Thursday, December 23, 2010

Anika in the Krippen Spiel

Anika is growing into a big girl. We are very proud of her. This 4th Advent she played a role in the school's Krippen Spiel. She had memorized four stanzas of poetry beforehand and we helped her practice them at home. Walking to the church for the Krippen Spiel Anika said she had forgotten a line. I told her don't worry it will come back to your memory, or if not a teacher will help you, etc. I thought Ani would recite her lines as one of many kids all in a row sharing lines from the poem. The Krippen Spiel began with a violin perfomance, and then the smaller kids took the stage/alter. Midway through their song they stop and I see Anika get up by herself, take the microphone and clearly and loudly and with rolling 'R's recite the first stanza of her poem. After she finishes the little kids sing some more, pause again and Anika reads her next stanza. Ani did it perfect!!! and with flourish sogar!!! I was amazed, Anika did so well.... (this was all or course done in German). She has come a long way. We are very proud of her, and amazed by her talent and courage. I think Ani's performance will be my best Christmas present for sure.

P.S. in the lefthand corner of the drawing is one of the poem's stanzas that Ani performed. It's also in Anika's handwriting. And yes it was an unheated church, so jackets, scarfs and some hats were kept on in the church.

And the text: "Ich immer nur ich! Wann wird daraus ein du, ein bedingungslose du. Wann kehrt Licht in unsere Herzen ein." In english: "Me always only me! When will will it be a you, a conditionless you. When will light shine in our hearts."

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Alright, since I brought up Michelangelo (see Greek entry below). The Albertina was showing a number of his drawings, and I copied one. Typical muscular definition - I had no idea there are so many muscles in the neck that needed to be recorded with a pen. But.... great dynamic stuff from Michelangelo, twisting bodies pushing against unseen forces, muscles tense. The drawing I picked was one of the easier drawings to copy. Michelangelo drew in chalk (which is easy to smudge). He built his drawings up with fine hatching work (and good lines!), which however are often smudged out in the final drawing. There were some interesting extremely smudgy drawings of christ on the cross. They seemed a typical for Michelangelo and reminded me almost of Seurat's delicate and extreme tonal drawings. The Michelangelo drawing I copied showed more clearly how the masses are built with his hatch work. My copy, I think, came out nice. It was a little hard to draw though as the light is really low in the museum, and there were hundreds of school kids viewing the exhibit.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Harlem Gospel Choir

For my birthday we saw the Harlem Gospel Choir perform. They played in the Minoriten Kirche (built 1300). We sat just below the side pulpit hanging from the wall to the left. The Choir sang at the main alter.

The choir was great, and the lead singer even took an opportunity to sing unamplified in the huge hall of the church. A big old church like this has an almost natural reverb, and you could tell that as he was singing he was kind of playing with that effect. We sat real close to the singers performing on the main alter. There were maybe 500 people in the audience. Below is an albeit weak recording of one of there songs (there is no picture, just sound). Despite the poor recording the songs were strong and come through.

I remember one lyric, "I am a Vessel, filled with Power, with a Treasure, from the Lord." Kind of simple, even corny, but they sang it over and over and really brought the phrase to life. It was more than just singing..... it was singing trying to SAY something. Cool.


My rocks "chillin" inside, taking in the view of a fresh blanket of snow outside.

The Greeks Invented Everything

Some careful drawings from the sister natural history and art museums in Wien. The bird is a paradisevogel, which if you remember your Dr. Suess is the kind of bird with a ridiculously elaborately long tail feather. The bird, or course is from the Naturhistorische Museum. From the Kunsthistorische Museum is a torso of a winged Eros, Aphrodite's son. It's a Roman copy of a Greek original (most of the statues in the Kunsthistorische collection are Roman copies of Greek originals - I don't know where the Greek originals are or if they are still existant). Those Greeks sure knew physical beauty and had a refined sensitive sense of the body. You should see the bodies of the Aphrodite statues with their transparent clinging dress - all done in the, of course, completely contradictory medium of stone. I didn't choose the Aphrodites to draw because I didn't want to spend too much time on all the folds of the drapery. I picked her son Eros to draw because it was a little more simple to draw.

It's interesting to compare say, Michelangelo's work where everyone is all pumped up with muscles - even the women are drawn with every bicep and shoulder muscle pumped up. I wouldn't mess with Eve in the picture above, that's a seriously impressive arm! Compare that with how the Greeks sculpted the figure of Eros (presumably a late teenager or so) with a soft and sensitive hand. Remarkable.