Happy Day

I was thinking about which music to post for Music Monday to mark the beginning of Holy Week. Churches throughout New York City are offering a glorious selection of masses, choral works, and hymns. I’ve decided to go with some good old American gospel.

One can’t help but wonder where American music would be without its gospel roots. A huge number of R & B singers and pop performers began their musical journeys singing in church, from Marvin Gaye to Whitney Houston, to Tina Turner, Patsy Cline, Katy Perry, and so many others. One of my all time favorites, Sam Cooke, started out a church singer and eventually became an member of the highly respected Soul Stirrers. Sam Cooke was an exceptional gospel vocalist and had one of the most recognizable voices in the history of music. He was so masterful at gospel that many of his fans were dismayed when he decided to cross over into pop. Mahalia Jackson, on the other hand, turned down every opportunity to go “mainstream”. She sang gospel – and only gospel – throughout her decades-long career. So in many respects, American music owes a great debt to the churches of Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta, and Harlem, and those atop country hills in small towns stretching from Appalachia to the Louisiana bayou. They nurtured and unleashed some of the most gifted talents of our time.

Our music today is the incomparable Aretha Franklin, who got her start singing in her father’s church, and the great Mavis Staples, gospel singer and national treasure. Here they are performing – I should say “testifying” – “Oh Happy Day”. The song was originally an 18th century hymn which was freshly adapted and arranged by Edwin Hawkins in 1967 and has become a popular gospel classic. I could listen to this over and over, as it is infused with spiritual uplift and foot-tapping, hand-clapping joy. You couldn’t ask for two better ladies to turn it out.

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A most blessed Holy Week my friends. A Happy Passover. A happy LIFE to all. Rejoice in the glory that surrounds us every day . . . every happy day.

Dewing’s Musical Maidens

If we can infer an artist’s interests from his body of work – and I believe we can – then Thomas Dewing, the American Impressionist, was evidently interested in women, music, and “tonalism”. The process of gathering images and material for Music Monday posts have put Dewing on my radar often. Whenever I searched via tags like “music”, “women”, “song’, “violin”, etc,  his elegant, soft-focus, monochromatic compositions of ladies and instruments would fill my laptop screen.

Music, Thomas Dewing, ca. 1895:

Dewing-Music

Born in Boston in 1851, Dewing was one of the founding members of “The Ten” – a clique of painters who broke from the Society of American Artists in an act of liberation from the status quo and generally rigid, uninspired standards of the organization. Dewing studied at the prestigious Académie Julian in Paris where he learned formal techniques. When he returned to the United States he became a practitioner of “tonalism”, a painting style which employs a dominant hue of color applied for nebulous, moody effect and, in some cases, figures or objects which are somewhat indistinct. If James MacNeill Whistler comes to your mind with that description, you’re totally grasping it. And you get a Museworthy “A” in art history. Whistler was the godfather of tonalism.

Whistler’s famous “art for art’s sake” philosophy was fully embraced by Thomas Dewing. His women are lovely, feminine, delicate . . . objects really. In this work by Dewing, The Lute, 1904, the women are arranged in a visually pleasing composition amidst a gorgeous veil of green. Unlike true art “subjects”, they seem to exist nowhere in particular, have no identity or reason for being. Can-can dancers, prostitutes, peasants, socialites, gypsies, duchesses, housemaids, beggars – Dewing’s women are none of these things. They are simply figures that emerge out of the tonal shroud in a detached world; a misty, amorphous “dreamscape”, serving an aesthetic that would make Whistler proud:

Dewing-TheLute

Here, in The Music Lesson, Dewing’s setting is again vague – a sparse, nonspecific space to emphasize the tonalism technique and his “woman with a musical instrument” motif.

Dewing-MusicLesson

The Song, 1891. Dewing sure liked green! I don’t blame him. Green is a beautiful color, and these ladies are bathed in it:

Dewing-TheSong

Compare these Dewing works with Vermeer’s scenes of young women practicing music. Surely Dewing was influenced by the great Dutch master. But Vermeer offered social context, perspective, and spatial dimensions. His girls exist in a place and time. And they are unique individuals, their eyes, dress, and postures emanating personality, like in this splendid work. Dewing’s world, in contrast, is ambiguous, uncluttered, indeterminate. Poems presented in a limited palette. Different from Vermeer without a doubt, but both men immortalized an enduring theme: women and music. I’m good with both of those things, no matter who paints them :-)

Young Woman with Violincello, Thomas Dewing:

Dewing_Young_Woman_with_Violincello

O’Museworthy

“To be Irish is to know that in the end the world will break your heart.”

