Daily Archives: September 26, 2013

Schubert String Quartet No 14 D minor Death and the Maiden Alban Berg Quartet

Schubert String Quartet No 14 D minor Death and the Maiden

I. Allegro
II. Andante con moto –11:37 
III. Presto – 22:18
IV. Prestissimo 25:50
Composition Year 1826
Genre Categories QuartetsFor 2 violins, viola, cello

The String Quartet No. 14 in D minor, known as Death and the Maiden, by Franz Schubert, is one of the pillars of the chamber music repertoire. Composed in 1824, after the composer suffered through a serious illness and realized that he was dying, it is Schubert’s testament to death. The quartet is named for the theme of the second movement, which Schubert took from a song he wrote in 1817 of the same title; but the theme of death is palpable in all four movements of the quartet.

The quartet was first played in 1826 in a private home, and was not published until 1831, three years after Schubert’s death. Yet, passed over in his lifetime, the quartet has become a staple of the quartet repertoire. It is D. 810 in Otto Erich Deutsch‘s thematic catalog of Schubert’s works.

Original manuscript of Death and the Maiden quartet, from The Mary Flagler Cary Music Collection, Morgan Library, NY

Original manuscript of Lied Death and the Maiden

1823 and 1824 were hard years for Schubert. For much of 1823 he was sick, some scholars believe with an outburst of tertiary stage syphilis, and in May had to be hospitalized.[1] He was broke: he had entered into a disastrous deal with Diabelli to publish a batch of works, and received almost no payment; and his latest attempt at opera, Fierabras, was a flop. In a letter to a friend, he wrote,

“Think of a man whose health can never be restored, and who from sheer despair makes matters worse instead of better. Think, I say, of a man whose brightest hopes have come to nothing, to whom love and friendship are but torture, and whose enthusiasm for the beautiful is fast vanishing; and ask yourself if such a man is not truly unhappy.”[2]
English: Oil painting of Franz Schubert, after...

English: Oil painting of Franz Schubert, after an 1825 watercolor (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Franz Schubert in 1825 (painting by Wilhelm August Rieder)

Yet, despite his bad health, poverty and depression, Schubert continued to turn out the tuneful, light and gemütlichmusic that made him the toast of Viennese society: the song cycle Die schöne Müllerin, the octet for string quartet, contrabass, clarinet, horn and bassoon, more than 20 songs, and numerous light pieces for piano.[3

Alban Berg Quartet

Alban Berg Quartett
Origin ViennaAustria
Genres Classical
Occupations Chamber ensemble
Years active 1971–2008
Labels TeldecEMI
Members Günter Pichler (violin)
Gerhard Schulz (violin)
Isabel Charisius (viola)
Valentin Erben (violoncello)
Past members Klaus Maetzl (2nd violin, 1971-1978)
Hatto Beyerle (viola, 1971-1981)
Thomas Kakuska (viola, 1981-2005)

The Alban Berg Quartett was a string quartet founded in Vienna, Austria in 1970, named after the famous composer Alban Berg.

BBC News – Pakistan appeals to militants over earthquake

BBC News – Pakistan appeals to militants over earthquake.
Pakistani villagers collect belongings as their houses destroyed following an earthquake in Labach, the remote district of Awaran in Balochistan province, Pakistan, 26 September 2013

Tokyo Electric seeks restart of world’s largest nuclear plant | Reuters

Tokyo Electric seeks restart of world’s largest nuclear plant | Reuters.
Tokyo Electric Power Co's (TEPCO) President Naomi Hirose, the operator of tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi plant, speaks to the media after meeting with Japan's Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Toshimitsu Motegi to talk about the safety approval of TEPCO's world's largest Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear plant for its restart, at Motegi's ministry in Tokyo September 27, 2013. REUTERS-Toru Hanai

Quotation: Sir Walter Scott about doing good

For he that does good, having the unlimited power to do evil, deserves praise not only for the good which he performs, but for the evil which he forbears.

Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832) Discuss


Today’s Birthday: SOPHIA ALEKSEYEVNA (1657)

Sophia Alekseyevna (1657)

Alekseyevna seized power in Russia after the death of her father, Czar Feodor III, and became regent during the minority of her disabled brother, Ivan V, and her half-brother, Peter I. She brutally eliminated her opponents and ruled dictatorially with her lover, Vasily V. Gallitzin. She aspired to be crowned czarina, but lacked support from the nobility and clergy. When it was rumored that she intended to kill Peter to become sole ruler, he overthrew the regency and confined her where? More… Discuss



Germany, Italy, and Japan Sign Tripartite Pact (1940)

The World War II alliance of Germany, Italy, and Japan was fully realized in September 1940, with the signing of the Tripartite Pact. The agreement called for the Axis Powers to come to each other’s aid if attacked by a nation not already involved in the European War or the Sino-Japanese Conflict and to assist one another in their efforts to “establish and maintain a new order of things”—Germany and Italy in Europe and Japan in Greater East Asia. How did the treaty get the nickname “Roberto”? More…Discuss



