Samuel Adler and his Flute Concerto

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Samuel Hans Adler (born March 4, 1928) is an American composer and conductor, who was born to a Jewish family in Mannheim, Germany, the son of Hugo Chaim Adler, a cantor and composer, and Selma Adler. The family fled to the United States in 1939, where Hugo became the cantor of Temple Emanuel in Worcester, MA. Sam followed his father into the music profession, earning degrees from Boston University and Harvard University, where he studied with Herbert Fromm, Aaron Copland, Paul Hindemith, Paul Pisk, Walter Piston, and Randall Thompson, and earned an M.A. in 1950. He also studied conducting with Serge Koussevitzky at Tanglewood in 1949. Adler has been awarded honorary doctorates from Southern Methodist and Wake Forest Universities, St. Mary’s College of Notre Dame, and the St. Louis Conservatory of Music. While serving in the United States Army from 1950 to 1952, he founded and conducted the Seventh Army Symphony Orchestra.

After his military service Adler was offered a conducting position just vacated by Leonard Bernstein on the faculty of Brandeis University but instead accepted a position as music director at Temple Emanu-El in Dallas, Texas, where the rabbi, Levi Olan, was a friend of Adler’s family. Adler began his tenure in Dallas in 1953. At the Dallas temple he formed a children’s choir and an adult choir and made the latter a prominent part of the religious services, often performing contemporary Jewish choral works that might otherwise have been neglected. From 1954 to 1958 Adler conducted the Dallas Lyric Theater and the Dallas Chorale and was instructor of Fine Arts at the Hockaday School in Dallas, Texas (1955-1966).. Adler is married to Dr. Emily Freeman-Brown of Bowling Green State University, who serves as Director of Orchestral Activities. From 1957 to 1966, Adler served as Professor of Composition at the University of North Texas College of Music. Between 1966 and 1995, Adler served as Professor of Composition at the Eastman School of Music and served as chair of the composition department from 1974 until his retirement. Since 1997, Adler has been a member of the composition faculty at Juilliard and, for the 2009–10 year, was awarded the William Schuman Scholars Chair.

Adler has given master classes and workshops at over 300 universities worldwide, and in the summers has taught at major music festivals such as Tanglewood, Aspen, Brevard, and Bowdoin, as well as others in France, Germany, Israel, Spain, Austria, Poland, South America, and Korea. He is also the author of three books, Choral Conducting (Holt Reinhart and Winston 1971, second edition Schirmer Books 1985), Sight Singing (W.W. Norton 1979, 1997), and The Study of Orchestration (W.W. Norton 1982, 1989, 2001), which in 1983 won the Deems Taylor Award. He has also contributed numerous articles to major magazines, books, and encyclopaedias published in the U.S. and abroad. Since 1997 he has been a member of the composition faculty at the Juilliard School in New York City. Among his most successful students are composers Fisher Tull, Kamran Ince,[3] Eric Ewazen, Claude Baker, Marc Mellits, Robert Paterson, Gordon Stout, Chris Theofanidis, Michael Glenn Williams and Roger Briggs.

Adler has been awarded many prizes. He was a MacDowell Fellow for five years between 1954 and 1963. He was initiated as an honorary member of the Gamma Theta (1960, University of North Texas) and the Alpha Alpha (1966, National Honorary) chapters of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, and in 1986 was named a National Arts Associate to Sigma Alpha Iota, international music fraternity for women. In 1984, he was appointed Honorary Professorial Fellow of the University College in Cardiff, Wales, and was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for 1984–85. In 1986 he received the “Distinguished Alumni Award” from Boston University.The Music Teachers’ National Association selected Adler as its “Composer of the Year 1986-87” for Quintalogues, which won the national competition. In the 1988–89 year, he has been designated “Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar.” In 1989, he was awarded The Eastman School’s Eisenhart Award for distinguished teaching, and he has been given the honor of Composer of the Year (1991) for the American Guild of Organists.

During his second visit to Chile, Adler was elected to the Chilean Academy of Fine Arts (1993) “for his outstanding contributions to the world of music as composer, conductor, and author.” In 1999, he was elected to the Berlin Akademie der Künste in Germany for distinguished service to music. He also received a membership into the American Academy in Berlin and Institute of Arts and Letters awarded in May 2001, the Charles Ives Award, and the Lillian Fairchild Award. In May, 2003, he was presented with the Aaron Copland Award by ASCAP for Lifetime Achievement in Music (Composition and Teaching). In 2008 he was inducted into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame. Adler’s catalogue includes over 400 published works in all media, including five operas, six symphonies, nine string quartets, at least twelve concerti (organ, piano, violin, viola or clarinet, cello, flute, guitar, saxophone quartet, woodwind quintet), many shorter orchestral works, five oratorios, works for wind ensemble and band, chamber music, a great deal of choral music and songs, which have been performed all over the world.

Some recent commissions have been from the Cleveland Orchestra (Cello Concerto), the National Symphony (Piano Concerto No. 1), the Dallas Symphony (Lux Perpetua), the Pittsburgh Symphony (Viola Concerto), the Houston Symphony (Horn Concerto), the Barlow Foundation/Atlanta Symphony (Choose Life), the American Brass Quintet, the Wolf Trap Foundation, the Berlin-Bochum Brass Ensemble, the Ying Quartet and the American String Quartet to name only a few. His works have been performed lately by the St. Louis Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Mannheim Nationaltheater Orchestra. Besides these commissions and performances, previous commissions have been received from the National Endowment for the Arts (1975, 1978, 1980 and 1982), the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations, the Koussevitzky Foundation, the City of Jerusalem, the Welsh Arts Council and many others. Adler has appeared as conductor with many major symphony orchestras, both in the U.S. and abroad. His compositions are published by Theodore Presser Company, Oxford University Press, G. Schirmer, Carl Fischer, E.C. Schirmer, Peters Edition, Ludwig-Kalmus Music Masters, Southern Music Publishers, Transcontinental Music Publishers, and Leupold Music. Recordings of his works have been done on Naxos, RCA, Gasparo, Albany, CRI, Crystal and Vanguard.

