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Pianist, physician, healer

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The Funeral of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, Alexiy II, God rest his soul in peace.
He is credited with rebuilding the Russian Orthodox Church.

The funeral was held in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow.  To see a beautiful video of the service, go HERE.

Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture premiered in this Cathedral.

In the foreground of the photo is St. Basil's. 

The idea of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior was conceived by Tsar Alexander I, in gratitude when the last of Napoleon's soldiers left Moscow. 
It was his brother, Nicholas, who eventually built it, modeling in on the Hagia Sophia in  Constantinople.  The cathedral was completely
destroyed by Stalin, and rebuilt in 2000.

It was my honor to visit both cathedrals when in Moscow.  There, and in the many other cathedrals we toured,
there were the beautiful male voices chanting.  I think Chester has gone there to sing and be free.

Let us enjoy today some magnificent moments .. ecstasy at the extremes ...

when tenors go for the High F in
Credeasi Misera from I PURITANI

Can anyone touch Pavarotti?


Listen again ... to the King of the High Cs ... and more


And here baritones approach the tenor High C





Not long ago, on a Costa Cruise, we were treated with this song sung by waiters from many nationalities.  I love it so!

O Sole Mio is a Neapolitan song (a traditional song sung in the Neapolitan language, i.e., from Napoli),  It was written in 1898.  It has been performed by many famous singers including Lanza, Caruso, Pavarotti, and the Three Tenors.  The lyrics were written by Giovanni Capurro and the melody was composed by Eduardo di Capua.

O Sole Mio is Neapolitan for Il Sole Mio, meaning My Sun (not Oh My Sun).

In 1949, Tony Martin recorded "There's No Tomorrow," which used the melody, and then ... then haunting melody was heard by Elvis Presley, while stationed in Germany and he made his own version.  When back to the States, Presley asked the songwriters Aaron Schroeder and Wally Gold to create lyrics for him, and thus was born "It's Now or Never".  This became a #1 record in both the US and UK, spending 9 weeks at the top of the charts, in numerous other countries as well.  In 1960 it sold in excess of 25 million copies worldwide making it his biggest international single hit ever. 


Here it is sung beautifully by Pavarotti, with great Neapolitan accent




It is with heavy heart ...


Luciano Pavarotti singing Shubert's Ave Maria
God rest his soul in peace.

"Penso che una vita per la musica sia una vita spesa bene ed e a questo che mi sone dedicato."
"I think that a life dedicated to music is a life well spent, and this is what I have devoted my life to."
Luciano Pavarotti, b. 1935  d. 2007


Video of Pavarotti and his father, Fernando, singing Panis Angelicus at Modena Cathedral in 1978

O Sole, o sole mio
sta 'nfronte a te
sta 'nfronte a te









‘O sole, ‘o sole mio
sta 'nfronte a te!
sta 'nfronte a te!
The sun, my own sun,
It's in your face
It's in your face.


"I will bring them to their feet," he said.
And now he has brought us to our knees.



Thank God for the time with pavarotti .  I grew up with his music and my soul was filled up with his voice .Rest in peace and sing to the eternity .


Una lagrima for Luciano, what a glorious voice, our loss is Heaven's Gain!  You'll be singing in Heaven eternally. 
Adieu Luciano, may you rest in peace.
many furtivas Lagrimas on my face... Luciano is my favorite of all times. You will remain alive in our memories and hearts. Viva Luciano
Rest in peace voice of the god :(
he is singing on heaven now

He has given me more pleasure than any person in my life.
My feeling of loss is profound.

The silence is deafening.

Good night sweet prince, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.   And he will be with the angels now.


See Una Furtiva Lagrima here:



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"A love song is just a caress set to music." - Sigmund Romberg

Edith Piaf - there isn't quite a word for her ... phenomenon, perhaps?  La Vie en Rose is the name of the movie about her life. 
Hymne a L'Amour, a fusion of romantic love and religious faith, was voted #4 most beautiful French song of all time.  It is often translated as "if you love me, really love me", though like all romantic poetry it defies translation.  It is most surely about Edith Piaf's love for the boxer, Marcel Cerdan.  (see below)

For version with English subtitles, go here:

EDITH PIAF'S LIFE - once again on the big screen in the movie, "La Vie en Rose."   She's being called a "diva," but that is just not the word.  Neither is chanteuse, nor torch.  There is no word.  She was an original.  And also very French. 

I first became acquainted with her in the 60s.  Among her esoteric fans in the US, the basketball team at my college warmed up to "Milord."    A super star in France, she at one time ranked behind only Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby in earnings, which would make her the #1 female singer in the world.  

That incredible voice, one tragedy after another, and she was only 4'8".  Check out her chart HERE.


Isn't it beautiful the way she uses her hands when she sings?  In the movie, we see her coach Raymond Asso teaching her to do this, and also to articulate, two of her trademarks.  She almost spits the words out in "Padam."  As her coach, he he sticks with her for grueling hours as she practices, shaping her raw talent into something -- well, beyond words.  "Do what I say," he tells her, "or go back to the gutter."  Her coach also gave her her name, "Piaf" which means little sparrow.

Coaching isn't just for sports and film stars and CEOS - go HERE for information on how to have your own coach or .


Christopher Gunning wrote the score and talks about it in an interview on Film Music Weekly. Most of the old recordings were not compatible with Dolby stereo.  There was also the problem that Piaf's songs "hardly ever have the same tempo for more than a few bars."

Notice in the movie the waltz theme for happy times, then the "quasi-religious" music for sad times, as well as the use of her song Mon Legionnaire when things go wrong -- of which there is too much.  One wonders, how much can one person endure.

When original recordings couldn't be used, the voice of Jil Aigrot was used.  Close, but it lacks the incredible volume of Piaf's, and that "each-note-is-my-last" conviction.  It is an imitation, of course.  There was only one Edith Piaf. 

"A soaring deep-throated voice that came to symbolize a certain kind [how French] of tenacious humanity, a willingness to go on no matter what the odds," said RottenTomatoes.


One of the most electrifying scenes in the movie is when, although quite frail, Piaf turns to the orchestra and says "Padam!" and then belts it out.  What does this word mean?  It is probably onomatopoetic, like the word "grrr" for what a dog does,  in French or English, but in Finnish, a dog goes "mrrr."  In this case, like "yada yada" or even "blah blah blah."  Padam" probably means something like da-dum, da-dum, a sound (or melody) she can't get out of her mind. 

Boxer, Marcel Cerdan
who died in a plane crash in October 1949

Edith Piaf and Marcel Cerdan

Read about the charts of
Marcel Cerdan and Edith Piaf HERE.


"When it becomes sexual, the dynamics of the relationship are forever changed.  There is no going back.  The relationship is inevitably on a direct course for evolution or annihilation."  Semiramis the Psychic

"One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: That word is love." - Sophocles

"Attention is the most basic form of love; through it we bless and are blessed." - John Tarrant

"We love because it's the only true adventure." - Nikki Giovanni

"Love is an ideal thing, marriage a real thing." - Goethe

"Love is everything it's cracked up to be. That's why people are so cynical about it...It really is worth fighting for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you don't risk everything, you risk even more." - Erica Jong

"Sometimes love is stronger than a man's convictions." - Isaac Bashevis Singer

"Love is the master key that opens the gates of happiness." - Oliver Wendell Holmes

"Maybe love is like luck. You have to go all the way to find it." - Robert Mitchum

"Love is like war: Easy to begin but hard to end." - Anonymous

"Love consists in this, that two solitudes protect and touch and greet each other." - Rainer Maria Rilke

"Where love is, no room is too small." - Talmud

"Loves makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place." - Zora Neale Hurston

"Love is the irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired." - Mark Twain

"Love is more than three words mumbled before bedtime. Love is sustained by action, a pattern of devotion in the things we do for each other every day." - Nicholas Sparks

"To love is to receive a glimpse of heaven." - Karen Sunde

"Love is an act of endless forgiveness, a tender look which becomes a habit." - Peter Ustinov

"Love doesn't make the world go round, love is what makes the ride worthwhile." - Elizabeth Browning


"To love is to suffer. To avoid suffering one must not love. But then one suffers from not loving. Therefore to love is to suffer, not to love is to suffer. To suffer is to suffer. To be happy is to love. To be happy then is to suffer. But suffering makes one unhappy. Therefore, to be unhappy one must love, or love to suffer, or suffer from too much happiness. I hope you're getting this down." - Woody Allen

And when loves goes bad ... "Otello" a tale of emotional intelligence  

No I am not this Susan Dunn
the opera singer


I'm this Susan Dunn,
the coach



Poetic language here that is difficult to translater.
"Dire sulla bocca", means "kiss," literally "to say on the mouth"
"Tramontate" is the Italian word for sunset.  It literally means "go behind the mountains".  
Giacomo Puccini - TURANDOT

Nessun dorma! Nessun dorma!
Tu pure, o Principessa,
nella tua fredda stanza
guardi le stelle che tremano
d'amore e di speranza!

Ma il mio mistero è chiuso in me,
il nome mio nessun saprà
No, no, sulla tua bocca lo dirò,
quando la luce splenderà!
Ed il mio bacio scioglierà
il silenzio che ti fa mia!

Il nome suo nessun saprà
E noi dovrem, ahimè, morir, morir. 

Dilegua, o notte! Tramontate, stelle! 
Tramontate, stelle!
All'alba vincerò!
Vincerò! Vincerò!

No man will sleep! No man will sleep!
You too, oh Princess,
in your virginal room,
watch the stars trembling
with love and hope!

But my secret lies hidden within me,
no-one shall discover my name!
Oh no, I will reveal it only on your lips
when daylight shines forth!
And my kiss shall break
the silence that makes you mine!

No one will know his name
And we must, alas, die.

Depart, oh night! Set, you stars!
Set, you stars!
At dawn I shall win!
I shall win! I shall win!
The Italian libretto of Turandot is copyright 1926 by G. Ricordi & Co.
All material on this website is used for the purpose of education, illustration and commentary, as permitted by the fair use doctrine of U. S. copyright law.  If you have a problem with anything on this site, or wish to report broken links: CONTACT.
Allegro non molto
"Sotto dura Staggion dal Sole accesa
Langue l' huom, langue 'l gregge, ed arde il Pino;
Scioglie il Cucco la Voce, e tosto intesa
Canta la Tortorella e 'l gardelino.
Zeffiro dolce Spira, mà contesa
Muove Borea improviso al Suo vicino;
E piange il Pastorel, perche sospesa
Teme fiera borasca, e 'l suo destino;"

Adagio e piano - Presto e forte
"Toglie alle membra lasse il Suo riposo
Il timore de' Lampi, e tuoni fieri
E de mosche, e mossoni il Stuol furioso!"

"Ah che pur troppo i Suo timor Son veri
Tuona e fulmina il Ciel e grandioso
Tronca il capo alle Spiche e a' grani alteri."


Allegro non molto
Beneath the blazing sun's relentless heat
men and flocks are sweltering,
pines are scorched.
We hear the cuckoo's voice; then sweet songs of the turtle dove and finch are heard.
Soft breezes stir the air….but threatening north wind sweeps them suddenly aside. The shepherd trembles, fearful of violent storm and what may lie ahead.

Adagio e piano - Presto e forte
His limbs are now awakened from their repose by fear of lightning's flash and thunder's roar, as gnats and flies buzz furiously around.

Alas, his worst fears were justified, as the heavens roar and great hailstones beat down upon the proudly standing corn.



Go HERE for largest collection of Pavarotti quotes on the Internet.  See "Homage to Luciano Pavarotti:  A Deafening Silence"

Luciano Pavarotti, legendary tenor who introduced millions around the world to the world of opera, appearing in concerts with singers from many different venues.









‘O sole, ‘o sole mio
sta 'nfronte a te!
sta 'nfronte a te!
The sun, my own sun,
It's in your face
It's in your face.

A Deafening Silence

Here Pavarotti sings Nessun Dorma, his aria, at the opening of the Olympic Games in Torino last year. 
Will there ever be such a voice again?





Don't miss his Bella Figlia dell ‘ Amore.  Here’s Donna e Mobile, here's Questa o Quella.

Here is Pavarotti at the Met, singing Mozart’s Aria de Idomeneo, Torna la Pace al Core

Club Vivo is per voi, for you.  There are many places where you can contribute.   Please do!  Tell us about
your music teacher, or your favorite Music MemoryA Survey?  Sign up for our eZine?  Check back often. 
New content added all the time - articles, resources, clips, audio & member contributions & fun stuff. 
Tell your friends about Club Vivo, bookmark us, and ... STAY IN TOUCH

Why doesn't the concert of Pavarotti and James Brown singing "It's a Man's World" work?  See fascinating article by SEMIRAMIS here.

Look at those horns
Ride of the Valkyries

"O Music! Miraculous art!  A blast of thy trumpet and millions rush forward to die; a peal of thy organ and uncounted nations sink down to pray." 

- Disraeli      

WE LIKE Massimiliano Ferrati making Chopin an aria;   Rach 2, Barry Douglas


Arbonne :  immune system supplements; baby care products, shaving cream, cosmetics -- all pure, natural ingredients. What you put on your skin is absorbed into your bloodstream. 


WE LIKE the PSYCHIC SEMIRAMIS.  Often called "the intelligent psychic," she's known for her uncanny readings.  Email her, she'll be expecting you.


Interactive, Internet course

Having trouble with Difficult People?  This is the course for you. 

"Thanks, Susan.  Now I get it!" - Mary B., Memphis

Specific HOW=TOs, we walk you through it.    Give it a try, Tiger.  You'll love the results.  Click HERE to order.   Just $39.99.  





