Saturday, April 18, 2015

Mister Piano's Beautiful Concerto

Piano virtuoso Garrick Ohlsson
It's symphony weekend again for the fetching Mrs. B and I, and we are really looking forward to hearing our great Houston Symphony Orchestra  perform along with piano virtuoso Garrick Ohlsson, who the Houston Symphony website describes as "a titan among the titans of the piano", one of the most melodically beautiful and expressive concertos in the repertoire, Frederic Chopin's Piano Concerto #1.  This concerto is the feature of the concert program that will be conducted by guest conductor Robert Spano

I have previously called the Romantic Era Polish composer and virtuoso pianist Chopin, Mister Piano, because he may be the most prolific composer of piano music, mostly for the solo piano pieces, and certainly the most prolific composer of melodically beautiful piano compositions, in my unprofessional opinion. 
Mister Piano  1810-1849
Quoting from the Tales post of "Mister Piano":   "This virtuoso of the piano was a master at composing beautiful romantic piano melodies.  While most of the masters were virtuosos in more than one instrument, that is not true with Chopin.  Piano was his instrument.  For that reason Chopin did not compose many pieces that contain orchestral music or even any other instruments.  Chopin composed only 6 pieces that contained other instruments with the piano.  He composed two beautiful piano concertos, and 4 chamber music pieces, 3 for cello and piano and a trio for violin, cello and piano.  Other than those pieces, every other composition of Chopin was for solo piano.  He was prolific in his solo piano compositions with Etudes, Nocturnes, Polonaises, Sonatas, Preludes, Impromptus, Scherzos, Ballades, Mazurkas, and Waltzes.
Yes, it is true that most of the other great masters had many more great orchestral works and chamber pieces than Chopin, but not many of the other masters can come close to the so many beautiful solo piano compositions of Frederick Chopin.  Frederick Chopin is indeed, mister piano."

Chopin's Piano Concerto #1 is truly one of the great and most beautiful of the piano concertos.   This concerto was scored in E-minor with the typical 3 movements for a classical concerto: 1. Allegro Maestoso  2. Romance - Larghetto and  3. Rondo - vivace. 

Please turn up the volume to hear Mister Piano's beautiful piano concerto, that Mrs. B and I will be hearing tonight in Jones Hall.  This You Tube version, thanks to xelarutra, has Zubin Mehta leading the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, with soloist, Evgeny Kissin at the piano. 

Note: One of the more beautiful sections for the piano you will ever hear begins at the 6:50 mark in the first movement and then again in the recapitulation of the first movement at the 17:15 mark. 

Frederic Chopin:  Piano Concerto #1 in E-minor

Now here is the great virtuoso pianist we will hear tonight, Garrick Ohlsson,  performing Chopin's brilliant Polonaise in A-Flat Major.

Federic Chopin: Polonaise in A-Flat Major

Friday, April 17, 2015

Cal Thomas Gives The Quip of The Week

Well, now that Hillary Clinton has put her hat in the ring...or is that her pantsuit in the ring...we will soon be witnessing the main stream media's love affair with her, if they can grudgingly break itself away from their first love, Barack Obama.

Yes, rather than taking the traditional important watchdog role of exposing corruption and critically examining the powerful in government, we are about to witness, I predict [and I'm really going out on a limb here] that the liberal media will soon be in full campaign mode for their guy....err gal, Hillary.

With that in mind political pundit, and Town Hall and Jewish World Review columnist Cal Thomas, who gives these one minute commentaries on the radio that focus on the social and political issues of the day, gave what I consider to be the quip of the week with his commentary I heard on one of the breaks on Bill Bennett's "Morning In America" show on Monday April 13, 2015.

Cal Thomas gave what I believe will prove to be very perceptive of the actions of covering Hillary Clinton's campaign by the liberal main stream media in this one brilliant quip, that Tales will deem to be the quip of the week:

"The liberal media treated Barack Obama like the Messiah, they will treat Hillary Clinton like the Virgin Mary."            

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Rand Paul, Lecturing Conservatives?

About a week ago I published this post entitled "No To Rand Paul".  

