Ulfila, Ulphilas, Orphila. The differences are minor, of course, but otherwise almost every aspect of his life is matter of scholarly controversy. Actually a few things can be considered certain: mainly that he translated the Bible while he was the bishop of Nicopolis ad Istrum, in the South of Danube.

To search for data on Wulfila is fascinating, as controversial these data might be. Maybe also because each piece of information brings new lights on a period so distant in time, about the people that lived then, about places on the South and North of Danube, how they have been in those remote times, how they are today, about events related to those places, during Wulfila's times and also during the centuries that followed, and about so many other things.

So I would love to come back here on this topic, only I would do it in a very informal way. Somehow it is also my own story: well, I don't think that I am Wulfila, don't take me wrong, but looking for data related to him is kind of time travel (and of course it's not my domain of expertize, it's just my pleasure). I will come back on this for sure.

(German and Nordic Literature)


Saturday, December 22, 2012

A Day To Remember: Puccini Was Born on December 22

A Day To Remember - December 22
Birthday of Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924)
(image published on Facebook by Libri antichi online - Studio bibliografico Apuleio)
no copyright infringement intended

(Old Masters)


Jeremy Mann: View of a Room

Jeremy Mann: View of a Room
(published on Facebook by Jeremy Mann)
no copyright infringement intended

This dialog of light and shadows is amazing. The work of a wizard. And each piece of furniture there, each thing in the room, like having a story of their own, each one with its story, told with restraint, more jealously hidden, jealousy from each other. And the little that is told, coming to us in this language of light and shadows.

(Principle Gallery)


Friday, December 21, 2012

Music in the Age of Pyramids

Egyptian Harp of Old Kingdom
no copyright infringement intended

Music in the Age of Pyramids is a research project coordinated by the Spanish musicologist Rafael Pérez Arroyo with the collaboration of Syra Bonet. The research process began in 1991. It consisted of a multidisciplinary study of the music, musical instruments and dance of Ancient Egypt and it included the study of instruments conserved in different museums, especially the Egyptian Museum, Cairo, and in European collections. This was followed by the examination in situ of the music reliefs conserved in Egyptian mastabas and tombs.Then an analysis was made of the Ancient Egyptian literary sources, the folklore of the Nile Valley, Coptic liturgical music and the Greek writers (I used here the information provided on the web site of Rafael Pérez Arroyo).

(Old Masters)

Edgard Varèse: Ionisation

Varèse with Stravinsky
(published in New York Arts)
no copyright infringement intended

The image above shows both guys, but what follows is related only to one of them. Varèse composed in 1931 Ionisation for thirteen percussionists. It was seemingly the first concert hall composition for percussion ensemble alone (a piano is part of the whole, considered also a percussion instrument, that's it). It means: 3 bass drums (medium, large, very large), 2 tenor drums, 2 snare drums, tarole (a kind of piccolo snare drum), 2 bongos, tambourine, field drum, crash cymbal, suspended cymbals, 3 tam-tams, gong, 2 anvils, 2 triangles, sleigh bells, cowbell, chimes, glockenspiel, piano, 3 temple blocks, claves, maracas, castanets, whip, güiro, high and low sirens, and a lion's roar (wiki).

Enregistré à la Cité de la musique le 20 novembre 2012
le Festival d'Automne à Paris
(video by Ensemble intercontemporain)

Ionisation features the expansion and variation of rhythmic cells, and the title refers to the ionization of molecules. The composer said about it that he had not been influenced by composers as much as by natural objects and physical phenomena. He also acknowledged the influence of the Italian Futurist artists Luigi Russolo and Filippo Tommaso Marinetti (wiki).

(Edgard Varèse)


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Edgard Varèse

Varèse's music emphasizes timbre and rhythm. He was the inventor of the term organized sound, a phrase meaning that certain timbres and rhythms can be grouped together, sublimating into a whole new definition of music. Although his complete surviving works only last about three hours, he has been recognised as an influence by several major composers of the late 20th century. His use of new instruments and electronic resources led to his being known as the Father of Electronic Music while Henry Miller described him as The stratospheric Colossus of Sound (wiki)

(Musica Nova)


