Saturday, October 31, 2009

France: "Music"

France issued this stamp (Scott #1625) in 1979 as a simple homage to "Music." The stamp shows a woman playing a stringed instrument across her lamp, with a lyre at her right side and a portativ organ at her left. There are other (male) instrumentalists and singers in the background. Interestingly there are two geese also to the left and right of the woman. The miniature is from the 15th century; that's the only identification given.

Czechoslovakia: Music Year

Czechoslovakia issued this stamp (Scott #2513) 5/11/1984 for "music year." It was part of a small set of two, the other featuring a keyboard, horn and violin,

Interestingly, 1985 was celebrated as a "music year" by the European Union, with many stamps issued by many different countries. 1985 was an anniversary year for the deaths of both Bach and Handel; several of the 1985 music year stamps feature those two composers. So perhaps this stamp was intended to be part of that series, though Czechoslovakia was not then part of the Union, just a few months early.

I cannot find information on the faced pipes in the stamp image. The words make reference to a "Czech museum," but I don't know which one.

New Link

I recently found a page of Bach Stamps at the Bach Cantata site. I have had this site bookmarked for sometime for use in studying the Bach cantatas. It was not until recently, though, that I found the stamp page. It will prove quite helpful, I'm sure. The stamps do not necessarily feature organs, so it's not a duplication of this site.

Congo (Poeple's Republic): Bach

Congo issued this stamp (Scott #511) in 1979, not seemingly related to any anniversary year. The stamp features a Bach portrait as well as an organ and several other instruments. Sometimes foreign countries will include the St. Thomas Church, Leipzig in Bach homage images, but that does not seem to be the case here. A second stamp issued at the same time features Albert Einstein and astronauts on the moon.

Bulgaria: Bach

Bulgaria issued this stamp in 2000. I have it only on a maximum card, meaning the postcard features the same image as the stamp itself. (If you look closely at the image, especially on the left you can make out part of the image of the card.) This stamp was issued for the 250th anniversary of Bach's death. Bach had earlier appeared on a Bulgarian stamp as part of a set of composer stamps in 1985. There is an image of an organ in the background, but I cannot tell what instrument it might be.

Canada: Healy Willan

Canada issued this stamp in 1980 in honor of Healy Willan. It was part of a set of two; the other (same denomination 17c) featured singer Emma Albani (1847-1930). Willan was one of the most important Canadian composers of his generation. He was for years (1921-1968) organist at St. Mary Magdalene, Toronto. Without information on the stamp, one might assume that the console shown is that of the organ at St. Mary's from Willan's era. I've played many of Willan's chorale preludes and one or two of the larger works. I have had choirs work on a couple of his anthems. A nice article about the organ can be found here.

I found this humorous tidbit at Wikipedia: People who remember Willan from his time at St Mary Magdalene's like to moderate his somewhat dourly pious public image by quoting him—it was a mainstay of concert talks by Robert Hunter Bell—as to his provenance: "English by birth; Canadian by adoption; Irish by extraction; Scotch by absorption."

Bhutan: Titian Painting

Bhutan issued this stamp which features detail from a painting by Titian. Venus and the Organ player is one of an apparent series of paintings done for various patrons. The patron got the privilege of being the model for the instrumentalist. There is at least one painting that uses a lutenist and two the feature an organist seated before a positiv. In all, the musician gazes adoringly at Cupid, reclined to the right, and apparently sometimes accompanied by a cherub (Cupid). Since this is a freely composed painting, one cannot expect that the organ pictured is a copy of a specific instrument, but merely a representation of the general nature of table-top instruments. The stamp above demonstrates that there were at least two paintings in similar vein. The organist in the stamp is not the same as the one shown in the painting below. Also the title of the painting used for the stamp above is "Venus and the Organ Player;" that of the painting below is "Venus and Cupid with an Organ Player."

Estonia: Organ Festival

This stamp was issued in 2006 to mark the 20th Tallinn organ festival in Estonia. I cannot place the facade featured on the stamp. Below is information from the Estonian Post Office about the stamp. I remember making contact with Andres Uibo many years ago; I think it was in relation to trying to learn more about a composer from that region of the world.

The Tallinn international organ music festival, the oldest Estonian music festival, has arrived at an important waymark, with its 20th edition opening on 28 July, 2006. The popularity of the festival has been growing from year to year, largely thanks to the unique historical Estonian organs, and ti now occupies a place at the summit of the world's organ music festivals with numerous guests from all around the world arriving in Tallinn to see and hear the local organs and participate in the well-organized event. The founder and artistic director of the festival is Andres Uibo.

Note: In 2012 I found this site with information about the St. John's Church in Tallinn. It includes a B&W image of the organ. I think it's safe to say that the organ depicted int he stamp is the same in this photo.