Harmony in Diversity

Harmony

Weekly Photo Challenge: Harmony

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As a singer I am enthralled by harmony. It is the core of my musical experience. For 12 seasons I was a soprano member of the world-renown Toronto Mendelssohn Choir ~ one of the highlights of my life so far.

What always amazed me was how 180 people from diverse walks of life and experience could come together and perform the works of the great composers ~ Mozart, Beethoven, Mahler, Vaughan Williams, Handel, et al ~ in perfect harmony. Our love for music the common ground upon which we walked to create moving moments in the choral repertoire ~ for the audience and for ourselves.

The rich texture of our individual lives coloured our voices, which the conductor then sculpted into the beautiful, warm, clear sound for which the choir is famous.

Harmony III

Similarly, these images depict the organ pipes of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. They illustrate how diverse textures and materials, when crafted by expert hands, can work in harmony to produce unimaginable visual beauty.

Visiting this great church has been one of the highlights of my travels thus far.

Harmony II

For me where there is harmony, whether in nature or in those things crafted by the loving intention of the human heart, there is peace.

I love harmony.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

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©Dorothy Chiotti … All Rights Reserved 2016

Music … An Explosive Expression of Humanity

Weekly Photo Challenge: Humanity

I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.
Billy Joel

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Music.

The universal language.

” … an explosive expression of humanity.”

Where there is music, people gather.

A note, a pulse, a rhythm touches the air and we are moved, respond … differently.

Sing along; tap a toe; meditate; all out dance.

It’s our differences that make us human, and humans, with our differences, make up humanity.

Old World Music

On our recent trip to Italy we met with two musical surprises.

The first was in Florence. During our last evening in Florence we stopped by the Ponte Vecchio where two talented guitarists had set up and attracted a large crowd of tired tourists winding down their day.

Musica Ponte Vecchio

With a view of the beautiful River Arno as their backdrop and surrounded by the ancient air of the old bridge, the duo’s energy and whimsy added a twist of musical ambiance to an already magical setting.

As I gazed around the haphazard audience I was moved by how so many diverse cultures could gather together in one place and happily listen in on the musical conversation being struck on these two guitars.

Music speaks to the soul of what’s important. It is healing when we allow it this capacity. And at the end of a long day tramping through the streets of an ancient city, it is restoring too.

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Two weeks later in Venice we experienced much the same thing in the Piazza San Marco.

music iv

In the evenings, parlour orchestras (I guess you’d call them) set up on a rotating basis to play the classics (Vivaldi, Handel, Rogers and Hammerstein, Lloyd Webber, etc.) to draw traffic into the cafes.

Tourists of every persuasion gather in the square to eat gelato and move about between the bands.

Musica San Marco

For a hefty sum, if you so wish (and we did one night) you can park your tired derriere at a table and enjoy some refreshment ~ a glass of wine, or cappaccino and biscotti, perhaps ~ while listening to tuneful melodies resonating into the square.

A different expression of music in another city but no less magical than
that we’d experienced in Florence.

And so it goes anywhere in the world where the universal language of music
speaks to the hearts of all.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

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©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

Searching for Music

Daily Prompt: Searching

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I’ve been searching for the music in answer to this week’s writing challenge: Moved by Music.

Stay tuned to my blog In So Many Words to see how music has moved me. Likely to be posted later today.

Here’s a brief excerpt:

I don’t understand the science behind it. All I know is that the music (as well as books, movies, etc.) we absorb lives in us forever. It’s a powerful emotive force that can build up or, tear down. Like all living things it has its good, bad and ugly. This is why I am so careful about what I tune into. These vibrations colour my life forever.

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colour and sound

Image: the pipe organ of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.

Okay, I just googled that link … 😉 …

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Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy 🙂

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©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013

Other Searches

  1. Uncharted Territory |
  2. One monster’s island | shame
  3. Daily Prompt: Google and Rescue Operation | Under the Monkey Tree
  4. The Good, The Bad, The Ugly | In Harmony
  5. Daily Prompt: Google and Rescue Operation | Basically Beyond Basic
  6. life sends bundled | y
  7. Do All Dogs Go To Heaven? | sayanything
  8. “Searching” | Relax
  9. What is a chapbook | Now Have At It!
  10. Research and Google | Kate Murray
  11. Old MacDonald | Motherhood and Beyond
  12. My Last Google | Dear Yolandi
  13. Wherever You Throw Me, I Will Stand | An Upturned Soul
  14. Google and Rescue Operation
  15. Daily Prompt: Google and Rescue Operation | Awl and Scribe
  16. Red | Nature Activities
  17. Daily Prompt: Google and Rescue Operation | Faraziyya
  18. The Bed | Bright Moments Catcher
  19. Milkweed Bugs (Searching) | photo potpourri

Interference … and An Attitude of Gratitude

There’s a lot of interference in this image. It’s fuzzy, unfocused and cluttered with silhouettes of an urban wasteland … all set against a brilliant sunset backdrop. As visually mashed up as it is, I’m happy to have captured the sunset at all.

