Another hero of the Greek War of Independence, Λόρδος Βύρων famously lost his life fighting in the cause of freedom for Greece.
Archive for Postage Stamps
10 November 1668 – 11 September 1733
Today we are commemorating the birth of François Couperin while listening to such masterpieces as Leçons des Ténèbres, Les Concerts Royaux (both 1714) and Pièces de Violes (1728). It is highly likely that Watteau heard the music of his older contemporary, one of the most famous composers in Europe in his day and master of a refined, poetic sensibility akin to that of the great painter. In the words of Jordi Savall, “Couperin est le musicien-poète par excellence, qui croit en la capacité de la Musique à s’exprimer avec «sa prose et ses vers»…si on entre dans sa profonde dimension poétique, on découvre qu’ils sont porteurs d’une grâce qui est, «plus belle encore que la beauté…».”
Anonymous portrait of Couperin from the collection of the Château de Versailles
Commemorative stamp and first day cover, France, 1968
Georg Büchner, born on this day in 1813, was truly a man of many parts. A scientist and medical doctor who published ground-breaking work in the field of anatomy, he was also a revolutionary agitator exiled from his native state (The Grand Duchy of Hesse) in fear of torture and imprisonment, as well as the unsung author of a handful of literary masterpieces so far ahead of their time that they would not be recognized for many decades after his death, of typhus, at the age of 23. Among writers perhaps only John Keats achieved so much in such a short life. Büchner’s short story Lenz has been described as “the beginning of modern European prose”, while his most celebrated work, the unfinished play Woyzeck has become an iconic work of German literature, inspiring, among others, Alban Berg’s great opera Wozzeck and Werner Herzog’s brilliant film. For the two-hundredth anniversary of his birth the government of Germany issued a 10 Euro commemorative silver coin, as well as a postage stamp in his honour. One can only wonder what Büchner, whose radical art gave a voice to the most ignored and oppressed of humankind, would have made of this tribute.