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Learning a language

John Smith
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wondering what it'll be like working with many PdHs.
Have you seen PdH's resume? Here is a line from his objective that provides some clues:
"A true team player with plenty of initiative, I function best in an environment that is highly professional, dynamic, open and based on trust, with a flat organisational structure."
I am not sure exactly what it means, though, -- personally, I am completely institutionalized after working a few years for a big company in an environment based on static patterns, corporate politics, and highly hierarchical structure.
HS Thomas
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Holland is a country that gives it's people many freedoms.
Euthanasia (Holland or more properly, the Netherlands, is the only country in the world where euthanasia is openly practiced. It is not allowed by statute, but the law accepts a standard defence from doctors that have adhered to official guidelines),drugs,brothels,liquor.
But the impression I have is that the work place (financial institutions, for e.g.)is very traditionalist and non-conformist,on the surface at least. PdH works in England,I believe,at small very high-tech companies. A small high-tech company in Holland would probably be stoned-out half the time. My impression of Holland is : it's a small country with many contradictions.

regards
[ September 29, 2003: Message edited by: HS Thomas ]
HS Thomas
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Sometimes, not very often, the Dutch society starts to worry about their cultural identity.
This is quite a good article on the Dutch identity crisis.

regards
[ September 30, 2003: Message edited by: HS Thomas ]
HS Thomas
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Originally posted by Eugene Kononov:
Yeah, PdH seemed to be a few standard deviations away from the mean in his depth of understanding the problems, yet he also has a great talent in explaining things to the mean of the curve.

Way above average intelligence , I think you mean.
regards
HS Thomas
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EZ: I read Stefan Zweig novels
I'd never heard of him before.
So I was pleasantly surprised when I came across this article of his work with Richard Strauss.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/arts/critic/feature/0,1169,976221,00.html
regards
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
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I'd never heard of him before
Never heard about Stefan Zweig? Have you heard about Thomas Mann? I like his novels even more than Zweig's.
[ September 30, 2003: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]

Uncontrolled vocabularies
"I try my best to make *all* my posts nice, even when I feel upset" -- Philippe Maquet
Mani Ram
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
I'd never heard of him before
Never heard about Stefan Zweig? Have you heard about Thomas Mann? I like his novels even more than Zweig's.
[ September 30, 2003: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]

Which novel you like the most? I love Death in Venice. Haven't read "The Magic Mountain" yet.


Mani
Quaerendo Invenietis
HS Thomas
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Have you heard about Thomas Mann?

No, not much! I know there's a Wagnerian connection in that he found inspiration in Wagner's music and also is credited ,by his involvement with the damaging effects of Wagnerism on German and European culture.(supporting Hitler's policies if not the Nazi machinery).
My source also says that if Wagner had not been born, that particular style would have emerged elsewhere , for instance, Brahms. That's an interesting thought of linking a style of music to the times rather than a single person.

And Thomas Mann would not have been inspired and Hitler's policies not supported and ... who knows ?
Which of his books did you like, Map ?

regards
[ September 30, 2003: Message edited by: HS Thomas ]
HS Thomas
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The Magic Mountain would be one to start on, I feel.
Wagner,Strauss opera,Thomas Mann,Stefan Zweig would make a great study of the times.Learning German, also important in such a venture.
Regarding the Dutch having an identity crises I feel Britain may have the same crisis but I haven't been keeping my finger on any pulse.Too busy keeping up with the practical side of living.

It'll be interesting to try and find a pulse again. Opera is far too heavily subsidised and occasionally makes a comeback through events like the 1990 World Cup in Rome and since have been a feature in similar football events.(2002 World Cup, Tokyo)
I'd be interested in contemporary opera , but I think there's very little here in the UK. Lots more in Europe, perhaps? Or America?
regards
[ October 01, 2003: Message edited by: HS Thomas ]
HS Thomas
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Re: culture crises and subsidies to the arts I feel these are related. Goverment and companies subsidise a lot of these; Close to where I am ,Ford subsidises sports events,Barclays the Tate Gallery: this is where you'd find the elite. Contemporary arts are a bit difficult to find and keep track of, even through the subsidies they attract ; the rationale behind the subsidy is incomprehensible and contemporary art events attracting the masses unheard of. Defining culture is a difficult business. So why is it important that arts survive through subsidising and are not allowed to die out ? Should government subsidy of the arts be ended?


