Thursday, May 24, 2018

Oh, Montreal

Sheralyn - some guy - big John - Ebony
Repeat post of our [me and the fetching Mrs. Sheralyn B, along with our daughter Ebony and son-in-law, big John] trip to Montreal in the summer of 2013.

Oh, Montreal

The fetching Mrs. B, our daughter Ebony, son-in-law John and I just returned from a grand time in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  Because a picture can paint a thousand words, and paint them probably better than I can put them on paper, errr on this blog post, I will let the video do most of the talking.

You will see pictures from our arrival at Le Crystal Hotel in Montreal, to scenes from the city and Old Montreal, and a "cruise" boat tour of Old Montreal and finishing with awesome pictures from the Montreal Botanical Gardens, "Jardin Botanique de Montreal".

"Oh, Montreal": a tale of a family's vacation in Montreal, Quebec, Canada as produced and directed by "the Tales".

Cast: Mrs. Sheralyn B as the fetching family leader
           Mr. B aka "Tales" as the blessed husband
           Ebony B-R as the smart and fetching daughter
           John R as the hard working, handsome son-in-law

Music"Oh, Canada" written by Albert D Watson
                "Water Music" by George Frederick Handel
               "Pictures at an Exhibition" by Modest Mussorgsky

Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
                     Old Montreal, Quebec, Canada
                     St. Lawrence River, Fleuve Saint-Laurent, Quebec
                     Jardin Botanique de Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Please turn up the volume and enjoy in full screen mode.

"Oh, Montreal": Our Trip To Montreal, Quebec Canada in July of 2013:


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Juan Arriaga, The Spanish Mozart

Juan Crisostomo Arriaga-The Spanish Mozart
Fifty years to the day of Mozart's birth was the birth of the composer, Juan Crisostomo Arriaga.  Juan Arriaga, born in Bilbao-Biscay, Spain is known as the "Spanish Mozart."  They not only enjoy the same birthday of January 27 but they also were genius child prodigy's and both died at a young age.  Mozart died when he was only 35, while Juan Arriaga died at the extreme young age of 19, 10 days before he was about to become 20.  It is thought he died of tuberculosis. 

It is probably their similar biographies and not their music the reason that Juan Crisostomo Arriaga is known as the Spanish Mozart.  Arriaga's music was more in the Romantic than classical mode.  Arriaga's compositions sound to me more like Felix Mendelssohn and Franz Schubert than like Mozart.

One difference between Mozart and Arriaga is that Mozart was an extremely prolific composer in his young life, while Arriaga, as you would expect dying as a teenager, had some very good but not very many compositions.  God only knows how many great compositions Arriaga could have produced if he had lived more years.

To get a flavor of this genius teenager's music listen to this thoughtful 4th movement of his string quarter in D-Minor; his beautiful solemn Stabat Mater; and his bright playful symphony in D-Major that has 4 movements: 1. Allegro con brio, 2. Andante, 3. Scherzo and  4. Adagio - Allegretto.

Please turn up the volume and enjoy some wonderful music from the Spanish Mozart, Juan Arriaga.

Juan Arriaga: String Quartet #1 in D-minor, 4th movement, Adagio-allegretto:

Juan Arriaga:  Stabat Mater:

Juan Arriaga: Symphony in D-Major:

Monday, May 21, 2018

GOP Must Be Wary Of This Wild Card In The Summer

Looking back at both the Bush [George W.] and the Obama presidency's, there was one factor that plagued both and that affected their [and I think their party's] approval ratings.  Do you remember what it was?  No it wasn't scandals and it wasn't even so much the overall economy.

It was..........gas prices.  I haven't done research, but if I'm remembering right, rising gas prices would almost immediately result in lower approval ratings for both Bush and Obama.  And if there was a lowering of gas prices, their approvals rose a little.   And it wasn't like a leading indicator which might take months for a result politically, it seemed to happen within days of the rising or lowering [especially an extreme movement in prices] of gas prices.

The reason I am saying this I noticed that in the futures market, light crude futures [which I hadn't looked at in a few weeks] have moved over $71.  I am certainly no expert, but if it [oil futures] keeps moving up to the mid 70's or even higher, I think gas could climb up to/or over $3/gallon in the summer.

I am one to think the president, and I said this about president's George W. Bush and Barack Obama, has little to do with the rising or lowering of gas prices...and I feel the same with Donald Trump.  But that doesn't seem to matter to the American people in general.  If the past is any indication, they would take it out on the president and the president's party in lowering approval ratings, and that could be something the GOP must be wary of with the midterm elections coming up this November.

I am not predicting anything, I am certainly no economist or expert in gas prices, I am just putting this out as a possible wild card that no one seems to be talking about, that the GOP must be wary of that could take place over the summer.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Robert, Clara, and Johannes

I was listening to All Classical Portland the other day [April 2017] when they announced there would be a showing of the old time movie classic, "Song of Love", a film about three giants in classical music, Robert Schumann, Clara Wieck, and Johannes Brahms, and how their lives intertwined. 

This film from 1947, starring Katharine Hepburn, took place in Germany around the mid-19th century with the main theme revolving around the love and marriage of Robert Schumann to Clara Wieck, who would become Clara Schumann.  These were two virtuoso pianists and composers who would come in contact and develop a friendship and mentoring with a young and upcoming virtuoso pianist, Johannes Brahms.  Brahms would also become one of the great Romantic Era composers, along with Robert and Clara.  

Robert Schumann [1810-1856]
Clara Wieck Schumann [1819-1896]

Besides a great love affair between Robert and Clara, was a tragic occurrence when Robert Schumann, feeling much pressure and failure [in his own mind] had a mental breakdown. This led Clara to forgo, what could have been an even greater amount, of composing great music, so that she could take care of her beloved Robert. Brahms, who became great friends with Robert and Clara, and who developed a great fondness [and later love] for Clara, also stood by his friend's side in his time of tragedy. Robert Schumann, sadly, could not overcome his mental problems and would go into an asylum, where he would be until his death. After Robert's death, Johannes Brahms would remain in great friendship and love with Clara. 
Johannes Brahms [1833-1897]
Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms are considered two of the greatest composers in the Romantic Era of classical music, and Clara Schumann with some great compositions, especially for the piano, is certainly recognized as one of the best, if not the best, female composers of that era.  

All three had in their compositions some beautiful melodic and many times romantic themes.  Listen to these piano concertos by each to hear the beautiful melodies and wonderful sound.  Also, enjoy the ultra-emotional, Traumerei [from scenes from childhood], by Robert Schumann; the first movement, Allegro Moderato, of Clara Schumann's Piano Trio in G minor; and then the final two movements of Brahms epic Symphony #1 in C minor.

Please turn up the volume and enjoy some beautiful music from these giants from the Romantic Era, Robert, Clara and Johannes. 

Clara Schumann: Piano Concerto in A minor:

Robert Schumann: Piano Concerto in A minor:

Johannes Brahms: Piano Concerto #2 in B Flat Major:

Clara Schumann: Piano Trio in G minor, Movement 1, Allegro moderato:

Robert Schumann: Traumerei:

Johannes Brahms: Symphony #1 in C minor, Movement 3 un poco allegretto, and Movement 4 Adagio-Allegro non troppo