Английский язык - Книга для учителя 11 класс - Углублённый уровень - О. В. Афанасьева - 2017 год
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1. Bach, Johann Sebastian (March 21, 1685 - July 28, 1750) was a German organist, composer, and musical scholar of the Baroque period, and is almost universally regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time. His works, noted for their intellectual depth, technical command, and artistic beauty, have provided inspiration to nearly every musician in the European tradition.
J. S. Bach was born in Eisenach, Germany, in 1685. His father, Ambrosius Bach, was the town piper in Eisenach, a post that entailed organizing all the secular music in town as well as participating in church music at the direction of the church organist. In an era when sons were expected to assist in their fathers’ work, we can assume J. S. Bach began copying music and playing various instruments at an early age.
Shortly after graduation from Latin school when he was 18 (an impressive accomplishment in his day), Bach took a post as an organist at Arnstadt, Germany, in 1703. He apparently felt cramped in the small town and began to seek his fortune elsewhere.
In 1708, Bach took a position as a court organist and concert master at the ducal court in Weimar, Germany. Here he had opportunity to not only play the organ but also compose for it and play a more varied repertoire of concert music with the duke’s ensemble.
In 1723, J. S. Bach was appointed Cantor and Musical Director of St. Thomas church in Leipzig, Germany. This post required him to not only instruct the students of the St. Thomas school in singing but also to provide weekly music at the two main churches in Leipzig.
On holy days such as Christmas, Good Friday, and Easter, Bach produced cantatas of particular brilliance, most notably the Magnificat for Christmas and St. Matthew Passion for Good Friday.
Bach had 13 children by two wives, although few survived to adulthood.
All of the Bach children seem to have been musically inclined, which must have given the aging composer much pride. Most of the music we have from Bach was passed on through his children, who preserved much of the “Old Bach Archive” after their father’s death.
During his lifetime he composed over 1,000 pieces.
2. Beethoven, Ludwig van (December 16, 1770 - March 26, 1827). He studied first with his father, Johann, a singer and instrumentalist. At 12 he had some music published. Twenty-two-year-old Beethoven settled in Vienna, where he pursued his studies, first with Haydn and Salieri. He found patrons among the music-loving Viennese aristocracy and soon enjoyed success as a piano virtuoso, playing at private houses or palaces rather than in public. His public debut was in 1795; about the same time his first important publications appeared. As a pianist, it was reported, he had fire, brilliance and fantasy as well as depth of feeling. It is naturally in the piano sonatas, writing for his own instrument, that he is at his most original in this period; the Pathetique belongs to 1799, the Moonlight to 1801, and these represent only the most obvious innovations in style and emotional content. These years also saw the composition of his first three piano concertos, his first two symphonies and a set of six string quartets.
1802, however, was a year of crisis for Beethoven, with his realization that the impaired hearing he had noticed for some time was incurable and sure to worsen. But he came through with his determination strengthened and entered a new creative phase. It is characterized by a heroic tone, evident in the Eroica Symphony, in Symphony No. 5, and in his opera Fidelio.
With his powerful and expansive works Beethoven was firmly established as the greatest composer of his time. His piano-playing career had finished in 1808.
For Beethoven, the act of composition had always been a struggle, as the tortuous scrawls of his sketchbooks show; in these late works the sense of agonizing effort is a part of the music.
His reputation went far beyond Vienna: the late Mass was first heard in St. Petersburg, and the initial commission that produced the Choral Symphony had come from the Philharmonic Society of London. When early in 1827 he died, 10,000 are said to have attended the funeral. He had become a public figure as no composer had done before. Unlike composers of the preceding generation, he had never written music for the nobility.
3. Brahms, Johannes (May 7, 1833 - April 3, 1897) was a German composer of the Romantic period. He was born in Hamburg and in his later years he settled in Vienna, Austria. Brahms’s father, Johann Jakob Brahms, was a professional musician. Johann Jakob gave his son his first musical training. He studied piano from the age of seven. Brahms showed early promise and helped to supplement the rather meager family income by playing the piano in restaurants and theaters, as well as by teaching. He began to compose quite early in life, but later destroyed most copies of his first works. At the age of twenty Brahms met Robert Schumann. Schumann, amazed by his talent, published an article entitled “Neue Bahnen” (New Paths) in the October 28, 1853 issue of the journal Neue Zeitschrift fur Musik alerting the public to the young man who he claimed was “destined to give ideal expression to the times”. With time Brahms made his home in Vienna.
It was the premiere of Ein deutsches Requiem, his largest choral work, in Bremen in 1868 that confirmed Brahms’ European reputation and led many to accept that he had fulfilled Schumann’s prophecy.
Brahms frequently travelled, for both business (concert tours) and pleasure. From 1878 onwards he often visited Italy in the springtime, and usually sought out a pleasant rural location in which to compose during the summer. He was a great walker and especially enjoyed spending time in the open air, where he felt that he could think more clearly.
In 1890, the 57-year-old Brahms resolved to give up composing. However, as it turned out, he was unable to abide by his decision, and in the years before his death he produced a number of acknowledged masterpieces.
Among other pieces Brahms also wrote about 200 songs and is considered among the greatest of Lieder composers (with Schubert and Schumann).
4. Chopin, Frederic Franqois (February 22, 1810 - October 17, 1849), a Polish-French composer and pianist, was one of the creators of the typically romantic character piece. All of his works include the piano.
Chopin was not a conductor, or a writer of music, or a great teacher although he earned substantial amounts from his teaching, nor did he concertize extensively. Indeed, he represents the curious phenomenon of a legendary pianist who gave approximately 30 public performances in his entire lifetime. From all reports, his playing was extraordinary.
Chopin was born on February 22, 1810, near Warsaw, the second of four children of a French father, Nicholas Chopin, and a Polish mother, Lorraine. Young Chopin had a good education and studied music privately with Joseph Elsner, founder and director of the Warsaw Conservatoire. In 1817 Chopin’s first composition was performed publicly; a year later he himself performed in public.