Pros :
Subsidy always carries with it a danger of government interference and distortion. If artists and companies become dependent upon funding, they will react to the implicit threat of its removal should they be too critical of the government. Government may seek to co-opt art into serving its wider policy aims, making it promote nationalism, moral behaviour or a cult of personality; this compromises artistic integrity and forces art to become nothing more than propaganda.
Cons:
Free and cheap access to the arts is crucial for education. Without subsidy schools and young people would not be able to take affordable music lessons, visit museums or galleries, or to attend plays or concerts, and would thereby be prevented from understanding and enjoying their culture fully. As well as being important for personal enrichment, access to the arts also makes the young aware of their national heritage and helps to promote feelings of nationhood.


motions
This House would end government subsidy of the arts
This House believes the arts should pay their own way

from
Should government subsidy of the arts be ended?

regards
Jeroen Wenting
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The main problem here is that people are waking up at last to the ever further destruction of our culture and history (as well as our economy) by outside influences.
This started slowly in the 1960s with gues workers coming in when jobs were plentiful and not enough people to fill them.
These people brought their cultures with them of course, which was greeted with open arms (we're as your said a generally quite tollerant people).
But over time the percentage of these foreigners (now ever more economic and political refugees and not guest workers) became so large that they're drowning out the local culture.
Many of them also don't want to adopt Dutch culture and values, instead insisting we adopt or at least respect theirs even if those are against the law here.
Until recently (and to a degree still) our political leadership let this happen (or at least denied it was happening) and people not directly hit by it barely noticed. After a number of highly publicised incidents (a highschool shooting in which a Turkish boy murdered his sister because she'd had an affair and wasn't punished, a Sikh boy who was permitted to openly wear a large dagger forbidden by law because it's a cultural item for him, Muslims slaughtering sheep in the streets on their holidays while it is forbidden for anyone else, etc.) the people are waking up to a country where their own culture is all but gone, our language is threatened (there's talk of stopping teaching Dutch as mandatory in schools because it's too difficult apparently for immigrant children that never speak it at home because their parents refuse to), there have even been voices to ban out national flag and anthem as racist.
The bastions of our industry are being sold for scrap to foreign firms whose only interest in them is their destruction in order to remove competitors (these are generally healthy well known names like KLM, Fokker, etc.).
We're a small country, and our national identity is about the only thing we have. Seeing that threatened isn't a nice thing.
As to your excursion in Amsterdam, there are indeed some seedy areas (as there are in every large city in the world).
Sadly tourguides are under the impression that tourists come here only for the drugs and prostitutes and many of them will therefore emphasise those areas more than the rest of the country.
Cities on the German and Belgian border are starting to fight this drugstourism (as it's being called) by vigorous checks at the roads to and from the border (often combined efforts with German and Belgian police) and the effort there is paying off.
Dutch people are generally good friendly people, as long as you leave them in their values.
There's indeed people here who literally work themselves to death, but I'm sure those exist elsewhere as well.


42
HS Thomas
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JW: As to your excursion in Amsterdam, there are indeed some seedy areas (as there are in every large city in the world).


Er, I wasn't on that excursion. I would rather have visited the Art Museums, cycled along the canals , the tulip farms with original Windmills.
Maybe one small indulgence of a free society (I'm not sure which) but not what my colleagues had in mind. It was just amusing to watch the dedication they gave to their holiday preparations and the ensuing results.
Speaking English is not a problem here regarding new immigrants. Some speak it extremely well, better than some local colloquillisms. The culture identity crisis seems to go beyond language.

I must say the subsidies of the arts to allow students of all races to experience others cultures has worked quite well, IMO.

Many of them also don't want to adopt Dutch culture and values, instead insisting we adopt or at least respect theirs even if those are against the law here.

