Archives for: May 2012
Cat of the Month ~ May 2012
Pulcinella was the name of the cat owned by Giuseppe Domenico Scarlatti, the Italian composer who spent much of his life in the service of the Spanish and Portuguese Royal Families, although today he is known mainly for his 500 (and then some) keyboard sonatas.
Scarlatti's famous Fugue in G minor, is a one-movement harpsichord sonata popularly known as the Cat fugue or Cat's fugue.
The nickname, 'The Cat Fugue', which was never used by the composer himself but was introduced early in the 19th century, originates from a story about how Scarlatti came up with the strikingly unusual motif on which the fugue is built.
Legend has it that Scarlatti's pet cat was called Pulcinella. The composer himself described how his cat would enjoy walking across the harpsichord keyboard, being always curious about the sounds it made under his paws. Usually, this walking would produce a random series of discordant notes but ...
On this auspicious occasion, according to the story, Scarlatti heard and then wrote down an amazing phrase produced by the cats paw presses on the keyboard. The paper he used is still in existence:
This particular 'improvisation session' had proven to be very fruitful, as he used the notes as a lead motif in his new fugue. Truly inspired, he went on to write the whole Fugue around these notes. The piece proved to be an overnight sensation and remains popular to this day.
So from this legend the nickname 'Cat's Fugue' was used in concert programmes in the 19th Century and was also used by later publishers of Scarlatti's music.
To hear Pulcinella's very own inspired motif (The Cat Fugue) here is a rendition of the piece played by Bertrand Cuiller on harpsichord. The photo in the youtube video here is of another modern day cat musician 'Nora'.
We know that ALL cats are inspirational, everyday but a special well done to Pulcinella ( R.I.P) for getting your name out there!
[source articles: Book - "100 Cats Who Changed Civilization" by Sam Stall, and Wikipedia.org]
[ Mini heatwave here in England folks, hot on the heels of the wettest drought on record ( the day after the drought was announced it rained for a month and a half)! , Ed]
I have been lolling in the shade today making a few feline observations on life, the Universe and the humans in our care which I thought I would share with you.
Not two days ago my Tom human had his fleecy jacket on, zipped tight against the cold, but today he has exposed those pale, stubbly legs to the unexpected sunshine and, I'm sorry to say, it's not a pretty sight at all, although he doesn't seem to think so (bless).
However there are other interesting things to look at to gladden a cat's eye. There are bluebells swaying in the breeze and bees buzzing in the Borage, (if only I could raise the energy to give them a quick bat). Birds are busying themselves all over the sky, each one with its own unique song (and most delicious they all sound too).
The humans are caught up in watching The Chelsea Flower Show and dreaming of having a calm, ordered Japanese garden with trickling streams and carefully clipped bonsai trees. But flower shows and the humans in my care, have seemed to miss the glaringly obvious - that whether you have a rustic French jardin, a manicured Elizabethan knot garden or a yard with a few pots of cheery geraniums, the most beautiful thing of all for the heart to see is a happy cat mooching around and bringing the garden to life with its inquisitive, furry, fabulous ways. So please let me suggest, to any readers who have a garden but no puss, that a visit to your local cattery or cat rescue center would bring even more sunshine into your life and complete the little patch of earth you call home perfectly, plus they will help with the digging in their own way, honestly!
Love and purrs to all,
Norman. x x
A white tigeress named named Tigrulya gave birth to four tiger cubs in a Yalta zoo on the seventh of May. The newborns are in good health and are being taken care of by staff at the Skazka Zoo in southern Ukraine.
The name of the mother tiger, Tigrulya, was chosen to honour the former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko. A contest is now being held to name the four newborn cubs.
It is very rare that four white tigers are born in a single litter and what is more one of the cubs is an albino with no striped markings on his body at all.
Previously (on the 4th August 2010) a litter of rare white tiger cubs were born at a zoo in northern Germany. These events are extremely important as fewer than 250 white tigers exist worldwide, most of them in captivity. It is said that less than one hundred white tigers exist in the wild.