Monthly Archives: June 2017

Summer Round Sound

[A couple of years back I penned a similar post as shown below. And now, I’m emboldened to share with all of you an updated version, which hearkens back to a time when it was OK to imagine a more comforting era spent with friends and neighbors welcoming the arrival of summer in our midst – at least, in the Northern Hemisphere!}

Reading Abbey

Reading Abbey

Sumer Is Icumen In” is a traditional English round, or a musical composition in which two or more voices sing exactly the same melody but nevertheless fit harmoniously together. It is possibly the oldest such example in existence of counterpoint, which is the relationship between two or more voices. The title might be translated as “Summer has come in” or “Summer has arrived.”

The round is sometimes known as the Reading Round because the manuscript comes from Reading Abbey, which was founded by Henry the First in 1121 “for the salvation of my soul, and the souls of King William, my father, and of King William, my brother, and Queen Maud, my wife, and all my ancestors and successors.” The round may not have been written there, but it is the oldest piece of six-part polyphonic music, that is, music with two or more independent melodic voices. Its composer is anonymous, and it is estimated to date circa 1260. The manuscript – written in Middle English, extant between the late 11th and the late 15th century – is now at the British Library in London.

Sumer is icumen in

Sumer_is_icumen_in_-_Summer_Canon_(Reading_Rota)_(mid_13th_C),_f_11v_-_BL_Harley_MS_978

Summer has arrived,
Loudly sing, Cuckoo!
The seed grows and the meadow blooms
And the wood springs anew,
Sing, Cuckoo!
The ewe bleats after the lamb
The cow lows after the calf.
The bullock stirs, the stag farts,
Merrily sing, Cuckoo!
Cuckoo, cuckoo, well you sing, cuckoo;
Don’t you ever stop now,
Sing Cuckoo now.
Sing, Cuckoo.
Sing Cuckoo.
Sing cuckoo now!

A lively rendition of the ancient round can be heard on YouTube: Sumer is icumen in

Afterword:
In 2017, the summer begins with the solstice on June 20 at 12:38 P.M. EDT.
This summer solstice is the day with the most hours of sunlight during the whole year.
The word solstice is from the Latin solstitium, from sol (sun) and stitium (to stop), reflecting the fact that the Sun appears to stop (or seemingly stand in the sky) at this time.
The crescent Moon joins Venus and Jupiter on the 19th and 20th, respectively, creating truly eye-catching conjunctions at dusk.
This is a rare chance to see a triple conjunction of the three brightest objects in the night sky!
After sunset near dusk, look towards the western horizon. (You’ll need to find an unobstructed view.) First you’ll see bright white Venus. Nearby is a fainter yellowish Jupiter and the thin crescent Moon.

Main Sources: British Library, London and Wikipedia.

Dear Readers:
You number over 75,000 in nearly two-and-a-half years ago back in early 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, with the advent of the New Year 2017, you would please consider making a donation of US $1.00, $2.00, $5.00, or whatever amount you deem fit to sustain my work.
And thank you for being a regular reader of the Azim Mayadas Blog!

Copyright © 2017 Azim Lewis Mayadas

A Prince Among Men

30 January 1888 – 25 June 1950

[In remembering A Prince Among Men on Father’s Day this weekend, I pay tribute to a remarkable human being, my father, who passed away 67 years ago in New Delhi.
This post was first published on Father’s Day – June 21, 2015.]

They were scions of Afghanistan’s ancient Kakazai tribe and had fled to India in the mid-19th century as a result of persecution by a warring faction. There, in the Northwest, they converted to Christianity, and – as was the custom in the Anglican Church of Northern India – they were given English surnames: the family legend has it that the clergyman who performed the ceremony baptized the newcomers with the surname Lewis – since the reverend himself was a Welshman with that surname!
                                                                                                                                                                                                     Daddy was the eldest child of Judge George Lewis of Hoshiarpur, Punjab. He was educated at Bishop Cotton Public (i.e., ‘Private’ in U.S. parlance) School in the sub-Himalayan hill-station of Simla, a popular summer retreat from the heat of the Indian plains to the south and at that time the summer capital of British India.