OH THE JOY!  Check out this great new Internet classical station: 90.7 FM. They'll be featuring an opera on Saturdays -- go HERE.  One of the best things about stations like these is that you can click a button and find out what you just heard, what you're hearing now, and what's up next.   It's a great way to learn about music!

Rachmaninoff Wagner Verdi Myth Puccini Italian opera German opera Pavarotti

Music & Emotional Intelligence


"I want a woman who wants true love...the kind music and poetry describe...forever." 
-- Dr. G., Somers, MT

God of Music . Healing . Medicine . Light . Truth . the Sun . and the Arts





Apollo was the same god in both Roman & Greek myth, which is rare, and shows how important he was in the pantheon.  He pulled the sun across the sky.  His symbols were the lyre and the bow, and, like all the gods, he had a dual nature.  He could harm or heal with either.  As you'll read below, bad music can drive us "mad" while good music can heal us.  The arrow of truth can harm or heal, can be a sword or a shield.  We make a little wound to heal (lance, surgery), while a big wound will kill us. 

2005 Olympic games:  Summoning the light from Apollo using a parabolic mirror to make fire.  Then the traditional prayer:  "Apollo, god of the sun and the idea of light, send your rays and light the sacred torch..."  Apollo was also known as "he who averts evil."


   Greek actress Thalia Prokopiou








Apollo and the Continents
by Tiepolo

His symbols are the caduceus and the lyre (harp)

With a pre-conscious understanding of "germs," Apollo was both The Healer and The Bringer of Plagues.  A doctor can easily infect his patients if he does not practice hygiene.  (Light / heat, of course were at that time the only way to cauterize.)  Diagnosis is also "truth."

Some national anthems:  O Canada!   Italy    India    France    China   Australia   Germany  Russian   Ireland

   Russian Anthem w/ video  Don't see yours?  Send it to me.  I'll add it.

Great find:  Rachmaninoff himself playing his Prelude in C# Minor, Op. 3, recorded 1919

Extensive library of original Caruso recordings, all in public domain.  Hear the legendary voice...
















































































MUSIC - COMFORT . JOY . HEALING . A Constant Presence in our Lives

SERGEI RACHMANINOFF DIED March 28, 1943, in Beverly Hills, California.  Whenever I read that, "Beverly Hills," I'm appalled at the incongruity.  So was Rachmaninoff, said by one who knew him to be "the saddest man I ever knew."  He never got over having to leave his homeland (Russia) forever.  His music, I suspect, reminds us of what can never be, and helps us accept the inevitable.

Rachmaninoff died a few days before his 70th birthday.  In the final hours of his life, he insisted he could hear music playing somewhere nearby.  After being repeatedly told he was wrong, he said, "Then it is in my head."

(Why wasn't someone playing music for him?)

VOLODOS playing Rachmaninoff's Italian Polka.

Arcadi Volodos was born 24 Feb 1972 in St. Petersburg, Russia.  He began studying singing, then composing.  He had played the piano since the age of 8, but did not turn to serious study until 1987.   One fan writes "Volodos is god."  The next "he's ... da ... shizzle."  Universal appeal.

Turn off background music first - go to your tool bar and click on red X


Moment Musical #4, Video with Nikolaï Lugansky 
(They say one should hear Russian music played by a Russian.  Those who knew Rachmaninoff in the end said "he was the saddest man I ever knew."  He never got over having to leave his homeland.

The Italians dominate opera, but are not so prevalent among concert pianists. 
Massimiliano Ferrati plays Chopin's Ballade.  Bravissimo!


Giovanni Pier Luigi



"Music is notoriously the consolation of oppressed and frightened people," writes Luigi Barzini, in The Italians.  It is the one art in which one can be safely sincere in dangerous times."

"This Heinrich Heine understood:  'To poor enslaved Italy,' he wrote, 'words are not allowed.  She can only describe the anguish in her heart through music.  All her hatred against foreign oppression, her enthusiasm for liberty, all the anguish at her own impotence, her longing for her past greatness, pathetic hopes, watching, waiting for help, all this is transposed into her melodies." 

 But at this time of oppression, music was all but dead in Italy.  The church singing had become a travesty with masses called "A l'ombre d'un buissonet' and "Baise-moi", religious words sung to bawdy tavern tunes.  The Pope decided to ban music but first to put it to the Cardinals, known to be split 4-4, so Giovanni Pier Luigi, called PALESTRINA,  was assigned to break the deadlock, told both to create a piece of church music palatable to the Cardinals, and that it could not be done.

It's a good thing he didn't listen. 

He composed the now famous "Mass of Pope Marcellus" which was voted in, and the music Italy was destined to give the world was born. 

About the same time the first recitativo was written, Orfeo by Monteverdi, as beautiful an opera as ever existed (have you heard it?).  It was the birth of opera. 

If it weren't for Palestrina, who can say ...


"Non c'è dubbio che Ferrati sia un pianista superiore dotato di un brillante estro d'artista."

Excellent sound quality recordings of Massimiliano Farrati:

Chopin, Polonaise in A Flat                    Beethoven, Concerto No.3, Op. 37                  See video HERE.

"The Italian Massimiliano Ferrati, is a bright, glowing Chopin he was spiritual, he sang, he was romantic, highly polished...[with Beethoven] he was a poet in describing a legend in sound.  He speaks and sings in sound, like the legendary Michelangeli."   

HEAR Arturo Benedetti Michenangeli play Chopin's Grande Polonaise Brillante.  Muore il 12 giugno 1995 a Lugano ed è sepolto a Pura.



Click HERE to hear Fleisher play "Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring" from "Two Hands"



Sometimes you have to wait till you're in your 60s or 70s to get your soul back. This happened to Leon Fleisher, whose latest CD, "Two Hands", tells it all.

Leon made his piano debut with the NY Philharmonic at the age of 16 and then, when he was 35 years old and approaching the pinnacle of success as a concert pianist, he was stricken with focal dystonia, a neurological disorder that caused his right hand to curl up in spasms ... for 40 years.

In 1992, it was finally diagnosed correctly, and he began injections of Botox.  He could tell within 48 hrs. that it was working.

"There is always hope," Fleisher said, able to play again at the age of 74.   

Click HERE to order "Two Hands."


For the first two years after he lost the use of his right hand, he suffered from depression and despair.

Then he said he realized it was music that he loved, and that was still available to him.

Imagine if he'd gone deaf, like Beethoven.

He began to teach, and I'm sure teaches more than "music" because of the adversity he has overcome.

"My greatest pleasure," he said, "is to see the light of understanding in a student's eyes -- what I call the 'Aha!' moment."

What an inspiration!


Comment made on Arthur Rubenstein Competition website.  We agree!

Age discrimination :-)     16/12/2005

I understand the need and importance of supporting young pianists and warmly applaud your efforts.

However, as health care and diet improve, and people live longer and more fullsome lives, some of us who are returning to music/paino [sic] after far too many decades away, would also like the excitement of this kind of competition.

What about a 'seniors' division?

Thanks and best wishes,
Jim Lichtenberg


From Holly Hunter, the actress in The Piano. 
"When I was six years old, I started pretending to play
the piano on the window sills of my bedroom."

First, stop the background music by clicking on the red "X" up on your toolbar.






"We cannot describe sound, but we cannot forget it either." ~Stravinsky

"Music is depth charge weaponry; it goes straight for the pleasure center, the primeval 
inner cortex of the brain and source of the strongest emotions and urges."  - B.P. 



I have trouble keeping these in stock, so email me before you order, or get on waiting list..

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IS MUSIC A MAJOR PART OF YOUR LIFE?  Get extra pleasure by learning to play an instrument. Playing electric guitars or acoustic guitars can take your love of music to the next level. Fender guitars are a good brand to get your started. Ever tried playing drums? It take a lot of coordination but is a great way to get into the music.

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WHEN AT WAR, MAKE MUSIC:  "During the Gulf War, the few opportunities I had for relaxation I always listened to music,
and it brought me great peace of mind."  -- N. Schwarzkopf, General, US Army, retired






I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once a week. 


For perhaps my brain now atrophied would thus have been kept active through use.  The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness, and may possibly be injurious to the intellect, and more probably to the moral character, by enfeebling the emotional part of our nature. -

 Charles Darwin








Check out  my latest EQ eBook, "The Fight of Your Life."
It's about Zen, bullfighting, bulls, bull & the trophy -- ears and a tail.




There's a term in bullfighting -- querencia.  The querencia is the spot in the ring to which the bull returns.  Each bull has a different querencia but as the bullfight progresses, and the animal becomes more threatened, he returns more and more often to his spot.

As he returns to his querencia, he becomes more predictable.  And so, in the end, the matador is able to kill the bull because instead of trying something new, the bull returns to what is familiar:  his comfort zone.  (from Carly)

For your copy of "The Fight of Your Life," (via email) click HERE
                    It's about Zen, bullfighting, bulls, bull, bravery, and the trophy -- ears and a tail. 

THE TRUMPET!  What a magnificent instrument!  How sweet it is. 

It is hard to get a trumpet player to agree to play the Brandenburg Concerto.  It’s one of the highest and most difficult pieces ever written for the instrument.  In fact scholars today are amazed that the trumpeter at the time it was written, could possibly handle the rapid passagework while playing an instrument that had no valves.  Today a piccolo trumpet is often used, which is still very demanding.  Some orchestras supply a horn, or even an E clarinet, playing the notes an octave lower, and omit the trumpet in the second movement.   

Speaking of trumpets, my classical music station was playing Handle’s “Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne (Eternal Source of Light Divine) the other day, featuring Edita Gruberova and no other than Wynton Marsalis, and I realized how often I'd heard that name ... Wynton Marsalis.  

I had known Winton Marsalis as a jazz player. I’d been introduced to him when I was madly in love with Gar.  You know how it is.  You fall in love and you pick up their interests.  Jazz ranks slightly above rap as far as I'm concerned, but I gave it a try.  Bought one of his CDs and listened to it every night before I went to bed.  Then his group came to town and I went.  I remember it vividly, as visual.  Those were the best-looking and best-dressed men who have ever been in THIS town.  Wynton has his brother the saxophonist, with him.  There were 6 boys in the family, one autistic, all musical.   

But the jazz never took with me and when Gar went, so did the jazz.

Anyway, realizing I’d been hearing Wynton’s name a lot, I went looking.  Turns out he’s recorded a number of classical CDs, and he is the standard by which many modern classical trumpet players are judged.   

Gabriel blow your horn! 

Trumpet playing has a charge for me.  It is also in inherently masculine, in an angelic sort of way. 


But it is also much used for heralding, and for battle, and for the end of battle.

Unless you're a real trumpet aficianado you may not realize how much you hear it.  Listen to Handel's "Largo" from Xerxes for instance.  It's such an old favorite, I hardly knew it's name; just something I've heard since childhood. 

One of Marsalis' CDs is Greatest Hits by Handel featuring himself and Gruberova, and accompanied y various orchestras.  Selections include: Solomon, oratoria;  Arrival of the Queen of Sheba (get those trumpets out!  Hark the Herald angels sing!  ); Water Music Suite No. 1 for orchestra in F major; Largo, Xerxes; Music for the Royal Fireworks, Suite for keyboard, Vol. 1, No. 5 in E Major; Samson, oratorio, Let the Bright Seraphim (Ah, you see, the angels!), Suite for keyboard, Vol. 2, No. 4 in D minor; Judas Maccabaeus, oratorio, “See the Conqu’ring Hero Come,” (we herald again!) “Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne, and then two of my all-time favorites:  Messiah, oratorio, the Hallelujah chorus, and Sarabande. (Suite 11 for Harpsichord). 

Haken Hardenberger is a master of the piccolo trumpet.  You can see him play here.  A critic wrote:  “Hardenberger is the consummate virtuoso:  a musician who plays with such wit and artistry that he makes you forget the fiendish difficulty of the pieces.”  There’s that word again! 

Enjoy this fantastic dance rendition of Malaguena, a great trumpet piece. 

Here's our favorite trumpet player of all, the white guy who wows them at the Apollo.  Worth watching just to see the audience.

Want to learn more?  Wynton does a lot of work with and for children, and here's an educational piece he did.

Of course in these parts, trumpet means mariachi.
  Click photo to hear La Bamba.


In the New Testament, Gabriel is an angel, and a messenger. In the Annunciation, he reveals to Mary that she will give birth to Jesus.  He is the angel in the Book of Revelation who blows the horn announcing the Judgment Day.
The saddest sound of all is made by a trumpet: 


TAPS (sound)

           and we love Lonely Bull

Photo by Logan,, nonccommercial use permitted



Denyce Graves and Roberto Alagno sing the final duet in Bizet's Carmen.



Though not well investigated yet (nor is that necessary for pleasure!), music appears to be deeply embedded in the biology of the nervous system.  Mostly processed in the right hemisphere, different networks of neurons are activated depending upon whether we listen, play an instrument, or whether lyrics are involved.

DOES IT BENEFIT US?  Yes!  And it goes with "smarts" -

  • Intensive practice of an instrument leads to discernible enlargement of parts of the cerebral cortex, associated with higher brain function.

  • Music affects levels of cortisol (arousal and stress), testosterone (aggression and arousal), oxytocin (nurturing), and endorphins (natural opiates)

  • Part of the brain involved in processing emotion "light up with activity" on a PET scan when subject hears music.

  • SAT takers with coursework/experience in music performance scored 52 pts higher on verbal and 37 pts higher on math than those with none. 

