Belarus, Eastern Europe, Europe

Belarus – Poetry Celebrated

100 Rubles banknote, year 2000, back, Belarus.

Belarus celebrates Ballet set to the music created by the legendary Eugene Aleksandrovich Glebov, the stellar talent from Belarus.  Born September 10, 1929, he received essentially no musical training until he was 20.  But then he burst upon the musical scene like a bright shining star.  He was accepted into the prestigious Belorussian Conservatory at age 21 based upon evidences of prodigious organic talent exhibited by music written in his uneducated youth.  And he did not disappoint.  For much more on the life and work of Eugene Aleksandrovich Glebov (1929 – 2000), click here.

Detail from the Belarus 100 Ruble banknote, year 2000.

Depicted, is a scene from the 1969 Ballet entitled Vybrannitsa, “The Chosen Lady”.  The Ballet was created based upon the poems of Yanka Kuprala.  Some poems of Yaknka Kuprala are reproduced below.

100 Rubles banknote, year 2000, front, Belarus.
Detail from the Belarus 100 Ruble banknote, year 2000.

This is the National Academic Grand Opera and Ballet Theater of the Republic of Belarus.

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The following poem is by Yanka Kupala and is  entitled “Young Belarus”.  It is reproduced from here.

The free wind has sung free songs to thy name,
Green woods caught them with friendly voices, The sun called with its flame to a seed-time far-famed,
The stars poured faith into broken forces.

And in time of storms, troubles and mighty desires,
Thou hast budded and bloomed, long-awaited, In a life-freshet, over the land of thy sires,
Thou hast flooded and poured, unabated.

Thou has flooded and poured, in a bright tale of life,
Through field, woodland, hill and vale streaming… From thy native flower-copses thy crown is made bright,
Like a swan’ plumage, brilliant gleaming.

Thou dost quiver and echo with songs of the bards,
Long-past years thou dost raise up and nurture, Today’s forward leap thou wouldst never retard,
Boldly facing mysterious futures.

In the sun thou goest bold, lovely flower of fire,
Gently sowing forth dreams, gold-adornéd; Thou fearest no neighbour, though great be his ire,
Thou fearest no path briared and thorny.

From end unto end, frontier mound unto mound,
On the breezes renewal is borne now, And, embracing the soul, without limit or bound,
Mother-joy for the better day born now.

Now there are no axes among forests green,
Felling young pine-trees in frosty winter, Now there are no reapers from dawn to dark seen
In summer with scythes ringing, glinting.

Strength is known in the hands, without tears songs are blithe,
Desirous of glory, breasts quiver, In their books a new law, with pens of sun-scythes,
New people are writing for ever.

Blossom them, and raise, soaring upon eagle’s wing,
Souls, hearts and thoughts slumbering dully, Awaken and forth into great spaces, bring
Strength by the witch-noose unsullied.

Send messengers forth, send unto the world’s bound,
As falcon from falcon-nest winging. Let them fly, fly away unto warriors sound,
Set the thunder of good news far-ringing.

Enough, dearest country, in field, wood and brake,
Hapless orphan, thou spendst night’s long glowering, Enough of thy heart’s-blood wrong drank as a snake,
And cold winds blew, through thy bare bones scouring.

Arise from the depths, thou of falcon-born race,
O’er sires crosses, their woes, degradations, O young Bie³aruœ, come thou forth, take thy place
Of honour and fame among nations.
—– Yanka Kupala

The following poem is by Yanka Kupala and is  entitled “From Forebearers’ Ages, Long Since Gone”.  It is reproduced from here.
From forebears’ ages, long since gone,
A heritage has come to me,
Among strange folk, among my own,
Me it caresses, motherly.

Of it to me dream-fables sing
Of first thaw-patches, vernally,
The woods’ September murmuring,
An oak-tree lone, half burned away.

Memories of it, like storks aclack
Upon the line have woken me,
Of a mossed fence, old, gone to wrack,
Fallen near the village, brokenly;

The dreary bleat of lambs that pours
Out in the pasture, endlessly,
The caw of the assembled crows,
On the graves in the cemetery.

And through black night and through white day
I keep, my watch unceasingly,
Lest this my treasure goes astray,
Lest by drones it should eaten be.