Texas Man’s Drunkenness Traced to Brewery in His Gut

A recent case described in a medical paper lends a whole new meaning to the term “beer gut.” For five years, a Texas man seemed to be constantly drunk. Even on days that not a drop of alcohol touched his lips, breathalyzers and blood alcohol tests showed high levels of alcohol in his system. Doctors assumed he was simply a closet drinker, but they turned out to be wrong. Unbeknownst to anyone—doctors and patient included—the man’s body was converting carbohydrates into ethanol during digestion. Gastroenterologists who finally gave him a thorough examination in 2010 diagnosed him with a rare condition known as gut fermentation syndrome or auto-brewery syndrome. More… Discuss



Water Politics

According to the World Health Organization, each person requires about 5 gallons (20 liters) of water per day to adequately meet drinking and hygiene needs. Yet billions live without sufficient water resources. The Middle East, for instance, shares about 1 percent of the world’s available water among 5 percent of the world’s population, and its major rivers cross international borders. Such discrepancies can lead to conflict. Which Middle Eastern conflicts have been fueled by water politics? More… Discuss


U.S. and Turkey to Create Fund to Stem Extremism – NYTimes.com

U.S. and Turkey to Create Fund to Stem Extremism – NYTimes.com.

U.S. and Turkey to Create Fund to Stem Extremism – NYTimes.com


U.S. and Turkey to Create Fund to Stem Extremism – NYTimes.com.

Franz Schubert String Quintet in C major D956 op posth 163 Villa Musica Ensemble

Franz Schubert:
String Quintet in C major, D. 956, op. posth. 163:
00:00     I. Allegro ma non troppo
19:54     II. Adagio
34:54   III. Scherzo. Presto – Trio. Andante sostenuto
45:42   IV. Allegretto

[Villa Musica Ensemble]

Photography: Wu Kai Sha, Hong Kong, by Lifeguard.


Song to the Moon – Antonín Dvořák

See lyrics translated into English below.

Soprano Renee Fleming sings this aria. Dvorak’s composition relies upon expansive arpeggiated chords to capture the fairy tale ambiance of Rusalka. The amicable old Spirit of the Lake, Jezibab, is enjoying the singing of the Wood Nymphs, when his daughter, Rusalka, sadly approaches him. She admits that she has fallen in love with a handsome prince. Yearning to know the bliss of union with him, she wishes to become human. Deeply saddened, the Spirit of the Lake consents to her request, and leaves. All alone, Rusalka sings this magnificent aria and shares the secrets of her longing to the moon.

Featuring the paintings and artwork of William Bouguereau, Paul Cezanne, Claude Monet, J.W. Waterhouse, Armand Guillaumin, and Spadecaller.

Lyrics (translation)

Silver moon upon the deep dark sky,
Through the vast night pierce your rays.
This sleeping world you wander by,
Smiling on man’s homes and ways.
Oh moon ere past you glide, tell me,
Tell me, oh where does my loved one bide?
Oh moon ere past you glide, tell me
Tell me, oh where does my loved one bide?
Tell him, oh tell him, my silver moon,
Mine are the arms that shall hold him,
That between waking and sleeping he may
Think of the love that enfolds him,
May between waking and sleeping
Think of the love that enfolds him.
Light his path far away, light his path,
Tell him, oh tell him who does for him stay!
Human soul, should it dream of me, Let my memory wakened be.
Moon, moon, oh do not wane, do not wane,
Moon, oh moon, do not wane….


Emil Gilels spielt Robert Schumann: Arabeske Op. 18

Ort: Moskauer Konservatorium 1977


“Strike Up the Band” by George Gershwin performed by Leon Bates

Strike Up the Band” by George Gershwin, arr. Bates. Performed live in recital by Leon Bates, 2009.


Beata Bilińska plays Chopin – Nocturne E major op. 62 no. 2


Valentina Lisitsa: Chopin Nocturne Op 48 No.1 C minor (What a precious musical interpretation!)

One of Chopin’s most priceless performance remarks is at the beginning of this Nocturne — “sotto voce“. Just like that : not a girlish “piano” , not an ambivalent “mezzo forte” , not even meaty forte ( the last thing you want here is an “opera” voice for this melody ).It effectively bars all over-the-top cheap and showy “expressive emotions” — no eye rolling allowed , no hair flailing, no hands flying , no sobs , no visible tears…. A musical equivalent of the famed British ” keeping a stiff upper lip “- this “sotto voce” gives us the right sense of what this piece is about .Just as Chopin’s 2nd sonata this nocturne deals directly and openly with such tragic subjects as death, loss and grief … except , here you are allowed to leave personal comments. 2nd sonata is a depiction of all those things , this Nocturne is a commentary- or an epitaph…..the fifth movement that would come after the Finale …If you ever visit La Madeleine in Paris ( Chopin’s parish church where his funeral was held on October 30th ) think about this Nocturne , OK?