My collection includes the following work by Samuel Adler:

Concerto for Flute and Orchestra (1977).

—material selected, adapted, and edited from several different sources

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from Home School Enrichment magazine

Homeschool Enrichment:

Speaking Too Quickly

I was astonished at what I found in the bathroom. The brand-new roll of toilet paper had been unrolled, all of it right into – well, somewhere it wasn’t recoverable from.

Obviously I hadn’t done it. And I was reasonably sure Frank hadn’t done it, either. We don’t have any pets. So it had to be the two-year-old, right?

The only problem was, we didn’t have a two-year-old. In fact, both our sons were well into their 20’s when this occurred, so I was pretty sure it wasn’t them, either.

Further investigation revealed it had actually been the wind. Blowing in the open bathroom window, it had sent one end of the paper into the toilet I had open for cleaning. The water, wicking up, pulled the entire roll off in a surprisingly short time.

But what if we’d really had a toddler at the time? Of course they’d have been the prime suspect – and the fact is, I’m not sure I’d have believed they didn’t do it when they told me. It’s entirely possible I’d have administered some sort of discipline for something the child really hadn’t done.

Proverbs 18:13 tells us not to “answer a matter” before we know what happened. While this is plainly good advice, it opens up some problems for parents. Sometimes, things happen that really seem to need to be addressed, yet it can be deceptively easy to “answer the matter” prematurely. What is the answer?

I believe the answer is to truly have our childrens’ hearts. It’s not foolproof, but if we really have a heart-to-heart relationship with our children, we can often see the clue we need to know how we should respond in a given situation.

It’s not easy to build that kind of relationship with our kids. It takes time and a lot of attention. But it pays off in so many ways – including helping us not to “answer a matter” before we’ve “heard” it. (Kari Lewis)

for more homeschooling enrichment, check out http://homeschoolenrichment.com/

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and Sheherazade

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Nikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov (March 18, 1844–June 21, 1908) was a Russian composer, a member of the group of composers known as The Five, and a master of orchestration, whose best-known orchestral compositions are staples of the classical music repertoire. Rimsky-Korsakov was born the second son of a substantial landowner on March 18, 1844, in Tikhvin, near Novgorod, 120 miles east of Saint Petersburg, Russia, into an aristocratic family with a long line of military and naval service. His mother played the piano a little, and his father could play a few songs on the piano by ear. Beginning at six, he took piano lessons from various local teachers and showed a talent for aural skills. Although he started composing by age 10, Rimsky-Korsakov preferred literature over music. He developed a poetic love for the sea without ever having seen it, which, along with prompting from his brother Voin, encouraged the twelve-year-old to join the Imperial Russian Navy. He studied at the School for Mathematical and Navigational Sciences in Saint Petersburg and, at eighteen, took his final examination in April 1862.

While at school, Rimsky-Korsakov took piano lessons from a man named Ulikh and developed a love for music, fostered by visits to the opera, and, later, orchestral concerts. Ulikh perceived that he had serious musical talent, and recommended another teacher, Feodor A. Kanille (Théodore Canillé). Beginning in the autumn of 1859, Rimsky-Korsakov took lessons in piano and composition from Kanille, through whom he was exposed to a great deal of new music, including that of Mikhail Glinka and Robert Schumann. In November 1861, Kanille introduced the 18-year-old Rimsky-Korsakov to Mily Balakirev. Balakirev in turn introduced him to César Cui, and Modest Mussorgsky; all three of these men were already known as composers, despite only being in their 20s. Balakirev encouraged Rimsky-Korsakov to compose and taught him the rudiments when he was not at sea. When he showed Balakirev the beginning of a symphony in E-flat minor that he had written, Balakirev insisted he continue working on it despite his lack of formal musical training. By the time Rimsky-Korsakov sailed on a two-year-and-eight-month cruise aboard the clipper Almaz in late 1862, he had completed and orchestrated three movements of the symphony. He composed the slow movement during a stop in England, and mailed the score to Balakirev before going back to sea. He purchased scores at every port of call, along with a piano upon which to play them, and filled his idle hours studying Berlioz’s treatise on orchestration.

Once back in Saint Petersburg in May 1865, Rimsky-Korsakov’s onshore duties consisted of a couple of hours of clerical duty each day. At Balakirev’s suggestion, he wrote a trio to the scherzo of the E-flat minor symphony, which it had lacked up to that point, and reorchestrated the entire symphony. Its first performance came in December of that year under Balakirev’s direction in Saint Petersburg. A second performance followed in March 1866 under the direction of Konstantin Lyadov, father of composer Anatoly Lyadov). Under Balakirev’s mentoring, Rimsky-Korsakov turned to other compositions. He began a symphony in B minor, but felt it too closely followed Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and abandoned it. He completed an Overture on Three Russian Themes, based on Balakirev’s folksong overtures, as well as a Fantasia on Serbian Themes that was performed at a concert given for the delegates of the Slavonic Congress in 1867. In his review of this concert, nationalist critic Vladimir Stasov coined the phrase Moguchaya kuchka for the Balakirev circle, usually translated as “The Mighty Handful” or “The Five.” Rimsky-Korsakov also composed the initial versions of Sadko and Antar, which cemented his reputation as a writer of orchestral works. His Second Symphony, subtitled Antar, was completed in 1868.

