Sunday, January 25, 2015

In Memory Of Jose Feghali

R.I.P.  Jose Feghali

I am repeating this post upon hearing from my friend from the Houston Symphony Orchestra, cellist James Denton, of the loss of his dear friend that is named in this post, Jose Feghali.

From the Ft. Worth Star Telegram:  "José Feghali, winner of the 1985 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, was found dead in his Fort Worth home Tuesday.  The Brazilian-born pianist, 53, was discovered at 5 p.m. lying in bed with a gunshot wound to his head, according to a Fort Worth police report. The Tarrant County medical examiner ruled Mr. Feghali’s death a suicide. Close friends said the musician had struggled with depression for years and was in treatment for the disease.  Several said they were shocked and saddened by Mr. Feghali’s death."

May God Bless Jose Feghali and his family and friends and lessen the pain of their loss.

Memorial Concert Update, Jan. 25, 2015:  "This update is in memory of Jose Feghali, as his best friend, James R. Denton, cellist honors him by playing at his memorial concert in Ft. Worth, Texas at the TCU School of Music, who honors their colleague, Jose at 3:00 CT to be broadcast live on You Tube by clicking here.

A Texas Dynamic Duo For Cello And Piano - this post was originally published on June 7, 2014

As you know if you have read my classical music posts I love my Houston Symphony Orchestra and believe they are one of the top symphony orchestra's in the United States of America.  They will even soar  to greater heights in the next concert season that begins in September as the young, dynamic, and exciting conductor, Maestro Andres Orozco-Estrada, takes over as the official director the Houston Symphony Orchestra.  The fetching Mrs. B and I cannot wait until the start of the new season.

Besides the great conductors the Houston Symphony Orchestra has been blessed to have since their inception, they have had these last many years maybe the two best concertmasters in the nation.  For many years Eric Halen has been the HSO concertmaster.  These last couple of years Frank Huang has assumed the role of concertmaster, with Eric right by his side in the violin section.  We love them both.  Also, on the other side of the strings, a great virtuoso and expressive personality on the stage, Brinton Averil Smith, is the HSO brilliant principal cellist.

James Denton - cellist of the HSO
Another great cellist of our orchestra who was born in Ft. Worth, Texas and trained in Houston at Rice University's Shepherd School of Music, is James Denton [who you can find on twitter as @celloJames]


Pianist Jose Feghali
James got to know and has became great friends with Jose Feghali, a Brazilian pianist, who won the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 1985 and is the Artist-in Residence at TCU, which is in James hometown of Ft. Worth.

They played a recital together at the Academy Theatre at the Honolulu Academy of Arts.  From that recital they made a great live CD called "Lives" that featured pieces for cello and piano by Schumann, Beethoven, Debussy, Chopin and Tchaikovsky.  Jose's web site is

The CD "Lives" is about the great friendship of James and Jose and their lives as a cellist and pianist and friends.

Denton and Feghali - The Texas Dynamic Duo
This CD, which I recommend for classical music fans, especially fans of the cello and piano instruments, can be purchased from clicking the I-Tunes link from James Denton's web site. On the I-Tunes review of this CD, I wrote this: "James Denton, cello, provides such a rich, mellow sound, and Feghali's piano is so exquisite and is a perfect combination with the cello in these pieces. I love every piece in this CD, but I especially love the warm, moving piece by Robert Schumann, "Fantasiestucke".  Bravo, for such beautiful music!"

To demonstrate how this dyanmic duo from Texas works so well together, please listen to "Zart Und Mit Ausdruck" from Schumann's "Fantasiestucke".  Fantasiestucke was a set of eight short pieces that the great Romantic composer composed originally for the piano.  Then a delightful piece from Beethoven for cello and piano, his 7 Variations in E-flat Major on the theme, "Bei Mannern" from Mozart's opera "The Magic Flute."

Please turn up the volume and listen to this Texas Dynamic Duo, James Denton, cello and Jose Feghali, piano as they perform live in Honolulu.