After graduation Daddy joined the British Indian Civil Service and was eventually posted in Delhi as the District Magistrate (D.M). He rose to become a highly respected Government servant – and eventually the first Indian Deputy Commissioner of the Capital. For the record, the Deputy Commissioner and his Chief were always Englishmen during the British Raj.

Daddy received many awards while in Government service: On 23 February 1920, he was given the War Medal for his valuable services rendered during WWI (1914-1919); on 12 May 1937 he received the King-Emperor’s Coronation Medal; and during WWII (1939-1945) when he was Deputy Chief Press Advisor and Censor of the Government of India, he was made an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) in the New Year Honours List. [Daddy’s seen below when he was D.M., Delhi – Right Hand corner in D.J. – at a Viceregal Banquet held in The Viceroy House on 19 March 1940: click on the picture to enlarge it to full screen.]At Banquet 001

Banquet Seating 001 Viceroy Guests Partial

 Daddy was an incorrigible practical joker – even into his 50’s – that belied his role, first, as a Sessions Judge in pre-1947 Lahore, Punjab – now in Pakistan but then part of British India; and later on in the capital New Delhi, as a senior government official. Looking back to his school days in Simla he was invariably brought up before the Headmaster, who was British, for some infraction or other (usually innocent, but ha-ha funny and never mean.) By the same token, he was invariably let off with a wink-and-a-nod reprimand to never do it again – whatever it was!

Daddy was well-built with very broad shoulders and stood about 5’10” high in his socks. He was an all-round sportsman as well as a shikari (huntsman) of note. He very soon excelled in tennis. Indeed, during his long tenure in the Capital he was often sought after as a double’s partner.

But there was one invitation he could not refuse – from the longest-serving Viceroy of India! His Excellency the Marquess of Linlithgow asked Daddy to join him on weekends for tennis, and if there were no political or other forces affecting civil life in the Capital, that partnership became fairly routine. Daddy’s own favorite partner was one of his younger brothers, Eric, and eventually the two Lewis siblings became the Champion Doubles Tennis Players of the Punjab.

With the US Tennis Open just around the corner in New York, I’m being reminded of the fact that when I was a youngster, I witnessed Daddy’s commanding performance in tennis matches on the Roshnara Club grounds in New Delhi – he was one of the Club’s founding and Executive Committee members who enjoyed playing there with his many pals, both in public and commercial life.

After Tennis 001

Since he was ambidextrous, he could return the ball with equal facility into his opponent’s court by switching his racquet from one hand to the other with aplomb. It was a delight to see, particularly in doubles matches, where those on the other side of the net were rarely able to anticipate his next move. [He’s seen alongside après a tennis game.]

Daddy’s other consuming passion was hunting, and each year during the season he and his buddies (including the legendary British hunter and naturalist Jim Corbett who wrote “Man-Eaters of Kumaon”) would invariably head for the hills – literally! – as the Terai was their usual destination. A belt of forests located south of the outer foothills of the Himalayas, the Terai was teeming with wildlife and at first the favorite sport was to bring back a tiger or two for displaying the cured fur skin(s) in ones living room or man-cave. But after a while, Daddy was the first among his friends to declare an end to the slaughter. He, therefore, took to the camera instead of a rifle to ‘shoot’ pictures of animals in the wild, and to the pen for contributing articles on jungle life to the Indian and foreign press.

Unfortunately, on one of his forays into the Terai jungles, Daddy contracted an illness that eventually proved to be fatal. I was studying at London University, when I received news from my mother end-January 1950 that all was not well with Daddy. His shikari friends had foregathered at our New Delhi home to wish him well on his birthday, January the 30th, and to swap yarns and exciting anecdotes about their past hunting experiences.

