Sundance & Matsuri by Kitaro

I first heard Kitaro in the mid-80s. We used to go to Tower Records in Mt. View to buy CDs. Tower Records is now only an online store. But Kitaro’s music lives on. I even got to see Kitaro in concert at the Zellerbach Hall at UC Berkeley. 

Wiki describes it as “a multi-venue performance facility on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley, completed in 1968. The facility consists of two primary performance spaces: the 1,984-seat Zellerbach Auditorium, and the 500-seat Zellerbach Playhouse. … suitable for dance, theater, and opera, and has a built-in concert shell that provides an excellent acoustical enclosure for symphonic and other classical music performances.” Continue reading

Cucurrucucú Paloma

Years ago in Berkeley, I watched this Pedro Almodóvar movie, Talk to Her. My advisor and I would go to the movies every so often. In one scene, Caetano Veloso sings this song, Cucurrucucú Paloma. I don’t understand Spanish but I do know that paloma means dove. The song is heartachingly beautiful. The voice conveys so much loss and longing.

Elisey Mysin plays Mozart’s Concerto No. 3 in D major

Image by Julia Jin @ Unsplash.com

Humans are infinitely varied in their inborn talents and native intelligence. Then given the right training in a nurturing environment, it’s astonishing the heights the lucky few attain. Consider music. In the Western musical canon, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart epitomizes musical genius. Born in Salzburg in 1756, “Mozart showed prodigious ability from his earliest childhood. Already competent on keyboard and violin, he composed from the age of five and performed before European royalty.” [wiki.]

We don’t have a video of his performance when he was five; we can only imagine. Or we can watch the 8-year old Elisey Mysin perform Morzart’s Concerto No 3 in D major. The youtube video description notes:

The youngest pianist in Russia does not get his feet to the piano pedals, but masterfully performs the most complex musical works. When Elisha Mysin sits down at the piano and music begins to flow from under his fingers, it is hard to believe that he is five years old. He still does not reach his feet to the piano pedals, and the height of the chair for him has to be increased with a pillow. However, talent and hard work have already helped Stavropol Prodigy to win the appreciation of professionals and the love of the public from different parts of the country.

Watch, listen and prepare to be moved. And marvel at the fact that he was probably getting his training in music at the same time as he was getting toilet trained 😊. Continue reading

Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata

I agree with the great German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 -1900) that “without music, life would be a mistake.” Music — together with literature and poetry — helps me keep my balance, beside being a source of pure joy. I love to share what I enjoy.

Here I present to you a perennial favorite, the “Moonlight Sonata” by another German genius, Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 – 1827.) He  completed writing it in 1801.

Thus it has been around for nearly 220 years and is one of the crowning pieces of the Western musical canon, and will last as long as that tradition endures, which is likely to be at least a couple of centuries. It’s an example of those rare successful attempts by humans to achieve the sublime. Continue reading

Nella Fantasia

Music is of one of my most enduring passions. I can’t play any musical instrument to save my life. But I am grateful that I love music and my taste is eclectic. And I am happy that I live in an age in which I have access to an inexhaustible source of music of all kinds.

I enjoy a wide range — from Hindustani classical to Western classical; from Hindi popular cinema songs (from the 1960s through 1980s only) to Western pop songs; and world music also. I love contemporary composers like Philip Glass and Ennio Morricone.

Talking of Morricone, here’s a favorite tune from the master. It’s based on the theme from the movie The Mission for which he gave the music. He’s written the scores of scores of movies — including the spaghetti westerns (For a Few Dollars More, and the like). I hope you like this song.

Flash mob performance of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”

One of my favorites, Beethoven’s 9th symphony is his final complete symphony. Composed between 1822 and 1824, it is considered to be his finest and some even think that it is the greatest composition in the Western classical music canon. In the final movement of the choral symphony, the chorus sings the words to Friedrich Schiller’s poem “An die Freude” (composed 1785). Beethoven conducted the symphony when it premiered. He was totally deaf by that time and so he had to see the ovation that followed, rather than hear it.
Continue reading