Sunday, September 28, 2008

Seeing is Hearing

Behold what wonders I observed last night. Seeing and hearing brought several new dimensions to this experience. Listening to a live performance gave a magnificent dynamic range to my ears. Not only is this range greater in frequency, but subtle changes in volume, attenuated on a recording, are often intensified at Heinz Hall. Sounds not heard on the radio the night before, were easily detected and enjoyed. For instance, the beginning of the Mahler Symphony was so slight, that I did not hear it at all on the radio until it was well underway. Then came the three trumpet calls from well off stage. That was barely audible on the radio, easily heard and enjoyed at the concert.

Try this: go to a symphony concert and watch an individual instrument throughout a performance, see the sounds. Somehow our minds are able to focus, and seeing becomes hearing, as astonishing as this may seem. For instance, in the Titan Symphony, I watched the harp from time to time. The beautiful plucking was easy to perceive once my attention was so directed. Later, I would automatically know that sound, and know it was the harp, even without seeing anymore. This became a memory of the sounds and an association, perhaps a visual association, which stuck around and built upon my knowledge of the orchestra and individual instrumentation. Watch the string section. Their fluid rhythmic motions bring sweet harmony and melody alive. I'll hear their phrasings on one side, and pizzicato on the other, then sometimes reversed. Occasionally the principals will play a section of the score, their motions pronounced along with the music, accenting and drawing my attention. Seeing is hearing.

So many different instruments were used with the Adams composition and the Symphony. This amazing array and assortment is fascinating to peruse. If seeing is hearing, then it is also true that hearing is seeing. In the Adams: 'Short Ride in a Fast Machine' I am instantly hearing, then seeing the amazing score driven initially by a wood block making time. There were 2 flutes and piccolos, 2 oboes and English horns, 4 clarinets, 3 bassoons and contrabassoons, 4 horns, 4 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, woodblock, triangle, xylophone, crotales, glockenspiel, suspended cymbal, sizzle cymbal, snare drum, pedal bass drum, large bass drum, large tam-tam, tambourine, 2 synthesizers, and strings. What fun it was to see and hear each of these being played in such a synchronized form, making the difficult seem like a breeze.

Again, in Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, I was able to see the music, only this time it was the soloist Joshua Bell that drove this point home. He made his red violin sing for joy, bringing it figuratively alive. The notes stored in his mind have become more than a simple sequence, but a fluid continuity of form brought out.

And finally, it was Maestro Honeck who epitomized the ultimate universal language of motion and form, conducting the entire whole of the symphony as if the sounds were emanating from the very tip of his baton, and merely reflecting through the musicians and amplified back to the audience, in a sublime metamorphosis which transcends temporal reality and enters the realm of the interminable.

Come to the symphony, and see and hear for yourself!

Friday, September 26, 2008

resoundingly beautiful

resoundingly beautifulLet's place the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto next to the Mahler Titan Symphony, and see what we might find.. A penultimate comparison of Russian and German style. These thoughts are mine, with little influence from the published descriptions; I like to add my own thoughts and impressions of the music with undue external prejudices. These impressions heard tonight on the radio broadcast of the PSO at Heinz Hall.

Is the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto monumental? They say that Beethoven and Brahms' concertos are monumental, but I'm here to interpret my own impressions. I care less if it is monumental, because I know it is beautiful, as a flower is pretty and aromatic. I leave the logic, issues and reason at work. It is night now, I'm trying to escape from the doldrums of the mundane and into the magical mystical world of classical music.

I'm finding such wonderful emotion and feelings in the music that make my heart and fingers race. The music is like a cacophony of insects buzzing all around the assortment of blossoms in my garden. Often so abundant, quick and racing, then occasionally only a single voice is heard, like a butterfly darting and bounding up, down and around in impossible patterns and eloquence, defying gravity, inertia and logic. But the harmony is there, and the relationship to the rest of the nature is abundant and smoothly combined with divine melody and dramatic flair. The culmination of this amalgamation is joy.

Mahler's Titan Symphony no. 1. überwältigend. Es hallt wider. It reverberates with natural splendor. A compelling, sweeping robust composition. The beginning, a fresh morning dew filled experience with nature's sounds awakening. The second movement, my mind envisions a resounding scherzo full of melodic character. The third movement, a stunningly subtle cross over, Bruder Martin - Frère Jacques - ding dong ding. The fourth movement, complex, seemingly overwhelming. Overall, a vast, mind-blowing experience, yet never overly vexing nor audibly saturated. Altogether a truly a titanic composition, in range, breadth, depth and pastoral style.


FairiesThere are several reasons why I began to learn German 15+ years ago. I have a German sir name, 1/4 of my ancestry stems from Germany. I visited Europe many years prior, and intend to return; I wish to converse with the people / Leute. But the biggest reason was this: to understand the language that is behind much of the classical music I love. Other than the great masters from Italy, I am most fond of the classical music written by Austrian and German composers. Some of that music has inspired me so much, that I have a desire to understand the words behind this music. One such composition is Beethoven's 9th symphony.