New Immigrants do not always respect/understand the fusion of existing cultural values.
Given Curry is often quoted as the national food now here . In Holland , probably Vietnamese or Thai food ? Afore-mentioned colleagues once had a cultural mission to stick with old cultural fare. It lasted two weeks till someone said : "Sod this, I am going for a curry tonight: Anyone else? And they all fell like a stack of dominoes faced with a rather appetising advert from Sainsbury!".
We have also had cases of an Indian father killing his daughter for going out with a Brit, and recently a strict Kurdish Muslim cut his daughter's throat because she had become Westernised after starting a relationship with an 18-year-old Lebanese Christian boy secretly away from home. The secrecy might have been the cause of the offense all along. Talking openly at home is not known in societies especially where the immigrant head of the household takes years to find his feet and then the ultimate insult : his daughter betrays his trust. Admittedly the killings were a bit extreme and hard to explain within a cultural context without taking the individuals histories into consideration. I am sure other Kurds and Lebanese families get on really well.
The film "Bend it like Beckham" was heavily subsidised and a runaway success as it gave some insight into the problem. I have just realised why it was subsidised. One of the fledgling actresses is in the new Episode of ER.
A rather tame film compared to events described above.Throw in some historical context and you'd get a ripper.
I'll wait for the Opera version
I know of one highly professional couple (one Brit and one Indian) who are taking their two young children on a trip to India so that the children can identify with the lost part of their culture which the Indian half had been ignoring for a quarter of a century. The Brit half strongly identifies with Nasser Hussein (the half Indian, half British English cricket captain) and recognises his achievements and obviously wants the same for the children(preferably in sport). The Indian half is pretty successful in the field practised so the ignoring was mainly due to pressures from work, but now realises the children need some of that background growing up so the search is on to find a background that fits all requirements.
At the same time , I invited a highly educated young Indian immigrant to see a film about the oppression of Kurdish women and the person was strongly opposed to the very idea of wasting time on this. But dedicated themselves to aquiring a Westernised cloak as they saw it. Married , too. while debating the virtues of bringing up any children within an Indian environment which you cannot get anywhere else but in India.

The cycle repeats :
If you have children in school no parent or school (and therefore society )can ignore cultural values , possibly dictated by PTA meetings and this way resources are bound to reach the right targets.
I haven't come across political immigrants, yet. That would be the hardest thing to understand with some of the goings on lately.
Map, I take my hat of to you for trying to understand the issues involved.

Off to see whether I can get a subsidy for a contemporary Opera....
Working title: Cricket, Curry and Kurds is bound to capture a large percentage of the interests of the nation.
Operatic music from these three cultural streams is severely limited.

regards
[ October 01, 2003: Message edited by: HS Thomas ]
Jim Yingst
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Operatic music from these three cultural streams is severely limited.
Well... umm... there's Satyagraha by Philip Glass. In Sanskrit no less. I rather like the music for that one, along with Akhenaten. (Whereas the remaining part of the trilogy bores me to tears.) Does that count? Sorta? Other than that... um... can we count musicals instead?


"I'm not back." - Bill Harding, Twister
HS Thomas
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JY: can we count musicals instead?
Which musicals are you thinking of ?
The Philip Glass recommendation has been taken on board.
Akhenaten leaves a total blank. I'll see what I can find.
The Satyagraha pointer was good. Look at the background I found on wiki.
Satyagraha
I am thinking Satyagraha by Philip Glass ,(sets the theme from the Baghvad Gita to Gandhi)
Passages by Philip Glass and Ravi Shankar
followed by pure Ravi Shankar for a grand finale if I can find something to suit the theme.
Or Anoushka Shankar for more contemporary sitar music (from California) .
, Jim!
Akhenaten , perhaps for the Kurdish side if I can follow the theme to the Kurds.
It's mainly Egyption with off-shoots of Hebrew.
Akhnaten is an opera based on the life and religious convictions of the pharaoh Akhenaten (a.k.a. Amenhotep IV) The world'd first monotheist , written by the foremost exponent of minimalist music, Philip Glass, and first performed in 1984 by the Stuttgart Opera .
German culture thrives.
If you judge English culture from the arts it appears dead but kicking.

regards
[ October 01, 2003: Message edited by: HS Thomas ]
Jim Yingst
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JY: can we count musicals instead?
[HST]: Which musicals are you thinking of ?

I was thinking of Indian "Bollywood"-style musicals. (On film.) I've only seen brief fragments of them myself, but I'm sure the Indian folks here could fill you in on what they're like. I don't think they're likely very close to opera; I was just trying to think of anything sorta-operatic from that culture. There may well be better answers to to that question; these are all I know.
[HST]: The Philip Glass recommendation has been taken on board.
Akhenaten leaves a total blank. I'll see what I can find.

