Monday, February 20, 2017

Avinu Shebashamayim--A Prayer for the State of Israel

Repeat Tales post from March of 2015 [first published in 2012] when Israeli's were about to vote and give enough votes to the Likud Party to enable them to form a government in Israel, with the party's leader, Bibi Netanyahu, becoming Prime Minister.

As Israelis are nearing their important elections for the direction of their country in this critical time, I offer this post, first published 3 years ago, in prayers that God grants wisdom and peace to the people of  Israel before they go into the election booth.

Of course, I cannot tell Israeli's how to vote, but I am praying for Bibi!  I am praying for Israel!

God Bless Israel!

God Bless America!

Prayer for the State of Israel  First posted on Feb. 27, 2012

Hat/tip to @leyalet, for sending me on twitter this beautiful video--sung by the IDF Chief Cantor Shai Abramson

This video is in Hebrew, but you don't have to understand Hebrew to appreciate how wonderfully moving it is.

Prayer for the state of Israel: Avinu Shebashamayim:

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Beethoven's Sonata For Horn and Piano

On doing my morning walk this Sunday in Houston, I was listening to "All Classical Portland" and heard this wonderful sonata for Horn and Piano by the master Beethoven that I had heard for the first time.  Very peaceful and soothing I think for a Sunday morning, so I wanted to share it with you. 

Ludwig Van Beethoven [1770 - 1827]
It is scored in F Major with 3 movements: 1. Allegro moderato, 2.Poco adagio, 3.Rondo - Allegro moderato. 

Please turn up the volume and relax and enjoy some soothing Beethoven.

L.V. Beethoven: Horn Sonata in F Major:

Saturday, February 18, 2017

What A Way To Open A Classical Music Concert

One of my favorite genres of classical music is the overture.  Overtures are musical compositions that precede an opera or ballet.  They are a way to introduce the many great themes of music the theater goer will hear in the ballet or opera.

In the Romantic era of music a new kind of overture was developed called concert overtures.  These are stand alone symphonic concert pieces of one movement that do not have a ballet or opera that follows.  They are program pieces as they are given names or titles and the music that follows has a certain character developing a mood or story [without words] that the name of the overture conveys.

While the operatic overtures are music that opens the opera, concert overtures are music that opens the concert program to follow.  So, if you go to a symphony concert that has a concert overture as one of the pieces, you know almost surely that piece will be the first piece to be played.    

These one movement pieces are a perfect way to open the concert as they get the audience ready for the longer symphonic pieces to follow.  Plus, they are usually very melodic.  I love concert overtures. One of the first concert overtures may have been Felix Mendelssohn's "A Midsummer Night's Dream".   The child prodigy wrote this concert overture at the incredible young age of 17.   What a beautiful and mature piece of music for anyone to write, much less a teenager.  Don't get this confused with Mendelssohn's overture for the play "A Midsummer's Night Dream" [in which Mendelssohn added incidental music to the overture to complete the music for the play--that incidental music contains the famous Wedding March].   Mendelssohn wrote some other great concert overtures, as did Carl Maria Von Weber and Hector Berlioz.  Later in the Romantic era, there were some great concert overtures composed by Tchaikovsky and Brahms, among others.

Felix Mendelssohn [1809 - 1847]
What a way to open a concert program.   I thank the Romantic masters for developing the concert overture, bringing concert goers some great music to open up a symphony concert program.  Two of my favorite concert overtures are 1. the aforementioned Felix Mendelssohn's Midsummer Night's Dream concert overture and 2. Mendelssohn's Hebrides overture [also known as Fingal's Cave].

Johannes Brahms composed two great concert overtures: 1. his Academic Festival Overture [which is one of my favorites] and 2. Tragic Overture. 

In 1844, the French composer Hector Berlioz wrote a stand alone overture called Roman Carnival Overture.

The great Ludwig Van Beethoven's Egmont Overture was originally composed to begin Johann Wofgang von Goethe's play "Egmont" but it has developed and become more popular as a stand alone concert overture.

Note:  The Egmont overture video below is conducted by the late great Maestro Lorin Maazel, who [in one of my great thrills in being on twitter] followed and tweeted to me and even sent me some direct messages on twitter.  I was very sad to hear of his passing in July of 2014.  May he be resting in peace with God in heaven.

Please turn up the volume and enjoy these stand alone concert overtures that you may hear to open up a classical music concert program.

Felix Mendelssohn: "The Hebrides Overture" [Fingal's Cave]:

Felix Mendelssohn: "A Midsummer Night's Dream" Concert Overture:

Hector Berlioz: Roman Carnival Overture:

Johannes Brahms: Academic Festival Overture:

L. Van Beethoven: Egmont Overture:

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Let's Be Franck

Wishing to take a break from the Tales usual news, political and/or satirical fare, we extend the Tales classical music weekends to include this Thursday.  I hope you don't mind if  we make this a long classical music weekend on the Tales.

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.  He was a composer of many grand chamber music 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 and beloved 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] with a wonderful third movement finale, Allegro non troppo, that has a bold upbeat theme with a triumphant finale. 

Franck's organ works, especially his Trois Chorals, are some of the most beautiful moving pieces written for the organ.  Sit back and experience this heavenly sound from the organ in Franck's, Choral #2 in B minor. 

So, on this Thursday, the "Tales" turns 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, Movement 3, Allegro non troppo:

Cesar Franck: Choral #2 in B minor for organ: