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Romantic Beauty For A Sunday Morning

I hope everyone is enjoying there weekend and I think appropriate for a beautiful, hopefully peaceful Sunday morning on the classical music weekend on ‘The Tales’ is this Romantic, melodic beauty from Frederic Chopin, his Larghetto movement from his se… . . . → Read More: Romantic Beauty For A Sunday Morning

This Russian Composer’s Music Is An American Staple

Sometimes I will ask classical music lovers who is their favorite composer and almost always the names of Mozart, Beethoven, and Bach will come up.  In fact, that is the names I will first mention when asked who is my favorite.  But I was thi…

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Super Cellist Yo-Yo Ma In Super Bowl City Houston This Weekend

What many believe to be the two best teams in the NFL, the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons, are descending in Houston for this Sunday’s Super Bowl LI.  And what many believe to be the best cellist in the world, Yo-Yo Ma, is coming to Houston’s Jones Hall for a special concert this Saturday night, Feb. 4, 2017, to perform Dvorak’s cello concerto with our great Houston Symphony Orchestra.  

Yo-Yo Ma performing Dvorak’s Cello Concerto on Super Bowl weekend in Houston Saturday night

What a blessing that my wife and I will be in attendance in Jones Hall to hear the legendary virtuoso cellist, Yo-Yo Ma performing my favorite cello concerto-an epic work by Antonin Dvorak.  Also, on the program, in this special added concert, is Gershwin’s “An American In Paris”, a repeat piece that we heard at last Saturday night’s concert, maybe in tribute to Yo-Yo Ma being born in Paris to Chinese parents who were living in Paris at the time. 

This from the Houston Symphony website: Andrés [Orozco-Estrada] welcomes superstar cellist Yo-Yo Ma back to the Houston Symphony for Dvorák’s Cello Concerto. One of the world’s most beloved musicians, Yo-Yo Ma has entranced audiences since his performance for Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy at age seven. After an epic solo concert at the 2015 BBC Proms, one reviewer reflected, “Without doubt, we were in the presence of a great musician, and a great man. One to file in the concerts of a lifetime” (BBC Music Magazine).”

From Y0-Yo Ma’s website: Yo-Yo Ma was born in 1955 to Chinese parents living in Paris. He began to study the cello with his father at age four and soon came with his family to New York, where he spent most of his formative years. Later, his principal teacher was Leonard Rose at the Juilliard School.”  “He has received numerous awards, including the Avery Fisher Prize (1978), the Glenn Gould Prize (1999), the National Medal of the Arts (2001), the Dan David Prize (2006), the Leonie Sonning Music Prize (2006), the World Economic Forum’s Crystal Award (2008), the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2010), the Polar Music Prize (2012) and the Vilcek Prize in Contemporary Music (2013).” “He has performed for eight American presidents, most recently at the invitation of President Obama on the occasion of the 56th Inaugural Ceremony.”

The Dvorak cello concerto is scored in B minor with 3 movements:  1. Allegro, 2. Adagio ma non troppo, 3. Allegro moderato-Andante-Allegro vivo. 

While this is not on the program, check out Yo-Yo Ma performing the beautiful “The Swan”, the 13th [of 14 movements] from Camille Saint-Saens Carnival of the Animals.  
Camille Saint-Saens: “The Swan” from Carnival of the Animals:


Now to hear the piece that the fetching Mrs. B and I will be hearing Saturday night [Super Bowl eve], check out this 1983 recording of the late great Russian cellist, Mstislav Rostropovich, soloist in the Dvorak Cello Concerto.  The pensive, serene adagio movement starts at 16:23 and the exciting final [3rd] movement starts at 28:32. 

Please turn up the volume and enjoy this epic piece of music. 

Antonin Dvorak: Cello Concerto in B minor:


Welcome to Super Bowl City Houston, Yo-Yo Ma!



