Daily Archives: April 1, 2014

Make Music Part of your Life Series: Georges Bizet Carmen PART 1 of 20 (Prelude + Sur la Place)



I have now completely uploaded my favourite opera!
Georges Bizet‘s Carmen (4 Acts) (Part 1 of 20) (Prelude + Sur la Place)

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rqflI0… (next part)

Composer: Georges Bizet 
Libretto: Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy

CARMEN: Maria Ewing (Soprano)
DON JOSE: Luis Lima (Tenor)
ESCAMILLO: Gino Quilico (Baritone)
MICAELA: Leontina Vaduva (Soprano)
ZUNIGA: Roderick Earle (Bass-Baritone)
MORALES: Christopher Booth-Jones (Baritone)
FRASQUITA: Judith Howarth (Soprano)
MERCEDES: Jean Rigby (Mezzo-Soprano)
LILLAS PASTIA: Daniel Pageon (Spoken role)
DANCAIRE: Burno Caproni (Bass-Baritone)
REMENDADO: Francis Egerton (Tenor)

Flamenco dancer: Juan Ortega
Stage Director: Nuria Espert
Conductor: Zubin Mehta
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Covent Garden 1991

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At Downey Landing…Mall (My photo Collection)

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Great Compositions/Performances: Beethoven: Fidelio – Overture / Leonard Bernstein


[youtube.com/watch?v=NA3bi_evCZk]
Great Compositions/Performances: Beethoven: Fidelio – Overture / Leonard Bernstein

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 

 

Fidelio, Playbill of the Worldpremiere, Vienna, Kärntnertortheater, 23 May 1814

Fidelio (Leonore, oder Der Triumph der ehelichen Liebe: Leonore, or The Triumph of Married Love)[1] (Op. 72) is a Germanopera with spoken dialogue in two acts by Ludwig van Beethoven. It is his only opera. The German libretto was prepared by Joseph Sonnleithner from the French of Jean-Nicolas Bouilly, which had been used for the 1798 opera Léonore, ou L’amour conjugal by Pierre Gaveaux, and the 1804 opera Leonora by Ferdinando Paer (a score of which was owned by Beethoven).

The opera tells how Leonore, disguised as a prison guard named “Fidelio”, rescues her husband Florestan from death in apolitical prison.

Background

The theatrical mask contemplated by a putto on the Beethoven monument by Kaspar von Zumbusch(Vienna, 1880) commemorates Beethoven’s sole opera in the city where it made its debut

Bouilly’s scenario fits Beethoven’s aesthetic and political outlook: a story of personal sacrifice, heroism and eventual triumph (the usual topics of Beethoven’s “middle period”) with its underlying struggle for liberty and justice mirroring contemporary political movements in Europe.

As elsewhere in Beethoven’s vocal music, the principal parts of Leonore and Florestan, in particular, require great vocal skill and endurance in order to project the necessary intensity, and top performances in these roles attract admiration.[citation needed]

Some notable moments in the opera include the “Prisoners’ Chorus”, an ode to freedom sung by a chorus of political prisoners, Florestan’s vision of Leonore come as an angel to rescue him, and the scene in which the rescue finally takes place. The finale celebrates Leonore’s bravery with alternating contributions of soloists and chorus.

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A closer look: The trail in details (my photo collection)

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Spring is back…and so I’m on the trail (my photo collection)


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Great Compositions/Performances: Kempff plays Schubert Piano Sonata in A Major D664



Franz Schubert:
Piano Sonata in A Major D664:
Mvt.I: Allegro moderato 00:00
Mvt.II: Andante 10:41
Mvt.III: Allegro 15:14

Wilhelm Kempff: piano

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Wilhelm Walter Friedrich Kempff (25 November 1895 – 23 May 1991) was a German pianist and composer. Although his repertoire included BachMozartChopinSchumannLiszt and Brahms, Kempff was particularly well known for his interpretations of the music of Ludwig van Beethoven and Franz Schubert, by both of whom he recorded complete sets of their piano sonatas[1] [2]. He is considered to have been one of the chief exponents of the Germanic tradition during the 20th century.[3]

Early life

 

Kempff was born in JüterbogBrandenburg, in 1895.[1] He grew up in nearby Potsdam where his father was a royal music director and organist at St. Nicolai Church. His grandfather was also an organist and his brother Georg became director of church music at the University of Erlangen. Kempff studied music at first at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik at the age of nine after receiving lessons from his father at a younger age. Whilst there he studied composition with Robert Kahn and piano with Karl Heinrich Barth[1] (with whom Arthur Rubinstein also studied). In 1914 Kempff moved on to study at the Viktoria gymnasium in Potsdam before returning to Berlin to finish his training.[1]

 

As a pianist

 

