Monthly Archives: July 2016

The Red Priest and his Transcriber

Two composers share a sad event, the day of their death – one in Vienna, the other in Leipzig. One was Italian, the other German. They both died this day, July the 28th, nine years apart in the 18th century. But they were kindred spirits of the times on this earth.

Let’s begin with Antonio Vivaldi – after all he came first!

vivaldiDuring his lifetime, Vivaldi was at first known for his shock of red hair, and when he took to the cloth, earned the sobriquet of the Red Priest.

In the secular world, his popularity quickly made him famous in other countries, including France, but after his death that popularity dwindled.

After the Baroque period, Vivaldi’s published concerti became relatively unknown and were largely ignored. Even Vivaldi’s most famous work, The Four Seasons, was unknown in its original edition during the Classical and Romantic periods. [Le quattro stagioni composed in 1723 is part of Il cimento dell’armonia e dell’inventione (“The Contest between Harmony and Invention”); it depicts moods and scenes from each of the four seasons. This work has been described as an outstanding instance of pre-nineteenth century programmatic music. And a sterling example is “Summer”, the Presto movement performed on YouTube by the Trondheim Soloists with its brilliant soloist Mari Silje Samuelsen whose sizzle is so redolent of the New York area in the grip of its own hot season this July of 2016.]Kreisler

By way of parenthesis, In the early 20th century, Fritz Kreisler’s Concerto in C, in the Style of Vivaldi (which he passed off as an original Vivaldi work) helped revive Vivaldi’s reputation.

Decades ago had seen the arrival of another musical giant, Johann bachSebastian Bach. He was deeply influenced by Vivaldi’s concertos and arias (recalled in his St John Passion, St Matthew Passion, and cantatas). Bach transcribed six of Vivaldi’s concerti for solo keyboard, three for organ, and one for four harpsichords, strings, and basso continuo (BWV 1065) based upon the concerto for four violins, two violas, cello, and basso continuo (RV 580).

So there we have it in a nutshell. The Red Priest and his Transcriber: two eminent and prolific composers we just can’t do without during our daily lives listening to Classical Music howsoever delivered to us in or outside the home.

References: Wikipedia, Encyclopedia of Concert Music by David Ewen.

Dear Readers,

You number over 45,000 since January 2015, when I first began to put “some of my thoughts, written down” and posted them in the blogosphere. Since that time, many of you have urged me to seek support of my site and my writings by way of donations.

 My blog is about my life. It’s about what I’ve learned through the span of my life. It’s about things I love, and things I know and things I have experienced. I am humbled that so many of you want to join with me in my reflections. If you like what you find here, if it inspires or informs or amuses you, then I am content.  
 
It would mean a lot to me if you would consider making a donation of US $1.00, $5.00, $10.00, or whatever amount you deem fit to sustain my work.
 
And thank you for being a regular reader of the Azim Mayadas Blog!
 

Copyright © 2016 Azim Lewis Mayadas

Poet of the Piano and his Muse

GranadosBorn July 27, 139 years ago, Spanish composer Enrique Granados, who is widely known as the ‘Poet of the Piano’, is someone I cannot think about without remembering the late Barcelona-born pianist Alicia de Larrocha. In my mind those two world famous musicians are intertwined: Enrique because of the Chopinesque passion and virtuosity which inform his piano works;  Alicia because of her sensitive, almost Mozartean interpretation of his major compositions.

delarrocha2Alicia was the diminutive Spanish pianist esteemed for her elegant Mozart performances and regarded as an incomparable interpreter of Granados and other Spanish composers. Her small stature — she was only 4-foot-9 — was deceptive: early in her career she played all the big Romantic concertos, including those of Liszt and Rachmaninoff, and she could produce a surprisingly large, beautifully sculptured sound.

She was closely associated with the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center, where she first performed in 1971. Her appearances remained among the festival’s hottest tickets until her final performance there in 2003. Indeed, it was there in the mid-1970’s before heading for Miami that I myself heard her and was overjoyed when she signed up a couple of years later to be a soloist there during my tenure as the General Manager of the then Florida Philharmonic.

