Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Summer Solstice Redux

FIVE YEARS AGO I POSTED A BLOG JUST BEFORE MEMORIAL DAY. I thought I’d share it with you anew as “The Summer Solstice Redux” and hope that you’ll enjoy its contents as you head out to enjoy the lovely long and sunny weekend forecast for May 25th through 27th.

the summer solstice
– and Kite Flying!

KiteflyingFoto by Ahlatlibel

HERE’S A QUIZ FOR YOU FOLKS! Just before the end of May, you probably spent quality time with the family at the beach, or in your own backyard with friends and kin presiding over a BBQ.

Select, then, either A or B of the following faux ancient couplets by yours truly and e-mail your response to me at azimmayadas3@gmail.com no later than May the 31st.

  1. Which Day, forsooth, hath Summer begun? ‘Twas on Memorial Day, I trow!
  2. Doth Thou, who welcometh Summer in June, Bethink it starteth two-thirds o’ the Way through?

PS: There are no prizes offered here, but the first two respondents with the correct answer will be duly recognized in my blog.

For those not in the know, at this time of year kite flying – starting with the advent of Spring in April and often right through mid-July – is a passion in many parts of the world. For starters, there is the Subcontinent (India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh) as well as Afghanistan. And then the countries in East Asia, notably Korea and Japan. Not to be outdone, children and adults in Australia and the USA are joining their ranks in increasing numbers.

As they all discover in due time, it’s not only fun to fly kites in wide open spaces and en plein air, but it’s also a highly competitive team and individual sport.

Of late, there has been a spate of literary interest in the subject due mainly, I think, to the Afghan writer, Khaled Hosseini, who has – among other gems – crafted a best-seller in “The Kite Runner.” It’s memorable ending runs with the breathless:

“I ran. A grown man running with a swarm of screaming children. But I didn’t care. I ran with  the wind blowing in my face, and a smile as wide as the Valley of Panjsher on my lips.

I ran.”

 Copyright © 2020 Azim Lewis Mayadas

 

 

New Knee – Op Ordeal

AND SO IT CAME TO PASS that I journeyed to Boston a month ago to undergo a right-knee replacement as I was no longer able to enjoy my 40-minute morning walks – come rain or shine – in and around Englewood due to ‘structural’ limb problems that had to be addressed sooner rather than later.

Earlier visits starting last November to a couple of esteemed hospitals in Manhattan had only provided temporary relief that even excellent trainers at local gyms in Tenafly and Fort Lee were unable to help improve upon.

Finally, after a successful surgery in Massachusetts followed by intensive rehab lasting four weeks I was glad to get back home to New Jersey this weekend with arrangements in hand for professional in-house help to get me back on my own two feet literally in fairly short order.

Since I was unable to keep in touch with my friends, relatives and acquaintances since late March, I trust they will understand the reason for my extended silence.

Copyright © 2019 Azim Lewis Mayadas

From Walla Walla to Wagga Wagga

I WOULD NEVER HAVE IMAGINED THAT THERE WERE PLACES LIKE WALLA WALLA AND WAGGA WAGGA in this wide and wondrous world of ours until 1985 when as Membership Director of the National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts (NGCSA) then based in Englewood, New Jersey, USA, I started receiving back the results of my aggressive drive to expand the Guild’s membership by way of arts institutions in the Western states and, overseas, across the Pacific Ocean and down to the Southern Hemisphere.

Thus it came to pass that I stumbled across the captivating names of Walla Walla

Walla Walla University, WA
and

Wagga Wagga, NSW
(aerial view below)
They are literally poles apart –  the former in the great state of Washington,
the latter in New South Wales, Australia.

Soon thereafter, In a state of euphoria, I informed my colleagues at the Guild that ere long its membership would span the globe – from Walla Walla to Wagga Wagga! To set the ball rolling, I proudly announced that the latter city Down Under was the first Overseas Member represented by one Roland Bannister, whose application I’d received out of the blue on February 27, 1985.

In Retrospect
In many ways, 1985 was a banner year for the Guild summarized by its Chairman, Monroe Levin, in a memo to the Board: “First, the achievement of a 150-school membership at the close of my first two-year term (hard to believe it reached 100 only two years ago) is the best sign of good Guild health. May the Powers Above and Azim grant that we reach 200 within the next two years.