In the fall of 1871, Rimsky-Korsakov moved into Voin’s former apartment, and invited Mussorgsky to be his roommate. That same year, the 27-year-old Rimsky-Korsakov became Professor of Practical Composition and Instrumentation or Orchestration at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory, as well as leader of the Orchestra Class. He retained his position in active naval service, and taught his classes in uniform. Aware of his technical shortcomings,Rimsky-Korsakov consulted Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky who was serving as Professor of Music Theory at the Moscow Conservatory. Rimsky-Korsakov eventually became an excellent teacher and a fervent believer in academic training. He revised everything he had composed prior to 1874, even acclaimed works such as Sadko and Antar. The score of his Third Symphony, written just after he had completed his three-year program of self-improvement, reflects his hands-on experience with the orchestra. Professorship brought Rimsky-Korsakov financial security, which encouraged him to settle down and to start a family. In December 1871 he proposed to Nadezhda Purgold, with whom he had developed a close relationship over weekly gatherings of The Five at the Purgold household. They married in July 1872, with Mussorgsky serving as best man. The Rimsky-Korsakovs had seven children. One of their sons, Andrei, became a musicologist, married the composer Yuliya Veysberg and wrote a multi-volume study of his father’s life and work.

In the spring of 1873, the navy created the post of Inspector of Naval Bands and appointed Rimsky-Korsakov. His public debut as a conductor was at an 1874 charity concert where he led the orchestra in his third symphony. Also in 1874, he transcribed forty Russian songs for voice and piano from performances by folk singer Tvorty Filippov. This collection was followed by a second containing 100 songs, supplied by friends and servants, or taken from rare and out-of-print collections. He also edited the orchestral scores by pioneer Russian composer Mikhail Glinka (1804–1857) in collaboration with Balakirev and Anatoly Lyadov. In 1875 he sent ten fugues to Tchaikovsky, who declared them impeccable. In the summer of 1877, Rimsky-Korsakov thought increasingly about the short story May Night by Nikolai Gogol. By winter May Night took an increasing amount of his attention; in February 1878 he started writing in earnest, and he finished the opera by early November. He wrote the opera in a folk-like melodic idiom, and scored it in a transparent manner much in the style of Glinka. Nevertheless, despite the ease of writing this opera and the next, The Snow Maiden, from time to time he suffered from creative paralysis between 1881 and 1888. He kept busy during this time by editing Mussorgsky’s works and completing Borodin’s Prince Igor (Mussorgsky died in 1881, Borodin in 1887).

Rimsky-Korsakov wrote that he became acquainted with budding music patron Mitrofan Belyayev (M. P. Belaieff) in Moscow in 1882. By the winter of 1883 Rimsky-Korsakov had become a regular visitor to the weekly “quartet Fridays” (“Les Vendredis”) held at Belyayev’s home in Saint Petersburg.
In March 1884, an Imperial Order abolished the navy office of Inspector of Bands, and Rimsky-Korsakov was relieved of his duties. He worked under Balakirev in the Court Chapel as a deputy until 1894, which allowed him to study Russian Orthodox church music. He also taught classes at the Chapel, and wrote his textbook on harmony for use there and at the Conservatory. Belyayev, who had already taken a keen interest in the musical future of the teenage Alexander Glazunov, rented a hall and hired an orchestra in 1884 to play Glazunov’s First Symphony plus an orchestral suite Glazunov had just composed. This concert and a rehearsal the previous year gave Rimsky-Korsakov the idea of offering concerts featuring Russian compositions, a prospect to which Belyayev was amenable. The Russian Symphony Concerts were inaugurated during the 1886–87 season, with Rimsky-Korsakov sharing conducting duties with Anatoly Lyadov. He finished his revision of Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain and conducted it at the opening concert. The concerts also coaxed him out of his creative drought; he wrote Scheherazade, Capriccio Espagnol and the Russian Easter Overture specifically for them.

In November 1887, Tchaikovsky arrived in Saint Petersburg in time to hear several of the Russian Symphony Concerts. One of them included the first complete performance of his First Symphony, subtitled Winter Daydreams, in its final version. Another concert featured the premiere of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Third Symphony in its revised version. In March 1889, Angelo Neumann’s traveling “Richard Wagner Theater” visited Saint Petersburg, giving four cycles of Der Ring des Nibelungen there under the direction of Karl Muck. The Five had ignored Wagner’s music, but The Ring impressed Rimsky-Korsakov. After hearing these performances, Rimsky-Korsakov devoted himself almost exclusively to composing operas for the rest of his creative life. Wagner’s use of the orchestra influenced Rimsky-Korsakov’s orchestration,beginning with the arrangement of the polonaise from Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov that he made for concert use in 1889. He was so impressed by the size and shape of the Wagnerian orchestra that he used this in his next opera, Mlada, although he also incorporated the more exotic musical and dramatic devices he had witnessed in the Hungarian and Algerian cafés in Paris during the Universal Exhibition of that summer.