  • HS students in band or orchestra reported lowers lifetime and current use of all substances (alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs) - Tx Comm on Drug & Alcohol Abuse

  • 66% of music majors who apply to med school get in; the highest percentage

  • The brains of pianists are more efficient at making skilled movements

  • Music training is far superior to computer instruction in dramatically enhancing children's abstract reasoning skills (necessary for math and science)

  • Musicians have a thicker corpus callosum

For more data, go HERE.

Christmas Music  Music & Immune System    Vivo Per Lei    The Artist as Wounded Healer  Favorite Music Survey  The People Who Make It Happen  The Teachers   Classical Music & Opera Midis  Gifts for the Music Lover  Resources  Music Etiquette Survey  Music Memories  Whos' Better, Pavarotti or Andrea Bocelli?     Benefits of Music     Christmas Music  Rousing Songs    Thanksgiving Music   HOME

Miss Fremboe











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Samuel Chester Dunn II
who heard the song of the Siren


















For the song of the siren go here. (under construction)



Chairman of the SEC

My Dad.

"It is the law that makes civilized life possible."
Ray Garrett, Jr.

And when it was time to say goodbye ... Andrea Bocelli's "Time to Say Goodbye" says it all.   

My memories have music, do yours?  

When my father was dying, I joined him to watch a production of Handel's "Messiah" on television.  He sang along with it, every word, with his beautiful but failing huge bass voice which used to frighten me so much as a kid ... and when  it was time for the Hallelujah Chorus, he pulled himself to his feet and stood, because, you see, "it is the law..."  

"Listen to this, Susie. (Beethoven's "Eroica")  Listen!  And he was deaf!"

My dad fueled the fire of my passions.  He loved to teach me things.  He read to us every night through middle school (classics) and then would go downstairs and play the piano.  

At the London premiere of "Messiah," King George II was so moved when he heard the beginning of the Hallelujah chorus, he stood up and remained standing.  Since decorum dictates that when the King stands, all must stand, and remain standing, this became a tradition.  

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT HANDEL, GO HERE (under construction).  


Hallelujah!  For the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. The Kingdom of the world is become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, Hallelujah! 

Think of this when you listen to an opera.  
This is the sort of lyric a composer is handed.  
The magnificence ... comes from the music, and the genius.

Ludwig von Beethoven

Handel                          Handel at Home

 "Raphael paints wisdom.  Handel sings it..."
Ralph Waldo Emerson  

"Handel understands effect better than any of us.  
When he chooses, he strikes like a thunderbolt."




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From "Vivo Per Lei" sung by Andrea Bocelli and Marta Sanchez




V. Zelli / M. Mengali / G. Panceri
Vivo per lei da quando sai
la prima volta l’ho incontrata,
non mi ricordo come ma
mi è entrata dentro e c’è restata.
Vivo per lei perchè mi fa
vibrare forte l’anima,
vivo per lei e non è un peso.
I live for her, you know, since
the first time I met her.
I do not remember how, but
she entered within me and stayed there.
I live for her because she makes
my soul vibrate so strongly.
I live for her and it is not a burden.
Vivo per lei anch’io lo sai
e tu non esserne geloso,
lei è di tutti quelli che
hanno un bisogno sempre acceso,
come uno stereo in camera,
di chi è da solo e adesso sa,
che è anche per lui, per questo
io vivo per lei.
I live for her too, you know,
and don’t be jealous:
she belongs to all those who
have a need that is always switched on
like a stereo in the bedroom,
to someone who is alone and now knows
that she is also for him; for this reason I live for her.
È una musa che ci invita
a sfiorarla con le dita,
attraverso un pianoforte
la morte è lontana,
io vivo per lei.
She is a muse who invites us
to brush her with the fingers.
Through a piano
death remains far away;
I live for her.
Vivo per lei che spesso sa
essere dolce e sensuale
a volte picchia in testa ma
è un puguo che non fa mai male.
I live for her who often knows
how to be sweet and sensual;
sometimes she stuns you but
it is a blow that never hurts.
Vivo per lei lo so mi fa
girare di città in città,
soffrire un po’ma almeno io vivo.
I live for her. I know she makes me travel from town to town
and suffer a little, but at least I live.
È un dolore quando parte.
Vivo per lei dentro gli hotels.
Con piacere estremo cresce.
Vivo per lei nel vortice.
Attraverso la mia voce
si espande e amore produce.
It is painful when she leaves.
I live in hotels for her.
It grows with supreme pleasure.
I live for her in the vortex.
Through my voice
it expands and produces love.
Vivo per lei nient’altro ho
e quanti altri incontrerò
che come me hanno scritto in viso:
io vivo per lei.
I live for her, I have nothing else,
and how many others I shall meet who,
like me, have written on their faces
"I live for her."
Io vivo per lei
sopra un palco o contro ad un muro…
Vivo per lei al limite.
…anche in un domani duro.
Vivo per lei al margine.
Ogni giorno
una conquista,
la protagonista
sarà sempre lei.
I live for her
on a dais or against a wall
I live for her to the limit.
...also in a harsh tomorrow.
I live for her to the very edge.
Every day a conquest;
the protagonist will always be her.
Vivo per lei perchè oramai
io non ho altra via d’uscita,
perchè la musica lo sai
davvero non l’ho mai tradita.
I live for her because now
I have no other way out,
because, you know, music
is something I have truly never betrayed.
Vivo per lei perchè mi da
pause e note in libertà.
Ci fosse un’altra vita la vivo,
la vivo per lei.
I live for her because she gives me
rests and notes with freedom.
If there were another life I’d live it,
I’d live it for her.
Vivo per lei la musica.
Io vivo per lei.
Vivo per lei è unica.
Io vivo per lei.
Io vivo per lei.
Io vivo per lei.
I live for her, music.
I live for her.
I live for her, she is unique.
I live for her.
I live for her.
I live for her.

© 1995 Insieme Srl / Fozzio Srl / Sugarmusic Ed. 
Musicali / PolyGram Italia Ed. Musicali Srl

Listen to it in French with Helen Sagara                                  Listen to it in German with Judy Weiss
Listen to it
in Portuguese with Sandy Leah Lima                   Listen to it in Italian with Giorgia
Listen to it in Spanish with Marta Sanchez



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All 6 in my family played the piano.  To hear piano is to return home.

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The wrong kind of music can harm us!



A college student set out to study the effects of music on learning.  He used rats, but since sound is sound, I think the "transfer" may be higher than usual to applications to humans.

He wanted to see how music would effect their ability to remember how to run a maze.   He started with a baseline - the average maze-run for the rats was about 10 mins.  

He then subjected one group to 10 hours of classical music a day, one group to 10 hours of hard rock a day, and the control group lived in the quiet and timed their maze-runs daily.


By the end of a month, The Classical group had cut the maze time down to about 1 min.  The Control group had cut it down to about 5 mins.  The hard rock group?  They were taking up to an hour ... "dazed and confused" is not so funny here.

It should also be noted that this was his second try at the experiment.  The first go-round had to be canceled, because the rats subjected to hard rock, living in one cage, killed each other off.  So in the second experiment, he kept the rats doomed to listen to rap in separate cages. 


What music is playing in your house right now, and who is listening to it?


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Vivo Per Lei/I Live for Music


"You are the music as long as it lasts..."

            Let Music Transport You  
©Susan Dunn, MA, The EQ Coach    

Music that soothes, enchants, immunizes...

IMMUNIZES?  Of all the things you know music does for you -- energizing, soothing, evoking emotions, and entertaining you -- even sometimes irritating you! -- there's evidence it affects our immune systems.

The Greeks suspected this, making Apollo the god of both music and medicine.  They believed music had the power to move streams, tame beasts, and penetrate the depths of our souls, changing and healing us.

Pythagoras, a mathematician, thought certain musical chords and melodies produced certain responses in people, and that the right sequence of sounds could change the behavior patterns of people and accelerate healing ("the harmony of the spheres")

The connection between math, healing and music is a strong one.  Many people talented in math are also good at music (they're both symbolic languages) and to be a doctor or nurse, you must be good at math.


Music is vibration.  The cochlea in our ears converts it to electrical impulses which travel to the brain stem.  That's our primitive brain and that's why we're so deeply affected by music; the brain stem is so far from the neocortex it doesn't even know we have one.  Music is as primordial as smell, completely circumventing "thinking."  Smells affect us emotionally.   You know how you feel when you walk into a house and smell cookies like your mother used to bake, or how you bury your face in your loved one's clothes after they've died?  It's how the newborn finds it mother, and how the lover selects his mate (pheromones).

Music affects us as profoundly.  When you hear a song from your teen years, suddenly you're transported across time and space to your first love and feel as you did then (and wouldn't you sometimes give anything to have it back?).

These electrical impulses create brain wave frequencies:  beta, alpha, theta, and delta.  Beta waves are when we're alert and focused.  Alpha waves are when we're relaxed or in-the-flow.  Theta waves occur during deep meditation and that twilight
time before we fall asleep.  Delta waves occur during sleep.

The electrical impulses then make their way down the spinal cord and impact the autonomic nervous system ("ANS"), which effects our heart rate, pulse,  blood pressure, and muscle tension, which translate into "feelings."

We hear "Con Te Partiro" ("It's Time to Say Good- bye"), by Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman, and  feel the sorrow of parting, a Sousa march and we're energized to get  up and start cleaning house, and music like Pachelbel's "Canon" is so even-keeled it's the masseuses' musical Bible.  Likely it puts us into alpha state, along with the massage; or doesn't disturb us from that state.

The universality is part of the magic.  When we hear "Con Te Partiro" we hear the Sorrow of Parting, not a particular goodbye from one particular person to another.

Music and massage are two things I recommend to people who've suffered trauma that goes beyond words.  Touch and music reach the cells of the body, where the healing needs to take place, because the suffering is pre-verbal, or extra-verbal.  As
Mendelssohn said, "Music cannot be expressed in words, not because it is vague but because it is more precise than words."

"I’ve continued to follow Jose Carerras' career since that night and have watched and listened to him develop from a beautiful young man with a beautiful passionate voice to a complete artist. In times of deep pain and extraordinary joy, I have come to turn to his extraordinary voice to express what I cannot express myself."  -- Suzanne Farrand

Because music is vibrations, we "feel" it as much as we "hear" it.  In fact the German composer Beethoven was deaf at the end of his career.  He continued to compose by placing a piece of wood between his clavicle and the strings of the piano, feeling the vibrations.


Goldman and Gurin, early researchers in the field of psychoneuroimmunology, found there are nerve fibers in every organ of the immune system, establishing a link between our thoughts and feelings and health. What we tell ourselves about what we perceive and how we therefore feel, makes a difference.

Dr. Candace Pert, professor of Physiology and Biophysics at Georgetown University Medical School, researches "new paradigm" healing and "how the 'bodymind' functions as a single psychosomatic network of information molecules which control our health and physiology."  In other words, our emotions are in our cells.  (You've seen her in "What The Bleep Do We Know?" and on Bill Moyer's "Healing and the Mind."    She is the author of "Molecules of Emotion".)

Dr. David Sobel, author of "Rx: Preparing for Surgery," recommends talking to your immune system before surgery because our immune system as well as our autonomic nervous system functions can be influenced by our thoughts, visioning and what we hear.

What about sending it music, and not just before surgery, but routinely? 



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This is Tartini's "devil's trill" Sonata (or a portion of it repeated a lot)


I'm sure I'm not the only parent who objected to their teenager listening to acid rock; the lyrics were bad, yes, but just the beat I thought was agitating, and I could see the effect on my sons when they listened.

What would be calming?  This varies from person-to- person, and it's your pleasure to figure out what works for you.  If you can monitor your pulse rate and such, as you listen, so much the better; if not, simply note what calms you and makes you feel good.  Some folks I know play the same music every night when they go to bed, and it works like Pavlov's dog.

I should add here that one of my sons did one of those experiments growing plants to music when he was in high school, and darned if the ones that got
MOZART didn't thrive, while the ones that got acid rock died.

That might be a clue, a place for you to start. 


Doctors in a Slovak hospital think so

Expressive Arts and Music therapists think it can.  Barbara Crowe, past president of the National Association of Music Therapy thinks its because music and rhythm still the constant chatter of the left brain.

"A loud, repetitive sounds sends a constant signal to the cortex," she says, "masking input from other senses --"

Do we need a break from all the judging and analyzing?  You tell me.

The Director of Coronary Care at St. Agnes Hospital in Baltimore, thinks "--music therapy ranks high on the list of modern day management of critical care patients."

According to the American Music Therapy Association, music is used in hospitals to alleviate pain, elevate mood, counteract depression, calm, sedate, induce sleep, manage anxiety, lessen muscle tension and relax the patient.

We hear examples from time-to-time -- 

**Perhaps you received the email about the little boy who sang a certain song to his baby sister when she was in utero.  When she was born she was in great distress and her brother was brought to the hospital to tell her good-bye.  He started singing the same song, and she calmed and was able to get better.  If it's not true, it could be.

**Research on healing Vietnam veterans suffering from PTSS for whom the only thing that's worked has been drumming.

**"Chant," a recording made by the Benedictine Monks of Santo Domingo de Silos, Spain, which has sold millions of copies around the world.  Said the music critic for the San Francisco Examiner:  "What we're talking about is inner peace, transcendence, a serenity beyond mortal care."

**Farinelli (Carlo Broschi) (1705-1782) , whose singing cured the madness (perhaps depression) of the King of Spain, Phillip V.  The most famous singer of his time, the most famous of the castrato (or castrati).

