Our Third Year Anniversary and a Humorous Look at Gabrielle and her Sister

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September 1st, 2012 (tomorrow, in our neck of the woods) will mark a significant milestone for Horn Matters. Three years ago, John and I decided to merge the content of our two separate blogs into one mega-site and make it public.

John and I have ties that date back to our days at the Eastman School of Music – sometime around 1984.

If you are interested in knowing more, John wrote an article a few years ago that summarizes more about our relationship.

Articles and ‘blogs’

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With our combined content, Horn Matters started out with a pretty huge archive of articles. Currently our total count is over 1,800. (As an aside, take a look at our public stats if you are curious.)

We look at Horn Matters as more than just a typical blog, and when push comes to shove we would prefer to call it an online magazine. While our site platform is rooted in the popular blogging platform WordPress, we aim to go above and beyond.

(Myself, I am not a fan of the word blog since the word begins with the same sound as blah, blegh and a whole host of barfing sound effects.)

Goals and aims

We aim to encourage, inspire, inform, and challenge horn players and to promote the best instrument ever, the French horn with interesting, thoughtful – and sometimes even provocative – articles that relate to our business.

The majority of content at Horn Matters is written with the intent and spirit of it being long-standing, a future resource for horn players worldwide to benefit from. Together, John and I bring a wide range of experiences, tips and stories to Horn Matters and we truly hope to continue doing so for many years to come.

Three years have gone by in a flash. Thanks for reading and for your support.

‘Photoschlopped’: Gabrielle and her sister

And now for something completely different, we have yet another Photoschlopped painting, this time from the late 1500s when royalty ruled in Europe and feudalism was the rule.

If you have ever seen the painting Gabrielle d’Estrées et une de ses sœurs – either at the Louvre museum in Paris, in a book or online – it is something that is not easy to forget.

To our modern eyes it seems way too intimate and personal. And there is that whole pinch maneuver business going on in there.

The full story behind this painting (and its famous ‘pinch’) is tied to royal affairs, a betrothal and an untimely death. After being given a swanky ring as a promise to divorce his current wife and marry her, Gabrielle d’Estrées commissioned this painting as a gift to her betrothed, King Henry IV, to express her gratitude.

The titillating finger-pinch in question is generally thought by scholars today as more of a symbolic, rather than erotic gesture.

Within the painting are a number of symbolic images that represent Gabrielle’s readiness to marry; in essence graduating herself from being a King’s mistress to being a fully empowered Queen. Tragically however, poor Gabrielle died shortly after the completion of the painting and the marriage never happened.

Photoschlopped: Gabrielle in the Workshop

Putting this tragedy aside, let’s look closer at that extra pinch. Sometimes it is indeed the polish on the finished product that gives it its sheen and finished look.

Like a flag on top on the mountain and the cherry on top of an ice cream sundae, it is the pièce de résistance – the final touch of magic that makes the moment special.

Gabrielle d'Estrées et une de ses sœurs

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Be sure to also check out this image on a variety of cool stuff in our CafePress store!

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