– Daniel Patrick Moynihan

In a Dublin Park, light and shade, c. 1895, Walter Frederick Osborne. From the National Gallery of Ireland:

Osborne-DublinPark

Poets. Playwrights. Rebels. Iconoclasts. Wisecrackers. Saints and sinners. Lacemakers, footballers, farmers and whiskey distillers. Full of joy and cynicism at the same time. I would drink to the Irish for St. Patrick’s Day but I’ll be modeling for hours and hours. So I’ll get naked instead. Consider it a tribute to all the Irish bad boys I dated in my younger, more free-spirited years. Troublemakers ;-)

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day, and Happy Music Monday! Here’s a group of fine Irish fellas. Maybe you’ve heard of them :-)

Music, Survival, and 110 Years

It sometimes bothers me that many of the Music Monday posts are obituaries for an acclaimed figure recently lost. But I feel like I can’t help it, because I believe strongly in eulogizing the dead. Life stories are fascinating to me. And if there was ever a person whose life story deserves a tribute here it is Holocaust survivor and classical pianist Alice Herz-Sommer who just passed away at the age of 110. Alice is the subject of an Oscar nominated short documentary The Lady in Number 6, which I really hope wins at the awards ceremony this Sunday.

To describe Alice Herz-Sommer’s life as remarkable would be a spectacular understatement. I am completely in awe of this woman. She carries not an ounce of anger, bitterness, anguish, or sadness. She radiates nothing but joy and gratitude. And the way she speaks about music – Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, etc. – is pure love. From Prague, to a Nazi prison camp, to her apartment in London, here she is, in her own words. RIP Alice, you beautiful extraordinary soul . . .

1964

We Beatles fans have surely been relishing all the “Beatles 50″ hoopla that has built up these last few weeks. Yesterday, February 9th, was the 50th anniversary of the Beatles first appearance on American television on The Ed Sullivan Show. I happen to enjoy commemorating watershed moments, whether they mark points in serious history or popular culture, if only because they add structure and context to our perceptions of place and time, and replenish our memories. Also, I just love history of all sorts.

Over the past fifty years, the Beatles have been the beneficiaries of much mythologizing, fanaticism, and hagiography; deifying treatments that John Lennon himself often repudiated and felt were unwarranted. The elevated status of the Beatles irks some, and as a hard core Beatles fan I can appreciate their opinions. I think much of it has to do with the Beatles serving as a symbolic proxy for Baby Boomers, a generation that has become, fairly or not, a subject of derision in some circles. Nostalgia is great, but it does seem to have a breaking point when people just tire of it all.

It’s fairly futile to quarrel about the Beatles music or whether they are fully deserving of their exalted status, a point of contention which was being disputed on Twitter last night during the CBS Grammy tribute. The larger point, I think, is the Beatles’ fortuitous position in the 60s zeitgeist: four young men who morphed from fresh-faced playful innocence into disillusioned cynicism before the world’s eyes over the course of a mere six years – a mirroring of the world itself during the same transformative period of time. It might be worth examining the significance of the “50th” in terms of 1964 itself. The Beatles on Ed Sullivan was just one notable event in an overall notable year. So what else happened in 1964? A lot. Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law. Cassius Clay beat Sonny Liston to become the heavyweight champion of the world. Shea Stadium was opened and the Polo Grounds were demolished. Three civil rights activists, Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, and Michael Schwerner, were murdered by the Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi,. The Warren Commission report was published. The New York Times Co. v Sullivan Supreme Court ruling upheld the First Amendment. Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life in prison. Dr. Martin Luther King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Ford Motor Compnay unveiled the first Mustang. Jack Ruby was found guilty of assassinating Lee Harvey Oswald. A computer program written in BASIC was run for the first time. Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor got married. And my brother, Chris Hajian, was born on September 29th :-)

Since we’ve all seen the grainy footage of Ed Sullivan introducing the band, extending his arm and hollering “The Beatles!!”, the ensuing screams, and the opening guitar chords jangling away, let’s watch a different video for Music Monday. Here are the Beatles singing sweet harmonies in “This Boy”. The year, of course, is 1964:

A Maestro’s Requiem

If there was ever a Monday that needed to be salvaged with some music, today is the one. I feel totally exhausted from a long day of modeling at the National Academy, which was then compounded by an aggravating evening commute home. Tomorrow I get to do it all over again. So as I rest my weary body, tired feet, and get some red wine into me, I’m more than happy to post the first Music Monday of 2014.

