Friday, March 27, 2015

Rwanda: Schweitzer

Like several other African nations, Rwanda holds a special affinity for the medical doctor and musician, Albert Schweitzer. In the year that would have marked his 101st birthday, 1976, Rwanda issued set of stamps to mark World Leprosy Day. A year later the exact same set of stamps was re-issued with an additional text overprint for the same commemoration. The four stamps shown were part of the set of 8 stamps issued in 1977. Two show Lambarene Hospital and two show Schweitzer's residence. Two pictured below show a piano keyboard and a musical score (Bach's famous D Minor Toccata), and the last two in the set are above. The image includes random organ pipes and the first few notes from Bach's Fantasy in G Minor, not as famous or as well-known to as many people as the Toccata, but quite well-known to organists.

Rwanda: "Angels' concert" painting

The African nation Rwanda issued this stamp in 1969 as part of a set of stamps depicting art work with a musical theme. There are 8 stamps in the set including two air mail stamps, but not including two high-value mini-sheets. Other instruments depicted in the paintings shown on these stamps, aside from singers, are a lute, a fife and a piano. This stamp (Scott 281) showing St Cecilia playing an organ is the low value stamp in the set. (This was actually one of the first stamps I ever collected, long before I started playing organ, or focusing my collecting on organ stamps.) Two other angels are playing a harp and a lute in the painting depicted on the present stamp.

The image for the stamp is taken from the Ghent Altarpiece by Hubert van Eyck and his younger brother Jan van Eyck. The younger van Eyck is believed to have completed the work based on his brother's design between 1430 and 1432. The larger work consists of 12 panels, 5 above and 7 below. They together constitute a scene of adoration of the Lamb of God. There are actually two "musical" panels in the upper portion of the altarpiece. The second shows a group of angels singing. The work remains sited in the building for which it was intended: St Bavo's Cathedral, Ghent. Van Eyck has included a great deal of detail in his rendering of the positif organ. The keys are remarkably clear, and light reflects from the metal pipes.