LitBirthdays January 23 – 29, 2011

January is

National Hot Tea Month

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January 23 

Elvira Lindo Elvira Lindo (born January 23, 1962) – Spanish-U.S. novelist, radio writer, screenwriter – Lo que me queda por vivir (2010)

Read the Wikipedia article for Elvira Lindo

January 24 

Vítězslava Kaprálová (born January 24, 1915) – Czechoslovakian composer – April Preludes (1937) Vitezslava Kapralova

Read a detailed biographical essay about Vítězslava Kaprálová

“In 1932 Vítězslava’s parents separated which may explain the second song of the two that make up her Opus 4, Osirely ( Orphaned) which may express her loneliness and the many visits she made to a sanatorium in Smokovec. The song Tatov k narozeninam from Opus 18 is dedicated to ‘Dad on his birthday’ 26 March 1937. Similarity the song K narozeninam me maminsky is entitled ‘For the birthday of my mum’.

Vítězslava had an affinity with poetry and some believe her songs are her best work. Like Martinů, she was an ardent nature lover and loved to stay at Tri Studne among the pine trees and lakes.”

Read another biography here

“When she died in exile in France at the age of twenty–five, Vítĕzslava Kaprálová (1915–40) was on the threshold of a successful international career as a composer and conductor. During her short life, she composed no fewer than fifty works (many of which were published), conducted orchestras in Prague, London, and Paris, was praised by music critics across Europe, and was awarded the Smetana Award by the Bendřich Smetana Foundation.

Kaprálová was largely forgotten by the music community in France and in Czechoslovakia.  Several of the works she completed at the end of her life were premiered in the years immediately following the war; however, Kaprálová and her works were soon lost in the shadows of history.

Starting in the last two decades of the twentieth century, interest in Kaprálová began to re–emerge.  Perhaps Kaprálová, a promising composer and musician and young victim of World War II, is now once again on her way to becoming an important part of the early Czechoslovak modernist movement.”

Listen to a Radio Praha – Cesky Rozhlas radio feature about Vítězslava Kaprálová

“The story of Vítězslava Kaprálová’s is one of a 25-year-old girl who had a career in music of five years. However, even today, 70 years after her death, she remains an inspiration to many as a tragic but heroic figure, particularly for many female composers and conductors.”

Classical pianist Daniela Hlinkova performs Kapralova’s April Preludes

Read about Kapralova’s songs in this article by Timothy Cheek

Navzdy (Forever) Kapralova: Reevaluating Czech composer

Vitezslava Kapralova through her thirty songs

The song ‘Navzdy,’ from the group of three songs of the same name, shows many of her traits. The poet is Jan Carek (1898-1966). Like most of Kapralova’s poets, he was a living Czech writer with whom Kapralova was in communication, and he admired her settings of his poems. Kapralova made the following changes in the poem, condensing some of Carek’s words into more succinct phrases that flow and soar more easily:

A section:

Wild geese are flying south,

someone will leave and again will return,

someone will leave and will never return.

B section:

I don’t know if somewhere the sky is more beautiful than here,

but you would not count anywhere more stars

when the night is clear, clear.

A section:

Wild geese are flying south,

someone will leave and again will return,

someone will leave and will never return.

The autobiographical content of the poem has already been mentioned–Kapralova was contemplating leaving her home for further study, and the song is about someone leaving her native land. ”

Visit the Kapralova Society website for more information about Vítězslava Kaprálová

January 25

David Grossman David Grossman (born January 25, 1954) – Israeli author, activist

Read the Authors Calendar entry for David Grossman

Read the Wikipedia article about David Grossman

January 26

Henry Jaglom (born January 26, 1938 or 1941) – U.K.-U.S. film director, playwright – Festival in Cannes (2001) henry jaglom

Read the Wikipedia article about Henry Jaglom

Read the Internet Movie Database filmography for Henry Jaglom here

January 27

Djavan Djavan (born January 27, 1949) – Brazilian singer/songwriter

Read the Wikipedia article about Djavan

Watch Djavan perform “Um Amor Puro” live

Watch the studio recording of “Palco”

January 28

Arnaldur Indriðason (born January 28, 1961) – Icelandic crime fiction novelist – LYON: Icelandic author Arnaldur Indridason

Read the Wikipedia article about Arnaldur Indriðason

Read a 2006 U.K. Guardian profile article about Arnaldur Indridason

Indridason’s incorporation of aspects of the Icelandic literary tradition of saga, such as the sometimes bloodthirsty repercussions of actions down the generations, further root the stories deep in this most idiosyncratic culture and landscape.
This attention to local verisimilitude has, paradoxically, seen Indridason become the latest in a line of Scandinavian thriller writers to spectacularly break out of their home markets in recent years. “You would not immediately have thought of Reykjavik as one of Europe’s prominent murder centres,” wrote Marcel Berlins, but Indridason’s Icelandic capital “is as dark, scary and lethal as Ian Rankin’s Edinburgh”.

Read the PBS “Masterpiece Mystery” description of Indridason and his novels

Q: You’ve said that Alfred Hitchcock is your favorite director—why, and do you have a favorite film?

Indridason: Possibly it is the blend of humor with the murder and mayhem that interests me the most. This is most evident in the first pages of [my book] Silence of the Grave where a toddler is gnawing on a bone of someone who was murdered 60 years before. One of my favorites is Strangers on a Train. It’s absolutely beautiful.

January 29

Leslie Bricusse (born January 29, 1931) – U.K. lyricist, composer, playwright – Pure Imagination: A Sorta Biography (2015)

Read the Wikipedia article about Leslie Bricusse

Leslie Bricusse musicography

Watch an short interview of Leslie Bricusse:

“Bricusse was brought up in comparatively unstarry Pinner, Middlesex. His father worked for The Sunday Times and young Leslie was destined for journalism, too, until he was seduced by the musicals. ‘England was a pretty depressing place to be (in wartime) and the MGM musical films were a great form of escapism,’ he recalls. ‘I used to go from school, against all permissions because of the air-raids, to the Empire in Leicester Square. It was like Shangri-La.’ ” [from a UK Sunday Times article]

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