In 1892 Rimsky-Korsakov suffered a second creative drought, brought on by bouts of depression and alarming physical symptoms. Rushes of blood to the head, confusion, memory loss and unpleasant obsessions led to a medical diagnosis of neurasthenia. Crises in the Rimsky-Korsakov household may have been a factor—the serious illnesses of his wife and one of his sons from diphtheria in 1890, the deaths of his mother and youngest child, as well as the onset of the prolonged, ultimately fatal illness of his second youngest child. He resigned from the Russian Symphony Concerts and the Court Chapel and considered giving up composition permanently. After making third versions of the musical tableau Sadko and the opera The Maid of Pskov, he closed his musical account with the past; he had left none of his major works before May Night in their original form. The sudden passing of Tchaikovsky in 1893 presented a twofold opportunity—to write for the Imperial Theaters and to compose an opera based on Nikolai Gogol’s short story Christmas Eve, the success of which encouraged him to complete an opera approximately every 18 months between 1893 and 1908—a total of eleven during this period. He also started and abandoned another draft of his treatise on orchestration, but made a third attempt and almost finished it in the last four years of his life. He worked on his first revision of Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov in 1895. In the next decade operas such as Pan Voyevoda (1903), Kastchei. The Immortal (1902), the dramatic prologue Vera Sheloga (starring the great bass Chaliapin), and the mystical and extraordinary opera The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh (1905), all appeared.

In 1905, demonstrations took place in the St. Petersburg Conservatory as part of the 1905 Revolution, which were triggered by similar disturbances at St. Petersburg State University, in which students demanded political reforms and the establishment of a constitutional monarchy in Russia. A lifelong liberal politically, Rimsky-Korsakov wrote that he felt someone had to protect the rights of the students to demonstrate, especially as disputes and wrangling between students and authorities were becoming increasingly violent. As a result, approximately 100 Conservatory students were expelled and he was removed from his professorship. Not long after Rimsky-Korsakov’s dismissal, a student production of his opera Kashchey the Deathless was followed not with the scheduled concert but with a political demonstration, which led to a police ban on Rimsky-Korsakov’s work. Partly in defiance of his dismissal, Rimsky-Korsakov continued teaching his students from his home. Several faculty members of the St. Petersburg Conservatory resigned in protest, including Glazunov and Lyadov. Eventually, over 300 students walked out of the Conservatory in solidarity with Rimsky-Korsakov. By December he had been reinstated under a new director, Glazunov. Rimsky-Korsakov retired from the Conservatory in 1906.

The political controversy continued with Rimsky-Korsakov’s opera The Golden Cockerel. Its implied criticism of monarchy, Russian imperialism and the Russo-Japanese War gave it little chance of passing the censors. The premiere was delayed until 1909, after Rimsky-Korsakov’s death, and even then it was performed in an adapted version. In April 1907, Rimsky-Korsakov conducted a pair of concerts in Paris, hosted by impresario Sergei Diaghilev, which featured music of the Russian nationalist school. The concerts were hugely successful in popularizing Russian classical music of this kind in Europe, Rimsky-Korsakov’s in particular. The following year, his opera Sadko was produced at the Paris Opéra and The Snow Maiden at the Opéra-Comique. Beginning around 1890, Rimsky-Korsakov had suffered from angina. While this ailment initially wore him down gradually, the stresses concurrent with the 1905 Revolution and its aftermath greatly accelerated its progress. After December 1907, his illness became severe, and he could not work. On June 21, 1908 he died from a progressive throat and lung disease at his Lubensk estate near Luga (modern day Plyussky District of Pskov Oblast), and was interred in Tikhvin Cemetery at the Alexander Nevsky Monastery in Saint Petersburg, next to Borodin, Glinka, Mussorgsky and Stasov.

A strict disciplinarian in artistic matters, Rimsky-Korsakov was also a severe critic of his own music. He made constant revisions of his early compositions, in which he found technical imperfections. As a result, double dates, indicating early and revised versions, frequently occur in his catalog of works. He was at his best and most typical in his descriptive works. Rimsky-Korsakov believed, as did fellow composer Mily Balakirev and critic Vladimir Stasov, in developing a nationalistic style of classical music. This style employed Russian folk song and lore along with exotic harmonic, melodic and rhythmic elements in a practice known as musical orientalism, and eschewed traditional Western compositional methods. With two exceptions (Mozart and Salieri [1898]), and Servilia [1902]) the subjects of Rimsky-Korsakov’s operas are taken from Russian or other Slavic fairy tales, literature, and history. However, Rimsky-Korsakov appreciated Western musical techniques after he became a professor of musical composition, harmony and orchestration at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory. Rimsky-Korsakov maintained an interest in harmonic experiments and continued exploring new idioms throughout his career. However, he tempered this interest with an abhorrence of excess and kept his tendency to experiment under constant control. He composed dozens of art songs, arrangements of folk songs, chamber and piano music. Also he wrote a body of choral works, both secular and for Russian Orthodox Church service. The latter include settings of portions of the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. Rimsky-Korsakov’s editing of works by The Five is significant. Rimsky-Korsakov’s arrangement of Night on Bald Mountain is still the version generally performed.

The following works by Rimsky-Korsakov are contained in my collection:

Allegro in BbM for String Orchestra (1899).
Capriccio Espagnole, op. 34 (1887).
Christmas Eve (1895): Suite.
Fantasia on Serbian Themes, op. 6 (1867).
Invisible City of Kitezh: (Suite).
Mlada Suite: Procession of the Nobles.
Overture on Russian Themes, op. 28 (1866).
Pan Voyevoda (1904): Suite.
Piano Concerto in c#m, op. 30 (1883).
Russian Easter Festival Overture, op. 36 (1867).
Sadko, Musical Picture, op. 5 (1867).
Sheherazade Symphonic Suite after the Thousand and One Nights, op. 35 (1888).
The Snow Maiden (1881): Suite including Dance of the Tumblers
Symphony No. 1 in em, op. 1 (1865).
Symphony No. 2, Symphonic Suite Antar, op. 9 (1868).
Symphony No. 3 in CM, op. 32 (1873).
The Tale of Tsar Saltan, op. 57 (1900): Suite including Flight of the Bumblebee.
The Tsar’s Bride (1898): Overture.

