Saturday, May 8, 2021

Happy Mother's Day!

I would like to wish everyone a very Blessed and a

On a personal note, my sister Susan and my brothers Sandy and Brad continue to always remember the blessing of our Mom, Reenie, who is in heaven with our "Pop" and God.  

Reenie, who was born on the 4th of July and died on Christmas Day, was a wonderful human being, loved by everyone because she loved everyone.  She made the best apple pies in the world.  Her beautiful paintings still are on view to see at each of our houses.  We love you forever, Mom.  

Happy Mother's Day, Reenie!
I am also blessed to have a wonderful wife, Sheralyn, who is also a great Mom to our daughter Ebony.

Happy Mother's Day, Sheralyn!
On Dec. 11, 2015 our daughter Ebony blessed us with the birth of our precious granddaughter Skye Noelle.  So, I also wish my daughter Ebony, who, besides being a great daughter is also a great Mom, a very Happy Mother's Day. 
Happy Mother's Day, Ebony

Also, for Sheralyn's Mom, Mabeline who is with God in heaven, I wish a Happy Mother's Day.
Happy Mother's Day, Mabeline

In honor of all Moms on this Mother's Day, here is the beautiful, Songs my mother taught me from Antonin Dvorak:

In memory of my Mom, Reenie, I would like to play her favorite classical music piece, Rhapsody in Blue.  This also happens to be my wife's second favorite piece, after Ravel's, Bolero.

George Gershwin: Rhapsody In Blue:

Once again to all Mom's out there and to everyone thinking of their mother on this special day, I wish a very:  
Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 7, 2021

Brahms Fear Of Composing First Symphony Led To This Masterpiece

While I celebrated Tchaikovsky’s birthday today I had forgotten until the day is almost over that today, May 7 is also the birthday of one of my favorite Romantic Era composers, Johannes Brahms.   Brahms was born in Hamburg, Germany on May 7, 1833.  He died in 1897. 

In honor of Johannes Brahms 188th birthday-here is this post published previously about Brahms fear of composing his first symphony:

Johannes Brahms was a German pianist and one of the great composers in the Romantic Era who lived much of his life in Vienna, Austria.

Johannes Brahms  [May 7 1833-April 3, 1897]

This accomplished composer wrote pieces in almost every genre of classical music but for many years one genre of classical music was missing from his repertoire-the symphony.  It wasn't that Brahms did not want to write a symphony...he longed to compose a symphony.  So, what took Brahms so many years agonizing to write his first symphony?  The shadow of Beethoven's greatness hovered unmercifully over Johannes Brahms mind.  

You see Johannes Brahms was compared by many to the great master Beethoven. Beethoven composed 9 of the greatest symphonies ever and his epic Choral 9th Symphony was, and probably still is today, considered the greatest symphony ever written.
How could Brahms even come close to that greatness?  He was terrified his work would look so small to the great Beethoven.  So, while Johannes Brahms started on his first symphony around 1855, it took him an incredible 21 years when he finally completed his great first symphony in C-minor in 1876.  The adage, better late than never, sure applies in this case as some have called Brahms first symphony, admiringly, Beethoven's 10th symphony.   

While it took Brahms 21 years to compose his first symphony, he wrote his next three symphonies in only 9 years after he finished his first, and he wrote symphonies #3 and #4 within one year of each other.  All four of Brahms symphonies are considered some of the top masterpieces in the symphonic repertoire. 

While Brahms took so long to write and release his first symphony, he seemed to experiment with two long orchestral serenades that were actually in the form of a symphony without the name.  So, Brahms could see how well these would be received by the public and critics without the fear of being called a failure in his first symphony.

Brahms first serenade, composed in 1858, was a magnificent orchestral work that, from first hearing, is undoubtedly Brahms.  You can actually hear some of the same musical ideas that would later be incorporated in his four symphonies. 

Brahms first serenade was a 6 movement orchestral work in D-Major.  The 6 movements:  1. Allegro molto;  [10:29] 2. Scherzo-Allegro non troppo; [17:57] 3. Adagio non troppo; [28:18] 4. Menuetto; [33:36] 5. Scherzo-Allegro; and [39:47] 6. Rondo-Allegro.

One could say that because of Brahms fear of composing his first symphony, it led to this masterpiece. 

Please turn up the volume and enjoy this orchestral masterpiece by Brahms, his Serenade in D-Major.

Johannes Brahms: Orchestral Serenade #1 in D:

Now here is Brahms epic First symphony.  It is led by Houston's own director, Maestro Andres Orozco-Estrada leading the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra. When you hear how great this first symphony is by Brahms you will wonder how could this giant in classical music have been so fearful-this is awesome.  Please turn up the volume and enjoy.

Johannes Brahms: Symphony #1 in C minor:

Happy Birthday Johannes Brahms!

Happy Birthday, Tchaikovsky!

Today, Friday, May 7, is the 181st birthday of the great Romantic composer, born Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky in Votkinsk, Russia on May 7, 1840.  

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky  [1840 - 1893]
From my post, This Russian Composer Plays An Important Role in Two American Holidays: "The great Romantic composer, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky from Russia, is one of my favorite composers.  Who would think this proud Russian would play such an important role in American tradition and the Americana heritage.  His music is played every year, without fail, during two holiday seasons in America." 

"During America's most important holiday, Independence Day, July 4th, the celebration of the fireworks won't end in many cities around the country without an orchestra playing Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture. ...  during the Christmas season, the signature classical musical piece performed every year is Tchaikovsky's ballet, The Nutcracker."

Tchaikovsky's piano and violin concertos are two of the greatest masterpieces in the concerto repertoire. His Violin concerto was scored in D Major with 3 movements: 1. Allegro moderato; 2. Andante; 3. Allegro Vivacissimo.  His beloved piano concerto in Bb minor has 3 movements: 1. Allegro non troppo; 2. Andantino semplice; 3. Allegro con fuoco.

As I always say on my classical music posts on the weekend, please turn up the volume and enjoy some beautiful music from the great Russian composer, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

P.I. Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto in D Major:

P.I. Tchaikovsky: Symphony #5 in E minor, Movement 4, Andante - Allegro Vivace - Presto:

P.I. Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture:

P.I. Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto #1 in B Flat minor:

Happy 181st Birthday, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky!