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Alessandro Scarlatti

Pietro Alessandro Gaspare Scarlatti was an Italian Baroque composer, known for his operas and chamber cantatas. He is considered the founder of the Neapolitan school of opera, he was the father of Domenico Scarlatti and Pietro Filippo Scarlatti. Scarlatti was born in Palermo part of the Kingdom of Sicily, he is said to have been a pupil of Giacomo Carissimi in Rome, some theorize that he had some connection with northern Italy because his early works seem to show the influence of Stradella and Legrenzi. The production at Rome of his opera Gli equivoci nel sembiante gained him the support of Queen Christina of Sweden, he became her maestro di cappella. In February 1684 he became maestro di cappella to the viceroy of Naples through the influence of his sister, an opera singer, who might have been the mistress of an influential Neapolitan noble. Here he produced a long series of operas, remarkable chiefly for their fluency and expressiveness, as well as other music for state occasions. In 1702 Scarlatti left Naples and did not return until the Spanish domination had been superseded by that of the Austrians.

In the interval he enjoyed the patronage of Ferdinando de' Medici, for whose private theatre near Florence he composed operas, of Cardinal Ottoboni, who made him his maestro di cappella, procured him a similar post at the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome in 1703. After visiting Venice and Urbino in 1707, Scarlatti took up his duties in Naples again in 1708, remained there until 1717. By this time Naples seems to have become tired of his music, his last work on a large scale appears to have been the unfinished Erminia serenata for the marriage of the prince of Stigliano in 1723. He is entombed there at the church of Santa Maria di Montesanto. Scarlatti's music forms an important link between the early Baroque Italian vocal styles of the 17th century, with their centers in Florence and Rome, the classical school of the 18th century. Scarlatti's style, however, is more than a transitional element in Western music, his early operas—Gli equivoci nel sembiante 1679. By 1686, he had established the "Italian overture" form, had abandoned the ground bass and the binary form air in two stanzas in favour of the ternary form or da capo type of air.

His best operas of this period are La Rosaura, Pirro e Demetrio, in which occur the arias "Le Violette", "Ben ti sta, traditor". From about 1697 onwards, influenced perhaps by the style of Giovanni Bononcini and more by the taste of the viceregal court, his opera arias become more conventional and commonplace in rhythm, while his scoring is hasty and crude, yet not without brilliance, the oboes and trumpets being used, the violins playing in unison; the operas composed for Ferdinando de' Medici are lost. Mitridate Eupatore, accounted his masterpiece, composed for Venice in 1707, contains music far in advance of anything that Scarlatti had written for Naples, both in technique and in intellectual power; the Neapolitan operas are showy and effective rather than profoundly emotional. In his opera Teodora he originated the use of the orchestral ritornello, his last group of operas, composed for Rome, exhibit a deeper poetic feeling, a broad and dignified style of melody, a strong dramatic sense in accompanied recitatives, a device which he himself had been the first to use as early as 1686 and a much more modern style of orchestration, the horns appearing for the first time, being treated with striking effect.

Besides the operas and serenatas, which all exhibit a similar style, Scarlatti composed upwards of five hundred chamber-cantatas for solo voice. These represent the most intellectual type of chamber-music of their period, it is to be regretted that they have remained entirely in manuscript, since a careful study of them is indispensable to anyone w

Johan Mekkes

Johan Peter Albertus Mekkes was a Dutch philosopher. Having started his career as an officer in the Dutch army, he studied law and philosophy, his active life as a publishing philosopher started around 1947. In 1949 he became a professor of philosophy at the University of Leiden. Due to a scarcity of translated works he is little known in the English-speaking world but he was influential for a number of other Dutch philosophers, he was one of the second generation of reformational philosophers arising from the Free University in Amsterdam, after the first generation of Herman Dooyeweerd and D. H. Th. Vollenhoven. Other second generationers were: Hendrik van Riessen, S. U. Zuidema and K. J. Popma. Mekkes´s philosophy is first of all characterized by his passionate attention to the individual subjective concreteness of human life in its societal and historical relatedness. Being dissatisfied with Kant´s formalism, just as much as with the scholastic tradition seeking to hold on to the reality of some supernatural form of being, he developed an integral way of thinking in which the natural and the human modes of experience are important.