Interference

I can think of better ways of enjoying a beautiful sunset than hurtling down a busy highway through an industrial hinterland, but sometimes that’s as good as it gets.

This glorious salute to day’s end on Sunday had me reaching for my camera while my husband kept pace with traffic. As we barrelled along the road at a 100 kph, I poised my Nikon D7000 and waited for gaps in the cityscape. They were few and far between.

When I thought about whether or not I would share this image the idea of interference came to mind.

Many times in life we are unable, due to circumstances beyond our control, to delight in an experience as much as we’d like. The unexpected gets in the way and interferes with our enjoyment.

Not long ago we were at an Eagles concert (I LOVE the Eagles!!!). I might have enjoyed the event a lot more had a man in the row in front of us not been acting out like a pre-pubescent teenage girl, screaming and making a general nuisance of himself, throughout the entire show. At the time I was really annoyed. We’d paid good money for our seats and I wanted my focus to be on the the incredible music and personality of the band ~ not sidetracked by the mindless shenanigans of a selfish twerp.

Still, now as I look back on that amazing, but imperfect, evening of musical enjoyment, and gaze upon this slightly out of focus image of a spectacular sunset, I am grateful.

The other option was not to have experienced their magic at all.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy 🙂

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©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013

Weekly Photo Challenge: Masterpiece … Of The Master … Vienna, Austria

This week’s photo challenge asks us to interpret “Masterpiece.”

Vienna is famous for its many masterpieces … Sacher Torte, the Spanish Riding School (you know me and horses), its many beautiful palaces and, of course, music.

Everywhere you walk sandwich boards are perched on sidewalks advertising nightly classical performances in concert halls and churches across the city. These concerts feature the music of Vienna’s (and other) great composers, including but not limited to Mozart, Bruckner, Schumann, Lehar, and Haydn.

Their musical masterworks live on and hover around my subconscious primarily because I was raised in a home resonating with classical music. My mother made her living on the international operatic stage, so naturally I was exposed to these and other musical masters on a continuous basis. Their (my “Uncles in Music” as I like to call them) influence helped to shape who I am today and continues do so as I evolve and embrace life as one growing into my self. For that I will always be grateful.  After all, I am a (master)work in progress. (Aren’t we all …  😉 … )

But that’s a story for another day …

Masterpiece

Perhaps the golden boy of Vienna composers was Johann Strauss II ~ composer of the Blue Danube Waltz, among other instrumental gems, and my favourite operetta ~ Die Fledermaus.

A couple of years ago, while strolling through Vienna’s Stadtpark (which boasts a number of statues dedicated to Vienna’s masters of music) we ventured upon this incredible monument to Herr Strauss. At the time it was cordoned off for refurbishment. To get this shot I had to stand on a bench and peer over a solid barricade.

At the time I was disappointed by the obstruction. Still, as I ponder this image now I wonder if the artist applying gold leaf, surrounded by his tools and perched precariously on a ladder, had any notion at all that he might be engaged with a masterpiece of his own.

Regardless, it is a monument worthy of Vienna’s Master of the Waltz.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy 🙂

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Shout Outs

On Dragonfly Wings with Buttercup Tea

Artifacts and Fictions

Hamburg Und Mee(h)r

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©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013

An Interlude of Divine Music …

Edmonton Sunset 1

A slight departure today, as perhaps this post might be more appropriately placed under an “Ears to Heart” banner than an “Eyes to Heart” one.

Let’s call it an interlude of divine music.

I’ve been catching up on some blog reading this morning and as I sit here Samuel Barber’s gorgeous Adagio for Strings has started playing on my stereo.

This is one of my favourite pieces of classical music. It invokes feelings of peace and meditation, reflection and introspection, my pulse racing and easing with the ebb and flow of the emotion of time and space and wonder captured in Barber’s creative masterpiece.

