In springtime (does it seem like a long time ago), we explored the development of self-esteem, self-confidence and self-competence, which usually occur in childhood, especially if well-assisted by adults. Yet we all can benefit from help throughout our lives. We value the views and opinions others have of us. Sometimes another person can guide us with nothing more than an affirming word, gesture or action that encourages us along a pathway of growth and development.
Music: Composers, artists, and major works
- Francesco Corti (BWV 1052, 1053, 1055 and 1058; 1044, 1054, 1056 and 1057; 1059-1062)
- Pieter Jan-Belder (BWV 1044, 1050 and 1052-1058)
- Trevor Pinnock (BWV 1052-1058 and 1061-1065; see also here)
- Davitt Moroney, et. al. (“complete”)
- Gustav Leonhardt, et. al. (complete)
Isang Yun composed the following works for solo violin, based on basic themes:
- Königliches Thema für Violine Solo (1976), based on a theme attributed to Frederick the Great, which Bach used in his Musical Offering, BWV 1079
- Li-Na im Garten, Five Pieces for Violin Solo (1984): character studies of animals encountered in a garden
Three of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s mature piano concerti:
- Mozart, Piano Concerto No. 21 in C Major, K. 467 (1785) (approx. 27-31’), is perhaps the most upward-looking of Mozart’s late piano concerti, beginning not with a mere Allegro but an Allegro maestoso. The concerto then proceeds in the second movement to the popular love theme utilized in the film “Elvira Madigan”. The final movement is Allegro vivace assai, as contrasted with less fervent styles in the final movement of his other late concerti. Mozart, however, was irrepressible. Top recorded performances are by Ashkenazy in 1974, Perahia in 1976, Uchida (Tate) in 1986, Bilson (Gardiner) in 1987, Pollini (Muti) in 2004 , Say (Griffiths) in 2004, Uchida in 2012, Brautigam (Willens) in 2014, Bavouzet (Takás-Nagy) in 2019, and Andsnes in 2021.
- Mozart, Piano Concerto No. 22 in E-flat Major, K. 482 (1785) (approx. 33-38’), “is a bundle of innovation and creativity, from evolved orchestration to a developed form of instrumental storytelling . . .” “It glows with a rich infusion of woodwind colors.” “Never in his piano concertos was Mozart more generous with his number of themes than in the opening movement of” this concerto. It begins with a straightforward, confident affirmation (Allegro), followed by a sorrow-tinged Andante and concluding with a playful stroll (Allegro). Top performances on disc are by Schnabel (Walter) in 1941, Edwin Fischer (Krips) in 1947, Annie Fischer (Sawallisch) in 1959, Perahia in 1980, Richter (Muti) in 1983, Uchida (Tate) in 1987, Brendel (Mackerras) in 2000, Cooper in 2010, Andsnes in 2021; and Bavouzet (Takás-Nagy) in 2022.
- Mozart, Piano Concerto No. 25 in C Major, K. 503 (1786) (approx. 30-34’), like the 21st, begins with a majestic Allegro maestoso, which includes a motif on the theme of what would become the French national anthem. The second movement is a soothing Andante; the third, Allegretto, is a joyous romp. “. . . K. 503 boldly breaks through the barriers of the highly stylized concerto form Mozart inherited, and paves the way for the incredible variety, diversity and originality of the genre in the 19th century.” Top performances on disc are by Edwin Fischer (Krips) in 1947, Fleisher (Szell) in 1959, Perahia in 1981, Uchida (Tate) in 1988, Brendel in 1989, van Immerseel in 1990, Buchbinder, Argerich (Abbado) in 2014, Uchida in 2016, and Denk in 2021.
- Brahms, Variations on a Theme by Haydn, Op. 56a (1873): a superb tribute from one composer to another
- Zemlinsky, Symphony No. 2 in B-flat Major (1897)
- Grechaninov, Symphony No. 5 in G Minor, Op. 153 (1936): this work is life-affirming.
