Hedy Lamarr, M-G-M, 1940. Photograph by Laszlo Willinger.
Hedy Lamarr (1914-2000) posed for this glamour portrait in 1940. The legendary Austrian beauty was 27 years old. Since her first American film, Algiers, in 1938, Lamarr was considered one of the most beautiful women in the movies, if not the world.
This publicity photograph of Lamaar is for the 1940 American adventure film Boom Town. It co-stars Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy and Claudette Colbert. This beautiful color portrait was taken by László Willinger (1909-1989), a German-born emigré who made many glamour photographs of celebrities starting in the later 1930’s.
In Boom Town, Lamarr plays Karen VanMeer, a sophisticated and elegant corporate spy. She is recruited by Clark Gable who plays “Big John” McMasters, an oil speculator.
In the 1949 film Madame Bovary directed by Vincente Minnelli, beautiful and charming Madame Bovary (Jennifer Jones) meets wealthy Rodolphe Boulanger (Louis Jourdan) at a ball where he literally sweeps her off her feet. Aggravated by her husband (Van Heflin) not fitting into high society, Madame Bovary begins a love affair with Rodolphe. Though the pair scheme to elope to Italy, Rodolphe does not love Madame Bovary.
The Waltz Scene was Filmed to the Music
One of the film’s most carefully wrought and delightful scenes is this ballroom sequence. It was one of the last segments to be shot. The film footage was tailored to Miklós Rózsa’s music. Minnelli explained to the composer in advance the camera movements so he could write the music (in an arrangement for two pianos). The scene was then filmed to match it. Their artistic collaboration produced one of cinema’s most original scenes uniting robust music with weaving and gliding images.
“Break the Windows”
As Rodolphe swirls her, Emma Bovary’s head spins until she becomes dizzy. The viewer sees her disorientation as the camera takes her viewpoint. She keeps dancing but asks for fresh air. Her request leads to an extraordinary and incredible reaction by the stewards. They start to smash the ballroom’s windows with chairs to help her cool down. This fantastically destructive action of broken glass aligns with the destruction of Emma’s romantic illusions throughout the film.
Night of Repressed Passion
Along with her husband’s boorish behavior at the ball and everywhere else, her romantic disappointment leaves Madame Bovary feeling publicly humiliated. Instead of love and excitement, she runs out of the ball in shame. Though she yearns for happiness and excitement, her pursuit of selfish pleasures ends in scandal and ruin.
Jennifer Jones as Madame Bovary offers a performance that is elegant and beautiful and equally insightful to the character’s selfish and nervous personality that in the end finds her own death more attractive than living with her shattered romantic illusions.
Irving Penn (1917-2009), Ballet Society, New York, 1948.
The Dream, a one act-ballet adapted from Shakespeare, was created in 1964 by Frederick Ashton (1904-1988) for the Royal Ballet. Depicted is elegant Oberon, king of the forest fairies, in a later production. The popular music is by Félix Mendelssohn.
With music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) and first performed in 1965, Onegin is one of the most popular story ballets for audiences to watch and for dancers to aspire to perform in. His ballet masterpiece, Onegin was created by John Cranko (1927-1973). The lead roles of Tatiana and Onegin, and Olga and Lensky, are finely drawn characters who tell a story of love and tragedy through a series of intricate and diverse dance sequences.
A staple of The Royal Ballet since its premiere in 1978, Mayerling by principal choreographer and former artistic director Kenneth MacMillan (1929-1992) is a tragic story based on the true story of the murder-suicide of the dissolute crown prince of Austria-Hungary and his mistress. The music is by Franz Liszt. Appearing in virtually every scene in a three act ballet, the male lead dancer performing with five different ballerinas, is one of the most demanding roles of the ballet stage. Mayerling is the Imperial hunting lodge in the Vienna Woods where the bodies of the pair were discovered on January 30, 1889.
Considered the greatest Italian ballerina of the late nineteenth century, Pierina Legnani (1868-1930) trained at La Scala Theatre Ballet School in Milan and later danced famously throughout Europe, especially in Italy and Russia. at the Imperial Marinsky Theatre in 1896 for the lead role in La Perle, an original production created for Legnani.
Modern production at The Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, Russia. The historic theater of ballet and opera opened in 1860.
Pierina Legnani with Olga Preobrajenska in 1899, two of the greatest ballerinas dancing in the late nineteenth century (1871-1962).
Natalya Bessmertnova and Mikhail Lavrovsky dance the roles of Giselle and Albrecht in Adam’s ballet Giselle. With its premiere at the Paris Opera (Salle Le Peletier) in June 1841, the ballet Giselle was a triumph and immediately staged across Europe. The music is composed by Adolphe Adam (1803-1856) and became the French composer’s most popular and enduring work. Musically Adam introduced the leitmotif, that is, a specific theme for a character who appears on stage in the ballet. The libretto was scored by Théophile Gautier (1811-1872) and Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges (1799-1875) with choreography by Jean Coralli (1779-1854) and Jules Perrot (1810-1892). The story is about two lovers, Giselle and Albrecht. When Giselle discovers that Albrecht is already betrothed to Bathilde she dies of a broken heart at the end of Act I. This leads to the appearance in Act II of a group of otherworldly and potentially mortally dangerous Wilis, a type of young female vampire, intent on revenge for Giselle by securing Albrecht’s destruction.
