Daily Archives: January 21, 2014

GREAT PERFORMANCES: Rhapsody in Blue – George Gershwin

Rhapsody in Blue, de George Gershwin. Interpretada por el genial Leonard Bernstein, al piano y la dirección.

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St. Vincent’s Day

São Vicente St. Vincent of Saragossa is the patron saint of Lisbon, Portugal. In Lisbon, people celebrate his feast day with processions and prayers. But in the surrounding rural areas, there are a number of folk traditions associated with this day. Farmers believe that by carrying a resin torch to the top of a high hill on

English: Statue of Vincent of Saragossa, in Sa...

English: Statue of Vincent of Saragossa, in Saint Vincent Church, Braga, Portugal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

January 22, they can predict what the coming harvest will be like. If the wind extinguishes the flame, the crops will be abundant; if the torch continues to burn, a poor growing season lies ahead.

 More… Discuss

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If a man means to be hard, let him keep in his saddle and speak from that height, above the level of pleading eyes, and with the command of a distant horizon.

George Eliot (1819-1880) Discuss


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Lord Byron (1788)

Despite being a social outcast—and self-conscious of his noticeable limp—Byron became the rock star of the Romantic period. His poetic travelogue Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage won him fame, while his complex personality, dashing good looks, and scandalous love affairs captured the imagination of Europe. His literary legacy includes the satirical epic Don Juan and the lonely, rebellious, and brooding “Byronic hero.” Who famously described Byron as “mad, bad, and dangerous to know”? More… Discuss


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Roe v. Wade Decision Legalizes Abortion in the US (1973)

Roe v. Wade was the landmark Supreme Court case that legalized abortion in the US. In 1970, an unmarried pregnant woman—who was at the time identified only as Jane Roe—filed a lawsuit because she wanted an abortion but could not legally get one in Texas. Her suit aimed to have the Texas abortion law declared unconstitutional as an invasion of her right to privacy as guaranteed by the 1st, 4th, 5th, 9th, and 14th Amendments. How does Norma McCorvey—”Jane Roe”—view the case today? More… Discuss


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Definition: (noun) The property of being extremely abundant.
Synonyms: profusenessrichness
Usage: The cornucopia of job opportunities overwhelmed the immigrants, who had come from a town with only one employer. Discuss.



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Manuel de Falla – Suite populaire espagnole [Daniil Shafran, Nina Musinian]


A cello player in the partially destroyed Nati...

A cello player in the partially destroyed National Library, Sarajevo, during the war in 1992. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Suite populaire espagnole, arranged from “Siete Canciones populares españolas” (1914)

I. El Paño moruno [0:00]
II. Nana [2:05]
III. Cancion [4:49]
IV. Polo [6:06]
V. Asturiana


Español: Estatua de Manuel de Falla en la Aven...

Español: Estatua de Manuel de Falla en la Avenida de la Constitución de Granada (España). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


VI. Jota [9:57]

A suite for cello and piano, arranged by French cellist Maurice Maréchal (1892-1964) from a setting of popular songs by Spanish composer Manuel Falla (1876-1946).

Cellist: Daniil Shafran
Pianist: Nina Musinian


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Great Performances: Beethoven “Für Elise” Valentina Lisitsa Seoul Philharmonic (it’s like you’re listening to it…well, for the first time!)

Live in Seoul. Encore #4 Please come to London on June 19th of 2012 if you want to hear this piece live ! I am making my debut at Royal Albert Hall 🙂
Валентина Лисица
Valentina Lisitsa Live at the Royal Albert Hall
US iTunes – http://bit.ly/iTunesUSVal 
US Amazon – http://bit.ly/ValRAH


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UNFORGETTABLE COMPOSITIONS: Antonín Dvořák – Water Goblin, Op. 107 Dedicated to all my friends writing for the best among us – children of the world: be inspired!

Antonín Dvořák – Water Goblin,
Op. 107

The Water Goblin (CzechVodník; initially published by N. Simrock with the English title The Water-Fay) is a symphonic poemOp. 107 (B. 195), written by Antonín Dvořák in 1896.

The source of inspiration for The Water Goblin was a poem found in a collection published by Karel Jaromír Erben under the title Kytice. Four of the six symphonic poems that Dvořák composed were inspired by works of poetry found in that collection.