Last week,  the classical music world lost a giant. Claudio Abbado, legendary conductor of La Scala, died at his home in Bologna, Italy at the age of 80. Coincidentally, today also happens to be Mozart’s birthday, so our video is of Abbado conducting Mozart’s “Requiem” with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra and Bavarian and Swedish Radio Choirs. It’s one of the finest renditions I’ve heard. Check out the link above for the maestro’s obituary in the NY Times. His achievements in music are tremendous. And I would add that another great thing  about the man is that his name was Claudio, because we all know that variations of the name “Claud” belong to the coolest people :cool:

Until next time, friends … your tired muse, Claudia.

The Angels Sing

On this Christmas Eve, I want to take a moment to again express my sincere thanks to Museworthy readers who participated in the Art Show and shared it on social media, emailed me with warm correspondence, and all who consistently support this blog. My appreciation never wanes. If anything, it grows stronger. I hope you’ve all been well these past several days since we last met up here.

After attending the Christmas Pageant at my church, where the angels sang, I am home to cut up acorn squash for Christmas dinner tomorrow at Mom’s house, and also prepare a whipped creamy cauliflower thing that I hope I don’t make a mess of :lol:

A video for this Christmas Eve that guarantees to make you smile. I came across it on Twitter and it charmed me to no end. From the adorable 5th graders of Quinhagak, Alaska, along with town residents, this is their special version of the “Hallelujah” chorus, in which they proclaim joy amid the snow, trucks, and dogs of their unique corner of America. I wish all of you a most blessed Christmas. May the spirit of the season fill your hearts with love, peace, promises, and reawakening . . .

Brownie

Helloooo friends! Hope you all had a wonderful weekend. And if you’re experiencing some cold, snowy, sleety winter weather where you are, please stay warm and dry if you can. We should all probably get our shoveling muscles limber. Except me, of course, because I pay the neighborhood kids to do it ;-)

Let’s have a Music Monday, shall we? Saturday, December 7th, marked nine years that my father passed away, so I’d like to honor him with a video I was excited to discover on YouTube. It’s a rare television appearance of the great trumpet player Clifford Brown on the Soupy Sales show. Brown was a huge favorite of my Dad’s, who most of you are aware was himself a trumpeter. Clifford, known affectionately as “Brownie”, was a gifted musician who died tragically as a passenger in a car accident in 1956 at the young age of 25. In his brief career he had already earned the respect of older, seasoned jazz musicians who recognized his incredible talent. One of the things which distinguished Clifford Brown from many of his bebop jazz world contemporaries was his “clean” lifestyle. He never used drugs, rarely drank alcohol, and was a devoted family man. The great saxophonist Sonny Rollins said of Clifford, “He showed me that it was possible to live a good, clean life and still be a good jazz musician”.  Given so many associations of music legends with drug abuse – Jimi Hendrix, Charlie Parker, etc – Clifford Brown’s regular “good guy” conduct is a refreshing departure from the stereotype of the reckless, drug-using tortured soul. A short interview with Clifford takes place at the end of this video, and you can see that he is sweet, soft-spoken, without an ounce of bravado. I wish my father were alive to watch this, as I know he would enjoy it very much. Miss you Dad. RIP :sad:

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I’ll post again in a couple of days and then, on Sunday, the Museworthy Art Show!

The Genius From Salzburg

Easter week, 1770. A father and his 14 year old son attend services at St. Peter’s Basilica. The Sistine Chapel choir performs Gregorio Allegri’s “Miserere”, a choral work that was fiercely guarded by Vatican authorities. In those days before music publication and copyright laws, transcription of such a work was strictly forbidden. But the 14 year old boy was so enchanted with the magnificent choral music that when he returned his lodgings with his father hours later he wrote down, in the middle of the night, the entire Allegri piece note for note, having committed it to memory. He had heard it only once.

