Just had to share with you another uplifting story about the power and presence of music found in unusual and unexpected places. A recent CBS 60 minutes story showed us how the children of Cateura, Paraguay enthusiastically and proudly play in their Recycled Orchestra, made up of musical instruments made from trash. Check out this link: Recycled Orchestra and be amazed! A documentary, “Landfill Harmonic”, detailing this fascinating story is to be released soon; watch for it when it comes to your Library.
The Quarter Notes post today is a potpourri of music-related interest stories. Hope you enjoy!
The world is celebrating the life of Nelson Mandela as I write. Why is this relevant to The Quarter Notes Blog? Quoting an official from South Africa: “In South Africa we dance and sing for births, weddings, birthdays and funerals.” Again, the healing and celebratory power of music shines through our joys and sadness.
The same day I heard this quote, I saw a heartwarming story on CBS Sunday Morning about a retired gentleman who, at 90 years old, recently learned how to read. At the end of the story, he proudly stood up to perform karaoke, reading/singing the words to the song from the screen. How rewarding!
Here’s a heads up for a FREE local classical concert: mark your calendars for a concert by the Northport Symphony Orchestra, Friday, January 24, 2014, 8 p.m., at Northport High School. The program includes works by Mozart, Beethoven and Schumann.
Our “Did You Know” composer fact of the day: most agree that December 16th is Beethoven’s birthday (he was baptized on December 17th. Some biographers list that date as his birthday). Four years before Beethoven’s death, in 1823, he completed his Ninth Symphony. By 1818, he was totally deaf. However, he was scheduled to conduct it’s first performance. The orchestra agreed amongst themselves to ignore his conducting as they performed since he couldn’t hear at all and couldn’t keep tempos. The premier was a success. However, at the end of the piece, one of the soloists had to turn Beethoven around to acknowledge the applause Beethoven didn’t know had started since he couldn’t hear it.
While a student at the IU School of Music in the 1970′s, I will never forget taking a music theory final exam. Part of the exam involved analyzing a given classical piece as it was played for us in the exam room. We weren’t told what the piece was but were told to analyze it. To analyze a piece, it’s really not necessary to know what piece it is. As the music started, you heard an orchestra, so I started to write my analysis. Then a solo instrument chimed in. I thought OK, I thought I knew most classical piano concertos, but not this one. I changed my analysis a bit and continued listening. Then ANOTHER solo instrument took over. I thought, hmmmm, it’s not Brahms’ Double Concerto; I was very familiar with that. And it didn’t sound as if it were from the Romantic period. Again, changed my analysis and continued listening. A THIRD solo instrument came in and I was stumped. However, I did well on the exam, analyzing it for what it was, including themes, form, instrumental exchanges, etc.
After the exam, my college roommate, a violinist, who was also in the class, and I, discussed the piece. She said “How did you like that piece, it was Beethoven’s Triple Concerto?” I thought at the time I knew most of Beethoven’s works, apparently not this one which I will never forget. I immediately got a recording of it and consider it one of my favorite Beethoven works. Celebrate his genius by checking out some of these items from your library:
Beethoven: the Man Revealed a new book, Beethoven in America a book linking Beethoven to our pop culture!, In Search of Beethoven a DVD giving us insight into just who Beethoven really was and finally, here are some recordings of his wonderful music: Complete Piano Sonatas , Missa Solemnis – a fine piece to sooth you during the holidays, Beethoven at Bedtime – actually a children’s CD with excerpts from some of Beethoven’s gorgeous slow movements; why not introduce this to your children and grandchildren when you’re together for the holidays…..just might make for a peaceful, well rested gathering! Come see or call us at the Library for more suggestions.
Lastly, I’d like to share a very uplifting and moving video my brother recently brought to my attention. It was of special interest to us because our mother’s family was from a town in Germany that eventually became part of Poland after WW II. Notice the presence of MUSIC throughout the video and enjoy:
Museum of the History of Polish Jews .
My best to all of you for a wonderful and of course very musical holiday season. Stay tuned to The Quarter Notes Blog and in tune with all the music in your life!