In 1917, Kempff made his first major recital, consisting of predominantly major works, including Beethoven’s Hammerklavier Sonata and Brahms Variations on a theme of Paganini.[1] Kempff toured very widely in Europe and much of the rest of the world. Between 1936 and 1979 he performed ten times in Japan (a small Japanese island was named Kenpu-san in his honor)[citation needed]. Kempff made his first London appearance in 1951 and his first in New York in 1964. He gave his last public performance in Paris in 1981, and then retired for health reasons (Parkinson’s Disease). He died in PositanoItaly at the age of 95, five years after his wife, whom he had married in 1926. They were survived by five children.[1]

 

Wilhelm Kempff recorded over a period of some sixty years. His recorded legacy includes works of SchumannBrahmsSchubertMozartBachLisztChopin and particularly, of Beethoven.[1]

 

He was among the first to record the complete sonatas of Franz Schubert, long before these works became popular. He also recorded two sets of the complete Beethoven sonatas (and one early, almost complete set on shellac 1926-1945), one in mono (1951–1956) and the other in stereo (1964–1965). He recorded the complete Beethoven piano concertos twice as well, both with the Berlin Philharmonic; the first from the early 1950s in mono with Paul van Kempen, and the later in stereo from the early 1960s with Ferdinand Leitner. Kempff also recorded chamber music with Yehudi MenuhinPierre FournierWolfgang SchneiderhanPaul Grummer, and Henryk Szeryng, among others.

 

The pianist Alfred Brendel has written that Kempff “played on impulse… it depended on whether the right breeze, as with an aeolian harp, was blowing. You then would take something home that you never heard elsewhere.” (in Brendel’s book, The Veil of Order). He regards Kempff as the “most rhythmical” of his colleagues. Brendel helped choose the selections for Phillip’s “Great Pianists of the 20th Century” issue of Kempff recordings, and wrote in the notes that Kempff “achieves things that are beyond him” in his “unsurpassable” recording of Liszt’s first Legende, “St. Francis Preaching to the Birds.”

 

Kempff (right) with Ernest Ansermet (left) in 1965

 

When pianist Artur Schnabel undertook his pioneering complete recording of the Beethoven sonatas in the 1930s, he told EMI that if he didn’t complete the cycle, they should have Kempff complete the remainder – even though the two pianists took noticeably different approaches to the composer (for example, Schnabel preferred extremely fast or slow tempos, while Kempff preferred moderate ones). Later, when Kempff was in Finland, the composer Jean Sibelius asked him to play the slow movement of Beethoven’s 29th Sonata, the Hammerklavier; after Kempff finished, Sibelius told him, “You did not play that as a pianist but rather as a human being.”[4]

 

Technique

 

As a performer he stressed lyricism and spontaneity in music, particularly effective in intimate pieces or passages. He always strove for a singing, lyrical quality. He avoided extreme tempos and display for its own sake. He left recordings of most of his repertory, including the complete sonatas of Beethoven and Schubert. He performed to an advanced age, concertizing past his eightieth birthday. His association with the Berlin Philharmonic spanned over sixty years.

 

As a teacher

 

From 1924 to 1929, Kempff took over the direction of the Stuttgart College of Music as a successor of Max Pauer. In 1931, he was co-founder of the summer courses at Marmorpalais Potsdam. In 1957, Kempff founded Fondazione Orfeo (today: Kempff Kulturstiftung) in the south-Italian city Positano and held his first Beethoven interpretation masterclass at Casa Orfeo, which Kempff had built especially for this reason. He continued teaching there once a year until 1982. After his death in 1991,Gerhard Oppitz taught the courses from 1992-1994 until John O’Conor took over. Oppitz and O’Conor had both been outstanding participants of Kempff’s masterclasses and were personally closely connected with Wilhelm Kempff.

 

Other noted pianists to have studied with Kempff include Jörg DemusNorman ShetlerMitsuko UchidaPeter SchmalfussIdil Biret and Carmen Piazzini.

 

Composition

 

A lesser-known activity of Kempff was composing. He composed for almost every genre and used his own cadenzas for Beethoven’s Piano Concertos 1-4. His student Idil Biret has recorded a CD of his piano works. His second symphony premiered in 1929 at the Leipzig Gewandhaus by Wilhelm Furtwängler. He also prepared a number of Bach transcriptions, including the Siciliano from the Flute Sonata in E-flat major, that have been recorded by Kempff and others.

 

Recordings

 

Among many others:

 

  • Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Nos. 1, 12, 19, and 20 (DG LP 138 935; released 1965; recipient of Grand Prix du Disque)
  • Schubert: The Piano Sonatas (complete), (DG 463 766-2 (seven compact disks)) recordings made in 1965, ’67, ’68, ’70.

 

Autobiogra

 

  • Kempff, Wilhelm. Unter dem Zimbelstern: Jugenderinnerungen eines Pianisten [“Under the Cymbal Star: The Development of a Musician” (1951)]. Laaber: Laaber Verlag, 1978.