In 1826 Chopin became a full-time student at Eisner’s Conservatoire, where he received an excellent foundation in theory, harmony, and counterpoint.
After visiting Berlin, where he was exposed to the music of George Frederick Handel and Felix Mendelssohn, Chopin heard Niccolo Paganini in Warsaw on his return and recognized that he must leave the city for exposure to other musicians.
When the 20-year-old Chopin arrived in Paris, his poor physical health as well as an unsuitable temperament prevented him from giving public performances. Nevertheless, he became a significant figure in Parisian artistic circles, numbering among his friends musicians, writers, and painters. There in 1836 he met Aurore Dudevant, known as George Sand. For 9 years, from in 1838, after he had composed the Funeral March, she was his closest associate. Chopin’s health failed, and he lost all interest in composition. The Revolution of 1848 brought Chopin to England, where he accepted a longstanding invitation from Jane Stirling, a Scottish pupil. He gave several private performances in London and on May 15 played for Queen Victoria. After a rest in Scotland he returned to London in the fall of 1848, where on November 16 he played a benefit for Polish refugees at the Guildhall. He returned to Paris shortly afterward, living virtually on the generosity of the Stirlings. He died of tuberculosis on October 17, 1849 in Paris.
His creative imagination raised the etude from a practice piece to the concert stage. Chopin’s harmonic innovations, often concealed beneath a soaring lyricism, place him on an equal footing with Liszt and Richard Wagner.
5. Debussy, Claude (August 22, 1862 - March 25, 1918), a French composer, was born in St. Germain-en-Laye and died in Paris. He studied at the Paris Conservatoire and as a prize winner went to Rome for two years. It was not only Italian music that influenced his work but also Oriental music and music by the German composer Wagner and poems by the French poets Baudelaire and Verlaine. His early works brought forward a fluidity of rhythm and colour quite new to Western music.
Debussy’s main works are considered to be his orchestral pieces, piano sets and songs. Debussy began to associate his music with visual impressions of the East, Spain, landscape, etc. in a sequence of sets of short pieces. His last volume of Etudes (1915) interprets similar varieties of styles and texture as pianistic exercises and includes pieces that develop irregular form to an extreme. Critics see in it some influence of the young Stravinsky.
6. Handel, George Frederick (February 23, 1685 - April 14, 1759) was a German-born Baroque composer who is famous for his operas, oratorios and concerti grossi. Born as Georg Friedrich Handel in Halle, he spent most of his adult life in England, becoming a subject of the British crown on 22 January 1727. His most famous works are Messiah, an oratorio set to texts from the King James Bible, Water Music and Music for the Royal Fireworks. Strongly influenced by the techniques of the great composers of the Italian Baroque and the English composer Henry Purcell, his music was known to many significant composers who came after him, including Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven.
Handel was born in Halle in 1685, the same year that both Johann Sebastian Bach and Domenico Scarlatti were born. Handel displayed considerable musical talent at an early age; by the age of seven he was a skilful performer on the harpsichord and pipe organ, and at nine he began to compose music. His first two operas, Almira and Nero, were produced in 1705. Two other early operas, Daphne and Florindo, were produced in 1708.
His Rodrigo was produced in Florence in 1707, and his Agrippina at Venice in 1709. Agrippina, which ran for an unprecedented 27 performances, showed remarkable maturity and established his reputation as an opera composer.
In 1710, Handel became Kapellmeister to George, Elector of Hannover, who would soon be King George I of Great Britain. He visited Anna Maria Luisa de’ Medici on his way to London in 1710, where he settled permanently in 1712, receiving a yearly income of £200 from Queen Anne.
In 1723, Handel moved into a newly built house in 25 Brook Street, London, which he rented until his death in 1759, 36 years later. This house is now the Handel House Museum, a restored Georgian house open to the public with an events programme of Baroque music.
Handel had a long association with the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden, where many of his Italian operas were premiered.
Handel’s Messiah was first performed in New Music Hall in Fishamble Street, Dublin on 13 April 1742, with 26 boys and five men from the combined choirs of St. Patrick’s and Christ Church cathedrals participating. After this success with the sacred oratorio he stopped composing opera.
7. Liszt, Franz (October 22, 1811 - July 31, 1886). He was taught the piano by his father, establishing himself as a remarkable concert artist by the age of 12. In Paris he studied theory and composition; he wrote an opera and bravura piano pieces and undertook tours in France, Switzerland and England before ill-health and religious doubt made him reassess his career. Intellectual growth came through literature, and the urge to create through hearing opera and especially Paganini, whose spectacular effects Liszt eagerly transferred to the piano in original works.
He gave concerts in Paris, maintaining his legendary reputation, and published some essays, but was active chiefly as a composer. To help raise funds for the Bonn Beethoven monument, he resumed the life of a travelling virtuoso (1839-1847); he was adulated everywhere, from Ireland to Turkey, Portugal to Russia. In 1848 he took up a full-time conducting post at the Weimar court, where, living with the Princess Carolyne Sayn-Wittgenstein, he wrote or revised most of the major works for which he is known, conducted new operas by Wagner, Berlioz and Verdi and became the figurehead of the “New German school”. In 1861-1869 he lived mainly in Rome, writing religious works; from 1870 he journeyed regularly between Rome, Weimar and Budapest. He remained active as a teacher and performer to the end of his life.
Liszt’s personality appears contradictory in its combination of romantic abstraction and otherworldliness with a cynical diabolism and elegant, worldly manners. But though he had a restless intellect, he also was ceaselessly creative, seeking the new in music. He helped others generously, as a conductor, arranger, pianist or writer, and took artistic and personal risks in doing so. The greatest pianist of his time, he composed some of the most difficult piano music ever written (e.g. the Transcendental Studies) and had an extraordinarily broad repertory, from Scarlatti onwards; he invented the modern piano recital.
Piano works naturally make up the greater part of Liszt’s output.