Alicia’s most enduring contribution, however, was her championship of Spanish composers, especially Granados. She made enduring recordings of his “Goyescas,” and helped ease those works into the standard piano canon. Here is her rendering on YouTube of one of his piano vignettes, Baile Espanol #7.

I myself was drawn to that work in my early teens via its beautiful Quejas o la Maja y el Ruiesenor (The Lover and the Nightingale) and it was a favorite of mine in many a piano recital I gave in India and abroad. In addition, my audiences were wowed every time I responded to their ovation with an encore  from his Danzas Espanoles (Spanish Dances) – either “Playera” or “Minueto”.

Enrique met an untimely death on March 24, 1916, in the English Channel. He was drowned following the torpedoing of the ferry Sussex between Folkestone and Dieppe by a German submarine during World War 1. He managed to get into a life raft but dived into the sea to save his wife. Both drowned and their bodies were never recovered.

Alicia Quotes:
“I would say, though, that Granados was one of the great Spanish composers, and that, in my opinion, he was the only one that captured the real Romantic flavor.”
“Spanish music is very, very, very hard. . . . .Young people come to me and think they can play it right away. But Spanish music must have the right rhythm, just as Bach and Mozart must have the right rhythm.”

References
My Miami Diary, Granados Piano Scores, New York Times Obituary of Alicia de Larrocha (September 25, 2009)

Dear Readers,

You number over 45,000 since January 2015, when I first began to put “some of my thoughts, written down” and posted them in the blogosphere. Since that time, many of you have urged me to seek support of my site and my writings by way of donations.

 My blog is about my life. It’s about what I’ve learned through the span of my life. It’s about things I love, and things I know and things I have experienced. I am humbled that so many of you want to join with me in my reflections. If you like what you find here, if it inspires or informs or amuses you, then I am content.  
 
It would mean a lot to me if you would consider making a donation of US $1.00, $5.00, $10.00, or whatever amount you deem fit to sustain my work.
 
And thank you for being a regular reader of the Azim Mayadas Blog!
 

Copyright © 2016 Azim Lewis Mayadas

It Seems Like It Were Yesterday!

“Piano Hands –
and Fingers to Boot”

pianohandsA dedication of sorts in the form of a *Villanelle I composed in July – 33 years ago!

It seems like it were yesterday!
‘Twas at the tender age of three,
That Baba just began to play:

Play the piano, that’s to say,
And plenty more than do, re, mi;
It seems like it were yesterday!

Mozart was her first essay:
‘Twas ere she learnt her ABC,
That Baba just began to play.

Soon she found another way
For her creativity;
It seems like it were yesterday!

The tiny hands would stretch and stray,
And write full scores in every key
That Baba just began to play.

Now ten years later the Concerto in A
Is what she interprets beautifully:
It seems like it were yesterday,
That Baba just began to play.

*The highly structured villanelle is a nineteen-line poem with two repeating rhymes and two refrains. The form is made up of five tercets followed by a quatrain. The first and third lines of the opening tercet are repeated alternately in the last lines of the succeeding stanzas; then in the final stanza, the refrain serves as the poem’s two concluding lines.

An excellent example of the form is the vilanelle by the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas: “Do not go gentle into that good night.”
__________________________________________________________________________
Written on the occasion of Baba’s first performance of a piano concerto by Mozart
with an orchestra when she was 14-and-a-half years old.

PS: ‘Baba ‘ is a term of endearment used in Urdu and/or Hindi.
[It also, means ‘father’ – also ‘child’! It all depends on the context it’s used in.
Here it epitomizes the youngest of my three beautiful and talented daughters.]

Dear Readers,

You number over 45,000 since January 2015, when I first began to put “some of my thoughts, written down” and posted them in the blogosphere. Since that time, many of you have urged me to seek support of my site and my writings by way of donations.