The father in that story was Leopold Mozart. The adolescent boy was his son Wolfgang Amadeus. The story is just one of numerous anecdotes about Mozart’s prodigious musical mind. But to call Mozart simply a “child prodigy” seems rather inadequate, as he was much more than that. Certainly, Mozart’s uncanny ability to memorize music, often after a single hearing, is legendary. He was known to point to his head when asked where he wrote his music. At the age of two he identified a a pig’s squeal as a G sharp. He composed 30 symphonies by the age of 18. Fantastically prolific, Mozart’s rate of production was mind-boggling, and his work ethic was solid. He had a remarkable capacity to compose under pressure and meet deadlines. And he was a marvelous improvisor who could, indeed, compose “on the spot”.

But it takes more than preternatural ability and perfect pitch, which Mozart clearly had, to earn the lofty designation of “God’s stenographer”. Many of Mozart’s memorization feats could be done by, say, Dustin Hoffman’s autistic savant character in the movie Rain Man. Most individuals who display superhuman faculty do not rise to the top or even distinguish themselves over time. Why is that? Because “genius” as we apply it to artistic figures, requires more than aptitude and prowess. It calls for imagination. Versatility. Depth of feeling. Humanity. Love. The ability to translate the human condition into art, and convert mere mastery of skill into something metaphysical. Something sublime. Something poignant, joyful, evocative. The most famous genius who ever lived, Albert Einstein, said so himself: “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world.” While Mozart surely “knew” everything about music, it was not his knowledge alone that brought him such revered status.

Mozart

This Music Monday post is inspired by WQXR radio’s Month of Mozart, which is now in its final week. And what a glorious, wondrous month of music it’s been. It has reminded us listeners of the astonishing breadth of Mozart’s musical compositions. Symphonies, operas, oratorios, concertos, chamber music, wind ensembles, masses, ballets, every instrument, every vocal range. Mozart did it all. With the holidays approaching, a Mozart compilation would make a fine gift for someone you love. As the late great conductor George Szell said, “Lengthy immersion in the works of other composers can tire. The music of Mozart does not tire, and this is one of its miracles.”

Many people believe they know the “real” Mozart from having seen the 1984 film Amadeus. While certainly a marvelously entertaining and much beloved film, directed by Milos Forman, it should be understood that Amadeus is a dramatization which took tremendous liberties. It is not accurate history. Based on the stage play by Peter Shaffer, the movie is responsible for propagating the “Salieri may have killed Mozart and secretly commissioned the Requiem” theory, which has no basis in fact. Nor did any seething rivalry even exist between the two men that we know of. This is just myth-making. However the film did get some things right. The portrayal of Mozart as a potty-mouthed manchild given to tasteless scatological humor and other infantile behavior is based on some truth, but still quite exaggerated. An acquaintance of Mozart apparently wrote in a letter that the composer had a “piercing, giggly laugh”, which was likely the reason for Tom Hulce doing the annoying laugh thing multiple times throughout the film.

While it’s amusing to learn of the foibles and unflattering habits of great figures (we love to discover that they were human, after all), people’s admiration for Mozart should hardly be diminished knowing that he had a penchant for fart jokes. Besides, the man himself can be fleshed out through the less scandalous, not so offensive aspects of his life. I for one enjoy knowing the “ordinary” things about people. Born in Salzburg to an itinerant musical family, Mozart was a little fella, small in stature, fair-skinned with large grey-blue eyes and a head of silky light brown hair. He loved to play billiards and kept birds as pets. He never attended a day of school, was Catholic, and notoriously bad with money, as the Mozarts (Wolfgang and his wife) were frequently in debt. They moved at least 11 times during their years in Vienna. He was charming and generally well-liked in spite of his immature tendencies, and his sister Maria Anna, with whom he was very close, was a talented musician in her own right. Mozart’s marriage to Constanze Weber, while disapproved of by his domineering father, was in fact a good one, filled with mutual affection, respect, and compatibility. Friends of the couple said they never saw two people better suited to each other than the Mozarts. So kudos to Wolfgang for choosing well in marriage. The couple had six children, only two of whom survived infancy. And Mozart died not from some treacherous poisoning plot but most likely rheumatic fever or typhus. He was only 35 years old.

Mozart monument in Vienna, photographed in 1898:

Mozart_Denkmal_in_Wien

I will leave you all with one of the loveliest operatic duets you’ll ever hear. This is Cecilia Bartoli and Renee Fleming singing “Sull’aria” from Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, a piece of music many people were introduced to through the movie The Shawshank Redemption.