Liszt invented the term “symphonic poem” for orchestral works that did not obey traditional forms strictly and were based generally on a literary or pictorial idea such as Mazeppa or the three-movement Faust Symphony.
8. Ravel, Joseph-Maurice (March 7, 1875 - December 28, 1937) was a French composer and pianist of Impressionist and Expressionist music, known especially for the subtlety, richness and poignancy of his melodies. His piano music, chamber music, vocal music and orchestral music have become staples of the concert repertoire.
Ravel’s piano compositions demand considerable virtuosity from the performer, and his orchestral music, including Daphnis et Chloe and his arrangement of Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, uses tonal colour and variety of sound and instrumentation very effectively.
To the general public, Ravel is probably best known for his orchestral work, Bolero, which he considered trivial and once described as “a piece for orchestra without music”.
Ravel was born in Ciboure, in France, near Biarritz. His mother, Marie Delouart, was French, while his father, Joseph Ravel, was a Swiss inventor and industrialist. At age seven, young Maurice began piano lessons and, five or six years later, began composing. His parents encouraged his musical pursuits and sent him to the Conservatoire de Paris, first as a preparatory student and eventually as a piano major.
He studied composition at the Conservatoire for a remarkable fourteen years. During his years at the Conservatoire, Ravel tried numerous times to win the prestigious Prix de Rome, but to no avail.
Ravel later worked with impresario Sergei Diaghilev who staged Ma Mere L’Oye and Daphnis et Chloe. The latter was commissioned by Diaghilev with the lead danced by the great Vaslav Nijinsky.
In 1928, Ravel made a concert tour in America. In New York City, he received a moving standing ovation. He also met George Gershwin and the two became friends. Ravel’s admiration of American jazz led him to include some jazz elements in a few of his later compositions, especially the two piano concertos.
During the First World War Ravel was not allowed to enlist as a pilot because of his age and weak health. Instead, upon his enlistment, he became a truck driver. He named his truck “Adelaide”.
In 1932 Ravel sustained a blow to the head in a taxi accident. In late 1937 he consented to experimental brain surgery, lapsed into a coma and died shortly afterwards.
9. Rubinstein, Anton Grigoryevich (November 28, 1829 - November 20, 1894) was a Russian pianist, composer and conductor. As a pianist he was regarded as a rival of Franz Liszt, and he ranks amongst the great keyboard virtuosos. He also founded the St. Petersburg Conservatoire, which, together with Moscow Conservatoire founded by his brother Nikolai Rubinstein, helped establish a reputation for musical skill among the subjects of the czar of Russia.
Rubinstein’s father opened a pencil factory in Moscow. His mother, a competent musician, began giving Anton piano lessons at five. He apparently progressed rapidly. Within a year and a half Alexander Villoing, Moscow’s leading piano teacher at the time, heard and accepted Rubinstein as a non-paying student. Rubinstein made his first public appearance at a charity benefit concert, in Moscow’s Petrovsky Park at the age of nine. Anton and Nikolai, his brother, went to St. Petersburg to play for Czar Nicholas I and the Imperial family at the Winter Palace. Anton was fourteen years old; Nikolai was eight.
In spring 1844, Rubinstein, Nikolai, his mother and his sister Luba travelled to Berlin. Here he met with, and was supported by, Felix Mendelssohn and Giacomo Meyerbeer. Rubinstein grew up to be a highly cultured, widely-read artist. He was fluent in Russian, German, French and English and could read Italian and Spanish literature. The Revolution of 1848 forced Rubinstein back to Russia. Spending the next five years mainly in St. Petersburg, Rubinstein taught, gave concerts and performed frequently at the Imperial court. The Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna, sister to Czar Nicholas I, became his most devoted patroness. By 1852, he had become a leading figure in St. Petersburg’s musical life, performing as a soloist and collaborating with some of the outstanding instrumentalists and vocalists who came to the Russian capital.
The opening of the St. Petersburg Conservatoire, the first music school in Russia and an outgrowth of the RMS (Russian Musical Society), followed in 1862. Rubinstein not only founded it and was its first director but also recruited an imposing pool of talent for its faculty.
Some in Russian society were surprised that a Russian music school would actually attempt to be Russian. One “fashionable lady”, when told by Rubinstein that classes would be taught in Russian and not a foreign language, exclaimed, “What, music in Russian! That is an original idea!” Rubinstein adds, “And surely it was surprising that the theory of Music was to be taught for the first time in the Russian language at our Conservatoire... Hitherto, if anyone wished to study it, he was obliged to take lessons from a foreigner, or to go to Germany.”
All his life Rubinstein continued to make tours as a pianist and give appearances as a conductor.
Rubinstein also coached a few pianists and taught his only private piano student, Josef Hofmann. Hofmann would become one of the finest keyboard artists of the 20th century.
Rubinstein settled in Germany but returned to Russia occasionally to visit friends and family. He gave his final concert in St. Petersburg on January 14, 1894. With his health failing rapidly, Rubinstein died on November 28 of that year, having suffered from heart disease for some time.
Many of Rubinstein’s contemporaries felt he bore a striking resemblance to Ludwig van Beethoven. Ignaz Moscheles, who had known Beethoven intimately, wrote, “Rubinstein’s features and short, irrepressible hair remind me of Beethoven.” Liszt referred to Rubinstein as “Van II”. Rubinstein was even rumoured to be the illegitimate son of Beethoven. Rubinstein neither confirmed nor denied this rumour. Neither did he remind anyone that he was born more than two years after Beethoven had died.
This resemblance to Beethoven was also felt to be in Rubinstein’s keyboard playing. Under his hands, it was said, the piano erupted volcanically. Audience members wrote of going home limp after one of his recitals, knowing they had witnessed a force of nature. Among his best known works are the opera The Demon, his Piano Concerto No. 4, and his Symphony No. 2 known as The Ocean.