 My blog is about my life. It’s about what I’ve learned through the span of my life. It’s about things I love, and things I know and things I have experienced. I am humbled that so many of you want to join with me in my reflections. If you like what you find here, if it inspires or informs or amuses you, then I am content.  
 
It would mean a lot to me if you would consider making a donation of US $1.00, $5.00, $10.00, or whatever amount you deem fit to sustain my work.
 
And thank you for being a regular reader of the Azim Mayadas Blog!
 

Copyright © 2016 Azim Lewis Mayadas

Nature Poems by Wang Wei

WangWei

1 “Lotuses Awaft”

lotuses

Bamboos a-rustle:
washerwomen bustling back;
Lotuses awaft,
and here comes down the fishing-smack!

[Chu hsűan kwei huan nű
Lien tung hsia yű chou.]

2 “The Hill-Bird”

hillbird

Moonrise!
Startled,
the Hill-Bird cries shrilly
Off and on –
Below –
in the Spring Valley.

[Yueh ch’u ching shan niao
Shih ming ch’un chien chung.]

3  “The Bright Moon”

brightmoon

Among the pines
the moon shines brightly;
Upon the shingle
clear waters spring lightly.

[Ming-yueh sung-chien chao
Ch’ing-ch’űan shih-shang liu.]

Postscript
Wang Wei (701 – 761), sometimes titled the Poet Buddha, was a Tang Dynasty Chinese poet, musician, painter and statesman.

He is best known for his quatrains depicting quiet scenes of water and mist, with few details and little human presence.

Afterword
The Chinese calligraphy is by yours truly.

Dear Readers,

You number over 45,000 since January 2015, when I first began to put “some of my thoughts, written down” and posted them in the blogosphere. Since that time, many of you have urged me to seek support of my site and my writings by way of donations.

 My blog is about my life. It’s about what I’ve learned through the span of my life. It’s about things I love, and things I know and things I have experienced. I am humbled that so many of you want to join with me in my reflections. If you like what you find here, if it inspires or informs or amuses you, then I am content.  
 
It would mean a lot to me if you would consider making a donation of US $1.00, $5.00, $10.00, or whatever amount you deem fit to sustain my work.
 
And thank you for being a regular reader of the Azim Mayadas Blog!
 

Copyright © 2016 Azim Lewis Mayadas

Aramaic – The Lord’s Own Language

I’VE ALWAYS BEEN FASCINATED by the  various translations of the Lord’s Prayer into other languages, having discovered at an early age that the King James’ English one was a late comer to the Lord’s Table, as it were.

It was only in January 1997 that I learned of the existence over many centuries of other notable versions. Thereafter, I took time off every now and then to add to my collection. Ultimately, I came down to the King James’ translation and the Urdu one as the two I felt most comfortable with, in and out of church. Nevertheless, the Latin version was always hovering at the back of my tongue due to the time I had spent at the Catholic church alongside the Irish Christian Brothers’ parochial school where I originally learned my ABC’s as a child.

For starters, here’s the Pater Noster in English (broken down into ten Petitions and ending in a Doxology, followed by its translation into my mother tongue, Urdu – in its original script – followed by one in Roman script:

1662 Anglican BCP (Book of Common Prayer)
Petitions
1.   Our Father which art in heaven,
2.   hallowed be thy name.
3.   Thy kingdom come,
4.   Thy will be done,
5.   on earth, as it is in heaven.
6.   Give us this day our daily bread,
7.   and forgive us our trespasses,
8.   as we forgive those that trespass against us.
9.   And lead us not into temptation,
10. but deliver us from evil.
Doxology
For thine is the kingdom,
the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever.
Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer in Urdu and alongside in Roman Urdu sans the doxology:

اے ہمارے باپ, تو جو آسمان پر ہے
تیرا نام پاک مانا جاۓ
اور تیری بادشاہت آئے
تیری مرضی جیسی آسمان میں پوری ہوتی ہے

زمین پر بھی ہو
ہماری روز کی روٹی آج ہمیں دے
جس طرح ہم اپنے قرضداروں کو بخشتے ہیں
تو ہمارے قرض ہمیں بخش
اور ہمیں آزمائش میں نہ لا
بلکہ ہمیں برائی سے بچا
آمین