Paris Opera (Salle Le Peletier) in 1844 by A. Provost, depicted around the time of the premiere of Adolphe Adam’s triumphant ballet Giselle. The opera building, opened in 1820, was completely destroyed by fire in 1873 and replaced in a new location by today’s Palais Garnier.
Opera Le Peletier salle by Gustave Janet (1829-1898) in 1858.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s independent 100-voice Bel Canto Chorus–founded in 1931–performs carols and hymns in the historic Basilica of St. Josaphat, a Polish-style church in Milwaukee completed in 1901 and boasting one of the largest copper domes in the world.
The Bel Canto Chorus is made up of singers from throughout southeastern Wisconsin and northeastern Illinois. Their Christmas concert is one of their most locally popular of the year and its weekend of Christmas concerts is often sold out.
In this 2012 performance, Music Director Richard Hynson conducts. Hynson has been music director of the Bel Canto Chorus since 1987 and in 2012 received the American Prize in Choral Conducting, Community Choral Division. The Bel Canto Chorus has an impressive international performance portfolio, including performances at the Spoleto Music Festival in Italy and music festivals in France, the UK, Ireland, Canada and Argentina and Uruguay.
This wonderful performance features the Stained Glass Brass and Bel Canto Boy Chorus, both conducted by Ellen Shuler.
Once in Royal David’s City – H.J. Gauntlett
Ding Dong Merrily on High – George Radcliffe Woodward
A Spotless Rose – Herbert Howells
O Come, All Ye Faithful – J.F. Wade
Welcome All Wonders – Richard Dirksen
Silent Night-Franz Grüber
Joy To The World – George Frideric Handel
We Wish You A Merry Christmas – arranged by John Rutter
Booker T. Washington (1856-1915) was called “The Sage” of Tuskegee Institute outside Montgomery, Alabama. Founded by Washington in 1881, the Institute thrives today as Tuskegee University, home to more than 3,000 students from the U.S. and dozens of foreign countries.
The historically African-American college boasts several academic distinctions today, especially in the broad range of the sciences, engineering, medicine and math. This stems from the coeducational school’s founding value of industrial education.
Booker T. Washington.
Tuskegee is home to the first bioethics center in the United States: the National Center for Bioethics in Research & Health Care. Founded in 1999, the Center is devoted to the exploration of the core moral issues which underlie research and medical treatment of African-Americans as well as other under-served populations by bringing together in dialogue the sciences, humanities, law and religion.
In addition to excellence in these important academic fields, Tuskegee, with over 60 degree programs, offers study in the Liberal Arts, Fine Arts, and Humanities. This includes The Tuskegee University Golden Voices Choir in the Department of Fine & Performing Arts.
Tuskegee’s first singing groups were organized by Washington as early as 1884 with the choir formally founded by Washington in 1886. Booker T. Washington, who grew up in slavery as a child, had witnessed music and singing’s central value to the African-American experience.
In chapter one of his highly readable and interesting American classic autobiography, Up From Slavery, he writes: “Finally the war closed, and the day of freedom came. It was a momentous and eventful day to all upon our plantation. We had been expecting it. Freedom was in the air, and had been for months… As the great day drew nearer, there was more singing in the slave quarters than usual. It was bolder, had more ring, and lasted later into the night. Most of the verses of the plantation songs had some reference to freedom. True, they had sung those same verses before, but they had been careful to explain that the “freedom” in these songs referred to the next world, and had no connection with life in this world. Now they gradually threw off the mask, and were not afraid to let it be known that the “freedom” in their songs meant freedom of the body in this world.“
Washington insisted that Tuskegee’s always augmenting student body at the Christian nondenominational school sing spirituals at weekly Chapel worship services. Washington, and all Tuskegee’s successor presidents to the present day, have maintained a deep love and appreciation for the arts, especially above all music. Booker T. Washington wrote the students, exhorting them: “…If you go out to have schools of your own, have your pupils sing [Negro spirituals] as you have sung them here, and teach them to see the beauty which dwells in these songs…”
In each academic year the Tuskegee University Golden Voices Choir performs extensively throughout the state of Alabama, as well as nationally and internationally (Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and Canada in 2018).
Their Christmas Concert is held each December in the University Chapel under the direction of Dr. Wayne Anthony Barr. Dr. Barr is assisted by Mrs. Brenda Shuford at the piano who herself is a lifelong music educator and ordained minister at her Baptist church in Montgomery. Also taking significant part is Warren L. Duncan who heads the Department of Fine & Performing Arts at Historic Tuskegee University.
The choir has had a momentous performance history performing before American presidents and this entire concert offers the listener the flavor of its wonderful spirit and deep talent shared at Christmas-time.
The concert is approximately two hours and fifteen minutes.