10. Schumann, Robert (June 8, 1810 - July 29, 1856) was a German composer, aesthete and influential music critic. He is one of the most famous Romantic composers of the 19th century.
He had hoped to pursue a career as a virtuoso pianist, having been assured by his teacher Friedrich Wieck that he could become the finest pianist in Europe after only a few years of studying with him. However, a hand injury prevented those hopes from being realized, and he decided to focus his musical energies on composition. His published compositions were, until 1840, all for the piano; he later composed works for piano and orchestra, many lieders (songs for voice and piano), four symphonies, an opera, and other orchestral, choral and chamber works.
Schumann was born in Zwickau, Saxony the fifth and last child of the family. His father was a bookseller, and his boyhood was spent in the cultivation of literature quite as much as it was spent in music. Schumann himself said that he had begun to compose before the age of seven.
At the age of 14, he wrote an essay on the aesthetics of music and also contributed to a volume, edited by his father, titled Portraits of Famous Men. While still at school in Zwickau he read the works of the German poets-philosophers Friedrich Schiller and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, as well as Byron and the Greek tragedians.
Schumann’s interest in music was piqued as a child by the performance of Ignaz Moscheles playing at Carlsbad, and he developed an interest in the works of Beethoven, Franz Schubert and Felix Mendelssohn later. His father, however, who had encouraged the boy’s musical aspirations, died in 1826, and neither his mother nor his guardian would encourage a career for him in music. In 1828, he left school, and after a tour, during which he met Heinrich Heine in Munich, he went to Leipzig to study law. In 1829, his law studies continued in Heidelberg.
Once he wrote to his mother, “My whole life has been a struggle between Poetry and Prose, or call it Music and Law.”
11. Stravinsky, Igor Fyodorovich (June 17, 1882 — April 6, 1971) was a Russian composer, considered by many both in the West and his native land to be the most influential composer of 20th century music. In addition to the recognition he received for his compositions, he also achieved fame as a pianist and a conductor.
Stravinsky’s compositional career was notable for its stylistic diversity. He first achieved international fame with three ballets commissioned by the impresario Sergei Diaghilev and performed by Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes (Russian Ballets): The Firebird (1910), Petrushka (1911/revised in 1947), and The Rite of Spring (1913). The Rite transformed the way in which subsequent composers thought about rhythmic structure; to this day this ballet continues to dazzle and overwhelm audiences.
After this first Russian phase he turned to neoclassicism in the 1920s. The works from this period tended to make use of traditional musical forms (concerto grosso, fugue, symphony).
In the 1950s he adopted serial procedures, using the new techniques over the final twenty years of his life to write works that were briefer and of greater rhythmic and harmonic complexity than his earlier music.
He also published a number of books throughout his career. In his 1936 autobiography, Chronicle of My Life, Stravinsky included his infamous statement that “music is, by its very nature, essentially powerless to express anything at all.”
Stravinsky was born in Oranienbaum (renamed Lomonosov in 1948), Russia and brought up in St. Petersburg. His childhood, he recalled in his autobiography, was troublesome: “I never came across anyone who had any real affection for me.” His father, Fyodor Stravinsky, was a bass singer at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, and the young Stravinsky began piano lessons and later studied music theory and attempted some composition. In 1890, Stravinsky saw a performance of Tchaikovsky’s ballet The Sleeping Beauty at the Mariinsky Theatre; the performance, his first exposure to an orchestra, mesmerised him.
Despite his enthusiasm for music, his parents expected him to become a lawyer. Stravinsky enrolled to study law at the University of St. Petersburg in 1901, but received only a half-course diploma, in April 1906. Thereafter, he concentrated on music. On the advice of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov he decided not to enter the St. Petersburg Conservatoire; instead, in 1905, he began to take private tutelage from Rimsky-Korsakov, who became like a second father to him. In 1909, his Fireworks was performed in St. Petersburg, where it was heard by Sergei Diaghilev, the director of the Ballets Russes in Paris.
Stravinsky travelled to Paris in 1910 to attend the premiere of The Firebird. His family soon joined him, and decided to remain in the West for a time. He moved to Switzerland, where he lived until 1920, after which he moved to France. When World War II broke out in September, he set out for the United States.
At first Stravinsky took up residence in Hollywood, but he moved to New York in 1969. He continued to live in the United States until his death in 1971. Stravinsky had adapted to life in France, but moving to America at the age of 58 was not so easy. Nevertheless, he was drawn to the growing cultural life of Los Angeles, especially during World War II, when so many writers, musicians, composers, and conductors settled in the area.
In 1962, Stravinsky accepted an invitation to return to St. Petersburg (Leningrad) for a series of concerts. He spent more than two hours speaking with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, who urged him to return to the Soviet Union. Despite the invitation, Stravinsky remained settled in the West. He died at the age of 88 in New York City and was buried in Venice on the cemetery island of San Michele, close to the tomb of Diaghilev.
1. Basilica of St. Peter, the commonly known as St. Peter’s Basilica, is located within Vatican City in Rome. It occupies a unique position as one of the holiest sites and as “the greatest of all churches of Christendom”. In Catholic tradition, it is the burial site of its namesake Saint Peter, who was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus.
Catholic tradition holds that his tomb is below the altar of the basilica. For this reason, many Popes, starting with the first ones, have been buried there. There has been a church on this site since the 4th century. Construction on the present basilica, over the old Constantinian basilica, began on April 18, 1506 and was completed in 1626.
St. Peter’s is famous as a place of pilgrimage, for its liturgical functions and for its historical associations. It is associated with the papacy, with the Counter-reformation and with numerous artists, most significantly Michelangelo. As a work of architecture, it is regarded as the greatest building of its age. Contrary to popular misconception, Saint Peter’s is not a cathedral, as it is not the seat of a bishop. It is properly termed a basilica. It is uncommon in that it is oriented with its chancel to the west and its facade to the east, which is the reverse of the arrangement at the majority of Christian churches.