—material selected, adapted, and edited from several different sources

Homeschool haha

Can You Believe This???

on homeschool-Illinois@yahoogroups.com

T. Jones reported:

I just got off the phone with an organization that does field trips for schooling groups and the person seemed surprised that I was a homeschooler and part of a homeschool group. She said that they were used to dealing with legitimate organizations. Then she said maybe that’s not the right word. I was getting ready to say, ‘yeah that’s totally not the right word to use’ but I just decided to let it go.

Ottorino Respighi and The Pines of Rome

Ottorino_Respighi
Ottorino Respighi (July 9, 1879–April 18, 1936) was an Italian composer, musicologist, and conductor, who is best known for his orchestral music, particularly the three Roman tone poems, Fountains of Rome (Fontane di Roma), Pines of Rome (I pini di Roma), and Roman Festivals (Feste romane), but his musicological interest in 16th-, 17th- and 18th-century music led him to compose pieces based on the music of these periods, and he also wrote a number of operas, the most famous of which is La fiamma. Respighi was born on July 9, 1879 in Bologna, Italy, and a reserved boy of obvious musical talent, he began studying when he was only eight both the violin and the piano with his father, who was a local piano teacher. He went on to study at the Liceo Musicale in Bologna with classes in violin and viola with Federico Sarti, composition with Giuseppe Martucci, and historical studies with Luigi Torchi, a scholar of early music. In 1900 he composed his first major work, still perhaps influenced by the German tradition, the Symphonic Variations, written for his final school examinations at the Liceo Musicale.

A year after receiving his diploma in violin in 1899, Respighi went to Russia to be principal violist in the orchestra of the Russian Imperial Theatre in St. Petersburg during its season of Italian opera. While there he studied composition for five months with Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov. He later also played at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. He then returned to Bologna, where he earned a second diploma in composition. A piano concerto by Respighi was performed at Bologna in 1902, and a “notturno” for orchestra was played at a concert in the Metropolitan Opera House that year. Until 1908 his principal activity was as first violin in the Mugellini Quintet. In 1908 and 1909 he spent some time performing in Germany before returning to Italy and turning his attention entirely to composition. As a result of these studies abroad, he introduced Russian orchestral color and some of Richard Strauss’s harmonic techniques into Italian music. Some sources suggest that while he was in Germany, he studied briefly with Max Bruch, but Respighi’s wife said that this is not the case.

During the second decade of the twentieth century, Respighi was active as a performer and composer. His compositions, especially his comic opera Re Enzo and the opera Semirama, brought him recognition began to draw attention, and in 1913 he was appointed as teacher of composition at the Conservatorio di Santa Cecilia in Rome, where he lived for the rest of his life. In 1917 his international fame began to spread through multiple performances of the first of his Roman orchestral tone poems, Fountains of Rome. In 1919 he married a former pupil, the singer Elsa Olivieri-Sangiacomo, a singer and a composer of operas, choral and symphonic works, and songs. One of his most popular scores was his arrangement of pieces by Rossini, La Boutique fantasque, produced by Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes in London (1919). Respighi’s next project was a children’s opera, La bella dormente nel bosco (Sleeping Beauty), finished in 1921. One of his best known works for the theatre was Belfagor, a comic opera produced at Milan in 1923. From 1923 to 1926 he was director of the Conservatorio. Pini di Roma (Pines of Rome) followed in 1924. In 1925 he collaborated with Sebastiano Arturo Luciani on an elementary textbook entitled Orpheus. A later arrangement of Rossini piano pieces, Rossiniana (1925), also became a ballet.

Respighi resigned from the Conservatory in 1926 to devote himself to composition. Other suites include Vetrate di chiesa (Church Windows, 1927); Gli uccelli (The Birds, 1927); and Trittico Botticelliano (Botticelli Triptych, 1927, for chamber orchestra. A visit to Brazil resulted in the composition Impressioni brasiliane (Brazilian Impressions). Respighi had intended to write a sequence of five pieces, but by 1928 he had completed only three, and decided to present what he had. Its first performance was in 1928 in Rio de Janeiro. Respighi’s music had considerable success in the USA, and the Toccata for piano and orchestra was premiered with Respighi as soloist under Willem Mengelberg with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra at Carnegie Hall in November 1928. Composed in 1928-1930, Respighi’s Lauda per la Nativita del Signore, for two pianos, wind ensembles, vocal soloists, and chorus, develops Renaissance motifs to create a charming, serene celebration of the spirit of Christmas. Feste Romane, the third of his Roman tone poems, was premiered by Arturo Toscanini and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in 1929.

Respighi, who was elected to the Royal Academy of Italy in 1932, was an enthusiastic scholar of Italian music of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. He published editions of the music of Claudio Monteverdi, making a free transcription his Orfeo for La Scala, Milan, in 1935, and Antonio Vivaldi, and of Benedetto Marcello’s Didone. His work in this area influenced his later compositions and led to a number of works based on early music, such as his three suites of Ancient Airs and Dances. In his Neoclassical works, Respighi generally kept clear of the musical idiom of the classical period, preferring to combine pre-classical melodic styles and musical forms (like dance suites) with typical late-19th-century romantic harmonies and textures. Maria Egiziaca dates from 1932, and La fiamma was produced at Rome in 1934. He continued to compose and tour until January 1936, after which he became increasingly ill. A cardiac infection led to his death by heart failure on April 18th, 1936, at the age of 56. A year after his burial, his remains were moved to his birthplace, Bologna, and reinterred at the city’s expense.