I feel even stronger about that after hearing Rand Paul being interviewed by Chuck Todd on his Meet the Press show this last Sunday April 12, 2015.  This seems to have gone below the radar screen but Tales was there to catch it. There was one specific answer Paul gave to one of Chuck Todd's questions that really upset me as it felt like Paul was lecturing to us conservatives.

I felt so strong about it, that I posted the following on my Face Book page on Monday April 14.  Here is what I posted:  

"On the Sunday news shows I heard Rand Paul being interviewed by Chuck Todd on Meet the Press.  He made a comment that brought back memories of Obama's sickening [in the wake of Christians having their heads being cut off by Islamic terrorists]  lecturing Christians with his "lest ye get on your high horse..." statement. 

This time Rand Paul was lecturing conservatives.  Todd brought up some of the opposition to Paul by some conservative groups because Paul was right in there with Obama eager to negotiate with Iran, despite Iran being a sponsor of terrorism and wanting to eliminate Israel as the Jewish state.  Rand Paul said "for all you conservatives who have a knee jerk reaction opposing Obama's negotiations with Iran, you must have forgotten that Ronald Reagan negotiated with the Soviet Union" about nuclear weapons.  

This lecturing to conservatives was bad enough, but it was a totally false analogy in so many ways.  To compare Barack Obama to Ronald Reagan is a joke.  No one doubted Reagan's negotiating through strength, especially the Soviet Union.  No one today respects Obama's negotiating skills because he is doing so from a position of weakness.  

Reagan was willing to walk out on the Soviet Union from the Reykjavik summit.  Does anyone believe Obama will walk out on his buddies in Iran?  I hope I'm proved to be wrong, but I will be surprised if he does.

Also, the Soviet Union already had nuclear weapons.  That is not the situation we have now where we are trying to prevent an evil terrorist regime from developing nuclear weapons to use against [using  Iran leaders own words] "the little Satan" Israel and "the big Satan" America.  

While Gorbachev and the Soviets were far from beacons of democracy, Reagan was at least dealing with sane people who I think most pundits would say were not anxious for a nuclear war.  Does anyone doubt that if Iran develops nuclear weapons they won't have any reluctance to use them, especially against Israel? 

Also, while I am not discounting the evilness of the Soviet Union, I don't believe they ever threatened to wipe Israel off the map.  When you have a country in Iran that wants to do exactly that, that is a very important distinction that Rand Paul doesn't much seem to understand [at best] or doesn't worry about [at worst]. 

We conservatives get enough lecturing from Obama, we don't need any more lecturing from someone who is supposedly on our team."

Was this Rand Paul's "Lest you conservatives get on your high horse" statement?
I guess that is why I am a conservative and not a libertarian.  On economic issues, libertarians are mostly in line with conservatives and have some good ideas many of which I agree with.  But on foreign policy and national security issues, libertarians are far from conservative in my opinion.  I also don't like their tendency to do what Rand Paul did when talking with Chuck Todd, that is to lecture conservatives.  

So, I must say Rand Paul, no.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Yom Hashoah - Holocaust Remembrance Day

Lee Wunsch
Many thanks to Lee Wunsch the long time President and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston [and true mensch] who reminded with this post on Face Book, that this evening, Wed. April 15, 2015, begins Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Yom Hashoah - Holocaust Remembrance Day begins this evening.     Share this so the world will never forget.

From the Hebcal web site:
"Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day"), known colloquially in Israel and abroad as Yom HaShoah (יום השואה) and in English as Holocaust Remembrance Day, or Holocaust Day, is observed as Israel's day of commemoration for the approximately six million Jews and five million others who perished in the Holocaust as a result of the actions carried out by Nazi Germany and its accessories, and for the Jewish resistance in that period."

"It was inaugurated on 1953, anchored by a law signed by the Prime Minister of Israel David Ben-Gurion and the President of Israel Yitzhak Ben-Zvi."

Today it will be remembered not just in Israel but in America and around the world. 

In remembrance of the victims of that evil, here is I think an appropriate piece by the great twentieth century American composer Samuel Barber, his moving Adagio For Strings. This video on You Tube thanks to chpnitz, was played in the London's BBC Proms annual classical music event in 2001 in honor for the victims of the attack on America on 9-11, soon after that evil. This version was performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra, presided over by American conductor, Leonard Slatkin.