(5) Europe Subjects

Discoveries from the Fortepiano

by Donna Gunn

Travel back to the Enlightenment where intellectual and creative individualism flourished! Explore and hear the revolutionary developments in the piano that Beethoven, Haydn, and Mozart capitalized on in their composing. Experience the marked influence of Affekt and Strum und Drang;  feel the frustrations, angst, and joys expressed through the Viennese Sigh; all distinctive traits of the eighteenth century, where music mirrored the dynamic social changes of the time. Visual presentations and solo piano performance by Gunn.

Czech Folk Costumes (kroje)

by Janet Jeffries

National folk costumes, or kroje, in the Czech Lands developed over centuries from the simple garments of the people to the colorful, artistic ensembles one finds today at festivals  and in museums.  Through slide illustrations and her own collection, Jeffries provides an interesting look at some of the literally hundreds of costume variations differing according to districts, villages, and feudal estates.

Music of Ireland

by David Marsh

From Sligo to the Ring of Kerry and from Galway Bay to Dublin, Marsh presents various musical styles from the Emerald Isle. He uses many instruments, including the accordion, penny whistle, Northumbrian pipes and bodhran (Irish drum), to perform jigs, reels, rebel songs, and sing-a-longs. His stories tell of Irish legends, elves and fairies, historical events of famine and wars and the joys and sorrows of immigrating to a new land. David has performed Irish folk music for over 20 years with local Irish bands Paddywhack and Ellis Island, the later which can be heard regularly in Omaha and the Kansas City area.

Music of the Germanic Lands

by David Marsh

From sailing songs of the North Sea to yodel music of the Alps, and from the Rhine to Vienna, David presents music from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Drawing on his experience of three years living in Switzerland and a bachelor’s degree in German, David sings folk songs and demonstrates the history of traditional German music on various instruments, including the accordion, autoharp (chorded zither), hammered dulcimer and others. Audiences hear stories and songs, in both German and English, describing the history and culture of Germanic lands.

Joan of Arc: Saint, Witch, Madwoman, Hero?

by Carole Levin

Joan of Arc is one of the most famous people of the 15th century and one of the most famous women in history. A peasant girl who grew up in France during the 100 Years War with England, in 1429 she heard the voices of saints, who told her to ask the dauphin (the king’s eldest son) for an army. In attempting to retake Paris, Joan was captured and tried by the English for witchcraft and sorcery. In 1431, she was burned at the stake, and in 1920 she was canonized. This talk discusses Joan’s life and her image and reputation in the centuries after her death.

Jews in Medieval and Reniassance England: Realities and Representations

by Carole Levin

Levin talks about the lives of Jews in Medieval and Renaissance England, with a focus on the case of Dr. Lopez, a converted Jew who was physician to Queen Elizabeth I. He was accused of attempting to poison her and was executed on rather dubious evidence. Levin also discusses the representation of Jews in Renaissance drama, focusing on Shakespeare’s character Shylock.

Elizabeth I: Power, Politics and Sexuality

by Carole Levin

In the second half of the 16th century, the English people had to deal with their feelings about a ruler who was not only a female, but also unmarried. Levin explores connections between the rumors about Elizabeth’s sexuality and the ways she used power, particularly in her courtships and her relationships with her favorites. Levin gives an insightful look at the politics, pressures and personal life of Queen Elizabeth I.

Leslie & Julia Stephen: A Victorian Man and Woman

by Evelyn Haller Harris

In this presentation, Leslie and Julia Stephen, parents of Virginia Woolf, represent Victorian man and woman. A man of enormous energy and achievement, Leslie was an outstanding Alpine climber who wrote a book on the subject. Later, he was editor of The Cornhill Magazine, founder and editor of The Dictionary of National Biography and editor of The Men of Letters series of literary biographies. Julia wrote and published a book as “Mrs. Leslie Stephen” entitled “The Care of the Sick in the Home,” a subject about which she had extensive knowledge. Photographer Julia Margaret Cameron was Julia’s aunt, and this program is illustrated with her images.

Introduction to Classical Mythology

by Evelyn Haller Harris

This program provides an introduction to the basic Greek and Roman myths. As a framework, it uses the most accessible and useful book on the subject, Ovid’s “Metamorphoses.” A contemporary of Christ, Ovid was a skilled rhetorician who constructed an epic composed of myths that were current in the Rome of his time. Haller’s discussion of “Metamorphoses” is based on its Penguin paperback edition, a prose translation by Mary Innes. The slide illustrations she uses include medieval manuscript illuminations.

Modern Czech Art and Architecture

by Bruce Garver

Modern Czech art and architecture reflect the Czech people’s desire to resurrect and cultivate every modern movement in the arts, technology and politics, as well as the best of their national traditions. Garver’s illustrated program describes and evaluates the principal movements in modern Czech art and architecture and discusses the outstanding representatives in each of movement, beginning with impressionism in art and neo-classicism in architecture, beginning in the 1890s.

Contemporary Politics and Society in the Czech and Slovak Republics

by Bruce Garver

Garver addresses developments in the Czech and Slovak republics since the breakup of Czechoslovakia Jan. 1, 1993. He begins by examining the “Velvet Revolution” of November 1989 and the dismantling of Communist rule in Czechoslovakia before examining continued efforts by Czechs and Slovaks to rebuild political democracy and a market economy and to rejoin the European community of nations. He discusses efforts by Czechs and Slovaks to maintain good relations with one another while implementing improvements in the political, economic and cultural life of their countries. The presentation concludes with an assessment of the current problems and prospects of the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic.

The Irish Odyssey: Where the Irish Came From

by James P. Cavanaugh

In this presentation based on research for a book he is writing, Cavanaugh examines the origins and travels of the Irish people from 12,000 B.C. to the present day. Using a multidisciplinary approach, he discusses the progress of the Irish according to linguistic, archaeological, anthropological and genealogical findings.