Thereafter, Daddy’s condition worsened. With the onset of the hot weather, my elder bother, Misbah, and our worried mother checked him into the Willingdon Hospital, where soon after he went into a coma from which he never recovered. Daddy, that Prince Among Men, passed away on 25 June 1950 in the early hours of that morning. He was buried in the York Road Cemetery. This Father’s Day appreciation of mine is dedicated to his memory 67 years after he left this world a far better place. _______________________________________________________________________

Afterword
Two of Daddy’s ‘specialties’ were his command of the English language and concomitantly his musical knowledge and appreciation of grand opera.

  • First, his constant companion on his office desk at home was Chambers’s Twentieth Century Dictionary – the revised edition with a Latin and foreign language supplement published in 1959. I still have the tattered volume in my den and still use it when, say, a Latin, German or French phrase escapes me. On Daddy’s retirement from Government service, a farewell party was thrown for him at the Roshnara Club. There, Delhi’s Chief Commissioner, Sir John Thompson, was the one to give the toast: He reminisced that his first contact with Edgar was in the Secretariat; it transpired that during his work there, his curiosity had been aroused by some very lucid, logical, effective and well-written notes in one of the recent case files. Thereupon, he enquired about their author and was told that the gentleman was none other than the illustrious son of his old friend from his own Hoshiarpur days, Judge Lewis. He concluded before the assembled guests and well-wishers that Mr. Lewis Junior was one of the most diligent, capable and popular members of the Civil Service.
  • Second, another old volume in my den bears the title, Opera at Home: The Fourth Edition was published by The Gramophone Co., Ltd, London in 1928 and dedicated to the imperishable memory of Adelina Patti and Enrico Caruso. The inscription inside reads simply E. S. Lewis June 1929.
    ESLsignatureOpera at Home has been my bible, especially when listening to Daddy’s many old 78’s and LP records that I brought over to the USA in 1975. [For listening to the 78’s I bought a special convertible turntable here that, while not perfect because of the scratchy back-ground, still gives me pleasure to hear some of the great operatic voices of all time.] They include my favorites of Beethoven’s Fidelio, Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor (with Joan Sutherland), Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte, and Verdi’s Il Trovatore (conducted by Herbert von Karajan). Without doubt, Enrico Caruso was Daddy’s tenor of choice followed by coloratura soprano Amelita Galli-Curci – both Italians! He couldn’t get enough of listening to them in the evening in order to relax after a tough day spent in the hurly-burly of public life during a period of political unrest in India’s Capital.
  • A chip off the old block has been Misbah: My older brother not only became his regiment’s tennis champion while serving in the Indian Army as a General, but to this day as an octogenarian retiree in the northern hill-station of Dehra Dun loves to load his record-player with discs of operatic performances by the great tenors – and is even heard bellowing out their well-known solos while taking a morning shower!

CODA: I can’t help leaving my readers without Enrico Caruso having the last word, uh, song. Here’s a YouTube clip of his performing the perennial favorite “Santa Lucia” first recorded on 20 March 1916, just under a century ago: Santa Lucia – enjoy listening to the best tenor of ’em all!

Dear Readers,
You number over 75,000 in nearly two-and-a-half years ago back in early 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, with the advent of the New Year 2017, you would please consider making a donation of US $1.00, $2.00, $5.00, or whatever amount you deem fit to sustain my work.
And thank you for being a regular reader of the Azim Mayadas Blog!

Copyright © 2017 Azim Lewis Mayadas

June Honorees

[Before bidding Spring goodbye, I’m happy to share with you a selection of classical works that Lolita and I presented to our Senior Citizens class six years ago to the day. Alas, some of our regulars have since passed away and so this is in a way our homage to them.]