Lest you think I'm off topic for this weekend's concert, I will show a few links: Mahler and Honeck, both from Austria, both with the native German language. So that is my tie-in, my juxtaposition, my reason for listening, learning and writing. The German for juxtaposition is Nebeneinanderstellung. One really cool thing about the language are these really long words, it can be broken down thus:

Neben - next to
einander - an other
stellung - position

Nebeneinanderstellung - next to another position - juxtaposition

So here I am standing next to myself, writing in two languages, listening to several compositions on the radio, and marveling at the beauty.

Let's place the Tchaichovsky Violin Concerto next to the Mahler Titan Symphony, and see what we might find. Let's place Friday night's performance (which I will hear on the radio) next to Saturday night's performance which I will hear in person at Heinz Hall... to be continued...

Incidentally, Einstellung can mean employment, amongst other translations. Let's hope Manfred Honeck's employment and tenure with the PSO is a resounding success!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


I'm looking forward to the auspicious beginning of Maestro Honick's career with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra this Friday and Saturday. Friday's concert will be simulcast on WQED FM 89.3

Indeed it is beneficial for Pittsburgh and fortunate for me to hear some of the music from many composers from his home town of Vienna, Austria, including Beethoven, Strauss and Mahler. Although I am quite familiar with most composers of classical music, somehow Mahler has escaped my hearing almost completely. I can't quite say why that is, but this weekend's propitious opening of the Mellon Grand Classic series offers for me a unique opportunity to kindly right my unfortunate oversight, with Mahler's first symphony: "Titan."

It is advantageous to listen to Mahler's music at Heinz Hall where the acoustics bring the sounds alive. His music overlaps the Romantic (1815 - 1910) and the Modern (1900 - 2000) periods of classical music, which might be part of the explanation as to why I've not heard Mahler's works, my preference previously tending to preceding eras (Baroque, Classical and Romantic). I find that when being introduced to music previously unheard, the best way to persuade my ears as to the profundity of the experience is with live music. That's why I urge everyone to attend for themselves, find out what I'm referring to by listening at the concert. The radio is nice, but it's not the same thing as being there.

Of course if this is not reason enough for you, then consider that Joshua Bell will be performing the solo with the PSO in Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto. Additionally we will hear Short Ride in a Fast Machine, a pounding thriller sure to thrill, composed by John Adams, one of the most influential composers of our time.

Honeck on TV

Tonight the moon shone bright while thrushes migrate in the nighttime sky. I peaked out to see the beauty, but only for a minute, because I didn't want to miss a special television program on WQED on incoming conductor and Music Director Manfred Honeck, of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

I was impressed by the goals of our new maestro. I'm paraphrasing, but essentially it was often stated in the program that his goal was to convey great music. He would not be satisfied unless the audience left the concert hall remembering the music. To him, it seemed, that the music always came first.

This show was well produced, and the first half filmed in the city of Vienna, Austria, Maestro Honeck's home. He originally grew up in the country, a man of my own heart. I visited Austria in 1982, and was well impressed with the beauty of the the countryside as well with Vienna the city (Wien in German language).

I'm also impressed by his mastery of the English language. I myself have been learning German for quite some time, but I profess that my skills are no equal to his English ability. His speaking style, a slower and more deliberate method more like those of Austria than Germany, and the timbre of his voice, show the warmth of his personality. They claimed he is a musician's conductor, being concerned with the needs of the musicians, apparently he is very popular with the musicians of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Having seen Maestro Honeck conduct last season, and watching the program this evening, I find his goals, temperament, style and abilities quite the perfect match for a conductor that I can welcome with open arms to Pittsburgh.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

brevity is the soul of wit

Yesterday while driving home from playing Ultimate Frisbee, I listened to a beautiful violin concerto, described by Ted Sohier of WQED 89.3 as being the world premiere recording, perhaps not heard in over 200 years. "Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit, and tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes, I will be brief:" Why not bring this beautiful concerto to our ears, live, next season at the PSO? And perhaps the solo performer of this CD would be interested:

Franz Clement: Violin Concerto in D Royal Philharmonic / José Serebrier
Rachel Barton Pine, baroque violin

Franz Clement's name has come down to us as the dedicatee of Beethoven's Violin Concerto, but a year previously, in 1805, he wrote his own Concerto in D, and it's a major find. This is no orchestrally challenged, formally dysfunctional, tasteless virtuoso vehicle, but rather is a full-blown classical concerto nearly as long (40-plus minutes) as the Beethoven. The melodic material is consistently attractive--and just as importantly, equally interesting harmonically. Deftly scored, and of course wonderfully written for the violin, its lyricism clearly anticipates Beethoven's own work of 1806. It goes without saying that Rachel Barton Pine plays the work with the style and elegance that it deserves.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Beauty divine

watching and waiting

This morning while driving to work I was listening to Rachmaninoff Concerto N. 2 - II. Adagio sostenuto on WQED FM 89.3. (here are a few links to other performances)

It is beauty divine! I urge everyone to listen to this romantic concerto, especially the second movement in particular. I always experience goosebumps with this fantastic music, and this morning was no exception!