Respighi, a viola player and pianist as well as a composer, is chiefly known for his vivid symphonic poems. Concertos for violin and for piano occupy a lesser position in general repertoire. Other orchestral compositions include Trittico botticelliano (‘Triptych after Botticelli’) and music from his opera Belfagor. As befits an Italian composer, Respighi also wrote music for the theatre, some nine operas and two ballets. These include La bella dormente nel bosco (‘Sleeping Beauty’), originally for marionettes and then a children’s mime. His last opera, completed after his death by his wife, was Lucrezia. Respighi’s gifts for vocal writing are seen in a number of works, including Aretusa, La sensitiva and Il tramonto (all settings of Shelley), La primavera, and his songs based on traditional Armenian poems. His La Boutique fantasque, based on Rossini, is well known to ballet audiences. Other orchestral arrangements include Antiche danze ed arie per liuto (‘Ancient Dances and Airs for Lute’) and Gli uccelli (‘The Birds’), based on compositions by Rameau, Pasquini and others. Respighi’s gifts as a pianist were idiosyncratic, but he wrote and arranged a certain amount of music for piano and for organ, some of the former to suit his own technique.

My collection includes the following works by Ottorino Respighi:

Ancient Airs and Dances, Suite No. 1 (1917).
Ancient Airs and Dances, Suite No. 2 (1923).
Ancient Airs and Dances, Suite No. 3 for Strings (1931).
The Birds.
Brazilian Impressions (1927).
Church Windows (1927).
The Fountains of Rome (1916).
La Boutique Fantasque Ballet after Rossini (1919).
The Pines of Rome (1923).
Roman Festivals (1928).

—material selected, adapted, and edited from several different sources

Common Core and Homeschoolers

The Common Core Assault on Homeschooling
By: Leon H. Wolf (Diary) | July 10th, 2014 at 06:00 PM |

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Ohio is one of the many states in the U.S. that is scheduled to implement the controversial Common Core requirements next year. Although the Ohio legislature has attempted to essentially “half opt in” to Common Core by at least theoretically allowing county school boards to construct curricula outside of Common Core, and although Common Core at least in theory does not constrict homeschooling, Ohio homeschooling parents have figured out exactly how Common Core will put everyone in Ohio who doesn’t teach Common Core at a disadvantage. . . . please click here for the rest of the post →

http://www.redstate.com/2014/07/10/common-core-assault-homeschooling/

Maurice Ravel and Mother Goose Ballet

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Joseph-Maurice Ravel (March 7, 1875 – December 28, 1937) was a French composer known especially for his melodies, masterful orchestration, richly evocative harmonies and inventive instrumental textures and effects, who, along with Claude Debussy, was one of the most prominent figures associated with Impressionist music. Ravel was born on March 7, 1875, in the Basque town of Ciboure, France, near Biarritz, near the Spanish border. His mother, Marie Delouart, was Basque and had grown up in Madrid, Spain, while his father, Joseph Ravel, was an educated and successful engineer, a Swiss inventor and industrialist from French Haute-Savoie. Both were Catholics and they provided a happy and stimulating household for their children. Joseph delighted in taking his sons to factories to see the latest mechanical devices, and he also had a keen interest in music and culture. Ravel substantiated his father’s early influence by stating later, “As a child, I was sensitive to music—to every kind of music.”

Ravel was very fond of his mother, and her Basque-Spanish heritage was a strong influence on his life and music. Among his earliest memories are folk songs she sang to him. The family moved to Paris three months after the birth of Maurice, and there his younger brother Édouard was born. At age six, Maurice began piano lessons with Henry Ghys and received his first instruction in harmony, counterpoint, and composition with Charles-René. His earliest public piano recital was in 1889 at age fourteen. Though obviously talented at the piano, Ravel demonstrated a preference for composing. He was particularly impressed by the new Russian works conducted by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov at the Exposition Universelle in 1889. Two years earlier Ravel had met Ricardo Viñes, who would become one of his best friends, one of the foremost interpreters of his piano music, and an important link between Ravel and Spanish music.

Ravel’s parents encouraged his musical pursuits and sent him to the Conservatoire de Paris, first as a preparatory student and eventually as a piano major. His teachers included Émile Descombes. He received a first prize in the piano student competition in 1891. Around 1893, Ravel created his earliest compositions, and he was introduced by his father to the café pianist Erik Satie, whose distinctive personality and unorthodox musical experiments proved influential. After failing to meet the Conservatoire requirement of earning a competitive medal in three consecutive years, Ravel was expelled in 1895. He turned down a music professorship in Tunisia then returned to the Conservatoire in 1898 and started his studies with Gabriel Fauré, determined to focus on composing rather than piano playing. He studied composition with Fauré until he was dismissed from the class in 1900 for having won neither the fugue nor the composition prize. He remained an auditor with Fauré until he left the Conservatoire in 1903. He also undertook private studies with André Gedalge. Ravel studied the ability of each instrument carefully in order to determine the possible effects, and was sensitive to their color and timbre. This may account for his success as an orchestrator and as a transcriber of his own piano works and those of other composers, such as Mussorgsky, Debussy and Schumann.

