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THE ICELAND PROJECT: for and from Our Clutches, and beyond...

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1 URE, noun meaning work or use. 1 Obscure.[a. AF. *eure, = Old French uevre, euvre, evre (13th cent.; French. uvre): from the Latin, opera n.] For example, in ure: a. In or into use, practice, or performance. Often with verbs., as bring, come, have, and esp. put (freq. c 1510 - c 1630). Also rarely with into b. In remembrance or recollection. Only to have ‘in ure’. c. In or into a state of prevalence or existence. Chiefly with verbs, as come, draw, put. 2. Of persons, their faculties, etc.: In or into the regular exercise or practice of a particular pursuit. Usually with verbs, as fall, put, and chiefly keep. 3. Custom or habit on the part of persons; wont to do something. 4. Sc. Work; labour. It is also, as a pronoun, an obscure variant of our. 2 W. Walker, Idiomatologia Anglo-Latina; or a dictionary of English and Latin Idioms. P 254 (1672)

3 Hekla, an active volcano in southern Iceland, 70 MI (110 km) east of Reykjavík. Hekla stands 4,892 ft /1,491 m above sea level, at the eastern end of the island’s most extensive farming region. Of its several craters, the largest is nearly 400 ft /122m deep. Hekla, known in early times as the Mountain of Hell, erupted 14 times between its first recorded eruption in 1104 and 1970. Major eruptions occurred in 1300, 1766, and 1947; the 1766 explosion caused great loss of life.

It figures among the major volcanoes of the Europe and the Atlantic, of which six are to be found in Iceland: Etna, Italy; Beerenberg, Norway, Kverkfjöll; Iceland; Askja, Iceland; Hekla, Iceland; Katla, Iceland; Vesuvius, Italy; Stromboli, Italy; Krafla, Iceland; Thera, Greece; Vulcano, Italy and Surtsey, Iceland.

4 “Like as when, rough winter spent, The pleasant spring straight draweth in ure.” Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey in Tottel’s Miscellany, 1547. (ed. Arber, 1870) p15.

5 “You have put his jealous Pen in Ure.” New News from Bedlam Postscript (1682).

6“Till they have brought their hand in ure with the shape and fashion of the Letters.” Sir Hugh Plat, or Platt, The Jewel House of Art and Nature (1594) P 42.

7 “It this only lesson well learned & busily put in ure, must needs lead us to heaven.” Thomas More, De Quatuor Novissimis (1522).

8 “And sure it is taken by custom and ure,
While young you be there is help and cure.”
1557 F. Seager The School of Virtue and Book of Good Nurture for Children and Youth to Learn Their Duty P. 716 in Babees Book. (Early English Text Society, 1868) P 344.

9 “The Development Of Musical Recording
In 1877 the U.S. inventor Thomas Alva Edison heard “Mary had a little lamb” emanate from a machine into which he had just spoken the ditty.It was the first time a recording of the human voice had been reproduced,and the event signalled the birth of the phonograph. There was, to be sure,a long gestation period.Edison sent representatives, machines, and cylinders to Europe almost as soon as he had invented the phonograph, and between 1888 and 1894 recordings were made by such notables as Alfred, Lord Tennyson, RobertBrowning, and even Johannes Brahms, who played a Hungarian rhapsody. Thefirst “celebrity” recording, however, was made in Edison’s West Orange, NewJersey, laboratories when the pianist Josef Hofmann, then a 12-year-old prodigy, paid a visit to Edison’s studio in 1888. Hans von Bülow followed shortly after with a recording of a Chopin mazurka on the piano.

In 1894 Charles and Émile Pathé built a small phonograph factory in a suburb of Paris and began to record singers as eminent as Mary Garden. Within a decade their catalogue boasted some 12,000 items, and their name became almost synonymous with the cylinder phonograph in Europe. Meanwhile, Emile Berliner, a German immigrant living in Washington, D.C., had filed a patent in 1887 for a “Gramophone,” using a disc rather than a cylinder, and he began manufacturing Gramophones and discs in 1894. The disc had the commercial advantage of being more easily manufactured than the cylinders. One of his representatives established a branch in London, the Gramophone Company (in 1898), a branch in Berlin, Deutsche Grammophon AG, and one in France, the Compagnie Français du Gramophone, while Berliner’s brother set up a disc-pressing facility in Hamburg. Most of Europe’s recording industry thus was started by Berliner’s representatives, and in the United States the small Berliner organisation was to turn into the giant Victor company.