Ae hamāre bāp, tu jo āsamān par hai
Terā nām pāk mānā jā'e
Aur terī bādśāhat ā'e
Terī marzī jaisī āsamān meṃ pūrī hotī 
hai
zamīn par bhī ho
Hamāri roz kī roṭī āj hameṃ de
Jis tar'h ham apne qarzdāroṃ ko baxśte 
haiṃ
Tu hamāre qarz hameṃ baxś
Aur hameṃ āzmā'iś meṃ nah lā
Balkih hameṃ burā'ī se bacā
Āmīn

And now, the Lord’s Prayer – Petitions only with a literal translation below each of them – in Aramaic, which Jesus spoke:

Aboon dabashmaya
Our father who is in heaven,
Nethkadash shamak
holy is your name,
Tetha malkoothak
your Kingdom is coming,
Newe tzevyanak
your will is being done
Aykan dabashmaya af bara
on earth as it is in heaven,
Hav lan lakma dsoonkanan yamanawashbook lan
give us our bread day by day
Kavine aykana daf hanan shabookan lhayavine oolow talahn lanesyana
as we forgive those who trespass and sin against us
Ela fatsan men beesha
deliver us from evil

Finally, the Pater Noster sung here in Latin by the Netherlands Chamber Choir In 1995. Click on the hotlink above in red and read the text pictured below:

pater_noster

Afterword
Albert de Klerk (1917-1998), whose music for the Pater Noster I’ve featured above because of its sheer beauty, was internationally famous. The Dutch organist left a compositional oeuvre of music for organ, masses and other liturgical music, chamber music and a small repertoire for the carillon.

Dear Readers,

You number over 45,000 since January 2015, when I first began to put “some of my thoughts, written down” and posted them in the blogosphere. Since that time, many of you have urged me to seek support of my site and my writings by way of donations.

 My blog is about my life. It’s about what I’ve learned through the span of my life. It’s about things I love, and things I know and things I have experienced. I am humbled that so many of you want to join with me in my reflections. If you like what you find here, if it inspires or informs or amuses you, then I am content.  
 
It would mean a lot to me if you would consider making a donation of US $1.00, $5.00, $10.00, or whatever amount you deem fit to sustain my work.
 
And thank you for being a regular reader of the Azim Mayadas Blog!
 

Copyright © 2016 Azim Lewis Mayadas

 

Rio – All the Rage, All the Time!

Rio LandmarkTHE VERY NAME RIO CONJURES UP SO MANY FOND MEMORIES IN MY MIND!

Ever since my 1957 visit to that fabulous city by a KLM flight from New Delhi via Dakar in West Africa, I’ve always treasured my fortnight’s sojourn in Brazil, with the high points being Rio and São Paulo.

It was not all unbridled pleasure all the time, since I had to practice hard every day at the piano to justify my participation in the First International Music Festival ever to be held in South America as India’s sole representative.

Not surprisingly, I have avidly read all the sports press and social media relating to the forthcoming Summer Olympics, particularly as they pertain to the ups and downs in Brazil’s perceived readiness or otherwise to be a credible host country for the world event. I am at odds with the experts on the media who even to this very day and at this very hour are spouting Jeremiads ad nauseam as to that country’s ability “to pull it off.”

We shall see who is right very shortly.

carioca1957I, for one, have no qualms on that score, as I have learnt at first hand the magical way that its citizens – amateurs and professionals alike – can perform the most difficult tasks with aplomb and are imbued with that intangible ‘coming-from-behind’ prowess that befuddles and bemuses most visitors. The sights and sounds that await one in Rio’s winter together make up for any real or imagined shortcomings in the preparedness of a native Carioca.
Indeed I wrote a short uplifting piano piece at that time which you can hear right now in an electronic version: Carioca is the first of Five World Travel Sketches that I  was inspired to compose during the 1950’s and 1960’s while visiting exhilarating spots around Asia, Europe, America and Down Under during my wanderlust years. You are welcome to check them out by clicking on the Sketches hotlink above.