A painting of Carlo Broschi (Farinelli)

A beautiful man with an exquisite voice (beauty of sound, breadth of range, purity of intonation, breath control and agility), he reputedly had a range of more than 3 1/2 octaves, could produce 250 notes in a single breath, and sustain a note for more than a minute.  The castrati were so exceptionally skilled, their music cannot even be sung today.

At the age of 32, he retired, singing exclusively for the King of Spain.  Legend has it, it was his job was to sing the same 4 songs to the King each night.  This helped cure the King's depression, or schizophrenia, or "ailment."  This was King Philip V, the king who got the Pope to ban bullfighting.  (Read more in "The Fight of Your Life."  It's about EQ, Zen, bullfighting, bull, bravery, and the trophy: ears and a tail.)

One theory maintains that sounds made by the human voice can be perceived by parts of the body corresponding to pressure points used in Chinese acupuncture. 

Upon his retirement, Farinelli devoted his life to spiritual exercise, music and entertaining the likes of MOZART.   Hear sopranista Nicholas Clapton who has played Farinelli on stage many times.   To order a Farinelli poster, go HERE.


Thank you for mentioning me several times on your web-site. I would just like, however, to make one correction. I was not the voice of Farinelli in the film about him: that was achieved by the electronic synthesis of the voice of a colleague of mine, Derek Lee Ragin, and a female soprano. As you rightly state I have played Farinelli several times in various stage performances, but this was not one of them. Also, "opera seria" was not a style of music that Farinelli sang; it was, rather, the type of serious Italian opera prevalent during his lifetime, and in which he became very famous.
                        Yours sincerely,  Nicholas Clapton

r. Nicholas Clapton, MA (Oxon), MA (London), DLA (LFZE Budapest)
4 Helen Road, Oxford, OX2 0DE
t/f 01865 244207 m 0777 159 7000

Another example of music curing or alleviating depression:  Remember there were no recordings of music in olden times, and one had to have a person there to sing or play an instrument.  Prince Esterhazy was the patron of Haydn, the composer.  After the death of his wife, the deeply depressed Prince believed that music could restore his happiness and forbade Haydn to leave the estate.    

Likewise, as we saw above, the servants of King Saul sent for David to play for the King and bring him reliev.

Ask those of us who live music, not just love it, and we'll tell you music transports us somewhere -- somewhere where we like to be, and I suppose we take our cells with us when we go there!

But don't ask us, find out for yourself.

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Castrati:  The practice of deliberate male castration was popular in Italy during the 18th century.  Boys  were castrated at 7-9 y.o. to preserve their voices, and the voice of the castrati dominated opera in Western Europe.

At puberty, the length of the male vocal chords increases 63%, with increase in thyroid cartilage 3x that of female (the "Adam's apple").  The castrati retained the high pitch of the child, soprano, or contralto, resonating in the chamber of a full adult thoracic cavity.   

"Castrati were virtuoso musicians, exceptionally talented and trained.  Almost nothing in their repertoire can be performed nowadays.  Castrati were particularly known for the unique timbre: because of the surgery performed on them, their voice did not change with puberty.   Upon adulthood, the size of their thoracic cage, their lung capacity, their physical stamina and their strength were usually above that of most men.  They had, as a consequence, great vocal power, and some were able to sing notes for a minute of more. "   From EarlyMusic 

The voice in the film was used by fusing the voices of a countertenor, Derek Lee Ragin, and a coloratura Ewa Godlewska.  

In the first half of the 18th C, castrati were greatly in demand for opera, with those who failed to measure up (how much can you know at age 8?) joining choirs.  Exceptional castrati were also to be found in the Sistine Chapel of the Popes.  Castrati continued to be prized members of the choir until 1902.  In answer to your question, they were not impotent, simply sterile.

Why would parents allow this to happen to their sons?  For the money.  It was often boys from poor families whose parents needed the money.  

Some were as famous as rock stars in their times, and quite the ladies' men; they were sterile, but not impotent.

The castrati were said to warble.  Listen to Nicholas Clapton's selections here.

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We Recommend
AMICI   FOREVER by the Opera Band

We Recommend ROMANZA by Andrea Bocelli

An exquisite selection of songs, expressing  the Italian ability to absorb the highs and lows of emotion ( "Miserere" - I am miserable and I celebrate life- which catapulted Andrea Bocelli to fame).  "Con Te Partiro" (Time to Say Goodbye),  with Sarah Brightman, is worth the price of the CD alone.  

It is every "goodbye" you will ever say, 
or have said, 
or must say, 
or are saying.  

my baby with the cobalt blue eyes

We recommend Bocelli's VIAGGIO ITALIANO 
Lyrics (English & Italian) to Andrea Bocelli's songs are


Ever ask yourself WHY?  Why is it that people who play an instrument just seem to have more fun in life? 
Well, ask the Trumpet Guy ...




From an Online Survey

Beethoven (46%)

Bach (17%)

MOZART (17%)

Other (17%)

Are Rachmaninoff and Chopin "others"?  In his "Opera" course, Dr. Robert Greenberg tells us that, unlike science music doesn't get better, it gets different; that Puccini isn't "better" than Bach, or Wagner better than Beethoven ... and then he adds, "except for MOZART."  Wait!  Do you agree?   And we need to separate "better" from "favorite" and then again from "most popular."  We do this on our Favorite Music Survey.  

Take the FAVORITE MUSIC SURVEY and let us know your pleasure!

Breaking up is one of the hardest things you go through, whether through divorce, death, affair, miscommunication, or defeat by time and circumstance.  

Help us learn more about this process.  How it happens?  Why?  What helps and what doesn't.  Take The Breakin' Up/Lost Love Survey.


 graphics royalty free from unless otherwise notes

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Take the Favorite Music Survey and let us know!

To support this project, you can make a donation here

Because I know you live for music!

 Warm Regards,  
Susan Dunn


"Music heard so deeply that it is not heard at all;
But you are the music while the music lasts.”
                                      --T.S. Eliot


MUSIC .... VIVO PER LEI .... VIVO POR ELLA .... JE VIS POUR ELLE ....           

I live for music ...
MUSIC ...   

   Like Nietzsche, I wouldn’t want to live without it. 
    Like Rachmaninoff ...  
                ah, but let them speak for themselves.  


"Is it not strange that sheep’s guts
should hale souls out of men’s bodies?”

William Shakespeare  


“If music be the food of love, play on.”

Where there 
music there 
French Proverb




“When music and courtesy are better
understood there will be no war.”  


Oh, Baby!

"Music's the cordial of a troubled breast
The softest remedy that grief can find'
The gentle spell that charms our care to rest.
And calms the ruffled passions of the mind.
Music does all our joys refine.
And gives the relish to our wine."

   John Oldham



You don't want to miss it, but you're not sure you can take it?

You want to be there, all eyes and ears, sparkle and shine, sitting in the dress circle.  What we need is to be able to let more in because stress is the good things too!   


1.  GET WELL SOON DIETARY SUPPLEMENT® FROM ARBONNE - get it here!  A technologically advanced formula proven to support your immune system.  It should be named "Resilience" because it's our immune system that allows us to tolerate stress, and resists disease, i.e., it's our health.  Get proactive with this neutraceutical engineered by the Swiss, mfg. in the US.   Anti-aging products too.
2.  MUSIC - we provide here!

3.  EQ - we provide here!

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It sells itself!       

"If a composer could say what he had to say in words 
he would not bother trying to say it in music."


“Poetry is the music of the soul,
and, above all,

of great and feeling souls.”


"Music cannot be expressed in words, not because it is vague,
but because it it is more precise than words."


"Music fathoms the sky."


"I am not easily shocked now and I was not easily shocked then either.  But shocked I was -- to the very core.  That feeling of utter disbelief which gives way to profound joy rippled out, leaving paths of ever widening tingles in it wake.  I was left not daring to breathe in case I missed one millisecond of that joy.  The memory of that feeling still has the power to leave my mind suspended, held in a timeless place where nothing matters except that remembered sound -- the sound of the opening bars of Che Gelida Manina."  -Laurelle Donovan


"Music melts all the separate parts of our bodies together."
Anais Nin


   “Music is an outburst of the Soul.”    ~ Frederick Delius  




Richard Wagner


"O MOZART, immortal MOZART, how many, how infinitely many inspiring suggestions of a finer, better life have you left in our soul."  ~ Franz Schubert
"I find consolation and rest in MOZART's music, wherein he gives expression to that joy of life which was part of his sane and wholesome temperament."

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky







21 piano sonatas
27 piano concertos
41 symphonies 18 masses 13 operas 9 oratorios and cantata 
2 ballets
40+ concertos for various instruments... this outstanding output includes hardly one work less than a masterpiece."
George Snell, editor of Viva Mozart

Lengthy immersion in the works of other composers can tire.  
The music of
MOZART does not tire, and this is one of its mircales 

"Whether the angels play only Bach in praising God I am not quite sure.  
I am sure, however, that en famille they
play MOZART."
Karl Barth



MOZART encompasses the entire domain of musical creation, 
but I've got only the keyboard in my poor head. ~ Frédéric Chopin

MOZART is the greatest composer of all.  BEETHOVEN created his music, but the music of MOZART is of such purity and beauty that one feels he merely found it--that it has always existed as part of the inner beauty of the universe waiting to be revealed."  ~Albert Einstein




Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

In BACH, BEETHOVEN, and WAGNER we admire  principally the depth and energy of the human mind; in MOZART, the divine instinct. ~ Edvard Grieg
MOZART's joy is made of serenity, and a phrase of his music is like a calm thought; his simplicity is merely purity.  It is a crystalline thing in which all the emotions play a role, but as if already celestially transposed.  Moderation consists in feeling emotions as angels do. (Andre Gide)  

Mozart began his works in childhood and a childlike quality lurked in his compositions... 

Will & Ariel Durant





Click to hear 
Theme & Variations
"Ah vous dirai-je maman"

We call it 
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star




Mozart as a young boy  ... twinkle, twinkle, little star!

Now guess what the words are!

Ah! Vous dirai-je, Maman,
Ce qui cause mon tournment?
Papa veut que je raisonne,
Comme une grande personne;
Moi, je dis que les bonbons
Valent mieux que la raison.

Ah! Let me tell you, Mother,
What's the cause of my torment?
Papa wants me to reason
Like a grown-up.
Me, I say that candy has
Greater value than reason.

MOZART has the classic purity of light and the blue ocean; BEETHOVEN the romantic grandeur which belongs to the storms of air and sea, and while the soul of MOZART seems to dwell on the ethereal peaks of  Olympus, that of BEETHOVEN climbs shuddering the storm-beaten sides of a Sinai.  Blessed be they both!  Each represents a moment of the ideal life, each does us good.  Our love is due to both.  ~Henri-Frédéric Amiel


“[The listener] will weep, believing that 
he really suffers with one who can weep so well.”  
Hippolyte Barbedette, re: Chopin’s music 


Valentina Listista plays Chopin's Polonaise in A-flat major
Too fast?

"If Frederic heard that I believe you would have had yourself a new teacher.  Although I am guessing your performance,
like much of the Chopin interpretations I hear today are more of how Listz would have played them.  Heroic, meaning
proud, polish hero.  The marcato section was to much of a show off point for you slow it down and imagine soldiers
marching after winning a great battle. Incredible, Bryan Joseph Capen, D. C., Physician and Musician



and, says her special fan again re: her version of Horowitz' Variations on a Theme from Bizet's Carmen

Not only are you beutiful, you are truley blessed. Or quite possibly you may be possessed by a demon with the
way those hands move, just kidding. You are capable of anything at the instrument, and Horowitz in his finest
day could have never played that as flawlessly as you have. Just remember show off with Listz and Horowitz,
but always make music with Chopin.  I am in love, Bryan Jospeh Capen, Physician and Musician


“When I was lost in saving my soul, I heard Bach's music.  All forms of western arts were forbidden in China at that period of time. This included western classical music. However, one of my schoolmates managed to save a couple of records in the midst of a major demolishment and Bach's works were part of the collection. Hiding ourselves in a dark room, we played the music secretly in the rain. Before long, we indulged in the music silently. In tears, we stared at each other.  As long as human beings are still suffering from agony, classical music will arise from the dark to console our souls and re-inject confidence and hopes into our lives.”          ~ Producer of movie, “Together”

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“Music is the silence between the notes." +Debussey

“Music in the soul can be heard by the universe.”  +Lao Tzu


“Words make you think a thought. 
Music makes you feel a feeling. 
 a song makes you feel a thought.” 
E. Y. Harburg, librettist


Librettists are those who write the words to operas who are so rarely recognized for their contributions.  Did you know that Wagner was the only opera composer who wrote the words to all of his operas, as well as the music.  All the others -- Puccini, Verdi, MOZART -- used librettists almost exclusively. 


"Music produces a kind of pleasure
which human nature cannot do without."



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"Do not take up music

unless you would rather die

 than not do so." 



“Music is perpetual,  and only the hearing is intermittent.”
Henry David Thoreau


“Without music, life would be an error. “ 
The German imagines even God singing songs.”
+ Nietzsche


I despise a world
which does not feel
that MUSIC is a higher revelation
than all wisdom and philosophy."

Ludwig van Beethoven

Ever wonder what Beethoven's Last Night was like?
Check out the wav from Trans-Siberian .
(As Greenberg says in his Opera course like everything else, 
the amount and rate of change in music in this century are exponential.)


When Wagner heard Beethoven's 9th Symphony, 
he decided he wanted to be a composer.  
When he saw Beethoven's opera, "Fidelio," 
he decided he wanted to be an opera composer.