In passing, about the same time, there was much news from England about the plausibility of an immigrant to Australia from England who was a butcher making a living in Wagga Wagga by the name of Arthur Norton: he claimed to be a baronet, but in the law courts back in London lost out and ended up –  after the most lengthy lawsuit in its history – having to serve a long prison sentence.
Arthur Orton
– Butcher or Baronet?

Dear Readers,
You number over 70,000 in just over 3 years ago back in February 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 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 © 2019 Azim Lewis Mayadas

Felix Mendelssohn – Felicitous Musikant

FELIX MENDELSSOHN-BARTHOLDY[February 3, 1809 - November 4, 1847]

NO WORDS OF MINE can fully express my gratitude to the felicitous German composer, Felix Mendelssohn (pictured above) for all the pleasure his many piano compositions have given me during my musical career that allowed me to perform them in India, Europe, Australia and the Americas.  Today, February the 3rd, is Felix’s birth anniversary and I’m happy to say that two of his brilliantly conceived piano pieces have been my favorites – Variations sérieuses and Rondo capriccioso – and which I have programmed regularly.

It so happens that the former was performed by Jeremy Denk at Carnegie Hall just yesterday to an appreciative audience, including me (I was happy to be squired by a couple, who are longtime friends from Englewood, NJ.) But for the soloist’s facial tics during his playing that – for me at least – caused me to squirm somewhat in my parquet seat and at one point shut my eyes at his non-verbal “here’s lookin’ at me, kiddo!” in order to enjoy his otherwise virtuoso performance. By turns lyrical, dramatic, tragic, and whimsical, Denk deftly captured the rapidly changing moods of the 18 variations.

Afterword:
I’ve always been a fan of the late Russian pianist Sviatoslav Richter, and have therefore selected his 1965 performance of the Variations, which you are welcome to access here: Variations.

Dear Readers,
You number over 70,000 since 4 years back in February 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 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 © 2019 Azim Lewis Mayadas

 

Looking Back on Lucknovian Family

[So many fond memories! So many lost members of the family enshrined in the annals of  that center of culture in North India – the one and only Lucknow!!]

Tehrim (Gypsie) Dass (1933-2015)

Proud Resident Peacock in Front Garden
of the Dass’s Family Home in Lucknow

For the record, Lucknow has always been known as a multicultural city that flourished as a  cultural and artistic hub, and the seat of power of Nawabs in the 18th and 19th centuries. It continues to be an important center of governance, administration, education, commerce, aerospace, finance, pharmaceuticals, technology, design, culture, tourism, music and poetry. Hindi is the main language of the city and Urdu is also widely spoken.

Lucknow is the center of SHIA ISLAM in India with the highest Shia population in India.

L to R: Ranjit, Monika, Shanti Varma, Amrita, Sunita & Kavita
Dass Family Gathering in 6 Faizabad Road Drawing Room
Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India (2016)

Lolita and I were regular visitors from Englewood, NJ, USA until illness took its toll each of the past three years forcing us to to cancel our air tickets for seeing our close family members during the lovely Lucknow spring season.

Dear Readers:
You number over 75,000 in nearly three 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 in 2019, 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 © 2018 Azim Lewis Mayadas

Summer’s Around – and Round Sound

SUMMER ARRIVED ON JUNE THE 21ST and most of the Northeast of these United States has been wallowing ever since then in the bright sunshine under cerulean skies to the enjoyment of its outdoor-loving citizenry........

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”.

[It was sung in July 2014 on YouTube by the Lumina Vocal Ensemble. The song is composed in the Wessex dialect of Middle English. Although the composer's identity is unknown today, it may have been W. de Wycombe.]

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!

The round is sometimes known as the Reading Round because the manuscript comes from Reading Abbey, which was founded by Henry I 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.


________________________________________________

References: Diary of my ‘St. Paul’s Church:The Messenger July 2011′; Wikipedia

Dear Readers,
You number over 70,000 in just over 3 years ago back in February 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 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 © 2018 Azim Lewis Mayadas

 

Gobbledegook about OK

I WAS SURPRISED TO READ TODAY, March the 23rd, that according to the website On this Day in History  “the man responsible for unraveling the mystery behind “OK” was an American linguist named Allen Walker Read. An English professor at Columbia University, Read dispelled a host of erroneous theories on the origins of “OK,” ranging from the name of a popular Army biscuit (Orrin Kendall) to the name of a Haitian port famed for its rum (Aux Cayes) to the signature of a Choctaw chief named Old Keokuk. Whatever its origins, “OK” has become one of the most ubiquitous terms in the world, and certainly one of America’s greatest lingual exports.”

The fact of the matter is that one has to betake oneself to West Africa and visit Senegal – its capital is Dakar, where Wolof is spoken, and that’s the language which inspired a slew of “American” slang words. To clarify, Arabic is the language of the educated people there;  French, the “tourist” language, and Wolof the language of the villages, which happen to be inhabited by the most creative – linguistically speaking – of the lot!

I first became aware of Wolof when I visited Dakar for a few days in 1957 en route to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from New Delhi, India, for an international Piano Competition. One of the first things I learned was the Wolof word for “yes” – waaw and more emphatically waaw kay, the origin according to  David Dalby (Reader in West African Languages, SOAS, University of London) of today’s ubiquitous Okay and O.K.  Subsequently, when I got home to India, I dug deeper and became aware of several other Americanisms that may once have been Africanisms.

Decades later, when my family moved to Englewood, New Jersey, US, I wrote the following piece for The Messenger, the monthly newsletter of September 2010 of St. Paul’s Church:

‘DEGGA’ —Americanisms Rooted in Africa!
by Azim L. Mayadas
Published: August 27, 1995 by
The New York Times

IN HER ESSAY “Performing Art Is Always Theater” [ August 6, 1995] Margo
Jefferson translates the *Wolof word “degga”—which was used as the title
for the collaborative piece by Toni Morrison, Max Roach and Bill T. Jones—
as “to understand.” It brings to my mind several Americanisms that may
once have been Africanisms. For example, “jive” had the original meaning
among African-Americans of “misleading talk;” it can be compared to the
Wolof “jev,” meaning “to talk disparagingly.”
The slang words “hep,” “hip” and “hippie” have a basic sense of “aware”
or “alert to what is going on.” In Wolof, the verb “hipi” means “to open
one’s eyes.” The use of “cat” to mean “person,” as in “hep-cat” or “cool
cat,” can be likened to the Wolof “kat,” used as an agent-suffix after verbs.
“Hipi-kat” in Wolof means “a person who has opened his eyes.”
It would be rash to suggest that all such Americanisms can be attributed
with certainty to Wolof, but the frequency of correlations is unlikely to be
the result of mere chance.

One of our parishioners at St. Paul’s Church, Johanne Gambrill, happened to read that article of mine in  The Messenger about Wolof  and responded by e-mail with great enthusiasm as follows:
IN 1961, I WAS A PARTICIPANT in Operation Crossroads-Africa. Two hundred college students and other young post-university students were chosen to work in countries in Africa in groups of about 12. My group, which was the United States in microcosm, representing many religions and races, male and female, was located in Senegal.
Forty kilometers south of Dakar is a village called Popenguine where we built a school. Our 12 African counterparts spoke French, Arabic and Wolof and some English. We communicated in French with the African students. With the villagers we used words from many languages. We learned some Wolof.
The children were generally puzzled, so we drew pictures in the dirt to explain what we wanted to say, and they drew pictures for us. In the evenings after work, we had lectures. One night we would speak in English and it was translated into French. The Africans spoke French and it was translated into English, even though we had all become fluent in both languages!
Dakar looked a lot like DC. We landed in Dakar and spent a week there. The government had just had a change of ministers and didn’t know who we were! After a week we were kicked out of the country and went to the next door neighbor, Mali.
We were taken in by some Catholic nuns who fed us and arranged trips (I use the term loosely) to places around the capital, Bamako. Two weeks later, we were invited back to Senegal and sent to the village of Popenguine to build a school. Popenguine is in the middle of nowhere, as are most of the villages.
We had a spectacular experience, one that has allowed me to see the world through different eyes and has allowed me to head projects in the school where I last taught for 11 years, including running an Africa Day.

References: David Dalby (Reader in West African Languages, SOAS, U of London); My Diary

Dear Readers,
You number over 70,000 since January 2015 just over three years ago, 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 people and 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 please 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 © 2018 Azim Lewis Mayadas

 

Paderewski and Piano Practice

I begin this brief post by remembering a Polish giant of the concert stage, Ignace Paderewski, not for his memorable and supremely musical performances, but for his famous epigram about diligence:

“If I don’t practice for one day, I know it; if I don’t practice for two days, the critics know it; if I don’t practice for three days, the audience knows it.”