Oops, turns out I gave you the wrong spelling - try Akhnaten. Still refers to the same historic person you found, but the revised spelilng is what Glass used, so that would make it easier to research. Actually I only brought it up because Akhnaten, Satyagraha, and "Einstein on the Beach" are considered to be a trilogy of sorts, all by Glass. I guess there are supposed to be philosophical links between them, as they deal with the lives and effects of a religious, political, and scientific revolutionary, repectively. At least, as conceived in Glass's mind, from what I read. Listening to them I wouldn't have had the slightest idea what they were about, or that they were related, other than having the same composer. I mentioned Akhenaten because I liked the music, as I did for Satyagraha. EotB on the other hand was a colossal bore. Glass is hit and miss for me, but some of it's pretty good. But if it turns out there's something in Akhnaten's story you can make use of, cool.
[ October 02, 2003: Message edited by: Jim Yingst ]
Jim Yingst
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Oh, while I'm tossing out very-vaguely-applicable responses to your offhand comment about the scarcity of opera pertaining to India - here's a relatively well-known western piece with lyrics in Sanskit, which sounds like it could be part of an opera. More specifically, a space opera:
[link]
HS Thomas
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Jim, I liked the midlet. Well remembered.
Williams used one line from Robert Grave's translation of an old Celtic poem, "Cad Goddeu" ("Battle of the Trees"): "Under the tongue root a fight most dread, and another raging, behind, in the head". He then had the phrase translated into different languages. Williams liked the
version in Sanskrit, an old Indian language, best, and decided to use it for the score.
Here's the lyrics (as found in "Music From Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace by John Williams).
Kor-ah, Mah-tah, Kor-ah, Rah-tah-mah.
Kor-ah, Rah-tah-mah. Yood-hah, Kor-ah.
Kor-ah, Syahd-ho. Rah-tah-mah, Daan-yah. Kor-ah, Kee-lah, Daan-yah.
Nyo-hah, Kee-lah, Kor-ah, Rah-tah-mah. Syahd-ho, Kee-la, Kor-ah, Rah-tah-mah.
Kor-ah, Daa-nyah. Kor-ah, Rah-tah-mah.
Kor-ah, Daa-nyah. Kor-ah, Rah-tah-mah.
Nyo-hah, Kee-lah, Kor-ah, Rah-tah-mah. Syahd-ho, Kee-la, Daan-yah, Rah-tah-mah. Kor-ah!

This score apparently has been a hit musically.
Not quite a Cricket to Curry connection.
The Gaels and Celts hate cricket - or used to ! You can find a few one-day matches in Bonny Old Scotland these days.See it's the cultural identity thing with selling images or drawing new battlelines to see which nation is best! Bonny Prince William sells pretty good to the Gaels too.
You've reminded me of Simon Rattle of the Brummy Symphony Orchestra. Haven't heard what he's up to lately. Birmingham is quite likely to provide the connection.
Before leaving for Germany and on his arrival, Rattle controversially attacked the British attitude to culture in general, and in particular the artists of the Britart movement, together with the poor state funding of culture in the UK. He was attacked in return for his poor understanding of conceptual and visual art.
Since his appointment, Rattle has reorganized the Berlin Philharmonic into a foundation, meaning its activities are much more under the control of the members, rather than politicians. He has also ensured that orchestra members' wages have increased quite dramatically, having fallen over the past few years.


regards
[ October 02, 2003: Message edited by: HS Thomas ]
HS Thomas
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Listening to them I wouldn't have had the slightest idea what they were about, or that they were related, other than having the same composer.

I'm intrigued enough to try and get a copy.
Glass has a minimalist style I believe and heavily influenced by Tibetan music where silence is music broken by dischord. I don't think I'll have any luck,either, in understanding them. Opera is best just listened to and the story is usually secondary, I feel.
Re: the Bollywood musicals Andrew Lloyd Weber has had a few flirtations with this style. From the bits I've heard it is a pretty Anglicized interpretation.
regards
[ October 02, 2003: Message edited by: HS Thomas ]
HS Thomas
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From a programme of the SALZBURG FESTIVAL 1998 around the time of the latest persecution of the Kurds
From July 24 to August 30, the 1998 Salzburg Festival offers a sensational program in the fields of drama, "musical play", opera and concerts. The Festival's artistic director, G�rard Mortier, writes in the program prospectus about the Festival's wide spectrum: "Between sensual Babylon and ethereal Jerusalem, man's wanderings, at times as a refugee, at other times as a conqueror - the conflict between Cain, the sedentary type and architect, and Abel, the nomad and poet ... Philipp II and St. Francis of Assisi."

