John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) was a prolific artist in both oils and watercolours. He was particularly sought after as a society portrait-painter in Britain and America.
He was born in Italy to American parents, and grew up sharing their nomadic European lifestyle. Following art studies in Paris, Sargent moved to London in 1886, having been urged to do so by his friend, the novelist Henry James.
After a highly successful period as a portrait painter, he closed his London studio in 1907 and subsequently concentrated on architectural subjects and landscapes.
The Tatler was originally a literary and society journal founded in 1709. It published news and gossip from the London coffeehouses. This magazine only survived for two years, but the name Tatler was re-used on several occasions.
The Tatler in existence today was founded by Clement Shorter in 1901. At various times during the 20th century, it has been known as The Tatler and Bystander, and London Life. Today, it is known simply as Tatler; it is published monthly and concentrates on society events, fashion and lifestyle.
Click here to see a recent Tatler cover.
When performing on stage, he is renowned for his sinuous dancing, and his characteristic raised arm: sometimes held aloft; sometimes used to stab the air to the beat of the music.
When the bonny blade carouses,
Pockets full, and spirits high -
What are acres? What are houses?
Only dirt, or wet and dry.
Here blade means dashing young man, and Nick is, of course, referring to Toby.
Spandau Ballet are a British band which formed in the late 1970s, disbanded in 1990, and re-formed in 2009. Along with bands such as Ultravox and Duran Duran, they are classified as part of the New Romantic movement in popular music.
In 1983 Spandau Ballet topped the British charts with their single 'True'.
Click here to listen to 'True' on Spotify.
Giovanni Battista Moroni (c.1522-1578) was an Italian painter of the Late Renaissance period. He is particularly renowned for his portraits of the nobility and clergy, and is considered one of the most accomplished portrait painters of the 16th century.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) was a French impressionist painter. The female nude was one of his most popular subjects. He is also noted for his sensitive depictions of people in emotionally intimate situations.
Paul Joseph Goebbels (1897-1945) was Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany between 1933 and 1945. He is especially infamous for the intensity and virulence of his anti-semitism.
Goebbels was responsible for master-minding the Nazi book-burning campaigns of 1933, the 1938 Kristallnacht (a night of sustained attacks against Jews, Jewish business premises and synagogues), and the production of anti-semitic films.
Both Goebbels and his family were with Hitler in his bunker in Berlin when he committed suicide on April 30th 1945. The following day Goebbels and his wife Magda arranged for their 6 young children to be killed before committing suicide themselves.
In 1933, Hitler was appointed Germany's Reichskanzler (Chancellor of the Reich), and in 1934, he adopted the title Führer und Reichskanzler (Leader and Chancellor of the Reich).
The Final Solution (Die Endlösung) was the euphemism used by German Nazi leaders for their plans to annihilate the Jewish people during World War II.
Heinrich Himmler is believed to have been mainly responsible for devising the annihilation programmes, and Adolf Hitler is known to have used the words, die Endlösung der Judenfrage ('the final solution of the Jewish question'). However, there is some disagreement as to Hitler's precise role in the planning and authorisation of the programmes.
By the end of World War II, approximately 6 million Jews throughout the German-occupied territories had been murdered by the Nazi regime. This mass genocide is generally referred to as the Holocaust.
Christ Church is one of the colleges of the University of Oxford. It was known originally as the House of Christ, and is still sometimes referred to as The House.
Traditionally, Christ Church has had strong links with the public schools Eton and Westminster. Of the 19 British Prime Ministers who attended Eton, 13 went to Oxford University, and of these, 9 were students at Christ Church. Altogether, 27 British Prime Ministers were educated at Oxford, and of these, 14 were students at Christ Church. (Some sources say that 26 were educated at Oxford, 13 at Christ Church).