My last post on this music inspired poetry

Monday, September 15, 2008

Musical Chairs

Pittsburgh Symphony/Heinz Hall as viewed from outside the grand tier seating area and down to the stage where bokeh shows a harp and more:
grand tier and bokeh harp


In symphony season soon to start
I snapped a shot from stage to sight
bokeh harp bore better gold
than token thus with grand tier right

You see this season begins with a preview concert, and and what better way to begin the season, but with a 'best of the season,' complete with general seating where we all pick our own seats, first come first serve. It was sort of a game of musical chairs this evening, both literally and figuratively, in more ways than one. We would hear Mahler: Symphony No. 1 in D Major, 2nd movement, but then the music would stop, and one fewer chair would remain (figuratively). With this movement I discovered that the Grand Tier seating area of Heinz Hall really does have better acoustics for the horns and woodwinds, which always seemed to be over-damped a bit when I sat on the main floor last year. To continue with my metaphor, we would later hear Dvorak: Symphony No. 9 in E minor, "From the New World", 1st movement, and again the music stopped, another chair was removed, and the audience clapped. During a regular concert, if the audience claps after the 1st movement or anything but the last movement, it becomes a point of etiquette, not knowing the right time to applaud. And next, and most deliciously, we had the Mozart: Symphony No. 38 in D Major, "Prague", 3rd movement, (here we see Manfred Honeck with the same movement, one that I like to think of as a musical joke). Perhaps Mozart was playing musical chairs with this symphony as it only has 3 instead of the typical 4 movements.

Now of course every time the orchestra paused, Jim Cunningham of WQED 89.3, our host for the evening, would eloquently introduce the next piece, and behind him they would be literally rearranging the chairs, as in the allegory of musical chairs. His purpose and their goal was to try to sell season subscriptions to many of the attendees who were not current subscribers. Along the way he told a few good jokes and somehow we all became familiar with German Jelly Donuts and the wonderful waltz by Strauss: "Im Krapfenwaldl," complete with coo-coo and bird sound effects! The final piece of the evening was Beethoven: Symphony No. 7 in A Major. 4th movement, one of my favorite pieces of all time. I envisioned I was a bird soaring high above the land, in tune to the music, up, over a rainbow, where skies are blue.

Several other single movement spiral staircasecompositions were played this evening, but I don't want to forget to mention one I really liked, because the soloist poured her heart and soul into the violin: Bruch: Scottish Fantasy for Violin and Orchestra, 4th movement, Laura Motchalov, violin; it was simply beautiful.

One more interesting note, on my way home, with my daughter and her friend, they with their ipods, and myself with WQED on the radio, I was listening to a wonderful piece I've never heard before by Gottschalk: Symphony No. 1, A Night in the Tropics, I & II Utah Symphony Orchestra/Abravanel. And the girls were listening each to their own separate music, and singing out loud, Eat It by "Weird Al" Yankovic and Aly & AJ - Potential Breakup Song. What a symphony of sound!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Rainbow Ocean by Cary Bohl
I often hear similarities in music. This morning on WQED 89.3 I heard a performance of Carl Maria von Weber: Freischütz: Overture J 277, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra / Mariss Jansons.

The first two notes immediately reminded me of the song "Over the Rainbow" perhaps because the first two notes follow an octave jump (I may be wrong, but that's what I thought I heard).

Although I've often thought about this octave jump, for instance in the song "I want to hold your hand" by the Beatles, I recently read about it in a blog posting by Andrew Druckenbrod titled 'Octave Jump'

Here is a beautiful new version of Over the Rainbow:

Over the Rainbow - Linda Eder Sings Judy Garland's Songbook

Carillon - Cast in Bronz

A recent trip to the Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival revealed a new instrument, one that I'd not heard before. I first saw this instrument last year, but didn't stick around to see or hear the magnificent sounds of the Carillon. This year was different. According to wikipedia:
A carillon is a musical instrument consisting of at least 23 cast bronze cup-shaped bells which are played one after the other (to play a melody) or sounded together (to play a chord). A carillon is played by striking a "baton" keyboard with the fists and by pressing the keys of a pedal keyboard with the feet. The keys activate levers and wires that connect to the metal clappers that strike the bells, which allows the performer (called a "carillonneur") to vary the intensity of the note according to the force applied to the key.
Why was this exciting? Well it was the sound, the sound could be heard all over the fairgrounds of the Renaissance Festival. The beautiful melodies and chords reverberated with subtle country appeal across the rolling land and fields of this farmland and woods edge, it was the pastoral attractiveness of that setting that set that appeal forth in a serene kind of way. And as I began to hear those sounds, I approached, it actually took a while because the frequencies seemed to travel so far. Soon I was there, and enjoyed the performance by 'Cast in Bronze', the only musical act in the world that features the carillon.

I recorded this video:

Thursday, September 4, 2008

my own particular blend

Sep 4, 2008 8:45 AM

coming in for a landing

In an attempt to ready myself for this season's classical concerts with the PSO, I've created a new blog, aptly titled: "Beauty of Classical Music." Being a subscriber to the Pittsburgh Symphony seemed not enough. I like creative writing, and so instead of simply describing my concert experiences in a limited forum of my flickr photo pages, I thought this blog would be the perfect venue, in this modern era of technology, melded with art, and of course my own nature photos, for combining these elements in my own particular blend. Welcome!

The web site of the PSO is very informative, they offer such a wealth of information. Now I happened there this morning, and found this nice introduction to the season:

The 2008-2009 Season marks the arrivals of Music Director Manfred Honeck and Principal Guest Conductor Leonard Slatkin, the return of some of the most talented guest conductors and soloists in the world, and concerts by the world-class musicians of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra!

