Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Moving the Beauty Along

In classical music some of the most beautiful moving and romantic melodies are pieces that are usually scored in the speed of adagio or andante [i.e., slow tempo], but that is not always the case.  There are some great pieces of melodic music where the whole piece or movement of a piece is scored in allegro [fast] or even presto [very fast].

Today on the Tales classical music weekend we would like to bring some of those fast movements or entire pieces that are very enjoyable to the ear.

So, please turn up the volume and enjoy some classical music where the composers move the beauty along.  

Rimsky-Korsokov: "Flight of the Bumblebee":

Felix Mendelssohn: Piano Concerto #1 in G minor, 3rd movement, Presto

L.V. Beethoven: Symphony #5 in C minor, Movement 4, Allegro

P.I. Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto in D Major, Movement 3, Allegro Vivacissimo:

G. Rossini: "William Tell Overture", Finale:

Friday, April 16, 2021

I Get A Rondo

No, I am not talking about the great Beach Boys song from the 60's, I am talking about a form of composition, rondo, that was developed in the Classical Era of music.  [well, I guess that would include the 60's, the 1760's] 

Rondo [Italian - rondeau] means roundabout or making a circle. In classical music a rondo is where the principal theme keeps coming back [around] immediately after an episode of a different theme or musical idea.  Typically in a rondo, the principal theme or melody will come back 3 times after it is first played for a total of 4 times.

You may say to yourself I have heard a piece or movement of classical music that is not marked rondo, where you hear the main theme more than once.  Usually that will be in the sonata form.  If you remember in earlier posts the sonata form has an exposition, development and recapitulation.  I like to describe sonata form as a beginning, middle and back to the beginning.  So, you will hear the beginning theme over again. 

The rondo form has a different structure than the pure sonata form.  I like to use numbers to explain it [I think most professional music teachers use letters].

If number 1 is the opening principle theme, and numbers 2, 3, and 4 are different themes, then the rondo form is like this:  1 - 2 - 1 - 3 - 1 - 4 - 1. Note: many times the number 4 theme is a repetition of the #2 theme, so I could have also properly described the rondo form as 1 - 2 - 1 - 3 - 1 - 2 - 1.  

However one describes it, the important thing to remember is that in the rondo form you will hear the principal theme usually at least 4 different times in the movement [or piece].

There is a much better description, then I am doing, of the rondo form of composition, in the following video.  Please play in full screen and watch the video, while listening to the wonderful music of Beethoven, for information about the rondo form of composition:

Music Appreciation on You Tube from Chris Wright - Understanding Music: The Rondo explained:

I love this form of music because when you hear a melody that really grabs you, you get to hear it many times in the music, not just 2 or 3 times.  

Here is another example of a rondo.  In this example, from the quintessential classical composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the major theme is repeated more than 4 times.

W.A. Mozart: Rondo #1 in D Major for piano:


Now turn up the volume to hear one of my favorite rondos, also from Mozart, the third movement of his Horn Concerto #4. 

W. A. Mozart: Horn Concerto #4 in E-Flat Major, Movement 3, Rondo:

Another example of the rondo is from the great master, L.V. Beethoven, from the final movement of his C Major piano concerto.

L.V. Beethoven: Piano Concerto #1 in C Major, Movement 3, Rondo - Allegro Scherzando:

And finally, please turn up the volume and enjoy this energetic rondo capriccioso by the great French Romantic composer Camille Saint-Saens. It begins with an introduction, and the rondo theme begins at the 1:59 mark in the following video.

Camille Saint-Saens: Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A minor:

I hope this was helpful in you "getting a rondo".

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Happy Jackie Robinson Day!

Major League Baseball on this Thursday, April 15, 2021 will once again be honoring the great American patriot, Jackie Robinson, on this yearly anniversary of Jackie Robinson Day!   
Started on April 15, 2004, today is the 17th anniversary of Jackie Robinson Day.

Jackie Robinson at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn - April 11, 1947  
Every MLB player in every major league park will wearing #42, Jackie Robinson's number that he wore with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Jackie Robinson is the only player in baseball to have his number officially retired by MLB [meaning no player can ever again where the number 42 on any team in Major League Baseball].

  Target Field in 2013, where the Minnesota Twins [as will all players] wear Jackie Robinson's #42

From my post: "MLB Honoring the Great American Jackie Robinson #42":  "Major League baseball honors Jackie Robinson, the first black American allowed to play in the segregated major leagues when he started for the Brooklyn Dodgers at first base on April 15, 1947.  

"Jackie Robinson has to be regarded as one of the top Americans who influenced civil rights in our history, along with great figures like Rosa Parks, not just for being the first black man to play Major League Baseball, but for having to endure unspeakable acts of bigotry against him for "daring" to break the color barrier in baseball. He not only endured them, but he faced them down with courage and grace, in overcoming the bigots.  And now Major League Baseball rightfully honors Jackie Robinson every April 15, as every major league baseball player wears Jackie Robinson's number 42."

From a previous post : "My wife and I went to see the movie "42" and I can report that this is a must see movie by every American.  We thought it was a great  moving movie that ended in applause by the entire theater and tears in many eyes [I know there were some in Sheralyn's and my eyes].  While Jackie Robinson passed on October 24, 1972, what is great is that Jackie Robinson's wife, the graceful Rachel Robinson is still living and getting to enjoy this celebration of her beloved Jackie."

Jackie and Rachel Robinson
Happy Jackie Robinson Day, America!