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The Rach 3 Comes To Jones Hall

It’s concert time once again for me and the fetching Mrs. B, as we trek to Jones Hall Saturday night to hear Maestro Andres Orozco-Estrada lead our world class Houston Symphony Orchestra in a great program, featuring American composer, George Gershwin’s “An American in Paris”, and Russian Romantic composer Sergei Rachmaninoff’s dramatic virtuosic Piano Concerto #3.

This from the Houston Symphony Orchestra Website:  The brilliant young Russian pianist Denis Kozhukhin returns to Houston to perform Rachmaninoff’s ultra-Romantic Piano Concerto No. 3. The program also celebrates American music with Gershwin’s jazzy An American in Paris and John Adams’ Doctor Atomic Symphony, a work inspired by Robert Oppenheimer and the Manhattan Project.”

I love Gershwin’s American in Paris and remember a couple of years ago when we were in Paris I really was thinking how Gershwin captured the atmosphere of Paris perfectly.  Rachmaninoff’s third piano concerto in D minor, favorably known as the “Rach 3”, is one of my favorites and I love to be in person to see the artistry of the pianist in playing the difficult solo part of this concerto.  The first movement begins with what seems like a simple mesmerizing theme for the pianist but turns into a difficult virtuosic feat for the soloist.  The exciting final movement ends in quick explosive climax. The concerto in D minor has 3 movements: 1. Allegro ma non tanto, 2. Adagio and 3. Alla breve.

As always when Mrs. B and I go to the symphony, I like to give you a small sample of what we will be hearing tonight.  In the Rach 3 video, the pianist is the great Yuja Wang.  She gives an amazing performance. 

So, please turn up your volume, put in full screen and enjoy.

Sergei Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto #3 in D minor:



George Gershwin: “An American In Paris”:



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An Emperor Comes To Jones Hall

Well, I guess I have to set the DVR for the Texans second round playoff game against the New England Patriots Saturday night as the fetching Mrs. B and I will be in Houston’s Jones Hall at that time to hear our world class Houston Symphony Orchestra with guest conductor James Gaffigan. 


This is one concert I do not want to miss as it features my favorite piano concerto and one of the greatest in the repertoire, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto #5, known as “The Emperor”. 

From the Houston Symphony Orchestra website:  Hailed by the Telegraph as “a gift from God” after his 2010 win at the London International Piano Competition, Behzod Abduraimov makes his Houston Symphony debut with Beethoven’s majestic Piano Concerto No. 5, Emperor. In-demand American conductor and Houston favorite James Gaffigan also conducts Strauss’ swashbuckling Don Juan and Liszt’s poetic Les Préludes.”

This, Beethoven’s last piano concerto, was composed between 1809-11 and scored in Eb Major.  While many of Beethoven’s early works could be labeled as Classical Era pieces, this piece definitely moved into the Romantic Era label. It is truly a majestic Romantic piano concerto.  It has the usual 3 movements in a concerto: 1.Allegro; 2.Adagio un poco motto; and 3. Rondo, Allegro ma non troppo. 

Please turn up the volume, put in full screen and enjoy Beethoven’s Emperor.

L.Van Beethoven: Piano Concerto #5 in Eb Major:

Oh, by the way, Go Texans!  


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Great Melodies In Classical Music [Part 2]

Last weekend the Tales gave its picks, 11-20, of some of the many great melodies in classical music in the post: “Great Melodies In Classical Music [Part 1].  Today Tales presents our top 10 picks.  As a review, this is not naming our pick of…

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Great Melodies In Classical Music [Part 1]

I am always reluctant in doing a musical post like this in picking the top pieces in any category as I know I will always forget so many obvious pieces, and I will rightfully hear from my loyal readers, why didn’t you choose this piece or that piece. &…

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Bravo To Maestro Zubin Mehta As He Announces His Retirement

This announcement from Haaretz on December 26, 2016: “Legendary Maestro Zubin Mehta Announces Retirement From Israel Philharmonic Orchestra” – “After over three decades at its helm, the Indian-born conductor will leave in October 2018

Maestro Zubin Mehta [born April 29, 1936] – Bravo! to excellence

This from the Zubin Mehta biography page:  “Zubin Mehta was born in 1936 in Bombay [India] and received his first musical education under his father’s Mehli Mehta’s guidance who was a noted concert violinist and the founder of the Bombay Symphony Orchestra.”