2. Basilica of St. Lawrence, the (Italian: Basilica di San Lorenzo) is one of the largest churches of Florence, Italy, situated at the centre of the city’s main market district, and the burial place of all the principal members of the Medici family. It is one of several churches that claim to be the oldest in Florence. For three hundred years it was the city’s cathedral. San Lorenzo was also the parish church of the Medici family. The church is a part of a larger monastic complex that contains other important architectural works: the Old Sacristy by Brunelleschi; the Laurentian Library by Michelangelo; the New Sacristy based on Michelangelo’s designs; and the Medici Chapels by Matteo Nigetti.
The most celebrated and grandest part of San Lorenzo are the Cappelle Medicee (Medici Chapels) in the apse. The Medici were still paying for it when the last member of the family, Anna Maria Luisa de’ Medici, died in 1743. Above is the Cappella dei Principi (Chapel of the Princes), a great but awkwardly domed octagonal hall where the grand dukes themselves are buried.
3. Bernini, Giovanni Lorenzo (December 7, 1598 — November 28, 1680) was a pre-eminent Baroque sculptor and architect of 17th century.
Bernini was born in Naples. At the age of seven he accompanied his father to Rome, where his father was involved in several high profile projects. There as a boy, his skill was soon noticed, and Bernini gained the patronage under Cardinal Borghese, the pope’s nephew. His first works were inspired by antique Hellenistic sculpture. Rapidly he rose to prominence as a sculptor. Among the early works for the cardinal were decorative pieces for the garden.
At the end of April 1665, at the height of his fame and powers, he travelled to Paris. Bernini’s international popularity was such that on his walks in Paris the streets were lined with admiring crowds.
Bernini’s architectural conceits include the piazza and colonnades of St. Peter’s. He planned several Roman palaces.
Bernini’s first architectural project was the magnificent bronze St. Peter’s baldachin (1624-1633) and the canopy over the high altar of St. Peter’s Basilica.
Bernini did not build many churches from scratch, preferring instead to concentrate on the embellishment of pre-existing structures. Bernini also revolutionized marble busts, lending glamorous dynamism to once stony stillness of portraiture. He died in Rome in 1680.
4. Borromini, Francesco, by name of Francesco Castelli (September 25, 1599 - August 3, 1667) was a prominent and influential Italian Baroque architect in Rome.
Son of the stone mason, Borromini began his career as a stone mason himself, and soon moved to Milan to study and practise this activity. When in Rome (1619) he changed his name (from Castelli to Borromini) and started working for Carlo Maderno, his distant relative, at St. Peter’s. When Maderno died in 1629, he joined the group under Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini, completing the facade and expansions of Maderno’s Palazzo Barberini.
Borromini’s first major independent commission was the reconstruction in 1634-1637 of the interior spaces of the church and adjacent buildings of San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane (also called San Carlino); the facade of the small church would be completed by Borromini much later, at the end of his career. The small church is considered by many an iconic masterpiece of Roman Baroque.
In 1640-1650, he worked on the design of the church of Sant’Ivo alla Sapienza and its courtyard, near University of Rome La Sapienza palace.
In the summer of 1667, in Rome, after the completion of the Falconieri chapel (the main chapel) in San Giovanni dei Fiorentini, Borromini, suffering from nervous disorders and depression, injured himself in a way that caused his death. He was buried in the tomb of his uncle in the crypt of this church. Francesco Borromini was featured on the 100 Swiss franc banknote current in the 1980s.
5. Gaudi i Cornet, Antoni Placid Guillem (June 25, 1852 — June 10, 1926) - often referred to as Antonio Gaudi - was a Spanish architect, who belonged to the Modernisme (Art nouveau) movement. As a child, Gaudi found he was too lame to play with friends of his own age because of rheumatism. The fact that he remained close to home allowed him substantial free time to inspect nature and its design. It was this exposure to nature at an early age that influenced him to incorporate natural shapes into his later work.
Gaudi, as an architecture student in Barcelona, achieved only mediocre grades. After five years of work, he was awarded the title of architect in 1878.
Gaudi was an ardent Catholic, to the point that in his later years, he abandoned secular work and devoted his life to Catholicism and his La Sagrada Familia.
Gaudi’s first works were designed in the style of gothic and traditional Spanish architectural modes, but he soon developed his own distinct sculptural style. Some of his greatest works, most notably La Sagrada Familia have an almost hallucinatory power.
Gaudi, throughout his life, studied nature’s angles and curves and incorporated them into his designs. He borrowed hyperboloids and paraboloids from nature and that allowed his designs to resemble elements from the environment. Gaudi died on June 10, 1926. He was buried in the midst of La Sagrada Familia.
Gaudi’s originality was at first ridiculed by his peers. As time passed, though, his work became more famous, up to the point that he is now considered one of history’s most original architects.
6. Laurentian Library, the (Italian: Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana) in Florence, Italy is famous as a repository of more than 11,000 manuscripts and 4,500 early printed books. Built in a cloister of the Medicean Basilica di San Lorenzo di Firenze under the patronage of the Medici pope, Clement VII, the Library is renowned for the architecture planned and built by Michelangelo Buonarroti (1525).
Beneath the current wooden floor of the library in the Reading Room is a series of 15 rectangular red and white terra cotta floor panels. These panels, measuring 8 feet 6 inches (2,6 m) on a side, when viewed in sequence demonstrate basic principles of geometry.
In 1571, the still incomplete Library was opened to scholars. Notable additions to the collection were made in 1757. The Library has a lot of well-known manuscripts, the earliest surviving manuscript of the Latin Vulgate Bible among them.
7. Montferrand, Auguste de (January 23, 1786 - July 10, 1858) was a French Neoclassical architect who worked primarily in Russia. His two best known works are the St. Isaac’s Cathedral and the Alexander Column in St. Petersburg.
In 1806, Montferrand joined the former Academie d’architecture. Soon, he was summoned to Napoleon’s Army, and served a brief tour of duty in Italy. Montferrand married in 1812.