His first significant work, Habanera for two pianos, was later transcribed into the well-known third movement of his Rapsodie espagnole, which he dedicated to Charles-Wilfrid de Bériot, another of his professors at the Conservatoire. His first published work was Menuet antique, dedicated to and premiered by Viñes. In 1899, Ravel conducted his first orchestral piece, Shéhérazade. Around 1900, Ravel joined with a number of innovative young artists, poets, critics, and musicians who were referred to as the Apaches, a name coined by Viñes The group met regularly until the beginning of World War I and for a time, the influential group included Igor Stravinsky and Manuel de Falla. One of the first works Ravel performed for the Apaches was Jeux d’eau, his first piano masterpiece. Viñes performed the public premiere of this piece and Ravel’s other early masterpiece Pavane pour une infante défunte in 1902.

Ravel’s String Quartet in F, probably modeled on the Quartet (1893) by Debussy, whom Ravel had met in the 1890s, is now a standard work of chamber music. In 1905, Ravel’s final year of eligibility for the Prix de Rome, Ravel did not even pass the preliminary test, despite being favored to win one of the two first prizes available. Alfred Edwards, editor of Le Matin, who had taken particular interest in Ravel, took the young composser on a seven-week canal trip on his yacht Aimée through the Low Countries in June and July 1905, the first time Ravel traveled abroad. Though deprived of the opportunity to study in Rome, the decade after proved to be Ravel’s most productive, and included his “Spanish period.” The next of Ravel’s piano compositions to become famous was Miroirs (Mirrors, 1905), five piano pieces which marked a harmonic evolution. Next was his Histoires naturelles (Nature Stories), five humorous songs evoking the presence of five animals. Two years later, Ravel completed his Rapsodie espagnole, his first major “Spanish” piece, written first for piano four hands and then scored for orchestra. Then followed Ravel’s music for the opera L’heure espagnole (The Spanish Hour), with libretto by Franc-Nohain.

Ravel further extended his mastery of impressionistic piano music with Gaspard de la nuit, based on a collection by the same name by Aloysius Bertrand, with some influence from the writings of Edgar Allan Poe, particularly in the second part. Also unhappy with the conservative musical establishment which was discouraging performance of new music, around this time Ravel, Fauré, and some of his pupils formed the Société musicale indépendante (SMI). In 1910, the society presented the premiere of Ravel’s Ma mère l’oye (Mother Goose) in its original piano duet version. In 1912, Ravel’s Ma mère l’oye was performed as a ballet (with added music) after being first transcribed from piano to orchestra. Looking to expand his contacts and career, Ravel made his first foreign tours to England and Scotland during 1909 and 1911. Ravel began work with impresario Sergei Diaghilev during 1909 for the ballet Daphnis et Chloé commissioned by Diaghilev with the lead danced by the famous ballet dancer and choreographer Vaslav Nijinsky. So exhausting was the effort to score the ballet that Ravel’s health deteriorated, with a diagnosis of neurasthenia soon forcing him to rest for several months. During 1914, just as World War I began, Ravel composed his Piano Trio (for piano, violin, and cello) with its Basque themes. The piece, difficult to play well, is considered a masterpiece among trio works.

During the First World War Ravel was not allowed to enlist as a pilot because of his age and weak health. Instead, he became a truck driver stationed at the Verdun front. However, during the war years, Ravel did manage some compositions, including Trois Poemes de Mallarmé (1913), Trois Chansons (1915), one of his most popular works, Le tombeau de Couperin (1917), a commemoration of the musical ideals of François Couperin, the early 18th-century composer, which premiered in 1919. Each movement is dedicated to a friend of Ravel’s who died in the war, with the final movement dedicated to the deceased husband of Ravel’s favorite pianist Marguerite Long. Ravel was exhausted and lacking creative spirit at the war’s end in 1918. With the death of Debussy and the emergence of Satie, Schoenberg, and Stravinsky, modern classical music had a new style to which Ravel would shortly re-group and make his contribution.

Around 1920, Diaghilev commissioned Ravel to write La valse (The Waltz), originally named Wien (Vienna), which was to be used for a projected ballet. In 1920, the French government awarded Ravel the Légion d’honneur, but he refused it. The next year, he retired to the French countryside where he continued to write music, albeit even less prolifically, but in more tranquil surroundings. He returned regularly to Paris for performances and socializing, and increased his foreign concert tours. Ravel maintained his influential participation with the SMI which continued its active role of promoting new music, particularly of British and American composers such as Arnold Bax, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Aaron Copland, and Virgil Thomson. In 1922, Ravel completed his Sonata for Violin and Cello. Dedicated to Debussy’s memory, the work features the thinner texture popular with the younger postwar composers.

In post-war Paris, American musical influence was strong. Jazz particularly was played in the cafes and became popular, and French composers including Ravel and Darius Milhaud were applying jazz elements to their work. Around 1922, Ravel completed his famous orchestral arrangement of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, commissioned by Serge Koussevitzky, which through its widespread popularity brought Ravel great fame and substantial profit. The first half of the 1920s was a particularly lean period for composing but Ravel did complete successful concert tours to Amsterdam, Milan, London, Madrid, and Vienna, which also boosted his fame. By 1925, by virtue of the unwelcomed pressure of a performance deadline, he finally finished his opera L’enfant et les sortilèges, with its significant jazz and ragtime accents. Famed writer Colette provided the libretto. Around this time, he also completed Chansons madécasses, the summit of his vocal art.

