‘The cd has been a labour of love for both Alan and myself, who are songwriters. Khayyam has been an influence throughout my life, and I’ve always felt duty bound to introduce him to people who were unfamiliar with his work, so setting his words to contemporary music seemed the logical step. We hope that our endeavour will broaden Khayyam’s appeal, in particular with regard to the younger generation.’
The verses are sung in English in FitzGerald’s translation. The full cd (of 11 tracks) can be purchased from Amazon.com, price US$9.99 plus p&p from the USA. The link is:
Currently there is only one track (Potter’s Shop) as a single release which can be downloaded via iTunes, Google, Amazon and others using the following links
More details and extracts are available on the website http://www.doubledutchdiscords.com under ‘Khayyam’.
Our congratulations to Afsoon and Alan on their initiative. We are looking forward to listening to the disk when it arrives from the USA.
On 30th May 2015 Het Nederlandse Omar Khayyám Genootschap (the Dutch Omar Khayyam Society) will celebrate its 25 years of existence. On behalf of all our blog readers, we send the Society and its members our heartfelt congratulations on this special occasion. .
The event will be marked on Saturday in Leiden in the Netherlands. There will be a small congress, with a reading by a guest, and some readings from Khayyám’s quatrains in Persian and Dutch. A new issue of the Society’s Yearbook will be presented; this contains contributions by the members in which they look back and reflect on their membership, or on why they have become a member anyway. In the evening there will be a celebratory dinner.
Since its foundation in 1990, the Dutch Omar Khayyam Society has played an important role in furthering the study of Khayyam and the Rubaiyat and in bringing awareness of the richness and fascination of these subjects to a wider public. As well as holding biennial meetings for its members, the Society has published Yearbooks and other works, and organised several exhibitions relating to the Rubaiyat. It was particularly active in contributing to the celebrations in the anniversary year of 2009. One of the features of the Dutch Society is that it has bridged the gap that sometimes exists between academics and so-called ‘independent researchers’ and Rubaiyat enthusiasts, providing a valuable forum for many useful exchanges.
The Dutch Omar Khayyam Society has for many years published a Bulletin Omariana which has been a useful source of comment and information on Khayyam and Rubaiyat matters. Initially in print form, Omariana then became available via a web site http://www.omarkhayyamnederland.com/, and laterly it has taken the form of a blog: http://omariana.nl/. Both sites are very worthwhile consulting. People who would like to make contact with the Society and its secretary Jos Coumans, or to send their own congratulation on the 25th anniversary, can do so either via the Omariana website, or through a comment on this blog post.
Boulge Church is in need of funds to help with repairs to the fabric, and for the levelling of the stone of Edward FitzGerald’s grave. The church was recently the setting for a performance of FitzGerald’s Rubaiyat by Charles Mugleston, see earlier post https://omarkhayyamrubaiyat.wordpress.com/2015/05/04/fitzgerald-and-his-rubaiyat-alive-again-in-boulge-church/, and Charles has produced some attractive greetings cards to help with the fundraising.
The cards (see illustration) show an attractive and entertaining image by Cyril Bird, which was used on a menu of the Omar Khayyam Club of London in 1959. They are on sale for £1.50 each, plus post and packaging, from Charles Mugleston, email@example.com or telephone number 01394 285 669. If you are interested in making a general donation to help Boulge Church funds, this can be done directly to the Boulge PCC account at the CAF Bank, sort code 40-52-40, account no. 00012993, with the Church’s sincere gratitude for all received.
Gilbert James (1865-1941) – New research provides important insights into the life and work of a major illustrator
Most people who have browsed through illustrated copies of the Rubaiyat will have come across the work of Gilbert James. He was one of the earliest and most prolific of the artists to take up the challenge of providing illustrations for FitzGerald’s verses and his work was reprinted many times in different forms during the 20th century. But until now, very little has been known about Gilbert James the man; even the dates of his birth and death were unclear. And the chronology of his work on the Rubaiyat and other volumes has been very confused.
Now, thanks to the efforts of Bob Forrest, we are in ignorance no longer. Bob has carried a major investigation into the life and work of Gilbert James, results of which are accessible via the link http://bobforrestweb.co.uk/The_Rubaiyat/N_and_Q/Gilbert_James/Gilbert_James.htm. The article deals first with James’ work on the Rubaiyat illustrations, giving a clear guide to the different versions and the complex links between those published in book form and those in the magazine The Sketch and on menus of The Omar Khayyam Club. There is an extensive gallery of illustrations on the site, well linked to the text.
Bob then goes on to tell something of James’ life history, from his birth in Liverpool to his death at the age of 75 in a mental hospital in Surrey. The accompanying images include a photo portrait of James, the first we have seen. The article concludes with a full discussion of other works illustrated by James, and some of the differing views about this artist’s work. There are also extensive notes following the text which highlight many other points of historical interest.
We must all be very grateful to Bob Forrest for the energy and analysis that he has put into finding and then sorting out so much new information about this important illustrator. Although Gilbert James is not our personal favourite among the artists who interpreted the Rubaiyat, he had a major influence on the development of illustration in the Edwardian period, and his work and his history deserve to be better known.
On the afternoon of Sunday 3rd May, memories of Edward FitzGerald and his Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam were revived in the village of Boulge near Woodbridge, where the author spent so much of his life. The church of St Michael and All Angels, where FitzGerald is buried, was the venue for a reading of his Rubaiyat by Charles Mugleston, who has long been an enthusiast for the poem. His reading was in fact more of a performance of the poem, bringing the verses, the poet Khayyam and the famous pots very much to life, and making FitzGerald’s poetry accessible to many in the audience who had heard of the poem, but did not know it well. To those of us who are well acquainted with the verses, Charles brought new insights for which we are grateful.
The presentation of the poem was accompanied by music at the beginning and end which added to the atmosphere of the occasion, and, before the reading of FitzGerald’s Rubaiyat, Hazhir Teimourian, the author of a biography of Omar Khayyam, took the audience back over 900 years while reading two of Khayyam’s quatrains in the original Persian. Over 50 people attended the event, nearly filling the small church, and, in addition to the poetic feast, they were offered other refreshment in the form of wine, grapes and Persian pastries. This was an altogether delightful and enlightening occasion and we are very grateful to Charles Mugleston and the other organisers and helpers for creating an event that keeps the legacy of FitzGerald and Khayyam alive in the modern world.
The first of these is https://austintorney.wordpress.com/2015/04/04/the-theory-of-everything-rubaiyat-book-pages/ This is a production using mainly Austin’s own quatrains inspired by Khayyam and FitzGerald, with many illustrations, and it is available in a variety of formats. As Austin puts it in his introduction ‘herein, we’ll meander on through life’s curious magic-shadow show, with my new quatrains, along with Omar transmogrifications.’
The second link, https://austintorney.wordpress.com/2015/04/08/the-great-omar-pages/, is to Austin’s digital version of a famous edition of FitzGerald’s Rubaiyat, namely the Great Omar, the first copy of which went down in the Titanic. There is a poetic introduction to the volume, and both the jewelled cover, and Vedder’s text and illustrations that formed the interior, are shown. Vedder’s grayscale presentation has been digitally enhanced with some colour, which produces an interesting effect, though purists may not approve. Have a look for yourself and see what you think.