Spring Music Appreciation Classes
Presented by Azim & Lolita Mayadas
June 14, 2011: 3:00 – 4:00 pm
SESCIL, Englewood, NJ

June Honorees – Classical Composers

June 2, 1857 (“Bitter Sweet Memories”)
Edward Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E Minor, Op. 85: Third Movement
Jacqueline du Pre cello
Daniel Barenboim conductor

 

Sir Edward Elgar (1857-1934)

 

June 11, 1864 (“A World of Dreams”)
Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier: Act III (Ist ein Traum)
Lisa Della Casa soprano, Anneliese Rothenberger soprano
Rudof Neuhaus conductor
Staatskapelle Dresden

——————————->>

Richard Strauss (1864-1949)          

June 11, 1864 (“Nights in Vienna”)
Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier:
Waltz Sequence No.2 on YouTube

June 15, 1843 (“Tranquility”)
Edvard Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite No. 1: Prelude (Morning)
Filharmonia Narodowa on YouTube

June 15, 1843 (“A Romantic Concerto”)
Edvard Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 16
I:       Allegro molto moderato
II:     Adagio
III:    Allegro moderato molto e marcato                                                      

Andre Previn conductor with
London Symphony Orchestra
and Arthur Rubinstein piano on YouTube


Edvard Grieg (1843-1907)

Dear Readers,
You number over 75,000 in nearly two-and-a-half years ago back in early 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, with the advent of the New Year 2017, you would please consider making a donation of US $1.00, $2.00, $5.00, or whatever amount you deem fit to sustain my work.
And thank you for being a regular reader of the Azim Mayadas Blog!

 

Richard Strauss, Rudolph Serkin

[The title of this post references two world-renowned musicians from two very different backgrounds and countries who came together in two different eras to provide an astonishing recording that has stood the test of time.]

                                     

Richard Strauss                                                        Rudolph Serkin
June 11, 1864-Sept. 8, 1949 
                                March 28, 1903-May 8, 1991

I was rummaging through my LP recordings section in our drawing room library, when I came across quite unexpectedly on an old Columbia Masterworks album, which contained one favorite of mine – Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 45, and amazingly another work I’d completely forgotten about – Richard Strauss’s Burlesque in D Minor for Piano and Orchestra. Since today is indeed the great man’s birthday anniversary, you may check out Serkin’s sterling performance on YouTube by clicking on the red hotspot and taking a rare aural glimpse into another era of music-making with Eugene Ormandy conducting the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra.

Afterword: A quick scan of the ancient disc cover can be seen right here: Burlesk

Also, during Richard’s early days in Weimar, one Ernest Hutcheson – an Australian pianist, composer and teacher – wondered aloud why “so well-equipped a pianist did not give more of his talent to the instrument.” Out of all that he did give, Burlesk was Strauss’s most important music for the piano and was written at the age of 21 when he was still in his Brahmsian stage .

Reference:  My Columbia Hi-Fi LP Album

Dear Readers,
You number over 75,000 in nearly two-and-a-half years ago back in early 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, with the advent of the New Year 2017, you would please consider making a donation of US $1.00, $2.00, $5.00, or whatever amount you deem fit to sustain my work.
And thank you for being a regular reader of the Azim Mayadas Blog!

 

Joyeux Juin, Montreal Magnifique

The title of this post says it all, but the June refers particularly to that month in 1993 when Lolita and I spent a joyful week in the City of Mary going hither and thither as the spirit moved us before heading for Quebec as part of a well-earned vacation from work in New Jersey.

Montreal, originally called Ville-Marie, or “City of Mary,” is said take its name from Mount Royal. The city has a distinct four-season continental climate, with warm-to-hot summers and cold, snowy winters – not unlike our own New Jersey in recent years! Legally a French-speaking city, Montreal is one of the most bilingual cities in Quebec and Canada, with 56% of the population able to speak both official languages. Indeed, Montreal is the second-largest primarily French-speaking city in the world after Paris.