PS. Talking about parallels between Rachmaninoff and Chopin works , don’t you think that “doppio movimento” part ( last pages ) sounds ominously like Rachmaninoff Etude-Tableau E flat Minor Op39?

Bartók: Hungarian Sketches (Reiner / Chicago Symphony)

Bartók: Hungarian Sketches
0:00 I. An Evening in the Village
2:45 II. Bear Dance
4:27 III. Melody
6:32 IV. Slightly Tipsy
8:51 V. Swineherd’s Dance
Reiner / Chicago Symphony


Modern Mythology II, poetic thought by George-B

Modern Mythology II, poetic thought by George-B

The Gods have been very inventive-
they invented clubs,
bows and arrows,
spears and the gallows,
yatagans and cutout moons and 

Of course, the atom bomb.

Then humans invented Gods…

And yet, with no God alive inside of US,
Is how we’ve turned…ungodly.


Just a thought: “Give wars a chance….Do not resuscitate!”

Just a thought:  “Give wars a chance….Do not resuscitate!”

Declassified NSA files show agency spied on Muhammad Ali and MLK | World news | theguardian.com

Declassified NSA files show agency spied on Muhammad Ali and MLK | World news | theguardian.com.
Boxer Muhammad Ali

Predator Nation on Democracy Now

Predator Nation on Democracy Now

Predator Nation on Democracy Now (Click to follow the smell of money…)

Matt Taibbi on How Wall Street Hedge Funds Are Looting the Pension Funds of Public Workers | Democracy Now!

Matt Taibbi on How Wall Street Hedge Funds Are Looting the Pension Funds of Public Workers | Democracy Now!.

Spanish Cave Paintings Discovered to be Some of the Oldest in Europe | Gadling.com


Spanish Cave Paintings Discovered to be Some of the Oldest in Europe | Gadling.com.

William H. Gates III COL ’77, LLD ’07 Q&A | The Harvard Campaign Launch

Question and answer with Bill Gates at the launch of the Harvard Campaign.

Sanders Theater, September 21, 2013

Read more about The Harvard Campaign athttp://campaign.harvard.edu


Bill Gates: Control-Alt-Delete ‘was a mistake’ | Microsoft – CNET News

Bill Gates: Control-Alt-Delete ‘was a mistake’ | Microsoft – CNET News.

How Did the Pakistan Earthquake Create a Mud Island?

How Did the Pakistan Earthquake Create a Mud Island?.
People walk on an island.

Baroness Warsi chairs meeting on combating religious intolerance

Baroness Warsi chairs meeting on combating religious intolerance.

Just a Thought: “The unblinking eye is a dead eye…the unthinking mind is a dead mind!”

Just a Thought: “The unblinking eye is a dead eye…the unthinking mind is a vegetative mind!”


Haiku – Clouds (poetic thought by George-B)

Haiku – Clouds (poetic thought by George-B)

Between skies and earth
hang today white cotton puffs
unmoved by the coming winds…

Haiku-Clouds (my photo collection)

Haiku-Clouds (my photo collection) 
Haiku – Clouds (poetic thought by George-B)
Between skies and earth
hang today white cotton puffs
unmoved by the coming winds…





Obama To India: Block Production Of Low-Cost Generic Drugs . . . Or Else


President_Barack_Obama220px-Ritalin-SR-20mg-1000x1000Millions of Americans struggle on a daily basis to afford medicine in the United States which is the highest in the world. Many seek affordable drugs by driving to Canada or seeking medicine (as well as medical care) in India. Yet, one of the first things that President Obama did in the new health care law was to cave to a demand by the powerful pharmaceutical lobby to drop provisions guaranteeing cheaper medicine. The lobby then got Congress to block two measures to guarantee affordable medicine. With billions at stake, Congress and the White House again yielded to the demands of this industry, which is sapping the life savings away of millions of families. Given this history, many are concerned about a meeting planned between Obama and the Prime Minister of India. Public interest groups object that Obama is threatening retaliation against India in the hopes of blocking…

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LISZT Un Sospiro Etude de Concert 3 D flat major – Pianist Michel Mananes

For better audio Franz Liszt Etude de Concert no. 3 ” Un Sospiro ” click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KVhFQy…

Michel Mañanes plays Franz Liszt Etude de Concert no. 3 ” Un Sospiro ” in D flat Major. With recitals for Europe and south america especially. He won first prize in several young piano competitions. He is Piano Teacher in Madrid and continue to give concerts. 
Michel Mañanes has obtained, recently, the University Title of “Expert in Pianistic Interpretation”, gotten with “Cum Laudae” by unanimous vote (International University of Andalusia)