By the beginning of the 20th century, recording industries had beenestablished in Germany, Austria, Russia, and Spain. Much of the managerial and technical talent, not to mention equipment, had been imported from America. By 1970, the positions would be reversed, with Europe in commandof most of the American market. During the 1890s recordings had become popular primarily through coin-in-the-slot phonographs in public places. Talent was incidental to the novelty of the apparatus; most of the recordings were of whistlers, bands, comic numbers, ditties, ethnic routines, and the like. In the first years of the 20th century, Victor and its affiliates raised cultural expectations with its Red Seal series ( Red Label in Europe), particularly with discs made, beginning in 1902, by Enrico Caruso. By 1910 the vast majority of record sales—some estimates are as high as 85 percent—were classical.

The Red Label had been initiated in 1901 in Russia with some of the first 10-inch disc recordings made, and the basso Fyodor Chaliapin was among the first artists to record on the new Russian Red Label.

In 1902 Victor and another major label, Columbia, decided to help the development of the new industry by pooling their patents. Victor was thereby legally able to record on wax (which would then be electroplated) for the first time, and the new wax discs were then used in recording Caruso in Milan. Caruso’s discs were a major catalyst in transforming the amusing gadget of a phonograph into a respected cultural phenomenon. In the United States, Columbia followed suit in 1903 with its 10-inch Grand Opera Records, recording Metropolitan Opera stars. Shortly after, Victor began its own celebrity recording sessions of opera stars and others on 3 1/2-minute 12-inch discs. Victor also made many of its associated European companies’ Red Label recordings—which included Mary Garden singing music by Debussy with the composer at the piano—available in the United States on its Red Seal series.

Columbia soon dropped its opera series when the recordings did not sell as well as songs and marches, but Victor saw an institutional value in the celebrity recordings. The prestige of the Red Seal influenced Victor’s other products: “Victrola” became, in the popular mind, almost a generic term for the (disc) phonograph, and the company practically monopolized the quality-minded market for many years. Indeed, the total Western Hemisphere record market became virtually monopolized by Victor and Columbia, while their London affiliates controlled the rest of the world. The first major break did not come until World War I, when ties were severed with Deutsche Grammophon, which emerged after the war as the independent Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft (DGG).

Between 1907 and 1910 Columbia tried to approach Victor’s culturalprominence by releasing records from Europe and later by reinstating its own recording sessions with operatic singers. Columbia also began issuing double-sided discs, as had already been done in Europe. Victor did not do sountil 1923.

During the early days of recording, both the cylinder and the disc were produced acoustically rather than electronically. A singer would sing into a horn, and the accompanist behind him played a piano placed on a platform so that the rear of the instrument—with the back removed—would also be level with the horn. With the development of a sound box to be placed on violins and violas, small orchestras could be used as accompaniment, but bassoons were required to play the cello part and a tuba the double bass part. It was an event worthy of a London newspaper announcement in 1904 when Kubelík made two records with his own Stradivarius, rather than on a violin with the sound box. When symphonic recordings came to be made, the wind and brass instruments still played or doubled the parts written for the lower strings, which could not be reproduced adequately. Although acoustical recordings were improved by the 1920s, the problems were not overcome until the introduction of the microphone and the consequent electrical recording process around 1925.

10 Caruso, Enrico, original name ERRICO CARUSO (b. Feb. 27, 1873, Naples, Italy—d. Aug. 2, 1921, Naples), was of a poor family and was the 18th of 20 children. Although he was a musical child who sang Neapolitan folk songs everywhere and joined his parish choir at the age of nine, he received no formal music training until the age of 18. At 21 he made his operatic debut, in Naples. Four years later, after adding to his repertoire, he was asked to create the lead role in the premiere of a new opera in Milan. He was a sensation and soon had engagements in around the world. He made his La Scala debut with La Bohème (1900). All was not, however, sweetness and light. In 1901, after being unfavourably received in a performance in his home town, he vowed never again to sing in Naples, and he kept his word.

World recognition came in the spring of 1902 after he sang in La Bohème at Monte Carlo and in Rigoletto at London’s Covent Garden. He made his American debut in Rigoletto at the opening night of the Metropolitan Opera in New York City on Nov. 23, 1903, and continued to open each season there for the next 17 years, presenting 36 roles and 607 performances in all. He gave his last public appearance on the night of Christmas eve, 1920.