- Corelli, Sonate da Camera, sonatas en trio: Op. 2; Op. 4
- Arriaga, String Quartet No. 2 in A Major: simple, unadorned, pleasant
- Rode: Violin Concerti: Concerto No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 3; Concerto No. 2 in E Major, Op. 4; Violin Concerto No. 5 in D Major, Op. 7; Concerto No. 7 in A Minor, Op. 9; Concerto No. 8 in E Minor, Op. 13; Concerto No. 9 in C Major, Op. 17; Violin Concerto No. 10 in B Minor, Op. 19; Concerto No. 13 in F-sharp Minor / A Major, Op. posth.
- Wilms, Symphony No. 1 in C Major, Op. 9
- Raga Rageshri (Rageshree) is a sweet and melodious Hindustani raag (performances by Banerjee, Amonkar and Vilayat Khan)
- Raga Sindhu Khamaj (performances by Banerjee, Banerjee and Banerjee)
- Krommer, Symphony No 4 in D minor
- “Sessões Selo Sesc #5: Bixiga 70”
- “"Bixiga 70 - Quebra-Cabeça” (2018)
- “Bixaga 70 III” (2015)
- “Bixaga 70 II” (2013)
- “Bixaga 70 I” (2011)
Bunny Berigan’s swing music
Perhaps the single most characteristic feature of jazz – its bedrock – is the expansion, or riffing, on a melody. The feature is so prominent in Dexter Gordon’s playing that if you listen to him for too long, you hear the opposite: his playing never changed. He had a quirky fondness for the children’s tune “Pop Goes the Weasel.” Still, he was a highly regarded tenor saxophonist with an extensive discography on several high regarded labels, including collections on Prestige and Blue Note. On every track he recorded, he created his amplification of the music.
His mastery of the riff probably led to his popularity among jazz professionals and jazz audiences. If you are musical novice, you may hear this most clearly on the opening track – “Nursery Blues” – from the album “Lullaby for a Monster” (1976). On this track, he develops the famous theme from Mozart’s 12 Variations on a theme, K. 265/300e, commonly known as “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”. Of course, Mozart riffed on the theme too, in each of the variations. This was Gordon’s signature technique throughout his career, though he did not develop themes as thoroughly as Mozart did. Recorded live performances include:
- “Bopland: The Legendary Elks Club Concert, L.A. 1947”
- “The Squirrel: Live at Montmartre, Copenhagen 1967”
- “Live at the Jazzhus” (1967)
- “XXL: Live at the Left Bank” (1969)
- “At the Subway Club” (1973)
- “Live at Carnegie Hall” (1978)
- “North Sea Jazz Legendary Concerts” (1979)
- Live at the Keystone Korner, San Francisco, New Year’s Eve 1980
Some of his best albums are:
- “Doin’ Allright” (1961)
- “A Swingin’ Affair” (1962)
- “Soul Sister” (1963)
- “Our Man in Paris” (1963)
- “One Flight Up” (1964)
- “Clubhouse” (1965)
- “A Day in Copenhagen” (1969)
- “Nights at the Keystone”, Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3 (1979)
- “Keystone Korner” (1980)
- “Cry Me a River” (1990)
- “Go!” (1999)
- Jaki Byard, “Sunhine of My Soul”
- Jaki Byard, “Out Front!”
- Calle Loíza Jazz Project, “There Will Never Be Another You”
- Michael Adkins Quartet, “Flaneur”: “The starting points for Adkins and his quartet in these selections are generally groupings of held tones, or simple themes, from the tenor, subsequently joined by piano, bass, and shades of percussion, and then musically expended upon by Adkins and the group.” [Don Lerman, Cadence Magazine 2019 Annual Edition, p. 229.]
- Brad Goode Quintet, “That’s Right!”
- Jonathan Cohler and Rasa Vitkauskaite, “Latin Journey”, a collection of works for clarinet and piano by composers from Argentina, Mexico and Cuba
- Emiliano Gonzalez Toro & Zachary Wilder, “A Room of Mirrors”: Renaissance-era songs for tenor and baritone – the singers complement each other brilliantly.
- Veronika Eberle, “Beethoven Violin Concerto” (2023) (61’): Beethoven’s Violin Concerto usually consumes 45-50 minutes. Eberle plays with cadenzas, so that this performance, with Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra, takes 53 engrossing minutes.