Robert Wilson directs B�chner's "Danton's Death", Stefan Bachmann Shakespeares "Troilus and Cressida". Directed by Gernot Friedel, Gerd Voss plays the title role in Hofmannsthal's "Jedermann" ("Everyman", on the square in front of the Cathedral or in case of bad weather in the Grosses Festspielhaus). The Austrian author Elfriede Jelinek (b. 1946) is sure to cause some stir: her play "er nicht als er (zu, mit Robert Walser)" will be premi�red under Jossi Wieler as director. The Salzburg Landestheater will pay homage to the writer by presenting "Reise durch Jelineks Kopf" ("A Voyage through Jelinek's Head" consisting of readings, horror films, music and other items). Robert Lepage (b. 1957) shows "Geometry of Miracles", a theatrical performance about the life and times of the US architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Hal Hartley (b. 1954) stages-his "musical play" "SOON" about persons of different creeds who yearn for the end of the world.
As regards operas, Peter Zadek directs "The Rise and Fall of the Town of Mahagonny" by Brecht and Weill (conductor: Dennis Russell Davies), Christoph Marthaler Janacek's "Katja Kabanova" (conductor: Sylvain Cambreling), Herbert Wernicke Verdi's "Don Carlo" (conductor: Lorin Maazel), Fran�ois Abou Salem Mozart's "Die Entf�hrung aus dem Serail" (conductor: Marc Minkowski), Luc Bondy "Le Nozze di Figaro" (conductor: Sir Charles Mackerras). Sir Simon Rattle will conduct a concert performance of Szymanowski's "K�nig Roger", Valery Gergiev one of Wagner's "Parsifal". Herbert Wernicke stages Beethoven's "Fidelio" (conductor: Michael Gielen), Peter Sellars Messiaen's "Saint Fran�ois d'Assise" (conductor: Kent Nagano). Concerts include "Next Generation", "Go for Kurt Weill", the Vienna Philharmonic, choral and orchestral concerts, "Beethoven as our Contemporary", Strawinsky and Mozart, "Schumann the Poet", soloists and Lieder recitals (Yevgeni Kissin, Maurizio Pollini, Pierre Laurent Aimard, Markus Hinterh�user, Jessye Norman, Barbara Bonney, Catherine Malfitano), chamber music and Mozart matinees.
I am not sure if there is a Kurdish memorial here ?
regards
[ October 02, 2003: Message edited by: HS Thomas ]
Peter den Haan
author
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Originally posted by HS Thomas:
Why are we talking as tho' he passed away ? Let's hope he comes back soon!
Ahem.
Right on cue.
Well, not quite on cue perhaps, but the advantage of discussion forums is that you can dig up your cue from halfway the thread In any case, it's nice to see that I have not been forgotten; thank you. I'm not dead, nor unwell, nor any less interested in JR. It's just that, well, there's an awful lot happening to me at the moment, and I'm very busy. Saucy details at some other time, perhaps
As far as Dutchmen are concerned, the identity crises remark might be spot on -- I'm not sure that the Dutch always quite know what to think about themselves. Their self image is one of simultanously being small and insignificant and also being somehow better than anyone else. It must be all the "coffee" shops Seriously I: comparing it with England, then yes, Holland has a much more relaxed drug policy. Yet AFAIK England has more drug problems and drug-related crime. Yes, Holland has a much more liberal (laissez-faire, even) attitude to sexuality. Yet England has far more teenage pregnancies. What does that tell you? Seriously II: I found that any nation seems to have its national myth, usually bearing a limited relationship to reality.
- Peter
HS Thomas
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Hello, Peter.

