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Archive for the ‘Artist Anecdotes’ Category

Life of an artist…Philip Glass..

Philip Glass, the creative and celebrated modern composer, courageously blazed a trail despite all the absurdities facing artists. According to Elizabeth Lundy, in Secret Lives of Great Composers, Mr. Glass took on sundry jobs to pay the bills during the 60′s and 70′s, even while his operas were being performed at the Met in Lincoln Center: Shortly after the New York premiere of Einstein on the Beach, Glass was driving a taxi. A well-dressed woman got into the cab, looked at his name [tag], and said in surprise, ‘”Young man, do you realize you have the same name as a very famous composer?’” [Secret Lives of Composers, 278]

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Henri Matisse- Don’t touch the fruit!

by Leticia Marie Sanchez According to Kathleen Krull, in her book “Lives of the Artists,” Henri Matisse subsisted on a strict diet of rice-only when he first started out as a painter. Not Rice-A-Roni. Just plain boiled rice. Matisse refused to even allow himself to indulge in the luscious fruit that he bought for his still life paintings. Instead, he saved that fruit for his art. And for us.  Enjoy. Henri Matisse, Still Life with Oranges. 1899  Editor’s Note: Matisse eventually became one of the highest-paid artists of his time, imbing champagne and moving to the French Riviera– a real Rice to Riches story!

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Beyond Civilized- Von Bulow vis a vis Wagner

Cosima Liszt, the daughter of the illustrious composer Franz Liszt, married conductor and pianist Hans Von Bulow. While married to Von Bulow, she became pregnant three times with the offspring of German composer Richard Wagner, bearing Wagner three children: Isolde, Ava, and Siegfried. Although she initially denied the affair, Cosima eventually left Von Bulow to move in with Wagner. Von Bulow’s response? In a letter contained in Norman Lebrecht’s “Book of Musical Anecdotes,” Von Bulow declares his wife’s lover to be superior to himself in every way: “You have preferred to devote your life and the treasures of your mind and affection to one who is my superior, and far from blaming you, I approve your action from every point of view and admit you are perfectly right…the only consoling though has been that Cosima is happy over there.” Below:

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Salvador Dalí and the Cauliflower-stuffed Rolls Royce

by Leticia Marie Sanchez         Salvador Dalí mastered the art of creating his own image. Dalí shocked audiences everywhere with his flamboyant persona. A limousine or taxi was just too dull for the outrageous surrealist. So Mr. Dali drove a Rolls Royce stuffed to the brim with…. cauliflower.   The veggie-mobile was the automobile of choice for Mr. Dali as he drove to La Sorbonne University in Paris to give a lecture.  His speech was entitled, “Phenomenological Aspects of the Critical Paranoiac Method.”   During the speech, Dali exclaimed to the two thousand listeners in the audience, “Everything departs from the rhinoceros horn! Everything departs from Jan Vermeer’s The Lacemaker! Everything ends up in the cauliflower!“ Time Magazine, Dec. 26, 1955                                             

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Rock on, Gottlieb– the many nicknames of Mozart

First published by Cultural Cocktail Hour in 2011 Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered trademark by Leticia Marie Sanchez A lecture by Professor Robert Greenberg, from San Francisco Performances, revealed hidden gems about Mozart’s name. Enjoy! Baptized Name: Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart The divinely-inspired composer adored word games. He called himself: Di Mozartini, Mozartus, and Mozarti  He also enjoyed playing with the letters of his name and called himself:  Romatz, Trazom, Volfgangus (Latin Version) Gangflow (backwards)  His middle name, Theophilus, had the most permutations  His father called him GOTTLIEB because Gottlieb is the German version of Theophilus- “love of God”) What was Mozart’s personal favorite?  Amédée, the French version, which he picked up when he lived in Paris.  He actually never referred to himself as Amadeus!  (Unless it was a joke, then he would call him self Woolfgangus Amadeus) Out of

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Roman Emperor Caligula loved horsing around…