Vodník tells a story in four parts of a mischievous water goblin who traps drowning souls in upturned teacups.[1][2]

  • A water goblin is sitting on a poplar by the lake, singing to the moon and sewing a green coat and red boots for his wedding soon to come.
  • A mother tells her daughter of a dream she had about clothing her daughter in white robes swirling like foaming water and with pearls of tears hiding deep distress around her neck. She feels this dream was a presentiment and warns her daughter not to go to the lake. Despite the mother’s warnings, the daughter is drawn to the lake as if possessed and leaves for the lake to do her laundry. The moment she hands down her first garment into the water, the bridge on which she was sitting collapses. As the water engulfs her she is abducted by the malevolent water goblin who lives there.
  • He takes her to his underwater castle and marries her with black crayfish for the groomsmen and fishes for her bridesmaids. After the birth of their first child, the abducted wife sings it a lullaby, which enrages the water goblin. She tries to calm him down and pleads to be allowed ashore to visit her mother once. He gives in on three conditions: She is not to embrace a single soul, not even her mother; she has to leave the baby behind as a hostage; and she will return by the bells of the evening vespers.
  • The reunion of mother and daughter is very sad but full of love. When evening falls the distraught mother keeps her daughter and forbids her to go even when the bells are ringing. The water goblin becomes angry, forsakes his lair in the lake and thumps on the door ordering the girl to go with him because his dinner has to be made. When the mother tells him to go away and eat whatever he has for dinner in his lair, he knocks again, saying his bed needs to be made. Again the mother tells him to leave them alone, after which the goblin says their child is hungry and crying. To this plea the mother tells him to bring the child to them. In a furious rage the goblin returns to the lake and through the shrieking storm screams that pierce the soul are heard. The storm ends with a loud crash that stirs up the mother and her daughter. When opening the door the mother finds a tiny head without a body and a tiny body without a head lying in their blood on the doorstep of her hut.


Dvořák’s symphonic piece, which is written in the form of a rondo,[3] follows Erben’s written verses remarkably closely; in many places the text fits literary to Dvořák’s music.[4] This may well be a result of the fact that Dvořák derived his themes from putting Erben’s words to music. This way Dvořák produced 7 themes, mostly four bars long for this symphonic poem.

First the water goblin is introduced with a four bar theme starting three repeated notes. These three repeats prove to be vital for the whole composition: Most other themes start with three repeats, the timpani gives a three beat rhythm to the section where the girl wants to go to the lake, the church bells ring three times each at eight o’clock, the water goblin knocks three times on the door.

Second the daughter is introduced with a lovely innocent theme, where the triangle gives her a sparkling twinkle in her eyes. However nice this theme may sound the basis is the same three repeat that formed the basis for the goblin theme. The great difference is in the way they are played: the goblin is in a staccato form presented, where all three notes are short and distinctive of sound, and the girl has a legato played theme, where the three notes are played long, and almost glide over in each other.

The third theme introduces the mother with a suspense theme in b minor which makes the mood even more sad. Again her theme starts with three notes, though the rhythm of the notes is turned around. The suspense is formed by the chromatism in the secondary theme. Later on Dvořák uses these two themes the other way around, as if the secondary theme becomes the primary, and primary the secondary.[5]

The next section Dvořák changes from the minor to the B major key to indicate the persistent state of mind of the daughter when she heads off to the lake. In this section an important role has been given to the timpani, who play a solo, even though its to be played less loud then the rest of the orchestra.[6] They again play the three note repeats, but Dvořák makes a variation on it as well. He changes from three 8th notes to five 16th notes and back and forth and so on. He might have wanted to show the spell the daughter is under, but for sure it makes the coming apocalypse more vivid then if he had only used the original 3 beats. This section ends with a ritardando (slow down), so the listener is prepared for a sudden fast and short swirl in the violins when the bridge cracks.

The next section starts with a sudden E-C-G chord, as the girl hits the water. Dvořák changes key back to b minor for the water goblin theme, and he speeds up the tempo to a lively allegro vivo, which depicts the swirling waters engulfing the girl, for which Dvořák uses as well the Russian device of a descending whole tone scale[7][8] and the diabolic delight of the water goblin.[9]

The Water Goblin is scored for piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, cor anglais, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, 2 tubas, timpani, bass drum, cymbals, triangle, tam-tam, bells and strings.

The work had its full public premiere in London on 14 November 1896. It had received a semi-public performance on 1 June 1896 at the Prague Conservatory under Antonín Bennewitz.[10]

Letter to Hirschfeld

For the Austrian première in Vienna by the Vienna Philharmonic under Hans Richter on 22 November 1896, Dr. Robert Hirschfeld was asked to write the program notes. For this occasion Dvořák composed a letter stating his intentions and musical solutions for the translation of Erbens poem into music.[11]

  • Allegro vivace : The water goblin (flutes) alone.
  • Andante sostenuto : The girl (clarinet) and her mother (violins), who tells the girl of a bad dream and warns her not to go near the lake.
  • Allegro vivo : The girl ignores the warning (violins and oboes) and falls into the lake, and into the hands of the watergoblin.
  • Andante mesto come prima : The misery of the underwater world.
  • Un poco più lento e molto tranquillo : the girl sings a lullaby for her baby (flute and oboe).
  • Andante : The water goblin tells her to stop singing in a fury and they have a quarrel, which ends that the girl is permitted to go visit her mother, but has to be back before the bells of the vespers.
  • Lento assai : The girl goes home to her mother (cellos and trombones), where they have a sad reunion.
  • Allegro vivace : The storm on the lake, the church bells are heard after which knocking on the door and eventually a loud bang when the goblin throws the dead child against the door.
  • Andante sostenuto : croaking frogs (piccolo and flutes), the mother’s moaning about that Friday, which was an unlucky day (cor anglais and bass clarinet), the mother’s terrible distress (oboes, cellos and basses). The water goblin’s mysterious disappearance into the depth of the lake.