I bear it in my living soul
Like torch-flame ever bright for me,
That through deaf darkness to my goal,
Midst vandals it may lighten me.

With it lives my thought-family.
Bringing dreams of sincerity . . .
And its name, all-in-all must be
My native land, my heritage.
—–Yanka Kupala

 

 

 

For other stories from Eastern Europe on this website, click here.

Amazon Basin, Brazil, South America

Brazil – Villa-Lobos, The Amazon’s Faithful Witness

Brazil, 500 Cruzados, front

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From wikipedia:  He was ….coming to terms with the conflicting elements in his experience, and overcoming a crisis of identity, as to whether European or Brazilian music would dominate his style. This was decided by 1916, the year in which he composed the symphonic poems Amazonas and Tédio de alvorada, the first version of what would become Uirapurú (although Amazonas was not performed until 1929, and Uirapurú was only completed in 1934 and first performed in 1935). These works drew from native Brazilian legends and the use of “primitive” folk material. 

The Musical score, “Uirapuru“, is mingled with the floating Vitoria Regia in this illustration on our banknote, such that it’s not clear if the music is background or foreground to the Amazon’s floating lily pads, for they are as equal.  And that “mingling” is depicted beside the mind of the master, as, perhaps, emanating from him; or perhaps, he is merely a witness of the Amazon’s grandeur, and his score is his faithful chronicle.

The keyboard, depicted on our banknote, is oriented unexpectedly, but, likely, perfectly.  For it is the Amazon that produces the music upon our instruments.  And, perhaps, it’s not so much that we create the music, as that the music is there, and it is discovered.

The piece was dedicated to Serge Lifar, the Ukrainian ballet choreographer and dancer, following his ensemble’s performance to the music.
The Victoria Regia is the 2 meter diameter lily pad of the Amazon, and the Uirapuru is the indigenous bird of jungle legend.

 

 

 

 

Asia, Central Asia, Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan – The Great Al-Farabi, the Second Master

1 tenge banknote, Kazakhstan (1993), featuring Al-Farabi

Al-Farabi shines in world history as one of the brightest stars in the firmament. He commands unqualified respect across religions and political cultures worldwide.

His contributions illuminate our world to this day in Music and Mathematics, Geometry and Logic, Psychology, Politics and Philosophy.

Al-Farabi. detail from front of 1 tenge banknote, Kazakhstan (1993)

Writing in the early 10th century, Al-Farabi found philosophy dead. He revived the Greek philosophers through extensive translation, commentaries and contributions. Considering Reason to be superior to Revelation, he solved many challenges of the day advancing Islam to a sounder polity.

A worthy summation of his career might be that given by Maimonides, perhaps the greatest of all Jewish philosophers. Writing two hundred years later, Maimonides said of Al-Farabi: “If Aristotle is the first master, the second one is undoubtedly Farabi”. As an indicator of the world-wide respect Maimonides as well as for Al-Farabi, the moniker stuck. Al-Farabi is widely known today as “The Second Master”.

Architectural detail by Al-Farabi. 1 tenge banknote, Kazakhstan (1993)

His massive tome, The Book of Music, Kitâb al-musiqâ al-kabîr, is considered the single most important medieval manuscript in the Islamic world.

While classifying music under mathematics, he asserts that music must be performed and that the ear is the final judge. The hearing may usurp some fine mathematical principles. He wrote extensively on the therapeutic effects of music upon the soul.

 

 

 

Geometric constructions by Al-Farabi. Back of 1 tenge banknote, Kazakhstan (1993).

Islamic architecture and craftsmanship has long been characterized by elaborate geometric patterns.

The artisans of that era had design tools consisting of little more than a straight edge and a compass. The craftsman’s task was to construct, with these simple tools, architectures and patterns and designs that surprise the mind and uplift the spirit.

mathematical formulae. detail from back of 1 tenge banknote, Kazakhstan (1993)

 

 

 

Geometric construct by Al-Farabi. Detail from back of 1 tenge banknote, Kazakhstan

Al-Farabi’s text book entitled, “A Book of Spiritual Crafts and Natural Secrets in the Details of Geometrical Figures” advanced the craft considerably.  In it are numerous original geometrical constructs with designs and proofs.

 

 

Geometric construct by Al-Farabi. Detail from back of 1 tenge banknote, Kazakhstan,