After the war new construction in defeated France was out of the question. In 1815, he was awarded an audience to Alexander I of Russia and presented the Czar with an album of his works. Post-war Russia seemed a wealth of opportunities.
In summer 1816, Montferrand landed in St. Petersburg. On December 21, 1816 he officially joined the Russian service.
Montferrand’s name is associated with St. Petersburg. However, he also designed buildings for Moscow, Odessa and Nizhny Novgorod.
8. Sistine Chapel, the (Italian: Cappella Sistina) is a chapel in the Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the Pope, in the Vatican City. Its fame rests on its architecture, which evokes Solomon’s Temple of the Old Testament, its decoration, frescoed throughout by the greatest Renaissance artists, including Michelangelo whose ceiling is legendary, and its purpose, as a site of papal religious and functionary activity, notably the conclave, at which a new Pope is selected.
The Sistine Chapel is a high rectangular brick building. It has no exterior facade or exterior processional doorways as the ingress has always been from internal rooms within the Papal Palace. The internal spaces are divided into three storeys of which the lowest is huge with a robustly vaulted basement with several utilitarian windows and a door giving way into the exterior court.
9. Wright, Frank Lloyd (June 8, 1867 - April 9, 1959) was an American architect, interior designer, writer, educator, and philosopher from Oak Park, Illinois, who designed more than 1,000 projects, of which more than 500 resulted in completed works. He promoted organic architecture (exemplified by Fallingwater), originated the Prairie School of architecture. His work includes original and innovative examples of many different building types, including offices, churches, schools, hotels, and museums. Wright also often designed many of the interior elements of his buildings, such as the furniture and stained glass. Many of his buildings are notable for the geometrical clarity they exhibit.
Wright authored twenty books and numerous articles and was a popular lecturer in the United States and in Europe. His colourful personal life frequently made headlines.
Already well-known during his lifetime, Wright was recognized in 1991 by the American Institute of Architects as “the greatest American architect of all time”. He believed that humanity should be central to all design.
One of Wright’s most famous private residences was constructed from 1935 to 1939 - Fallingwater - for Mr. and Mrs. Edgar J. Kaufmann Sr., at Bear Run, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh. It was designed according to Wright’s desire to place the occupants close to the natural surroundings, with a stream and waterfall running under part of the building. The construction is a series of cantilevered balconies and terraces, using limestone for all verticals and concrete for the horizontals. The house cost $155,000, including the architect’s fee of $8,000.
It was also in the 1930s that Wright first designed Usonian houses. Intended to be highly practical houses for middle-class clients, the designs were based on a simple, yet elegant geometry. He would later use similar elementary forms between 1946 and 1951.
His Usonian houses set a new style for suburban design that was a feature of countless developers. Many features of modern American homes date back to Wright; open plans, slab-on-grade foundations, and simplified construction techniques that allowed more mechanization or at least efficiency in building.
Later in his life and well-after his death in 1959, Wright received much honorary recognition for his lifetime achievements.
1. Chichen Itza. Recently voted as one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, the ruins of Chichen Itza lie about midway between Cancun and Merida, so that the journey from each city takes around two or three hours via the toll highway. Chichen Itza is the most visited site in the Yucatan. It has been widely studied, and excavated and restored more than any of the other Mayan cities. Yet its history is still clouded in mystery and there are many contradicting theories and legends. It is clear that a large Mayan community thrived here between around 700 AD and 900 AD, and built most of the structures in the southern area. The main buildings in the central area include the Pyramid of Kukulkan, the Temple of the Warriors and the Great Ball Court.
The Pyramid of Kukulkan towering above the other buildings at 79 feet (24 m) high has a structured feel about it. Two of its sides have been completely restored, the other two were left to show the condition before work commenced. Each side had originally 91 steps, adding the platform at the top as a final step, there are 365 in total, one for every day of the year. Further evidence that this building was linked to the Mayan interests of astronomy and the calendar is demonstrated at the spring and autumn equinox. On these days the shadow of the sun playing on the stairs causes the illusion of a snake processing down the pyramid in the direction of the cenote. (A cenote is a sinkhole in the limestone bed, accessing an underwater river. These cenotes were very important to the Mayans as their main source of water and had great religious significance.) Naturally, it’s an impressive sight, and there are usually thousands of people on the site at these times. It’s quite a climb to the top, but once you’re there you’ll have a terrific view of the rest of the ruins.
2. Christ the Redeemer. It’s frequently said that God is Brazilian. The real truth is unknown, but at least a piece of him is in the Rio de Janeiro statue, Christ the Redeemer, towering above the marvellous city with open arms giving it forever a permanent hug, from one hand to the other, measuring almost 30 metres. Since it was placed on top of the 2,300-foot peak of Corcovado mountain in 1931, this figure has been one of the most famous symbols of Rio. It stands 100 feet tall on a 20-foot pedestal, weighs 700 tons, and is visible night and day from most of the city’s neighbourhoods. On top of Corcovado Mountain, a penitent Christ the Redeemer opens his arms to all of Rio de Janeiro. The left arm points to the Rio de Janeiro’s north zone, the right to the south zone, while the saintly perch offers spectacular views of Ipanema, the Maracana football stadium and the Serra dos Orgaos mountain range.
3. Great Pyramid of Giza, the also called Khufu’s Pyramid or the Pyramid of Khufu, and Pyramid of Cheops, is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in the Giza Necropolis bordering what is now Cairo, Egypt in Africa, and is the only remaining member of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It is believed the pyramid was built as a tomb for Fourth dynasty Egyptian pharaoh Khufu (Cheops in Greek) and constructed over a 20-year period concluding around 2560 BC. The Great Pyramid was the tallest man-made structure in the world for over 3,800 years. Visibly all that remains is the underlying step-pyramid core structure seen today. Many of the casing stones that once covered the structure can still be seen around the base of the Great Pyramid. There have been varying scientific and alternative theories regarding the Great Pyramid’s construction techniques. Most accepted construction theories are based on the idea that it was built by moving huge stones from a quarry and dragging and lifting them into place.