Ioan Bianu

Ioan C. Bianu (1856-1935)
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Eram in clasa a sasea, si un unchi mi-a oferit o carte sa ma ajut cu ea la scoala. Era Istoria Literaturii Romane de Ioan Bianu, un manual de liceu, pe care l-am citit cu pasiune. Poate de acolo se trage dragostea mea pentru literatura romana (si poate si faptul ca interesul meu se cam opreste acolo unde s-a oprit si manualul lui Bianu: primii ani de dupa Primul Razboi Mondial). Tatal meu l-a avut la un moment dat profesor la liceu, la limba latina (iar la logica a avut un profesor care era foarte tanar, pe Tudor Vianu). Si fiindca am pornit pe panta amintirilor, sa va mai spun de o carte de care am dat in adolescenta si care avea sa insemne foarte mult in formarea mea: Indrumare in Filosofie de Mircea Florian.

Incepand din 1884, Ioan Bianu a fost directorul Bibliotecii Academiei. A condus-o pana la sfarsitul vietii.

Sub conducerea sa s-au alcatuit mari lucrari de bibliografie, intre care primele trei volume din Bibliografia romaneasca veche, 1508 - 1830 (1903 - 1936) si Catalogul manuscriptelor romanesti (3 vol., 1907 - 1931). A editat numeroase texte vechi. Este unul dintre autorii principali ai reformei ortografice din 1904 a Academiei, reforma care a reprezentat un pas important in introducerea principiului fonetic in scrierea limbii romane(w iki)

In fotografia facuta in 1912 la Academie, Ioan Bianu este ultimul la masa din centru (dupa D.A. Sturdza).

(1912: Sedinta la Academia Romana)

Dimitrie A. Sturdza

Dimitrie Alexandru Sturdza (1833-1914)
Portrait Gallery of the Perry–Castañeda Library of the University of Texas at Austin
Courtesy of the University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin
H.F. Helmolt (ed.): History of the World. New York, 1901
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a fost in mai multe randuri Ministru de Externe si Prim Ministru, iar intre 1882-1884 a fost Presedintele Academiei Romane - a fost o autoritate recunoscuta în numismatica romaneasca- intre 1892-1909 a fost Presedintele Partidului National Liberal

In fotografia facuta in 1912 la Academie, D. A. Sturdza este al doilea la masa din centru (intre Iacob Negruzzi si Ioan Bianu).

(1912: Sedinta la Academia Romana)

Iacob Negruzzi

Iacob Negruzzi (1842-1932)
(fotografie aparuta in revista Familia nr.7, 1890)
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unul din fondatorii Junimii, a condus vreme de 28 de ani revista Convorbiri Literare.

Iacob Negruzzi: Nepasare
(aparuta in revista Familia nr.7, 1890)
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In fotografia facuta in 1912 la Academie, Iacob Negruzzi este primul la masa din centru.

(1912: Sedinta la Academia Romana)

Nicolae Gane

Nicolae Gane (1838-1916)
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scriitor si om politic, membru al Junimii, a fost unul din cei mai de seama primari ai Iasilor

In fotografia facuta in 1912 la Academie, Nicolae Gane este primul in randul din stanga al mesei din dreapta.

(vezi si http://ro.wikisource.org/wiki/Autor:Nicolae_Gane - povestirile sale le-am citit intotdeauna cu mare placere, are un echilibru renarcabil al naratiunii si o eleganta superba a frazei)

(1912: Sedinta la Academia Romana)

Nicolae Chiriac Quintescu

filolog, traducator, critic literar -  a tradus in 1876 Egmont al lui Goethe, intr-o versiune in care elementul popular este precumpanitor, iar fraza are o cursivitate in buna masura moderna (crispedia)

In fotografia facuta in 1912 la Academie, Nicolae Quintescu este al doilea in randul din stanga al mesei din dreapta (in spatele lui Nicolae Gane, insa mai mult asezat intre masa din dreapta si masa din centru).

(1912: Sedinta la Academia Romana)

Generalul Grigore Crainiceanu

A luptat in Razboiul de Independenta si in Razboiul de Intregire Nationala, a fost Sef al Marelui Stat Major si Ministru de Razboi. A fondat Revista armatei in 1883 și Cercul publicațiunilor militare in 1889. A fost membru titular al Academiei Romane.

(vezi si Academia Romana : Discursuri de receptiune. T. 39 : Crainicianu Gr. Despre armatei române)

In fotografia facuta in 1912 la Academie este al doilea la masa din stanga (langa Spiru Haret).

