• Art,  Early Music,  History,  Music,  Myth,  World Music

    New Sappho poems

    In the most recent issue of the New Yorker there’s a charming little long read about recent discoveries in the life and work of Sappho, including two new Sappho poems (or… whatever). The two fragments, one discovered in 2012 the other in 2004, take on the subject of idiot relatives and old age. [I bring] the beautiful gifts of the violet Muses, girls, and [I love] that song lover, the sweet-toned lyre. My skin was [delicate] before, but now old age [claims it]; my hair turned from black [to white]. My spirit has grown heavy; knees buckle that once could dance light as fawns. I often groan, but what can…

  • Early Music,  Events,  History,  Music

    Breval, Campioni and the Vivaldi Project

    On February 6, we attended a concert of The Vivaldi Project, a DC-based Early Music quartet centered on Elizabeth Field on violin, and Stephanie Vial on Cello (Both women have extensive educational material related to Baroque music on Youtube). The show was focused on 18th century string trios, our favorite of which were pieces by Jean-Baptiste Breval (1753-1823) and Carlos Antonio Campioni (1720-1788). Breval’s trio stood out the most among the set of seven played that night. Breval was a professional cellist active in the musical life of Paris during its most exciting half century (the theatre he worked in was a meeting place for counter-revolutionaries during the French Revolution). His trios…

  • History,  Places

    Chateau De Noisy, Belgium

    The Chateau de Noisy, in Celles, Belgium, was built in 1866 for the Liedekerke-Beaufort family. The chateau was converted to an orphanage after World War II, then abandoned in 1980. More photographs here. A google image search works well too.  

  • Ephemera,  Myth

    If I was a rare book collector

    Abebooks has posted a list of the 10 most expensive books it sold in 2010. Some highlights: 1. Arabic Manuscript of Al Wajaza Fi Sihhat Il Qawl Bi l Ijaza – $45,000 This is an important work on Hadith methodology (narrations concerning the words and deeds of the Islamic prophet Muhammad) that was originally written in the 10th century AD. This copy was published in the 12th-13th century A.D. and contained an ownership mark on the title page from a well known scholar called Ibrahim B. Sulleymanb Muhammad B. Abd Ul Aziz Al Hanafi Al Jinini, who bought it while living in Damascus in 1659 A.D. 6. Ottoman Atlas – $19,500 Published…

  • History

    A Night at Coffee Dan’s

    1920s Humor: Coffee Dan’s was a speakeasy in San Francisco, where parts of Al Jolson’s The Jazz Singer was filmed. The place was fairly high-society, despite fronting as a breakfast place. The hilariously named society magazine “The Wasp” called it “The rendezvous for San Francisco’s Elite.”

  • History

    Lois Long, and New York in the 1920s

    “The originality of this nation is something miraculous. Likewise the imagination and the je ne sais quoi. Take, for example, a simple matter such as naming colors for stockings. Do they say taupe, greenish brown, or yellowish beige—descriptive names all? No, a thousand times no! You are wearing stockings of Elephant’s Ear, Baby’s Breath, Summer Dawn, or What Not? And the trouble is, just as you have decided Rhinoceros Shimmy is just the right color to match that new suit, and go back for more of the same color, they tell you that batch has sold out and it is impossible to duplicate the dye exactly. But Aztec or Mystery…

  • Ephemera,  Myth

    Avilude: A Game of Birds

    From Yale Beinecke Library. Avilude, or Game of Birds, (Worcester, West & Lee, 1873), a card game from 1873, including play instructions. Information about the rules can be found here. More photos after the break.