There are three known chambers inside the Great Pyramid. The lowest chamber is cut into the bedrock upon which the pyramid was built and was unfinished. A passage from the Grand Gallery leads to the Queen’s Chamber, while an antechamber leads from the Grand Gallery to the King’s Chamber. Both the King’s Chamber and the Queen’s Chamber contain small shafts that ascend out of the pyramid. Egyptologists now conclude they were used for ceremonial purposes.
4. Machu Picchu is a city located high in the Andes Mountains in modern Peru. It lies 43 miles northwest of Cuzco, the Incas capital.
Machu Picchu (which means “Old Peak”) was most likely a royal estate and religious retreat. It was built between 1460 and 1470 AD by an Incan ruler. The city has an altitude of 8,000 feet.
Machu Picchu is comprised of approximately 200 buildings, most being residences, although there are temples, storage structures and other public buildings.
About 1,200 people lived in and around Machu Picchu, most of them women, children, and priests. The buildings are thought to have been planned and built under the supervision of professional Incan architects. Most of the structures are built of granite blocks cut with bronze or stone tools, and smoothed with sand. The blocks fit together perfectly without mortar, although none of the blocks are the same size and have many faces; some have as many as 30 corners. The joints are so tight that even the thinnest of knife blades can’t be forced between the stones. Another unique thing about Machu Picchu is the integration of the architecture into the landscape. Existing stone formations were used in the construction of structures, sculptures are carved into the rock, water flows through cisterns and stone channels, and temples hang on steep precipices.
One of the most important things found at Machu Picchu is the intihuatana, which is a column of stone rising from a block of stone the size of a grand piano. Intihuatana literally means “for tying the sun”, although it is usually translated as “hitching post of the sun”. As the winter solstice approached, when the sun seemed to disappear more each day, a priest would hold a ceremony to tie the sun to the stone to prevent the sun from disappearing altogether. The other intihuatanas were destroyed by the Spanish conquistadors, but because the Spanish never found Machu Picchu it remained intact. Mummies have also been found there; most of the mummies are women.
5. The Roman Colosseum is a tremendous amphitheater, the embodiment of both the grandeur and cruelty of the great Roman Empire. Capable of seating at least 50,000 spectators, the Colosseum hosted spectacular games that included gladiator exhibitions, fights between animals, prisoner executions and - strangely enough - naval battles. Untold thousands of humans and animals met their ends within one of the most popular attractions in Rome.
The Colosseum’s name is derived from a bronze colossus of Nero that once stood nearby, though it disappeared sometime during the Middle Ages and has largely been forgotten. The arena floor was covered with sand to soak up the blood shed by those humans and animals unlucky enough to find themselves in its centre. Its elliptical shape kept the players from retreating to a corner and allowed the spectators to be closer to the action than a circular arena would allow.
Seating was divided into different sections. The first level of seating was restricted for Roman senators and included the emperor’s private box. The section above the podium was for lower Roman aristocrats. The third level was divided itself into three sections. The best of these seats reserved for wealthy citizens, the upper part for the poor and the third, wooden section was left for lower-class women.
Eventually, Christian leaders ensured that humans were no longer executed within the Colosseum’s great walls, though the building was still used for animal hunts until around 524. Four major earthquakes took their toll on the structure though, and by the Middle Ages the Colosseum in Rome had been fully converted into a military fortress, before finally being relegated to existing as the world’s largest rock quarry.
During the Baroque age the marble that originally covered the facade was redistributed by the ruling Roman families who used it as a source of marble for the construction of St. Peter’s Basilica and their private palazzos.
In the 18th century, Pope Benedict XIV eventually ended the use of the Colosseum in Rome as a giant quarry. The Roman Colosseum will forever remind visitors of an inhumane past, when thirst for blood could bring crowds from miles away and nothing was more thrilling than the taking of a life.
6. Taj Mahal (meaning Crown Palace) is regarded as one of the eight wonders of the world, and some Western historians have noted that its architectural beauty has never been surpassed. It was built by a Muslim Emperor, Shah Jahan (died 1666) in the memory of his dear wife. It is a Mausoleum that houses the grave of the queen. The grave of Shah Jahan was added to it later.
Taj Mahal was constructed over a period of twenty-two years, employing 20,000 workers. It was completed in 1648 at a cost of 32 million rupees.
The Taj Mahal stands on a raised, square platform. Its central dome is 58 feet in diameter and rises to a height of 213 feet. The four graceful, slender minarets are 162,5 feet each. The entire mausoleum (inside as well as outside) is decorated with inlaid design of flowers and calligraphy using precious gems such as agate and jasper. The mausoleum is a part of a vast complex comprising a main gateway, an elaborate garden, a mosque (to the left), a guest house (to the right), and several other palatial buildings. The Taj is at the farthest end of this complex, with the river Jamuna behind it.
1. Cabot, Meg (February 1, 1967) is a publisher’s dream because she is able to produce novels with amazing frequency. Cabot began publishing in 1998 and was producing a novel almost every month; by early 2006 she had published 44 works of fiction. She is also a diverse writer who has found equal success in a multitude of genres, including historical romance, young adult fiction, and contemporary adult fiction. In 2000, however, Cabot became famous when she penned The Princess Diaries, a young adult novel that quickly caught on with readers primarily because the wryly humorous author was able to accurately capture “teen-speak”. In 2001, The Princess Diaries was adapted for the big screen by Disney. In 2004, the movie The Princess Diaries 2 was released, which further followed the escapades of Mia, the Princess of Genovia. Cabot said, “I hope to write about [Mia] as long as people want to keep reading about her.”
Meg Cabot was born on February 1, 1967, in Bloomington, Indiana. She was an avid reader from a very early age. In many interviews, Cabot claims that she found her way to the library during the summer months because she was looking for air-conditioning. While cooling off in the library, Cabot soon discovered classic literature. As she explained in a 2004 interview, “It introduced me to the world of romance, which I have never left.”
