Saturday, November 18, 2017

Franz Liszt - The Hungarian Pianist Prodigy

As the fetching Mrs. B and I are on another mini-vacation in Lake Charles, LA [will be at Gladys Knight concert in The Golden Nugget] this is a repeat post,  first published in January of 2015, about the Romantic Era virtuoso pianist and composer Franz Liszt.

Franz Liszt [1811-1886]
From an earlier Tales post:  " Franz Liszt, born in Hungary in 1811, was a great pianist and composer in the Romantic era of music. He was considered a child prodigy as he was writing compositions at age 8 and performed in concerts at 9 years of age."

From Liszt bio in Wikipedia:  "Liszt gained renown in Europe during the early nineteenth century for his virtuosic skill as a pianist. He was said by his contemporaries to have been the most technically advanced pianist of his age, and in the 1840s he was considered to be the greatest pianist of all time."

"Liszt wrote transcriptions for piano of a wide variety of music. Indeed, about half of his composing work (approximately 400 out of 800 items) was arrangement of music by others."

"He died in Bayreuth, Germany, on July 31, 1886, at the age of 74, officially as a result of pneumonia...Composer Camille Saint-Saëns, an old friend, whom Liszt had once called "the greatest organist in the world", dedicated his Symphony No. 3 "Organ Symphony" to Liszt; it had premiered in London only a few weeks before his death."

Franz Liszt wrote some very exciting music in my opinion.  Here are a few examples.  His Piano Concerto in E-Flat Major has some exciting virtuoso piano playing.  This concerto that lasts about 18 minutes has 4 movements 1. Allegro maestoso  2. Adagio  3. Allegro vivace-animato  4. Allegro animato. Watch as in the last movement a strong virtuoso performance throughout is really emphasized beginning at around the 17:20 mark until the exciting climax.

Liszt composed 19 "Hungarian Rhapsodies" which were a set of piano pieces based on Hungarian folk themes.  Here we have probably the most famous of those, his Hungarian Rhapsody #2 in C-Sharp minor.

As we stated earlier Franz Liszt transcribed some music for the piano from many of the great composers.  He did so for the great violinist Niccolo Paganini's Etudes [studies].  One of those famous etudes that Liszt transcribed for piano was the Etude #3 in G-Sharp minor known as "La Campanella."  When you are listening as you watch the video of this piece you may say to yourself, oh a nice calm piece.  But check out from about the 3:25 and the amazing excitement begins!

Franz Liszt wrote a set of three pieces for piano entitled "Liebestraume" [Dreams of Love] with his most famous that we have here his Liebestraume #3 in A-Flat Major.  This piece is a very beautiful piece and you may say more beautiful than exciting, so I will just call it excitingly beautiful.  :-)

Please turn up the volume and enjoy some exciting music from the Hungarian prodigy, Franz Liszt.

Franz Liszt: Piano Concerto #1 in E-Flat Major:

Franz Liszt: Hungarian Rhapsody #2 in C-Sharp minor [orchestral version]:

Franz Liszt: "La Campanella" in G-Sharp minor, transcription of Niccolo Paganini's Etude #3:

Franz Liszt: Liebestraume #3 in A-Flat Major:

Thursday, November 16, 2017

A Water Bottle That Goes Around Comes Around

In February of 2013, Senator Marco Rubio gave the Republican response to the State of the Union address. Some people made fun of him for needing a water break [and an awkward reach for the water bottle] during the response.

Marco Rubio reaches for water bottle during 2013 SOTU Republican response:

One of those people making fun of Senator Rubio, was GOP candidate Donald Trump, who got an hilarious kick out of Marco's need for water during the speech.

Here is a tweet on twitter from Donald Trump, the day after the speech:

Donald Trump mocking Marco Rubio in campaign speech for GOP nomination in Feb of 2016:

Ah, yes, "it's Rubio", mocks the Donald.

Well now, what is this we have here?  It looks like Marco Rubio isn't the only one who pauses for water breaks during a speech, and I don't know about you, but this leader looks kind of awkward to me reaching for the water.

Who is this reaching awkwardly for water when giving a speech on Nov. 15, 2017?:

Ah, yes, It's the Donald!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Astros' Lance McCullers Jr Describes Relief After World Series Win

Houston Astros starting pitcher, Lance McCullers, who played a key role in the playoffs in helping the Astros win the 2017 World Series, was interviewed on the Sports Radio 610 Morning Radio show called, MAD Radio, with hosts Mike Meltser and Seth Payne

World Champion Lance McCullers Jr. holding the 2017 World Championship Trophy
It was a fantastic interview and McCullers gave great insight in the Astros season and his personal accomplishments in a very personable way as he always does. He related how there was so much pressure, especially after Hurricane Harvey, that had the Astros playing with and for the people of Houston-hoping to give them a boost and inspiration with a World Series win. That is why when they finally accomplished this great feat, while there was of course, great joy, there was also a great relief he felt. He must have felt like a big weight was lifted of his [and the team's] shoulders.

Here is just a small clip from this interview [that I hope you will listen to all of] where Lance relates the importance the Astros felt for winning it for Houston.

Note: In the interview, the Jose Lance mentions he was honoring was his long time friend, Jose Fernandez, Miami Marlins pitcher who died in a boating accident.

Seth Payne and Mike Meltser Interview With Lance McCullers Jr. [clip] - Nov. 14, 2017:

To hear the entire interview, please click here.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Congratulations On Your Retirement Carlos Beltran

I just posted the following on twitter:  "With millions of fans I say thank you for being an important cog in the Astros 2017 World Championship-I congratulate you on your [almost certain] Hall of Fame 20 year career & wish you the best in retirement."

More importantly than my tweet, let us see what one of Carlos Beltran's teammates from the World Champion Astros, starting pitcher, Justin Verlander, tweeted:

While not a starter on this year's Astros team and mainly appearing on a limited basis as a designated hitter and pinch hitter, Carlos Beltran, along with catcher, Brian McCann, was instrumental in providing the leadership needed for this 2017 team of young superstars to push them over the top. He was like a role model father figure to some, and also gave important information, especially about hitting to many of the young hitters.
Carlos Beltran re-joined the Astros in 2017, helping them to win their first World Championship
While a main cog on the 2017 Astros team, Carlos Beltran was also a member of the Astros in the 2004 playoffs when he put on one of the greatest, if not the greatest, hitting exhibition ever in the Major League Baseball playoff history. From "In the playoffs, Beltran had a performance for the ages. He hit two home runs in Game 5 of the NL Division Series against the Braves, and then hit one homer in each of the first four games of the NLCS against the Cardinals, including the game-winner in Game 4. He hit .435 with eight homers, 14 RBIs, six steals and a .536 on-base percentage in 12 playoffs games for Houston."

Here is the homer that tied Barry Bonds in the 2004 NLCS against the St. Louis Cardinals:

Carlos Beltran, not just a great baseball player, but a great man in the Houston community, especially displayed after the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey and his work for his home country of Puerto Rico after the devastation from Hurricane Maria.  Please read my post: "Julia Morales Emotional Interview With Carlos Beltran" here.

Astros veterans, Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann hug with tears after winning their first World Series Championship in 2017 with the Houston Astros

Carlos Beltran's illustrious career will almost certainly be rewarded with a first ballot Hall of Fame recognition.  There will be no one more deserving.

Congratulations and best wishes for a great well deserved retirement, Carlos Beltran!