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Numerous objects of fascination

You could also call this post “Consumer Report” or “R. Hall’s Gift Guide,” because I’ve consumed all these things and find them all promising as gift ideas. They don’t all have to do with music, but let’s start there. 

Music 

Four favorite works for piano

Piano literature is a many-splendored thing. 

Sonatas, nocturnes, variations, etudes, lyric pieces, humoresques, waltzes, songs without words, sonatinas, fantasies, rhapsodies, orchestral reductions, minuets, preludes, fugues — 

But I had to learn to love it. Growing up, I was inspired by…

For the money

I blogged a couple weeks ago about the Trapp Family Singers. We have their story and The Sound of Music for one simple reason. Captain von Trapp’s bank failed. They went public with their singing for the money. 

They…

Victims of their own success

Daughter and I have listened to a bunch of Classics for Kids episodes. I almost skipped the series on John Philip Sousa, though, because he is a victim of his own success. 

Music has many such victims. You know you’re…

"Let us cheer the weary traveller" 

Today's post comes from a superior writer, who published these words in 1903. To hear the music of the notation, listen to the audio file at the end.

They that walked in darkness sang songs in the olden days—Sorrow Songs—for…

There were hits before radio

Hit songs are hits for a reason. There’s a combination of catchiness, uniqueness, and lyricism that wins so much loyalty that the song becomes self-propelling. 

The very idea of a hit song seems to begin with radio and vinyl records…

Let them not sing alone

"No one knows exactly what day, or year, Scott Joplin was born." 

The fact fell on me like a sand bag. My daughter and I were listening to the umpteenth episode of the Classics for Kids podcast and so far…

Another song from the hospital

There is a carol whose music you have heard, but I doubt you have ever sung in a congregation. 

"The Coventry Carol" is a commemoration of the children who perished at Herod’s order.  

Those children were victims of an ancient…

Songs from the hospital

A hospital stay impressed a deep love for Christmas music in this writer’s heart. The hospital was also the beginning of another person’s practice of music. About the year 1930, ten-year-old Alfred Burt received a cornet as a reward for…

Lyric Pieces from the Labyrinth

Hmmmm....who is this person?

He's a birthday buddy with my sister-in-law and niece (June 15), for one thing. He became a composer. When I was a kid, I first heard his music in an extended TV commercial for a classical…

B - A- C- H spells polyphony

Yesterday I played the last piece in one of my piano student's lesson books so she could get a glimpse of good things coming. It was Prelude in C by Johann Sebastian Bach.

You've heard it before, perhaps under the…