Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Our Morning Music

September 13, 2012 @ 11:28 am | Filed under: Music

Beanie is learning Dvorak’s New World Symphony theme for her piano class. I love the Largo theme and it’s always a happy day for me when one of the girls reaches this point in their lesson books. Beanie wanted to hear the whole symphony, so we started with a few YouTube clips.

First, the theme played by on flute:

Then on classical guitar—this is lovely:

Which led us to this rather thrilling electric guitar rendition of the 4th movement:

I love that the young guitarist says he first encountered this piece of music in a video game, fell in love with it, hunted it down, and taught himself to play it by ear. 🙂

Here’s the same movement played by the Vienna Philharmonic:

Breathtaking—but I think I like the electric guitar version best.

Morning, Ralph

January 9, 2012 @ 4:16 pm | Filed under: Music

Our listening selection this morning: Grieg’s ‘Peer Gynt’ Suite No. 1, Op. 46

“For my heart’s a boat in tow…”

December 21, 2011 @ 8:32 pm | Filed under: Music, Scottish folksongs

I’ve posted this song before, I think, or mentioned it, at least. “The Broom of the Cowdenknowes”—one of those good old Scottish folk songs that makes something well up within me. This intense emotional response seldom has to do with lyrics; it’s something in the Celtic melodies, the yearning, the slurred notes melting into each other and reaching for something never quite graspable. That sea-swaying cadence at 22 seconds undoes me every time. I remember in dance classes when they told us (coaching better posture) to imagine a string pulling upward from the top of our head: the effect this music has on me is as if there’s a string attached to my heart and the notes are pulling.

A song that pulls me with both melody and lyrics is one I know I’ve shared here before, The Loch Tay Boat Song. Oh, it devastates me. In a good way.

Duke Ellington Meets Tchaikovsky

December 19, 2011 @ 7:05 am | Filed under: Books, Music

Swiped from Scott’s Facebook:

“I know that song,” says the five-year-old, eyes lighting up. She bobs her head. “That’s jazz.”

He’d looked this clip up because I got excited when Julie Danielson mentioned (also on Facebook) that she was working on a review of this picture book for SevenImp:


Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite
by Anna Harwell Celenza.

Looking forward to Jules’s review, and to checking out this book!

“Every audience gets that.”

March 3, 2011 @ 10:51 pm | Filed under: Music

Just arrived from the library: Leonard Bernstein’s Young People’s Concert series, which aired on CBS from 1958 to 1973. Backed by the New York Philharmonic, playing to a packed house of children in Carnegie Hall, Bernstein conducts and chats his way through the marvels and mysteries of music.

Scott watched this series, bit by bit, years ago in our New York days. He recently discovered our library owns it, so we’ve got plans to immerse ourselves in these DVDs for the next few weeks.

The fun Mr. Bernstein has with the music and the audience reminds me of this wonderful Bobby McFerrin moment, which I think I’ve linked to before.

Moment :43 and the swell of laughter that follows is pure, real, unexpected joy. I’m thinking about it and it’s hard to find examples of a crowd of adults reacting with such spontaneous and childlike delight. It’s like the first time a baby takes up a crayon and makes a streak of color upon the paper or the wall. Magic just happened!

Music to My Ears

January 4, 2011 @ 7:07 am | Filed under: Betsy-Tacy, Music

Announcing the Betsy-Tacy Songbook

I can finally learn the Cat Duet!

And “Dreaming,”
“Because You’re You,”
“Morning Cy,”
“Same Old Story,”

and all those other good old tunes.

From the Betsy-Tacy Convention site:

Hot off the presses! The Betsy-Tacy Songbook is now available at Willard’s Emporium!

Join Betsy Ray and her Crowd as they gather around the piano and sing the popular hits of their day.

The Maud Hart Lovelace Society has lovingly and painstakingly researched the songs mentioned (and sung, and danced to) in the Betsy-Tacy books and assembled a “greatest hits” list of songs for your musical enjoyment.