I think perhaps I would have written this in the opposite order, leading with the 'world-class musicians' of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. They are the main-stay of this orchestra.

I suppose there are so many folks, in this great wide world, who are drawn into beauty using star power, and don't get me wrong, star attraction is all well fine and dandy. But I, however, appreciate the heart and soul of beauty, the pieces of the puzzle, the cogs and gears that when combined in an exquisite combination of pure artistic talent amalgamation, form the true essence of the power behind the music. The Pittsburgh Symphony orchestra is indeed an entity made up of the whole of all the 'world-class musicians' who play for the orchestra, who are part of the orchestra, who comprise the orchestra. They of course need their leader, the maestro who conducts, to not only lend that star power, in the form of Messrs Slatkin (one of my personal favorites) and Honeck, and often a star performer in the form of a soloist for the various concertos of that form and variety of music, but this is perhaps a bit of a facade on top of the true star, each of the musicians, the players.

I personally come to see the players. I enjoy the music and watch each of them play. These musicians offer, to me, the draw power. If they had no conductor or soloist, I'd be there. The drama, therefore, for perhaps most people, other than myself, is the contrast and interaction between the players and the conductor or the soloist. Well lets just agree that they all play a role, and so does the audience, we are there to hear and enjoy. I look forward to a beautiful season.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


May 31, 2008 12:48 AM


Concerto for Piano & Orchestra No. 17 in G major, K. 453

Mozart composed this concerto for his student Babette Ployer in 1784.
This concerto simply cannot be discussed without mentioning Mozart’s pet starling. The composer discovered to his amusement and delight that the family pet could whistle the opening theme of the Finale of this concerto. Well, almost—the bird held the last note of the first bar too long, and sharped the last two notes of the following bar—but there was no doubt the starling was imitating Mozart’s jaunty theme.

I was hunting for a Starling so that I may post the photo before tonights concert.
I was lucky to find one in such a cool pose :-)

Manfred Honeck at Heinz Hall

May 10, 2008 12:35 AM

Manfred Honeck at Heinz Hall

This was a post concert chat.
The video I recorded:

If anyone wonders, might I say, I just really enjoy classical music, and this is my way of sharing, perhaps in the hope that others may become enamored with this beautiful music someday too. I know when I was introduced decades ago, it built upon me slowly. Sure, I listened to classical music from my youth, in bugs bunny and tom and jerry cartoons, we all did, and then it progressed, all through movies and various places, you can't miss it. But the true love of classical music comes from the appreciation of each piece, each composition, and all the components, the individual instruments, you pick them out, hear them, individually, and collectively, and make the connection, you enjoy the point and counterpoint, the drama, the showmanship, the splendor, and you wrap it all together and what do you get, a marvelous art form that is a new appreciation, with neverending possibilities for hearing more and more, and then you wonder why you are not doing this yourself, but at the very least you can share it with others, so enjoy :)

Manfred Honeck: conductor
Michael Rusinek: clarinet
Giuseppe Verdi: Overture to La forza del destino
Alan Fletcher: Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra (PSO commission/world-premiere)
Richard Strauss: Ein Heldenleben, Opus 40

Bravura and ritornello

May 2, 2008 11:19 PM

Bravura and ritornello

This was taken when I was in Nashville last weekend.

Tonight I heard the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra perform the Beethoven Emperor concerto, and it is the emperor of all concertos! So subtle, so beautiful - exquisite!

To me, a piano concerto is sort of like this image. Contrast dramatically represented by bravura and ritornello, subject and bokeh.
You have the subject in the foreground, the piano (or the flower, the keys perhaps are represented by the stamens), and then the bokeh or background, magnificent in its own right, is the orchestra itself, providing drama, and giving the whole of the image/concerto a spectacular full body and appeal!

Ralph Vaughn Williams : Symphony No. 4 in F minor

Ludwig van Beethoven : Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat Major for Piano and Orchestra, Opus 73, "Emperor"

Yan Pascal Tortelier conductor
Horatio Gutiérrez piano
Maestro Tortelier introduced the Williams symphony with a very entertaining walk through dialog.

You will be able to hear this program yourself, if you are patient, in about a year, on a Sunday afternoon at 4pm EST on this radio station (you can listen online):

Here is another performance of the same concerto

Spring Beauty

Apr 19, 2008 7:55 PM

Spring Beauty

Spring Beauty
Spectacular Spring Beauty
Crept up behind me
and surprised me
a beauty unsurpassed and unexpected
vibrant white, soft and subtle texture
The beauty of nature
captured in an image
only a small tiny static representation
of a fluid, dynamic multi-dimensional beauty.

My eyes are amazing, what they see.
A camera is technical and cold,
cannot even begin to compare to reality

Seeing in all its glory, the drama and movement
the gentleness and purity,
the grandeur and flavor
unsurpassed in sight
simulated with a model
a simple picture in 2D
not as nice as three

But its the next best thing to being there.

It reminds me of a real life spring beauty.
Infatuation, a beginning
Also a first sight, a seeing
meandering on a bicycle
finding my way
seeing another
instantly seeing
vibrant beautiful
spring beauty was she
right there before me
so nice and friendly
something to see
one more time for me.