It’s one of those epic music compositions that lives deep inside of me, along with the moving trio from Richard Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier, and Ralph Vaughan Williams’ luscious Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis.

Hmm … perhaps some music overload, but it’s what I feel this morning. I do hope you’re able to take a moment to sit back and relax so you might enjoy, reflect upon and find some inner peace with this interlude of divine music.

Thanks for visiting.

Dorothy 🙂

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Copyright Aimwell CreativeWorks 2012

A Night at the Opera? … Vienna, Austria

During our trip to Vienna in September 2011, we decided to go to the Vienna State Opera (Staatsoper) to see Don Giovanni. We try to visit the grand opera houses in the European cities we visit, if not for a performance at least for a peek inside. We were in Vienna for a few days. Don Giovanni was playing. So, we decided we’d go.

For expediency sake we ordered our last-minute tickets through the very obliging hotel concierge. He assured us he’d be able to secure our coveted tickets for that evening’s performance so we left the task in his capable hands. Later that day we picked them up and, in his broken English, the young concierge expressed his hope that we would enjoy our evening at the opera.

We were thrilled. After all, who couldn’t enjoy Don Giovanni — considered one of Mozart’s greatest operas — in the composer’s old stomping grounds, Vienna?

Psyched for our impending operatic experience, we dressed in our finest travelling duds, enjoyed a tasty repast in the hotel’s five-star restaurant and walked the 10 minutes along Wiedner Hauptstrasse to the impressive Staatsoper.

Like many of the grand opera houses of Europe, the Staatsoper is a legend unto itself.

This Neo-Renaissance State Opera House opened in May 1869 with Mozart’s Don Giovanni. However, the Emperor Franz Joseph, not finding the edifice that appealing, dismissed it as akin to “a railway station.” This snub ultimately lead to one of the building’s architects, Eduard van der Null, committing suicide.

... Loggia ...

And then, during World War II, the opera house was bombed and, but for the original loggia dominating the building’s front, was virtually destroyed. It reopened in 1955, complete with all the latest in theatre technology.

Getting back to our date with Don Giovanni, we arrived early so we could take a look around and revel in the pre-performance atmosphere. The Staatsoper’s foyer and grand marble staircase complete with frescoes, mirrors, chandeliers and statues were such a feast for the eyes it was a challenge to know where to look next.

Eventually we made our way to our seats in the ground floor stalls — we didn’t skimp — and parked ourselves to people watch.

What kinds of people attended the opera in Vienna? (All kinds) How did they dress? (From diamonds to denim.) Where did they come from? (Everywhere, I imagined.) It was all part of the exciting experience of going to the opera in Vienna.

And then I realized we didn’t have a performance program. So, I headed over to a friendly young female usher, gave her the requisite Euros (10, I think — I bought two programs) and practically skipped back to our wonderful seats six rows from the stage.

I could almost feel the roar of the grease paint. I could definitely smell the crowd (they love their fragrance in Vienna). I’ve been to more than 100 opera performances in my life and anticipating the rising curtain, the set design, costumes, and director’s interpretation is part of the thrill. What kind of experience were we in for this evening?

After giving Lloyd his copy of the program I sunk back into my plush red velvet seat and began to flip through the substantial book’s shiny pages, looking for the story outline.

But I couldn’t find it.

I flipped through it back to front. Perhaps I’d missed it somehow. Still no sign of it.

And then my mind started to race. What are all these pictures of …? What’s this Balanchine and Robbins business? No, it couldn’t be. Perhaps, like the programs at home, this was showcasing other performances during the upcoming season.

I continued my search for a Don Giovanni summary in vain. I turned to Lloyd. He, too, seemed perplexed.

“Did you buy the right program?” he asked, his voice haunted with impending disappointment.

“Yes … I’m sure of it … it’s what the usher gave me.” I replied, feeling equally doomed.

We looked at our ticket stubs. And there it was, the final stab of defeat … what we’d thought was advertising for another event turned out to be the performance we were attending.

We went to the opera … and the Vienna State Ballet broke out — the premier performance of Balanchine and Robbins. We’d missed the final performance of Don Giovanni by one night. 😦

I wonder what the concierge was thinking?

Oh well, we put our disappointment in our pocket and, with an open mind, enjoyed an unexpected foray into ballet.

I guess we’ll just have to go back to Vienna for the opera some day …

I can take it.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy 🙂

Copyright Aimwell Enterprises 2012