According to Mekkes, the basic shortcoming of most Western philosophical traditions is their abstractness. This has its root in the absolutization of abstractive analytical thought, as opposed to the concreteness of living persons. In response to the basic problem of human existence, philosophy has tried to find a solution via its theoretical insights. However, theory can only deal with abstractions, but the problem of human existence is not at all abstract. It is a problem of finite existence. In his concrete finiteness man lacks existential meaning. Therefore, if there is something of a solution, it is only to be found in personal concreteness; the way of supernatural religion just as much as the way of theoretical absolutization are dead-ends. So, man has to concentrate on his individual concrete subjectivity, it is there. But meaning appears to be a difficult something, not in the last place because man´s natural existence is finite, it being the only existence he has, the problem becomes one of love.

How are we to love our reality? It is along this idea of meaning; the Biblical way of life and experience is full of misfortune. But it is a way of basic love. Mekkes finds these two characteristics of existence and life-by-love, in the oldest Hebraic traditions, his hermeneutics of meaning takes us back before the beginning of all scholasticism, without turning to what are understood today as typical Jewish traditions. Since he differs in principle from the Greek tradition of the absolutization of theory, as well as from the attempt to synthesize Greek ways of thought with Hebraic thought, as well as from Jewish traditions, Mekkes would seem to be tapping an original source of meaning. In fact, central in his thinking is the idea of Origin, to which we are “related” in the core of our being; this central “relation” is beyond the grasp of our theoretical insight, for it is in fact presupposed by all theoretical activity. Our being is as such originating, its core must be of an affective nature.

Working from these basic insights, he continued to follow and discuss the developments in phenomenology and existentialism. Throughout his publications he remained in discussion, at penetrating levels, with the philosophies of Scheler, Jaspers, Sartre. By keeping time, subjective individuality, the problem of meaning in the forefront of his attention, he intended to contribute to a fundamental reformation of philosophy itself. 1915–1940 High-ranking officer in Dutch army 1928–1931 studied at the Advanced Military Academy in The Hague 1933–1940 Adjutant to the commander of the field army 1940 Dissertation ‘Development of humanistic theories of political justice’, Free University, Amsterdam 1942–1945 Imprisoned by Nazis in Stanislau POW camp. Lectured on Dooyeweerd´s De Wijsbegeerte der Wetsidee to his inmates, among whom Hans Rookmaaker 1945–1975 worked for Dutch equivalent of the FBI and taught Christian philosophy at the school of economics in Rotterdam. At University of Leiden. Mekkes wrote about 600 reviews.

Listed below are his most important larger publications. 1949 De beteekenis van het subject in de moderne waarde-philosophie onder het licht der wetsidee 1961 Scheppingsopenbaring en wijsbegeerte, Kampen 1965 Teken en motief der creatuur, Buijten en Schipperheijn 1971 Radix, Tijd en Kennen, Buijten en Schipperheijn 1973 Tijd der Bezinning in: Time and Philosophy, 2012, Dordt College Press, Iowa http://www.allofliferedeemed.co.uk/mekkes.htm Biography at biografischportaal.nl

Mirror butterflyfish

The mirror butterflyfish or oval-spot butterflyfish, Chaetodon speculum, is a species of butterflyfish. It is found in the Indo-Pacific region from Indonesia to Japan and south to the Great Barrier Reef and Papua New Guinea; the species has been reported from Madagascar, Mauritius and Réunion. It grows to a maximum of 18 cm in length; the body color is a bright to orange-yellow with a big black blotch below the dorsal fin and a vertical black bar running through the eye. Like the other butterflyfishes with angular yellow bodies with black eyestripes and a single differently-colored patch, it belongs in the subgenus Tetrachaetodon. Among this group it seems to be close to the Zanzibar Butterflyfish which has a smaller black blotch and traces of horizontal stripes on the flanks. If Chaetodon is split up, the subgenus Tetrachaetodon would be placed in Megaprotodon; the Mirror Butterflyfish is found in coral reefs at depths between 30 m. It favors coastal reef slopes rich in hydroids and sea anemones.

Small juveniles hide in coral thickets. This species is solitary and uncommon, they feed on coral invertebrates. Fessler, Jennifer L. & Westneat, Mark W.: Molecular phylogenetics of the butterflyfishes: Taxonomy and biogeography of a global coral reef fish family. Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 45: 50–68. Doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2007.05.018 FishBase: Chaetodon speculum. Version of 2008-JUK-24. Retrieved 2008-SEP-01. Hsu, Kui-Ching. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology Supplement 14: 77-86. PDF fulltext Photos of Mirror butterflyfish on Sealife Collection