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  • 2017 October 22: Psychiatry

    October 22, 2017 15:19

    Two weeks ago I shared about my abusive stepfather and my youngest brother Eric’s resulting suicide, and how as a 16-year-old boy I chose ‘playing Bach’ over the then available anti-depressents. (Over four decades ago.)

  • 2017 October 15: BoĆ«llmann

    October 15, 2017 10:30

    Léon Boëllmann was born in Alsace, the son of a pharmacist. In 1871, shortly after the conclusion of the Franco-Prussian War, 9-year-old Boëllmann left the contested region of Alsace for Paris and entered the École de Musique Classique et Religieuse (School of Classical and Religious Music) in Paris, where he studied with Eugène Gigout (1844-1925), an eminent organist and musician of the day. Boëllmann there won first prizes in piano, organ, counterpoint, fugue, plainsong, and composition. After his graduation in 1881, Boëllmann was hired as choir organist at the Church of St. Vincent de Paul (a major church in Paris with two pipe organs — a smaller one used with the choir, and a much larger main organ), and six years later he became cantor and principal organist. (By the way, a previous choir organist there was Louis Braille (1809–1852), best known for the Braille tactile writing system for the blind.) (more )

  • 2017: October 8

    October 08, 2017 10:32

    We’ve grown accustomed to the idea that ‘artistic genius’ means one who is rather a loose cannon in society, a menace to those around him/her to a greater or lesser degree, of dubious morals and sanity, etc. etc. Let’s see: Schumann: committed to an insane asylum; Brahms – we’re pretty sure he had an intimate relationship with Mrs. Schumann. Beethoven – volatile to put it mildly, and Mozart – well, we’ve all seen the movie Amadeus. Or Wagner: a flaming egomaniac and anti-semite whom the Nazi’s adopted as their musical hero. And the archetype of the ‘great artistic genius’ as anti-social menace extends far beyond the domain of classical music composers — see People magazine.