Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Allegro Con Spirito -- You Bet!

Johannes Brahms [1833-1897]
It is almost hard to believe that Johannes Brahms, the great German Romantic composer and pianist, agonized many, many years before he could complete his first symphony.  Brahms let the shadow of Beethoven hang over him knowing his first symphony would be compared to those symphonies of the great master.  Brahms was afraid he couldn't meet those standards of greatness.   When Brahms finally completed his first symphony it was not only compared favorably to Beethoven's symphonies but it was referred to, by some critics, as Beethoven's 10th symphony.

While it took Brahms a long time to complete his first symphony, he was able to complete his next three symphonies in rapid fashion. His four symphonies can all be ranked near the top of the symphonic repertoire.  They are all truly magnificent.

The fourth movement of Brahms second symphony is marked Allegro con spirito: which means fast, lively and played with spirit.  In this video you will see that spirit from this orchestra.  There are times in this movement you almost think the orchestra members are going to come out of their chairs.

I think you will love not just the ultra beautiful music of Brahms, but also the visual.  What a great symphony with an exhilarating climax. The movement starts out calm enough for the first 30 seconds, but then the spirit takes over...or should I say the spirito takes over, you bet!

So, while I usually tell you to turn up the volume and sit back and listen to the music, in this case I am not only asking you to turn up the volume but also play in full screen to visualize the emotions of this great orchestra playing "con spirito".   

Johannes Brahms: Symphony #2 in D Major, Movement 4, Allegro con spirito:

Tales bonusHere is another example of allegro con spirito in this first movement of the great Spanish composer Joaquin Rodrigo's famous and popular, "Concierto de Aranjuez".  This is a unique concerto for guitar and orchestra, and it is beloved by concert fans.  note: Aranjuez is a part of Madrid, Spain so the name of the piece means Concerto from Aranjuez, Madrid. 

Once again, please turn up the volume and enjoy!

Joaquin Rodrigo: "Concierto de Aranjuez" for guitar and orchestra, Movement 1, Allegro con Spirito:

Saturday, June 15, 2019

A Happy Father's Day Classical Music Weekend Special

Tomorrow, Sunday June 16, 2019, is Father's Day.  I, along with my sister Susan, and my brother's Brad and Sandy, honor our Dad.  Our Dad, Pop, passed December 9, 2007.  He was a great Dad.  He was a great man.  He is in our thoughts and will be in our thoughts forever.  Sandy, Susan, Brad and I love you Dad, forever!

Rest in peace sweet Pop 
Together again with Reenie
Happy Father's Day, Pop!

"Oh, my beloved father" is the translation of  "O mio babbino caro", one of the most beloved aria's from Giacomo Puccini's opera "Gianni Schicchi".  This melodic aria may be short in length, but it is long in beauty.

Please turn up the volume and hear one of the most beautiful arias, sung by America's soprano, the legendary and beautiful, Renee Fleming.

Giacomo Puccini: "O Mio Babinno Caro", Renee Fleming - Soprano: 

Now, for this oldie but goodie song [that I am sure my Pop loved] that many [or probably most] of you younger Tales readers may never have heard of, "Oh, My Papa" written by Swiss composer Paul Burkhard and became famous in the English version sung by Eddie Fisher in 1954:

Johann Sebastian Bach
If you had to name the most important musician in the development of music, who has influenced musicians and composers in the Baroque, Classical, Romantic Eras and beyond, it would be the German Baroque musician, organist and composer, Johann Sebastian Bach.  J. S. Bach is the quintessential Baroque composer.  Young children taking music lessons, and especially classical music instructions will almost always begin with ideas and music from the Baroque period of music.  Bach was a very religious man whose music was influenced by his religious upbringing.  He was one of the most prolific composers of all time, and many consider him, because of his great compositions and his influence in the future development of music, the greatest of all the great composers. 

I am featuring J.S. Bach on this Father's Day weekend, because Bach was the father of many children, some of whom became significant musicians and composers.  Bach had a total of 20 children, only 10 of whom survived to become adults.  * [check correction thanks to comment by bassinator in comment section]

J.S. Bach had 7 children with his first wife, Maria Bach, who was his cousin.  When she died Bach married soprano Anna Magdalena Wilcke, with whom Bach had 13 children.

CPE Bach
Two of J.S. Bach's children with his first wife, Maria, had significant musical careers: Wilhelm Friedemann Bach and Carl Phillip Emanuel [CPE] Bach.  With his second wife, Anna Magdalena, three of their children had musical careers: Gottfried Heinrich, Johann Christoph Friedrich and Johann Christian Bach. 

As Susan, Brad, Sandy and I honor our father, and as I wish all dad's a very Happy Father's Day, I also wish A Happy Father's Day to maybe the greatest composer of them all, Johann Sebastian Bach.

Please turn up the volume and enjoy these great pieces by J.S. Bach:  The ultra beautiful "Air", the second movement of Bach's Orchestral Suite #3 in D-Major [transcribed as "Air on a G String"]; The first movement, Allegro Moderato of Brandenberg Concerto #3; the final movement of Brandenberg Concerto #2 in F-Major, Allegro Assai; and Bach's Cantata "Jesus, Joy of Man's Desiring" from BWV 147.

J.S. Bach: Orchestral Suite #3 in D-Major, Movement 2, "Air on a G String":

J.S. Bach: Brandenburg Concerto #3 in G-Major, Movement 1, Allegro Moderato:

J.S. Bach: Brandenburg Concerto #2 in F-Major, Movement 3, Allegro Assai:

J.S. Bach:  Cantata BWV 147, "Jesus, Joy of Man's Desiring":

 A Happy Father's Day to all!

Friday, June 14, 2019

Can This 'Today In Baseball History' Really Be Possible?

 First published 2 years ago:

I was watching the Houston Astros broadcast vs. the Texas Rangers on Wednesday night, June 14, 2017, and they showed a "Today In Baseball History" as they always do. They showed a stat that happened on June 14, 1974 that I find hard to believe.  Nolan Ryan was pitching for the California Angels [now called the LA Angels of Anaheim] against the Boston Red Sox [now still called the Red Sox :-)] and look at this amazing "hard to believe" stat that is circled on the bottom of the following display. 

If this is true, Nolan Ryan [pitching in 13 innings] threw 235 pitches. Two hundred thirty five! Today if a starter would throw 235 pitches in two games, you would have to question if the manager was overworking him.  To throw that many pitches in one game is mind boggling.

Hall of Fame pitcher - now an executive advisor with the Houston Astros - Nolan Ryan

I just have one word for what Nolan Ryan did on this 'today in baseball history':  Wow! 

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Presidential Greatness - Thirty Two Years Ago Today

On this day, June 12, in 1987, President Ronald Reagan made one of the most significant speeches [which included one of the most memorable lines] in presidential history in West Berlin, Germany.  Even if you have heard this audio before and you know exactly the words President Reagan will say, it still gives you chills to anticipate the words and then the cheers from the freedom yearning crowd.

President Ronald Reagan [Feb. 6, 1911-June 5, 2004]
June 12, 1987: President Ronald Reagan speaks at the Brandenberg Gate in West Berlin [excerpt]: 

God Bless President Ronald Reagan!