Sunday, January 27, 2008

Victorian Christmas


When previewing the above you will note that the Christmas music that most Christians today listen to, participate in and enjoy, originated during Queen Victoria’s reign and earlier. The music of the masses enjoyed then is equally enjoyed today by many people. Some of the most favorite Victorian carols include The Wexford Carol, a long-time favorite Greensleeves, The Wassail Song, Un Flambeau, Jeanette, Isabella, and finally, Wherefore This Great Joy.
All these familiar songs play an important role in the Christmases of today, for many nationalities and people of many religions.

This particular site provides examples of how these songs were played in days gone by, and tell a bit about the types of instruments used to play them. Today, these songs are performed by large symphonies, and recorded for prosperity so that everyone, from every walk of life, can enjoy music they consider their own, no matter how old they actually are.

Equally important and enjoyed during the Christmas season would be the music of Tchaikovsky, such as what is found at URL: URL:

The Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71, was composed by Pyotr Illych Tchaikovsky in 1891 – 1892 near the end of Queen Victoria’s reign and first performed as a ballet on December 18, 1982 in St. Petersburg, Russia. Though Queen Victoria may never have had the pleasure of watching the Royal Ballet perform to this, or hear the Royal Symphony perform Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, due to the vision of her late husband in constructing the Crystal Palace that brought cultural events to his beloved England; the British people in the early 20th Century could appreciate the splendour of such a music and perhaps be caught up in the glamour and wishful thinking that both the ballet and symphony created.

Since the Nutcracker Suite is such a classical piece, it appeals to all genders. Granted it tends to be somewhat romantic, but women are not the only human creatures who are capable of being romantic; afterall, it was a man who composed the music. Because of the classical lineage of such a piece, today, we can hear and see The Nutcracker in such animated films as “Fantasia”, where favourite tunes such as Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, Dance of the Reed Flutes and Waltz of the Flowers can be enjoyed by all viewers and listeners. The classical animated film, “Sleeping Beauty” also contains songs from The Nutcracker Suite, signifying that this historical cultural music can not only be appreciated by an adult audience, but can also be inspirational to very young viewers, who by the gaiety of the music alone, and the performance of the ballerinas, have inspired hundreds of young people to take up dance, and learn to play an instrument that can be used to play the music themselves. Classical music is not just for the rich; it can be owned now by everyone; people can listen to it on their CDs in the comfort of their own homes, knowing that the Victorian era of the great performances such as this, can be heard over and over again, with or without any other audience, other than oneself.

The second URL provides hint of the music contained in The Nutcracker Suite that is suitable for all audiences and should be listened to and appreciated as a piece of fine history that never died.

Victorian army Fort Burgoyne, Dover

Victorian army Fort Burgoyne, Dover

This particular piece was chosen in support of “Charge of the Light Brigade” by Alfred Lord Tennyson. When listening to this intense music, one can visualize the enormity of the British Forces approaching their target. With the crescendos echoing throughout the piece, the listener can envision the spectacular assault, be witnesses of men, who by following orders are forced into a situation in which, many will not return, but it is their duty to perform this rite to protect the integrity of England’s colonial holdings – South Africa, is the objective of this march; a battle against the massive Zulu forces. The reverberating sounds emanating from the march symbolize their resolve to win the battle, which they did. British forces weren’t to be thwarted in any way; each man made the army what it was to its’ opponents – extremely formidable and not to be taken lightly.

The history of the fort itself was designed to protect the North Spur area of Dover Castle, which was perceived as a weak spot in their defences and the most likely approach for an invading army. Its construction began in 1861, and was completed by 1868, for a total cost of £88,000.

The polygonal fort is surrounded by a 35 foot wide dry ditch with a double caponier giving flanking fire along the ditch from the northern point. In the centre of the fort is the parade ground surrounded on three sides by bomb proof barracks. Originally it had been armed with 29 guns on the ramparts but by the early 1900's these guns had disappeared only to be replaced by 3 machine guns. The two World Wars saw further changes, with concrete and brick structures being added.

This short video presents Fort Burgoyne, in Dover, as it was in the day of Queen Victoria. Today, abandoned and unused, it stands as a symbol of the mighty force of the British Army in the day of Queen Victoria. Though not utilized in today’s world, it is regarded by tourists and British subjects alike, as formidable fort of the Victorian era, that housed Queen Victoria's army, an army that preserved the British way of life.

The following URL:, provides historical information regarding Fort Burgoyne, which will enable the reader to appreciate more its historical value.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Chopin - Polonaise "Heroic" in A flat, Op. 53

Louise Barnes wants to share a video with you

watch video
Video Description
HOROWITZ AT THE WHITE HOUSE (Feb. 26 1978)Pt.8/10Chopin Polonaise "Heroic" in A flat Op.53You can download whole video here.
Personal Message
Chopin Polonaise "Heroic" -

My reason for choosing this video is because Heroic Polonaise was composed by Frederic Chopin composed in the year 1842, during Queen Victoria's reign, and designed as a piece for a solo pianist. It's composition was one of his masterpieces, and is by far one of his most popular compositions. In as far as considering Victorian Cool, this composition is still played as a current favorite of the classical pianoforte repertoire. Like any exceptionally gifted composer, anyone who played this piece then, and today, must obviously have exceptional pianistic skills.

Although the piece is labeled as a polonaise, it has little to do with the typical polonaise style. It has been said that Chopin had composed the piece having a free and powerful Poland in mind, which may have lead him to label it as a Polonaise. Another possibility is that the Heroic Polonaise is closely related to his Polonaise in A major, Op. 40, No. 1, also known as the Military Polonaise. The introduction section of the Heroic is obviously inspired by the Military, which, unlike the Heroic, was a true polonaise.