“The happiest people are those who think the most interesting thoughts.  Those who decide to use leisure as a means of mental development, who love GOOD MUSIC, good books, good pictures, good company, good  conversation, are the happiest people in the world.  And they are not only happy in themselves, they are the cause of happiness in others.”     

                                                                 ~ William Phelps

Painting by Nancy Fenn

Are you an introvert?   Intuitive? Check out the Introverts BLOG!

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“Without music, life would be a mistake ...
I would only believe in a God who knew how to dance."



Nicholas Clapton, sopranista, singing "Liber Scriptus"
from Verdi's'


"I adore art... when I am alone with my notes, my heart pounds and the tears 
stream from my eyes, and my emotion and my joys are too much to bear."
Giuseppi Verdi




“For me,

music is always

the language

which permits one

to converse

with the Beyond.”






There is no feeling, except the extremes of fear
and grief, that does not find relief in music.”
George Eliot




Ave Maria


“Music and rhythm find their ways
into the secret places of the  soul.”



“Music is the vernacular of the human soul.”
Geoffrey Lathan


“It is cruel, you know, that music should be so beautiful. 
It has the beauty of loneliness and of pain:  Of strength and freedom. 
The beauty of disappointment and never-satisfied love. 
The cruel beauty of nature, and everlasting beauty of monotony.    
Benjamin Britten


I do not know how to make a distinction
between tears and music.


  Sergei Rachmaninov









Rhapsody on a Theme from Pagannini...Concerto No. 2...

Сергей Васильевич Рахманинов

  "A composer's music should express the country of his birth, his love affairs, his religion, the books which have influenced him, the pictures he loves...My music is the product of my temperament, and so it is Russian music."     -Rachmaninoff


                                                      HIS HANDS  

It is believed his hands could stretch out in an interval of 12th or 13th (C-A) which makes his works inaccessible to those with small hands.  He supposedly had a span of 12".



“Music washes away

from the soul the dust

of everyday life.”

Berthold Auerbach


According to the American Music Therapy Association, music is used in hospitals to alleviate pain, elevate mood, counteract depression, calm or sedate, induce sleep, manage anxiety, lessen muscle tension, and relax the Autonomic Nervous System. 

To support your immune system, we recommend music, EQ, and Arbonne's GET WELL SOON DIETARY SUPPLEMENT,  a technologically-advanced combination of herbs and other ingredients scientifically proven to help nutritionally support the immune system.  



Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast ..

Emotions such as grief, despair, rage, and chronic hostility take a toll on our immune system.
That's why it is not uncommon to suffer a serious illness a year after the death of a child, or why doctors have now been forced to diagnose a "broken heart" in the emergency room -- people who have suffered emotional shock or trauma and end up in the ER with symptoms mimicking a heart attack in an otherwise healthy heart.


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1902, April:  Fred Gaisberg, talent scout for Gramophone Co. in London, heard Caruso sing at La Scala and asked him to record.  Wired back home that requested fee and was told, "Fee exorbitant, forbid you to record."  Good salesman that he was, he tore it up, and went ahead.  On April 11, in the Grand Hotel in Milan, Enrico Caruso recorded 10 songs for 100 £ ($10k in today' s money) and the rest, as they say, is history.   Gaisberg said Caruso's recordings "made the gramophone."

ENRICO CARUSO  (1873 - 1921)

" throat, which I have sold to managers as Faust to Mephistopheles"

Caruso is said to have "made" the gramophone (records).  He was the most popular recording artist in the US for the first two decades of the 20th century.

Caruso in Forza del Destino

According to Dr. William Lloyd, his London throat specialist:

  • Caruso's vocal tube (distance from front teeth to vocal chords) was 1/2" longer than of any other tenor's he'd seen

  • His vocal chords were at least 1/8th " longer

  • Tremendous lung capacity; he could sustain a note for 40 secs.+

  • In deep breathing, he could expand his chest and push a piano a couple of inches along a carpet with it.


Listen to Caruso sing Vesti la Guibba   Ave Maria  O Sole Mio    Bella Figlia dell'Amore   Celeste Aida   Un Bel Di
Go here for extensive selection of his recordings: BRAVO! CARUSO

  Aldo Mancuso, who has turned his house into a museum/shrine to Caruso,  says when he was a boy, he would listen to recordings of Caruso. 
"I often wondered why my father would sit there and cry," he recalls.    "Later, we had many crying sessions." 


  •  He delivered 861 performances; only Placido Domingo has sung more Met opening nights than Caruso, by just one, a total of 18

  • His great love was Ada Giachetti,.  He never married her, but she bore him  4 children, 2 of whom died young.  They lived together for 10 years.  She walked out after a fight -- either he had an affair w/ her sister, she w/ someone else, or both. 

  • His 1910 recording of Core 'nGrato ("ungrateful heart") is said to be "for her."

  • We have his love notes -- one from Moscow announcing his return home.  In Italian:  "I'm coming to kiss you!"

  • Did not marry again until 1919 - Dorothy Benjamin.

  • A staple in his life -- strong Egyptian cigarettes he smoked through an elegant, tortoise-shell holder.  His contracts included he be allowed to smoke when he performed.  He claimed smoking was what made his voice what it was, adding to the rich texture.

  • He broke a blood vessel in his throat while singing in 1920.  The performance was stopped and he only sang 3 more times after that, at the Met.

  • He died shortly thereafter, at 48, from pleurisy he contracted after a piece of an opera set fell on him.  He collapsed after his last performance of Jacques Halevy's La Juive.

  • Late in life he said, "I'm not a man at all.  I'm just a money-making machine.  It's not that they value me, Caruso, but only because of my throat which I have sold to managers as Faust sold to Mephistopheles."

  • Other singers were unanimous in saying he was the perfect colleague.  Never tried to hog the limelight. Probably worked harder at singing than anyone else.

  • Made Ada retire from her career as a soprano, saying, "In this household, I do all the singing."

  • He attributed his success to:  "A big chest, a big mouth, 90% memory, 10% intelligence, lots of hard work, and something in the heart."

  • He was known to be a warm, friendly man who was generous to his family and friends. 


When thou commandest me to sing 
it seems that my heart would break with pride; 
and look to thy face, and tears come to my eyes.
All that is harsh and dissonant in my life 
melts into one sweet harmony - - 
and my adoration spreads wings 
like a glad bird on its flight across the sea.

I know thou takest pleasure in my singing.  
I know that only as a singer I come before thy presence.  
I touch by the edge of the far-spreading wing of my song
thy feet with I could never aspire to reach.
Drunk with the joy of singing I forget myself
and call thee friend who art my lord.

Geetanjali - Rabindranath Tagore


THE VIRTUOSO:  “For the virtuoso, musical works are in fact nothing
but tragic and moving materializations of his emotions: 
he is called upon to make them speak, weep, sing, and sigh,
to re-create them in accordance with his own consciousness. 
In this way, like the composer, he is a creator, for he must have within
himself those passions that he wishes to bring so intensely to life.”   

Franz Liszt  


"Military justice is to justice what military music is to music."  -Clemenceau


"I love ALL music but the only one I'd want on my deathbed would be Chopin.  There's something about his music that is pure emotion -- though often suppressed emotion.  Vivaldi, MOZART etc. -- yes, bring in the crowds.  Great tunes.  But when I listen to  Chopin's studies I can hear his longing for a Poland free of Russian oppressors and his frustration."    ~Steve, a blog-guy

Frédéric Chopin 
His soul was Polish but his refinement was definitely French.
"Chopin gives you “whiffs” of emotion in his usually delicate piano music that are as polished and multifaceted as the diamond in an engagement ring. ..You are never bludgeoned.  Chopin is to the piano what Beethoven is to the orchestra.  His approach to the keyboard was fastidious and delicate; no fortissimos for Chopin."  
Source: and worth joining (free) to hear
Fantasie-Impromptu in C-sharp Minor

Minute Waltz:
Sonata, Largo:

Chopin was like his music, dreamy and melancholic ... 
The Polish characteristic is to lend oneself, but never to give oneself away, 
and "Chopin was more polish than Poland itself."

"Chopin has written two wonderful mazurkas (opus 50) which are worth more than forty novels and are more eloquent than the entire century's literature."
George Sand, his lover


"What would I do without Chopin.  Except for Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff.  It's from that part of the world where the Western soul is."  Nancy Fenn, TheIntrovertzCoach.


"Music was invented to confirm human loneliness."
Lawrence Durrell

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“Massenet feels it as a Frenchman, with powder and minuets.
I shall feel it as an Italian, with desperate passion.”
-- Puccini (Madame Butterfly, Don Giovanni) 


  “His is the art of translating, by subtle gradations, all that is excessive, immense, ambitious in spiritual and natural mankind. On listening to this ardent and despotic music one feels at times as though one discovered again, painted in the depths of a gathering darkness torn asunder by dreams, the dizzy imaginations induced by opium.”

-- Charles Baudelaire re: Richard Wagner
et Tannhäuser à Paris


Jessye Norman - Wesendonck lieder I, Der Engel, Barenboim conducting
Absolutely breathtaking



From Abraham, a Jewish money-lender.  A letter his family has preserved.

"I have given him [Wagner] a lot of money.  He hardly said thank you.  I told him I couldn't help being a Jew and he called me Shylock.  You see, my friend, the world is full of people who borrow and don't repay; who steal other men's wives, daughters and sweethearts.  But only one of them wrote Tristan und Isolde ... I only hope my children and their children will not listen to when old age might make me bitter,  but will listen to his music."

The Ride of the Valkyries

Verdi on Wagner's opera Tristan und Isolde:  "I could never quite grasp the fact that it was created by a mere human being."   Tristan und Isolde is considered the most perfect romantic opera of all time.  Leibestod means "Love-Death."  Listen to it here.  Read the story and critique here.  Remember that Wagner was the ONLY composer who wrote his own lyrics and music.


Incredible piece of history we have for you here.  Wagner's Die Meistersinger Prelude & Act III Finale. Karl Böhm, conductor.  Wilhelm Rode as Hans Sachs.  Deutsches Opernhaus 1935.  Shows Goebbels asking for a ''Sieg Heil".  Which in no way reflects on Wagner, since he just had the bad luck of being Hitler's favorite composer.  As he was many people's favorite composer.  Hitler and Wagner never lived one year together on this earth.  This infinitely complex subject isn ever to be excused and will not be unraveled here.  Sensation-seekers, too, will be disappointed, because, as Destrich writes, "Left to speak for themselves, most of these fragments communicate little but musical eloquence."  Watch to the end.  Wagner is so disturbing.  BTW, this is a tribute to Albrecht Dürer.



"Music can never, regardless of what it is combined with, 
cease being the highest, the redemptive art."  
Richard Wagner

Nillson as Brunhilde


"Wagner is the first composer to have inspired me, and he still does.  At the age of thirteen I declared that he was my favourite composer.  I conducted The Mastersingers overture in my front room many times!"  (Sample here)
Dr. David C. F. Wright    Read his bio of Wagner


Air Cav raid from Apocalypse Now. Impact is from the music, Wagner's DieValkyrie.




"My music is so often a lullaby I write to myself to make sense of things I can't tie together, or things I've lost, or things I'll never have." 

    Stephan Jenkins                    




"Music -- the most abstract and sublime of all the arts -- is capable of transmitting an unbelievable amount of expressive, historical, and even philosophical information to us, provided that our antennas are up and pointed in the right direction.  A little education goes a long way to vitalizing and rendering relevant a body of music that many feel is beyond their grasp."   -- Dr. Robert Greenberg, (Order one of his Teaching Company courses here



  1. Piscatore 'E Pussileco, Andrea Bocelli
    Hymne a L'Amour, Edith Piaf
  2. _______________________ your call (please take survey*)
  3. The Best I Know How, The Statler Brothers
  4. Con Te Partiro (Time to Say Goodbye), Andrea Bocelli with Sarah Brightman
  5. Core 'NGrato (Ungrateful Heart/Catari), Andrea Bocelli
  6. I Fall to Pieces, Patsy Cline
  7. Only Love Can Break a Heart, Gene Pitney
  8. And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda, John McDermott
  9. The Big Hurt, Toni Fisher
  10. Always on My Mind, Willie Nelson, Elvis
  11. Killing Me Softly, Roberta Flack
  12. You've Lost That Loving Feeling, The Righteous Brothers
  13. Crying, Roy Orbison
  14. Red, Red Wine, UB40
  15. Till I Can Make It on My Own, Tammy Wynette
  16. Springtime in Alberta/Irving Berlin is 100 Years Old Today, Ian Tyson

* Breaking up is so painful.  We work with many coaching clients struggling with break up or loss of love.  On TheCloser, we help people whose partners have cheated on them, had affairs, or walked away.  We'd like to hear about your experiences, what your favorite breakin' up song is, a time when you broke up, who did it and how, how long you were apart, if you would take them back, how you healed and what helped.  Please take the Breakin' Up Survey.
Click here to take survey

To take other surveys and share your wisdom, go HERE.


1.  Breaking Up is Hard to Do, Simon and Garfunkel (Editor: I don't think there's such an animal!)



"Music, like any pseudo-science, requires an adjectival palette by which we can isolate events that without proper terms we might not ever be able to notice. It's an interesting question to what degree language allows us to perceive things that are not language-associated.  I'm a strong believer that if you've got the right word to identify something, you can perceive it."   

++ Dr. Robert Greenberg, San Francisco Conservatory, one of your teachers (order one of Teaching Company courses HERE  


Franz Liszt, considered the most flamboyant pianist ever, 
and by some the greatest, was also the first to have a concert alone 
without an orchestra to allow the pianist to rest.  