Salvador Dali- Caligula

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? by Leticia Marie Sanchez Salvador Dalí s painting, “Le Cheval de Caligula” depicts Incitatus, pampered pony of blood-thirsty Roman emperor Caligula. The often-violent Caligula became so enraptured with his stallion that he giddily showered him with 18 servants, a marble stable, an ivory manger, rich red robes, and a bejeweled collar. Caligula even made sure that his horse had a lil’ wifey and presented him with the alluring mare Penelope as a bride. The neurotic emperor demanded that everyone bow down to his horse as a god. No Mueslix or chewy carrots for this horsey. According to Roman historian Suetonius, Caligula’s horse snacked on oats mixed with flex of gold, naturally, and sipped the finest wine from golden goblets. Dignitaries must have clenched their teeth politely when Caligula required that they all sit at the dinner table

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Bach and the Nanny-Goat Bassoonist

Some celebrate BACH’s BIRTHDAY  on March 21st, some on March 31st (due to the differences in the Gregorian and the Julian calendar). We here at Cultural Cocktail Hour celebrate BACH’s BIRTHDAY  all month long! In honor of his birthday, here is an anecdote about the musical legend: Bach…the Brawler? Did J.S Bach, the eminent composer of such celestial works as the Goldberg Variations, the Well-Tempered Clavier, the Brandenberg concertos, and the Toccata and Fugue in D Minor have an alter ego? It appears that the clever Kapellmeister, director of heavenly choirs, and the composer of music divine, may have had a mischievous streak. As choir director in Arnsadt, the 20-year old Bach got into fisticuffs with a student named Johann Geyersbach. The brawl originated thusly: walking softly and carrying a big stick, Geyersbach approached Bach as he crossed the marketplace

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Mozart’s Mug Shot?

Holy Cadenza! Do you recognize this guy? This photo represents a facial composite of  that 21 year old wunderkind Mozart, created in the around 1990s by the Bundeskriminalamt Wiesbaden—the Federal Criminal Police Office of Wiesbaden, Germany—from four portraits painted during the composer’s lifetime, according to the website Dangerous Minds. Via: http://dangerousminds.net/comments/mozarts_mug_shot What do you think? Would you trust this guy with a Sonata? Incidentally, Mozart found forgiveness for one of the few “illegal” activities in which he found himself embroiled. As a 14 year old, he created the first illegal copy of “Misere,” a piece heavily protected by the Vatican. Even copying the piece from memory (as Mozart did) was punishable by excommunication. However, when the Pope met the young prodigy, instead of scolding him, he lavished the youngster with high praise. But, of course!

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Beethoven & the Beef Stew- don’t try this at home!

First published by Cultural Cocktail Hour on January 21, 2011 by Leticia Marie Sanchez Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered trademark According to Norman Lebrecht, author of “The Book of Musical Anectodes” (Simon & Schuster, 1985), Beethoven flew off the handle when a waiter at the Viennese restaurant “The Swan,” brought him the wrong meat dish. Some artists are particular about their piano benches (Gould) while others are particular about their beef.  An outraged Beethoven hurled the dish, gravy and all, over the waiter’s head. Just as the wrong meat could turn him into a raging bull, the right one could turn him into a loving lamb.  When his friend Ferdinand Ries sent him a particular type of roast veal, Beethoven kissed and embraced him, telling him “never had anything given him such pleasure as the roast veal, coming at the very moment when

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The Christmas fruitcake fiasco: Puccini versus Toscanini

In her revealing book, Secret Lives of the Great Composers, Elizabeth Lundy described a fruity fiasco between two rivals: opera composers, Giacomo Puccini and conductor Arturo Toscanini: “During the years of Puccini and Toscanini’s feud, they had very little contact- except for one Christmastime incident. That year Puccini forgot to remove the conductor’s name from the list of friends to whom he sent the traditional Italian holiday gift, a pannetone cake. When Puccini realized his error, he sent Toscanini a telegram reading: “PANNETONE SENT BY MISTAKE. PUCCINI.” Toscanini replied, “PANNETONE EATEN BY MISTAKE. TOSCANINI.”

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