Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Simply Genius

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the quintessential classical composer, along with Ludwig Van Beethoven and Johann Sebastian Bach, are my top three favorite composers.   Mozart, in my opinion, could make more with an uncomplicated theme or idea than any other composer.  The musical idea may at first sound simple without much substance but the genius Mozart could turn that simple theme into a musical beauty with depth and substance. 

That is why I say this child prodigy was "simply" genius.

W. A. Mozart [1756 - 1791]
In one example, where Mozart displays his simple genius, it is with the shortest possible theme you could have-consisting of only two notes.   In the first movement of Mozart's 29th symphony Mozart opens with a scherzo-like two note motif that he develops fully into a beautiful substantial movement.  While maybe not the most serious of symphonies, this playful beauty is a very pleasant satisfying symphony in typical Mozart classical style.

When you hear the solo piano opening of the third movement of Mozart's piano concerto #22 in E-Flat Major, you will think to yourself how simple and delightful is that.  But again, the genius Mozart turns that simplicity into a substantive wonderful concerto. This is one of my favorite movements from all his piano concerti. 

There is a simple children's motif, that I know you have heard, that Mozart, with his 12 variations of it, turns it into a pleasant "adult" great piece of music, in the way the genius Mozart could.  The name of the theme of this popular children's song originating in France is "Ah, vous dirai-je Maman".  For those of you who do not know what this children's song is, I will not give it away.  When you hear it you will obviously recognize it and think to yourself, "You mean this is from the genius Mozart?"  :-)

Please turn up the volume and enjoy some simply genius Mozart.

W. A. Mozart: Symphony #29 in A-Major, Movement 1, Allegro:

W.A. Mozart: Piano Concerto #22 in E-Flat Major, Movement 3, Allegro

W.A. Mozart: 12 Variations on "Ah, vous dirai-je Maman" for solo piano:

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Boyz II Men Soulful Sound Joins HSO Virtuosos To Make Some Beautiful Music

Repeat post from about a year ago when Sheralyn and I saw Boyz II Men perform with our Houston Symphony  Orchestra.

On Friday, January 18, 2019, the fetching Mrs. B and I once again trek to one of our homes away from home [along with Minute Maid Park during the Houston Astros season] -Jones Hall- to hear the great virtuosos of our Grammy winning Houston Symphony Orchestra.  But this time, unlike usual to hear a great classical music concert, our HSO will be joining forces with Boyz II Men to make some soulful music.

This from the Houston Symphony Orchestra website: "Renowned for their smooth style and soulful hits, four-time GRAMMY award winning trio Boyz II Men joins the Houston Symphony for one night of musical magnitude. Redefining the genre of R&B by combining elements of a cappella and new jack swing, their expressive harmonies continue to captivate audiences decades later. From Motownphilly to End of the Road, relive the rhythms that dominated airwaves in the 90s."

Enjoy some wonderful Boyz II Men sound:

End of the Road

The Color of Love:


Welcome to Houston Boyz II Men 

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Robert Schumann Festival Continues In H-Town

Last weekend's Tale's post: "Robert Schumann Festival of Melodic Music In Houston", talked of the two week Festival being held in Houston, TX,  of some of Robert Schumann's great symphonic works.

Robert Schumann [1810 - 1856]

The fetching Mrs. Sheralyn and I will once again be blessed to be in attendance at Jones Hall in downtown Houston to hear our wonderful symphony led by our dynamic Maestro, Andres Orozco-Estrada, in this second weekend of the Schumann Festival.  This Saturday we will be hearing Schumann's great Symphonies 3 and 4, along with his Cello Concerto.

From last weekend's post:  "Robert Schumann wrote some of the most beautiful and melodic pieces in all genres of classical music.  But Schumann also had a very troubled life; so, he was blessed to have as his wife and love fellow pianist and composer, Clara Wieck-Schumann, who stood by his side in his troubled life.  I talk about this relationship along with his friend, Johannes Brahms, in this previous post: 'Robert, Clara and Johannes'."

This from the Houston Symphony Orchestra website:  "Robert Schumann’s music speaks to us in a timeless, universal language.  His romance with virtuoso pianist Clara Wieck is a love story for the ages, while his ongoing battle with depression, and eventual descent into insanity, makes his noble, life-affirming creations all the more remarkable.  Join us for a deep dive into the trials and the triumphs, the love and the madness, the man and the music.  In this concert with guest artist Alisa Weilerstein, Alley Theatre Resident Acting Company member Jay Sullivan introduces each piece with words based on Schumann’s writings."

The third symphony by Schumann is my favorite with its beautiful melodies and bright character.  It is known as the "Rhenish".  It was actually the last symphony he composed but because it was published before his #4, it is recognized as Symphony #3.  This symphony was scored in Eb Major with 5 movements [instead of the usual 4 in a classical symphony]: 1. lively, 2. Scherzo, 3. moderato, 4. "Cathedral" - solemn, and 5. lively.

Robert Schumann composed his cello concerto in only two weeks.  It was scored in a minor, with the usual 3 movements [without a break between the movements]:  1. Allegro, 2. Lento, and 3. Vivace.  The young American cellist from Rochester, NY, Alisa Weilerstein, will be the soloist in Schumann's cello concerto.

As usual, when the Sheralyn and I go to a Houston Symphony concert at Jones Hall, I like to share a little of what we will be hearing on Saturday night.  So, please turn up the volume, play in full screen and enjoy some beautiful music that we will be hearing in this final weekend of the Robert Schumann Festival.

Robert Schumann: Symphony #3 in Eb Major, "Rhenish":

Robert Schumann: Cello Concerto in A minor:

Robert Schumann: Symphony #4 in D minor, Movement 4, Allegro Vivace:

Friday, February 14, 2020

Happy Valentine's Day, Sheralyn!


It is such a blessing to me to be married for 37 years [with #38 coming March 8] to the fetching Sheralyn.   What a wonderful good person.  Here is a tribute I did for Jermaine, who we lost May of 2013, and I also made it a tribute for his Mom, Sheralyn: Tribute To A Special Child

I am sure on this week of Valentine's Day it will be somewhat a sad one for Sheralyn as she will be remembering her Mom, Mabelene, who she lost almost exactly two years ago today.  But those remembrances of her Mom will be happy ones!

For Sheralyn - one of her favorite songs,

Stylistics: Betcha By Golly Wow:

And to all, I wish: