Category Archives: MY TAKE ON THINGS




WAKE UP PEOPLE!!! They Poisoned Our Water? Interview With UAW Region 1D Assistant Director Steve Dawes On Flint: A CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY

They Poisoned Our Water? Interview With UAW Region 1D Assistant Director Steve Dawes On Flint

historic musical bits: Beethoven, Symphony No 6, 3,4,5mov, Otto Klemperer

Beethoven, Symphony No 6, 3,4,5mov, Otto Klemperer

Brahms – Sonata n°3, Paganini Variations – Berezovsky

Brahms – Sonata n°3, Paganini Variations – Berezovsky

historic musical bits: Mendelssohn – A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Philharmonia / Klemperer (rec. 1960)

Mendelssohn – A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Philharmonia / Klemperer

Published on Dec 29, 2012

Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy

A Midsummer Night’s Dream op.61

Heather Harper
Janet Baker
Philharmonia Orchestra
Otto Klemperer
Studio recording, London 28-29.I.1960 & 16.II.1960

A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Mendelssohn)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
watercolour portrait against blank background of a young man with dark, curly hair, facing the spectator: dressed in fashionable clothes of the 1830s, dark jacket with velvet collar, black silk cravat, high collar, white waistcoat

Portrait of Mendelssohn by James Warren Childe, 1839

At two separate times, Felix Mendelssohn composed music for William Shakespeare‘s play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. First in 1826, near the start of his career, he wrote a concert overture (Op. 21). Later, in 1842, only a few years before his death, he wrote incidental music (Op. 61) for a production of the play, into which he incorporated the existing Overture. The incidental music includes the world-famous Wedding March. The German title reads Ein Sommernachtstraum.


The Overture in E major, Op. 21, was written by Mendelssohn at 17 years and 6 months old (it was finished on 6 August 1826),.[1] Contemporary music scholar George Grove called it “the greatest marvel of early maturity that the world has ever seen in music”.[2] It was written as a concert overture, not associated with any performance of the play. The Overture was written after Mendelssohn had read a German translation of the play in 1826. The translation was by August Wilhelm Schlegel, with help from Ludwig Tieck. There was a family connection as well: Schlegel’s brother Friedrich married Felix Mendelssohn’s Aunt Dorothea.[3]

While a romantic piece in atmosphere, the Overture incorporates many classical elements, being cast in sonata form and shaped by regular phrasings and harmonic transitions. The piece is also noted for its striking instrumental effects, such as the emulation of scampering ‘fairy feet’ at the beginning and the braying of Bottom as an ass (effects which were influenced by the aesthetic ideas and suggestions of Mendelssohn’s friend at the time, Adolf Bernhard Marx). Heinrich Eduard Jacob, in his biography of the composer, said that Mendelssohn had scribbled the chords after hearing an evening breeze rustle the leaves in the garden of the family’s home.[3]

The overture begins with four chords in the winds. Following the first theme in the parallel minor (E minor) representing the dancing fairies, a transition (the royal music of the court of Athens) leads to a second theme, that of the lovers. This is followed by the braying of Bottom with the “hee-hawing” being evoked by the strings. A final group of themes, reminiscent of craftsmen and hunting calls, brings the exposition to a close. The fairies dominate most of the development section, while the Lover’s theme is played in a minor key. The recapitulation begins with the same opening four chords in the winds, followed by the Fairies theme and the other section in the second theme, including Bottom’s braying. The fairies return, and ultimately have the final word in the coda, just as in Shakespeare’s play. The overture ends once again with the same opening four chords by the winds.

The Overture was premiered in Stettin (then in Prussia; now Szczecin, Poland) on 20 February 1827,[4] at a concert conducted by Carl Loewe. Mendelssohn had turned 18 just over two weeks earlier. He had to travel 80 miles through a raging snowstorm to get to the concert,[5] which was his first public appearance. Loewe and Mendelssohn also appeared as soloists in Mendelssohn’s Concerto in A-flat major for two pianos and orchestra, and Mendelssohn alone was the soloist for Carl Maria von Weber‘s Konzertstück in F minor. After the intermission, he joined the first violins for a performance of Beethoven‘s Ninth Symphony.

The first British performance of the Overture was conducted by Mendelssohn himself, on 24 June 1829, at the Argyll Rooms in London, at a concert in benefit of the victims of the floods in Silesia, and played by an orchestra that had been assembled by Mendelssohn’s friend Sir George Smart.[4]

Incidental music

Mendelssohn wrote the incidental music, Op. 61, for A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 1842, 16 years after he wrote the Overture. It was written to a commission from King Frederick William IV of Prussia. Mendelssohn was by then the music director of the King’s Academy of the Arts and of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra.[6] A successful presentation of SophoclesAntigone on 28 October 1841 at the New Palace in Potsdam, with music by Mendelssohn (Op. 55) led to the King asking him for more such music, to plays he especially enjoyed. A Midsummer Night’s Dream was produced on 14 October 1843, also at Potsdam. The producer was Ludwig Tieck. This was followed by incidental music for Sophocles’ Oedipus (Potsdam, 1 November 1845; published posthumously as Op. 93) and Jean Racine‘s Athalie (Berlin, 1 December 1845; Op. 74).[1]

The A Midsummer Night’s Dream Overture, Op. 21, originally written as an independent piece 16 years earlier, was incorporated into the Op. 61 incidental music as its overture, and the first of its 14 numbers. There are also vocal sections and other purely instrumental movements, including the Scherzo, Nocturne and Wedding March. The vocal numbers include the song “Ye spotted snakes” and the melodramas “Over hill, over dale”, “The Spells”, “What hempen homespuns”, and “The Removal of the Spells”. The melodramas served to enhance Shakespeare’s text.

Act I was played without music. The Scherzo, with its sprightly scoring, dominated by chattering winds and dancing strings, acts as an intermezzo between Acts I and II. The Scherzo leads directly into the first melodrama, a passage of text spoken over music. Oberon’s arrival is accompanied by a fairy march, scored with triangle and cymbals.

The vocal piece “Ye spotted snakes” opens Act II’s second scene. The second Intermezzo comes at the end of the second act. Act III includes a quaint march for the entrance of the Mechanicals. We soon hear music quoted from the Overture to accompany the action. The Nocturne includes a solo horn doubled by bassoons, and accompanies the sleeping lovers between Acts III and IV. There is only one melodrama in Act IV. This closes with a reprise of the Nocturne to accompany the mortal lovers’ sleep.

The intermezzo between Acts IV and V is the famous Wedding March, probably the most popular single piece of music composed by Mendelssohn, and one of the most ubiquitous pieces of music ever written.

Act V contains more music than any other, to accompany the wedding feast. There is a brief fanfare for trumpets and timpani, a parody of a funeral march, and a Bergomask dance. The dance uses Bottom’s braying from the Overture as its main thematic material.

The play has three brief epilogues. The first is introduced with a reprise of the theme of the Wedding March and the fairy music of the Overture. After Puck‘s speech, the final musical number is heard – “Through this house give glimmering light”, scored for soprano, mezzo-soprano and chorus. Puck’s famous valedictory speech “If we shadows have offended” is accompanied, as day breaks, by the four chords first heard at the very beginning of the Overture, bringing the work full circle and to a fitting close.

Suite and excerpts

The purely instrumental movements (Overture, Scherzo, Intermezzo, Nocturne, Wedding March, and Bergomask) are often played as a unified suite or as independent pieces, at concert performance or on recording, although this approach never had Mendelssohn’s imprimatur. Like many others, Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra recorded selections for RCA Victor; Ormandy broke with tradition by using the German translation of Shakespeare’s text. In the 1970s Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos recorded a Decca Records LP of the complete incidental music with the New Philharmonia Orchestra and soloists Hanneke van Bork and Alfreda Hodgson; it later was issued on CD.[7] In October 1992, Seiji Ozawa and the Boston Symphony Orchestra recorded another album of the full score for Deutsche Grammophon; they were joined by soloists Frederica von Stade and Kathleen Battle as well as the Tanglewood Festival Chorus. Actress Judi Dench was heard reciting those excerpts from the play that were acted against the music. In 1996, Claudio Abbado recorded an album for Sony Masterworks of extended excerpts with Kenneth Branagh acting several roles from the play, performed live.[8]


The Overture is scored for two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, two horns, two trumpets, ophicleide, timpani and strings. The incidental music adds a third trumpet, three trombones, triangle and cymbals to this scoring.


Parts of the score are used, re-orchestrated by Erich Wolfgang Korngold, in Max Reinhardt‘s 1935 movie A Midsummer Night’s Drea

great compositions/performances: BARTHOLDY QUARTETT plays MENDELSSOHN – STRING QUARTET OP. 44 N. 2


great compositions/performances: Berlioz – Roman Carnival Overture Op. 9 – National Symphony Orchestra Washington – C. Eschenbach

Berlioz – Roman Carnival Overture Op. 9 – National Symphony Orchestra Washington – C. Eschenbach

make music part of your life series: Aaron Copeland The Red Pony Suite: I. Morning on the Ranch

The Red Pony Suite: I. Morning on the Ranch Aaron Copeland


fabulous renditions: Valentina Lisitsa plays Chopin Nocturne F Major Op 15 no.1.

Chopin Nocturne F Major Op 15 no.1. Valentina Lisitsa

historic musical bits: Ludwig van Beethoven Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67 – Leonard Bernstein

Ludwig van Beethoven Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67 – Leonard Bernstein

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“Beethoven’s Fifth” redirects here. For the movie, see Beethoven’s 5th (film). For Beethoven’s 5th piano concerto, see Piano Concerto No. 5 (Beethoven).

The coversheet to Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. The dedication to Prince J. F. M. Lobkowitz and Count Rasumovsky is visible.

The Symphony No. 5 in C minor of Ludwig van Beethoven, Op. 67, was written between 1804–1808. It is one of the best-known compositions in classical music, and one of the most frequently played symphonies.[1] First performed in Vienna‘s Theater an der Wien in 1808, the work achieved its prodigious reputation soon afterward. E. T. A. Hoffmann described the symphony as “one of the most important works of the time”.

It begins by stating a distinctive four-note “short-short-short-long” motif twice: (About this sound listen )

{\clef treble \key c \minor \time 2/4 {r8 g'8[ g'8 g'8] | ees'2\fermata | r8 f'8[ f'8 f'8] | d'2~ | d'2\fermata | } }

The symphony, and the four-note opening motif in particular, are known worldwide, with the motif appearing frequently in popular culture, from disco to rock and roll, to appearances in film and television.

Since the Second World War it has sometimes been referred to as the “Victory Symphony”.[2] “V” is the Roman character for the number five; the phrase “V for Victory” became well known as a campaign of the Allies of World War II. That Beethoven’s Victory Symphony happened to be his Fifth (or vice versa) is coincidence. Some thirty years after this piece was written, the rhythm of the opening phrase – “dit-dit-dit-dah” – was used for the letter “V” in Morse code, though this is probably also coincidental.[3]

The BBC, during World War Two, prefaced its broadcasts to Europe with those four notes, played on drums.[4][5][6]



Beethoven in 1804, the year he began work on the Fifth Symphony. Detail of a portrait by W. J. Mähler

The Fifth Symphony had a long development. The first sketches date from 1804 following the completion of the Third Symphony.[7] However, Beethoven repeatedly interrupted his work on the Fifth to prepare other compositions, including the first version of Fidelio, the Appassionata piano sonata, the three Razumovsky string quartets, the Violin Concerto, the Fourth Piano Concerto, the Fourth Symphony, and the Mass in C. The final preparation of the Fifth Symphony, which took place in 1807–1808, was carried out in parallel with the Sixth Symphony, which premiered at the same concert.

Beethoven was in his mid-thirties during this time; his personal life was troubled by increasing deafness.[8] In the world at large, the period was marked by the Napoleonic Wars, political turmoil in Austria, and the occupation of Vienna by Napoleon‘s troops in 1805.


The Fifth Symphony was premiered on 22 December 1808 at a mammoth concert at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna consisting entirely of Beethoven premieres, and directed by Beethoven himself.[9] The concert lasted for more than four hours. The two symphonies appeared on the program in reverse order: the Sixth was played first, and the Fifth appeared in the second half.[10] The program was as follows:

  1. The Sixth Symphony
  2. Aria: Ah! perfido, Op. 65
  3. The Gloria movement of the Mass in C major
  4. The Fourth Piano Concerto (played by Beethoven himself)
  5. (Intermission)
  6. The Fifth Symphony
  7. The Sanctus and Benedictus movements of the C major Mass
  8. A solo piano improvisation played by Beethoven
  9. The Choral Fantasy

The Theater an der Wien as it appeared in the early 19th century

Beethoven dedicated the Fifth Symphony to two of his patrons, Prince Franz Joseph von Lobkowitz and Count Razumovsky. The dedication appeared in the first printed edition of April 1809.

Reception and influence

There was little critical response to the premiere performance, which took place under adverse conditions. The orchestra did not play well—with only one rehearsal before the concert—and at one point, following a mistake by one of the performers in the Choral Fantasy, Beethoven had to stop the music and start again.[11] The auditorium was extremely cold and the audience was exhausted by the length of the program. However, a year and a half later, publication of the score resulted in a rapturous unsigned review (actually by E. T. A. Hoffmann) in the Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung. He described the music with dramatic imagery:

Radiant beams shoot through this region’s deep night, and we become aware of gigantic shadows which, rocking back and forth, close in on us and destroy everything within us except the pain of endless longing—a longing in which every pleasure that rose up in jubilant tones sinks and succumbs, and only through this pain, which, while consuming but not destroying love, hope, and joy, tries to burst our breasts with full-voiced harmonies of all the passions, we live on and are captivated beholders of the spirits.[12]

Apart from the extravagant praise, Hoffmann devoted by far the largest part of his review to a detailed analysis of the symphony, in order to show his readers the devices Beethoven used to arouse particular affects in the listener. In an essay titled “Beethoven’s Instrumental Music”, compiled from this 1810 review and another one from 1813 on the op. 70 string trios, published in three instalments in December 1813, E.T.A. Hoffmann further praised the “indescribably profound, magnificent symphony in C minor”:

How this wonderful composition, in a climax that climbs on and on, leads the listener imperiously forward into the spirit world of the infinite!… No doubt the whole rushes like an ingenious rhapsody past many a man, but the soul of each thoughtful listener is assuredly stirred, deeply and intimately, by a feeling that is none other than that unutterable portentous longing, and until the final chord—indeed, even in the moments that follow it—he will be powerless to step out of that wondrous spirit realm where grief and joy embrace him in the form of sound….[13]

The symphony soon acquired its status as a central item in the repertoire. It was played in the inaugural concerts of the New York Philharmonic on 7 December 1842, and the [US] National Symphony Orchestra on 2 November 1931. It was first recorded by the Odeon Orchestra under Friedrich Kark in 1910. The First Movement (as performed by the Philharmonia Orchestra) was featured on the Voyager Golden Record, a phonograph record containing a broad sample of the images, common sounds, languages, and music of Earth, sent into outer space with the two Voyager probes.[14] Groundbreaking in terms of both its technical and its emotional impact, the Fifth has had a large influence on composers and music critics,[15] and inspired work by such composers as Brahms, Tchaikovsky (his 4th Symphony in particular),[16] Bruckner, Mahler, and Berlioz.[17]


The symphony is scored for piccolo (fourth movement only), two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets in B and C, two bassoons, contrabassoon or double bassoon (fourth movement only), two horns in E and C, two trumpets, three trombones (alto, tenor, and bass, fourth movement only), timpani (in G-C) and strings.


A typical performance usually lasts around 30–40 minutes. The work is in four movements:

First movement: Allegro con brio

First movement
Performed by the Skidmore College Orchestra. Music courtesy of Musopen

Performed by the Fulda Symphony

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The first movement opens with the four-note motif discussed above, one of the most famous in Western music. There is considerable debate among conductors as to the manner of playing the four opening bars. Some conductors take it in strict allegro tempo; others take the liberty of a weighty treatment, playing the motif in a much slower and more stately tempo; yet others take the motif molto ritardando (a pronounced slowing through each four-note phrase), arguing that the fermata over the fourth note justifies this.[18] Some critics and musicians consider it crucial to convey the spirit of [pause]and-two-and one, as written, and consider the more common one-two-three-four to be misleading.[19] To wit:

About the “ta-ta-ta-Taaa”: Beethoven begins with eight notes. They rhyme, four plus four, and each group of four consists of three quick notes plus one that is lower and much longer (in fact unmeasured). The space between the two rhyming groups is minimal, about one-seventh of a second if we go by Beethoven’s metronome mark; moreover, Beethoven clarifies the shape by lengthening the second of the long notes. This lengthening, which was an afterthought, is tantamount to writing a stronger punctuation mark. As the music progresses, we can hear in the melody of the second theme, for example (or later, in the pairs of antiphonal chords of woodwinds and strings), that the constantly invoked connection between the two four-note units is crucial to the movement. … The source of Beethoven’s unparalleled energy here is in his writing long sentences and broad paragraphs whose surfaces are articulated with exciting activity. Indeed, we discover soon enough that the double “ta-ta-ta-Taaa” is an open-ended beginning, not a closed and self-sufficient unit (Misunderstanding of this opening was nurtured by a nineteenth-century performance tradition in which the first five measures were read as a slow, portentous exordium, the main tempo being attacked only after the second hold.) What makes this opening so dramatic is the violence of the contrast between the urgency in the eighth notes and the ominous freezing of motion in the unmeasured long notes. The music starts with a wild outburst of energy but immediately crashes into a wall. Seconds later, Beethoven jolts us with another such sudden halt. The music draws up to a half-cadence on a G-major chord, short and crisp in the whole orchestra, except for the first violins, who hang on to their high C for an unmeasured length of time. Forward motion resumes with a relentless pounding of eighth notes.[20]

The first movement is in the traditional sonata form that Beethoven inherited from his classical predecessors, Haydn and Mozart (in which the main ideas that are introduced in the first few pages undergo elaborate development through many keys, with a dramatic return to the opening section—the recapitulation—about three-quarters of the way through). It starts out with two dramatic fortissimo phrases, the famous motif, commanding the listener’s attention. Following the first four bars, Beethoven uses imitations and sequences to expand the theme, these pithy imitations tumbling over each other with such rhythmic regularity that they appear to form a single, flowing melody. Shortly after, a very short fortissimo bridge, played by the horns, takes place before a second theme is introduced. This second theme is in E major, the relative major, and it is more lyrical, written piano and featuring the four-note motif in the string accompaniment. The codetta is again based on the four-note motif. The development section follows, including the bridge. During the recapitulation, there is a brief solo passage for oboe in quasi-improvisatory style, and the movement ends with a massive coda.

Second movement: Andante con moto

Second movement
Performed by the Skidmore College Orchestra. Music courtesy of Musopen

Performed by the Fulda Symphony

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The second movement, in A major, the submediant major of the overall C minor key of the symphony, is a lyrical work in double variation form, which means that two themes are presented and varied in alternation. Following the variations there is a long coda.

The movement opens with an announcement of its theme, a melody in unison by violas and cellos, with accompaniment by the double basses. A second theme soon follows, with a harmony provided by clarinets, bassoons, and violins, with a triplet arpeggio in the violas and bass. A variation of the first theme reasserts itself. This is followed up by a third theme, thirty-second notes in the violas and cellos with a counterphrase running in the flute, oboe, and bassoon. Following an interlude, the whole orchestra participates in a fortissimo, leading to a series of crescendos and a coda to close the movement.[21]

Third movement: Scherzo. Allegro

Third movement
Performed by the Skidmore College Orchestra. Music courtesy of Musopen

Performed by the Fulda Symphony

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The third movement is in ternary form, consisting of a scherzo and trio. It follows the traditional mold of Classical-era symphonic third movements, containing in sequence the main scherzo, a contrasting trio section, a return of the scherzo, and a coda. However, while the usual Classical symphonies employed a minuet and trio as their third movement, Beethoven chose to use the newer scherzo and trio form.

The movement returns to the opening key of C minor and begins with the following theme, played by the cellos and double basses: (About this sound listen )

\relative c{ \clef bass \key c \minor \time 3/4 \tempo "Allegro" \partial 4 g(\pp | c ees g | c2 ees4 | d2 fis,4) | g2.~ | g2.}

The opening theme is answered by a contrasting theme played by the winds, and this sequence is repeated. Then the horns loudly announce the main theme of the movement, and the music proceeds from there.

The trio section is in C major and is written in a contrapuntal texture. When the scherzo returns for the final time, it is performed by the strings pizzicato and very quietly.

“The scherzo offers contrasts that are somewhat similar to those of the slow movement in that they derive from extreme difference in character between scherzo and trio … The Scherzo then contrasts this figure with the famous ‘motto’ (3 + 1) from the first movement, which gradually takes command of the whole movement.”[22]

The third movement is also notable for its transition to the fourth movement, widely considered one of the greatest musical transitions of all time.[23]

Fourth movement: Allegro

Fourth movement
Performed by the Skidmore College Orchestra. Music courtesy of Musopen

Performed by the Fulda Symphony

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The fourth movement begins without pause from the transition. The music resounds in C major, an unusual choice by the composer as a symphony that begins in C minor is expected to finish in that key.[24] In Beethoven’s words:

Many assert that every minor piece must end in the minor. Nego! …Joy follows sorrow, sunshine—rain.[25]

The triumphant and exhilarating finale is written in an unusual variant of sonata form: at the end of the development section, the music halts on a dominant cadence, played fortissimo, and the music continues after a pause with a quiet reprise of the “horn theme” of the scherzo movement. The recapitulation is then introduced by a crescendo coming out of the last bars of the interpolated scherzo section, just as the same music was introduced at the opening of the movement. The interruption of the finale with material from the third “dance” movement was pioneered by Haydn, who had done the same in his Symphony No. 46 in B, from 1772. It is unknown whether Beethoven was familiar with this work or not.[citation needed]

The Fifth Symphony finale includes a very long coda, in which the main themes of the movement are played in temporally compressed form. Towards the end the tempo is increased to presto. The symphony ends with 29 bars of C major chords, played fortissimo. In The Classical Style, Charles Rosen suggests that this ending reflects Beethoven’s sense of Classical proportions: the “unbelievably long” pure C major cadence is needed “to ground the extreme tension of [this] immense work.”[26]

It was shown recently that this long chord sequence was a pattern that Beethoven borrowed from the Italian composer Luigi Cherubini, whom Beethoven “esteemed the most” among his contemporary musicians. Spending much of his life in France, Cherubini employed this pattern consistently to close his overtures, which Beethoven knew well. The ending of his famous symphony repeats almost note by note and pause by pause the conclusion of Cherubini’s overture to his opera Eliza, composed in 1794 and presented in Vienna in 1803.[27]


The 19th century musicologist Gustav Nottebohm first pointed out that the third movement’s theme has the same sequence of intervals as the opening theme of the final movement of Mozart‘s famous Symphony No. 40 in G minor, K. 550. Here is Mozart’s theme: (About this sound listen )

\relative c' { \key g \minor \time 2/2 \tempo "Allegro assai" \partial 4 d4\p( g) bes-. d-. g-. bes2( a4) cis,8\f }

While such resemblances sometimes occur by accident, this is unlikely to be so in the present case. Nottebohm discovered the resemblance when he examined a sketchbook used by Beethoven in composing the Fifth Symphony: here, 29 measures of Mozart’s finale appear, copied out by Beethoven.[28][need quotation to verify]


Much has been written about the Fifth Symphony in books, scholarly articles, and program notes for live and recorded performances. This section summarizes some themes that commonly appear in this material.

Fate motif

The initial motif of the symphony has sometimes been credited with symbolic significance as a representation of Fate knocking at the door. This idea comes from Beethoven’s secretary and factotum Anton Schindler, who wrote, many years after Beethoven’s death:

The composer himself provided the key to these depths when one day, in this author’s presence, he pointed to the beginning of the first movement and expressed in these words the fundamental idea of his work: “Thus Fate knocks at the door!”[29]

Schindler’s testimony concerning any point of Beethoven’s life is disparaged by experts (he is believed to have forged entries in Beethoven’s conversation books).[30] Moreover, it is often commented that Schindler offered a highly romanticized view of the composer.

There is another tale concerning the same motif; the version given here is from Antony Hopkins‘ description of the symphony.[7] Carl Czerny (Beethoven’s pupil, who premiered the “Emperor” Concerto in Vienna) claimed that “the little pattern of notes had come to [Beethoven] from a yellow-hammer‘s song, heard as he walked in the Prater-park in Vienna.” Hopkins further remarks that “given the choice between a yellow-hammer and Fate-at-the-door, the public has preferred the more dramatic myth, though Czerny’s account is too unlikely to have been invented.”

In his Omnibus television lecture series in 1954, Leonard Bernstein has likened the Fate Motif to the four note coda common to classical symphonies. These notes would terminate the classical symphony as a musical coda, but for Beethoven they become a motif repeating throughout the work for a very different and dramatic effect, he says.[31]

Evaluations of these interpretations tend to be skeptical. “The popular legend that Beethoven intended this grand exordium of the symphony to suggest ‘Fate Knocking at the gate’ is apocryphal; Beethoven’s pupil, Ferdinand Ries, was really author of this would-be poetic exegesis, which Beethoven received very sarcastically when Ries imparted it to him.”[18] Elizabeth Schwarm Glesner remarks that “Beethoven had been known to say nearly anything to relieve himself of questioning pests”; this might be taken to impugn both tales.[32]

Beethoven’s choice of key

The key of the Fifth Symphony, C minor, is commonly regarded as a special key for Beethoven, specifically a “stormy, heroic tonality”.[33] Beethoven wrote a number of works in C minor whose character is broadly similar to that of the Fifth Symphony. Writer Charles Rosen says,

Beethoven in C minor has come to symbolize his artistic character. In every case, it reveals Beethoven as Hero. C minor does not show Beethoven at his most subtle, but it does give him to us in his most extroverted form, where he seems to be most impatient of any compromise.[34]

Repetition of the opening motif throughout the symphony

It is commonly asserted that the opening four-note rhythmic motif (short-short-short-long; see above) is repeated throughout the symphony, unifying it. “It is a rhythmic pattern (dit-dit-dit-dot*) that makes its appearance in each of the other three movements and thus contributes to the overall unity of the symphony” (Doug Briscoe[35]); “a single motif that unifies the entire work” (Peter Gutmann[36]); “the key motif of the entire symphony”;[37] “the rhythm of the famous opening figure … recurs at crucial points in later movements” (Richard Bratby[38]). The New Grove encyclopedia cautiously endorses this view, reporting that “[t]he famous opening motif is to be heard in almost every bar of the first movement—and, allowing for modifications, in the other movements.”[39]

There are several passages in the symphony that have led to this view. For instance, in the third movement the horns play the following solo in which the short-short-short-long pattern occurs repeatedly:

\relative c'' {
\key c \minor
\time 3/4
\set Score.currentBarNumber = #19
\bar ""
\[ g4\ff^"a 2" g g | g2. | \]
g4 g g | g2. |
g4 g g | <es g>2. |
<g bes>4( <f as>) <es g>^^ | <bes f'>2. |

In the second movement (at measure 76), an accompanying line plays a similar rhythm (About this sound listen ):

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In the finale, Doug Briscoe (cited above) suggests that the motif may be heard in the piccolo part, presumably meaning the following passage (About this sound listen ):

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Later, in the coda of the finale, the bass instruments repeatedly play the following (About this sound listen ):

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On the other hand, some commentators are unimpressed with these resemblances and consider them to be accidental. Antony Hopkins,[7] discussing the theme in the scherzo, says “no musician with an ounce of feeling could confuse [the two rhythms]”, explaining that the scherzo rhythm begins on a strong musical beat whereas the first-movement theme begins on a weak one. Donald Francis Tovey[40] pours scorn on the idea that a rhythmic motif unifies the symphony: “This profound discovery was supposed to reveal an unsuspected unity in the work, but it does not seem to have been carried far enough.” Applied consistently, he continues, the same approach would lead to the conclusion that many other works by Beethoven are also “unified” with this symphony, as the motif appears in the “Appassionata” piano sonata, the Fourth Piano Concerto (About this sound listen ), and in the String Quartet, Op. 74. Tovey concludes, “the simple truth is that Beethoven could not do without just such purely rhythmic figures at this stage of his art.”

To Tovey’s objection can be added the prominence of the short-short-short-long rhythmic figure in earlier works by Beethoven’s older Classical contemporaries Haydn and Mozart. To give just two examples, it is found in Haydn’s “Miracle” Symphony, No. 96) (About this sound listen ) and in Mozart‘s Piano Concerto No. 25, K. 503 (About this sound listen ). Such examples show that “short-short-short-long” rhythms were a regular part of the musical language of the composers of Beethoven’s day.

It seems likely that whether or not Beethoven deliberately, or unconsciously, wove a single rhythmic motif through the Fifth Symphony will (in Hopkins’s words) “remain eternally open to debate.”[7]

Use of La Folia

Beethoven Symphony No. 5 Movement 2, La Folia Variation (measures 166–176)

Folia is a dance form with a distinctive rhythm and harmony, which was used by many composers from the Renaissance well into the 19th and even 20th century, often in the context of a theme and variations.[41] It was used by Beethoven in his Fifth Symphony in the harmony midway through the slow movement (bar 166–177).[42] Although some recent sources mention that the fragment of the Folia theme in Beethoven’s symphony was detected only in the 90s of the last century, Reed J. Hoyt analyzed some Folia-aspects in the oeuvre of Beethoven already in 1982 in his “Letter to the Editor”, in the journal College Music Symposium 21, where he draws attention to the existence of complex archetypal patterns and their relationship.[43]

Trombones and piccolos

While it is commonly stated that the last movement of Beethoven’s Fifth is the first time the trombone and the piccolo were used in a concert symphony, it is not true. The Swedish composer Joachim Nicolas Eggert specified trombones for his Symphony in E major written in 1807,[44] and examples of earlier symphonies with a part for piccolo abound, including Michael Haydn‘s Symphony No. 19 in C major, composed in August 1773.

Textual questions

Third movement repeat

In the autograph score (that is, the original version from Beethoven’s hand), the third movement contains a repeat mark: when the scherzo and trio sections have both been played through, the performers are directed to return to the very beginning and play these two sections again. Then comes a third rendering of the scherzo, this time notated differently for pizzicato strings and transitioning directly to the finale (see description above). Most modern printed editions of the score do not render this repeat mark; and indeed most performances of the symphony render the movement as ABA’ (where A = scherzo, B = trio, and A’ = modified scherzo), in contrast to the ABABA’ of the autograph score.

The repeat mark in the autograph is unlikely to be simply an error on the composer’s part. The ABABA’ scheme for scherzi appears elsewhere in Beethoven, in the Bagatelle for solo piano, Op. 33, No. 7 (1802), and in the Fourth, Sixth, and Seventh Symphonies. However, it is possible that for the Fifth Symphony, Beethoven originally preferred ABABA’, but changed his mind in the course of publication in favor of ABA’.

Since Beethoven’s day, published editions of the symphony have always printed ABA’. However, in 1978 an edition specifying ABABA’ was prepared by Peter Gülke and published by Peters. In 1999, yet another edition by Jonathan Del Mar was published by Bärenreiter[45][46] which advocates a return to ABA’. In the accompanying book of commentary,[47] Del Mar defends in depth the view that ABA’ represents Beethoven’s final intention; in other words, that conventional wisdom was right all along.

In concert performances, ABA’ prevailed until fairly recent times. However, since the appearance of the Gülke edition conductors have felt more free to exercise their own choice. The conductor Caroline Brown, in notes to her recorded ABABA’ performance with the Hanover Band (Nimbus Records, #5007), writes:

Re-establishing the repeat certainly alters the structural emphasis normally apparent in this Symphony. It makes the scherzo less of a transitional make-weight, and, by allowing the listener more time to become involved with the main thematic motif of the scherzo, the side-ways step into the bridge passage leading to the finale seems all the more unexpected and extraordinary in its intensity.

Performances with ABABA’ seem to be particularly favored by conductors who specialize in authentic performance (that is, using instruments of the kind employed in Beethoven’s day). These include Brown, as well as Christopher Hogwood, John Eliot Gardiner, and Nikolaus Harnoncourt. ABABA’ performances on modern instruments have also been recorded by the New Philharmonia Orchestra under Pierre Boulez, the Tonhalle Orchester Zurich under David Zinman, and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under Claudio Abbado.

In the first movement, the passage that introduces the second subject of the exposition is assigned by Beethoven as a solo to the pair of horns.

\relative c'' {
\key c \minor
\time 2/4
r8 bes[\ff^"a 2" bes bes] | es,2\sf | f\sf | bes,\sf |

At this location, the theme is played in the key of E major. When the same theme is repeated later on in the recapitulation section, it is given in the key of C major. Antony Hopkins wrote,[7] “this … presented a problem to Beethoven, for the horns [of his day], severely limited in the notes they could actually play before the invention of valves, were unable to play the phrase in the ‘new’ key of C major—at least not without stopping the bell with the hand and thus muffling the tone. Beethoven therefore had to give the theme to a pair of bassoons, who, high in their compass, were bound to seem a less than adequate substitute. In modern performances the heroic implications of the original thought are regarded as more worthy of preservation than the secondary matter of scoring; the phrase is invariably played by horns, to whose mechanical abilities it can now safely be trusted.”

In fact, even before Hopkins wrote this passage (1981), some conductors had experimented with preserving Beethoven’s original scoring for bassoons. This can be heard on many performances including those conducted by Caroline Brown mentioned in the preceding section as well as in a recent recording by Simon Rattle with the Vienna Philharmonic. Although horns capable of playing the passage in C major were developed not long after the premiere of the Fifth Symphony (according to this source, 1814), it is not known whether Beethoven would have wanted to substitute modern horns, or keep the bassoons, in the crucial passage.

There are strong arguments in favor of keeping the original scoring even when modern valve horns are available. The structure of the movement posits a programatic alteration of light and darkness, represented by major and minor. Within this framework, the topically heroic transitional theme dispels the darkness of the minor first theme group and ushers in the major second theme group. However, in the development section, Beethoven systematically fragments and dismembers this heroic theme in bars 180–210. Thus he may have rescored its return in the recapitulation for a weaker sound to foreshadow the essential expositional closure in minor. Moreover, the horns used in the fourth movement are natural horns in C, which can easily play this passage. If Beethoven had wanted the second theme in the horns, he could have had the horns resting for the previous bars to give them time to switch instruments, and then written “muta in c,” similar to his “muta in f” instruction in measure 412 of the first movement of Symphony No. 3.

BRITTEN_Suite on English Folk Tunes (A Time There Was)

BRITTEN_Suite on English Folk Tunes (A Time There Was)


historic musical bits: Dinu Lipatti plays Liszt Concerto No. 1 in E flat Orchestre de la Suisse Romande Ernest Ansermet, rec. 1947

Dinu Lipatti plays Liszt Concerto No. 1 in E flat Orchestre de la Suisse Romande
Ernest Ansermet
rec. 1947


great compositions/performances: Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 15, in D major, Op. 28, – Artur Schnabel

Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 15 in D major Op. 28 – Artur Schnabel

great compositions/performances: P. I. Tchaikovsky – Symphony No. 1 “Winter Daydreams” (Fedoseyev),1991

P. I. Tchaikovsky – Symphony No. 1 “Winter Daydreams” (Fedoseyev)

Quotation: Wine is a turncoat; first a friend and then an enemy. Henry Fielding (1707-1754)

Wine is a turncoat; first a friend and then an enemy.

Henry Fielding (1707-1754) Discuss

“Andante Cantabile” for Cello and string orchestra -P.I.Tchaikovsky, Han Na Chang, Haydn cello concerto, Philharmonic Sinfonietta Berlin

“Andante Cantabile” for Cello and string orchestra -P.I.Tchaikovsky

The Air France Robbery

The Air France Robbery

In the 1960s, Air France was used to transport American money exchanged in France back to the US. Once the currency reached New York’s JFK International Airport, it was locked in a secure strong room. In 1967, 23-year-old mobster Henry Hill orchestrated an audacious robbery of the Air France cargo terminal. Using a copy of the strong room key, Hill and his associates quietly stole $420,000. They raised no alarm and were never prosecuted for the crime. How did Hill procure the copied key? More… Discuss

quotation: from Wikiquote – Henri Matisse

Wikiquote is a free online compendium of sourced quotations from notable people and creative works in every language, translations of non-English quotes, and links to Wikipedia for further information. Visit the help page or experiment in the sandbox to learn how you can edit nearly any page right now; or go to the Log in to start contributing to Wikiquote.
Quote of the day
Henri Matisse, 1913, photograph by Alvin Langdon Coburn.jpgYou study, you learn, but you guard the original naiveté. It has to be within you, as desire for drink is within the drunkard or love is within the lover.

great compositions/performances: Gustav Holst – The Planets, Op. 32

Gustav Holst – The Planets, Op. 32

great compositions/performances: Beethoven, Piano Concerto No. 3 Op. 37 in C minor. Evgeny Kissin

Beethoven, Piano Concerto No. 3 Op. 37 in C minor. Evgeny Kissin


historic musical bits: Leonid Kogan – Schumann – Fantasie in C major, Op 131

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

Shostakovich – Symphony No. 1 in F minor, Op. 10 [Kirill Kondrashin, USSR State SO, 1951]

Shostakovich – Symphony No. 1 in F minor, Op. 10 [Kirill Kondrashin, USSR State SO, 1951]

Fabulous Renditions: Ennio Morricone – The Mission Main Theme (Morricone Conducts Morricone)

Ennio Morricone – The Mission Main Theme (Morricone Conducts Morricone)



Yerba mate

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Yerba mate (from Spanish [ˈʝerβa ˈmate]; Portuguese: erva-mate [ˈɛɾvɐ ˈmate] or [ˈɛɾvɐ ˈmatʃɪ]) is a species of the holly family (Aquifoliaceae), with the botanical name Ilex paraguariensis A. St.-Hil.[1] named by the French botanist Auguste François César Prouvençal de Saint-Hilaire.[2]Yerba mate is widely known as the source of the beverage called mate (Portuguese: chimarrão, tererê/tereré and other variations). It is traditionally consumed in central and southern regions of South America, particularly Argentina, Bolivia, southern and center-western Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay and southern Chile.[3] It is also very popular in Syria where it is imported from Argentina.[4] Yerba mate was initially utilized and cultivated by the Guaraní people and in some Tupí communities in southern Brazil, prior to European colonization. It was scientifically classified by the Swiss botanist Moses Bertoni, who settled in Paraguay in 1895.[citation needed] Yerba mate can also be found in various energy drinks on the market today.

Yerba mate, erva mate, mate, or maté
Ilex paraguariensis
Ilex paraguariensis - Köhler–s Medizinal-Pflanzen-074.jpg
Ilex paraguariensis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Aquifoliales
Family: Aquifoliaceae
Genus: Ilex
Species: I. paraguariensis
Binomial name
Ilex paraguariensis


Yerba mate, Ilex paraguariensis, begins as a shrub and then matures to a tree and can grow up to 15 metres (49 ft) tall. The leaves are evergreen, 7–110 millimetres (0.3–4.3 in) long and 30–55 millimetres (1.2–2.2 in) wide, with a serrated margin. The leaves are often called yerba (Spanish) or erva (Portuguese), both of which mean “herb”. They contain caffeine (known in some parts of the world as mateine) and also contains related xanthine alkaloids and are harvested commercially.

The flowers are small, greenish-white, with four petals. The fruit is a red drupe 4–6 millimetres (0.16–0.24 in) in diameter.


 Plantation in Misiones, Argentina.

The Yerba mate plant is grown and processed in South America, specifically in northern Argentina (Corrientes, Misiones), Paraguay, Uruguay and southern Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, Paraná and Mato Grosso do Sul). Cultivators are known as yerbateros (Spanish) or ervateiros (Brazilian Portuguese).

Seeds used to germinate new plants are harvested from January until April only after they have turned dark purple. After harvest, they are submerged in water in order to eliminate floating non-viable seeds and detritus like twigs, leaves, etc. New plants are started between March and May. For plants established in pots, transplanting takes place April through September. Plants with bare roots are transplanted only during the months of June and July.[5]

Many of the natural enemies of yerba mate are difficult to control in a plantation setting. Insect pests include Gyropsylla spegazziniana, an insect that lays eggs in branches, Hedyphates betulinus, an insect that weakens the tree and makes it more susceptible to mold and mildew, “Perigonia lusca”, an insect that eats the leaves, and several species of mites.[5]

When yerba mate is harvested, the branches are often dried by a wood fire, imparting a smoky flavor. The plant Ilex paraguariensis can vary in strength of the flavor, caffeine levels and other nutrients depending on whether it is a male or female plant. Female plants tend to be milder in flavor and lower in caffeine. They are also relatively scarce in the areas where yerba mate is planted and cultivated.[6]

According to FAO in 2012, Brazil is the biggest producer of mate in the world with 513,256 MT (58%), followed by Argentina with 290,000 MT (32%) and Paraguay with 85,490 MT (10%).[7]

Use as a beverage

Main article: Mate (beverage)

 Steaming mate infusion in its customary cup that resembles the shape of a gourd, the customary vessel

The infusion, called mate in Spanish-speaking countries or chimarrão in Brazil, is prepared by filling a container, typically a gourd, up to three-quarters full with dry leaves (and twigs) of the mate plant, and filling it up with water at a temperature of 70–80 °C (158–176 °F), hot but not boiling. Sugar may or may not be added; and the mate may be prepared with cold water (tereré).[8]

Drinking mate with friends from a hollow gourd (also called a guampa, porongo or mate in Spanish, cabaça or cuia in Portuguese, or zucca in Italian) through a metal straw (a bombilla in Spanish, bomba in Portuguese), refilling and passing to the next person after finishing the few mouthfuls of beverage, is a common social practice in Uruguay, Argentina and southern Brazil among people of all ages.

Yerba mate is most popular in Uruguay, where people are seen walking the streets carrying the mate and termo (thermal vacuum flask) in their arms. You can also find hot water stations to refill the termo while on the road. In Argentina 5 kg (11 lb) of yerba mate is consumed annually per capita; in Uruguay, the largest consumer, consumption is 10 kg (22 lb).[9] The amount of the herb used to prepare the infusion is much greater than that used for tea and other beverages, accounting for the large weight used.[10]

 Yerba Mate shop, Puerto Iguazu, Argentina

The flavor of brewed mate resembles an infusion of vegetables, herbs, grass and is reminiscent of some varieties of green tea. Some consider the flavor to be very agreeable, but it is generally bitter if steeped in boiling water. Flavored mate is also sold, in which the mate leaves are blended with other herbs (such as peppermint) or citrus rind.[11]

In Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina, a toasted version of mate, known as mate cocido (Paraguay), chá mate (Brazil) or just mate, is sold in teabags and in a loose leaf form. It is often served sweetened in specialized shops or on the street, either hot or iced, pure or with fruit juice (especially lime – known in Brazil as limão) or milk. In Argentina and southern Brazil, this is commonly consumed for breakfast or in a café for afternoon tea, often with a selection of sweet pastries (facturas).

 Yerba for sale in the open air market of La Boqueria in Barcelona, Spain.

An iced, sweetened version of toasted mate is sold as an uncarbonated soft drink, with or without fruit flavoring. In Brazil, this cold version of chá mate is specially popular in the South and Southeast regions, and can easily be found in retail stores in the same cooler as soft-drinks.[12] Mate batido, which is toasted, has less of a bitter flavor and more of a spicy fragrance. Mate batido becomes creamy when shaken. Mate batido is more popular in the coastal cities of Brazil, as opposed to the far southern states, where it is consumed in the traditional way (green, consumed with a silver straw from a shared gourd), and called chimarrão (cimarrón in Spanish, particularly that of Argentina[13]).

In Paraguay, western Brazil (Mato Grosso do Sul, west of São Paulo) and the Argentine littoral, a mate infusion, called tereré in Spanish and Portuguese or tererê in Portuguese in southern regions of Brazil, is also consumed as a cold or iced beverage, usually sucked out of a horn cup called guampa with a bombilla. Tereré can be prepared with cold water (the most common way in Paraguay and Brazil), or fruit juice (the most common way in Argentina). The version with water is more bitter; fruit juice acts as a sweetener (in Brazil, that is usually avoided with the addition of table sugar). Medicinal or culinary herbs, known as yuyos (weeds), may be crushed with a pestle and mortar, and added to the water for taste or medicinal reasons. Tereré is most popular in Paraguay, Brazil, and the Litoral (northeast Argentina).[14]

In the same way as people meet for tea or coffee, friends often gather and drink mate (matear) in Argentina, southern Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. Sharing mate is almost a ritual, following customary rules. In warm weather the hot water is sometimes replaced by lemonade, but not in Uruguay.

 Selection of Yerba Mate gourds and bombillas at a street vendor, Buenos Aires, Argentina

The gourd (mate in Spanish) is given by the brewer to each person, often in a circle, in turn; the recipient does not give thanks, drinks the few mouthfuls and returns the mate to the brewer, who refills it and passes it to the next person in clockwise order.

During August, Paraguayans have a tradition of mixing mate with crushed leaves, stems, and flowers of the plant known as flor de agosto[15] (the flower of August, plants of the Senecio genus, particularly Senecio grisebachii), which contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids. Modifying mate in this fashion is potentially toxic, as these alkaloids can cause a rare condition of the liver, veno-occlusive disease, which produces liver failure due to progressive occlusion of the small venous channels in the liver.[16]

In South Africa, mate is not well known, but has been introduced to Stellenbosch by a student who sells it nationally. In the tiny hamlet of Groot Marico in the northwest province, mate was introduced to the local tourism office by the returning descendants of the Boers, who in 1902 had emigrated to Patagonia in Argentina after losing the Anglo Boer War. It is also commonly consumed in Lebanon, Syria and some other parts of the Middle East mainly by Druze and Alawite population, following emigration to South America and return by many people, and worldwide by expatriates from the Southern Cone.[17]

Chemical composition and properties


Yerba mate contains a variety of polyphenols such as the flavonoids quercetin and rutin.[18]


Yerba mate contains three xanthines: caffeine, theobromine and theophylline, the main one being caffeine. Caffeine content varies between 0.7% and 1.7% of dry weight[19] (compared with 0.4– 9.3% for tea leaves, 2.5–7.6% in guarana, and up to 3.2% for ground coffee);[20] theobromine content varies from 0.3% to 0.9%; theophylline is present in small quantities, or can be completely absent.[21] A substance previously called “mateine” is a synonym for caffeine (like theine and guaranine).

Mineral content

Yerba mate also contains elements such as potassium, magnesium, and manganese.[22]

Health effects

As of 2011 there have not been any double-blind, randomized prospective clinical trials of Yerba mate consumption with respect to chronic disease.[23] Yerba mate has been claimed to have various effects on human health and these effects have been attributed to the high quantity of polyphenols found in mate tea.[18]

Research has found that Yerba mate may improve allergy symptoms[24] and reduce the risk of diabetes mellitus and high blood sugar in mice.[25]

Mate also contains compounds that act as an appetite suppressant and possible weight loss tool,[26] increases mental energy and focus,[27] improves mood,[28] and promotes deeper sleep; however, sleep may only be affected in people who are sensitive to caffeine.[27]

Lipid metabolism

Some non-blinded studies have found mate consumption to be effective in lipid lowering.[23]


The consumption of hot mate tea is associated with oral cancer,[29] esophageal cancer,[30] cancer of the larynx,[30] and squamous cell cancers of the head and neck.[31][32] Studies show a correlation between tea temperature and likelihood of cancer, making it unclear how much of a role mate itself plays as a carcinogen.[30]

Weight loss

Yerba mate contains polyphenols such as flavonoids and phenolic acids, which work by inhibiting enzymes like pancreatic lipase[33] and lipoprotein lipase, which in turn play a role in fat metabolism. Yerba mate has been shown to increase satiety by slowing gastric emptying. Effects on weight loss may be due to reduced absorption of dietary fats and/or altered cholesterol metabolism.[34]

Despite yerba mate’s potential for reducing body weight, there is minimal data on the effects of yerba mate on body weight in humans.[35] Therefore, yerba mate should not be recommended over diet and physical exercise[36] without further study on its effects being warranted.