From the dark side, negating humanity:
In the Middle Ages, when an edifice was complete, there was almost as much of it in the earth as above it. Unless built upon piles, like Notre-Dame, a palace, a fortress, a church, had always a double bottom. In cathedrals, it was, in some sort, another subterranean cathedral, low, dark, mysterious, blind, and mute, under the upper nave which was overflowing with light and reverberating with organs and bells day and night. Sometimes it was a sepulchre. In palaces, in fortresses, it was a prison, sometimes a sepulchre also, sometimes both together. These mighty buildings, whose mode of formation and _vegetation_ we have elsewhere explained, had not simply _foundations_, but, so to speak, roots which ran branching through the soil in chambers, galleries, and staircases, like the construction above. Thus churches, palaces, fortresses, had the earth half way up their bodies. The cellars of an edifice formed another edifice, into which one descended instead of ascending, and which extended its subterranean grounds under the external piles of the monument, like those forests and mountains which are reversed in the mirror-like waters of a lake, beneath the forests and mountains of the banks.
At the fortress of Saint-Antoine, at the Palais de Justice of Paris, at the Louvre, these subterranean edifices were prisons. The stories of these prisons, as they sank into the soil, grew constantly narrower and more gloomy. They were so many zones, where the shades of horror were graduated. Dante could never imagine anything better for his hell. These tunnels of cells usually terminated in a sack of a lowest dungeon, with a vat-like bottom, where Dante placed Satan, where society placed those condemned to death. A miserable human existence, once interred there; farewell light, air, life, ogni speranza — every hope; it only came forth to the scaffold or the stake. Sometimes it rotted there; human justice called this _forgetting_. Between men and himself, the condemned man felt a pile of stones and jailers weighing down upon his head; and the entire prison, the massive bastille was nothing more than an enormous, complicated lock, which barred him off from the rest of the world.
It was in a sloping cavity of this description, in the oubliettes excavated by Saint-Louis, in the _inpace_ of the Tournelle, that la Esmeralda had been placed on being condemned to death, through fear of her escape, no doubt, with the colossal court-house over her head. Poor fly, who could not have lifted even one of its blocks of stone!
Assuredly, Providence and society had been equally unjust; such an excess of unhappiness and of torture was not necessary to break so frail a creature.
There she lay, lost in the shadows, buried, hidden, immured. Anyone who could have beheld her in this state, after having seen her laugh and dance in the sun, would have shuddered. Cold as night, cold as death, not a breath of air in her tresses, not a human sound in her ear, no longer a ray of light in her eyes; snapped in twain, crushed with chains, crouching beside a jug and a loaf, on a little straw, in a pool of water, which was formed under her by the sweating of the prison walls; without motion, almost without breath, she had no longer the power to suffer; Phœbus, the sun, midday, the open air, the streets of Paris, the dances with applause, the sweet babblings of love with the officer; then the priest, the old crone, the poignard, the blood, the torture, the gibbet; all this did, indeed, pass before her mind, sometimes as a charming and golden vision, sometimes as a hideous nightmare; but it was no longer anything but a vague and horrible struggle, lost in the gloom, or distant music played up above ground, and which was no longer audible at the depth where the unhappy girl had fallen. [Victor Hugo, Notre-Dame de Paris, or, The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1831), Volume II, Book Eighth, Chapter IV, “Lasciate Ogni Speranza – Leave All Hope Behind, Ye Who Enter Here”.]
- Amber McBride, Me (Moth) (Feiwel & Friends, 2021): “. . . the new boy at school . . . sees Moth like no one else does. And she's drawn irresistibly to his flame.”
When I cannot look at your face
I look at your feet.
Your feet of arched bone,
your hard little feet.
I know that they support you,
and that your sweet weight
rises upon them.
Your waist and your breasts,
the doubled purple
of your nipples,
the sockets of your eyes
that have just flown away,
your wide fruit mouth,
your red tresses,
my little tower.
But I love your feet
only because they walked
upon the earth and upon
the wind and upon the waters,
until they found me.
[Pablo Neruda, “Your Feet”]