Well, looking at this painting, it's hard to imagine that Liszt was like a rock super star in his day, considered to be gorgeously handsome and charismatic.  Quite the ladies' man.  In fact his father's last words to him were said to be:  "I fear for you and the women."  And this was when Liszt was 16 years old!

“My piano is to me what a ship is to the sailor, what a steed is to the Arab. It is the intimate personal depository of everything that stirred wildly in my brain during the most impassioned days of my youth. It was there that all my wishes, all my dreams, all my joys, and all my sorrows lay.”    -- Liszt

Continually wavering between the women and priesthood,  it is said that when he confessed his (many) (chronic) sins to the Pope, the Pope reportedly replied:  "Basta Liszt!   Go tell your sins to your piano."  ("Basta" means "That's enough!")

We recommend:  Liszt's Concerto #1 in E-Flat Major  
La Campanella, Etude in G# Minor

Personally, I love La Campanella.  Here's a video of Yundi Li playing it.  Enjoy!
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My Teacher



Stefan Blondal, Lioness of the Piano

Piano Me

by Susan Dunn

September 2001




Miss Vashti with hair the color of a bleached elephant’s tusk piled      
above her stern and bony cheeks
Piled books on the piano bench
Put me on them and pulled me forward,
          my feet left dangling precariously
Ran her sharp and crooked finger down my spine
And placed my 6-year-old index finger on one ivory key –

[How can you feel your Soul through plastic?
Surely if there is to be piano, if there is to be Soul,
there must be ivory,
And the cost of the Soul of the elephant must be accounted for elsewhere].

I stared at the child wandering the keyboard in print
Who was being cautioned, in picture, to avoid the "Forest of Failure"
The piano books then, even the piano books, spoke of character –
And the "Bog of Sloth" terrified me then as it terrifies me now.

My finger reached for the black thing as I swung my feet beneath me,
And she fiercely moved my finger back to the ivory
And firmly silenced my ankle with her clawed hand;
I feared the "Nothingness of Not Knowing",
The "Agony of Abandonment",
And the "Wrath of Wrongful Behavior",
And wondered why there was no one to tell me why I had been left there
Captured by a witch,
A piece of paper in front of me,
A book beneath me,
My fingers, my feet, my back no longer my own.

And so, with my finger placed upon what I was told was “Middle C’
It began –

The endless years of boring, demanding iron-disciplined scales
That would one day
become Tchaikovsky’s “Piano Concerto No 1”
which is my Philosophy of Life,

(“Music,” said Beethoven, “is a higher revelation than philosophy”).

and Chopin’s “Polonaise,”
which is my Soul.

Through the years I played my Soul –
If we are feelings, I knew me only through my fingers;
I became the music I played, and often it was heard.

Nana beat me, yes,
And destroyed my mother, yes,
But she would ask me to play for her –
The one thing that was never a command
For in her German soul she knew one could not command the Soul of another
So deeply she knew this, her asking was almost a plea;
And she would sit quietly, all mine,
Her eyes closed,
Her hands clasped in rapture,
And I knew what it was to captivate someone completely
And please them deeply
The <I> that was the music that played me.

But as time passed,
I found myself among those even Chopin could not please
And to whom the Soul of an elephant was more important than the Soul of me,
Which must be accounted for elsewhere, yes,
      by the Accounter of all Souls,
But the Soul of me was more important than the Soul of an elephant
      to me
And those who value the Soul of an elephant more should surely live     
      with an elephant
Not me;
So I and the music that played me became estranged,
And we were no longer the same thing.
Confused, I began to play the piano
Instead of to play music,
And the music that had always played me
Left the piano that I played

A piano with white plastic keys –
The elephant had been saved
But not me –





"Susan," said Chopin. "Susan, play me. Play me though your house burns. Let it burn to the ground but play my Polonaise, my Polish Polonaise, my Polonaise to Poland . . . Poland beyond the Moon " This is a true story. Susan played Chopin's Polonaisethough it was her Soul that burned. And this was indeed how she came to know herself through her fingers…     (Art by TheIntrovertzCoach Nancy Fenn.  Nancy designs websites.  )


Little Gianni at the Keyboard
5 years old
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Ah, but the violin!  I play the piano, and am partial to it.  However, at our symphony's Pops Christmas Concert, they had The Battle of the Instruments.  The instruments took turns playing the same piece.  We listened, then it was time to vote and they had each group play again.  It was unquestionably the violins.  The audience even stood to clap.
The sweet, sweet, violins.  
Listen here:




"Music is the effort we make to explain to ourselves how 
our brains work.

 We listen to Bach transfixed because
this is listening to the human mind."  
+Lewis Thomas,

American physician and writer  

We recommend:  
Toccata and Fugue in D Minor for Orchestra

If you took piano lessons, were you assigned the Inventions for "technique"?  


"I really can't think of any other music which is so all-encompassing, which moves me so deeply, and which, to use a rather imprecise word, is valuable beyond all its skill and brilliance for something more meaningful than that--its humanity.  I would tire of a repetition of lush Tchaikovsky melodies* day in and day out."
Glenn Gould on Johann Sebastian Bach

WHAT SAY YOU?  Is it Bach or Tchaikovsky?  Or
MOZART?  Or Rachmaninoff?  TAKE THE SURVEY.

*Here is a lush Tchaikovsky melody:  
The Seasons, Opus 37a,
December - Christmas
The classical music sequence is used by permission from the Classical Piano Midi Page  ©Bernd Krueger



“[Chopin’s] unique ability to move the listener in such a direct, personal and succinct manner.  SUCCINCT:  Chopin minced few words when he wanted to tell you what he was thinking .  Some of his shortest Preludes are the most complete and perfect expressions of musical thought to be found.  PERSONAL:  no composer before him exposed his most inner self so nakedly.  He literally tore himself open and showed you what was inside of him, no matter how painful, whimsical, lonely, confused, frightening.  DIRECT:  [These two qualities combine to have a powerful and direct effect on the listener.  The emotion or thought in the music is not parenthetical to or an aspect of the piece, but is the whole of the piece – simple or even complex emotions expressed in musical terms. ..




"Music is love in search of a word."
+Sidonie Gabrielle


Catarí, Catarí…Catarí, CataríCatarí, CataríCatarí, Catari

Core, core 'ngrato, t'aie pigliato 'a vita mia,
tutt'è passato e nun'nce pienze chiù.


"When people hear good music, it makes them homesick for something they never had,  and never will have."

+Edgar Watson Howe   

Core N'Grato
Andrea Bocelli


Music is the art which is most nigh to tears and memory.

Oscar Wilde





"When the Feeling's Gone: A Selective Loss of Musical Emotion"

by Griffiths, Warren, Dean and Howard

Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry 2004;75:344-345  

"Here we describe loss of the feeling or emotion produced by music itself. Musical emotion can be considered at a number of levels. At the most fundamental level, dissonance produces a perception that is unpleasant to most listeners.  More variable is the intense pleasure that certain music may evoke in particular listeners, often described as a "shiver down the spine" or "chills",  which is likely to represent a more complex aesthetic response. We describe a patient with selective loss of this emotional response to music, due to a focal brain lesion.   

A 52 year old ... radio announcer collapsed ... and was found afterwards to have a total loss of speech comprehension and output ... His speech recovered well ... motor functions recovered completely  ... However, he reported a persistent alteration in his auditory experience. He was in the habit of listening to classical music, to relax after working his night shift at the radio station, and had derived particular pleasure from listening to Rachmaninov preludes. He experienced an intense, altered emotional state or "transformation" when he did this In common with other subjects who have this experience, the transformation was only produced by particular pieces, and he did not describe such an experience in response to music other than Rachmaninov’s, nor to other sensory experiences.”



 "The indefatigable pursuit of an unattainable perfection-even
though nothing more than the pounding of an old piano -- is
what alone gives a meaning to our life on this unavailing star."

--Logan Pearsall Smith



"I have spent many days stringing and unstringing my instrument 
while the song I came to sing remains unsung."

-- Rabindranath Tagore


Cello & Tango? Take a deep breath - Astor Piazzolla's Libertango with Yo Yo Ma on the cello.


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I LOVE TO COACH!  I HELP PEOPLE QUIT STRINGING AND UNSTRINGING THEIR INSTRUMENTS & GET TO PLAYING THEM!.   It's been so long.  I'm beginning to focus more and really, really enjoy reading the EQ course.  I was really able to grasp the resilience thing. That's where I realized - this thing is good, this EQ.  I'm saying to myself where was I all the time?  How come I've now found me?  I think it was when you told me that thing about anger.  Now I think,  What have I lost on the stretch to get to this point?  Can I recapture it?   I know it's good to feel alive again."  -- P.W., Florida


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If you have better midis of these, please send me them!  EMAIL.

Pavarotti singing Nessun Dorma, Puccini's "Turandot"
Chopin, Grand Valse Brilliante*
Rachmaninoff's 14 Songs Vocalise
Schumann, Abegg Variations, Opus I*
Nicholas Clapton, Liber Scriptus, from Verdi's Requiem
Schubert's March Militaire( Schubert died at the age of 31!)
Schubert Duet
Tchaikovsky, Sugar Plum Fairy from Nutcracker Suite
Chopin's Polonaise Op. 53
Chopin, Mazurka
Chopin, Winter Wind Prelude
Wagner, Tannhauser Overture
Debussy, Claire de Lune
Tchaikovsky, Piano Concerto No. 1
Tchaikovsky, Sleeping Beauty Waltz
Liszt, Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2
Andrew Lloyd Weber, Phantom of the Opera
Verdi's Va' Pensiero from Nabucco
Hungarian (name this piece)
(name this piece)
Carmina Burana
Rossini, Largo al Factotum
John Philip Sousa, Washington Post
Shubert's, Ave Maria
Conversation (tell me what song this is if you recognize it)


*The music sequence is used by permission from the Classical Piano Midi Page, Copyright by Bernd Krueger

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Think Ballet's just for girly-men?  Enjoy!

MUSIC & DEPRESSION (by Sintilia Miercovole)

What is music? All sounds are comprised of sound waves. What distinguishes music from other sound waves is the manner in which the sound waves vibrate and decrease from loud to soft.  Dropping a metal pan on the floor presents jarring, erratic vibrations. Striking a note on a piano chord presents a softer more uniform and smooth transition from loud to soft.  Obviously, a musical note is going to be much more pleasant to the ear. 
There's an old adage about how "music sooths the savage beast."  [NB -- it's savage breastI]  Not only is this true, it is actually an understatement. Music plays such a profound part of our lives, that we will barely scratch the surface here, but let's give it an overview. 
All of us grew up with certain songs or instrumentals that strike a chord that reverberates through our entire being. For example, when I hear "A Summer Place," it immediately carries me back to summer months in the fifties. The experience is so profound that I can remember the feel of the sun on my face, the smell of hot dogs cooked over an open fire and the laughter of friends and family. 
There is a theory that certain notes or chords resonate with a vibration that is particularly harmonious to specific people. Have you ever heard a song that gave you "goose bumps?" If so, then you give validation to this theory. When this occurs, the music has a profound affect on the subconscious. Add intense emotion to the equation and you have one powerful, indelible, blueprint on your subconscious that will follow you the rest of your life. 
For example, let's say that you receive news of the death of a loved one while a specific piece of music is playing on the radio. That particular music may have a lasting impression. Years later, for no apparent reason, you may find yourself
immediately thrown into a state of depression upon hearing that same tune. The same can be true of "positive" feelings as described in the story above. 
The subliminal effect of music is a proven fact. How often do you find yourself humming a fragment of a tune that you can't identify only to discover that it's a new "commercial" message you heard on your television. The advertising industry pays huge amounts of money to conduct research into why and how music works on the subconscious mind. This is also the reason why you see the recent trend by large companies to reconstitute classics originally performed by some of the greats of stage and screen. 
Just for fun, the next time you find yourself humming a tune, try and remember when, where and under what circumstances you heard it for the very first time. The exercise will probably help you to better understand how past events have shaped your musical preferences. And, I'll wager that the next time you hear "A Summer Place," you will remember reading this article.
Happy Listening!

Required Byline (not a recommendation):  About The Author: If you are mad, worried or unhappy it may be depression. Visit with host, Sintilia Miecevole and get the facts on how to live with this condition and how to manage it. Be sure to visit

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Have you seen Verdi and Ghislanzoni’s “Aida”?  (huh?)

Don't you love the works of Temistocle Solear, Antonio Ghislanzoni, Henri Meilhac, Jules Barbier, Michael Carre, Guiseppe Giacosa, Luigi Illica, Renato Semoni, and Nicola Haym ?  

And didn't this man write some of the most sublime opera on earth??

Who is he?


This man is Mozart's Librettist, De Ponte!

These men are librettists.  They wrote the words, without which you would be listening to a symphony, not an opera.  And we never hear their names!

They’re called “librettists” because the words to the songs, which basically comprise the script of the opera, is called a “libretto.”  It’s Italian for little book. 

Like Gilbert and Sullivan, the pairs worked together.  The inimitable Richard Wagner was the only one to compose all his operas entirely by himself, creating both music and lyrics, which may account for why they are so powerful, so “Wagnerian.”   This is quite a feat because composing music and writing words require different parts of the brain.  

Most music scholars will stress that the opera is the music; that the music must, and does, over-ride the lyrics, but ... it wouldn't be an OPERA without the LYRICS.  