(1912: Sedinta la Academia Romana)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Constantin Erbiceanu

sursa: arhiva familiei Erbiceanu
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(click here for the English version)

Mi-as dori mult sa ajung sa citesc cartea aceasta, numai ca e foarte greu de gasit: o carte publicata la Bucuresti in 1898, si purtand un titlu deosebit de lung, Ulfila, Viata si Doctrina lui, sau Starea Crestinismului in Dacia Traiana si Aureliana in Seculul al IV. Pare la prima vedere ca autorul a vrut sa se ocupe deodata de doua subiecte foarte diferite. Ulfila a fost episcopul gotilor si a tradus Biblia in limba lor (manuscrisul este pastrat in Suedia, la Universitatea Uppsala). Cat despre Dacia romanizata a veacului al patrulea, populatiile native erau orice, numai goti nu.

De fapt intre cele doua subiecte era o legatura, iar autorul a considerat important sa o evidentieze printr-o adnotare pe coperta cartii, pe exemplarul care a ramas in arhiva familiei: Carte foarte importanta pentru existenta Crestinismului la Romani, C. Erbiceanu. O puteti vedea in imaginea de mai sus, o fraza scrisa de mana.

Cateva cuvinte despre autor. Constantin Erbiceanu, care a trait intre 1838 si 1913, a fost istoric, teolog si elenist. A fost membru al Junimii, de asemeni a fost membru in doua asociatii de carturari din Constantinopole, Hellenikos Philologikos Syllogos si Hetairia Mesaionikon Spoudon. Si a fost membru al Academiei Romane. Tiitlul uneia din cartile sale explica foarte bine aria sa principala de preocupari: Cronicarii greci care au scris despre romani în epoca fanariota. Si-a dedicat cea mai mare parte a vietii studiului manuscriselor grecesti din epoca fanariota, cautand in ele orice informatie relevanta pentru istoria Romaniei. A fost un deschizator de drumuri (wiki) in abordarea sistematica a epocii fanariote din Tarile Romanesti, de asemeni in istoria bisericii noastre.

Constantin Erbiceannu (1838-1913)
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O comparatie imi vine in minte, cu unul din colegii sai dela  Academia Romana, filologul Ioan Bogdan. Ce a facut Erbiceanu in elenistica, Bogdan a facut in slavistica - cautare de manuscrise slavone ca sa gaseasca in ele informatii relevante pentru istoria limbii romane. Amandoi au inteles importanta uriasa a situarii studiilor de istorie romaneasca (limba si cultura, biserica si societate) intr-un context regional: un spatiu national nu este inchis, ci evolueaza in conjunctie cu vecinii, exista influente continue, iar tot ce se intampla in istoria unuia are ecou in intreaga regiune.

Asa incat daca ne intoarcem acum la cartea lui Erbiceanu despre Ulfila si crestinismul in Dacia celui de-al patrulea veac, legatura devine evidenta, cred. Episcopul Ulfila a trait multi ani la Nicopolis ad Istrum, in sudul Dunarii, iar gotii au fost stapanii regiunii pentru o bucata de vreme. La Nicopolis ad Istrum a lucrat Ulfila la traducerea Bibliei. Dacia fusese modelata de epoca stapanirii romane, de la Traian pana la Marc Aureliu. Era, asa cum Erbiceanu a numit-o, Dacia Traiana si Aureliana. Era veacul al patrulea, Ulfila talmacea Biblia in graiul gotilor la sud de Dunare, populatia romanizata de pe ambele maluri ale fluviului era intr-un anumit stadiu al lungului proces de adoptare a crestinismului, totul se intampla in acelasi context regional. Studiul unuia din subiecte aducea lumini noi asupra celuilalt.

Si mai e ceva important: dupa Tristiile si Epistolele create de Ovidiu in timpul exilului la Tomis, nu a existat o alta opera literara produsa in aceasta regiune pana la traducerea Bibliei facuta de Ulfila.

Mai mult nu am ce sa spun despre cartea lui Constantin Erbiceanu. Ar putea fi depasita? Sigur ca stiinta istoriei evolueaza si unele idei de odinioara nu mai rezista timpului, asta se intampla in orice stiinta. Cred totusi ca lucrarea aceasta isi pastreaza importanta de deschidere de drumuri. Trebuie sa o gasesc, apoi voi reveni.