One notable feature of Christ Church is the Great Quadrangle (sometimes known as Tom Quad). Its gatehouse is home to the bell known as Great Tom, which is rung 101 times every evening at 9.00 p.m. Buildings of architectural interest belonging to the college include Christ Church Cathedral, the Meadow Building, and Christ Church Library.
Victory is a novel by Joseph Conrad which is sometimes described as a psychological thriller. It was first published in 1915, and over the years has received a mixed reception from critics and readers.
The novel has been made into a film on several occasions (1919, 1930, 1940, and 1995).
The Battle of Jutland, which took place over two days in 1916, was one of the very few naval battles of the First World War.
The picture below shows the British battlecruiser HMS Queen Mary on fire following an explosion; 1,266 crew members were killed in the incident, and only 20 were rescued.
His eldest son was Herbert von Bismarck (1849-1904), a politician who served as Germany's Foreign Secretary between 1886 and 1890.
Many of its members have links with the Florida State University College of Music.
Rudolf Kothner appears to be a fictional creation.
Listen here to Ein Heldenleben on Spotify.
'The Hero's Works of Peace' (Des Helden Friedenswerke), which is referred to in the next but one paragraph, is the fifth movement of Ein Heldenleben.
The Austrian-born Herbert von Karajan (1908-1989) was at the helm between 1954 and 1989. In the brief video clip below, he is conducting Richard Strauss's Ein Heldenleben.
The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra is a symphony orchestra based at the Concertgebouw concert hall in Amsterdam in the Netherlands. The title Royal was conferred on the orchestra in 1988 by Queen Beatrix.
It was founded in 1888, since when it has had seven principal conductors, including Bernard Haitink between 1961 and 1988.
Bernard Haitink was born in Amsterdam in 1929 and studied music at the city's conservatoire. He was an orchestral violinist before beginning a career as a conductor in 1954.
In the clip below, Haitink is conducting the Royal Concertgebouw in the finale of Strauss's Alpensinfonie.
Listen here to Strauss's Symphony No.2 on Spotify.
Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy which deals with the nature of existence or being. It involves speculative and abstract reasoning about matters which are not amenable to scientific explanation.
Methaphysical, therefore, is the adjective that describes reasoning of this type; it may also incorporate a sense of the visionary and the supernatural.
Richard Wagner (1813-1883) was a highly influential German composer and conductor. He is particularly well-known and admired for his thirteen operas which include The Flying Dutchman (Der fliegende Holländer), Tannhäuser, Lohengrin, Tristan and Isolde, The Mastersingers of Nuremberg (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg), and the 4-opera cycle known as The Ring of the Nibelung (Der Ring des Nibelungen).
Listen here to the 'Sailors Chorus' from Wagner's The Flying Dutchman on Spotify.
Listen here to the 'Bridal Chorus' from Wagner's Lohengrin on Spotify.
Caracas is the capital city of Venezuela in South America.
Radio Caracas Radio (RCR) is a Venezuelan radio station founded in 1930 with the name Broadcasting Caracas.
The Venezuela Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1929. It is based at the Ríos Reyna concert hall in Caracas.
Click here to listen to Irina Kircher and the Venezuela Symphony Orchestra on Spotify, playing Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez for guitar and orchestra.
Boy George was born George Alan O'Dowd in 1961 in Kent, southeast England.
Click here to listen to Culture Club's 1982 hit single Do You Really Want to Hurt Me on Spotify.
There is an American heavy metal band called Collision which formed in 1979. However, it did not become well-known until the early 90s, so is unlikely to be the band referred to here.
Mambo is a musical genre and dance style which originated in Cuba, and was popularised by Cuban musicians in the U.S.A. and Mexico.
Daddy Mambo appears to be a fictional musician.
George Eliot is the pen name of Mary Anne Evans (1819-1880), the renowned Victorian novelist.
She wrote seven novels, including Adam Bede (1859), The Mill on the Floss (1860), Silas Marner (1861), Middlemarch (1871-72) and Daniel Deronda (1876).