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Wednesday, November 30 at 1 p.m.

Bach has been heralded as ‘the supreme genius of the late Baroque.” Masterpieces have flowed from his pen in almost every musical form of the day. Amongst them is “The Christmas Oratorio,” one of his most popular choral works. It relates the story of the nativity and the events which unfolded during the weeks afterwards. “The Christmas Oratorio” abounds in melodic arias and choruses, all underlined by a rich sounding orchestra featuring high trumpets and tympani. Jeffrey Engel will present excerpts from the oratorio, one of the few great musical works devoted to the Christmas holiday season, and relate why it and all of the master’s orchestral and choral music languished in obscurity for decades after his death.

Jeffrey Engel, adjunct professor at the University of Connecticut in Torrington, is a music historian and orchestral cellist who trained in Paris and Austria before returning to the U.S. to teach. He was selected as one of the 50 most influential people in Litchfield County, Connecticut by Litchfield Magazine in 2010.

poplawskiSaturday, November 5th at 1:30 p.m.
The Essex Library will welcome theoretical physicist Nikodem Poplawski for an illustrated talk on black holes. Black holes are regions of space from which nothing, not even light, can escape because gravity is too strong. They form from the most massive stars or at the centers of galaxies. When the contracting matter in a black hole reaches extremely high densities, the quantum mechanical property of elementary particles called spin turns gravitational attraction into repulsion (torsion). The matter stops collapsing, undergoes a bounce like a compressed spring, and starts rapidly expanding. Extremely strong gravitational forces at the bounce cause an intense particle production, increasing the mass inside a black hole by many orders of magnitude. The region on the other side of the black hole’s event horizon becomes a new, growing universe. Accordingly, our own Universe may be the interior of a black hole existing in another universe, with the Big Bang being replaced by a Big Bounce. Forbes Magazine has called Dr. Poplawski a potential future Einstein for his theory that every black hole is a doorway to another universe, one of the top 10 discoveries of 2010. Dr. Poplawski has appeared on television’s Discovery Channel and Science Channel.

Click here for a a more in-depth explanation of black holes.

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Co-Sponsored by the Essex Land Trust

Wednesday, October 26th at 7 p.m. in The Cube at Centerbrook Architects, 67 Main St., Centerbrook

We’re honored to both partner with the Essex Land trust and welcome author Richard Conniff whose latest book is The House Of lost Worlds: Dinosaurs, Dynasties, and The Story of Life on Earth, (Yale, 2016). Conniff is a National Magazine Award-winning writer for Smithsonian, The Atlantic, National Geographic, and other publications, and a past Guggenheim Fellow. His other books include: The Species Seekers; Swimming with Piranhas at Feeding Time; The Natural History of the Rich; and The Ape in the Corner Office. He has been a frequent commentator on NPR’s Marketplace, and is a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times. He has written and presented television shows for the National Geographic Channel, TBS, and the BBC, among others.

Among the many comments praising House Of Lost Worlds: “What a rich history this book tells, and with such enthusiasm, humor, and attention to the oddest details! Richard Conniff makes you want to dive into the collections that have been accumulating for 150 years at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, gathered with loving scholarly attention, transforming our knowledge of the natural world and the human race.”-Frans de Waal, author of Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?

Copies of The House of Lost Worlds will be available for purchase and signing. Coincidentally, October 26 is the 150th anniversary of the Peabody Museum. There will be a small celebration with refreshments.

For a preview of Wednesday’s fun, here’s a link to an episode of Colin McEnroe’s Science Hour on WNPR with Richard Conniff talking about the history of paleontology: http://wnpr.org/post/live-tape-peabody-0

 

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Thursday, September 29th at 7 p.m. at the Essex Library

We’re honored to welcome back Jim Benn in celebration of the release of his 11th Billy Boyle mystery that Lee Child declares “is a must-read series.” Publishers Weekly says of Blue Madonna: “The suspenseful story line, set on the eve of the Normandy invasion in 1944, will keep readers turning the pages… Benn movingly depicts Nazi cruelties that Boyle and his comrades witness.” Attendees will hear about fascinating details from the real history in the book’s plotlines and more about the upcoming books in the Billy Boyle series.

Benn, a resident of Hadlyme, CT, worked in the library and information technology field for more than thirty-five years before he started writing full-time. One lesson he says that’s helped him greatly as an author is a quote from Oscar Wilde: “The art of writing is the art of applying the seat of one’s pants to a chair.” Copies of his books will be available for purchase and signing.

wantaposterFriday, September 23 at 7 p.m. at Centerbrook Architects, 67 Main St. in Centerbrook
What do a former Vermont residence of a Phish band member, a 96-foot custom motor yacht, a loft inspired by the relationship between Judaic Mysticism and Quantum Mechanics, law offices using strategies similar to those of architect/artist Gordon Matta-Clark (with a bit of the “Terminator” thrown in) and a penthouse combination in “one of the 10 most haunted buildings in New York” have in common?  The answer is New York-based architect Stephen Wanta, who will begin the ninth year of the Library’s Architecture Lecture Series on Friday, September 23 at 7 p.m. in The Cube at Centerbrook Architects, 67 Main St. in Centerbrook. This program is free and open to all. There is parking behind the office and also at Spencer’s Corner.

