Saturday, April 21, 2018

Great Melodies In Classical Music [Part 1]

I am always reluctant in doing a musical post like this in picking the top pieces in any category as I know I will always forget so many obvious pieces, and I will rightfully hear from my loyal readers, why didn't you choose this piece or that piece.  :-)  

Classical music has plentiful beautiful melodies
In these next two weeks I will dive into danger by trying to pick the top 20 pieces with beautiful melodies [or top 20 melodies].  This will be in contrast with the greatest pieces of classical music, as many of those you will not see on this list-this only has to do with melodies.  For example if I were to do a post on the greatest classical pieces, I would have Beethoven's 9th symphony as #1.  It does not show up on this list as do not many of the other great classical music works. This is only about beautiful melodies.  So, my goal is not for you to say, "that is a great piece", but rather, "that has a beautiful melody in it."  

Also, I have limited my list to just instrumental works [symphonies, concertos, sonatas, chamber music] because there are so many great beautiful melodic arias from the operatic genre that it would squeeze out some instrumental only pieces. That is why you will not see a beautiful melodic aria like "O' mio babino caro" in my selections.

It took me a while to do this, as I make a list, I keep making changes and also keep changing the order.  But I must finally come up with a final top 20, and here they are.

This week I will give choices 11-20 [in reverse order] and next week on the Tales classical music weekend I will give choices 1-10. The list will include melodies from the Baroque, Classical and Romantic Eras of classical music. 

Without further ado, the Tales picks of top beautiful melodies are included in the following pieces [11-20]:  

#20  W.A. Mozart: Piano Concerto #23 in A Major, Movement 2, Adagio:

#19  Johann Strauss II: The Blue Danube Waltz:

#18  Johannes Brahms: Variations on a theme by Haydn, "Theme, Chorale St. Antoni", Andante:

#17  Felix Mendelssohn: Hebrides Overture [Fingal's Cave]:

#16  George Bizet: Carmen Suite #2, Danse Boheme:

#15  J.S. Bach:  Air on the G-String:

#14  Robert Schumann:  Scenes From Childhood, "Traumerei": note; this was Vladimir Horowitz concert's return home to Russia, in Moscow in 1986

#13  Antonin Dvorak: Serenade for Strings in E Major, Movement 1, Moderato:

#12  Beethoven: "Moonlight" Sonata in C# minor, Movement 1, Adagio sostenuto:

#11  Brahms Violin Concerto in D Major, Movement 2, Adagio:

I hope you enjoyed the beautiful melodies in these Saturday will be the Tales top 10!

Friday, April 20, 2018

On Guard Until The End

One of the duties of the Secret Service, authorized by law, is to protect "Former Presidents and their spouses for their lifetimes."

The Secret Service detail who protected former First Lady and First Mom, Barbara Bush, many for decades, admired and loved her.  How do I know that? Here is a picture of the St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston where Mrs. Bush will lie in repose for public viewing on Friday April 20. The Secret Service detail refuse to leave Mrs. Bush's side until she is buried on Saturday April 21, 2018.

I don't know about you, but that picture brought tears to my eyes, as did this wonderful touching cartoon of Barbara Bush in heaven being reunited with her daughter Robin, who died of leukemia at age 3.  Barbara Bush will be buried right next to her beloved Robin.

Thanks for PBS News hour for this You Tube video of president George W. Bush speaking of his Mom in the final days of her life:

May God Bless Barbara Bush and the entire family!

Rest in Peace Barbara Bush!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Blowin' In The ... Concert Hall

One of my favorite genres from classical music is the concerto.  I love all types of concertos, including cello, clarinet, flute, oboe, etc.  My two favorite instruments I like to see as solos performing in a concerto with the Houston Symphony Orchestra are the piano and violin.  

Today I'd like to focus on the trumpet and the horn concertos.  I think the majority of horn and trumpet concertos were composed in the Baroque and early classical music period.  They are similar in form with three movements, usually fast, slow, fast, and most of the movements are in sonata or rondo form. Also, it seems like most trumpet and horn concertos have a fun, playful character
French Horn


I have three great horn and trumpet concertos that are all from the Classical Era, that all have the characteristics I named above.  W. A. Mozart's Horn Concerto #4, Franz Joseph Haydn's trumpet concerto, and Johann Nepomuk Hummel's trumpet concerto.  All of these concertos are in E-Flat Major.

Mozart's horn concerto #4 has three movements:  1. Allegro Moderato  2. Romance - Andante and 3. Rondo - Allegro Vivace.   I really love the playful exciting third movement.  

Papa Haydn's trumpet concerto in E-Flat Major may be the most recognized and played trumpet concerto's of all.  I, along with most classical music fans, love this concerto.  Haydn's concerto has three movements:  1. Allegro  2. Andante and 3. Allegro - Rondo. 

Hummel's trumpet concerto is a lively fun concerto.  While I love the Haydn concerto, the Hummel is my favorite trumpet concerto of all.  It also has the typical three movements:  1. Allegro con spirito  2. Andante and then with the just the slightest of pauses comes the fun movement 3. Rondo - Allegro.

Please turn up the volume and enjoy these great concertos that many times will be "blowin' in the concert Halls".

W.A. Mozart: Horn Concerto #4 in E-Flat Major:

F.J. Haydn: Trumpet Concerto in E-Flat Major [Alison Balsom, trumpet]:

J.N. Hummel: Trumpet Concerto in E-Flat Major [Manuel Blanco, Trumpet]:

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Whatever Happened to...?

Baby Jane [I know, I know, that one is too easy]

Cartoons and newsreels before the feature movie at a theater

"An apple a day keeps the doctor away"

Phone booths

Outdoor movies

Breaking coconuts with a hammer to eat the coconut and drink the milk

My Space

Cell phones


Kodak cameras

Doctors making house calls 

Baseball cards in bubble gum package


Collecting coins

It's Howdy Doody time

Roller Derby 

Jai alai [in Las Vegas]

Vinyl records

8-track tapes



Traffic cops

Those TV cliffhanger serials where you wonder how will the man whose car is about to go over a cliff not die, only to find out the next day he ingeniously opens the door and jumps out before it goes over the cliff :-) 
A relative telling you as a kid that it is a sin not to eat all your food because they are children starving in the world

Occupy Wall Street

The tea party

Flash Gordon

Sarah Palin

Jesse Jackson

"Tastes great, less filling"

"Hey kid, catch" ["mean Joe" Greene's jersey]

Stealing home at a MLB game - or even an attempt to steal home

Cuckoo clocks

"You the man"  "No, you the man"

Real hot meals on airplanes


The nurse in elementary school "painting" your throat when it's sore

The milk man

Dry ice being delivered to your house

Friday night fights of the week - by Gillette [boxing]

Black Jack gum

Teaberry gum

All day suckers [lollipops] 

Baseball double headers [real ones-two for the price of one, not these day night deals]

Chocolate phosphates

Downtown drugstore diners where in the back of the store you could get the best hamburgers ever

Sightings of UFO's 

and last but not least, whatever happened to: 

"Whatever happened to" lists?