Rock the Week

Hey gang! One of my busiest modeling weeks thus far has begun with one day down, four more to go. I worked over in Jersey City today, which went well. A little ride on the PATH train never hurt anybody. Now I’m comfortable at home with feet up, sweatpants on, and a freshly poured glass of wine next to me, posting on my little blog before Game 5 of the World Series starts.

I hope to post again before the weekend, but can’t guarantee. Something tells me you’ll all survive just fine if I don’t. The muse will return. Never fear! For now, here’s a little old school 70s rock and roll for Music Monday to get our toes tapping. From 1971 this is The Faces, with a really young Rod Stewart, doing their song “Bad ‘N’ Ruin” on a BBC television show. I have no idea what’s going on with Ronnie Wood and his toilet seat guitar. Is that thing even plugged in? :lol: Whatever, this is fun stuff. Enjoy everyone, and rock the week!

Beethoven and Brotherly Love

Have I ever mentioned how much I adore my brother and love hanging out with him? Yes, I believe I have :-) Last week Chris and I attended the NY Philharmonic concert at Avery Fisher Hall. The evening’s program was Beethoven’s sublime and transcendent Ninth Symphony. The moment conductor Alan Gilbert strode onto the stage and took his place at the podium you could feel the anticipation filling the air of the sold out hall. New York City native and child of the Philharmonic, Alan Gilbert conducted the hour long Ninth Symphony from memory, with no score in front of him. That’s not uncommon among conductors these days but still it was fabulous to watch.

Chris and I before the concert, outside an illuminated Lincoln Center:

Picture 8

My brother and I share the widely held view that Beethoven’s Ninth (and last) symphony is as close to the musical pinnacle of Western Civilization as it gets. In other words, it is sacred. And scared things often run the risk of being desecrated by the more prosaic arena of popular culture. Case in point: the background of my Twitter page is the Mona Lisa blowing bubblegum. Sorry Leonardo! I’m guilty as charged :lol:

When Beethoven is involved, however, I become a bit protective. For me he’s the untouchable exception, as I am in reverent awe of the man and his music. My protective instincts kick into even higher gear when a Beethoven work is co-opted for undignified purposes. The Ninth Symphony, intended by Beethoven as a paean to humanity and universal love, provides the musical backdrop for the 1988 smash hit action movie “Die Hard”. It also figures prominently in the violent futuristic dystopia of Stanley Kubrick’s “A Clockwork Orange”, in which the music is contrasted with disturbing images of Nazis. Loudmouthed TV personality Keith Olbermann used the first few bars of the symphony’s 2nd movement as the opening theme for his now defunct MSNBC program. And since we apparently can’t leave Beethoven’s unparalleled genius alone there’s now ” an app for that”. Yes, a Ninth Symphony iPhone app! Okay, so the app doesn’t really bother me and actually seems pretty cool, but Bruce Willis fighting terrorists to “Ode to Joy” is tacky. That’s some degrading bullshit.

I wonder what Beethoven, or any of the giants of artistic creation, would think of their works being treated in such ways. Mona Lisa parodies depicting her as a biker chick, Beethoven symphonies in action movie soundtracks, Vermeer’s Girl With a Pearl Earring taking a “selfie”. Heck maybe the artists wouldn’t be offended much at all. Or maybe they would find such things travesties. We’ll never know.

To conclude this Music Monday, Here are The Beatles performing – what else? - Roll Over Beethoven. Kisses for John xxx :-)

Adventures in C Major

For those of us who took piano lessons in our childhood the first scale we all learned to play was, undoubtedly, the C major scale. Limited to only the white keys, the C scale was oh so nice and easy. We youngsters with our still small hands were spared the trickier fingering required to reach the black keys which provide those pesky sharps and flats. Of course all that beginner’s ease would quickly change as we advanced in our scale practice. Soon, our teachers were assigning scales whose key signatures contained two and three sharps, three and four flats, half steps interspersed with whole steps, then relative keys. chord progressions, and all hell broke loose! :lol:

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, The Piano Lesson, 1889:

Renoir-the-piano-lesson-1889

Composers have to take several things into consideration when they sit down to write a piece: what instrument or instruments will be playing, what is the inspirational “subject” if any, what mood is to be conveyed, and what purpose will the work serve. Is it a waltz? Is it a march? Is it a requiem? Is it a sonata? Is it a hymn? Is it a folk song? So before a single note is jotted down on the sheet, the choice of key must be decided. And any composer will tell you that the key of a work matters a great deal. Musical keys hold different tonal qualities and thus communicate different emotions and moods. To some degree, interpretations are subjective, but as a rule the commonly held perceptions of key characteristics abide. For example, E Minor is serious and tragic, almost grim. F Major is calm and somewhat spiritual, D Major is triumphant and rejoicing, F Minor is kind of miserable and funereal, and so on.