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Great Composition/Performances: Beethoven Symphony No.1 in C major, Op.21 / Roger Norrington The London Classical Players

Great Composition/Performances:   Beethoven Symphony No.1 in C major, Op.21 / Roger Norrington The London Classical Players

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 † 1827) 

Work: Symphony No.1 in C major, Op.21 

01. Adagio molto – Allegro con brio
02. Andante cantabile con moto
03. Menuetto – Allegro molto e vivace
04. Adagio – Allegro molto e vivace

Dedication to Baron Gottfried van Swieten
Premiered on April 2, 1800 at the K.K. Hoftheater nächst der Burg in Vienna

Scored for 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets in C, 2 bassoons, 2 horns in C and F, 2 trumpets in C, timpani and strings.

Conductor: Roger Norrington
The London Classical Players

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 

Ludwig van Beethoven‘s Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21, was dedicated to Baron Gottfried van Swieten, an early patron of the composer. The piece was published in 1801 by Hoffmeister & Kühnel of Leipzig. It is unknown exactly when Beethoven finished writing this work, but sketches of the finale were found from 1795.[1]
Historical background

Portrait of Beethoven in 1803, three years after the premiere of his 1st Symphony.

The symphony is clearly indebted to Beethoven’s predecessors, particularly his teacher Joseph Haydn as well as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, but nonetheless has characteristics that mark it uniquely as Beethoven’s work, notably the frequent use of sforzandi and the prominent, more independent use of wind instruments. Sketches for the finale are found among the exercises Beethoven wrote while studying counterpoint underJohann Georg Albrechtsberger in the spring of 1797.

The premiere took place on 2 April 1800 at the K.K. Hoftheater nächst der Burg in Vienna. The concert program also included his Septet and Piano Concerto No. 2, as well as a symphony by Mozart, and an aria and a duet from Haydn’s oratorio The Creation. This concert effectively served to announce Beethoven’s talents to Vienna.[2]

The symphony is scored for 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets in C, 2 bassoons, 2 horns in C and F, 2 trumpets in C, timpani and strings.

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GREAT COMPOSERS/COMPOSITIONS: N. Rimsky-Korsakov – The Tale of Tsar Saltan: Suite: Part I

The Tale of Tsar Saltan: Suite from the Opera
by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908)
I. Tsar’s Departure and Farewell

  • Buy “Rimsky-Korsakov: The Tale of Tsar Saltan – Suite, Op.57 – 1. The Tsar’s departure and Farewell” on

Google PlayiTunesAmazonMP3

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

File:Swan princess.jpgThe lengthy full title of both the opera and the poem is The Tale of Tsar Saltan, of his Son the Renowned and Mighty Bogatyr Prince Gvidon Saltanovich and of the Beautiful Princess-Swan.

Note: The name “Saltan” is often erroneously rendered “Sultan”. Likewise, another mistranslation of the Russian title found in English makes this a “legend” rather than simply a “tale” or “fairytale”.

Head of a man with dark greying hair, glasses and a long beardNikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov 

(Russian: Николай Андреевич Римский-Корсаков; Russian pronunciation: [nʲɪkəˌlaj ˌrʲim.skʲɪj ˈkorsəkəf]; 18 March [O.S. 6 March] 1844[a 1] – 21 June [O.S. 8 June] 1908) was a Russian composer, and a member of the group of composers known as The Five.[a 2] He was a master of orchestration. His best-known orchestral compositions—Capriccio Espagnol, the Russian Easter Festival Overture, and the symphonic suite Scheherazade—are staples of the classical music repertoire, along with suites and excerpts from some of his 15 operas.Scheherazade is an example of his frequent use of fairy tale and folk subjects.


Rimsky-Korsakov believed, as did fellow composer Mily Balakirev and critic Vladimir Stasov, in developing a nationalistic style of classical music. This style employed Russian folk song and lore along with exotic harmonic, melodic and rhythmic elements in a practice known as musical orientalism, and eschewed traditional Western compositional methods. However, Rimsky-Korsakov appreciated Western musical techniques after he became a professor of musical composition, harmony and orchestration at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory in 1871. He undertook a rigorous three-year program of self-education and became a master of Western methods, incorporating them alongside the influences of Mikhail Glinka and fellow members of The Five. His techniques of composition and orchestration were further enriched by his exposure to the works of Richard Wagner.

