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Friday, December 31, 2010

The 12 Days of Internet music: Day 11

Scottish Poet Robert Burns

 “Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind ?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne?” ~ Robert Burns ~

The song that has become synonymous with the passing of the old year to the new is “Auld Lang Syne.”

The lyrics that are sung today were transcribed from oral tradition by Scottish poet Robert Burns.

Based on a traditional folk tune, the lyrics and melody reach further back and predate the Burns’ version by 200 years.

The phrase “Auld Lang Syne” loosely translates as, “for old time’s sake.”

In a plaintive farewell, the video below needs no words as the song is sung in an instrumental voice by the Grammy-winning American Saxophonist, Kenneth Bruce Gorelick, who is better known as “Kenny G.”

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The 12 Days of Internet music: Day 10

"Enhanced Rainbow"  photo by Barb Ver Sluis

“Somewhere over the rainbow

Way up high,
There's a land that I heard of
Once in a lullaby.
Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue,
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true.”
~ “Over the Rainbow” music by Harold Arlen
lyrics by E.Y. Harburg ~

In 1939, when the unemployment rate hovered at 17.2 per cent, there was one song that gave much hope to many - “Over the Rainbow,” from the MGM motion picture THE WIZARD OF OZ.

Sung by 16-year old Judy Garland, “Over the Rainbow” went on to win the Academy Award for Best Original Song, and Garland was honored with a Juvenile Academy Award for her work in OZ as well as BABES IN ARMS.

The song became permanently associated with Garland throughout her entire career and over the years, "Rainbow" has been covered by many vocalists, but in my humble opinion, the finest and most meaningful rendition since Garland, was recorded by the late Eva Cassidy, whose gentle voice, thoughtful phrasing and delivery give hope for better days to come, and provides a poignant and lasting signature of a young talent lost all too soon..

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The 12 Days of Internet music: Day 9

Edvard Grieg, 1891 painting by Eilif Petersse
“Artists like Bach and Beethoven erected churches and temples on the heights. I only wanted... 
to build dwellings for men in which they might feel
happy and at home.” ~ Edvard Grieg ~

Edvard Grieg, the great Norwegian composer/pianist from the Romantic period is probably most identified with his incidental music to Henrik Ibsen's play Peer Gynt, which was subsequently adapted into two suites of music that contained the highly identifiable selections, “Morning Mood,” “Solveig's Song” and "In the Hall of the Mountain King."

Grieg was not only an accomplished pianist, but a composer of many other works, that when heard, never fail to paint vivid landscapes of his country by combining classical traditions with native folk music.

An excellent example of this melding of musical styles is present in Grieg’s Sonata no. 3 in C minor for Violin and Piano, 2nd Movement, “Allegretto expressivo alla Romanza.”

The piece is lush and lyrical. The piano and violin easily converse and compliment one another while bringing forth romantic images.

The recording below is a superb interpretation by two young artists, violinist David Radzynski, a graduate student at the Yale School of Music, and Israeli pianist Ron Trachtman.

The sonata, one of three composed by Grieg, was the artist’s favorite and was completed in 1887.

The recording by Radzynski and Trachtman was taken from a live performance at the Jerusalem Music Center, May 19, 2009.

Monday, December 27, 2010

12 Days of Internet music: Day 8

Photo by Paula Slade

“Oh the weather outside is frightful,
But the fire is so delightful,
And since we've no place to go,
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!”
~ Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!
Music composed by Jule Styne
Lyrics by Sammy Cahn ~

Composed in Los Angeles on one of the hottest days of the year in 1945, “Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow” has become one of the most popular songs of all time by legendary crooner Frank Sinatra, with over 25,000,000 downloads from Apple iTunes.

If you’re digging out from a snowstorm, take a moment and enjoy “old blue eyes” rendition and smile, remembering the lost days of summer.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

12 Days of Internet music: Day 7

Portrait by Catherine Wicks

It’s Christmas morning and below is something special, “Da Day Dawn,” an ancient and haunting Shetland aire that traces its roots from the Norse.

Traditionally performed in the early hours of Christmas morning to awaken members of the household for the day’s celebration, this version was presented at the Great Hall in West Brookfield, Massachusetts on December 2, 2007 by Celtic/Classical violinist/violist/ composer, Samantha Gillogly.

