We are accustomed to believe that kings erected fabulous castles for their lovers, favourites or wives. However, Neuschwanstein Castle, perhaps the most famous castle in Germany, featured on the screensaver of Disney cartoons, was dedicated by the last Bavarian King Ludwig to the great composer Richard Wagner.
Many great Europeans truly believed that their pens, as they composed, were guided by a divine spirit. Great musicians were quite clear in their belief that their works were the creation of a divine force, which we place under the blanket term, God.
The history of the Oberammergau Passion Play begins in 1633. In the midst of the Thirty Years’ War, after months of suffering and dying from the plague, the people of Oberammergau pledged to act out the »play of the suffering, death and resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ« once every 10 years.
Stephen Foster was America’s first great professional songwriter. He was the ninth child of William and Eliza Foster — arriving on earth July 4, 1826, as America was celebrating 50 years as a nation.
Sublime Dreams of Living Machines. Part I. Not so long ago, a short video of a truly uncanny dulcimer-playing wind-up automaton made for Marie Antoinette in 1784 appeared online. The queen was no stranger to extravagance, we know, but why this machine, this wonderful human-like machine, which must have taxed the greatest artisans and mechanics of her time? What was its appeal?
George Bizet (1838 – 1875) wrote in a letter; “As a musician, I tell you that if you were to suppress adultery, fanaticism, crime, evil, the supernatural, there would no longer be the means for writing one note.”