Missing in Action for a while.
Saucy details at some other time, perhaps

We'll be all ears.
Yes, the Dutch appear to offer the cure with the kill, whereas the English, still a pro-hunting nation apparently,just believe in the thrill of the chase before the kill. You are right! A small % probably are pro-hunting whereas the reality is that most people in England abhor the practise. Another false stamp of nationhood.
regards
[ October 06, 2003: Message edited by: HS Thomas ]
HS Thomas
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In search of the Kursdish connection I now leave Vienna and head for Russia.Russia has some fine operatic works. And Kurds have the longest connection with Russia.
Boris Godunov : Mussorgsky - "Chorus of the Polish Maidens" seems appropriate.
SOROCHINSKY FAIR - a delightful comedy with a ridiculous plot about the Ukranian family of the beautiful Parasaya, whose father wishes her to marry the young peasant Gritsko and whose mother mainly for snobbish reasons does not. The mother is eventually humiliated and the wedding proceeds.
other musical influences are Musso's own "Night on a Bare mountain".
The jubilant "Gopak" (Ukranian dance) is a memorable highlight of the opera.
regards
HS Thomas
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quoted from Amazon :
"It would be nice to say that Russian opera is enjoying a boom merely because it is great music. But the reasons are more complex and include the new availability of Russian singers, the need to expand the operatic repertory, and the dissolution of the former Soviet Union.
About 150 years ago, a torrent of music burst from a culture so hostile to it that the very idea of "playing" music had historically been viewed as blasphemy. Even the word for music in Russian is derived from Polish. No Western-style musical notes were used or instruments permitted in Russian Orthodox churches. Nothing was allowed to compete with the austere majesty of the liturgy, which was sung in unaccompanied plainsong and framed by the ringing of bells.
The music that was part of the court culture in 18th-century St. Petersburg was largely produced by foreigners and confined to small theaters for aristocratic audiences. Even in the early 19th century, Russian composers worked mainly abroad. Censors at the border confiscated the scores of the 20-year-old pianist-composer Anton Rubinstein when he returned to Russia in 1849, apparently fearing that musical notation was some kind of secret revolutionary code.
By the 1860s, however, music had grown popular enough to support the establishment of two great conservatories in the imperial cities of Petersburg and Moscow. Despite the number of accomplished instrumentalists trained there--the highest of any country in Europe--it was opera that had become more important within Russian culture than instrumental music. One reason was that the Orthodox Church's favoring of the sung word over the played phrase had prepared the ground for opera. Another was the success of European grand opera, which dazzled Petersburg in the 1862-'63 season with the world premiere of Verdi's La forza del destino (an opera that had been commissioned by Tsar Alexander II). The golden age of Russian opera began in 1868 when Mussorgsky finished the first draft of Boris Godunov, continued through the deaths of Borodin and Tchaikovsky in the early 1890s, and ended with Rimsky-Korsakov's final opera, The Golden Cockerel, in 1907.
It was only natural that the composers of the "Mighty Five"--Balakirev, Rimsky-Korsakov, Mussorgsky, Borodin, and Cui--placed the highest premium on opera. They rejected Western European models in order to create music with authentic Russian roots. And they clung to the traditions of the sung liturgy--based on the belief that music should both be united to words that carry a message and represent and benefit the masses. But even Tchaikovsky--the b�te noire of the "Five" because he subscribed to the Western prejudice that, in his words, "the symphonic and chamber varieties of music stand much higher than the operatic"--identified himself primarily as an operatic composer.
As Tchaikovsky put the matter to his patroness, Nadezhda von Meck, "opera and only opera brings you close to people, allies you with a real public, makes you the property not merely of separate little circles but--with luck--of the whole nation."
Russian opera was imbued with a sense of national purpose from the start: namely, in Mikhail Glinka's A Life for the Tsar (1836), which drew its story and music from Russian folktales and folk songs. In basing musical design on the intonations of Russian speech--making it conform to the sound of the spoken word, rather than the other way around--all Russian opera composers are Glinka's progeny. And Russian composers tend to be highly selective about the words their librettos comprise.
If, as is often maintained, great literature is rarely transferred successfully to the operatic stage, someone forgot to tell the Russians. In no other country do composers of operas treat great national works of literature with such respect, and in no other country do audiences for opera show such familiarity with that literature. Virtually all the classics of the Russian operatic repertory are based on the classics of of Russian literature. Russia's national poet, Alexander Pushkin, is the favorite, but Gogol, Dostoyevsky, and Tolstoy are not far behind."
regards
[ October 07, 2003: Message edited by: HS Thomas ]
HS Thomas
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Speaking of Boris Godunov, the Royal Opera House are having a re-run of the 1983 production directed by the great Russian Film Director Andrei Tarkovsky. 6 Films of his
The Guardian - " Inevitably the costume department has supplied enough dodgy beards to disguise a regiment of Lord Lucans...The production now seems "dramatically and visually threadbare". There are arresting images such as the huge bell in the prologue and the pendulum measuring out Boris's haunted life but much of the rest is a pageant with "busily detailed chorus scenes that dilute chorus scenes that dilute rather than concentrate the drama and individual characters sketched in outline rather than recreated in flesh and blood."
The Financial Times - "Nor does it serve Muggorsky by conflating his two versions of the score. The first version is a short ,spare ,psychological study of power", while the second is more grand operatic". It is a mistake to combine the two and the result is a mish-mash."
The Daily Telegraph - " a stupendous production in which one marvelled at the cinematic fluency and haunted atmosphere. And when it comes to the cast you run out of superlatives. John Tomlinson is a boris of extraordinary pathos and humanity and Rangoni was so sinister and positively 'Nosferatu-like'.