For over 40 years, the Angeles Chorale has brought inspiring choral music to greater Los Angeles, California. It is an all-volunteer choral group comprised of about one hundred voices. The Angeles Chorale was founded in 1975 as one of the local Valley Master Chorales and merged in 1987 with California State University Northridge’s Masterworks Chorale under the baton of Artistic Director John Alexander. For the next nine years Alexander led the assemblage into a professional standard, and changed its name to the Angeles Chorale. Donald Neuen took over the podium in the 1996-1997 season. Neuen, Director of Choral Activities at UCLA, focused the chorale’s repertoire on classical music masterworks for chorus and orchestra such as Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, and Mahler. For the 2010-2011 season, Neuen handed the baton to its present-day Artistic Director Dr. John Sutton, who had been with the chorale since 2004. Sutton continues to actively study with Professor Neuen, now retired, among others, and utilizes the Angeles Chorale’s versatility and mastery in classic music and current music in concert programming.
While only about twenty minutes long, John Rutter’s chorale masterpiece Gloria is reputed to be a challenging work – and this performance at First United Methodist Church Pasadena on December 15, 2012, while continuing to strive for perfection in minor technicalities, remains overall excellent. The Angeles Chorale really takes the three movement work as its own. This is a musical performance that is vibrant, active, personal, alive, and while not perhaps the most refined performance of this favorite work on record, it provides the listener with an aural experience that leaves one on the edge of their seat which is a power not typically found in other performances. This engaging vibrancy could be part of Sutton’s ease and familiarity with popular musical forms, such as for film and television, that infuses this choral piece’s unique harmonies, structures, and rhythms with a branded verve and, if imperfectly, then confidently based on the chorale and brass’s obvious performative exuberance and enjoyment.
John Rutter’s Gloria is the English composer’s musical setting of parts of the Latin Gloria which is a Christian hymn. Rutter’s work was written in 1974 and has been part of the Christmas concert tradition ever since. The Latin Gloria is also known as “The Hymn of the Angels” because they are the words the angels sang when, in Luke 2:14, the angelic host hovered over the shepherds in the field to announce Christ’s birth. “Gloria in excelsis Deo,” the shepherds heard the angels sing, “Glory to God in the highest.” (20.23 minutes).
The St. Bavo Cathedral Choir performs Christmas carols and other seasonal music for voice, many in modern settings. Recorded in Haarlem in Advent 2012 (December 16) in the Cathedral Basilica St. Bavo –not the iconic Grote Kerk in Haarlem’s main square but the Catholic church constructed between 1895 and 1930 – the program includes well-known carols along with Anton Diabelli’s Pastoral Mass In F Major For Solos, Chorus and Orchestra, Op. 147, and excerpts from Benjamin Britten’s 11-part choral piece, A Ceremony of Carols, Op. 28. Fons Ziekman conducts the Promenade Orchestra and Sanne Nieuwenhuijsen directs the chorus with soloists Jasper Schweppe, Anouk van Laake, Floris Claassens, Hidde Kleikamp and Frank de Ruijter. The impressive vocal and orchestral ensemble is accompanied by Ton van Eck on organ and Auréli Husslage on harp.
John Francis Wade (1711-1786) : Oh, come all ye faithful
Anton Diabelli (1781-1858): Pastoral Messe in F-dur, op.147
Willcocks: The First Nowell
Benjamin Britten (1913-1976): A Ceremony of Carols
Richards: Over the Country
Britten: A New Year Carol
Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847): Hark the herald angels sing
Vaughan Williams (1872-1958): Fantasia on Christmas Carols
The concert is 1 hour, 3 minutes and 48 seconds long.
Gargouille (Gargoyle), Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris, photographed Thursday, July 12, 1979.
Tourists can visit the “gargoyles” on the façade of Notre-Dame in Paris by reaching the passageway to the outdoor balustrade of the tower base. There is a second balustrade at the very top of the tower but it is not open to the general public.
The exuberant Gothic design of the Cathedral, a stone structure that dominates the Île de la Cité in this most ancient part of Paris, was built in stages. A project instigated by the Bishop of Paris, Maurice de Sully (in office, 1160-1196), commenced with the construction of the choir in 1163. The front portals followed around 1200. The next stage included the towers which began their ascent into the Paris skyline in the 1240’s.
Façade, Notre Dame de Paris.
From the ground level upwards to the top of the cathedral every detail of the building is meticulously construed. One of its world famous and popular attractions is the various gargoyles: birds, humanoids, chimeras, etc., that dot the medieval building. With changing artistic taste, the Gothic period architecture was mostly reviled in Paris after about the year 1400. Accompanying political and cultural events in the nineteenth century–especially the crowning of Napoléon I (1769-1821) as Emperor of France in Notre Dame de Paris in 1804 and the publication of the French Romantic Gothic novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo in 1831–public interest in Gothic design and Notre Dame in particular (which had fallen into great disrepair) was revived. Under French architects Eugène Viollet-le-Duc (1814-1879) and Jean-Baptiste-Antoine Lassus (1807-1857) most of Notre Dame was overhauled in the 1840’s. As with many of its medieval-style treasures, the cathedral’s many gargoyles also underwent some reconstitution but the question remains as to how many precisely were reconstituted and to what specific extent.
Gargouille (Gargoyle), Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris, photographed Thursday, July 12, 1979.