Thank you, so nice

have a great day.

Spring Beauty emerges from the ground before most other plants
A small little blossom erupts with color before the leaves obscure the sun
So small, one needs to be careful where you walk
Get down low, look, lo and behold, she lies there looking up
ready to bring joy to all

This Prokofiev Concerto reminds me of spring:

water goblin

Apr 12, 2008 10:37 AM

water goblin

last night at the Pittsburgh Symphony,
I heard graceful hijinks !

Join the Westmoreland Conservancy for
Conservation Connection at the Zoo

Ruby Slipper

Apr 5, 2008 4:52 PM

Ruby Slipper

Ax plays Chopin

This concert was magnificent! Sharp and clear as always; subtle and beautiful with the piano concerto and the Debussy; and loud and tempestuous with the Janácek

one for me and one for you

shed a tear

Mar 26, 2008 6:51 PM

shed a tear

of white

The cleanest and sharpest recording of Brahms I've every heard:

coming up!

Mar 17, 2008 5:31 PM

coming up!

I just purchased the Brahms recordings done by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. They are marvelous!
Sometimes when I listen to this, I feel I am listening to the influences of Beethoven.

Another recording here for example:

Its a good year

Mar 15, 2008 1:35 AM

Its a good year

...and a Gemini dream

Last night on my way home from a wonderful performance of the Pittsburgh Symphony, I was parked on the top of the parking garage, and I decided to take the time to make a few shots of the Pittsburgh skyline towards the north side where the bridges and stadium reside.

The performance was superb! By Emanuel Ax, who played the solo of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 2, and all the members of the Pittsburgh Symphony, who performed with such beauty!

I heard on the radio that some concert goers were upset when the scheduled soloist had canceled, but I was personally glad because Ax is my favorite of the pianists who perform here. And the Co. #2 is simply wonderful, especially the slow movement, with such parts that are so soft and gentle, it is almost to be unbelieved how subtle the sound can be in person. These kinds of experiences can never be transcribed to a CD. At one point his touch on a few very slow keys was to me like the drops of water dropping from rustling leaves into a gentle pond below. Even some of the members of the orchestra seemed in awe of this slow movement, yet I was sure they would not forget themselves.

Another treat was the Roussel: Suite No. 2 from Bacchus et Ariane. What a work of art, and it gave a good opportunity for many parts of the orchestra to show off their talents. Even each of the leads for the strings got to perform a solo, and particularly exciting for me was the very last movement (VIII.Bacchanale and the Coronation of Ariadne), the principals on either side, violin and viola, were playing with such férocité, it seemed almost as if they would go right through the strings, and the sound was unmatched by any other symphonic work I know.

Most of all, don't listen to the newspaper reviews (one I just read at 1am), when they say the performance was 'predictable' -- ha. no way. This performance was sublime! :)


Feb 6, 2008 9:39 PM


"Erfolg ist nicht das Resultat eines passiven Prozesses von Selbstentzündung.
Du must dafür aktiv Dein Innerstes in Feuer und Flamme setzen."

(thanks to Gudi for the quote - from anonomous :)

My translation:

"Success is not the result of a passive process of spontaneous combustion. To achieve success you must actively put forth your innermost fire and flame."

Furthermore, I would add...
One should not live by simple hope, but by faith in oneself, and especially by working hard to achieve your dreams! And never let temporary setbacks deter your search for success. :)

And if you like, take a moment to listen to...
Lieutenant Kijè Suite

life's path

Feb 5, 2008 12:53 AM

life's path

While listening to Rachmaninoff Concerto N. 2 - II. Adagio sostenuto

I composed the following words, quickly as they are, no rework:

remember me when I was younger somewhat spree

I always knew you'd remember me
taken to heart real dearly dear
for thee,
don't hesitate, no regrets for something
more beautiful than anything real

listen once more

I always felt a kind revere one can see
reverberating rather all around me

building like the water down a stream
to a pond that sits and wonders at its
new found potential built up from
trickles.. trickles, streams rivers

rolling washing flowing
flowing like the rivers in my heart
glorious tempests of passions rise
a shimmering sheath of reflecting light

tumbling bouncing building boiling
fall, fall dance, right up
and down and over the edge.....

Hesitant, waiting, anxious, tempted,
back and forth undecided,
relaxing, letting go,
winding down, finding time to go,
over the edge, slow waters still
and now flowing, sparkling waterfall

Down ye go, now smooth and silky
to the bottom of the falls
my love is waiting there
can wait and yet be ready

No need to hurry when there is
patience to find the sublime
time to meet and

Find one find two together
as one, combined now
all right when we
see each other in
our existence
and we can go down
life's path
as a pair can
never ever be
no one


Jan 25, 2008 8:10 PM


To all my European flickr friends...
The symphony orchestra I enjoy so much, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, is in Europe right now...
Check it out, perhaps you might like to attend a performance and listen to the beauty for yourself! :-))
Cities on the tour:
1. Pamplona, Spain
2. Vittoria, Spain
3. Castellon, Spain
4. Barcelona, Spain
5. Madrid, Spain
6. Valencia, Spain
7. Amsterdam, Netherlands
8. Cologne, Germany
9. Wuppertal, Germany
10. Hanover, Germany
11. Vienna, Austria
12. Budapest, Hungary
13. Zagreb, Croatia

And now check out this funny video:

We Are Sinking
very funny! -- urkomisch
sent to me by a friend, since I am trying to learn German :)

uberlebens radar - survival radar

Pictures at an Exhibition

Jan 12, 2008 4:28 AM

Pictures at an Exhibition

Alle von Leben ist lediglich eine Chance, eine Koinzidenz, eine Fingerfertigkeit, alle gefüllte mit freudig kleinen Momenten des glücklicher Zufall.