Amidst the opening days of the competition, I met two notable people from outside the tight music circle that helped make a difference during my stay: One was, Dmitri Ismailovitch, a Ukrainian painter and portraitist of note; the other Minoo Masani, the  Indian ambassador to Brazil, who commissioned the former gentleman in 1948 to paint an oil portrait of Mahatma Gandhi.gandhiAzim in RioMr. Ismailovitch himself invited me one ‘free’ morning – that is when I wasn’t glued to the keyboard – to his bright and airy artist studio overlooking the Copacabana, and after exchanging some pleasantries sat me down just so, picked up the tools of his trade and with lightning deft strokes did a black-and-white sketch of me that I couldn’t help but admire. He presented it to me the day before I flew to Buenos Aires to visit old college friends from my university days as a student in London.
Next, I was invited to the Indian embassy for a get-together with Mr. Masani whom I’d never met before, but whom I’d admired for his sterling role in Indian politics back home. Without the circumstance of his commissioning ‘my’ painter, I wouldn’t have been able to make that fortuitous connection thousand of miles away from my homeland.

Afterword
Before we go, you’ll get to know my painter better by reading this short biography of him:
Painter and portraitist, Dimitri studied 1918-19 at the School of Fine Arts of Ukraine. He arrived in Brazil in 1927, after short periods of time spent in Athens, London and the United States respectively. He won a silver medal at the National Salon of Fine Arts, and another in the Paulista Salon of Fine Arts. He became famous as a portraitist, but also dedicated himself to landscape and still life. In 1964, Antonio Bento wrote of him: “There is no doubt that his technique is also the most solid; it follows that his oil paintings, made over thirty years ago, are now as well preserved as when they were painted, I believe that this is one of the highest praise that can be made to the painter, who owns a metier of the most vigorous, at a time when so many modern painters ignore almost entirely the superb craftsmanship of the old masters.”

References
Wikipedia, My Diaries, “The Cable” Magazine, July 1960 (Calcutta)

Dear Readers,

You number over 42,000 since January 2015, when I first began to put “some of my thoughts, written down” and posted them in the blogosphere. Since that time, many of you have urged me to seek support of my site and my writings by way of donations.

 My blog is about my life. It’s about what I’ve learned through the span of my life. It’s about things I love, and things I know and things I have experienced. I am humbled that so many of you want to join with me in my reflections. If you like what you find here, if it inspires or informs or amuses you, then I am content.  
 
It would mean a lot to me if you would consider making a donation of US $1.00, $5.00, $10.00, or whatever amount you deem fit to sustain my work.
 
And thank you for being a regular reader of the Azim Mayadas Blog!
 

Copyright © 2016 Azim Lewis Mayadas

 

Kabalevsky – Connecting Children to Music

KabalevskyI was fortunate to meet and speak with Russian composer and educator, Dmitri Kabalevsky, here in the USA two years before his death in Moscow on February 14, 1987. He was born in St. Petersburg on December 30, 1904. His father was a mathematician and encouraged him to study mathematics; however, in early life he maintained a fascination with the arts, and became an accomplished young pianist, including a three-year stint as a pianist in silent theaters. He also dabbled in poetry and painting.

In 1925, against his father’s wishes, he accepted a place at the Moscow Conservatory, studying composition under Nikolai Myaskovsky and piano with Alexander Goldenweiser. In the same year he joined PROKULL (Production Collective of Student Composers), a student group affiliated with Moscow Conservatory. He became a professor at the Moscow Conservatory in 1932.

During World War II, he wrote many patriotic songs, having joined the Communist Party in 1940, and was the editor of Sovetskaya Muzyka for its special six-volume publishing run during the war. He also composed and performed many pieces for silent movies and some theater music.