Robert Schumann:'Zart Und mit Ausdruck' For Piano and Cello from "Fantasiestucke":

L.V. Beethoven: 7 Variations in E-Flat Major on "Bei Mannern":

Four Year Old Comes To Rescue Of Her Pregnant Mom Having Seizures

Thanks Uma Pemmaraju for this heart warming story
What an amazing heart warming good news story that I just saw from Uma Pemaraju on her Fox News Show on Saturday morning.

A pregnant Mom in Michigan, who suffers from epilepsy, had collapsed after having seizures at her home.  This is when her wonderful intelligent four year old daughter, Calise Manning, called 9-11 and calmly explained the situation to the 9-11 operator.

Help came to her Mom and two days after Calise made that 9-11 call to save her Mom, her mother gave birth to a healthy beautiful baby boy, TJ Manning.

What a great story that Calise will have to tell her baby brother when they both grow up.

Uma Pemmaraju's Story Of Calise Manning On The Fox News Channel, Sat. Jan. 24, 2015:

Sometimes it gets depressing in this country with all that is going on here and around the world, but there is hope yet if there are more intelligent Calise Manning's on the way to help.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Two Best Movies About Classical Music Composers?

There have been some very good movies about the great classical music composers, although not enough, in my opinion.  I have seen movies about Chopin, Robert Schuman, Johannes Brahms, George Gershwin, Mozart and Beethoven.

My top two favorite classical music movies are Amadeus and Immortal Beloved.  Amadeus is a movie about Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Immortal Beloved is about Ludwig Van Beethoven.

Immortal Beloved
While these are my top two favorite composers, that is not the reason I think these are the best two movies. These are just great movies with riveting stories, great music and awesome acting.  I hope if you have not seen these movies, you will consider buying the DVD's.

Even if you are just a casual listener of classical music, I believe you will love these movies. I knew very little about classical music before I saw, on the recommendation by my brother Brad, the movie Amadeus.   My brother had to tell me who Amadeus was as I had no idea.  After seeing that movie, my interest was ignited in finding out all I could about classical music and my life was changed forever, for the better, because of it.  If I can just get one person to read this post and buy either of these DVD's, which might ignite their interest in classical music, then this will have been worth posting.

Here are some famous scenes from each of the movies, I think you will enjoy.  Then enjoy a movement from a piece that is played in each of the movies.  First the adagio movement of Mozart's Serenade in B-Flat Major known as his Gran Partita that is played by the University of  Michigan Symphony Band.  Then the final movement of Beethoven's piano concerto #5, known as "The Emperor" with conductor Kurt Masur and pianist Alfred Brendel. 

Please turn up the volume, play in full screen and enjoy these clips from Amadeus and Immortal Beloved and then two great pieces from the masters Mozart and Beethoven.

Clips from Amadeus on You Tube called Amadeus: Mozart Genius:

The final scene from Immortal Beloved called "The Letter"  [music is from the second movement of Beethoven's "Emperor" piano concerto #5, Adagio un poco mosso]:

W. A. Mozart:  Serenade in B Flat Major, "Gran Partita", movement 3, Adagio:

L.V. Beethoven: Piano Concerto #5 ["The Emperor"], movement 3, Rondo, Allegro ma non troppo:

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Tales Tweet of The Week - January 23, 2015

There may be no more esteemed person to win the Tales tweet of the week, then the winner of this week's coveted honor, the great Michelle Malkin.

Michelle Malkin Wins The Tales Tweet of the Week Honors
Yes, Michelle was able to overcome the Tales strict requirements to even qualify, yet be selected, for the tweet of the week by the Tales selection committe of Wie, Cheatem and Howe.  

Those strict requirements [some say needed to be changed because they are almost impossible to attain] that must be met in order to qualify for the much sought after Tales Tweet of the Week:  It must be a tweet on twitter.

This was a tweet Michelle Malkin made during the president's scintillating State of the Union address.  

Without further ado, here is the Tales Tweet of the Week:

We are all Ruth Bader Ginsburg now.

What we all were doing [or wished we were doing]

In my humble opinion there have been two and only two great truths among the 7 Obama's State of the Union addresses [neither of which were delivered by our dear leader]: 
1. Joe Wilson's  "You lie." 
2. Ruth Bader Ginzberg's "zzzzzzzzzzzzz"