Indeed, a telling quasi-penitential piece he wrote in The Paderewski Memoirs 1939 states unequivocally that for the pianist practice is constant torture and privation. “It prevents you from reading, from thinking, from developing your intellect – this practicing every day the indispensable hours.” He goes on to pen, “I still need four or five hours a day of practicing with the concentration of mind that does not admit any intrusion. It is a slavery from which there is no escape.”

When Paderewski entered politics in the service of his country, he stopped playing altogether. He didn’t touch the piano for over four years. Admittedly his fingers became strong again. But when he got back on to the concert circuit in Europe and America, the strain was unending and the pressure of work terrible.

On technique, he offered some words of wisdom on tempo rubato (robbed, or stolen time.) It is, he averred, the irreconcilable foe of the metronome, and one of music’s oldest friends – older than Mozart, older than Bach. Chopin made very ample use of it, and Liszt also. Paderewski goes a little further and states it is necessary, but should not be abused – it should not become a license. Yes, it is a fascinating subject for most musicians – both supporters and critics alike!

Postscript:
Here are three examples of early piano recordings made of his playing works of Chopin:

The nocturne was recorded on July 12, 1911 at A. Chalet Riond-Bosson, Morges, Switzerland. The first etude above was recorded on April 5, 1923, and the second etude  was an Electrola recording ca. 1930.

References: Wikipedia; The Music Lover’s Companion 1971 edited by Gervase Hughes & Herbert Van Thal.

Dear Readers,
You number over 70,000 since January 2015 just over three years ago, 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 please 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 © 2018 Azim Lewis Mayadas

 

 

Maurice Ravel – Maven of Recording

MAURICE RAVEL in 1925
b. March 7, 1875 – d. December 28, 1937

One aspect of the French composer’s life – who was born 143 years ago on March the 7th. – tends to be relegated to a minor category of his musical achievements, namely, that he was veritably a maven during his last 25 years on this earth when it came to exploiting the comparatively new invention of recording in advertising his own compositions. Thus,

His own interpretations of some of his piano works were captured on piano roll between 1914 and 1928, although some rolls supposedly played by him may have been made under his supervision by Robert Casadesus, a better pianist. Transfers of the rolls have been released on compact disc. In 1913 there was a gramophone recording of Jeux d’eau played by Mark Hambourg, and by the early 1920s there were discs featuring the Pavane pour une infante défunte and Ondine, and movements from the String Quartet, Le tombeau de Couperin and Ma mère l’Oye. Ravel was among the first composers who recognized the potential of recording to bring their music to a wider public, and throughout the 1920s there was a steady stream of recordings of his works, some of which featured the composer as pianist or conductor. A 1932 recording of the G major Piano Concerto was advertised as “Conducted by the composer”, although he had in fact supervised the sessions while a more proficient conductor took the baton. Recordings for which Ravel actually was the conductor included  Boléro in 1930, and a sound film of a 1933 performance of the D major piano concerto with Wittgenstein as soloist.

I’ve particularly enjoyed playing Ravel’s piano compositions as part of my regular recital programs of the late 1990’s. His Sonatine (1905) – a veritable jewel – has been a favorite of mine all along.

Afterword:  Ravel  is often associated with impressionism along with his elder contemporary Claude Debussy, although both composers rejected the term. In the 1920s and 1930s Ravel was internationally regarded as France’s greatest living composer.

Born to a music-loving family, Ravel attended France’s premier music college, the Paris Conservatoire; he was not well regarded by its conservative establishment, whose biased treatment of him caused a scandal. After leaving the Conservatoire, Ravel found his own way as a composer, developing a style of great clarity, incorporating elements of baroque, neoclassicism and, in his later works, jazz.

Ravel liked to experiment with musical form, as in his best-known 1928 work, Boléro.
In that 1928 work performed in Maastricht by André Rieu & the Johann Strauss Orchestra,  repetition takes the place of development.

He made some orchestral arrangements of other composers’ music, of which his 1922 version of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition is the best known.

As a slow and painstaking worker, Ravel composed fewer pieces than did many of his contemporaries. Among his works to enter the repertoire are pieces for piano, chamber music, two piano concertos, ballet music, two operas (each less than an hour long), and eight song cycles; he wrote no symphonies and only one religious work (“Kaddish”). Many of his works exist in two versions: first, a piano score and later an orchestration. Some of his piano music, such as Gaspard de la nuit (1908), is exceptionally difficult to play, and his complex orchestral works such as Daphnis et Chloé (1912) require skillful balance in performance.