“Un sospiro” (Italian, for “a sigh”) is the third of Franz Liszt’s Trois études de concert (Three Concert Études). It is also sometimes referred to as Étude No. 39, and is a piano solo in D-flat major. However, it is likely that the title did not originate with Liszt. Although there is no evidence that he actively attempted to remove the subtitle “Un sospiro,” none of the editions or subsequent printings of the Trois études published by Kistner during Liszt’s lifetime used them; he simply ignored such subtitles in later years, always referring with his pupils to the piece by key. Continue reading

Leonid Kogan – Schumann – Fantasie in C major, Op 131

Robert Schumann
Fantasie in C major, Op 131
(arranged for violin and piano)

Leonid Kogan, violin
Andrei Mytnik, piano

Live recording, 1953



Bedřich Smetana

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

“Smetana” redirects here. For other uses, see Smetana (disambiguation).
Portrait of balding, bearded, bespectacled middle-aged man with solemn expression, wearing a bow tie and high-buttoned jacket

Portrait of Bedřich Smetana

Smetana signature.jpg

Bedřich Smetana (Czech pronunciation: [ˈbɛdr̝ɪx ˈsmɛtana] ( listen); 2 March 1824 – 12 May 1884) was a Czech composer who pioneered the development of a musical style which became closely identified with his country’s aspirations to independent statehood. He is thus widely regarded in his homeland as the father of Czech music. Internationally he is best known for his opera The Bartered Bride, for the symphonic cycle Má vlast (“My Fatherland”), which portrays the history, legends and landscape of the composer’s native land, and for his First String Quartet From My Life. Continue reading

Antonín Dvořák – Water Goblin, Op. 107

Janácek Philharmonic Orchestra, Theodore Kuchar


Franz Schubert, Quintet D 956 (complete), Vegh Quartet & Pablo Casals, LIVE Prades

Franz Schubert, Quintet D 956 (complete), Vegh Quartet & Pablo Casals, LIVE Prades

Sándor Végh (violin)
Sándor Zöldy (violin)
Georges Janzer (viola)
Paul Szabo (cello)
Pablo Casals (2.nd cello)

Granados – Goyesca No. 1 ‘Los Requiebros’ (Prats) Audio + Sheet music

Enrique Granados‘ temperamental Goyesca No. 1 ‘Los Requiembros’, played by the Cuban genius virtuoso pianist Jorge Luis Prats. Unfortunately, the piano he played in this performance was a bit harsh, but still these are some of the best performances of these works I’ve ever heard.


Gioachino Rossini – Sonata No. 5 in E flat major

Andras Kiss, violin. Budapest Rossini Ensemble.
Gioachino Rossini – Sonata No. 5 in E flat major
I. Allegro vivace 00:12:00
II. Andante 00:04:54
III. Allegretto 00:03:39


Quotation: Booker T. Washington about oppression

Oppression of the unfortunate makes one weak.

Booker T. Washington (1856-1915) Discuss


Today’s Birthday: JOHNNY APPLESEED (1774)

Johnny Appleseed (1774)

Born John Chapman, Johnny Appleseed was an American folk hero known for planting apple trees. Around 1800, he traveled from Pennsylvania, where he had sold or given saplings and apple seeds to families migrating westward, to present-day Ohio, sewing apple seeds as he went. For more than 40 years, he continued to wander up and down Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania, pruning and caring for his forest nurseries and helping hundreds of settlers to establish orchards. Do any of his trees still exist? More… Discuss


This Day in the Yesteryear: MV JOOLA DISASTER IN SENEGAL (2002)

MV Joola Disaster in Senegal (2002)

Just 11 years ago, a Senegalese ferry capsized off the coast of Gambia, claiming more lives than the notoriousTitanic disaster. At least 1,863 people died in the sinking of the MV Joola, making it one of the deadliest civilian maritime disasters in history. A number of factors likely contributed to the tragedy, including bad weather, overloading—the ferry was carrying more than triple the number of passengers it was designed to hold—and a delayed rescue effort. How many survived? More… Discuss



The Happiest Place on Earth

A UN-sponsored survey of happiness and satisfaction around the globe names Denmark the world’s happiest country. Rounding out the top five are Norway, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Sweden. Canada ranked 6th on the list, the US came in 17th, and the UK landed in the 22nd spot. The West African country of Togo was found to be the most unhappy of the 156 nations included in the report. While recent economic and political crises have greatly reduced happiness levels in many countries, over the past five years, the world overall has actually become slightly happier and more generous. More… Discuss




Definition: (verb) To represent or speak of as contemptibly small or unimportant; disparage.
Synonyms: denigratederogateminimize
Usage: Why should I bother trying to get good grades when all you do is belittle my achievements? Discuss.