Perhaps Kabalevsky’s most important contribution to the world of music-making was his consistent efforts to connect children to music. Not only did he write music specifically directed at bridging the gap between children’s technical skills and adult aesthetics, but during his lifetime he set up a pilot program of music education in twenty-five Soviet schools. Kabalevsky himself taught a class of seven-year-olds for a time, teaching them how to listen attentively and put their impressions into words. His writings on this subject were published in the United States in 1988 as Music and education: a composer writes about musical education. I should add from a personal perspective that my piano-teacher wife, Lolita, has in her collection of music books a number of Kabalevsky albums of short pieces published by Schirmer’s Library of Musical Classics, such as, 30 Pieces for Children, Op. 27 and Children’s Dreams, Op. 88. She herself is founder of the NotePerfect Project, an innovative educational method which teaches young children how to read music using a set of tools that are hands-on, child-griendly – and fun! The company’s attractive Website is at noteperfectproject.com.

Kabalevsky was awarded a number of state honors for his musical works (including three Stalin Prizes). Indeed, he had become quite a force in musical education. He was elected the head of the Commission of Musical Esthetic Education of Children in 1962 as well as president of the Scientific Council of Educational Esthetics in the Academy of Pedagogical Sciences of the USSR in 1969.

Kabalevsky wrote for all musical genres and was consistently faithful to the ideals of socialist realism. In Russia, he is most noted for his vocal songs, cantatas, and operas while overseas he is known for his orchestral music. Kabalevsky frequently traveled overseas; he was a member of the Soviet Committee for the Defense of Peace as well as a representative for the Promotion of Friendship between the Soviet Union and foreign countries.

Kabalevsky also served as president of the Australia-based International Society of Musical Education and it was in that context I was able to interview him at ISME’s 16th international conference in Eugene, Oregon, in 1984. I myself was then the Managing Director of the National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts (NGCSA) – now known as the National Guild of Community Arts Education (NGCAE) – based in New York City. In that capacity, I helped to start community arts schools around the country including Canada. Also, in 1956 I had had the privilege of meeting Zoltan Kodaly in Budapest, Hungary – another composer and educator of lasting fame who personally took me around his music school where the Kodaly Method was being taught to legions of youngsters.

Of the Kabalevsky oeuvre, I avowed to him that I had a special affinity with his significant Piano Sonata No. 3, Op. 46 (1946), which I had frequently performed at recitals, here and abroad. For those unfamiliar with the work, here’s a summary of the sonata performed by Josh Hillmann in a recording on YouTube of April 29, 1012 :

Two delightful but subdued themes dominate the first movement, but a third melody, with a march-like character, provides dramatic contrast; a folk-like melody unfolds in the second movement, interrupted by a dissonant section; the finale is martial music, opening with a three-note theme answered by two notes in the bass. That last movement depends for its main interest on powerful rhythmic surges and sweep. Recollections of the main themes from the first movement emerge in the background; but the movement is primarily dominated by the martial subject, which is eventually built into an exultant climax of this remarkable 15-minute modern work for piano.

References
Wikipedia, Encyclopedia of Concert Music by David Ewen, ISME Yearbook

Dear Readers,

You number over 42,000 since January 2015, when I first began to put “some of my thoughts, written down” and posted them in the blogosphere. Since that time, many of you have urged me to seek support of my site and my writings by way of donations.

 My blog is about my life. It’s about what I’ve learned through the span of my life. It’s about things I love, and things I know and things I have experienced. I am humbled that so many of you want to join with me in my reflections. If you like what you find here, if it inspires or informs or amuses you, then I am content.  
 
It would mean a lot to me if you would consider making a donation of US $1.00, $5.00, $10.00, or whatever amount you deem fit to sustain my work.
 
And thank you for being a regular reader of the Azim Mayadas Blog!
 