Postscript: This very week I happened to come across a 90-year-old recording by the Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire, Paris of Ravel’s La Valse. It was introduced in Paris on December 12, 1920, Camille Chevillard conducting. Stimulated by the waltzes of Johann Strauss II, Ravel here planned an “apotheosis of the waltz” to provide a picture of old Vienna.

The background ‘noise’ is inescapable, but the sample here is the last section of a 4-part recording in which the finale grows ever more restless and turbulent: The gaiety of Vienna in 1855 becomes grim and tragic in the dire post-war year of 1919.

References: Wikipedia; Encyclopedia of Concert Music by David Ewen;  My Diary

Dear Readers,
You number over 70,000 since January 2015 just over three years ago, 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 please 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 © 2018 Azim Lewis Mayadas

Joy to the World

It was at my family’s place of worship, Church of Redemption in New Delhi, that as a child I first joined in the singing of the carol Joy to the World and it was also when I first learned of the name of its composer, George Frideric Handel. Thereafter, I was at Christmas time regaled by his majestic Messiah, sung by our well-rehearsed Church choir with brio and full-voiced jubilation.

Let’s then start with the composer’s background:


b. February 23, 1685 in Halle, Duchy of Magdeburg, Germany

d. April 14, 1759 (aged 74)

As a young man the German-born Handel travelled and lived in Italy, its operatic tradition becoming very influential on his work.

In 1712 Handel decided to settle in London, becoming a naturalized British citizen in 1727. He enjoyed early royal patronage and wrote his famous Water Music in 1717 for King George I on the River Thames and in 1727 was commissioned to compose works for the coronation of George II. One of these, Zadok the Priest has been played at every British coronation since.

Handel began to move away from Italian-style operas towards oratorios before later in life embracing a more English choral tradition. His most famous work Messiah was composed in 1742 and its Hallelujah chorus has been a Christmas favorite ever since.

Later in life I learnt that Joy to the World wasn’t actually written by Handel, but arranged from certain passages of his famous Messiah by Lowell Mason (born in Medfield, Massachusetts, 1792/ died in Orange, New Jersey, 1872).

Thus, Mason had selected two passages from Messiah, as the basis for his own arrangement, as follows:

Part One of Handel’s Messiah –

  • The first passage is from the Chorus which sings:                                                                   Glory to God in the highest
  • This corresponds to the opening line of Mason’s carol:                                                             Joy to the world the Lord is come
  • The second passage is from the accompaniment to the opening Tenor solo recitative on the words:                                                                                                                                     Comfort ye my people
  • That accompaniment is similar to the second part of Mason’s carol on the words:       And heav’n and nature sing

Here are the complete four verses of this carol penned by Isaacs Watts in 1719:

Joy to the world! the Lord is come;
Let earth receive her King;
Let ev’ry heart prepare him room,
Andt heav’n and nature sing, And heav’n and nature sing,
And heav’n, and hea’n and nature sing.

Joy to the world! the Savior reigns;
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains,
Repeat the sounding joy, repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy.

No more let sin and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make his blessings flow
Far as the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of his righteousness,
and wonders of his love.

And here’s a YouTube clip featuring a young people’s choir singing Joy to the World.

Afterword:
I can’t leave one of my favorite composers without mentioning the opening aria of his 1738 opera SerseOmbra mai fu. The opera itself was a commercial failure, but in the 19th century the aria was rediscovered and became one of Handel’s best-known pieces. Handel adapted it from the setting by Giovanni Bononcini who, in turn, adapted it from the setting by Francesco Cavalli. All three composers had produced settings of the same opera libretto by Nicolò Minato.

Originally composed to be sung by a soprano castrato (and sung in modern performances of Serse by a countertenor, contralto or a mezzo-soprano), it has often been arranged for other voice types and instruments, including solo organ, solo piano, violin and piano, and string ensembles, often under the title Largo from Xerxes, although the original tempo is marked larghetto. Listen now on YouTube to the incomparable Cecilia Bartoli singing Ombra mai fu.

References: Wikipedia;  My Diary

Dear Readers,
You number over 70,000 since January 2015 just over three years ago, 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 please 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 © 2018 Azim Lewis Mayadas