All Posts (649)
Nos 631 to 640
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
Music and Musicians
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
A gifted composer of classical music in the romantic tradition, admired by Stanford, Elgar, and Sullivan.
Music by Samuel Coleridge Taylor
(1875-1912)

AT the age of five, Samuel Taylor began violin lessons with a local music-teacher in Croydon. Fifteen years later, he won a scholarship to the Royal College of Music, where he changed course to study composition, under Charles Villiers Stanford.

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No. 631
Edward Elgar
Music and Musicians
‘Nimrod’
Edward Elgar suffered from depression, and ‘Nimrod’ is his token of thanks to the true friend who supported him through it.
Music by Edward Elgar
(1857-1934)

AFTER a long day teaching the violin, Elgar and his wife Alice joked about how their friends might develop a simple tune, given their distinctive personalities - from a memorable laugh to likeable pomposity and poor piano-playing, and even the organist of Hereford Cathedral’s bulldog, splashing about in the River Wye.

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No. 632
Ignaz Moscheles
Music and Musicians
Ignaz Moscheles
Moscheles taught his adopted country how to write enchanting music for decades to come.
Music by Ignaz Moscheles
(1794-1870)

IGNAZ Moscheles was born in Prague, and studied at the Conservatory there. He was soon in demand, and his first concert in England came in 1822.

The British countryside charmed him, and he admitted that “I feel more and more at home in England”. After his marriage in 1825, Moscheles settled in London, where his reputation grew.

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No. 633
Ignaz Moscheles
Tales from the Bible
The Parable of the Prodigal Son
Love doesn’t make people pay for past mistakes.

ONCE there was a farmer with two sons. The younger of them asked for everything he was due in his father’s Will, and went off excitedly to see the world.

Very soon all the money had been frittered away, and the unhappy boy found himself keeping pigs to survive.

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No. 634
Francesco Geminiani
Liberty and Prosperity
‘No dog exchanges bones with another’
How do we get the help of millions of people we don’t know? Only by trade.
By Adam Smith
(1723-1790)

NOBODY ever saw a dog make a fair and deliberate exchange of one bone for another with another dog.

A spaniel endeavours by a thousand attractions to engage the attention of its master who is at dinner, when it wants to be fed by him. Man has not time, however, to do this upon every occasion.

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No. 635
Liberty and Prosperity
There is no Liberty without Self-Control
Anti-Christian governments don’t make us free, they just impose their own, illiberal morality.
By Edmund Burke MP
(1729-1797)

MEN are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites, - in proportion as their love to justice is above their rapacity, - in proportion as their soundness and sobriety of understanding is above their vanity and presumption, - in proportion as they are more disposed to listen to the counsels of the wise and good, in preference to the flattery of knaves.

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No. 636
Jan Ladislav Dussek
Lives of the Saints
Cyril and Hypatia
A ‘Christian’ mob kidnapped and murdered a much-loved professor of mathematics - for her politics.

IN 415, the governor of Alexandria, Orestes, imposed new regulations on Jewish dancing festivals. Tensions in the city became strained, as Christians, inconvenienced by the same legislation, were angry with both the governor and the Jews.

Then one Christian, named Ammonius, threw a rock at the Governor and wounded him, and was put to death with torture.

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No. 637
George Frideric Handel
Aesop of Samos
The Cat’s Wedding
It’s easier to change how you look than to hide who you are.
Based on a fable by
Aesop of Samos

Aphrodite felt sorry for the lovesick cat, and did indeed turn her into a very lovely young woman. Naturally, the young man immediately fell in love with her, and they were soon married.

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No. 638
Muzio Clementi
Aesop of Samos
The Ape and the Fox
A valuable lesson when dealing with practised liars.
Based on a fable by
Aesop of Samos

ONCE upon a time, a fox and an ape were travelling the same road, and passed through a cemetery.

The ape waved a leathery hand towards the rows of headstones. “All these” he said “mark the last resting place of slaves given their freedom by my ancestors”.

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No. 639
Felix Mendelssohn
Aesop of Samos
The Dog and the Bell
Notoriety is often mistaken for fame.
Based on a fable by
Aesop of Samos

ONCE upon a time, there was a dog whose habit it was to bite people in secret.

But his master fashioned a little copper bell and fastened it around the dog’s neck, so everyone far and wide would know whether the dog was at their heels.

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No. 640
Polywords (182)
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Latest: Path
Added on Monday December 11th, 2017
Doublets (34)
Turn one word into another, changing just one letter each time.
Latest: Stardust
Quickwords (46)
A mini-crossword of everyday vocabulary and general knowledge.
Triplets (23)
Find one common letter that will turn three words into three new ones.
Latest: Triplet No. 23
Guess these words letter by letter – before the cats are gone!
See how ingenious you can be in combining three randomly chosen words in one sentence.
Compose sentences showing the difference in meaning, grammar or usage between these words.
Practise your basic arithmetic, from multiplation tables to percentages.
Latest: Target Number
Take command of English grammar and composition with these traditional exercises.
Latest: Letters Game
A word search game with a dash of strategy.
Today in History
1878 The death of Alfred Bird, Birmingham pharmacist and confectioner
From our Archive
Nicodemus did not allow intellectual doubts to get in the way of what he knew in his heart.
TE Lawrence persuaded Arab rebels to help overthrow the Ottoman Empire, but could not give them the independent Kingdom they craved.
Britain’s desperate defence against a much larger, better-prepared military machine was a costly victory.
The 14th century Mayor of London owed his fortune (and his wife) to his cat.
Back in the 6th century, a young woman was ruining her own life and the lives of others.

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Adam Smith (10)
Polyword ‘Peat’
Make as many words as you can with the letters below. All your words must be at least four letters long, and must also include the highlighted letter. What’s the nine-letter word?

SEE how many words you can make using the letters below. All your words must be at least 4 letters long, and must include the letter (change).

We found commonly used words, plus one 9-letter word. Can you do better?

Use each letter only once. But if there are e.g. two As, you can used them both.

Don’t count proper nouns such as April, Zeus, or Newcastle (pretty much anything that has to be spelled with a capital letter at the start), or acronyms like HMRC.

Don’t just add -S for plurals or third person singular verbs, e.g. CAT → CATS or SPEAK → SPEAKS.

More Word Games
A word search game with a dash of strategy.
Guess these words letter by letter – before the cats are gone!
Do you know ‘cleansing bar’ (4 letters), and ‘Doncaster horse-race’ (2,5 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with TOWN and finish with CITY.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.