Mechanism of action

E-NTPDase activity

Research also shows that mate preparations can alter the concentration of members of the ecto-nucleoside triphosphate diphosphohydrolase (E-NTPDase) family, resulting in an elevated level of extracellular ATP, ADP, and AMP. This was found with chronic ingestion (15 days) of an aqueous mate extract, and may lead to a novel mechanism for manipulation of vascular regenerative factors, i.e., treating heart disease.[medical citation needed]


In an investigation of mate antioxidant activity, there was a correlation found between content of caffeoyl-derivatives and antioxidant capacity (AOC).[medical citation needed] Amongst a group of Ilex species, Ilex paraguariensis antioxidant activity was the highest.[medical citation needed]

Monoamine oxidase inhibition activity

A paper from the University of São Paulo cites yerba mate extract as an inhibitor of MAO activity; the maximal inhibition observed in vitro was 40–50%. A monoamine oxidase inhibitor is a type of antidepressant, so there is some data to suggest that yerba mate has a calming effect in this regard.[37]


Main article: History of yerba mate

Yerba mate growing in the wild

Mate was first consumed by the indigenous Guaraní and also spread in the Tupí people that lived in southern Brazil, Paraguay and became widespread during European colonization.[citation needed] In the Spanish colony of Paraguay in the late 16th century, both Spanish settlers and indigenous Guaranís, who had, to some extent, before the Spanish arrival, consumed it.[citation needed] Mate consumption spread in the 17th century to the River Plate and from there to Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru.[citation needed] This widespread consumption turned it into Paraguay’s main commodity above other wares, such as tobacco, and indigenous peoples labour was used to harvest wild stands.[citation needed]

In the mid 17th century, Jesuits managed to domesticate the plant and establish plantations in their Indian reductions in Misiones, Argentina, sparking severe competition with the Paraguayan harvesters of wild stands.[citation needed] After their expulsion in the 1770s, their plantations fell into decay, as did their domestication secrets.[citation needed] The industry continued to be of prime importance for the Paraguayan economy after independence, but development in benefit of the Paraguayan state halted after the War of the Triple Alliance (1864–1870) that devastated the country both economically and demographically.[citation needed] Some regions with mate plantations in Paraguay became Argentine territory.[citation needed]

 Lithograph of José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia, a 19th-century ruler of Paraguay, holding a mate and bombilla

Brazil then became the largest producer of mate.[38] In Brazilian and Argentine projects in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the plant was domesticated once again, opening the way for plantation systems.[citation needed] When Brazilian entrepreneurs turned their attention to coffee in the 1930s, Argentina, which had long been the prime consumer,[39] took over as the largest producer, resurrecting the economy in Misiones Province, where the Jesuits had once had most of their plantations. For years, the status of largest producer shifted between Brazil and Argentina.[39]

Now, Brazil is the largest producer, with 53%, followed by Argentina, 37% and Paraguay, 10%.[7][40]

In the city of Campo Largo, state of Paraná, Brazil, there is a Mate Historic Park (Portuguese: Parque Histórico do Mate), funded by that state’s government, to educate people on the sustainable harvesting methods needed to maintain the integrity and vitality of the oldest wild forests of mate in the world. As of June 2014, however, the park is closed to public visitation.[41]


The name given to the plant in Guaraní, language of the indigenous people who first cultivated and enjoyed mate, is ka’a, which has the same meaning as “herb”.[citation needed] Congonha, in Portuguese, is derived from the Tupi expression, meaning something like “what keeps us alive”, but a term rarely used nowadays. Mate is from the Quechua mati,[42] a word that means container for a drink, infusion of an herb, as well as gourd.[43] The word mate is used in both Portuguese and Spanish languages.

The pronunciation of yerba mate in Spanish is [ˈʝe̞rβ̞ä ˈmäte̞][42] The accent on the word is on the first syllable, not the second as might be implied by the variant spelling maté.[42] The word hierba is Spanish for “herb”; yerba is a variant spelling of it which was quite common in Argentina.[44] (Nowadays in Argentina yerba refers exclusively to the yerba mate plant.[44]) Yerba mate, therefore, originally translated literally as the “gourd herb”, i.e. the herb one drinks from a gourd.[citation needed]

The (Brazilian) Portuguese name for the plant is either erva-mate [ˈɛʁvɐ ˈmätʃi] (pronounced [ˈɛɾvɐ ˈmäte], [ˈɛɾvə ˈmätɪ] or [ˈɛɻvɐ ˈmätʃɪ] in the regions of traditional consumption, [ˈæə̯ʀvə ˈmäˑtɕ] in coastal, urban Rio de Janeiro), the most used term, or rarely congonha [kõˈɡõȷ̃ɐ], from Old Tupi kõ’gõi, which means “what sustains the being”.[45] The drinks it is used to prepare are chimarrão (hot), tereré (cold) or chá mate (hot or cold). While the chá mate (tea) is made with the toasted leaves, the other drinks are made with green leaves, and are very popular in the south and center-west of the country. Most people colloquially address both the plant and the beverage simply by the word mate.[12]

Both the spellings “mate” and “maté” are used in English, but the latter spelling is never used in either Spanish or Portuguese; in Spanish, maté means “I killed” as opposed to “gourd” (the similarly pronounced Portuguese matei also meaning “I killed”).[46] There are no variation of spellings in Spanish.[42] The addition of the acute accent over the final “e” was likely added as a hypercorrection, indicating that the word and its pronunciation are distinct from the common English word “mate“.[47][48][49][50][51][52]

According to both Spanish and Portuguese spelling rules, an acute accent in that position shifts the tonic syllable to the last one, whereas in both languages the word is pronounced with the first syllable as the tonic one. Additionally, in Portuguese it changes the pronunciation of a few vowels. (É being more open and never final unstressed /ɛ/, like ó /ɔ/ and á /a/, and ê being more closed /e/, like ô /o/ and â /ɐ/ – the usual pronunciation of the mate vowel is [i ~ ɪ ~ e], never [ɛ]; the standard in all regions where the Portuguese language is official is for unstressed vowels, particularly final ones, to be reduced, in the case of e through [i] in Brazil, here strongly palatalizing, and most of Africa, and [ɯ], or occasionally non-palatalizing [i], in Portugal, Cape Verde and Macau, among a few others.)

Use as a health food

 Mate softdrinks

Mate is consumed as a health food. Packages of yerba mate are available in health food stores and are frequently stocked in the large supermarkets of Europe, Australia and the United States. By 2013, Asian interest in the drink had seen significant growth and led to significant export trade.[53]

See also

Fabulous Renditions: Henrik Chaim Goldschmidt plays “Gabriel’s Oboe”

Henrik Chaim Goldschmidt plays “Gabriel’s Oboe”

great compositions/performances: The Mission – Gabriel’s Oboe

The Mission – Gabriel’s Oboe (Full HD)

History of yerba mate wikipedia

History of yerba mate

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Falkland gauchos having mate. Watercolour by Dale, manager of Hope Place – Saladero in the 1850s.

The history of yerba mate, that stretches back to pre-Columbian Paraguay, is marked by a rapid expansion in harvest and consumption in the Spanish South American colonies but also by its difficult domestication process, which even if discovered in the mid 17th century had to be rediscovered later when production was industrialized around 1900.

The consumption of yerba mate became widespread in the Spanish colony of Paraguay in the late 16th century both among Spanish settlers and indigenous Guaranís, who had to some extent consumed it before the Spanish arrival. Mate consumption spread in the 17th century to the Platine region and from there to Chile and Peru. This widespread consumption turned it into Paraguay’s main commodity above other wares like tobacco, and Indian labour was used to harvest wild stands. In the mid 17th century Jesuits managed to domesticate the plant and establish plantations in their Indian reductions in Misiones, sparking severe competition with the Paraguayan harvesters of wild stands. After the expulsion of the Jesuits in the 1770s their plantations fell into decay as did their domestication secrets. The industry continued to be of prime importance for the Paraguayan economy after independence, but development in benefit of the Paraguayan state halted after the Paraguayan War (1864–1870) which devastated the country both economically and demographically. Brazil became then the prime producer of yerba mate. In Brazilian and Argentine projects in late 19th and early 20th century the plant was domesticated once again opening the way for modern plantation systems. When Brazilian entrepreneurs turned their attention into coffee in the 1930s Argentina, that had long been the prime consumer, took over as the largest producer, resurrecting Misiones Province where the Jesuits had once had most of their plantations.

Early use

 Indigenous Guaraní (in picture) are known to have consumed yerba mate to some degree before the Spanish conquest of Paraguay.

Before the arrival of the Spanish the Guaraní people, indigenous to the area of natural distribution of the plant, are known to have consumed yerba mate at least for medicinal purposes.[1] Remnants of yerba mate have also been found in a Quechua tomb near Lima, Peru and has therefore been suggested to have been associated with prestige.[2][3] The first Europeans to establish themselves in the lands of the Guaranís and the yerba mate were the Spaniards that founded Asunción in 1537. The new colony developed with little commerce and contact from outside and which made the Spanish to establish fluid contacts beyond labour relationships with the local tribes. It is not clear exactly when Spaniards began to drink mate but it is known by late 16th century to be widely consumed.[1]

By 1596 the consumption of mate as a beverage had become so common in Paraguay that a member of the cabildo of Asunción wrote to governor of Río de la Plata Hernando Arias de Saavedra:

“the vice and bad habit of drinking yerba has spread so much among the Spaniards, their women and children, that unlike the Indians that are content to drink it once a day they drink it continuously and those who do not drink it are very rare.”

The same author of the letter went on to claim that Spanish settlers sold their clothing, weapons and horses or fell into debt to obtain yerba mate.[4]

Spread across South America (1600–1650)

 Map showing natural distribution area of yerba mate as well as important colonial settlements and the principal water ways: areas with Jesuit missions are marked with “J”. The borders are those of the modern countries.

In early 17th century, yerba mate had become the chief export of the Guaraní territories, above sugar, wine and tobacco, which had previously dominated.[5] The Governor of Río de la Plata, Hernando Arias de Saavedra, turned in the beginning of the 17th century against the burgeoning mate industry due to beliefs that it was an unhealthy bad habit and that too much of the Indian workforce was consumed in it. He ordered to end the production in the governorate and at the same time sought approval from the Spanish Crown, which rejected the ban, as did also the people involved in production who never complied with the order.[4] In contrast to other alkaloid rich cash crops found by Europeans in the Age of Discovery like cocoa and coffee, yerba mate was not a domesticated species and came to be exploited from wild stands long into the 19th century,[6] although the Jesuits domesticated it first in the mid 17th century.