By 1961 he had already conducted the Vienna, Berlin and Israel Philharmonic Orchestras and has recently celebrated 50 years of musical collaboration with all three ensembles.”

Zubin Mehta continues to support the discovery and furtherance of musical talents all over the world. Together with his brother Zarin he is a co-chairman of the Mehli Mehta Music Foundation in Bombay where more than 200 children are educated in Western Classical Music. The Buchmann-Mehta School of Music in Tel Aviv develops young talent in Israel and is closely related to the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, as is a new project of teaching young Arab Israelis in the cities of Shwaram and Nazareth with local teachers and members of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.”

The Tales wishes Maestro Mehta congratulations for his upcoming retirement in 2018 and all the best blessings.

Thanks to Rachel Ramon You Tube for this video of a surprise birthday celebration for Maestro Mehta in Tel Aviv on his 80th Birthday in April of this year, 2016:


On 24th December 2011, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, celebrated its 75th Anniversary with a concert conducted by Zubin Mehta in Tel Aviv.  Here is Maestro Mehta leading the orchestra in Chopin’s beautiful piano concerto #1, with virtuoso pianist, Israeli-Russian, Evgeny Kissin as the soloist.

Frederic Chopin: Piano Concerto #1 in E minor:


Listen to this wonderful interpretation of the final movement of Beethoven’s mesmerizing “Pastoral” 6th Symphony by Zubin Mehta as he leads the Israeli Philharmonic in one of my favorite symphonies.

L.V. Beethoven: Symphony #6 in F Major, “Pastoral”, Movement 5, Allegretto:  


Now here is Maestro Zubin Mehta leading the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in Tel Aviv in 2004 in Beethoven’s pensive Piano Concerto #4 with pianist supreme, Mitsuko Uchida, the soloist. 

L.V. Beethoven: Piano Concerto #4 in G Major: [note, Mitsuko Uchida also plays an encore – Mozart’s piano sonata in 
C Major, “semplice”, Andante movement]:


In this final video tribute to Maestro Mehta, please turn up the volume and enjoy this live recording from 1988 in Tel Aviv at the 40 year celebration of the state of Israel, where Zubin Mehta leads the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in Israel’s National Anthem, Hatikva, the ‘Hope’.

_____________________________________________________________

Bravo and best wishes, Maestro Zubin Mehta!


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Tales Top Concertos Other Than Piano Or Violin

The Tales has had many posts on the favorite piano concertos on the classical music weekends on this blog.  Also, recently we did a post on the Tales favorite violin concertos.  The reason we concentrated on the violin and piano concertos is …

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Tales Top Four Violin Concertos

As I have stated before on my classical music posts, my favorite form of music in the classical music repertoire is the concerto.  And since my favorite two instruments are the piano and clarinet I really put at the top of my favorite concertos Mo…

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Giving Thanks To HSO For This All Mozart Concert

On this weekend after our American Thanksgiving Holiday, there is one more thing that Houstonians can be thankful for: our Houston Symphony Orchestra will be having an all Mozart concert this weekend that my wife, the fetching Mrs. B and I will be blessed to attend at Jones Hall in Houston.  

There will be not one, but two of my favorite Mozart piano concertos on the program: his bright majestic concerto #21 in C Major that contains the “Elvira Madigan” movement [given to it after this andante theme was featured in the movie by the same name], and his dramatic concerto #24 in C minor.  I love both of these piano concertos.  In between the two concertos will be Mozart’s Symphony #38 in D Major, known as “The Prague”.  This symphony is unique in that Mozart only scores it for 3 movements, Allegro, Andante, Presto, instead of the usual 4 movements for a classical symphony.