The Sunday Telegraph - "It was one of Covent Gardens great evenings and is a particular triumph for John Tomlinson. His voice carries the soul of music in it's very breath. No one who collects great operatic portrayals should miss the chance to hear this one".
2 out of 4 ain't bad.
I'll be looking out for the live relay on Radio 3 on 11 October.
Live Playings
Radio 3 classical opera live
regards
[ October 09, 2003: Message edited by: HS Thomas ]
HS Thomas
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When in France , I notice that unless you speak fluent French , the French will switch the conversation to be in English automatically. That's apart from the street onion seller who'll make great effort to understand what you are saying. They must have a ear for detecting the origin of accents.
This has happened too often to me and I thought my French was good enough.

regards
[ October 10, 2003: Message edited by: HS Thomas ]
HS Thomas
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Joined: May 15, 2002
Posts: 3404
The English language and how it got that way.
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Also a book : The Mother Tongue: English & How It Got That Way, by Bill Bryson
Honni soit qui mal y pense : L'incroyable histoire d'amour entre le fran�ais et l'anglais, by Henriette Walter
The Languages of the World, by Kenneth Katzner
Made in America: An Informal History of the English Language in the United States, by Bill Bryson
French Inside Out: The French Language Past and Present, by Henriette Walter

About.com

" Old English was born out of the dialects of three German tribes (Angles, Jutes, and Saxons) who settled in Britain in about 450 A.D. forming a dialect called Anglo-Saxon. This Germanic base was influenced in varying degrees by the languages of invading armies - Celtic,Old Norse , and Latin."
"Bill Bryson calls the Norman conquest of 1066 the "final cataclysm awaiting the English language." (1) When William the Conqueror became king of England, French took over as the language of the court, administration, and culture - and stayed there for 300 years. Meanwhile, English was "demoted" to everyday, unprestigious uses. These two languages existed side by side in England with no noticeable difficulties; in fact, since English was essentially ignored by grammarians during this time, it took advantage of its lowly status to become a grammatically simpler language and, after only 70 or 80 years existing side-by-side with French, Old English segued into Middle English."
"During the Norman occupation, about 10,000 French words were adopted into English, some three-fourths of which are still in use today. This French vocabulary is found in every domain, from government and law to art and literature."
"English pronunciation owes a lot to French as well."
"Another rare but interesting remnant of French influence is in the word order of expressions like secretary general and surgeon general, where English has retained the noun + adjective word order typical in French, rather than the usual adjective + noun used in English."
There's an interesting discussion on whether learning a language and
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politics should be mixed up at

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French bashing
I think history and learning a language yes, but politics and learning a language , No. But how does one promote anything which is being criticised so perhaps that is unavoidable.
Pity Spitty opted out!
And Shakyi- An American who teaches at the Sorbonne --
"Here's a cute tale: a young American girl who was visiting from Tzerkistan was in a fit of frustration with the French system which she found more 3rd world than Tzerkistan. I empathized with her. I tell my students, American and French alike "qu'il faut relativiser des choses" when discussing cultures and especially psychological habits, as I'm sure you know. I try to be realistic about living in France. I used to say a good day for me is when I DON'T have to interact with the French because I used to say to myself "is there not one thing that these people can do correctly?" I have those days . . . Paris is beautiful, but it is not modern. It is more akin to a museum than not. "J'suis fran�ais de coeur, oui, �a, c'est vrai," but I try to be as honest as possible with the state of living here. I also say to people that this is not a "capitalist" society; so do not expect "service" of any sort. One has to get to know the French first before customer/client relations can begin. This society is not about "taking and making money" regardless of what people think. I suppose it would be more about refinement and taste; but, as one of my Morocain students said rather wryly, "Refinement and taste don't creat jobs." Hmmmm . . . Let me close by recommending two books on French/American things for the viewership: one is by Raymonde Carroll that was written a few years ago but still pertinent. Caroll still teaches at Oberlin college I believe. Her book is called Cultural Misunderstandings and looks at the differences between both cutlures; the second book is by former American journalist Ted Stanger who now lives in Paris. The book is called Sacr�s Fran�ais and is new. The authors described my experiences to a "T" when I first read their books. "
The thread ends some 100 posts later claiming that American English may become more universal! The English don't undertand themselves in all their regional dialects. ???
TV seems to be directed to a national audience, depends which slot you watch.
The BBC may have concentrations on it's regional flavours.