Did you know that first the story was decided upon (and few were original), and then the librettists submitted the lyrics to the composer.  Sometimes in opera the music goes with what the singer is singing, and sometimes against it, i.e., the tenor may be saying he will win, but the music tells you he won't; or the soprano may be singing that she loves him, but the music tells you she isn't sure.      

In The Teaching Company's SuperStar Series course on Opera,  Dr. Robert Greenberg explains this so well, how it works together.  Librettists submitted to Puccini the following lyrics for Nessun Dorma, English translation, where much is lost.
CALAF:  No one shall sleep!  No one shall sleep!
You too, o Princess, in your cold room are watching the starts which tremble with love and hope!
But my secret lies hidden within me, no one will know my name!
No, no, I will reveal it only on your lips, when daylight breaks forth and my kiss will break the silence which makes you mine!

WOMEN/CHORUS:  Nobody will know his name ... And we will have to die, alas! Die!

CALAF:  Depart, o night!  Quickly set, stars!  Quickly set, stars!  At dawn I will win!  I will win!  I will win!  (Vincero!  Vincero!  Vincero! - pronounced with the broad Italian "o" almost like "ah".)

The Italians have a phrase for kissing that means literally "whispering on the lips."  Sweet, isn't it.  Romanza!

Given these words, Puccini has a decision to make.  Through the music, he can make this about the anxiety of the women who fear they will die, or corragioso, as Calaf intended to VINCERO! 

Instead, Puccini plays it as a love serenade, and indeed it is ... one of the loveliest songs every written.  Bravo!

Sometimes the composer and librettist met in person, while other times the work was done by correspondence.  Strauss worked exclusively with one librettist, after writing his own lyrics for his first opera and finding out he wasn’t good at it, but most other composers switched around, finding the right librettist for the job, or one who was available.  It’s not unlike the way a lot of us work these days – long distance and by contract.   

Me, heading for "Turandot" in Santa Fe

What an incredible collaboration an opera is.  It takes costume designers as well, because an opera is as much visual as it is auditory.  How could Grand Opera be Grand without the pageantry of the sets and the costumes?  I saw “Turandot” this summer in Santa Fe, and the costume of the Moon Goddess (as well as the sets) was spell-binding.   
Many elements go together to produce the opera we see that bears the name of one man only. With "Turandot” for instance, it was librettist Semoni who gave Puccini the suggestion for the opera in the first place, suggesting  “Turandotte,” a play based on one of the tales from the Arabian Nights, written by Gozzi.   

Puccini had been searching for two years for a suitable plot for an opera.  He began work on “Turandot” at the age of 61, and instructed librettists, Adami and Semoni to “pour great pathos into the drama.”  Puccini was known, incidentally for being extremely demanding, requiring endless rewrites from his librettists.   


From Puccini's point of view, of course, it was the librettists who were difficult.  We can read his letters begging them to do their work.  He wrote frantically to Semoni, in charge of Act III, “The third!  The third!  The third!” 

At one point, he confessed to a friend “Music disgusts me…”, as he evidently had periods of self-doubt and composer’s block.  Toscanini paid him a visit and gave him the encouragement to keep going.    

Puccini was justified in urging completion of the opera as he died before the team had completed the third act.  The collaboration continued on, as Toscanini found a composer named Franco Alfano  to complete it, and the world premier took place on April 25th, 1926 of one of the world's most beloved operas, a join effort by many, with one guiding genius.   

What we don’t see at an opera is the orchestra, perhaps the most important element of all.  They’re listed in the program, of course, and given their bows at the curtain calls, but we only hear them, seated down below in the orchestra pit as they are.   

Score from In Questa Reggia, Turandot

Graphic, public domain,

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"His talent was confirmed and a teacher was found..."

So begins the story of Thomas Quasthoff, bass-baritone, and any other sports figure, artist, or musician.  It all begins with middle C, with the lessons.  We pause here to praise those who 'only stand and serve.'  Without them where would  we be?  Teachers and coaches are not teaching because they can't "do," they are doing so that others have the chance to fulfill their potential, so that others can do.      

Whenever I hear someone say "Those who can, do, and those who can't, teach," I pity them.  They must never have had a great teacher to understand the role great teachers play in our lives.    

It's a special gift, almost a calling.  It is not the teacher's job, you see, to "teach something," it is to light a fire.  There are those who put the shoe on the other foot and feel that those who are "doing things" are acting out the vision and intellect supplied by the thinkers and teachers.  

Teachers are in charge of the emotional aspects of the art or skill.  Their presence alone reassures the budding artist.  They appear on the scene like Apollo in his chariot of light!  The lessons are all skills and techniques, but they are also about emotional management, and about passion.   Read the statements of any genius, and you will hear of the work.       

It is also true that you don't really know something until you teach it, so our teachers work at the meta-level.      

In other times, a person named and honored his teacher (remember it was years before women were allowed to be taught -- if that doesn't tell you what a privilege it is, nothing will!)  Farinelli's real name, for instance, was Carlo Broschi, but he became the protege of the Farina Brothers, and thus took the name "Farinelli" as was the custom.  As noted above, the castrati were extraordinary singers, nothing less of course would do for the Pope's Sistine choir.  Many were trained by a teacher named Porpora, considered by some to be the greatest teacher who ever lived.  Aristotle would disagree!  

and I'll post it.     






This is a photo of me and my sister, Nancy, at age 5.  At age 6 We were finally "allowed" to start piano lessons with Miss Vashti.  The poem Piano Me is about the experience.  Miss Vashti had also taught my mother piano.  She lived in an old Victorian mansion, such a house it was ultimately lifted by helicopter and carried 600 miles to Houston, TX, having been bought by the owner of a professional football team.  Just entering the house was a trip.  How well I remember when Miss Vashti  took my index finger and placed it on Middle C .  My mother and father both played the piano, and all 4 of us children were given lessons until we graduated from high school.  My last teacher was Mrs. Lightner.  She gave in and let me play only my beloved Chopin.  My sister and I played many two-piano pieces as well.  



"[Bocelli] had soul..."

Luciano Pavarotti & Andrea Bocelli

A teacher promotes the student, often from his or her own largesse.  Andrea Bocelli got his big break thanks to Pavarotti.  According to Bocelli's website, Italian legend Zucchero held auditions for tenors to make a demo tape of the duet Miserere, in an attempt to persuade Pavarotti to record the song with him.  Zucchero recalled: "Andrea was just unbelievable! He had something not one of the other tenors possessed. He had soul." 

When Pavarotti received the demo, he said, "Zucchero!  Who is this guy?  Thank you for writing such a wonderful song. Yet you do not need me to sing it - Let Andrea sing Miserere with you, for there is no one finer." 

Though not Bocelli's teacher, Pavarotti was gracious enough to recognize talent.  He went on to record Miserere w/ Zucchero and it was a pan-European hit.  

When Zucchero decided to go on tour w/ the song, he invited Bocelli to perform with him ... and the rest is history.  


Letter from Beethoven's powerful friend, Count Ferdinand Waldstein:

Dear Beethoven:  You are going to Vienna in fulfillment of your long-frustrated wishes.  The Genius of Mozart is still mourning and weeping over the death of her pupil.  She found a refuge but no occupation with the inexhaustible Haydn; through him she wishes once more to form a union with another.  With the help of assiduous labour you shall receive Mozart's spirit from Haydn's hands.  Your true friend, Waldstein  

Haydn referred to Beethoven as "my dear pupil," and said, "I shall be proud to call myself his teacher."  

Beethoven studied with Haydn for about a year in Vienna, but it was a poor match of personalities.  Haydn, who liked that he was called "Papa" Haydn, and had no children, found the relationship with Beethoven unsatisfying in that respect (read about Beethoven's father above.)      

On readers contribution.  John with his former teacher, Shireen.

This is Gianni with his teacher, Shireen.  They were recently reunited after 40 years.  









Gianni remembers when his Teacher placed his finger on Middle C.


John tells the story of his teachers . . .

My love for the Russian romantics, particularly Sergei Rachmaninoff's soul-stirring music, had its roots even farther back.  Shireen taught me from the moment she placed my 7-year-old finger on middle C up until I was 17, and then her husband, Dr. Harold Schlagel, taught me from 17 to 26 years old.

Harold had a strict disciplinarian philosophy of teaching piano and in my teens I thought he was a harsh grouch who never smiled.  I learned the truth of this passion of mine, and of this wonderful dedicated teacher I was fortunate enough to have, when I met Shireen on a visit to Florida in 2004.

Harold had himself trained at Leipzig Music Conservatory in Germany as a young boy, and his professor was taught by a composer/pianist named Franz Liszt.  When Hal came to the US and trained at Julliard in New York, Hal, my piano teacher, was taught by none other than Sergei Rachmaninoff, who was living on Long Island, NY, teaching at Julliard, and concert-touring the USA, during the 1940s.

No wonder Hal grew impatient with this teenager who would rather play tennis than practice the piano, seldom had a good lesson, and exasperated both him and Shireen.  (That may be why Hal never smiled.)  

Hal died of the ravages of Alzheimer's at the age of 92, in his wheelchair, in Sarasota  Shireen took care of him, with complete devotion and sacrifice, until the end.  Of great medical fascination is the fact that, although Hal could not even care for, eat or dress himself, or recognize his wife and old friends, he was still able to play the piano, and quite well, up until his last breath, including the demanding music of his old teacher, Sergei Rachmaninoff, and his teacher's teacher, Franz Liszt.

"Vivo per lei."  It does do it for me.  



Here is where your story about your teacher will go ...
EMAIL it to me for inclusion. 




HERE the legendary Spanish diva Montserrat Caballe sing Canzonetta Spagnuola by Rossini.







If a person in the US knows any opera arias, it is likely to be one of Rossini's two most popular - The William Tell Overture (The Lone Ranger theme), or Largo al Factotum, from Il Barbieri di Siviglia, aka the Bugs Bunny theme.  That's how popular they are.

Rossini wrote in the bel canto style.  It means "beautiful singing," and is used to describe all Italian singing, but particularly the light, airy sound of Italian opera best exemplified by the work of Rossini.  The times were such that "be" included happy endings; therefore you will find a non-traditional one to his Othello.

In Italy, singing is considered natural, and the singers are taught by hearing them do some-thing right and reinforcing it.  SInce it must be

mastered internally, it is not easy to teach, but rather must be learned.  In Il Barbieri di Sivglia you will hear our heroine warbling a lot, and fast.  In fact it's hard for the diva to maintain the facial expressions needed for this flirty girl, as her mouth is going a mile-a-minute.   

Rossini was known as "the little German" when in school, because he loved Mozart.  However, of Wagner, he said, "Mr. Wagner has beautiful moments but bad quarters of an hour." 

For the times Rossini had an easy life, even though his father was imprisoned for a time for political reasons.  His mother was a singer and she worked and traveled with him or left him with his grandmother.

He had good schooling and training, and was productive early, so able to retire at around 32.  He wrote often in bed, and it is said that one day he rewrote a section of opera rather than get up from the bed to pick up the sheet that had fallen to the floor.  Other times he wrote rapidly, and he was productive, so I suppose that was efficiency.  I think he was smart, as in sharp, as evidenced by his managing to retire at an unheard of age for an artist and the crisp, crackling pace and fine organization of his appears.  It is said that he plagiarized a lot; mostly from himself.

I was taken to see Madama Butterfly as a child, and then my first opera as a young adult was Il Barbieri. It is a good choice for a novice.  The story is clear and moves well, and the characters have identities.  I prefer the full, rich arias of Puccini and Verdi, or the music of Wagner, but Rossini is always welcome and always sits well.  Perfect to go to with friends, as not heart-wrenching nor demanding of you, the audience, the kind of thing you could always work in on a Sunday afternoon. 

Last but not least, I found myself truly guffawing ... over the centuries, his humor still lasts and that's really quite remarkable. 


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The Lord Giveth and the Lord Taketh Away

HOW ARE COMPOSERS AND ARTISTS able to convey the emotions we can hardly name?  Our yearnings, our sorrow, our angst ... our suffering.  Here are some life stories.  Sometimes you can see it in their eyes.  

"The great geniuses suffer and must suffer, but they need not complain; they have known intoxication unknown to the rest of men and, if they have wept tears of sadness, they have poured tears of ineffable joy.  That in itself is a heaven for which one never pays what it is worth."  ~Charles Gounod

The most obvious exception to this rule, if a rule it is, is MOZART.  How could MOZAR not have suffered?  He was used, from about the age of 5, by his father, to make money.  At one point when he became ill, his father expressed concern over loss of income, not MOZART.  

How could he not?  It isn't what happens to you, it's how we take it.  He seemed impervious to situations that might have disturbed a less resilient child  MOZART must have processed emotions like an angel ... all sweetness and light.  

Jacques-Louis David's paintings include The Lictors Returning to Brutus the Bodies of His SonsChrist on the Cross, Sorrow, Andromache Mourning Hector, St. Rock Interceding with the Virgin for the Plague Stricken.   His father, a wealthy Parisian merchant, died after a pistol duel when David was only 10 years old.  His uncles took over his upbringing, sending him to a boarding school and later furthering his artistic career.