2. Clinton, Hillary Diane Rodham (October 26, 1947) was the junior United States Senator from New York, and a leading candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 2008 presidential election. She is married to Bill Clinton - the 42nd President of the United States - and was the First Lady of the United States from 1993 to 2001.
She began her career as a lawyer after graduating from Yale Law School in 1973. As a Congressional legal counsel, she moved to Arkansas in 1974 and married Bill Clinton in 1975. She was later listed as one of the one hundred most influential lawyers in America in 1988 and 1991. She was the First Lady of Arkansas from 1979 to 1981 and from 1983 to 1992 and was active in a number of organizations concerned with the welfare of children.
After moving to New York, Clinton was elected as a senator for New York State in 2000; this was the first time an American First Lady ran for public office and she is the first female senator from that state. In the Senate, she initially supported the George W. Bush administration on some foreign policy issues, which included voting for the Iraq War Resolution. She has subsequently opposed the administration on its conduct of the Iraq War and has opposed it on most domestic issues. She was re-elected by a wide margin in 2006. In the 2008 presidential nomination race, Clinton has won the most primaries and delegates of any woman in the U.S. history.
3. Joan of Arc, or Jeanne d’Arc in French (1412 - May 30, 1431) was a 15th century saint and national heroine of France. She was the only person ever recorded to have commanded the entire army of a nation at the age of seventeen. She was captured by the English and tried by an ecclesiastical court led by Bishop Pierre Cauchon, an English partisan; the court convicted her of heresy and she was burned at the stake by the English when she was nineteen years old. Twenty-four years later, the Vatican reviewed the decision of the ecclesiastical court, found her innocent, and declared her a martyr. She was canonized as a saint in 1920.
She has remained an important figure throughout Western culture. From Napoleon to the present, French politicians of all leanings have invoked her memory. Major writers and composers have created works about her. Depictions of her continue in film, television, song, and even video games.
4. Lady Diana Spencer, former Princess of Wales (Diana Frances; nee Spencer; July 1, 1961 - August 31, 1997) was the first wife of Charles, Prince of Wales. Their sons, Princes William and Henry (Harry), are second and third in line to the throne of the United Kingdom and fifteen other Commonwealth Realms.
A public figure from the announcement of her engagement to Prince Charles, Diana remained the focus of near-constant media scrutiny in the United Kingdom and around the world up to and during her marriage, and after her subsequent divorce. Her sudden death in a car accident was followed by a spontaneous and prolonged show of public mourning. Contemporary responses to Diana’s life and legacy have been mixed but a popular fascination with the Princess endures, and conspiracy theories about her death were the subject of an inquest for many years.
Diana was born into an aristocratic family. On her mother’s side, Diana had Irish, Scottish, English, and American ancestry. On her father’s side, she was a descendant of King Charles II of England through two illegitimate sons.
Diana first met her future husband, when he was dating her sister, Lady Sarah. Diana reportedly excelled in swimming and diving and is said to have longed to be a ballerina. She studied ballet for a time, but was too tall.
Diana moved to London before she became seventeen and she lived there until 1981 with three flatmates.
In his early thirties, Prince Charles was under increasing pressure to marry. In order to gain the approval of his family and their advisers, any potential bride was expected to have a royal or aristocratic background, be a virgin, as well as be Protestant. Diana met these qualifications.
The 20-year-old princess married at St. Paul’s Cathedral on 29 July 1981.
In the late 1980s, the marriage of Diana and Charles fell apart.
Starting in the mid- to late 1980s, the Princess of Wales became well- known for her support of several charity projects.
On 31 August 1997, Diana died after a high speed car accident.
5. Madonna Louise Ciccone (born August 16, 1958) is an American pop singer, songwriter, guitarist, dancer, record producer, film producer, actress, film director and author. She is most commonly referred to as simply, Madonna. She is known for the use of sexual, social and religious themes in her work and has been nicknamed the “Material Girl” and “Queen of Pop” by the media.
Since her debut in 1982, Madonna has released many chart-topping albums and singles, and has sold more than 200 million albums worldwide.
According to both the 2007 Guinness Book of Records, and Forbes, she is the top earning female singer in the world with an estimated net worth of over $325 million. In 2001, the Guinness Book of World Records listed Madonna as the “World’s Most Successful Female Musician”. In 2005, she equalled Elvis Presley’s record of 36 top 10 hits, the most for any artist in the history of the Billboard Hot 100 charts. On the United World Chart, Madonna is the Most Successful Singles Artist of all-time and has a record of 12 number one singles, 22 top ten singles and the most weeks at number one with a total of 74 weeks. On March 10, 2008, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
6. Wilde, Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills (October 16, 1854 — November 30, 1900) was an Irish playwright, novelist, poet, and author of short stories. Known for his verbal wit, he was one of the most successful playwrights of late Victorian London, and one of the greatest celebrities of his day. As the result of a famous trial, he suffered a dramatic downfall and was imprisoned for two years of hard labour after being convicted of “gross indecency”.
Oscar Wilde spent his early years in Dublin. He was educated at home up to the age of nine, then he attended a public school and studied classics at Trinity College, Dublin. He was an outstanding student and won the highest award available to classics students at Trinity. He continued his studies at Oxford, where he became a part of the Aesthetic and Decadent movement, one of its tenets being to make an art of life. And that is often associated with the doctrine of Art for Art’s sake. He graduated in 1878. Oscar Wilde was married and had two sons. Some of his philosophy found its reflection in his famous novel The Picture of Dorian Gray. He tried his hand at many genres starting with children’s fairy tales to serious poetry like The Ballad of Reading Gaol. However, he is best remembered for his plays: Lady Windermere’s Fan, An Ideal Husband, and The Importance of Being Earnest.
After the imprisonment O. Wilde spent his last three years in Paris, penniless, in self-imposed exile from society and artistic circles.