Musical compositions written in the key of C major present that wonderfully unadorned key signature absent of sharps and flats. (sharp/flat notations can be added throughout a composition of course). Key of C with its uncomplicated pitch is associated with the sound of innocence and simplicity, free of angst and heavy drama. A word often used to describe the C Major sound is pure. It’s very “listener-friendly” so to speak. Naturally, the best way to grasp the musical effects of C major is just by listening to works of music composed in this key. Felix Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March” is written in C Major. So is Ravel’s Bolero, Beethoven’s brilliant “Waldstein” piano sonata, Franz Schubert’s “Symphony No. 9″, and a work that I happen to think is a splendid example of the C Major sound, Mozart’s ebullient “Jupiter” Symphony, a listening delight  from beginning to end.

MozartJupiter41

Popular music compromises the key mood “categories” somewhat because you have lyrics communicating specific emotions. The charismatic personalities of singers and rock stars figure prominently in the music’s expression as well. However, the musical qualities of purity, simplicity, and cleanness unique to the key of C can still be discerned in many instances. The Beatles’ “Hello, Goodbye” is in C Major, as is John Lennon’s “Imagine” . Also in C Major are Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”, Elton John’s “Daniel”, Bob Marley’s “No Woman, No Cry”, Simon and Garfunkel’s “Homeward Bound”,  U2′s “One”, and Billy Joel’s “Piano Man”.

Are there criticisms to be made of C Major? You bet. Hector Berlioz called it “dull”. Others complain that it lacks freshness and is vulnerable to sounding flat. Not the musical “flat”, just . . . flat. Perhaps there is some truth to those. I’m not composer nor am I an expert in music theory, but if you want to write a piece of music of great compositional depth, dimension, complexity, and emotional gravitas, C Major is probably not the way to go. On the other hand, C Major holds the inestimable distinction of providing the musical starting point for every seven year old sitting at a piano playing her first arpeggio, discovering for the first time why we even learn scales in the first place. Middle C is that first brick in the foundation of a mighty big house.

I’d like to dedicate this Music Monday post to my childhood piano teacher, because I’ve been thinking about her a lot lately. For the late, great Bette Renzulli, who always believed in me and gave me a standing ovation at my first recital, thank you. For everything :-)

Happy 6th Birthday Museworthy!!

Babe Ruth’s years with the Red Sox. The Sound of Music‘s run on Broadway. Lyndon Johnson’s presidency. The time Michelangelo spent completing the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. My marriage. Those are just some of the things Museworthy has outlasted. Not bad, eh?

Friends, artists, fellow models and bloggers, and readers all around the globe, I’ve said it before on these birthday posts and I will gladly say it again; this blog is written by me but sustained by you. Always has been, always will be. I often wonder if my work as an artist’s model and my attendant experiences, ideas, discoveries, and exploits would hold the same sense of purpose without the existence of Museworthy. The answer is decidedly no. If I didn’t have Museworthy as an outlet for discussion and interaction, I’m fairly certain that my life would feel smaller and less meaningful. A 40-something model from New York City blogs every week about art, music, life in the city, various thoughts and expressions, and you good folks come by on a regular basis to read them, absorb them, contribute to them, offer kindness, and occasionally set me straight. What did I ever do to deserve such a fabulous crew of readers? A heartfelt thank you to each and every one of you :-)

Our annual tradition brings us once again a photo by my dear friend Fred Hatt, one of the best people I know. Back lighting, soft rumpled fabric, me in a relaxed, mellow state after a tumultuous several months on the personal front. So here we are . .  after six years.