Up to 1676, during the rise of the industry, the main production centre of yerba mate was the Indian town of Maracayú northeast of Asunción. In Maracayú, amid forests rich in yerba mate, settlers from Asunción dominated production. Maracayú came however to be the place of long-standing conflict when settlers from the towns of Villa Rica del Espíritu Santo and Ciudad Real del Guayrá begun to move into the Maracayú area that the old settlers regarded as theirs. In the 1630 the conflict escalated when settlers from Villa Rica and Ciudad Real del Guayrá and the Jesuit missions of Guairá had to flee over to the Maracayú area due to attacks from Portuguese settlers from São Paulo. In the Maracayú area the new settlers made mate their main income source sparking a conflict with the settlers of Asunción which only ended in 1676 when the Portuguese settlers made another push making Maracayú a rather exposed borderland zone. The settlers of Maracaýu relocated to the south forming the modern city of Villarrica and transformed their new lands into the new centre of the mate industry.[7]

The conflict between the old and the new settlers in Maracayú coincided with the spread of consumption of mate beyond the colony of Paraguay, first to the trade hub of Río de la Plata and from there to Upper Peru (Bolivia), Lower Peru, Ecuador and Chile,[4] becoming an important commodity in many cities of colonial South America.[8] During the course of the 17th century, taxes on mate became an important revenue source in Paraguay, Santa Fé and Buenos Aires and became heavily taxed: Some of the taxes applied were the tithe, alcabala and municipal taxes through the cities where it passed. In 1680 the Spanish Crown imposed a special tax on yerba mate aimed to finance Buenos Aires defence works and garrison.[8]

The shift southward to Villarrica of the production led Asunción to lose position as the sole hub of export downstream to Santa Fe and Buenos Aires. When production was centred in Maracayú transport down Paraná River was difficult and therefore the yerba was bought through Jejuy River to Asunción on Paraguay River[9] which was navigable all the way down to Río de la Plata. The local government of Asunción tried unsuccessfully to have all mate produced north of Tebicuary River to pass through the city, but the Villarrica settlers as well as the Spanish Crown largely ignored the complaints of the Asunción government.[9]

Jesuit era and domestication (1650–1767)

 Location of the most important Jesuit reductions in Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, with present political divisions.

The Jesuits began in the late 16th century to establish a series of reduction settlements in the lands of the Guaraní people to convert them to Catholicism. The Jesuit missions had a high degree of autarky but needed coins to pay taxes and acquire products they could not produce.[1] While in the early 17th century Jesuits had supported governor Hernando Arias de Saavedra‘s ban on yerba mate production, they became by mid-17th century severe competitors to the harvesters of the land north of Tebicuary River who had had a practical monopoly on the product.[5][10] In 1645 the Jesuits had successfully requested the Spanish Crown to be allowed to produce and export yerba mate.[10] The Jesuits initially followed the normal production procedure by sending thousands of Guaranís out into long journeys to the swamps where the best trees grew to harvest naturally occurring stands, where many Indians fell ill or died.[10] From the 1650s to the 1670s the Jesuits succeeded in domesticating the plant,[6] something that contemporaries had found extremely difficult.[10] The Jesuits kept the domestication a secret. It apparently involved feeding the seed to birds or emulating the passing of the seeds through the digestive system of a bird.[3] The Jesuits gained a series of commercial advantages over their competitors in the Tebacuary region. Apart from their successful domestication and establishment of plantations, their missions were closer to the important trade hubs of Santa Fé and Buenos Aires and they succeeded in obtaining exemptions from the tithe, alcabala, and the additional tax established in 1680.[11] These privileges caused a conflict with the Paraguayan cities of Asunción and Villarrica that accused the Jesuits of flooding the Platine market with cheap yerba mate, and led to the imposition of limits for the Jesuit exports,[12] which they nevertheless exceeded, so that at the time of the expulsion of the Order they exported four times the amount they were legally allowed.[3] The Jesuits did not, officially, sell mate for profit beyond covering basic necessities and taxes, and accused the Paraguayans of causing prices to drop, adding that their yerba mate was preferred by merchants not due its price but due to its better quality.[12]

Due to the shortage of coins yerba mate along with honey, maize, and tobacco were used as currencies in the Jesuit reductions.[13]

Expansion (1767–1870)

 Lithograph of José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia, a 19th-century ruler of Paraguay, with a mate and its respective bombilla.

After the suppression of the Society of Jesus in 1767 the production and importance of mate producing regions which had been dominated by Jesuits began to decline.[2][6] Excessive exploitation of Indian labour in the plantations led to decay in the industry and the scattering of Guaranís living in the missions.[3][6] With the fall of the Jesuits and the mismanagement by the crown and the new entrepreneurs that had taken over Jesuit plantations Paraguay gained an unrivalled position as the main producer of yerba mate. The plantation system of the Jesuits did however not prevail and mate continued chiefly to be harvested from wild stand through the 18th and most of the 19th century. Concepción in Paraguay, founded in 1773, became a major port of export since it had a huge hinterland of untouched stands of yerba mate north of it. As part of the Bourbon Reforms free trade within the Spanish Empire was allowed in 1778. This and a tax reform in 1780 lead to increased trade in Spanish South America which benefited the mate industry.[6] In the 1770s the habit of drinking mate reached as far as Cuenca, in present day Ecuador.[6]

During the colonial period in Europe, mate failed to be accepted like cocoa, tea and coffee. In 1774 the Jesuit José Sánchez Labrador wrote that mate was consumed by “many” in Portugal and Spain and that many in Italy approved of it.[3] In the 19th century yerba mate attracted the attention of the French naturalists Aimé Bonpland and Augustin Saint-Hilaire who, separately, studied the plant. In 1819 the latter gave yerba mate its binomial nomenclature: Ilex Paraguariensis.

After independence, Paraguay was to lose its pre-eminence as top producer to Brazil and Argentina,[14] although Argentina went into a mate crisis. At independence, Argentina inherited both the largest mate-consuming population in the world as well as Misiones Province where most of the Jesuit missions had been and where the industry was in decay. The decline of production in Argentina relative to the constant increase in demand lead Argentina in the mid-19th century to depend heavily on its neighbors for supply. Yerba mate came to be imported to Argentina from the Paraná highlands in Brazil. This Yerba mate was labelled Paranaguá after its shipping port.[2]

In Paraguay, yerba mate continued to be a major cash crop after independence but the foci of industry shifted away from the mixed plantations and wild stands of Villarrica, north to Concepción in late colonial times and then by 1863 to San Pedro.[15] During the rule of Carlos Antonio López (1844–1862), the yerba mate business was managed by the military commanders of the district, who could harvest yerba mate as a state enterprise or give concessions. The onset of the Paraguayan War (1864–1870) caused a sharp drop in the harvesting of yerba mate in Paraguay, estimated at 95% between 1865 and 1867, caused by enrolment.[15] It has been reported that during the war soldiers from all sides consumed yerba mate to calm the hunger and the combat anxiety.[3] After the Paraguayan War against Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, Paraguay was demographically as well as economically ruined and foreign entrepreneurs came to control the yerba mate production and industry in Paraguay.[15] The 156.415 km2 lost by Paraguay in the war to Argentina and Brazil were mostly rich in yerba mate production.[15]

In Chile, where the habit of drinking mate had taken firm ground during colonial times, its popularity gave way after independence to drinks popular in Europe, coffee and tea that entered the country through its increasingly busy ports.[3] The spread of tea and coffee consumption in Chile, to the detriment of mate, began in the upper classes. The first coffee shop in Chile appeared in Santiago in 1808. German botanist Eduard Friedrich Poeppig described in 1827 a wealthy family in Chile where the old people drank yerba mate with bombilla while the younger preferred Chinese tea. The trend of decreasing mate consumption was noticed in 1875 by the British consul Rumbold who said that “imports of Paraguayan tea” were “steadily falling off”. Yerba mate was overall cheaper (price per kilo from 1871 to 1930) than tea and coffee and it remained popular in rural areas of Chile.[16]

Industrialization and spread to the Levant (1870–1950)

 Ukrainian immigrants harvest yerba mate in 1920. Despite its relative inhospitability, Misiones attracted considerable European immigration.

With the devastation of Paraguay and insignificant Argentine production, by the end of the 19th century Brazil became the leading producer of yerba mate.[3] In the 1890s yerba mate plantations regained prominence in the markets when plantations began to be developed in Mato Grosso do Sul.[3][6]

In the early 20th century Argentine production began to recover, rising from less than 1 million kg in 1898 to 20 million kg in 1929 in Misiones Province.[2] In the first half of the 20th century Argentina ran a state programme to populate Misiones Province and kick-start a mate industry. Family-sized parcels of land in Misiones were given to foreign settlers, most of them from Central and Eastern Europe.[17] In the 1930s Brazil changed from mate to coffee production, as it gave more income, leaving the resurrected Argentine industry as the biggest producer,[3] which benefited the Argentine economy as it was also the largest consumer of mate.

Syrian and Lebanese immigrants to Argentina spread the habit of drinking mate to their homelands, where it became particularly associated with the Druze.[3]

Health: Uncaria tomentosa (cat’s Claw, uña de gato)

Uncaria tomentosa

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Uncaria tomentosa
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Gentianales
Family: Rubiaceae
Genus: Uncaria
Species: U. tomentosa
Binomial name
Uncaria tomentosa
(Willd. ex Schult.) DC.[1]

Uncaria tomentosa is a woody vine found in the tropical jungles of South and Central America. In several languages it is known as cat’s claw because of its claw-shaped thorns (English cat’s claw, although that name is also used for other plants; Spanish uña de gato). It is also known as vilcacora; Polish journalist Roman Warszewski claims the invention of the latter name by combining the qechua words ‘vilca’ + ‘cora’.[2]

It is used in herbalism for a variety of ailments.


Uncaria tomentosa is a liana deriving its name from hook-like thorns that resemble the claws of a cat. U. tomentosa can grow up to 30 m (100 ft) tall, climbing by means of these thorns. The leaves are elliptic with a smooth edge, and grow in opposite whorls of two. Cat’s claw is indigenous to the Amazon rainforest, with its habitat being restricted primarily to the tropical areas of South and Central America.


There are two species of cat’s claw commonly used in North America and Europe, Uncaria tomentosa and Uncaria guianensis, each having different properties and uses. The two are frequently confused but U. tomentosa is the more heavily researched for medicinal use[3] and immune modulation, while U. guianensis may be more useful for osteoarthritis.[4] U. tomentosa is further divided into two chemotypes with different properties and active compounds, a fact ignored by most manufacturers[5] that can have significant implications on both its use as an alternative medicine and in clinical trials to prove or disprove its efficacy.[6] Another species, Uncaria rhynchophylla, has usage in Chinese medicine, and several unrelated species bear the same nickname.