All of life is merely a chance, a coincidence, a sleight of hand, all filled with fun little moments of serendipity.

I went to see a Red Violin, and ended up seeing Pictures at an Exhibition
(a play on words :)

Samuel Barber : Essay No. 2, Opus 17
John Corigliano : Concerto for Violin and Orchestra ("The Red Violin")
Mr. Bell
Modest Mussorgsky : Pictures at an Exhibition

Superb! After the concert, Mr. Corigliano, Mr. Bell and the conductor Leonard Slatkin
had a discussion for the audience about music and The Red Violin.

While Mr. Bell was outstanding, I would be remiss if I did not say that I really liked the performance of Pictures at an Exhibition by Mr. Slatkin and the members of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Bell may have been the star, but the orchestra was all of the heavens combined, raveled all around the concert hall, with symphonic flourishes and real live stereophonic experience, complete with the best basses you've ever heard!

I could listen to this orchestration over and over again. From the program notes: "In the present concerts we hear a new edition of Ravel's score by Leonard Slatkin, which Mr. Slatkin introduced at the Hollywood Bowl last summer."

The 'real' Red Violin

Jan 12, 2008 12:12 AM

The 'real' Red Violin

I went to see a Red Violin, and ended up seeing Pictures at an Exhibition
(a play on words :)

Samuel Barber : Essay No. 2, Opus 17
John Corigliano : Concerto for Violin and Orchestra ("The Red Violin")
Mr. Bell
Modest Mussorgsky : Pictures at an Exhibition

Superb! After the concert, Mr. Corigliano, Mr. Bell and the conductor Leonard Slatkin
had a discussion for the audience about music and The Red Violin.

While Mr. Bell was outstanding, I would be remiss if I did not say that I really liked the performance of Pictures at an Exhibition by Mr. Slatkin and the members of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Bell may have been the star, but the orchestra was all of the heavens combined, raveled all around the concert hall, with symphonic flourishes and real live stereophonic experience, complete with the best basses you've ever heard!

I could listen to this orchestration over and over again. From the program notes: "In the present concerts we hear a new edition of Ravel's score by Leonard Slatkin, which Mr. Slatkin introduced at the Hollywood Bowl last summer."

Symphony tonight!

Dec 7, 2007 5:47 PM

Symphony tonight!

Heinz Hall
Leonard Slatkin, conductor
Anne Martindale Williams, cello

Corigliano: Phantasmagoria on "The Ghosts of Versailles” for Orchestra
Elgar: Concerto in E minor for Cello and Orchestra
Mozart: Symphony No. 41 in C major

The energy in the final movement of the Symphony was profound. The music stays with me, even now, the notes are running through my mind...

youth and the thinker

One man the thinker, observing everything he perceives
quiet, gentle, perplexed yet never impatient.

What is the thinker contemplating --
perhaps meaningful philosophical questions of life,
or cognitive interpretations of sensory perception,
with transcendental mediations of pure thought.
Is it coy expressions of ardent love
or else simply observations of all that is around
stored for future contemplation..

The youth seem curious, new experiences all around;
white as pure as the driven snow surrounds their
senses like seeing for the first time.
If the thinker could interpret, observe in
the wild eyed innocent manner, without preconceived notions
or hard wired interpretations which leap to fill in missing gaps...

That is the equation, can he do it?

a player is born

Dec 5, 2007 1:31 AM

a player is born

I liked the light, with no flash.
Light emanating from above right and below left.

I was a little disappointed with the camera at 200iso,
there was much noise. (Camera sensor noise & my playing)

Stradivarius Violin perhaps not, but it is the real me!

Dec 2, 2007 10:27 PM

Stradivarius Violin perhaps not, but it is the real me!

Idea conceived while driving in car with my daughter to the video store.
-- Self portrait with violin.

I know I won't be as good at a self-portrait as some of the other
clowns on flickr :-)), but hey, it seems like a fun endeavor!

First, turn on the radio, Sunday afternoon, 4:50pm

WQED, 89.3; Pittsburgh Symphony, hosted by Jim Cunningham
Sir Andrew Davis conducts Beethoven's Coriolan Overture,
Strauss' Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks, and, with soloist
Joshua Bell, the Brahms Violin Concerto, and Feast During a Play
(Davis "It's eat and drink for tomorrow we shall die; but the
composer is saying we can't afford to eat and drink -- a serious piece")

Before I begin, I listen to the conclusion of the Brahms Violin
Concerto, the Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks and
a Vivaldi Trumpet Concerto. Then, when the final piece comes on,
Feast During a Play, commence (around 5:20pm)

Problem: lighting, I'll have to make due with non-studio lights

2 minutes: fetch violin from storage location.