May you awaken to the promise of a beautiful day filled with peace and love.

Friday, December 24, 2010

12 Days of Internet music: Day 6

One of the finest choral groups in the world is the famous Choir of King’s College in Cambridge, England.

Considered the most accomplished representation of the British choral tradition, the choir was established by King Henry VI, founder of King’s College, Cambridge in 1441.

The choir, composed of some of the most outstanding young scholars in England, sings daily in the college’s chapel and over the years has toured and established a wonderful repertoire and an extensive discography of recordings.

Each year, the choir’s “Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols” is broadcast around the globe on Christmas Eve.

Below is an audio excerpt of "The Lamb."

May you and yours enjoy a most beautiful and peaceful holiday.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

12 Days of Internet music: Day 5

“On the twelfth day of Christmas,
My true love sent to me
Twelve drummers drumming,
Eleven pipers piping,
Ten lords a-leaping,
Nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtledoves,
And a partridge in a pear tree!”

The religious period in the Christian church known as “The 12 days of Christmas,” which officially begins on Christmas Day and ends on “Twelfth Night” was immortalized in song by English Scholar, James Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps who popularized the piece when he published it in 1849.

The melody is believed to be much older and possibly originated in France.

The version of the song, which we know today, is attributed to an arrangement for choral and solo voices written by singer/teacher/composer Frederic Austin in 1909.

The video below takes this popular carol down a different path as a commercial for Allstate Insurance and is amusing.

Thanks goes to InsuranceAgentDenver’s Youtube channel for sharing 12 Days of Christmas Mayhem.


Friday, December 17, 2010

The 12 Days of Internet Music: Day 4

The recording below features one of the finest classical/crossover tenors of our time, Andrea Bocelli.

This will surely get you in the holiday spirit.

Thanks to marcelofacamargo's YouTube Channel for capturing such a magnificent performance of this classic Christmas carol, Adeste Fidelis.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The 12 Days of Internet Music: Day 3

“Somehow, not only for Christmas, but all the long year through, the joy that you give to others, is the joy that comes back to you. And the more you spend in blessing, the poor and lonely and sad, the more of your heart's possessing, returns to you glad.” ~ John Greenleaf Whittier ~

Although not a traditional Christmas carol, the music video below exemplifies the true meaning of this season.

Recorded on June 15 of this year at the Troy, New York PBS television studios of WMHT, this selection features: Tim Janis and the Tim Janis Ensemble; Sarah Darling; the Antioch High School and the Canajoharie Middle/High School choirs in a newly released song “Rejoice at Christmas,” written by Andrew J. Wight and arranged by Tim Janis.

The music is available to download for .99 cents at iTunes and CDBaby with proceeds going to charity.

Enjoy, and spread the word.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The 12 Days of Internet Music: Day 2

“Deck the halls with boughs of holly
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la
'Tis the season to be jolly
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la
Don we now our gay apparel.
Fa-la-la, la-la-la, la-la-la
Troll the ancient Yuletide carol.
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la.”

The familiar tune for “Deck the Halls” is based on a 16th Century Welsh air. Lyrics were originally written and presented in Welsh by John Ceiriog Hughes.

If you’re a pet owner or just love animals, you’ll get a chuckle out of this version of “Deck the Halls.” After a brief musical intro, anthropomorphism reigns here.

Many thanks to klaatu42’s Talking Animals YouTube channel for compiling and presenting this very funny video.

Enjoy, and be sure to spread the cheer.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The 12 Days of Internet Music: Day 1

“Hark how the bells, sweet silver bells, all seem to say, throw cares away”~ The Carol of the Bells ~ Music composed by Mykola Dmytrovych Leontovyc and adapted lyrics by Peter Wilhousky

In order to bring the season in with song, the next 12 days are devoted to some of the most original adaptations of traditional Christmas carols that are presented on the Internet.

First, “The Carol of the Bells,” a fun-filled interpretation by The Muppets.

Thanks so much to The Muppets Studio, LLC and the good folks at Disney.

Enjoy this holiday musical journey, and be sure to spread the cheer with your family and friends.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Big Cat Week on NAT GEO WILD roars in helping endangered species

They are often referred to as “big cats.” We also know them as lions, tigers, jaguars, cheetahs and leopards; each species an awesome predator. They hunt and kill only to survive, but now it is their survival that is on the line, and beginning Monday, Dec. 6, 2010, National Geographic channel’s NAT GEO WILD gives us a closer look at these magnificent animals during, Big Cat Week.