Historically the commercial capital of Canada, it was surpassed in population and economic strength by Toronto in the 1970s. However, for the record – taken here from Wikipedia – Montreal remains an important centre of commerce, aerospace, finance, pharmaceuticals, technology, design, education, culture, tourism, gaming, film and world affairs. Being the location of the headquarters of the International Civil Aviation Organization, Montreal is one of three North American cities home to organizations of the United Nations (along with New York and Washington) and also has the second-highest number of consulates in the continent.Montreal was also named a UNESCO City of Design.In 2009, Montreal was named North America’s leading host city for international association events, according to the 2009 preliminary rankings of the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA).

And, in the 2017 edition of their Best Student Cities ranking, Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) ranked Montreal as the world’s best city to study abroad. With 170,000 students enrolled, in its 11 universities, The Greater Montreal region has the highest number of university students per capita among all metropolitan areas in North America, including Boston, the intellectual capital of the U.S.

Away from al that statistical data and down to our own personally crafted visit to the city’s tourist highlights and its environs, the following two photos encapsulate some of them:

    Downtown Statuary with the Mayadases 1993

References: Wikipedia, My Photo Album

Dear Readers,
You number over 75,000 in nearly two-and-a-half years ago back in early 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, with the advent of the New Year 2017, you would please consider making a donation of US $1.00, $2.00, $5.00, or whatever amount you deem fit to sustain my work.
And thank you for being a regular reader of the Azim Mayadas Blog!

Late Liszt, Forgotten Franz

Whatever happened to Franz Liszt in his seventies? It’s difficult to focus on the life of this remarkable pianist and composer and dream up various scenarios for the dramatic change in his creative output: none of them seems to provide a valid or reasonable answer and you still have new theories being bandied around that seem to get weirder and weirder with each passing decade.

For instance, listen to Waldesrauschen, the first of two Etudes de concert written in 1863, played on YouTube by a young Evgeny Kissin.

Now, glance at the two portraits in this post: the first is without doubt the one that remains embedded in ones psyche when performing the wealth of his early and middle-period compositions that made him the darling of Europe. Then, inexplicably, there is a gradual withdrawal not necessarily due to advancing age, but to an abandonment of showing off his prodigious gifts for a simpler mode comprising of fewer notes filling his scores, solo or orchestral.

One set of compositions can be found in the Liszt Society’s Publications Volume I – Late Piano Works: they include Nuages Gris (1881), Dritte Mephisto-Walzer (1881), Csárdás Macabre (1881-82), La Lugubre Gondola I & II (1882) and En Rêve – Nocturne (1885-86).  The Hungarian pianist Ervin Nyiregyházi plays the Nocturne on YouTube with quiet contemplation.

Afterword
In September 1996 Time Magazine published a music article entitled The Book of Liszts by Elliot Ravetz that praised the biography by Alan Walker that “does justice to all facets of Franz Liszt’s messy life and protean work.” Ravetz goes on to write that what distinguishes Mr. Walker from dozens of earlier biographers is that he is equally strong on the music and the life. I had the privilege of participating in Hamilton, Canada, at one of Walker’s intimate seminars-cum-recital series where among the well-known participants was the New York Times music critic and writer Harold Schonberg. On the second day of my visit Harold and I managed to have a tête-a-tête over coffee and cake at a nearby café. He was fulsome in his assessment of Alan’s textured portrait of Liszt and his times. Indeed, he deemed it to be without rival.

Dear Readers,
You number over 75,000 in nearly two-and-a-half years ago back in early 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, with the advent of the New Year 2017, you would please consider making a donation of US $1.00, $2.00, $5.00, or whatever amount you deem fit to sustain my work.
And thank you for being a regular reader of the Azim Mayadas Blog!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Readers,
You number over 75,000 in nearly two-and-a-half years ago back in early 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, with the advent of the New Year 2017, you would please consider making a donation of US $1.00, $2.00, $5.00, or whatever amount you deem fit to sustain my work.
And thank you for being a regular reader of the Azim Mayadas Blog!

Seasonal Songs, Family Frolics

Four years ago we had a family get-together that brought our close relatives from Boston and New York under one roof in Englewood. One thing that stood out was the natural affinity of their natural aptitude for music-making helped no doubt by the fact that we have two Yamaha keyboards in the drawing room – one acoustic grand, the other an electronic wonder. It was no surprise then, that ere long two of our daughters gravitated to one of them – the electronic choice tickled their fancy – and they found inspiration in a soulful piece for four hands while hamming their way through it to the delight of their familial audience. Above is my amateur video of Tanya and Priya playing the Claude Bolling Duet.

Not to be outdone, the paterfamilias took over at the grand to reminisce over a piece, My Prayer, that he composed back in 1945 as a 12-year old “For a Caged Pet Parrot in New Delhi.” Here it is, warts and all, as videographed by Lolita:

Dear Readers,
You number over 75,000 in nearly two-and-a-half years ago back in early 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, with the advent of the New Year 2017, you would please consider making a donation of US $1.00, $2.00, $5.00, or whatever amount you deem fit to sustain my work.
And thank you for being a regular reader of the Azim Mayadas Blog!

Edward Elgar, English Enigma

“Salut d’amour” (Love’s Greeting) is one of Elgar’s best-known works and has inspired numerous arrangements for widely varying instrumental combinations. The piano version is the one that introduced me to the English composer at an emotional level, and it is the one I frequently played at various recitals in my early days of concertizing in India and abroad. On YouTube here is the Dutch pianist Wouter Harbers playing Salut d’amour.

Since I’m celebrating today, June the 2nd., the birth of Sir Edward Elgar in 1857 – his 160th anniversary – I felt it incumbent upon me to dedicate this post to his memory.

Sir Edward Elgar
[June 2, 1857-Feb. 21, 1934]
Other than Love’s Greeting cited above, Elgar’s Enigma Variations introduced in London June 19, 1889, by conductor Hans Richter, achieved a major success and remains to this day one of his most celebrated works. Variation IX. Nimrod (August Jaeger) is one of the most beautiful in the entire work: it makes a brief reference to Beethoven’s Sonata pathetique, in deference to Jaeger, who used to talk to Elgar eloquently about Beethoven during their long walks. On YouTube you may hear Daniel Barenboim conduct that variation with the Chicago Symphony.

Although Elgar is often regarded as a typically English composer, most of his musical influences were not from England but from continental Europe. He felt himself to be an outsider, not only musically, but socially. In musical circles dominated by academics, he was a self-taught composer; in Protestant Britain, his Roman Catholicism was regarded with suspicion in some quarters; and in the class-conscious society of Victorian and Edwardian Britain, he was acutely sensitive about his humble origins even after he achieved recognition. He nevertheless married the daughter of a senior British army officer. She inspired him both musically and socially, but he struggled to achieve success until his forties, when after a series of moderately successful works his Enigma Variations (1899) became immediately popular in Britain and overseas. He followed the Variations with a choral work, The Dream of Gerontius (1900), based on a Roman Catholic text that caused some disquiet in the Anglican establishment in Britain, but it became, and has remained, a core repertory work in Britain and elsewhere. His later full-length religious choral works were well received but have not entered the regular repertory.

In his fifties, Elgar composed a symphony and a violin concerto that were immensely successful. His second symphony and his cello concerto did not gain immediate public popularity and took many years to achieve a regular place in the concert repertory of British orchestras. Elgar’s music came, in his later years, to be seen as appealing chiefly to British audiences. His stock remained low for a generation after his death. It began to revive significantly in the 1960s, helped by new recordings of his works. Some of his works have, in recent years, been taken up again internationally, but the music continues to be played more in Britain than elsewhere.

References: Wikipedia, Encyclopedia of Concert Music by David Ewen

Dear Readers,

You number over 75,000 in nearly two-and-a-half years ago back in early 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, with the advent of the New Year 2017, you would please consider making a donation of US $1.00, $2.00, $5.00, or whatever amount you deem fit to sustain my work.
And thank you for being a regular reader of the Azim Mayadas Blog!