1 minute: threaten to play violin for daughter. She laughs out loud:
"Not here you won't" :) She knows me very well!

1 minutes: Dismantle violin from case

8 minutes: play violin (my attempts therein.)
First, since I used to know how to play the guitar,
I pluck some of my old tunes with the violin resting on my knee.
-- tune from Deliverance
-- Yankee Doodle
Second, attempt to use the bow, never had one lesson (I need a

5 minutes: idea! Record the procedure and the time it takes for each
step in a photographers journal

4 minutes: Fetch camera and tripod, setup tripod (my cat looks at me
like I'm assembling some sort of large cat-toy for him to play with,
that could be a problem :) While setting up the tri-pod, my Cat,
Mr. Punky Kitten, starts to play with the violin case, with the violin unsecured,
must avert disaster!

Now I listen to beautiful birds singing in the introduction of the
broadcast of Music from Chautauqua, hosted by Ed Simone. A warbler - I
believe a common yellowthroat, ad a Thrush, I love bird songs!!
Then the wonderful Roman Carnival by Berlioz!

15 minutes: Lighting -- I try for indirect light, there I am with paper and tape,
trying to provide the right ambiance, ugh, I'm not good at this!
I find most of the time is spent setting up the lighting.

10 minutes: Setting up the shot -- Angle, zoom, camera mode.
This all takes time! And then the batteries are dead. I have to
replace them, and of course that means taking off the tripod mount :(

Beethoven Symphony number 7, first movement

20 minutes: taking photos, fun!
My daughter comes down to witness my lunacy. As a joke she desperately tries
to put her fingers behind my head, but of course she is not
anxious be to be in the photograph.

Second movement, third and forth movements of Symphony # 7,
I decide to view the photos...
Review photos always takes so much time. I usually agonize over a
whole set or batch of photos as to which are the best. The quality of
each shot based on so many factors brings a bitter sweet slowness to
the process of selection. Perhaps if I did a mosaic of some sort..

Of course while this is going on, I am simultaneously cooking her
dinner. Spaghetti!

The Beethoven Symphony was superb! The energy in that last movement
is like a small child after eating chocolate, a burst of energy
ensues. I've got that feeling now, I type frantically these words, run
back to stir the dinner, than

Next up: Handel's Judas Maccabeus.
The wonder of Classical Music, is that you can always find some composition
that is so beautiful, and that you've never heard before. There seems
to be a limitless, almost infinite wealth of music, always new, always
fresh, and often surprising!

Now I look inside the violin.
Inscribed inside: antonius stradiuarius cremonentus
Faciebat anno 1723
Yet there seems to be glue protruding from the cracks,
This can't be genuine.

I type this into google, and it responds back:
Did you mean: antonius stradivarius cremonensis
I select this link:

Bottom line: "Don’t expect your find to be genuine. The odds against finding the real thing are slim to none. Nevertheless, you might have a decent violin, and if you can play the instrument, that will be its own reward."

Time of upload 9:55pm
Well it has been about 5 hours in the making :) And well worth it just for the fun of it!
And I never got to see that video.
Have a great week!

Hide and Seek

Dec 2, 2007 4:27 PM

Hide and Seek

For all fans of Star Trek:
Introduction to the Ondes Martenot

Be patient, the Star Trek reference is at the end :)

Dinosaurs in Their Time

Dinosaurs in Their Time

Dedicated to the PSO.
Today I met a member of the Pittsburgh Symphony at the Carnegie Museum, where they have Dinosaurs in Their Time, a new exhibit.

Behind the Scenes of the PSO Brahms Recordings

Well, I just realized there are two PSO organizations locally...
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Pennsylvania Society for Ornithology

Chihuly Bokeh

Dec 1, 2007 10:26 AM

Chihuly Bokeh

by bokeh_javadoug

Hilary Hahn - Sibelius Violin Concerto
I had the great honor to attend a concert with Hilary Hahn at Heinz Hall years ago.


Nov 24, 2007 1:20 AM


Gianandrea Noseda -- The most animated and alive conductor I've ever seen. An amazing performance, by the symphony and by the conductor. He was almost literally jumping all over the podium. It was a sheer delight to watch. And to hear. He seemed to control the orchestra with a sheer grasp as he conducted The Firebird -- fully lyric 1910 version, not often heard!
Additionally, Yefim Bronfman was fabulous with the Prokofiev piano concerto No. 3, which blended so well with the orchestra in amazing fashion. The slow movement was superb!

This photo was taken on the street outside of Heinz Hall.



Marek Janowski, conductor
Nikolai Lugansky, piano

Brahms: Hungarian Dances
Beethoven: Concerto No. 4 in G Major for Piano and Orchestra
Brahms: Symphony No. 4 in E minor

See the Music...

I saw the Pittsburgh Symphony perform these works tonight
And heard the music in ways that CD's just don't do right
Tonight there was drama, as Brahm's works do tell
And triumphant beauty with Beethoven as well

But to see the music is difficult to describe
Each section of the drama yet to unfold
Watching the artists, their rhythms to imbibe
Yet contrasting with style, a thing to behold

The music lay bare before me, so clear as a graph
It's movement was made clearly, I was willing to quaff
Watching each artist, a motion hand to hand
Their place in the fragment, elicit and so grand

Without the aid of the vision, my temporal glasses
I'd hear a whole composition, such symphonic classes
But what to my wandering eyes do I hear
A particular instrument, a brand new frontier

After the concert I read the following:

After transporting the audience with a graceful performance of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4 in Heinz Hall under the baton of Marek Janowski, Lugansky went into the ranks of the audience to hear the rest of the program, Brahms' Symphony No. 4.