Picture 6

With the exception of Michael Jackson and Bob Dylan, the Museworthy birthday music has been contributed by British men. We’ll keep that going this year with the Rolling Stones. From my favorite album of theirs, Exile on Main Street, this is “Happy”. With much love from a grateful blogger, enjoy . . . and rock and roll :-)


A Trip for Mom

A little Music Monday as a send off for my mother as she embarks on a late summer sojourn in France. She is leaving tomorrow for painting and touring in Provence and Paris.  To say she’s excited would be a huge understatement! Mom will be traveling with a group of women and I wish her an absolutely wonderful, inspirational, and magnificent time. I also worry about her safety because I’m such a doting daughter. But as long as she stays in touch regularly with her special phone – text, Mom, TEXT! – everything should be okay :-)

In this video we have gorgeous paintings by the French artist Camille Pissarro, both rural and city scenes, accompanied by Chopin’s Mazurka Op. 59 in A minor performed by Michel Block. Lovely.

Movers and Shakers

“Ode” from Music and Moonlight by Arthur O’Shaughnessy -

We are the music-makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams;-
World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.

A Summer Night, 1890, Winslow Homer

Winslow Homer - A Summer Night (1890)

Vaudeville Musicians, 1917, Charles Demuth

Demuth-VaudevilleMusicians

With wonderful deathless ditties
We build up the world’s great cities,
And out of a fabulous story
We fashion an empire’s glory:
One man with a dream, at pleasure,
Shall go forth and conquer a crown;
And three with a new song’s measure
Can trample a kingdom down.

A Pyrrhic Dance, 1869, Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema

AlmaTadema-a-pyrrhic-dance-1869

Joyous Frolics, 1899, Paul Emile Chabas

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We, in the ages lying
In the buried past of the earth,
Built Ninevah with our sighing,
And Babel itself with our mirth;
And o’erthrew them with prophesying
To the old of the new world’s worth;
For each age is a dream that is dying,
Or one that is coming to birth.

The Bacchante, 1872, Mary Cassatt

Cassatt-bacchante-1872

Sounds of Spring, 1910, Franz Stuck

Stuck-sounds-of-spring-1910

A breath of our inspiration
Is the life of each generation;
A wondrous thing of our dreaming
Unearthly, impossible seeming –
The soldier, the king, and the peasant
Are working together in one,
Till our dream shall become their present,
And their work in the world be done.

The Peasant Dance, 1568, Pieter Brueghel the Elder

Brueghel-dance

Study for the Spanish Dance, 1879, John Singer Sargent

Sargent-study-for-the-spanish-dance

They had no vision amazing
Of the goodly house they are raising;
They had no divine foreshowing
Of the land to which they are going:
But on one man’s soul it hath broken,
A light that doth not depart;
And his look, or a word he hath spoken,
Wrought flame in another man’s heart.

The Impassioned Singer, 1510, Giorgione

Giorgione-young-man-the-impassioned-singer

Chocolat Dancing in the Irish and American Bar, 1896, Toulouse-Lautrec

toulouse-lautrec-chocolat-dancing-in-the-irish-and-american-bar.jpg!Large

And therefore to-day is thrilling
With a past day’s late fulfilling;
And the multitudes are enlisted
In the faith that their fathers resisted,
And, scorning the dream of to-morrow,
Are bringing to pass, as they may,
In the world, for its joy or its sorrow,
The dream that was scorned yesterday.

Music (Sketch), 1907, Henri Matisse

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Singing Peasants, Filipp Malyavin

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But we, with our dreaming and singing,
Ceaseless and sorrowless we!
The glory about us clinging
Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing:
O men! it must ever be
That we dwell, in our dreaming and singing,
A little apart from ye.

Midsummer Dance, 1903, Anders Zorn

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Candle Dancers, 1912, Emil Nolde

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For we are afar with the dawning
And the suns that are not yet high,
And out of the infinite morning
Intrepid you hear us cry –
How, spite of your human scorning,
Once more God’s future draws nigh,
And already goes forth the warning
That ye of the past must die.

Dance of the Majos at the Banks of the Manzanares, 1777, Francisco de Goya

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Aragon, La Jota, 1914, Joaquin Sorolla

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Great hail! we cry to the comers
From the dazzling unknown shore;
Bring us hither your sun and your summers;
And renew our world as of yore;
You shall teach us your song’s new numbers,
And things that we dreamed not before:
Yea, in spite of a dreamer who slumbers,
And a singer who sings no more.

A Dance to the Music of Time, 1636, Nicolas Poussin

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