Jan. 18, 2023
The cello is a bowed (sometimes plucked and occasionally hit) string instrument of the violin family. Its four strings are usually tuned in perfect fifths: from low to high, C2, G2, D3 and A3. The viola’s four strings are each an octave higher. Music for the cello is generally written in the bass clef, with tenor clef, and treble clef used for higher-range passages.
Played by a cellist or violoncellist, it enjoys a large solo repertoire with and without accompaniment, as well as numerous concerti. As a solo instrument, the cello uses its whole range, from bass to soprano, and in chamber music such as string quartets and the orchestra’s string section, it often plays the bass part, where it may be reinforced an octave lower by the double basses. Figured bass music of the Baroque-era typically assumes a cello, viola da gamba or bassoon as part of the basso continuo group alongside chordal instruments such as organ, harpsichord, lute or theorbo. Cellos are found in many other ensembles, from modern Chinese orchestras to cello rock bands.
Austria will release a single stamp in the series “Musikland Österreich” on January 18. Pictured on the stamp along with a cello is one of the most important concert pieces for the instrument, the Cello Concerto No. 2 in D major (Hob. VIIb:2) by Joseph Haydn. He composed it in 1783 for Anton Kraft, who was cellist in the court chapel of Prince Esterházy. The technically demanding cello concerto is divided into three movements: Allegro moderato, Adagio and Rondo: Allegro. It is accompanied by two oboes, two horns and strings.
Jan. 19, 2023
Max Oppenheimer – Tilla Durieux, 1912
Max Oppenheimer was an Austrian painter and graphic artist born in Vienna on July 1, 1885. He studied from 1900 to 1903 at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in that city studying under Christian Griepenker and Siegmund L’Allemand, and then – from 1903 to 1906 – at the Academy of Fine Arts of Prague, where he studied under Franz Thiele. Along with Egon Schiele, with whom he shared a studio in 1910 and Oskar Kokoschka he was considered as being one of Austria’s leading avant-garde artists. His work was influenced by several different movements including expressionism, cubism and futurism and was included in two art exhibitions in 1908 and 1909 in Vienna co-organized by Gustav Klimt. His first one-man show was held in Munich at the Moderne Galerie in 1910. In 1911 he settled in Berlin and adopted the stage name MOPP. He was known for his portraits of contemporary cultural figures such as Thomas Mann and Arnold Schoenberg. In 1938, the artist, who came from a Jewish family, had to flee and lived in the USA until his death in New York on May 19, 1954.
Tilla Durieux was born as Ottilie Godeffroy on August 18, 1880. She was an Austrian theatre and film actress of the first decades of the 20th century. In 1933, Durieux left Germany for Switzerland to escape Nazi rule. She continued to perform at the Vienna Theater in der Josefstadt and in Prague. In 1937 she moved to Zagreb, Croatia (then in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia) where she became a member of the International Red Aid. Durieux unsuccessfully tried to obtain a visa for the United States; in 1941 her third husband director Ludwig Katzenellenbogen was arrested by Gestapo agents in Thessaloniki and deported to Sachsenhausen concentration camp. He died in 1944 at Jüdisches Krankenhaus Berlin. Durieux managed to return to West Germany in 1952, appearing on stages in Berlin, Hamburg, and Münster. In 1971 she underwent surgery for a hip fracture and died of post-operative sepsis. Despite the fact that the date on her gravestone is 21st of January 1971, she died on the 21st of February 1971, which would have been the 100th birthday of her second husband Paul Cassirer.
The portrait of Durieux depicted on Austria’s stamp to be released on January 19, 2023, was created by Max Oppenheimer in 1912 and can be seen in the Leopold Museum in Vienna.
Jan. 27, 2023
Electric Car by Ferdinand Porsche
Ferdinand Porsche was an Austro-Bohemian automotive engineer and founder of the Porsche AG. He is best known for creating the first gasoline–electric hybrid vehicle (Lohner–Porsche), the Volkswagen Beetle, the Auto Union racing car, the Mercedes-Benz SS/SSK, several other important developments and Porsche automobiles.
The Lohner–Porsche Mixed Hybrid was the first gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle. It was developed by Ferdinand Porsche at Lohner-Werke. The first prototypes were two-wheel drive, battery-powered electric vehicles with two front-wheel hub-mounted motors, while later versions were series hybrids that used hub-mounted electric motors in each wheel, powered by batteries and a gasoline-engine generator.
At the Paris World Exhibition in 1900, the vehicle was presented as the “world’s first transmissionless car” and caused a sensation. In order to increase the range of the electric vehicle, which is very heavy due to the lead batteries, Porsche designed the first hybrid automobile, the “Semper Vivus”, in which additional gasoline engines supplied the batteries and the wheel hub motors with energy.
Too costly for popular consumption, Lohner utilized the revolutionary drivetrain technology for larger commercial vehicles. Lohner-Werke manufactured rear-drive double-decker buses for Berlin and front-drive fire engines for the cities of Vienna, Frankfurt, and London. Lohner was commissioned to build vehicles for the Austrian emperor, as well as the kings of Norway, Romania, and Sweden. According to a biography by Andreas Stieniczka, the funeral coach for Archduke Franz Ferdinand, whose murder in Sarajevo was the event which sparked off World War I, was manufactured by Lohner-Werke. Over 300 Lohner–Porsche vehicles were sold through 1906.
In addition to custom coachworks, Lohner supported Porsche’s continued racing efforts. Several Austrian land speed records were set, with a top speed eventually achieving 37 mph (60 km/h) with Porsche at the wheel. It was victorious in a number of motorsport events including the Exelberg-Rally in 1901. With both drivetrain engineering excellence in Lohner’s custom coaches and motorsport experience, Porsche won the 1905 Potting Prize as Austria’s most outstanding automotive engineer. In 1906, Porsche was snapped up by Austro-Daimler as chief designer. Jacob Lohner said at the time: “He is very young, but is a man with a big career before him. You will hear of him again.”
In June 1934, Porsche received a contract from Hitler to design a people’s car (or “Volkswagen”), following on from his previous designs such as the 1931 Type 12 car designed for Zündapp. The first two prototypes were completed in 1935. These were followed by several further pre-production batches during 1936 to 1939.
An important contributor to the German war effort during World War II, Ferdinand Porsche was involved in the production of advanced tanks such as the VK 4501 (P), the Elefant (initially called “Ferdinand”) self-propelled gun, and the Panzer VIII Maus super-heavy tank, as well as other weapon systems, including the V-1 flying bomb. Porsche was a member of the Nazi Party and an officer of the Schutzstaffel (SS). He was a recipient of the German National Prize for Art and Science, the SS-Ehrenring and the War Merit Cross.
Porsche was later contracted by Volkswagen for additional consulting work and received a royalty on every Volkswagen Beetle manufactured. This provided Porsche with a comfortable income as more than 20 million Type I were built. In November 1950, Porsche visited the Wolfsburg Volkswagen factory for the first time since the end of World War II. He spent his visit chatting with Volkswagen president Heinrich Nordhoff about the future of VW Beetles, which were already being produced in large numbers.
A few weeks later, Porsche suffered a stroke. He did not fully recover, and died on January 30, 1951.
The Lohner–Porsche’s design was studied by Boeing and NASA to create the Apollo program’s Lunar Roving Vehicle. Many of its design principles were mirrored in the Rover’s design. The series hybrid concept underpins many modern railway locomotives, and interest in series hybrid automobiles is growing rapidly.
Austria Post will release a single stamp designed by David Gruber on January 27 to commemorate Ferdinand Porche and the Lohner-Porsche electric car.
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