The book is 212 pages long, spiral bound in green, and contains 40 songs mentioned in the Betsy-Tacy books, with scanned original vintage copies of the sheet music covers and the sheet music itself. There is information about each song and where it appears in the Betsy-Tacy books, as well as biographical information about two of the musical stars of Betsy’s day, Chauncey Olcott and Joe E. Howard.

More information at the site.

Related posts:

Heaven to Betsy! High-school-and-beyond books being reissued! (Sept 2009)
Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill
Betsy-Tacy Goes Digital!
Interview with Mitali Perkins, Jennifer Hart, and me about Maud’s books
Betsy-Tacy booksigning at ALA Midwinter
Photos of my visit to the real Deep Valley, as chronicled by Margaret in Minnesota
Why I love Carney
Why I love Emily
A Reader’s Guide to Betsy-Tacy

Happymaking Things

June 6, 2010 @ 7:06 am | Filed under: Links, Music

Pennywhistle lesson videos via YouTube. I’ve been using the Clark Pennywhistle book and CD to learn, but I wish I’d found these video lessons, offered for free by a Jesuit priest, a long time ago. It’s much easier to understand the ornamentation techniques when you can see them.

Scrivener. How is it possible none of my writer friends clued me into this sooner?

Listography, which is, at last, the internet notebook I’ve been looking for. The format just works for me.

Sam’s French toast recipe.

Kristen’s joy.

This incredible guitar arrangement of the Lyke Wake Dirge (a very old song, and “happy” is not the right word for it—moving, stirring, haunting—those are better).

Because You’re You

June 4, 2010 @ 6:23 am | Filed under: Betsy-Tacy, Books, Music

[Harry] started coming to the Rays’ regularly. He brought Julia flowers and candy. He brought her the score of The Red Mill, and he and Julia sang a duet from it:

“Not that you are fair, dear
Not that you are true…”

He lifted his eyebrows and puffed out his chest. He quite eclipsed poor Hugh.

—from Betsy in Spite of Herself
by Maud Hart Lovelace

The Red Mill, an operetta by Victor Herbert and Henry Blossom, opened on Broadway in 1906. Among Herbert’s other works are Babes in Toyland (1903) and Naughty Marietta (1910).

Here’s the score of The Red Mill, including “Because You’re You,” the song Julia sang with the chest-puffing Harry.

Love is a queer little elfin sprite,
Blest with the deadliest aim!
Shooting his arrows to left and right,
Bagging the rarest game,
Filling our hearts with a glad surprise,
Almost too good to be true!
And still can you tell me why do you love me?
Only because you are you, dear!

Not that you are fair, dear,
Not that I am true,
Not my golden hair, dear,
Not my eyes of blue,
When we ask the reason,
Words are all too few!
So I know I love you, dear,
Because you’re you!

• The Red Mill at Wikipedia. Fun tidbit:

In 1906, producer Charles Dillingham made theatrical history by placing in front of the Knickerbocker Theater a revolving red windmill powered and lit by electricity. This was Broadway’s first moving illuminated sign.

• Selections from The Red Mill in a Youtube clip. My guess is that “Because You’re You” is the melody beginning around 2:27.

The Merry Widow Waltz

May 31, 2010 @ 8:23 pm | Filed under: Betsy-Tacy, Books, Music

“I’ve a new waltz I want Mamma to hear. She talks so often of the great Strauss. Here is a piece as good as any of his and it is also by a Viennese.”

heaventobetsyHe began to play.

The opening phrases were short and artless. They sounded like a rocking horse. But the swing began to grow longer, the rhythm stronger. The waltz began to ask questions, wistful, poignant. It took on a dreamier sweep.

Then a gayer theme sent Uncle Rudy’s fingers rippling over the keys. The melody wove in and out. It circled, swayed, as though it were music and dancer in on. It was irresistible.

—from Betsy in Spite of Herself
by Maud Hart Lovelace

It just freaked me out a little to realize that the Happy Birthday song on Tom Chapin’s Moonboat CD—Wonderboy’s favorite CD, hands down—is set to the tune of the Merry Widow waltz.

• The Merry Widow (first performed in Vienna in 1905)
• Merry Widow hat spoofed in a set of postcards, 1908
• Composer Franz Lehar