Bob Gibson said…

Paolo Benedetto Bellinzani was an 18th-century Italian composer.  Not much of his output is remembered today, but his Sonata for Flute in D Minor is one of them.  It’s a light, pleasant piece that makes easy listening. I hope your post-Christmas digestion is recovering from the overload – just in time for the New Year celebrations next week! Peter

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Sunday morning music

Enough with the Christmas muzak already!  Let’s have something that’s both tuneful and prayerful.  Words aren’t necessary. First, here’s Mannheim Steamroller with “Fum, Fum, Fum“.  It’s a very old tune from Catalonia in Spain.  (Lyrics at the link above.) Next, an ancient English air, “Greensleeves”, the tune of which was adapted in the 19th century to the Christmas carol “What Child Is This?“.  Lindsey Stirling does the honors. Here’s a hymn from the Orthodox Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom, which was set to music by Tchaikovsky in 1878.  It’s not Christmas music, strictly speaking, but it seems to me to fit in very well with the season. 

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Stocking stuffers from friends

Several friends have published new books in recent weeks.  Here they are, in no particular order. First, J. L. Curtis (more widely known as blogger Old NFO, among other things) has published the fifth and last volume about his protagonist, John Cronin, in the “Grey Man” series.  (It was originally planned as a trilogy, until he got carried away!)  This one’s titled “The Grey Man – Twilight“. The blurb reads: Never count an old man out, even when he’s hanging up his hat! Deputy Sheriff John Cronin is looking forward to a quiet retirement, working on the ranch, and handing it off

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Ever heard of “khinkali”? Suddenly, I’m hungry

I’ve had dumplings in many and varied forms, from the American standby of chicken and dumplings (the latter not being “dumplings” at all in the classic sense, but simply dough cooked in the chicken sauce), to Chinese dumplings (and their closely related cousin, potstickers), to variations of the theme in many countries.  I’ve enjoyed most of them. However, until I came across this article, I’d never heard of “khinkali“, a dumpling claimed as a native dish by Georgia. At the height of summer, Tbilisi is a heat trap. Ringed on three sides by an amphitheatre of mountains, the Georgian capital sits in a valley where stifling, humid air collects.

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“A River of Horns” is published!

My latest Western novel, “A River of Horns“, fourth in the Ames Archives series, has been published in e-book format.  A print edition will follow soon The blurb reads: Walt Ames and his Texas partner, Tyler Reese, know that the U.S. Army is bound and determined to push the Comanche and Kiowa tribes onto the reservation for good. Once the Texas Panhandle is pacified, millions of acres of land will become available. They aim to be among the first to set up a ranch there – but that’ll take money… a whole lot of money. How do you raise money

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Sunday morning music

It seems only yesterday that we celebrated Christmas . . . but another year has passed, and the liturgical calendar has rolled around yet again. I don’t know about you, but I’m heartily sick of the ghastly versions of Christmas carols one hears in every supermarket and shopping mall (and over far too many radio stations) at this time of year.  As an antidote, here’s the Choir of Kings College, Cambridge, with their “Carols from Kings” album.  The track listing (time in minutes and seconds, followed by title) is as follows: 00:00:00 Once in royal David’s city 00:04:41 Rejoice and be

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In memoriam: Marie Fredriksson of Roxette

I was saddened to read of the death of Marie Fredriksson, one of the duo who formed the Swedish pop/rock group Roxette in the 1980’s.  I enjoyed their music at the time, finding it a welcome distraction from some of the nastier events taking place in South Africa back then.  Britain’s Daily Express reports: Roxette singer Marie Fredriksson has died at the age of 61. The Swedish popstar co-created Roxette with Per Gessle in 1986 and was best known for her hits It Must Have Been Love, Joyride, Listen To Your Heart and The Look. Marie died on Monday morning after suffering from a long-term illness for 17 years.

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Sunday morning music

AC/DC‘s classic rock hit “Thunderstruck” has become an international icon of the classic rock scene.  Here’s the original music video. However, there have been almost innumerable covers and different versions of the song – some a serious attempt at music, others rather less so.  I thought I’d gather up some of the oddballs, and see if you like them. Here’s 2Cellos with their not-quite-classical rendition. The BadPiper had a go at it in hard-blowing fashion. A 12-year-old self-taught Chinese guitarist produced this outstanding rendition for acoustic guitar. Finnish parody group Steve’N’Seagulls tried it in bluegrass style. Here’s Luna Lee tackling “Thunderstruck” on the gayageum, a traditional Korean instrument.

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Sunday morning music

Let’s have something melodic and peaceful to round out the Thanksgiving weekend.  Here’s Giuseppe Antonio Brescianello‘s concerto for violin, oboe, strings & b.c. in G minor.  La Cetra Barockorchester Basel is conducted by Vaclav Luks. Peter

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Saturday Snippet: Elephants and their noses

Rudyard Kipling is famous for many books, but not too many people on this side of the Atlantic Ocean are aware of his “Just So Stories“. It’s a volume of a dozen stories for children, including many favorites such as “How the Camel got his Hump” and “The Cat that Walked by Himself”.  I grew up with them, and greatly enjoyed them (and still do). In order to introduce them to those who don’t know them, here’s one of the stories in full.  It’s titled “The Elephant’s Child”, and tells how the elephant got his trunk.  The cover illustration above

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