Among Mr. Wanta’s commercial projects are film and sound production facilities, restaurants, numerous private law offices, and showrooms and trade show exhibition booths for the home furnishings industry. The firm has also designed several museum stores, their pop-up locations and retail outlets. Mr. Wanta has designed and executed well over 100 residential projects with budgets from less than $100,000 to over $5 million in New York City, with a number of others across the country and in Europe.  The firm is just completing its second long-range motor yacht project; built in Xiamen China and commissioned in Florida.

Stephen Wanta received his Bachelor of Architecture Degree from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1980 where he received the Reynolds Aluminum School Prize in 1979 and 1980 and The American Institute of Architects Certificate of Merit. He has worked at the offices of Machado & Silvetti, Rafael Vinoly Architects, and at Peter Marino Architect and Associates. Mr. Wanta has taught and lectured at a number of schools, including Columbia University, the Rhode Island School of Design, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Please call the Essex Library to register or for more information at (860) 767-1560.

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Friday, June 10 at 7 p.m. to be held at Centerbrook Architects, 67 Main St. Centerbrook

Novelist, essayist, humorist, critic, magazine editor and memoirist, Christopher Buckley, whose books have been translated into sixteen foreign languages will chat with former New York Times Book Review Editor Sam Tanenhaus about his latest novel, The Relic Master. Buckley has worked as a merchant seaman and White House speechwriter. He has written for many newspapers and magazines and has lectured in over 70 cities around the world. The Seattle Times has called Christopher Buckley “America’s greatest living political satirist.” Christian Science Monitor says Buckley “is the Nation’s best humor novelist.” Tom Wolfe says Buckley’s “one of the funniest writers in the English language.” He was awarded the Thurber Prize for American Humor and the Washington Irving Medal for Literary Excellence. Sam Tanenhaus is currently writing a biography of Christopher Buckley’s father, William F. Buckley, Jr. Seating is limited, please call the Library to register.

ramstadtrollstigenTuesday, May 17 at 7 p.m. to be held at Centerbrook Architects 67 Main St. in Centerbrook

We are very proud to present acclaimed architect Reiulf Ramstad at Centerbrook’s office on May 17th at 7 pm. Ramstad’s firm, Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter, has earned an international reputation for boldly simple architecture that strongly connects to its Scandinavian context and landscape.

Mr. Ramstad’s Oslo-based firm achieved notoriety for its design of the Trollstigen Visitor Centre, in Møre of Romsdal, Norway. Completed in 2012, this facility is one of the earliest and largest structures among the the now-famous Norwegian Tourist Routes. Set in a stunning natural environment, it exemplifies how the deep understanding of a place can lead to innovative modern architecture. The firm has gone on to produce a wide range of pioneering projects that have attracted international accolades, including the Architizer A+Awards Firm of the Year in 2015.

Mr. Ramstad earned professorship from The Oslo School of Architecture and was a regular thesis advisor and juror. Recognized professionally as a board member of the National Association of Norwegian Architects, he has served on juries for domestic and international architectural competitions. In recent years, following awards and publicity of his firm’s projects, he has lectured around the world. He will receive an Honorary Fellowship into the American Institute of Architects’ College of Fellows at the AIA National Convention in Philadelphia this May.

The lecture will be held at Centerbrook’s office, located at 67 Main Street in Centerbrook, Connecticut. Space is limited, so please call the Essex Library at (860) 767-1560 to register.

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Sunday, April 3 at 1 p.m. at the Essex Town Hall

The possibilities are endless with container gardening!  The gardener’s choices include everything from the container to the plants, and experience is essential when making decisions.  Barb has been creating container gardens both at home and at White Flower Farm for over 20 years, and no one knows more about which plants are tried and true and which are promising new introductions. Current trends in container gardening will be covered, so the audience can be sure their creations will be fashionable! Heartfelt thanks to the Essex Garden Club for co-sponsoring this program!

Nursery Manager Barbara Pierson has been with White Flower Farm for 17 years. A graduate of Cornell University, with a degree in floriculture and ornamental horticulture, Barb developed a passion for plants at an early age at her parents’ nursery. She’s now a frequent guest on national and local radio and television, and interviewed as a gardening expert by national publications.

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Sunday, March 20 at 2 p.m.

Susan Strecker’s debut novel, Night Blindness was released by Thomas Dunne Books in 2014 and garnered rave reviews: “Strecker builds fine portraits.” ―Kirkus Reviews; “the characters will pull you in.” ―Booklist; “a powerful beginning and characters who are easy to connect with.” ―Library Journal. Nowhere Girl, Strecker’s next novel with Thomas Dunne Books, seems destined to make her a household name for thriller readers who enjoy strongly-detailed characters and page-turning plotlines. Kirkus Reviews praised Nowhere Girl as “compulsively readable.” Join John Valeri, Hartford Books Examiner, in a conversation with Strecker about her latest psychological thriller. Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing. Buy your copy ahead of time for $19 at the Library, beginning March 1. Refreshments will be served. This program is free and open to all.

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5 Thursdays, 6:30 p.m. March 17, 24, 31, April 7 & 14

We’re very honored to welcome back Prof. Timlin; his seminars have been unanimous crowd pleasers. This seminar will explore the poetry of the 19th century’s two greatest American poets. Together, Whitman and Dickinson created an original American poetic tradition as distinct from Britain and Europe’s traditions. They are two of the most remarkably original poets whose influence still resonates deeply with today’s poets around the world.