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Law’s Expanded Medicaid Coverage Brings a Surge in Sign-Ups – NYTimes.com

America ranks near the bottom of developed countries in health and longevity, and many public health experts believe that improving that ranking will be impossible without paying more attention to poor Americans. It is still an open question whether access to health insurance will improve the health of the disadvantaged in the long run, experts say, but the men and women getting the coverage here say the mere fact of having it has drastically improved their mental health.”

via Law’s Expanded Medicaid Coverage Brings a Surge in Sign-Ups – NYTimes.com.

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Russian lawyer says Snowden in danger after hostile remarks | Reuters

The Reichstag building, seat of the German lower house of parliament Bundestag, is pictured though a flag depicting fugitive former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, during a demonstration in Berlin November 18, 2013. REUTERS/Tobias SchwarzRussian lawyer says Snowden in danger after hostile remarks | Reuters.

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Today” Saint: ST. AGNES

Saint of the Day for Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

Image of St. Agnes

St. Agnes

St. Agnes was a Roman girl who was only thirteen years old when she suffered martyrdom for her Faith. Agnes had made a promise, a promise to God never to stain her purity. Her love for the Lord was … continue reading

More Saints of the Day


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Pope Francis sends a message to Davos elites — they’d do well to listen – Business & Economics – Catholic Online

Pope Francis has called for the world's wealth to serve man, rather than for man to serve wealth.

Pope Francis has called for the world’s wealth to serve man, rather than for man to serve wealth.

via Pope Francis sends a message to Davos elites — they’d do well to listen – Business & Economics – Catholic Online.


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Davos 2014 Preview: Sights and Sounds:   – Bloomberg (yeeyeh for m militarized ECONOMY!)

 Davos 2014 Preview: Sights and Sounds:   – Bloomberg.


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The Federal Budget, Per Person – NYTimes.com


The Spider and the Giants

The Spider and the Giants (Photo credit: Thomas Hawk)


The Federal Budget, Per Person – NYTimes.com.



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Pope Francis’ message to World Economic Forum in Davos

‘The Reshaping of the World: Consequences for Society, Politics and Business’.

via Pope Francis’ message to World Economic Forum in Davos.

Human Rights Watch annual report 2014 criticises NSA mass surveillance | Law | The Guardian

Human Rights Watch annual report 2014 criticises NSA mass surveillance | Law | The Guardian.

Great Composers/Compositions: Mozart – Symphony No. 29 in A, K. 201

The Symphony No. 29 in A major, K. 201/186a, was completed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart on 6 April 1774. It is, along with Symphony No. 25, one of his better known early symphonies. Stanley Sadie characterizes it as “a landmark … personal in tone, indeed perhaps more individual in its combination of an intimate, chamber music style with a still fiery and impulsive manner.” The symphony is scored for 2 oboes, 2 horns and strings, as was typical of early-period Mozart symphonies.
There are four movements:
1. Allegro moderato, 2/2
2. Andante, 2/4
3. Menuetto: Allegretto — Trio, 3/4
4. Allegro con spirito, 6/8
The first movement is in sonata form, with a graceful principal theme characterized by an octave drop and ambitious horn passages. The second movement is scored for muted strings with limited use of the winds, and is also in sonata form. The third movement, a minuet, is characterized by nervous dotted rhythms and staccato phrases; the trio provides a more graceful contrast. The energetic last movement, another sonata-form movement in 6/8 time, connects back to the first movement with its octave drop in the main them


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Contemporary: Michael Abels – Global Warming

The Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra plays Michael Abels‘ “Global Warming” on January 27, 2013 at the Carpenter Theatre with Erin Freeman conducting.


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Great Composers/Compositions: Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach: Concerto for Cello in A minor No. 1, Wq. 170

Álbum: Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach: Cello Concertos
Interpretes del álbum: Tim Hugh & Bournemouth Sinfonietta
Compositor: Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach
Año: 2002
Genero: Barroca


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QUOTATION: Henry David Thoreau

I am as desirous of being a good neighbor as I am of being a bad subject.

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) Discuss


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Feast of Our Lady of Altagracia

A cloth painting of the Virgin Mary is the focus of a yearly celebration in the Dominican Republic. It was painted by a Spanish artist and brought to the Dominican Republic in the early 1500s. The portrait, which was crowned by a gold and silver tiara by Pope John Paul II in 1978, is located in a basilica in the city of Higuey, in the province of Altagracia. Every year on January 21, thousands of pilgrims visit the Higuey cathedral to worship. The feast day is a national holiday and is marked by all-night church services, singing, dancing, and festivals. More… Discuss


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