Saturday, August 17, 2019

This Robbery Lends To Beautiful Music

Repeat post from Oct. of 2016

I'd like to go over again the technique of rubato, which was developed in the Romantic era of music.  Rubato means to "rob time".  I remember my daughter's classical music piano teacher when teaching the technique of rubato, saying, "remember, when you rob, you must give back."

The technique of rubato occurs when the soloist or the orchestra delays the timed playing of a note as written on the score.  It can be very subtle [with a very short delay], or very pronounced.  Either subtly or defined, this technique of delaying the playing of the note adds so much to the feeling and beauty of the music.  When the note is delayed it adds to the listeners anticipation; and when it is finally played it emphasizes that note in a beautiful way. While you might not recognize every time a note is delayed from the written score, you will certainly be able to hear that the piece is played with such great feeling by the artist - and that is helped by the effect from the technique of rubato.

Rubato is not noted by the composer.  It is up to the soloist or the conductor of the entire symphony to determine when it is used, and for how long the delay of the note will be. Many times rubato will be played at the end of a phrase.  Sometimes you will hear a certain phrase that is played as written, and then when that same phrase in the piece is repeated, rubato will be used the time it is repeated.  Then the listener, remembering how the phrase was played at first, will hear a distinct delay when rubato is used for that same phrase...and it will add to the beauty of the hearing.

When you hear rubato in a piece, you are most likely hearing a piece from the Romantic era of music.  No composer's music lends itself to the technique of rubato as much as the quintessential  Romantic composer, Frederic Chopin.
Frederic Chopin [1810 - 1849]
Lets see if you can determine when rubato is used in these beautiful piano pieces [4 by Chopin, 1 by Grieg, and 1 by Robert Schumann].  Some of the rubato is very subtle, so don't worry if you don't pick it all up. 

Please turn up the volume and enjoy some beautiful piano music from these great pieces from the Romantic Era of classical music. 

NoteIn the final piece by Robert Schumann, because there is no break between the 2nd and final movement [only a bridge] I chose this video that has the 2nd and 3rd movement - even though it is the second movement that will contain most of the rubato.  And the 3rd movement is so great, I wanted you to enjoy that one too.  :-)

Chopin: Nocturne in B Flat minor, Opus 9 No. 1:

 Chopin: Nocturne in E Flat Major, Opus 9 No. 2:

Chopin: Nocturne in B Major, Op 9 No. 3:

Chopin: Piano Concerto #2 in F minor, Mov. 2, Larghetto:

Edvard Grieg: Piano Concerto in A-minor, Movement 2, Adagio:

Robert Schumann: Piano Concerto in A minor, Movement 2, Intermezzo [Andantino Grazioso], 3rd movement, Allegro Vivace:

Friday, August 16, 2019

Icelanders Show Pride In Their Country After Loss

 Post first published in July of 2016.

A 100-1 underdog at the soccer [or as the rest of the world calls it football] EURO 2016 tournament, Iceland incredibly made it all the way to the quarterfinals by defeating heavily favored England.

While they lost in those quarterfinals to France, 5-2, a match viewed by 99% of the television viewers in Iceland, that didn't deter the pride they had for their country.  As the ESPN announcer noted, Iceland was celebrating like Cleveland did after they won the NBA Championship after they finally ended more than a half century long drought of pro-championships in that city.
Iceland celebrates their country after 2016 Euro quarterfinals loss
Watch the celebration in Reykjavik, Iceland, July 3, 2016 ... after they had just LOST:

Congratulations for the pride you show in your country Icelanders!

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Let's Be Franck

Cesar Franck [1822 - 1890]
Cesar Franck, born in Liege, Belgium, lived and worked most of his life in Paris, France.  He was a pianist, organist, music teacher and composer in the late Romantic era of music.  While not a prolific composer he did compose some grand pieces, especially those including the piano and organ.   

From Wikipedia:  "Many of Franck's works employ the "cyclic form", a method aspiring to achieve unity across multiple movements.  This may be achieved by reminiscence, or recall, of an earlier thematic material into a later movement..."  "In 1858 he became organist at Sainte-Clotilde, a position he retained for the rest of his life."

