Piaf and Cocteau: Les Enfants Terribles | A R T L▼R K

When I write I disturb. When I make a film I disturb. When I paint I disturb. When I exhibit my paintings I disturb, and I disturb if I don’t. I have a knack for disturbing. (Jean Cocteau, Diary of an Unknown)

On the 11th of October 1963, a French poet, novelist, designer, playwright, artist, and filmmaker Jean Cocteau died in his country house in Milly-la-Forêt, France. The multi-talented dandy …

Source: Piaf and Cocteau: Les Enfants Terribles | A R T L▼R K

Leigh’s Motor Ambulance & The Red Cross – GM 1914

This article first appeared in the Leigh Chronicle in August 1915 and provides an insight into the valuable work of the Red Cross during the war. Including supporting motor ambulances. 

‘The motor ambulance for wounded soldiers at the Front subscribed by the people of Leigh, at the instigation of the Mayoress ( Mrs.Ashworth), was on exhibition in Leigh on Friday. The van was…

Source: Leigh’s Motor Ambulance & The Red Cross – GM 1914

Carmina Burana

A Scholarly Skater

Wheel of Fortune page from the manuscript Carmina Burana. Photo from Wikimedia commons.

I’ve been working on a dance routine to “Carmina Burana” and wanted to do some research on the history of the piece. I was planning to write more about gargoyles this week, but I decided to write about this instead when I saw a picture of the original medieval manuscript.*

A scene from the manuscript Carmina Burana. By Meister der Carmina Burana [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons Before it was a well-known piece of music, the Carmina Burana was a Gothic manuscript containing eight illustrations and two hundred and fifty-four poems, primarily in medieval Latin with some in old German, from the eleventh through thirteenth centuries. (1) It was created around 1230 and discovered in the library of the Benediktbeuern Abbey in Bavaria in 1803. While likely originating from somewhere in that area, the Carmina Burana was not necessarily created at the Benediktbeuern Abbey, though…

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A Symbol of Non-Violence Ideology

The Genealogy of Style

Man putting flower in National Guard gun

Flower power was a slogan used during the late 1960s and early 1970s as a symbol of passive resistance and non-violence ideology. It is rooted in the opposition movement to the Vietnam War. The expression was coined by the American beat poet Allen Ginsberg in 1965 as a means to transform war protests into peaceful affirmative spectacles. Hippies embraced the symbolism by dressing in clothing with embroidered flowers and vibrant colors, wearing flowers in their hair, and distributing flowers to the public, becoming known as flower children. The term later became generalized as a modern reference to the hippie movement and the so-called counterculture of drugs, psychedelic music, psychedelic art and social permissiveness.

Flower Power originated in Berkeley, California as a symbolic action of protest against the Vietnam War. In his November 1965 essay titled How to Make a March/Spectacle, Ginsberg advocated…

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Playing the Cello in the Trenches

An Account of the First World War ‘Trench Cello’ of Harold Triggs


Harold Triggs was born in 1886 in Eastbourne, where his father was for many years the managing director of Devonshire Park and Baths. He and his two sisters, Theodora and Grace, would have been surrounded by music from an early age, but Grace, who played the violin, was the only one of the three to choose it as a career and she gave various concerts in the area that were well-reviewed.

Harold first worked as an insurance clerk, although he kept up his musical activities by joining the Oxford and Cambridge Musical Club in 1906. He was to remain a highly-regarded and active performing member of the Club until at least 1954, and Laurence Pettitt, one of the Club’s regular accompanists, wrote of him in the Club’s “80th Anniversary History” that he was “a very fine player in some of the best chamber ensembles.”

Early in the War Harold joined the Royal Sussex Regiment, and in October 1915 was promoted to the rank of Temporary Second Lieutenant. At some point he acquired a “holiday cello” of a type made by W.E. Hill and Sons around 1900, and it was this instrument that he took to France, where a number of young French players had already taken up the idea of playing in the trenches. On the front of this cello are painted the Royal Sussex Regiment’s insignia.

The look of Harold Triggs’s cello when seen from the side is more-or-less normal except for the lack of arching, but from the front or back it is rectangular, as an ammunition box would be. The neck is secured to the body with a normal mortise joint before being fixed to the button at the top of the back with a brass bolt. After that it is simple, the fingerboard slides into place on the neck and the top nut…

Continue reading: The Royal Academy of Music

In the clip below, cellist Steven Isserlis plays on this cello. My connection is still too slow to be able to listen to it except in incoherent snatches but I have no doubt the experience is immeasurably moving.

Three Composers who stood against war.


It is strange that at a time when the people of the world are seeking peace, that so much time is spent looking at wars, and heroes of wars, and so little time is spent investigating those who had the strength to stand out from their societies and refuse to fight.

Here are three twentieth century British composers, who refused to fight in the world wars, and suffered much, both financially(as people refused for some time to play their work) creatively (as people poured huge scorn and hatred against them) and socially. They went on to be seen as three of the great composers of the century, and wrote three of the greatest anti war pieces of music, two of them commissioned to celebrate the same event, the opening of the Leicester Cathedral, which stands next to the bombed out remains of the old Cathedral.

The three composers were Benjamin…

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Music Hall – not just a lovely war? | objectingtowar

Rogues & Vagabonds

Re-blogged from objectingtowar.

It’s hard to imagine but one hundred years ago the cultural life of this country was very different. People were not watching The Apprentice on TV or even listening to The Archers on the radio. Books and newspapers were, of course, common but for most ‘ordinary’ people their entertainment was performances and music. The most powerful of these was the music hall.

In 1914 music hall was harnessed in the service of the war with patriotic songs calling on men to enlist and claiming that we’d be in “Berlin by Christmas”. In many ways this was propaganda from below. This was ordinary people swept up in the excitement of the war enthusiastically writing and performing pro-war numbers rather than a centralised, government ordered propaganda campaign.

You can see this in the tone of some…

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