Caruso became the most admired Italian operatic tenor of the early 20th century. Becoming the highest paid of his contemporaries worldwide. One of the first musicians to document his voice on gramophone, making recordings of about 200 operatic excerpts and songs; many of them are still being published. His voice was sensuous, lyrical, and vigorous in dramatic outbursts and became progressively darker in timbre in his later years. Its appealing tenor qualities were unusually rich in lower registers and abounded in warmth, vitality, and smoothness.

11 “Trouth is tried where craft is in ure.” (1542) Wyatt Poetic Works. (1913) I. 11.

12 “Mistrusted - not misunderstood - was the right symbol of people. Misunderstood was another kind of curse.” Joseph Conrad, Under Western Eyes (1911) Penguin ed. P 78.

13 “Touching the dispensacion of the flesh, and the mystery now in force and ure, Christ shall be subjected unto the father.” Proctor, Fall of late Arrian R b, (1549)

14 “Or, if you cannot leave your wonted ure, Leave at the least, all mutinous alarms.” Sylvester Miracle of Peace xxv, (1600).

15 “I pray you, keep your hand in ure.” (1539) Hugh Latimer Sermons & Remains of 1555. (Parker Society, 1844-45) p416, “Even as a Surgeon (...) before in ure he put His violent Engines on the vicious member. “Josuah Sylvester Du Bartas i. vi. 1031 (1591) ; “Which (...) maketh him practise Simulation in other things, lest his Hand should be out of vre.” Bacon Essays, ‘Simulation’ (1625); “This waxen torch is able to endure The winds, when Aeolus puts them in ure.” Robert Farley Lychnocausia , sive moralia facum emblemata. Lights. Moral Emblems H 3, (1638)

16 Archbishop Parker Psalms. cvii. P 316 (1556) “Right oft is his ure by love to allure.”

17 .Gascoigne Glass of Government. ii. vi, (1575) “Great the pains which teachers put in ure, To trade them still, in virtuous qualities.”

18 “There is no guilt in being confused.” Richard Robinson, “Of Oriel” cited by G.J.Warnock in Berkeley, P. 238, note # 8.

19 “One’s ability to know others is a function of one’s desire to let others know oneself.” S. Jourard, Disclosing Man to Himself, (1968).

20 “Neurotic, Ha!” I let out a scornful laugh. “If neurotic is wanting two mutually exclusive things at one and the same time, then I’m neurotic as hell. I’ll be flying back and forth between one mutually exclusive thing and another for the rest of my days.” Esther Greenwood in The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath.

21 “Touching the time when the Marriage shall be put in ure.” In Ellis (ed.) Origen: Letters & Sermons.. ii. I. P 134 (1470)

22 ”What thing a man in tender age hath most in ure.” R. Ascham Toxophilus, The School of Shooting. (Arber.) p57 (1545); “Keeping his hand in Ure with somewhat of Greater Value.” R. L. Estrange Fables p 92

23 Modern Iceland’s struggle for independence is a story of about a century in length—circa 1830 to 1904 -- which is characterised by a pattern wherein an ever less absolutist Danish crown gives tepid encouragement to the emerging liberal and nationalist elements of the island who, when confronted with the responsibility of their liberty and the hard decisions entailed by it seem for a time unable to rise above either hen-like squabbling or languishing in indecision reminiscent in both its tone and melancholy to the soliloquies of another Dane, Prince Hamlet. While, in the 1830s, the Danish crown set up four ‘diets’ in the realm. In one of these Iceland was allotted two representatives, the arrangement was never popular among those Icelanders with nationalist and liberal sentiments who wanted the Icelandic Althing to be restored as a consultative assembly for the nation. In 1845, a restored Althing. Officials and male farmers met for the first time in Reykjavík.

The second half of the century was characterised on the Danish side by back-pedalling, handing out mere tokens of independence. On the Icelandic side the ruling class was far too attached to the status quo, which kept them bolstered at the top of Icelandic society. Thus the period was largely one of stagnation and stalemate. The Althing consumed much its time in petty bickering over inconsequential issues. Meanwhile the economy stagnated in a similar fashion and emigration became much more prevalent. (See note 25 below)

Finally, in 1901 the path was opened when rule by parliamentary majority was introduced in Denmark and the Liberal Party came into power. In 1904 Iceland got home rule, and the first Icelandic minister opened his office in Reykjavík. At the same time, rule by parliamentary majority was introduced.

