Friday, May 21, 2010

Can you handle Handel?

How much do you know about this amazing composer? How much of his work are you familiar with? Most would know his Messiah, but take a look at this web site to listen to his other beautiful music!

Do you know why his Water Music is called Water Music? (find the answer here

and here I can't get that link to go the right place, so here is the article for this web site

Handel’s Water Music

by Anthony Hicks

On Wednesday 17 July 1717, in the evening, there occurred in London a royal event of great splendour. King George I and a large gathering of the English nobility boarded open barges on the river Thames at Whitehall and sailed up river to Chelsea, where they took supper. Such was the success of the evening that the party did not leave until three o’clock in the morning, the King arriving back at St James’s Palace at about half-past four. One of the river barges (according to a report in the Daily Courant of 19 July) ‘was employ’d for the Musick, wherein were 50 instruments of all sorts who play’d... the finest Symphonies, compos’d express for this Occasion, by Mr Hendel: which his Majesty liked so well, that he caus’d it to be plaid over three times in going and returning’. The Prussian Resident in London, Friedrich Bonet, also reported the event privately to his masters in Berlin and gave more information about the music. The instruments employed included trumpets, horns (‘cors de chasse’), oboes, bassoons, German (transverse) flutes, French flutes (recorders), violins and basses, and each of the three performances lasted an hour. These details leave little doubt that what the royal party heard that evening was the suite of movements that soon became known as Handel’s Water Music.

Bonet also noted that the Prince and Princess of Wales (the future King George II and Queen Caroline) took no part in the festivities — a reminder that the event had considerable political significance. For some time a rift had been developing between the King and the Prince. By 1717 the Prince had gained several influential followers and was able to command sufficient support in Parliament to be a serious hindrance to the King’s ministers. In consequence the King cancelled plans for a visit to Hanover in the summer and instead decided to display himself more conspicuously to his subjects than had previously been his custom. The party on the Thames, held two days after Parliament had risen for the summer recess, was the prelude to three months of festive activity, mainly marked by a series of lavish receptions at Hampton Court.

The provision of the Water Music may have been Handel’s way of showing that in the conflict between the King and the Prince of Wales his first loyalty was to the King — an important gesture, for at Hanover Handel had been a particular favourite of the Prince and Princess. No attempt to publish the Water Music seems to have been made at the time of its original performance — Handel may have wished to keep the work to himself — but the music that had given so much pleasure to the King could hardly be forgotten. Within a few years it was to be heard frequently in London’s concert halls and theatres.

In 1725 Handel’s publisher Walsh included the Water Music overture (in F major) in his Third Collection of Handel’s overtures — the first appearance of any of the music in print — and arrangements of several movements were included in a collection of Handel’s minuets published by Walsh in 1729. In 1734 Walsh issued a set of orchestral parts for what he called the ‘Celebrated Water Musick’, but in fact the publication contained only about half the movements. A complete version of the suite in the form of a transcription for solo harpsichord was issued by Walsh in 1743. Arnold’s edition of 1788 was the first to present all the numbers in full score. This erratic publication history, coupled with the unfortunate loss of the original autographs, leaves several aspects of the Water Music open to question. Contemporary manuscript copies suggest solutions to some problems, but their evidence is sometimes contradictory.

Any further discussion must begin with an attempt to clarify how the Water Music came to be composed. Though the Daily Courant and Bonet both say that Handel wrote the music specifically for the water party of 1717 it seems probable that some parts of it had been composed earlier for other purposes. It is difficult to believe, for example, that the overture, with its delicate writing for two solo violins, could have been conceived with outdoor performance in mind. The Water Music may have started life as two independent orchestral suites or concertos scored for woodwind and strings only. In 1717 Handel could simply have combined these and added the movements with horns and trumpets, which are obviously suited to outdoor performance.

The music itself provides a brilliant conspectus of the full range of Handel’s style in the period of his first opera for England. As ‘occasional’ music combining quality with immediate appeal it was not rivalled until Handel provided his Music for the Royal Fireworks of 1749. It seems that Handel, always ready to exploit a new orchestral effect, introduced French horns into an English orchestra for the first time in the Water Music, immediately perceiving how to make the best use both of the bright F horns — on their own, in conjunction with the oboes — and of the lower pitched D horns — reinforcing the trumpets or antiphonally echoing them. The very English ‘Country Dance’, with the main tune presented in the middle of the harmony, is a charming tribute to the country in which he chose to settle, and like all the tunes in the suite cannot now be heard without happily evoking Hanoverian England in its most genial aspects.