regards
[ October 10, 2003: Message edited by: HS Thomas ]
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
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Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
Blog about learning Chinese: (it has some good ideas) http://alaric-radosh.blog-city.com/
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"I think it's telling me in Russian that there are no matches for Mapraputa in English." -- HS Thomas
Jeroen Wenting
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Joined: Oct 12, 2000
Posts: 5093
Originally posted by HS Thomas:
When in France , I notice that unless you speak fluent French , the French will switch the conversation to be in English automatically. That's apart from the street onion seller who'll make great effort to understand what you are saying. They must have a ear for detecting the origin of accents.
This has happened too often to me and I thought my French was good enough.

regards
[ October 10, 2003: Message edited by: HS Thomas ]

hmm, my experience (and that of people I know) is quite different.
Unless you speak fluent French you're generally ignored.
People who know English or German will feign not to.
Maybe it is different when you speak French but imperfectly so, but people whose command of the language is non-existent (or nearly so, I can read headlines and restaurant menus but little more) are given a very hard time.
HS Thomas
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Posts: 3404
Jeroen,
I bet you didn't know this:
Frisian is the closest relation to the English language.
But the modern languages are unintelligeble to each other. as Frisian is closer to Old English.
I think the French converse to tourists more and more in English. Maybe the recent diatribe has had a reversing effect.

regards
HS Thomas
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Joined: May 15, 2002
Posts: 3404
Googling (filthy habit) I found that:
"Greek poetry is based around the rhythms of the syllables - long and short, rather than accents (emphases) within words / sentences, so although both modern English and ancient Greek have dactyllic and iambic metres, they are very different things.
Whereas most classical verse has a fixed repetitive "pulse" - in musical terms, 3/4 or 4/4 - the choral strophes have a far more "sophisticated" structure, which seems to be additive (i.e. based around 2 beat and 3 beat cells which are added together to form a complex pattern) which does not fit the 2/4 / 3/4 / 4/4 paradigm (compare Bartok's 6 dances in Bulgarean Rhythm, from his Mikrokosmos, or the sacrificial dance at the end of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring)
Various of the translators of the Greek plays in the C19 tried, with greater or lesser sucess, to mimic this rhythmic complexity - it might be interesting to put the Greek original side by side with the Victorian translations as a "compare and contrast" sort of exercise.
It was primarily in the field of music where I have applied the insights into additive rhythms which the study of Greek lyrics has given.

Apparently, ordinary English speech consists of chains of 2- , 3- amd 4- beat cells, but English is predominantly a stress-based language (predominantly on the penultimate syllable - but not always, as the words in this parenthetic clause illustrate!). Ancient Greek, whilst it had (or acquired) stress accents, relied for its poetic form on how long the syllable lasted - e.g. is the vowel long ("meet") or short ("met"), how many consonants are there to be "got through" in the syllable - the "a" in consonants is short, but the final syllable takes quite a time to say because you have to get through the "n" "t" and "s".
This means that spoken "naturally", rhythms appear in Greek poetry - as indeed they do in some "ordinary English speech" (and as exploited by Steve Reich in some of his pieces), though one is based on duration, the other on accent. With poems such as The Iliad, the rhythm is constant (dactyllic hexameters). I described the lyric poems as "more sophisticated" because the rhythms are more varied, and unexpected. "Ordinary English speech" isn't normally considered as poetry".

regards
HS Thomas
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Joined: May 15, 2002
Posts: 3404
Map, the Blog on Learning Chinese has some excellent pointers. I meant agreed.
Particularly finding a blog-friend or several to proof read Chinese/English/Any other language blogs. (I thought that was the best.)
regards
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://aspose.com/file-tools
 
subject: Learning a language