As part of National Geographic Society’s Big Cats Initiative, which is their ongoing commitment to save these endangered species; Big Cat Week provides extraordinary film footage in an effort to raise worldwide awareness of their potential loss to future generations.

Poaching, destruction of natural habitats, prey decline, pesticides and even tuberculosis and canine distemper has drastically reduced big cat populations. As an example, in the last 2,000 years, more than a million lions roamed the earth with those numbers presented across the African continent to as far as parts of northwest India. Then, only 60 years ago, the population had contracted to an estimated 450,000, and is currently assessed to be as few as 20,000 individuals. A link to an interactive map that clearly displays this devastation (as you progress the timeline forward) provides the shocking and rapid proof of the decline that we see today.

Derek and Beverly Joubert
“We no longer have the luxury of time when it comes to big cats,” says National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Dereck Joubert, who along with his wife and film making partner Beverly, captured footage for the premiere episode of Big Cat Week. Joubert adds, "They are in such a downward spiral that if we hesitate now, we will be responsible for extinctions across the globe. If there was ever a time to take action, it is now.”

Over the last 25 years, the Jouberts, who are also staunch conservationists, have amassed a body of distinguished research, which has been translated into 10 books, numerous articles for National Geographic Magazine, six scientific papers and 22 films that have garnered them five Emmys, a Peabody, the World Ecology Award and most recently induction into the American Academy of Achievement.

To find out more about the National Geographic Society’s Big Cats Initiative and how you can participate, simply follow this link.

Big Cat week begins Monday, Dec. 6 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT on NAT GEO WILD.

Below is a preview of Monday’s premiere episode, Big Cat Odyssey.

For other videos in the series along with interesting big cat facts, photos and programming schedule, visit NAT GEO WILD online.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

One thousand random acts of culture…

‘Christmas Present’ photo by Petr Kratochvil
“Whether I was in my body or out of my body as I wrote it I know not. God knows." (Quote attributed to George Frideric Handel in reference to his composing the 'Hallelujah Chorus.'

If this doesn’t get you in the holiday spirit, nothing will.

The results for Black Friday are in, and according to a press release from the National Retail Federation, “212 million shoppers visited stores and websites over Black Friday Weekend,” spending an “estimated $45.0 billion” on holiday shopping.

(And, I thought we were still in a recession.)

Cyber Monday seems to have done impressively well too, according to a press release from ComScore, Inc., which trumpets a headline stating, “Billion Dollar Bonanza: Cyber Monday Surpasses $1 Billion in U.S. Spending as Heaviest Online Shopping Day in History.”

So much for my take on the economy, as millions nationwide are poised to loose extended unemployment benefits as well as their homes to foreclosure in the coming weeks.

Each year the holiday shopping season officially kicks off with the traditional Macy’s parade in New York City, but this year, Macy’s took a bolder step and launched their season (at least in their Philadelphia Center City store) the day before Halloween, when something quite unique occurred; the venerable Opera Company of Philadelphia’s chorus, accompanied by the world’s largest pipe organ (the Wanamaker ) along with 650 other primed voices from the community, launched into a noontime spectacular rendition of George Frideric Handel’s ‘'Hallelujah Chorus.'

The event, that created a massive shopper sing-along was funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation as part of their community outreach program, Random Act of Culture, which endeavors to bring “classical arts out of the concert halls and opera houses and into our communities to enrich our everyday lives.”

Over the next three years, a total of 1,000 Random Acts of Culture will take place in the following cities: Akron, Ohio; Charlotte, N.C.; Detroit, Mich.; Macon, Ga.; Miami, Fla.; Philadelphia, Pa.; San Jose, Calif.; and St. Paul, Minn.

The entire six minutes of glorious music echoed through every balcony and department at Macy’s, and was captured on the video below, which has been viewed by over five million people, and (judging from the comments left on the Knight Foundation site) brought tears to the eyes of those who participated or viewed it online.

In my humble opinion, this wonderful Random Act of Culture, spread more holiday cheer, and did more for the American psyche than any store-bought gift ever could.