Amazing! A soloist in the audience :)


Oct 20, 2007 3:41 PM


This was in the lobby looking out the exit, the door had just been opened and was almost closed.

Letzt Abend werde ich schöner klassischer Musik zuhören.
Last night I attended a performance of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra at Heinz Hall

Sibelius: Concerto in D minor for Violin and Orchestra superbly performed by Nikolaj Znaider!
Debussy: Nocturnes, Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh
Ravel: Suite No. 2 from Daphnis et Chloé, Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh

This concert was simply superb. Somehow, it is hard to describe the feelings evoked when listening to beautiful music. Can a picture portray the same emotion, rolled all together like a ball of string, which when unraveled charismatically invokes a thousand subtle yet enduringly beautiful flavors symphonically portrayed as a whole, yet revealing as an artist with his brush the individual pieces taken together rhythmically joining thrilling tones, notes and harmonic passages that thrill my heart. I see that in certain images and most definitely heard the unsurpassed loveliness this evening.

Continuing with the metaphor, to describe a wonderful work of art of the form 'music' in terms of a picture or a painting, I begin with the colours. Pastel colours best describe the movement presented from the ballet Daphnis et Chloé. I've brought forth and posted one of my favorite images from my trip to Ohiopyle last weekend (see back a few photos). That photo most certainly describes a pastel setting, with two main characters in the foreground. Now of course we all realize that these two represent Daphnis and Chloé, one in the open, perhaps dancing in the wind, and Chloé is hiding in the reeds, or perhaps in this case, she is hiding through the veil of sunlight shining directly at the lens and our eyes.

Daphnis et Chloé

Daphnis et Chloé

Heute Abend werde ich schöner klassischer Musik zuhören.
Tonight I attended a performance of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra at Heinz Hall:

Sibelius: Concerto in D minor for Violin and Orchestra superbly performed by Nikolaj Znaider!
Debussy: Nocturnes, Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh
Ravel: Suite No. 2 from Daphnis et Chloé, Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh

''The Suite No. 2 consists of the last three scenes of the ballet, after Chloé has been rescued from the pirates. The music begins with a shimmering “Daybreak.” After this Daphnis and Chloé realize their love for each other and embrace; they then dance a mime recalling the love of Pan for Syrinx. Chloé disappears into the reeds, and Daphnis calls her back with a flute he fashions from the reeds themselves. Then all join together in a celebratory dance.

''Ravel’s comments sum up the music best: “It was my intention to compose a vast musical fresco, less concerned with archaism than fidelity to the Greece of my dreams, which was similar to that imagined and painted by French artists at the end of the eighteenth century. The work is constructed symphonically, on a very strict tonal plan, based on a small number of motives, the full development of which is assured by the symphonic unity of the whole.”''

Heinz Hall

Oct 19, 2007 5:29 PM

Heinz Hall

Heute Abend werde ich schöner klassischer Musik zuhören.
Tonight I again attend a performance of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra at Heinz Hall:

Sibelius: Concerto in D minor for Violin and Orchestra
Debussy: Nocturnes
Ravel: Suite No. 2 from Daphnis et Chloë

Breaking news...
It looks like the Technische Universität Darmstadt will be the winner of the Solar Decathlon:
"The Solar Decathlon joins 20 college and university teams in a competition to design, build, and operate the most attractive and energy-efficient solar-powered house."

My alma-mater, CMU, is in 14th place, but hey, they are all winners, for advocating alternate energy sources! Someday I wish to build a solar house!!

Tristan und Isolde

Tristan und Isolde

Seen while walking my bike after a flat tire..

Tonight I went to see a superb performance by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra -- Richard Wagner : Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Prelude und Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde and Beethoven's Symphony number 5

I know beauty when I see it, or in this case hear it, feel it, experience it profoundly! The Tristan und Isolde gave me goosebumps!!
If you've never experienced a live performance of symphonic music, it is a sensation you must try, the dynamic range is profound, the nuances superb, everything is so much more noticeable, it is just extraordinary!

I took a vacation day Wednesday, that's when I took a bike
ride from Keystone Park to Derry, and when I
was climbing the ridge beyond Derry, I noticed my tire was
going flat, so I turned around and high-tailed it back,
almost flying down this steep hill on Chestnut Ridge.
I noticed an American Chestnut growing up there.

Just beyond Derry on the way back, I saw two Mute swans
at Derry lake (lake Ethel). They are residents there.

The tire was still ridable, but getting constantly flatter.

Just past that, I asked a local resident to borrow a pump.
He was very nice to comply.
Wouldn't you know, he had this huge industrial powered pump.
And it blew out my tire altogether .
I thanked him nevertheless, I felt sort of embarrassed, and
bad for him, even though it was my tire.

So I walked back to Keystone lake with my bike, running/jogging
half the time. Great exercise.