Hungarian Rhapsody no. 2 in c-sharp minor by Franz Liszt

liszt

Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2, S.244/2, is the second in a set of 19 Hungarian Rhapsodies by composer Franz Liszt, and is by far the most famous of the set. Few other piano solos have achieved such widespread popularity, offering the pianist the opportunity to reveal exceptional skill as a virtuoso, while providing the listener with an immediate and irresistible musical appeal.

In both the original piano solo form and in the orchestrated version this composition has enjoyed widespread use in animated cartoons. Its themes have also served as the basis of several popular songs.

It is probable that you have heard this piece of music somewhere at one time or another because it is perhaps the most prominent piece of classical (romantic, actually) music featured in animated cartoons across the years.

Now, let the anvils fall and dynamite explode!

And, in real life, Valentina Lisitsa plays Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2

Daily Listening Assignment ~ June 14

 

 

Today’s Daily Listening Assignment is a little different.  Pop Goes the Weasel was chosen today because somehow, somewhere someone chose today as National Pop Goes the Weasel Day.

Pop-goes-the-weasel

June 14 is set aside to observe National Pop Goes the Weasel Day.  On this day people dig back into their memories to the nursery rhymes they learned as children and celebrate the day singing “Pop Goes the Weasel”.

 

The origins of this nursery rhyme are believed to date back to the 1700′s.
The following lyric was printed in Boston in 1858:
All around the cobbler’s house,
The monkey chased the people.
And after them in double haste,
Pop! goes the weasel.
In 1901 in New York the opening lines were:
All around the chicken coop,
The possum chased the weasel.

The most common recent version was not recorded until 1914. In addition to the three verses above, American versions often include some of the following:
All around the mulberry bush,
The monkey chased the weasel.
The monkey stopped to pull up his sock, (or The monkey stopped to scratch his nose)
Pop! goes the weasel.
Half a pound of tuppenny rice,
Half a pound of treacle.
Mix it up and make it nice,
Pop! goes the weasel.

 

A Piano Version:

 

 

And another one…

 

‘Pop Goes the Weasel’ is played by the oboe while Elgar’s ‘Enigma’ Theme is performed on piano.

 

If you want to play it, you know where to find it 🙂

Daily Listening Assignment ~ June 13

 

 

Today’s piece is slow and easy going.  The name “Largo” itself means slow.  Antonin Dvorák wrote this as a part of his Symphony No. 9 in E minor,  also known as From the New World, Op. 95, B. 178  or just the New World Symphony.

For Piano

And orchestra

The theme from the Largo was adapted into the spiritual-like song “Goin’ Home”, often mistakenly considered a folk song or traditional spiritual, by Dvořák’s pupil William Arms Fisher, who wrote the lyrics in 1922.

Find Largo in Keyboard Kickoff, Prelude (it’s called River  Road,  Movement 2 and Piano Maestro.

Whenever I think of slow things, I’m reminded of this clip from the old TV Show, Taxi

 

 

Daily Listening Assignment ~ June 12

 

 

 

 

Since we had the Bridal Chorus a couple days ago, it’s time to march the bride and groom back up the aisle with the Wedding March by Felix Mendelssohn.

This Wedding March comes from Mendelssohn’s incidental music to A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It became customary to play this at marriage ceremonies from about the mid 19th Century, and particularly after the daughter (also called Victoria) of Queen Victoria chose the piece for her own wedding in 1858.

Notice all the triplets (3)!  If you don’t know what they are, be sure to ask at your next lesson.

Find this in Movement 2 and Piano Maestro.

 

On an organ

An organist who needed a bit more practice

With an orchestra

See you tomorrow!

 

Daily Listening Assignment ~ June 11

 

The other day, a student and I were looking at a piece with a l-o-n-g crescendo marking on it and she wondered how long the longest crescendo was in any piece.

For those who don’t remember, crescendo means to get louder and decrescendo means to get softer.  The sample below gets louder, then softer.

 

But I got a bit off-track.  While my student was trying her hand (no pun intended!) and the long crescendo, I looked up how long the longest one might be and found…

The longest crescendo in music is probably Ravel’s “Bolero,” which is, in fact, one long crescendo. Another very long crescendo occurs in the first movement of Shostakovich’s “Leningrad” Symphony. … “Rossini crescendos” are much shorter but quite effective. Jul 26, 2013

Most everyone, including my student, knows that this is possibly my least favorite piece of music but I still played a bit of it for her anyway.

Although not really a piano piece

From Russia

I like this flashmob version best

In a video that looks just like a segment of Disney’s Silly Symphonies or Fantasia, artist Simon Brethé animates the pentagram, making the notes of Ravel’s Bolero do feats ranging from charming a snake (the oboe) to serenading a girl at her window (the saxophone). At one point of the performance, one member of the string ensemble gets his bow tangled in the pentagram, a distraction that, subsequently, wreaks havoc in the entire orchestra.

 

Daily Listening Assignment ~ June 10

 

It’s wedding season!  Today and tomorrow, we’ll be looking at, and listening to, the music most associated with weddings.

The “Bridal Chorus” from the 1850 opera Lohengrin by German composer Richard Wagner is a march played for the bride’s entrance at many formal weddings throughout the Western world.

The piece was made popular when it was used as the processional at the wedding of Victoria the Princess Royal to Prince Frederick William of Prussia in 1858.

This piece is available in Keyboard Kickoff, Movement 2 and Piano Maestro.

The original from the opera

A piano version (this book is available for loan, if interested)

Handbells (rehearsal)

On accordion

And pipe organ

A very different wedding entrance in Denmark

 

 

Daily Listening Assignment ~ June 9

 

This is a more advanced piece but I really like it.  Some students may have heard this since it’s an alarm tone on my phone. My dog, Mimi, recognizes this music as her signal to go out for a walk!

 

confrey-you

I just love Zez Confrey’s music.  It’s not overplayed like some of Scott Joplin’s works but it’s just as much fun.

This is a piece I have often played in recitals and just for fun.

If any of my students are interested in tackling this piece, just let me know and we’ll start learning!

In 1921 Confrey wrote his novelty piano solo “Kitten on the Keys”, inspired by hearing his grandmother’s cat walk on the keyboard of her piano. It became a hit, and he went on to compose many other pieces in the genre.

Considered to be one of the fastest and most challenging of all “novelty” piano solos, “Dizzy Fingers” was composed in 1923. and was Confrey’s other biggest seller.

He left behind more than a hundred piano works, songs and miniature operas, and numerous piano rolls, music publications and sound recordings.

Not surprisingly, this piece is not available on Piano Maestro!

One of the books in my studio is Zez Confrey at the Piano: Piano Solos.

confrey-book“This collection represents a cross-section of Confrey’s works and encompasses the broad range of his styles. Besides his famous 1920s novelty works (including Kitten on the Keys), there are many wonderful, lesser-known gems of remarkable quality included here from later in his career. Appearing for the first time in print are transcriptions of one of his disc recordings (Poor Buttermilk) and two of his player piano roll arrangements (My Pet and Humorestless). Many of Confrey’s later works have long been out of print and are included here for the first time in decades.”