Interesting is't it? Hmm, such lovely music!

This photograph hardly conjures up the image of regal barges on the Thames River, but Handels music generally inspires me to think of beautiful places and is as soothing as the magnificant sea.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Aspergers Myth Busters (This article also deals with coming to term with your child's Apserger's label.)

I do not necessarily agree with all said hear, but it is very interesting.

Aspergers diagnosis and the DSM 5 proposed changes …

“Aspergers diagnosis and the DSM 5 proposed changes – What are the pros and cons of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and their plan to change the diagnosis of Aspergers to autism, without the current separations?”

It effects the PDD-NOS and Aspergers labels. I have followed this issue for a while, what do you think? Go to this link to find some out some more information on the matter. Does any one know what the international response has been?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

To Diagnose or not to Diagnose?

To Diagnose or not to diagnose? This is the question all parents of high functioning 'special' kids it better to cruise along and manage? Or would it be better to have that official label in case it is needed at a later stage? Will it help the child if they have the label, or will it throw them into a 'poor me, I am just a 'crazy' frenzy. This is particularly relevant when we are looking at labeling an older child. A new label for an adult or older child can throw them into depression. How will an older child respond to a new 'label'? Will it be more detrimental to get a label or not? Will it be a relief for them to understand themselves and come to terms with who they are and how they are? Will it provide them with dignity, and access to better skills for coping with their issues?

I trained as a social worker... many years ago, I admit, but I do believe it has brought a special dynamic/resilience to our family that has been beneficial. I thought I knew quite a lot about our special needs and had it all under control. We had decided that to pursue a label for an older child would not be beneficial. We were in the process of diagnosing a younger kid with a world leading expert about 4 years ago when my hubby and I just looked at each other and it dawned on us both....this might not be everything the little one has but it is absolutely everything that the big one has. After speaking with this world leading expert it was decided that because of this age the bigger one would be better off just managing without an official label...About 4 years along and how wrong we were for now after a few exceptionally difficult weeks I wish with all my heart we had a label in hand!

Here is why I think a label is useful as young as possible?

(1) A label gives other people a point of reference and helps them to help your child, protect your child, enjoy your child, understand your child etc.
(2) A label means the child has to face the reality of their problem, like it or not. It helps to give them access to an identity and an understanding of who they are and what the point of their life is etc
(3) A label gives your special kid access to support and help when it is needed.
(4) A label gives you access to support as the parent.
(5) A label gives siblings access to support.

Of course there is always the fear that you could 'over diagnose' a child. Make sure your find a professional who has a good grasp of you particular area of need. Make sure you are well educated in your special needs area. Read as much as you can about it, go to the expense of buying books in that area. Know exactly what features your child has/faces and which he/she does not. Before you go to a professional make sure you know your subject back to front and inside out. Don't let unqualified professionals 'fob you off' with a misunderstandings of the basics, for example it is a misunderstood cliche that Aspergers people do not like to socialise. Of course they do like to have friends like anyone else, especially if parents have been very careful to provide very positive experiences in this area, and this is backed up by Tony Attwood who is the world's expert on Aspergers who points this very fact out. More to the point is, how do they socialise? I have know a Psychologist in an Aspergers clinic to get this wrong!

Anyway enough said... except to say that overall pursuing a label is well worth the effort and money involved in the long run! Especially if handled with tenderness and compassion. If there are indeed 'issues' and 'special needs' they will not just disappear and go away or vanish into thin air, and the reality is that for many not ever! If they have to carry their difficulties into adulthood, they need all the help we can give them when they are young. And sometimes we as parents just cannot go solo and need to access help in order to help our kids.

My advise is therefore...get a label and access help while the road is still relatively easy, you never know when you may desperately need access to more help, which would be easier to access with a label in hand!

May God bless and guide all you wonderful mothers and fathers who parent your precious special kids! May your love be stronger than you ever thought possible, may you have wisdom and patience beyond the normal. May you find refuge daily in our mighty and awesome creator. May you know His tenderness as you walk through the hard times. May you know rejoicing as you enjoy all the precious, tender and happy moments, never taking any of them for granted! Life is full of beauty and wonder and joy, see this in all times and treasure it! Life is too short not to enjoy every moment possible!

PS Here is a good link for some Apserger's checklists, if you hit an advert just go back and try again!
Don't forget to go to Tony Attwood's Asperger's web site too!