Copyright © 2016 Azim Lewis Mayadas

Cuba – Isle of Rebellion and a Runaway Slave

90 YEARS AGO TODAY, JULY THE FIRST, German composer Hans Werner Henze was born. His large oeuvre of works is extremely varied in style, having been influenced by serialism, atonality, Stravinsky, Italian music, Arabic music and jazz, as well as traditional schools of German composition.

henze

I first met Hans Werner at the Berlin Festival in 1970 at which he conducted his own work, El Cimarrón (The Runaway Slave), written when he lived in Cuba in 1969-70. It is subtitled Biographie des geflohenen Sklaven Esteban Montejo (Biography of the runaway slave Esteban Montejo), and is based on the autobiographical passages recounted by Montejo to Miguel Barnet in 1963. Montejo was also a veteran of the Cuban War of Independence (1895-98). The composer  premiered the work in 1970 at the Berlin Festival and later conducted it that year at the Aldeburgh Festival in the UK.

Listening to the score had an unforgettable impact on me, and back at the swank Kempinsky Hotel, I couldn’t get some of the fifteen sung “tableaux” – oftentimes more laughter, whistling, shouting and screaming than singing! – out of my system. I hearkened back to July of 1946, back to my New Delhi home: It was cruelly hot there during the summer’s nights of 70 years ago.

akmal3My storied maternal grandfather, Ziauddin Akmal, who was my idol of derring-do and daredevil adventure, was spending a brief holiday with the family. He always preferred sleeping outdoors, so a couple of cots were prepared in the open-air back veranda for us at the direction of my mother.

Before sleep took over,  I was enthralled by Nanaji’s engrossing tales of travels in foreign lands  – from the  time he was just 17 until the age of 39 years – as we lay alongside looking upward at the cloudless heavens. In a nutshell, he was a globe trotter with a yen for being in countries embroiled in some sort of political upheaval or rebellion. Leaving aside his time in Turkey during the Turco-Greek war of 1897 and later in South Africa during the Boer War and Zulu rebellion, his riveting recollection of the last year of the Cuban rebellion (island patriots prefer to call it their War of Independence) in 1898 really kept me awake long into the night.

cubaMy early memories of that island 90 miles off the south Florida coast of America were already romantically colored by my reading of Hemingway’s books, but precious little else. So it was riveting to hear almost firsthand about the exploits of those willing to risk their necks in becoming free of the Spanish yoke. I never got to go to Cuba, but my three years in Miami (1975-78) did enable me to make a lot of friends in Little Havana who were always willing to speak about their lost homeland, undeniably tinged with regret.

I’ll close with an extract from a 2010 rendition by the Greenwich Music Festival of the opening tableau Die Welt (The World) of El Cimarrón to enable you, dear Reader, to honor the memory of a great musician.

For the record, the complete complement of 15 tableaux is listed below:

1.Die Welt (The World)
2.Der Cimarrón
3.Die Sklaverei (Slavery)
4.Die Flucht (Flight)
5.Der Wald (The Forest)
6.Die Geister (The Spirits)
7.Die falsche Freiheit (False Freedom)
8.Die Frauen (Women)
9.Die Maschinen (The Machines)
10.Die Pfarrer (The Clergy)
11.Der Aufstand (The Uprising)
12.Die Schlacht von Mal Tiempo (The Battle of Mal Tiempo)
13.Der schlechte Sieg (The Evil Victory)
14.Die Freundlichkeit (Frendliness)
15.Das Messer (The Knife)

In particular, his stage works reflect “his consistent cultivation of music for the theater throughout his life”.

References
My Diary 1961-70; Wikipedia

Dear Readers,

You number over 42,000 since January 2015, when I first began to put “some of my thoughts, written down” and posted them in the blogosphere. Since that time, many of you have urged me to seek support of my site and my writings by way of donations.

 My blog is about my life. It’s about what I’ve learned through the span of my life. It’s about things I love, and things I know and things I have experienced. I am humbled that so many of you want to join with me in my reflections. If you like what you find here, if it inspires or informs or amuses you, then I am content.  
 
It would mean a lot to me if you would consider making a donation of US $1.00, $5.00, $10.00, or whatever amount you deem fit to sustain my work.
 
And thank you for being a regular reader of the Azim Mayadas Blog!
 

Copyright © 2016 Azim Lewis Mayadas