Medicinal uses

According to the American Cancer Society, cat’s claw is often promoted for its health benefits and has become a popular herbal supplement in the United States and Europe. However, they state:

Available scientific evidence does not support claims that this herb can treat cancer or other diseases in people. Animal and laboratory studies may show promise, but further studies are necessary to find out whether the results apply to humans. Until clinical trials in humans are completed, the true value of cat’s claw remains uncertain.[7]

Some studies on its effect on rheumatoid arthritis reported modest results, which need confirmation in standardized trials.[8]

Folk medicine

The indigenous peoples of South America have used cat’s claw for centuries in the belief it is a treatment for various disorders.[7]

Adverse reactions

Individuals allergic to plants in the Rubiaceae family and different species of Uncaria may be more likely to have allergic reactions to cat’s claw.[9] Reactions can include itching, rash and allergic inflammation of the kidneys. In one case study, kidney failure occurred in a patient with Lupus erythematosus.[10] The patient’s kidney failure improved after stopping the herbal remedy.

There are other plants which are known as cat’s claw (or uña de gato) in Mexico and Latin America; however, they are entirely different plants, belonging to neither the Uncaria genus, nor to the Rubiaceae family. Some of the Mexican uña de gato varieties are known to have toxic properties.[11]

See also

Health: Yacón


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Roots of yacón
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Subfamily: Asteroideae
Tribe: Millerieae
Genus: Smallanthus
Species: S. sonchifolius
Binomial name
Smallanthus sonchifolius
(Poeppig and Endlicher) H. Robinson
Polymnia sonchifolia Poeppig and Endlicher

Yacón leaves

Yacón. Moche Culture. Larco Museum Collection.

The yacón (Smallanthus sonchifolius, syn.: Polymnia edulis, P. sonchifolia) is a species of perennial daisy traditionally grown in the northern and central Andes from Colombia to northern Argentina for its crisp, sweet-tasting, tuberous roots. Their texture and flavour are very similar to jicama, mainly differing in that yacón has some slightly sweet, resinous, and floral (similar to violet) undertones to its flavour, probably due to the presence of inulin, which produces the sweet taste of the roots of elecampane, as well. Another name for yacón is Peruvian ground apple, possibly from the French name of potato, pomme de terre (ground apple). The tuber is composed mostly of water and fructooligosaccharide.

Commonly called jicama in Ecuador, yacón is sometimes confused with that unrelated plant, which is a bean. The yacón, in contrast, is a close relative of the sunflower and Jerusalem artichoke. The plant produces a perennial rhizome to which are attached the edible, succulent storage roots, the principal economic product of the plant. The rhizome develops just under the surface of the soil and continuously produces aerial shoots. Dry and/or cold seasons cause the aerial shoots to die back, but the plant resprouts from the rhizome under favourable conditions of temperature and moisture. The edible storage tubers are large and typically weigh from a few hundred grams to a kilogram or so.

The tubers contain fructooligosaccharide, an indigestible polysaccharide made up of fructose. Fructooligosaccharides taste sweet, but pass through the human digestive tract unmetabolised, hence have very little caloric value. Moreover, fructooligosaccharides have a prebiotic effect, meaning they are used by beneficial bacteria that enhance colon health and aid digestion.

Yacón plants can grow to over 2 m in height and produce small, inconspicuous yellow flowers at the end of the growing season. Unlike many other root vegetables domesticated by the indigenous peoples of the Andes (ulluco, oca, and mashua), yacón is not photoperiod sensitive, and can produce a commercial yield in the subtropics, as well.

Traditionally, yacón roots are grown by farmers at midelevations on the eastern slopes of the Andes descending toward the Amazon. It is grown occasionally along field borders where the juicy tubers provide a welcome source of refreshment during field work. Until as recently as the early 2000s, yacón was hardly known outside of its limited native range, and was not available from urban markets; however, press reports of its use in Japan for its purported antihyperglycemic properties made the crop more widely known in Lima and other Peruvian cities. Companies have also developed novel products such as yacón syrup and yacón tea. Both products are popular among diabetics and dieters.[citation needed]

Yacón culture

Yacón can easily be grown in gardens in climates with only gentle frosts. It grows well in Kathmandu, Nepal and southern Australia (including Tasmania) and New Zealand, where the climate is mild and the growing season long. The plant was introduced to Japan in the 1980s, and from there, its cultivation spread to other Asian countries, notably South Korea, China, and the Philippines, and is now widely available in markets in those countries. Yacón has also recently been introduced into farmers’ markets and natural food stores in the United States and has been available from niche online health food stores in the United Kingdom since 2007.

Tubers with growing points can be planted in a well-dug bed in early spring, near the time of the last expected frost. While aerial parts are damaged by frost, the tubers are not harmed unless they freeze solid. Yacón is a vigorous grower much like Jerusalem artichokes. The plants grow best with fertilizer.

After the first few frosts, the tops will die and the tuberous roots are ready for digging up. It is generally best to leave some in the ground for propagating the following spring, or, alternatively, they can be kept in the refrigerator or buried away from frost until spring. While usable-sized tubers develop fairly early in the season, they taste much sweeter after they have matured and have been exposed to some frost.

Yacón leaves

The leaves of the yacón contain quantities of protocatechuic, chlorogenic, caffeic, and ferulic acids, which gives tisanes made from the leaves prebiotic and antioxidant properties.[1]

Religious usage

In colonial times, yacón consumption was identified with a Catholic religious celebration held at the time of an earlier Inca feast. In the Moche era, it may have been food for a special occasion. Effigies of edible food may have been placed at Moche burials for the nourishment of the dead, as offerings to lords of the other world, or in commemoration of a certain occasion. Moche depicted such yacón on their ceramics.[2]

Brahms Violin Concerto in D major Op.77, Itzhak Perlman

Brahms Violin Concerto in D major Op.77, Itzhak Perlman

Published on Aug 8, 2015

Johannes Brahms Violin Concerto in D major Op.77
1. Allegro non troppo (Cadenza by Joachim)
2. Adagio 24:41
3. Allegro giocoso, ma non troppo vivace 34:52
Itzhak Perlman, Violin
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Carlo Maria Giulini, Conductor
Rec.: 1986

F. Mendelssohn-Bartholdy – Suite ‘Ein Sommernachtstraum’ / A Midsummer Night’s Dream Op. 61 (Live)

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great compositions/performances: Michael Collins, London Winds & RNO. Dvorak Serenade for wind instruments, cello and bass op.44

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historic musical bits: Franz Schubert Symphony No.8 “Unfinished” D 759, Leonard Bernstein

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today’s holiday: St. John the Evangelist’s Day

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John the Evangelist was thought to be not only the youngest of the Apostles but the longest-lived, dying peacefully of natural causes at an advanced age. Although he escaped actual martyrdom, St. John endured considerable persecution and suffering for his beliefs. He is said to have drunk poison to prove his faith, been cast into a cauldron of boiling oil, and at one point banished to the Greek island of Patmos. He remained miraculously unharmed throughout these trials and returned to Ephesus, where it is believed he wrote the Gospel according to John. More… Discuss

today’s birthday: Jakob Bernoulli (1654)

Jakob Bernoulli (1654)

Bernoulli was a Swiss mathematician who, with his brother Johann, pioneered German mathematician Gottfried Leibniz’s calculus. The first to use the word “integral” in solving Leibniz’s problem of the isochronous curve, Jakob used calculus to study the forms of many curves arising in practical situations. In 1713, he wrote Ars Conjectandi, or The Art of Conjecture, an important treatise on the theory of probability that contained the Bernoulli numbers, which are what? More… Discuss

this pressed: What does “Schlong” means anyway?


this pressed for Justice: Fara cuvinte — David Simpson (@davidiansimpso3) December 24, 2015


Fabulous renditions: Valentina Lisitsa plays Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2

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3 Marches, K. 408: No 1 in C Major (K. 383e) : March in C Major, K. 408

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Saint of the Day for Saturday, December 26th, 2015: St. Stephen

Image of St. Stephen

St. Stephen

Stephen’s name means “crown,” and he was the first disciple of Jesus to receive the martyr’s crown. Stephen was a deacon in the early Christian Church. The apostles had found that they … continue reading

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today’s Holiday: Fiesta Grande

Fiesta Grande

Around Christmas time, thousands of Chilean pilgrims gather to honor the Virgen del Rosario (Virgin of the Rosary), patron saint of miners. The ceremonies take place in the copper-mining town of Andacollo, situated in the Andes mountains. The centerpiece of the festival is a famous three-foot wooden statue of the Virgin that is housed in Andacollo’s basilica. The festival’s main proceedings take place on December 26, during which a religious dance is performed in indigenous costume. Nearby, cockfighting and horseracing attract participants as alternative secular activities. More… Discuss

quotation: Life is a predicament which precedes death. Henry James

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Babbage was an English mathematician and inventor who devoted most of his life and private fortune to trying to perfect a mechanical calculating machine. In 1837, he described the so-called Analytical Engine, a machine capable of performing arithmetical operations with the use of instructions from punched cards. Although the device was never built, his idea is considered the forerunner of modern computers. Babbage also invented other devices, including the cowcatcher, which is used to do what? More… Discuss

today’s birthday: Frank Zappa (1940)

Frank Zappa (1940)

Zappa was a prolific and highly distinctive guitarist, composer, and songwriter. His career spanned more than 30 years and encompassed a variety of genres, including rock, jazz, and classical. He released the groundbreaking double album Freak Out! with the Mothers of Invention in 1966. With its raw sound, sophisticated arrangements, and lyrics praising nonconformity, the album immediately established Zappa as a radical new voice in rock music. What unusual names did he give his children? More… Discuss

great compositions/performances: Mozart – Symphony No. 38 in D, K. 504 [complete] (Prague)

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This Ancient Roman Winter Solstice festival began on December 17 and lasted for seven days. It was held in honor of Saturn, the father of the gods, and was characterized by the suspension of discipline and reversal of the usual order. Grudges and quarrels were forgotten; businesses, courts, and schools closed down; and masquerading or change of dress between the sexes often occurred. The festivities were characterized by various kinds of excesses—giving rise to the modern use of the term “saturnalian,” meaning “a period of unrestrained license and revelry.” More… Discuss