We will have a guest conductor for this symphony, Jeffrey Kahane. And maestro Kahane will do double duty in the piano concertos, as this virtuoso pianist will be the soloist and the conductor of the orchestra from his position at the piano. 

This from the Houston Symphony Orchestra web site:  Give thanks for Mozart when veteran soloist and conductor Jeffrey Kahane leads an all-Mozart program this Thanksgiving weekend. Mozart’s dramatic Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor is the perfect foil for his charming and sensuous Piano Concerto No. 21 in C Major. His delightful Prague Symphony unfolds like a musical love letter to the Bohemian capital.”

As always when the fetching Mrs. B and I attend our great world class Houston Symphony Orchestra, the Tales likes to give you a little portion of what we will be hearing tonight. 


Please turn up the volume, put in full screen and enjoy this all Mozart Tales special on this weekend after Thanksgiving. 


W.A. Mozart: Piano Concerto #24 in C minor, Movement 3, Allegretto:

W.A. Mozart: Symphony #38 in D Major, “Prague”, Movement 3 [finale], Presto:

W.A. Mozart: Piano Concerto #21 in C Major [Movement 1 Allegro Maestoso;  (14:36) Movement 2, Andante “Elvira Madigan”;  (21:33) Movement 3, Allegro Vivace Assai]:

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Israel’s ‘Hatikva’ Connection To The Czech Republic’s ‘The Moldau’

One of my favorite classical music pieces is “Ma Vlast” [My Homeland] by the great Czech composer Bedrich Smetana.  This is a set of 6 symphonic poems that contains one of the most beautiful motifs in classical music in the second movement called …

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Kavakos Leads HSO In Bach, Mozart, and Brahms

The fetching Mrs. B and I are really looking forward to an awesome Houston Symphony Concert at Jones Hall tonight [Saturday] as guest conductor, Leonidas Kavakos, leads the great Houston Symphony Orchestra in works by three of the giants of classical music, Johannes Brahms, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and J.S. Bach.  What is somewhat unique in this concert is that all of the three great eras of classical music are represented: the Baroque Era with the Bach violin concerto; the Classical Era with the Mozart symphony; and the Romantic Era with the Brahms symphony.  I love all three eras of classical music and love the great pieces chosen for this program.

Leonidas Kavakos – Will the HSO say, “he’s Greek to me”

The Greek violin virtuoso, Kavakos, will be the soloist and leader in Bach’s violin concerto in A minor.  Then follows Mozart’s “Linz’s” symphony #36 in C major, and after intermission will be Brahms final symphony, his symphony #4 in E minor. 

This from the HSO web site about the concert: Greek violin virtuoso Leonidas Kavakos has been hailed as “one of the most comprehensively gifted instrumentalists of his time.  His playing combines a sweet, singing tone with virtuoso technique and penetrating intelligence” (Boston Globe).  This fall he returns to Houston to play Bach’s exquisite Violin Concerto in A minor and conduct Brahms’ searching Symphony No. 4.”

As always whenever Mrs. Sheralyn B and I go to a Houston Symphony Orchestra I like to give you a little sample of the concert program we will be hearing.

Please turn up the volume and enjoy some Bach, Mozart and Brahms.


J.S. Bach: Violin Concerto #1 in A minor [mov. 1 – Allegro, mov. 2 @3:45 – Andante, movement 3 @ 9:59 – Allegro Assai]:

W.A. Mozart: Symphony #36 in C Major, “Linz”, Movement 1, Adagio – Allegro Spiritoso [beginning around 2:02]:


Johannes Brahms:  Symphony #4 in E minor, Movement 4, Allegro energico e passionato:

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HSO Performs A ‘Titanic’ Symphony

The fetching Mrs. B and I are really looking forward to going to Jones Hall tonight [Saturday] in Houston, TX to hear Maestro Andres Orozco-Estrada lead our world class Houston Symphony Orchestra perform a truly titanic symphony by the Austrian late Romantic composer, Gustav Mahler, and his Symphony #1 in D Major, known as “The Titan”. 