One of Franck's most well known pieces is his Violin Sonata [Sonata for Violin and Piano] in A-Major.  I love the final [fourth] movement of the piece.  This movement, scored Allegretto poco mosso, has a warm, happy mesmerizing character.  It is a great finale to this violin Sonata in A-Major.

Another popular piece from Cesar Franck and the most famous of his orchestral works is his Symphony in D-minor.  The Symphony in D-minor would be the only symphony Franck would compose.  While he composed only one, it is a good one.  This is written in three movements [instead of the usual four movements]: 1. Lento-Allegro ma non troppo; 2. Allegretto [at 18:37 in the second video below]; and 3. Allegro non troppo, [at 28:16 of the video below], that has a bold upbeat theme with a triumphant finale. 

Franck's organ works, especially his Trois Chorals, are some great stirring pieces written for the organ.  Sit back and experience this wonderful sound from the organ in his virtuosic, Choral 3 in A minor. 

So, on this Tales Classical Weekend we turn Franck - Cesar that is.

Please turn up the volume and enjoy three of the favorite pieces from this great Belgian/French Romantic composer.

Cesar Franck: Sonata for Violin and Piano in A-Major, Movement 4, Allegretto poco mosso:

Cesar Franck: Symphony in D-minor:

Cesar Franck: Choral #3 in A minor for organ:

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Congratulations 'Once Again' To Simone Biles!

Simone Biles, the awesome Olympic Champion has done it again, performing another blockbuster gymnastic feat that I'm sure will be named after her.  

Who in the future will be able to perform the "Biles triple twist double flip". 

This From Fox News:  "As she won her sixth U.S. women's gymnastics title Sunday [August 11, 2019], Simone Biles hit yet another historic milestone — this time, during her floor routine.  Biles, 22, performed a stunning triple-twisting double-flip during the final night of the Women's Gymnastics Championship in Kansas City, Mo."

Wow!  Congratulations, once again, Simone Biles!

Because of this update, I repeat this post I did almost 3 years ago to the day.

Congratulations to Spring [Houston], Texas' Simone Biles for becoming a four time Gold Medal winner [to go along with a silver medal] in the 2016 Olympics and proving herself to be the greatest gymnast in the world today!

Four time Gold Medalist - Three time World Champion - and the greatest gymnast in the world today: Simone Biles  can we now say the GOAT: Greatest of All Time
Simone Biles today [August 16, 2016] has just won the Gold Medal in the women's floor exercise to go along with her gold medals in the women's vault, women's individual all-around and women's team all around. Simone also won the Silver Medal in the women's beam. 

Brava, brava to this great American champion - Simone Biles!  You have made Houston and America proud with your awesome world class achievement!
The following is a post I published on July 5, 2016 of Simon Biles unique way of throwing out the first pitch at a Houston Astros baseball game for Independence Day.  She was a world champion gymnast before this Olympics and now she is a four time Gold Medal winner in the 2016 Olympics.  Brava-Simone Biles!  A great American who has made Houston and America proud!

July 5, 2016: I Bet You've Never Seen A First Pitch Like This:

In major league baseball stadiums all over the United States [and Toronto in Canada] they will have an honorary person throw out "the first pitch."   At Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros, they had numerous people throw out the first pitch on Monday, in celebration of America's Independence Day.  They had a  couple of our great heroes serving in the military throw out the first pitch.  And then had an Olympic hopeful, a world champion women's artistic gymnast from Spring, Texas [just outside of Houston], Simone Biles also throw out the first pitch. 

Minute Maid Park home of the Houston Astros
When you see how she threw it, or I should say how she wound up to throw it, you will see something I bet you have never seen before in all of the first pitches ever thrown.  

Simone Biles throwing out the first pitch at Minute Maid Park on Monday, July 4, 2016:

That was Astros on the field reporter, Julia Morales, interviewing Simone Biles. 

Alan Ashby former Houston Astros catcher and current TV broadcaster for the Astros, said jokingly, it was good there weren't runners on base, she would have been called for a balk.