24 “The mind is by turns depressed and lifted up: (...) which order doth best hold it in ure, and just temper.” Art. Divine Mediations. xxxi, (1627).

25 The high level of political activity in the first half of the 19th-century Iceland stands in sharp contrast with its economic stagnation. The considerable growth of Iceland’s population put increasing strain on the badly eroded rural areas, and for many people the only visible solution was emigration to North America. Some 15,000 Icelanders emigrated between 1870 and 1914, most of them to Canada. Virtually the only successful technical innovation during that period was the introduction of decked fishing vessels, which made it possible to catch fish farther offshore than could be done on open boats. Still, at the beginning of the 20th century, more than half of the annual catch was still taken in open boats.

26 “No tongue can attain to put in ure Her to descry.” Heywood Love (Brandl) p33 (1530)

27“[To] dare put in ure to make Jehovah but a couverture to shade rank filth.” John Marston The Scourge of Villainy, Three Books of Satires. Book ii. (1599) 175 (1598)

28 “It is possible that nothing of any considerable significance occurs in the organism that does not contribute its components to the excitement of the sexual impulse.” Sigmund Freud, Three Contributions to the Theory of Sex, Part II: Infantile Sexuality—near the end.

29 No modesty here, I am afraid. The following are taken from one of the remaining ‘commonplace’ books. S.W. “The Might Have Bee
“Oh, charming beautiful might have been,
Sweet dream that can’t come true,
Enchanting ranging in which I’ve seen
Love’s heaven azure blue,
Oh wondrous vision of soulful bliss
Where stars of fortune shine,
Oh, wondrous Paradise which I miss,
As if it had been mine!”

And in a similar vein are the following two verses entitled ‘Love ‘s Rainbow’:

“Moments of sadness evoke in my soul
Brooding on what might have been
Had I had luck to win the goal
Which in my longing I have seen,
With feeling and beauty
That die on the wings of my dreaming.
Lonely and friendless and alien I roam
Over the desert of life,
No loving true soul—no sweet home
Greets through the dark of my strife,
My ideal it was my own dreaming,
‘Twas rainbow of love’s tender beaming.”

29 “God is simply that whereon the human heart rests with trust, faith, hope and love. If the resting is right, then God too is right; if the resting is wrong, then God too is illusory.” Martin Luther.

30. “Solitary in the sense of retreat. In the sense of not having to see himself, of not having to see himself, of not having to see himself seen by anyone else.” Paul Auster (The South Wind) in Portrait of an Invisible Man (Penguin) pp.16/17. Compare Woody Allen’s ‘Zelig.’

31 In 1848, a constitutional assembly was summoned to prepare a representative democracy in Denmark. This led to the question of what was to become of Iceland in the new form of government. The claim that the king could only give his absolute rule over Iceland back to the Icelanders themselves, was met with a royal pledge that the constitutional status of Iceland would not be decided until the Icelanders had discussed the matter at a special assembly in Iceland. This assembly met in 1851, but no agreement could be reached between the Icelandic representatives and the Danish government. The assembly was dissolved in disappointment. A stalemate of more than 20 years ensued, but the Althing decided to use the occasion of the millennium of Iceland’s settlement (1874) to accept the status that Danish authorities were by then willing to grant. Thus, while in 1874 the king presented Iceland with a constitution whereby the Althing was vested with legislative power in internal affairs, executive power was transferred to Iceland thirty years later.

In the interval however nationalist sentiments thrived. Under the influence of neo-medievalism which was in vogue in both in Germany and Great Britain, Danes and Icelanders alike sought their cultural origins in literature ant the plastic arts. Thus, for examples Wagner’s fascination with the revived Teutonic myths, and the work of the brothers Grimm in Germany; the references to medieval legend found in the paintings of many Pre-Raphaelites, such as Rosetti and Burne-Jones, the poems of Tension and Browning, the novels of Sir Walter Scott and the work of William Morris in Great Britain; Hans Christian Anderson in Denmark.

The store of early Medieval literary texts in Icelandic is the most rich of any of the Scandinavian countries. Furthermore, the millennium celebrations, focused many Icelanders upon their national and cultural origins. The heroic-epic poems, such as Njarl’s Saga, fired generations of Icelandic intellectuals to seek out a cultural and political destiny quite separate from their Danish overseers.


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