(despre viata lui Consatntin Erbiceanu, vezi si Istoria Familiei Erbiceanu, pagina din Crestin Ortodox consacrata lui Erbiceanu, articolul din Dictionarul Teologilor Romani, Vieţa şi activitatea literară a protosinghelului Naum Rîmniceanu: Discurs de receptiune la Academia Romana, rostit la 17 (30) martie 1900)

In fotografia facuta in 1912 la Academie, Constantin Erbiceanu este al treilea in randul din stanga al mesei din dreapta (in spatele lui Nicolae Quintescu si in fata lui Andrei Barseanu).

(1912: Sedinta la Academia Romana)

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Andrei Barseanu

Andrei Barseanu (1858-1922)
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A fost in primul rand un mare pedagog, care si-a dedicat toata viata scolii. Isi amintea unul din fostii sai elevi, a nu sti raspunde lui Barseanu la lectii era o rusine pentru elevi. Nu dojenea Andrei Barseanu, ci se uita cu ochii sai buni si blanzi incat ai fi intrat in pamant de rusine. Ii era rusine de rusinea ta. Ca sa nu jignesti pe omul acesta de aur iti dadeai toate silintele sa-ti îndrepti greseala. Si a fost cel care a compus versurile unuia din imnurile sfinte ale acestui neam: Pe-al nostru steag e scris Unire. Muzica a fost compusa de un alt mare roman, Ciprian Porumbescu.

Ceea ce nu stiam este ca melodia aceasta este in prezent imnul national al Albaniei.

In fotografia facuta in 1912 la Academie, Andrei Barseanu este al patrulea in randul din stanga al mesei din dreapta (in spatele lui Constantin Erbiceanu si in fata lui Ioan Bogdan).

O strada ii poarta numele in Darstele Brasovului, unde s-a nascut. Student fiind, veneam de obicei prin septembrie, in ultima luna a vacantei de vara, la Brasov pentru vreo saptamana. O matusa locuia aici. Imi placea sa merg in centru, la Biserica Neagra, apoi mai departe spre Schei. De acolo uneori o luam pe vechiul drum spre Poiana. Uneori ma opream la cabana dela Pietrele lui Solomon. Alteori luam din centru drumul spre Darste, dincolo de muntii ce strajuiesc orasul.

(1912: Sedinta la Academia Romana)

Ioan Bogdan

Ioan Bogdan (1864-1919)
no copyright infringement intended

(click here for the English version)

Prima oara am auzit de Ioan Bogdan in liceu: profesorul nostru de istorie il cita pentru a evidentia importanta factorului slavon in evolutia limbii romane. Ne-a vorbit atunci profesorul despre substrat si suprastrat. Orice limba, in afara originii sale (care isi impune partea leului in lexic si gramatica - latina in cazul nostru), mai contine doi vectori: asa numitul substrat (limba daca in cazul romanei) si asa numitul suprastrat (in majoritate slavon in cazul nostru).

Fiu al Brasovului (asemenea colegilor sai de Academie Teclu si Barseanu), Ioan Bogdan a fost creatorul filologiei slavo-romane: studiul manuscriselor in limba slavona (in special cele originare din Tarile Romane) pentru a extrage de acolo informatii relevante despre istoria romaneasca medievala si despre evolutia limbii romane. Ca si Erbiceanu (un distins elenist care si-a dedicat viata studiului doumentelor fanariote, cu acelasi scop pentru care Bogdan a lucrat in aria slavona), el si-a dat seama de importanta vitala a contextului regional in istoria unui popor si a unei limbi.

Ioan Bogdan a fost cel care a descoperit si editat cronicile in limba slavona ale lui Macarie, Eftimie si Azarie, acoperind o intreaga perioada din istoria Moldovei: epoca lui Petru Rares si a urmasilor sai. Aceste manuscrise fusesera create in manastirile moldovenesti (Neamtul si-a castigat renumele de Biblioteca Nationala a Moldovei - iar Macarie a fost egumen acolo pentru o vreme, inainte de a deveni episcop al Romanului). Din aceste manastiri fiecare manuscris si-a continuat viata pe cont propriu, calatorind la Iasi sau Kiev, Cracovia sau Viena, Moscova sau Sankt Petersburg, schimburi de daruri intre principii si suveranii acelor locuri. Unul din manuscrisele dela Neamt a calatorit pana la Oxford: se afla acum la Biblioteca Bodleiana. Iar Bogdan, membru al Academiei Romane si profesor la Universitatea din Bucuresti, de asemeni membru al Societatii de Istorie si Antichitati din Moscova, a calatorit pe drumul acestor documente, cautandu-le urma prin biblioteci si manastiri si muzee.