As in all of Mahler’s brilliant symphonies this is a large work of just under an hour with a big sound, as Mahler scores this for a huge symphony orchestra.  This epic work has also been described as a symphonic tone poem. 

Gustav Mahler [1860 – 1911]

It contains one of my favorite movements of any symphony as in his third movement Mahler brilliantly uses a variation of the children’s song “Frere Jacques” in a slower tempo and D minor key to create a haunting funeral march.  Mahler also inserts a touch of a Jewish Klezmer sound that I love in this movement.  The dramatic “energetic” and long final movement, which brings back some of the earlier themes, begins in F minor before returning to the D Major key for an exhilarating climactic ending.  As in Dvorak’s final movement of his New World Symphony you get a false climax before a calm sets in until the actual dramatic ending many minutes later.

I have no doubt the Jones Hall audience will leap to their feet with shouts of Bravo after what I know will be a great performance by our Houston Symphony Orchestra. 

From the Houston Symphony Orchestra websiteMahler’s titanic Symphony No. 1 takes listeners from the lyrical purity of nature to the triumph of the earth-shattering finale, reflecting Mahler’s belief that “a symphony must be like the world: it must embrace everything.”

You can also go to the HSO website to hear our great HSO musical ambassador, Maestro Carlos Andres Botero, “Podcast on the Music” discuss Mahler and his first symphony:  “Growing up is tough, especially if you’re a German-speaking Jewish kid from Bohemia trying to make it as a composer in the 1880s.  Discover how the young Mahler’s passions—for nature, philosophy and a married woman—inspired his first symphonic masterpiece.” 

Sheralyn [whose birthday was yesterday September 23] and I are also looking forward to go early [about 45 minutes before the concert] to Jones Hall to hear Carlos Botero’s “prelude” talk about Mahler and his “titanic” symphony.  Maestro Botero’s informative and interesting talks are one of the special treats of going to an HSO concert at Jones Hall. 

Please turn up the volume to hear the first and final movement of this “titan” of a symphony that the fetching Mrs. B and I will enjoy tonight. 

Gustav Mahler:  Symphony #1 in D Major, “The Titan”, Movement 3, Funeral March [based on “Frere Jacques” in D minor]:

Gustav Mahler: Symphony #1 in D Major, “The Titan”, Movement 4, Agitated – Energetic:

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The 2016-17 HSO Season Opens With A ‘Knight’ To Remember

Unfortunately the fetching Mrs. B and I will be unable to attend the opening night [Saturday] of the new 2016-17 Houston Symphony Orchestra concert season as it will be a night to remember…or I should say a “knight” to remember as Jones Hall will be …

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Five of the Most Beautiful Movements in the Piano Concerto Repertoire

Along with the clarinet, the piano is my favorite instrument, and the piano concerto is my favorite form of classical music.  I love to be in the audience of a concert at Jones Hall with the great Houston Symphony Orchestra when there is a piano c…

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Mozart Brings Out The Beauty Of The Oboe

One of my favorite composers, the quintessential Classical era composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, is known for his virtuosity on the piano and violin.  His many great compositions for the piano and violin reveal his knowledge in those instrum…

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The Three Great Eras Of Classical Music

Hat/Tip:  My friend from New Hampshire, Harry Shepler, who gave me the idea of this post by putting this pic on his Face Book page: I would not honk as I love both the “Baroque” Bach and the “Romantic” Brahms in their own wayWhile there has b…

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Relaxing Brahms Sonata On This Sunday

Johannes Brahms [1833-1897]For those of you who love the cello, Johannes Brahms composed a wonderful pleasant warm cello sonata in E-minor.  For Sunday mornings on the Tales classical weekend, we like to go with more serene peaceful pieces such as…

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Bravo Concerto!

For those of you who have never had the privilege to go to a classical concert with your local symphony orchestra [or one closest to your residence], I would recommend going when one of the pieces on the program is a concerto.  A co…

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