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GREAT COMPOSITIONS/PERFORMANCES: Beethoven: Symphony No.8 – Jarvi, DKB



Beethoven: Symphony No.8 in F, Op.93
Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen
Paavo Jarvi, dir.

0:01 I. Allegro vivace e con brio
9:05 II. Allegro scherzando
12:57 III. Tempo di Menuetto
17:36 IV. Allegro vivace

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ST. MARY OF EGYPT – Feastday: April 2


Image of St. Mary of Egypt
Facts

Feastday: April 2

Patron of Chastity (warfare against the flesh; deliverance from carnal passions); Demons (deliverance from); Fever; Skin diseases; Temptations of the flesh

Birth: 344

Death: 421

In Cyril of Scythopolis‘ life of St. Cyryacus, he tells of a woman named Mary found by Cyryacus and his companions living as a hermitess in the Jordanian desert. She told him she had been a famous singer and actress who had sinned and was doing penance in the desert. When they returned, she was dead. Around the story was built an elaborate legend that had tremendous popularity during the Middle Agesaccording to which she was an Egyptian who went to Alexandria when she was twelve and lived as an actress and courtesan for seventeen years. She was brought to the realization of her evil life before an icon of the Blessed Virgin, and at Mary’s direction, went to the desert east of Palestine, where she lived as a hermitess for forty-seven years, not seeing a single human being and beset by all kinds of temptations, which were mitigated by her prayers to the Blessed Virgin. She was discovered about 430 by a holy man named Zosimus, who was impressed by her spiritual knowledge and wisdom. He saw her the following Lent, but when he returned, he found her dead and buried her. When he returned to his monastery near the Jordan, he told the brethren what had happened and the story spread. Her feast day is April 2.

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SAINT OF THE DAY April 1: ST. HUGH OF GRENOBLE


SAINT OF THE DAY

April 1 Saint of the Day

ST. HUGH OF GRENOBLE
April 1: Benedictine bishop of Grenoble, France, patron of St. Bruno. He … Read More

April
1

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QUOTATION: Men often bear little grievances with less courage than they do large misfortunes. Aesop


Men often bear little grievances with less courage than they do large misfortunes.

Aesop (620 BC-560 BC) Discuss

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SUNDAY OF ST. MARY OF EGYPT


Sunday of St. Mary of Egypt

The Sunday of St. Mary of Egypt is celebrated by Orthodox Christians on the fifth Sunday of Great Lent, and also on April 1. St. Mary was a sinful, lustful woman who repented and became devout. She is seen as the least worthy person, who through God’s mercy became a treasure chosen by God. She is revered as a patron saint of penitent women. On the fifth Sunday of Great Lent, St. Mary of Egypt is the subject of sermons during the Divine Liturgy. On this day, Orthodox priests typically bless dried fruit after the services. More… Discuss

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TODAY’S BIRTHDAY: WILLIAM MANCHESTER (1922)


William Manchester (1922)

Manchester, an American historian, biographer, and bestselling author, published 18 books during his lifetime, including three popular volumes on US president John F. Kennedy. His writings have been translated into multiple languages. He served as a Marine during World War II, and his wartime experiences formed the basis for Goodbye, Darkness: A Memoir of the Pacific War. Why did Jacqueline Kennedy file a lawsuit to prevent the publication of Manchester’s The Death of a PresidentMore… Discuss

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THIS DAY IN THE YESTERYEAR: FAEROE ISLANDS GAIN HOME RULE (1948)


Faeroe Islands Gain Home Rule (1948)

The Faeroe Islands are a group of volcanic islands first settled by Irish monks circa 700 CE and colonized by Vikings about a century later. Since 1380, the islands have been under Danish rule. After World War II, the Faeroese sought independence, but the Danish king blocked any chance of this by dissolving the Faeroese parliament following a 1946 referendum in which residents voted for independence. Two years later, they were granted self-government. Where in the world are the Faeroe Islands? More… Discuss

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NEWS: UN COURT ORDERS JAPAN TO HALT ANTARCTIC WHALING


UN Court Orders Japan to Halt Antarctic Whaling

Despite signing a 1986 moratorium on whaling, Japan has continued to allow it, much to the consternation of conservation and animal rights groups as well as the international community. The country has justified its continued hunting of whales by claiming that it is being carried out for scientific purposes rather than for human consumption, a claim that has been met with widespread skepticism. On Monday, the UN’s International Court of Justice ordered Japan to put a stop to its Antarctic whaling program, ruling that the scientific output of the program did not justify the number of whales being killed. Japan has said it will abide by the ruling. More… Discuss

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WORD: SLEIGHT


sleight 

Definition: (noun) Adroitness in using the hands.
Synonyms: dexterity
Usage: Only through his unequaled sleight can the juggler manage to keep eight chainsaws safely aloft. Discuss.
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