pagina din Cronica lui Azarie
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Rezultatele obtinute de Bogdan au importanta in mai multe discipline: istorie, filologie, lingvistica. Ca sa ne facem o idee despre specificul domeniului sau stiintific,  hai sa vorbim un pic despre asa numitele Glose Bogdan. Sunt adnotari facute pe un manuscris gasit de Ioan Bogdan la o expozitie dela Moscova in 1890. Manuscrisul era o traducere in slavona a unei faimoase colectii bizantine de legislatie ecleziastica si civila: Sintagma pe care Matei Vlastaris a alcatuit-o in 1335.

icoana infatisandu-l pe Matei Vlastaris
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De-a lungul vremii s-au facut mai multe talmaciri in slavona ale Sintagmei  (una chiar de catre Macarie, in 1556, la porunca domnitorului Alexandru Lapusneanu, trimisa apoi in dar tarului Ivan cel Groaznic). Manuscrisul gasit de Bogdan era una din aceste traduceri (nu versiunea lui Macarie, ci alta traducere). Ceea ce ii da o valoare unica sunt adnotarile: cateodata mici comentarii pe marginea textului, alteori traducerea cate unui cuvant din text. Cel mai frecvent este vorba de unul sau doua cuvinte, mai rar cate o fraza. Este vorba de 70 de adnotari in slavona si 662 in romana. Este una din primele marturii de romana scrisa in istorie. Au ramas cunoscute sub numele de Glosele Bogdan.

Nu exista un consens in privinta datei la care au fost facute adnotarile. S-au putut face doar estimari indirecte, bazate pe consideratii legate de filigran si de rotacism. Sa ma explic.

Mai intai specialistii au incercat sa determine data la care a fost scris manuscrisul propriu zis. Analiza filigranului paginilor a permis o estimare aproximativa: intre 1516 si 1536 (opinia Magdalenei Georgescu, care a produs o noua editie a manuscrisului, in 1982). R. Constantinescu a avansat o data mai precisa: candva in jurul lui 1520. Cat despre glose, opinia generala este ca au fost scrise mai tarziu (desi nu toti cercetatorii sunt de acord: pentru R. Constantinescu, atat manuscrisul cat si adnotarile au fost facute in acelasi timp).

Prezenta rotacismului in adnotarile romanesti a condus la concluzia ca glosele nu puteau fi scrise dupa 1616/1636 (data la care avem ultima atestare a fenomenului de rotacism in limba romana).  Astfel data la care s-au putut face adnotarile a putut fi situata intr-un interval aflat intre 1516/1536 (data manuscrisului propriu zis) si 1616/1631.

Cat despre locul de origine al acestor glose, Ioan Bogdan (bazat pe caligrafierea cuvintelor si pe particularitati lingvistice) considera ca ele au fost probabil scrise la Neamt (sau oricum intr-o manastire din nordul Moldovei). Opinia lui a fost impartasita si de Magdalena Georgescu, in timp ce Alexandru Rosetti sugera alta localizare (Maramures, nordul Transilvaniei). Philosophi certant.

Interesant este ca alt manuscris slavon (din secolul al XVII-lea, descoperit la Moscova de catre R. Constantinescu) contine aceleasi glose! Aceasta i-a condus pe alti doi cercetatori (Ion Ghetie si Alexandru Mares) sa considere Glosele Bogdan nu ca simple adnotari, ci ca text literar original in toate drepturile: opera literara in forma de adnotari.

(majoritatea informatiilor le-am gasit in Wikipedia si Asistentul Judiciar)

O strada din Brasov ii poarta numele. Strada nu se afla in Schei, unde s-a nascut, ci inspre Gara Bartolomeu (deci aproape si de Biserica Bartolomeu).

In fotografia facuta in 1912 la Academie, Ioan Bogdan este ultimul in randul din stanga al mesei din dreapta (in spatele lui Andrei Barseanu).

(1912: Sedinta la Academia Romana)