In 1927, Ravel’s String Quartet received its first complete recording. That same year, he completed and premiered his Sonata for Violin and Piano, his last chamber work, with its second movement (titled “Blues”) gaining much attention. Ravel also served as a juror with Florence Meyer Blumenthal in awarding the Prix Blumenthal, a grant given between 1919 and 1954 to young French painters, sculptors, decorators, engravers, writers, and musicians. After two months of planning, in 1928 Ravel made a four-month concert tour in North America, for a promised minimum of $10,000. In New York City, he received a standing ovation, unlike any of his unenthusiastic premieres in Paris. His all-Ravel concert in Boston was equally acclaimed. He also met the American composer George Gershwin in New York and went with him to hear jazz in Harlem, probably hearing some of the famous jazz musicians such as Duke Ellington. Ravel then visited New Orleans and imbibed the jazz scene there as well. His admiration of jazz, increased by his American visit, caused him to include some jazz elements in a few of his later compositions, especially the two piano concertos. The great success of his American tour made Ravel famous internationally.

After returning to France, Ravel composed his most famous and controversial orchestral work Boléro, originally called Fandango. Remarkably, Ravel composed both of his piano concertos simultaneously. He completed the Concerto for the Left Hand first. The work was commissioned by Austrian pianist Paul Wittgenstein, who had lost his right arm during World War I. In 1933, Wittgenstein played the work in concert for the first time to instant acclaim. The other piano concerto was completed a year later. Its lighter tone follows the models of Mozart and Saint-Saëns, and also makes use of jazz-like themes. Ravel dedicated the work to his favorite pianist, Marguerite Long, who played it and popularized it across Europe in over twenty cities, and they recorded it together in 1932.

In 1932, Ravel suffered a major blow to the head in a taxi accident. This injury was not considered serious at the time. However, afterwards he began to experience aphasia-like symptoms and was frequently absent-minded. It is also possible he had begun experiencing the early stages of Pick’s disease. He had begun work on music for a film, Don Quixote (1933) from Miguel de Cervantes’s celebrated novel, featuring the Russian bass Feodor Chaliapin and directed by G. W. Pabst. When Ravel became unable to compose, and could not write down the musical ideas he heard in his mind, Pabst hired Jacques Ibert. However, three songs for baritone and orchestra that Ravel composed for the film were later published under the title Don Quichotte à Dulcinée, and have been performed and recorded. In late 1937, Ravel consented to experimental brain surgery, evidently with some hesitation. On December 17, he entered a hospital in Paris, following the advice of the well-known neurosurgeon Clovis Vincent. Vincent assumed there was a brain tumor, and on December 19 operated on Ravel. No tumor was found, but there was some shrinkage of the left hemisphere of his brain, which was re-inflated with serous fluid. Ravel awoke from the anesthesia, but quickly sank into a deep coma, from which he never recovered and died on December 28, 1937, at the age of 62, in Paris. .

Ravel never married and had no children. He is not known to have had any intimate relationships at all, and his personal life remains a mystery. Ravel made a remark at one time suggesting that because he was such a perfectionist composer, so devoted to his work, he could never have a lasting intimate relationship with anyone. However, according to close friend and student Manuel Rosenthal, Ravel once asked violinist Hélène Jourdan-Morhange to marry him, although she dismissed him, saying “No, Maurice, I’m extremely fond of you, as you know, but only as a friend, and I couldn’t possibly consider marrying you.” He is quoted as saying “The only love affair I have ever had was with music.” From around 1900 until his death, Debussy was considered France’s greatest living composer. Ravel assumed the mantle only after Debussy’s death. Today, Debussy and Ravel are often thought of together, but they were very different composers. Ravel’s elegant and lyrically generous body of work was not large in comparison with that of some of his contemporaries, but his compositions are notable for being meticulously and exquisitely crafted. He was especially gifted as an orchestrator, an area in which he remains unsurpassed.

In spite of leaving one of the richest and most important bodies of work of any early twentieth century composer, one that included virtually every genre except for symphony and liturgical music, Ravel is most often remembered for an arrangement of another composer’s work, and for a piece he considered among his least significant. His orchestral arrangement of Mussorgsky’s piano suite Pictures at an Exhibition has been wildly popular with concertgoers. Much of his piano music, chamber music, vocal music and orchestral music is part of the standard concert repertoire. The piano compositions, such as Jeux d’eau, Miroirs, Le tombeau de Couperin and Gaspard de la nuit, demand considerable virtuosity from the performer, and his mastery of orchestration is particularly evident in such works as Rapsodie espagnole, Daphnis et Chloé, and the arrangement of Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. Ravel is perhaps known best for his orchestral work Boléro (1928), a 15-minute Spanish dance in which a single theme is repeated in a variety of instrumental guises; he once described it as “a piece for orchestra without music,” and it has been ridiculed for its insistent repetitiveness, but it is also a popular favorite and one of the most familiar and frequently performed orchestral works of the twentieth century. According to SACEM, Ravel’s estate had earned more royalties than that of any other French composer.

The following works by Maurice Ravel are contained in my collection:

Bolero, Ballet for Orchestra (1928
Daphnis et Chloe, Choreographic Symphony in three parts, with chorus, based on a scenario by Mikhail Fokine (1912).
Introduction and Allegro.
La Valse, Choreographic Poem for Orchestra (1920/1928).
Le Tombeau de Couperin (1917/1919).
Ma Mere L’Oye (1911).
Menuet Antique (1895).
Miroirs (1905): Alborado del Gracioso or Morning Song of the Jester, for large orchestra (orch. 1918); #3, Une Barque sur l’Ocean (orch. 1906).
Pavane pour une Infante Defunte (1899/1910).
Piano Concerto in GM.
Piano Concerto in DM, For the Left Hand.
Rhapsodie Espganole (1907/1908).
Sheherazade: Ouverture de Feerie (1899).
Tzigane, Rhapsodie de Concert for Violin and Orchestra.
Valses Nobles et Sentimentales (1911/1919).

—material selected, adapted, and edited from several different sources