RICHARD WAGNER ...  considered by some to be the greatest composer who ever lived, and the only opera composer to write all his own lyrics as well as music, said that there was not a day of his life in which he did not contemplate suicide. He wrote that Schopenhauer's philosophy alone "was consonant with my deeply suffering conception of the nature of the world." 
Says biographer  Bryan Magee (The Tristan Chord: Wagner and Philosophy):  "He was a victim of his own strength of will.  His normal experience was of incessant longing, cravings, yearnings, for things he could not have, or at least did not get.  Because of this his life at any rate until the last 18 years, was a catalogue of frustration - and because of the power of his will that frustration was of an abnormally high intensity.  And because of this -- each thing following on from the last -- he was always in a stressed condition...for much of the time he was a sick man bruising himself against the world, against both people and institutions, hurling himself against circumstances, never letting up, making his condition worse.  For this reason he was profoundly unhappy for most of the time...He regarded the world as a hateful place and life in it as inherently painful."

Though he was allegedly happy once married to Cosima, he said the reason he wrote Tristan und Isolde is that he had never been in love.

His wife wrote re: Schopenhauer:  "Resemblance to R. [Wagner]:  chin, the relationship of the head to the face, one eye half closed, the other wide open, the sorrowful acute gaze which is peculiar to all geniuses." 

Wagner conceived of Der Floegende Hollander while fleeing creditors on a boat from Prague to London.

Wagner felt himself to be more than other people, destined for immortality and this gave him weighty problems in his personal life.  It was until late in his fifties, when he married Cosima, that he came to terms with this.  (Cosima was Liszt's illegitimate daughter, many years younger than he, and his dream - - a woman perfectly delighted to devote her life to him and his art.

Writes Brian Magee, in The Tristan Chord, "Wagner felt unable to relate to other people.  They didn't understand him and he couldn't communicate with them.  Consequently, he felt this world to be an alien place, both puzzling and hostile.  He did not understand it, was not at home in it, did not like it.  He wanted, in fact, to escape from it?"

Did he love Cosima?  He is quoted as saying that he had never been in love; that was why he wrote Tristan und Isolde, the opera about love that is more than love can ever be. 

"Until his fifties, not a year of his adult life went by in which he did not seriously contemplate suicide."  (Magee)

One reason he could not get along with others was his incredible will.  His idea of a friend, they said, was someone whose house he could live in, whose money he could use, and whose wife he could sleep with. 

Of course you will have heard of his connection with Wagner.  Hopefully, you are mature enough to understand that because Hitler loved Wagner's music, is just that ... the two never even lived on earth for one year together.  It is true that Wagner wrote anti-Semitic polemics (not condonable, but understandable if you read his bio). 

Here, from Magee's book, is what a money-lender named Abraham wrote about him, which his family has saved:

"I have given him [Wagner] a lot of money.  He hardly said thank you.  I told him I couldn't help being a Jew and he called me Shylock.  You see, my friend, the world is full of people who borrow and don't repay, who steal other men's wives, daughters and sweethearts.  But only one of them wrote Tristan and Isolde . . . I only hope my children and their children will not listen to me when old age might make me bitter, but will listen to his music."

Click HERE to listen to Liebestod.

FOR MORE ON WAGNER, GO HERE.  (under construction)


VERDI -- Italy's own. Verdi's two children by his first marriage died in infancy in quick succession, and his wife not two months later.  28 years old, devastated, penniless and living in a garret consumed with despair, he met Merelli one night on a walk, who convinced him to do the opera "Nabucco." 
The Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves (Va' Pensiero in Nabbuco,)
the lament of the captives in Babylonia, was so popular it was proposed for the Italian national anthem, and sung in the streets of Milan, which was at the time under Austrian occupation.

Click HERE to hear Va' Pensiero.

It's lyrics ... where the sweet airs of our native soil smell soft and mild! ... Oh, my country, so lovely and lost!  Oh remembrance so dear yet unhappy!  You can list to it here. 

The resurgence at the end is so typical of an indefinable energy we find in Verdi's work.  Resilience, perhaps?

This opera coincided with Risorgimiento, the Italian reunification campaign, whose cry was "Viva VERDI," a secret acronym for Vittorio Emanuele Re D'Italia (Victor Emmanuel, King of Italy.)

Guiseppina Strepponi

When Verdi was finally married to his long-term lover Strepponi, a soprano, well off, well know, and in love, he wrote what's considered his grandest opera, Rigoletto.  It was one of many operas he wrote with the theme of parent and child.  Bella Figlia dell'Amore is one of the most beautiful songs you will ever hear. 

Verdi lost his own two children.  Strepponi was known to have abandoned or aborted several babies, and continued to do so with Verdi.  At least one female infant was left off at an orphanage.

Verdi's state funeral - - He was truly a national hero and his operas were sung on the streets.  Toscanini directed the La Scala chorus, whose voices were joined by the tens of thousands who attended, in Va'Pensiero.  HEAR IT HERE.




Beethoven had brothers.  At the age of 19, he took his sorry father to court and had himself declared head of the household, taking on the care of his younger brothers.  This was a theme in his life - the brotherhood of man, and also his disgust/defiance of his father.  He composed "Eroica" for Napoleon, but tore up the dedication when Napoleon crowned himself Emperor.    

Beethoven's story doesn't have the redemption of some ... there was no woman he finally got to marry who turned his life around.  Apparently unable to sustain loving relationships, and deaf at the end, he endured, and stood alone at the end, defiant, and created some of the greatest music this earth has ever know. 

He is the HANDS DOWN favorite in our survey, and everyone else's.

Where it came from, I do not know.  Beethoven's god must have been as fierce and enduring as he was himself.  There's a masculine force in his music for which "inspiration" is too light a word.

There's a story that at the end, when completely deaf, Beethoven stretched a board between his clavicle and the strings of the piano so that he could feel the vibrations of the music he could no longer hear.  Can you imagine losing the capacity to experience what you live for?  He knew music so well he could translate the vibrations into notes.  (If you face this, put on "Eroica" and listen.)  We forget that music is SOUND ... I wonder if this is why so many physicians have the connection ... yes, there's the math, but also physicians deal with the physical body, and music is literally absorbed into our bodies.  This is why we innately know that it can heal us ... and why we say it moves us.  One physician who has a music site on the Internet begins his book with the story of the eustachian tubes, and warns us to take care of our ears (hearing)!  

However Beethoven suffered, I think he found the salt cure in work - not, tears, and not the sea.  This is Teutonic.   The cure for anything is work!  One never hears self-pity in his works, as one senses in others'.

I think of my German grandmother, who would tell me, "An idle mind is the devil's workshop."  She cured her own life-ills by never allowing the "idle mind."  I think Beethoven did this as well. 



 Have your listened to the melody in "The Unfinished Symphony"?  Schubert said: "My music is the product of my talent and my misery.  And that which I have written in my greatest distress is what the world seems to like best."

Schubert, The King of Melody?
He spoke of the power of Beethoven's music and "my own little melodies."

Schubert at the Piano

Herman Prey sings Erlkonig



Erlkönig Erlking
von J.W. Goethe Translation by Hyde Flippo

Wer reitet so spät durch Nacht und Wind? Who rides so late through the night and wind?
Es ist der Vater mit seinem Kind; It's the father with his child;
Er hat den Knaben wohl in dem Arm, He has the boy safe in his arm,
Er faßt ihn sicher, er hält ihn warm. He holds him secure, he holds him warm.
«Mein Sohn, was birgst du so bang dein Gesicht?» – “My son, what makes you hide your face in fear?” –
Siehst, Vater, du den Erlkönig nicht? Father, don't you see the Erlking?
Den Erlenkönig mit Kron und Schweif? – The Erlking with crown and flowing robe? –
«Mein Sohn, es ist ein Nebelstreif.» – “My son, it's a wisp of fog.” –
«Du liebes Kind, komm, geh mit mir! “You dear child, come along with me!
Gar schöne Spiele spiel' ich mit dir; Such lovely games I'll play with you;
Manch bunte Blumen sind an dem Strand, Many colorful flowers are at the shore,
Meine Mutter hat manch gülden Gewand.» My mother has many a golden garment.”
Mein Vater, mein Vater, und hörest du nicht, My father, my father, and do you not hear
Was Erlenkönig mir leise verspricht? – What the Erlking promises me so softly? –
«Sei ruhig, bleibe ruhig, mein Kind; “Be quiet, stay quiet, my child;
In dürren Blättern säuselt der Wind.» – In the dry leaves the wind is rustling.” –
«Willst, feiner Knabe, du mit mir gehn? “Won't you come along with me, my fine boy?
Meine Töchter sollen dich warten schön; My daughters shall attend to you so nicely.
Meine Töchter führen den nächtlichen Reihn, My daughters do their nightly dance,
Und wiegen und tanzen und singen dich ein.» And they'll rock you and dance you and sing you to sleep.”
Mein Vater, mein Vater, und siehst du nicht dort My father, my father, and do you not see over there
Erlkönigs Töchter am düstern Ort? – Erlking's daughters in that dark place? –
«Mein Sohn, mein Sohn, ich seh es genau: “My son, my son, I see it most definitely:
Es scheinen die alten Weiden so grau.» It's the willow trees looking so grey.”
«Ich liebe dich, mich reizt deine schöne Gestalt; “I love you; I'm charmed by your beautiful form;
Und bist du nicht willig, so brauch ich Gewalt.» And if you're not willing, then I'll use force.”
Mein Vater, mein Vater, jetzt faßt er mich an! My father, my father, now he's grabbing hold of me!
Erlkönig hat mir ein Leids getan! – Erlking has done me harm! –
Dem Vater grausets, er reitet geschwind, The father shudders, he rides swiftly,
Er hält in Armen das ächzende Kind, He holds in (his) arms the moaning child.
Erreicht den Hof mit Mühe und Not; He reaches the farmhouse with effort and urgency.
In seinen Armen das Kind war tot. In his arms the child was dead.


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The incredible Haydn attributed his composing to his joy!  "I write according to the thoughts I feel.  When I think upon my God, my heart is so full of joy that notes dance and leap from my pen; and since God has given me a cheerful heart, it will be pardoned me that I serve Him with a cheerful spirit."  (Frank Joseph Haydn)
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There's an infectious delight in everything he does," writes Norman Lebrecht, "an invitation to colleagues and audiences alike to share his joie de vivre."

Quasthoff , a "thalidomide baby," is only 4' tall with his hands extending from his shoulders because he has  no arms.  "But the internal organs are fine," Quasthoff grins, and says he has a problem when people tell him to be a disability spokesman.  "I don't live a disabled life," he says.  "I have a beautiful, tall girlfriend and I live a normal life."

One of the greatest bass-baritone voices around today,  he underwent innumerable operations as an infant, and was consigned to a school for cerebral palsy sufferers.  Finally his father, a frustrated singer, took him to an audition when he was 10 years old.  His talent was confirmed and a teacher was found.   Later he was rejected by the music academy because ... he couldn't play the piano.!   The rest, as they say, is history, for this man of indomitable spirit.  


Puccini suffered periods of great doubt and frustration. 

At 31, it seemed his career was going nowehre.  After the failure of his first opera, he was unable to write at all for a while.  Finally he visited a therapist who taught him the "self-talk" we refer to in Emotional Intelligence.

Eventually he forged ahead again.

At one point during the writing of Turandot he wrote to a friend, "Music disgusts me ..." and this was at the age of 61, shortly before his death.

At this time, Toscanini paid him a visit and gave him the encouragement to keep going.

Puccini said Madame Butterfly  was his favorite work.

Check out this site for information on Puccini and lots of sound clips.

Many people's favorite opera is Turandot , and to just as many, Nessun Dorma is the test of a tenor.  

 Below is Puccini's study in Torre del Lago.  He was a perfectionist, as you can see from this beautiful place where he wrote.  He was known for being hands-on and very demanding.  He told one soprano diva if he called her at 3 am and wanted to hear her high C, she must do it.  She said he made her the success he was.

He never strayed far from his beloved Tuscany and musical Italian roots.  He bought this villa as soon as he could afford it, and stayed there till driven away by the smell of peat from a factory build for World War I.

Puccini's Study in Italy ------------->

Madame Butterfly premiered on 17 February 1904 to catcalls and boos  from the audience, probably staged by rival publisher Sonzogno and his stable of composers.  The "business" side of opera was always rough, it seems.

The next morning, Puccini wrote, "...It was a real lynching!  Those cannibals didn't listen to one note.  What a horrible orgy of madmen, drunk with hate!  But my Butterfly remains what it is:  the most deeply-felt and imaginative opera I have conceived!

It remained his lifelong favorite. 


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If someone can only mention one conductor, it is likely to be Tocanini.

Watch this treasure I found:

He is often quoted as saying, re: Beethoven's Symphony #3, the "Eroica" -- "To some it is Napoleon, to some it is philosophical struggle; to me it is Allegro con brio."  Don't you love it?

He was born in Parma, Italy.  (Why all the musicians from Italy?  Has anyone ever tried to answer that one?)  He became the head at La Scala, then left there in 1908 to join the Met in NR. 

He left there in 1915, ostensibly over some tiff with management, but most believe it was to escape Geraldine Farrar, beautiful diva who bore his child and insisted on marriage . . . not uncommon for Toscanini was an especially ardent philanderer, though married from 1987 until his wife' death in 1951.  His 'popularity' was attributed to his "talent, energy, and ravishing good looks," plus his easy acceptance of the Italian double standard.

He spent WWI in Italy with limited activity, depressed about his country's losses.  At first enamored of Mussolini, when he turned fascist, and ordered the fascist national anthem played before all concerts, Toscanini refused to comply.

He resumed activity in 1920, forming an orchestra which he took on tour. 

At the age of 69, after a 50 year career, he made a huge comeback on radio in the US.

In the later years, many say he adopted a more ritualistic style, and, writes one reviewer, "the subtle plasticity of expression that had cemented his fame dissolved into a rigid pulse that he maintained throughout an entire movement ... climaxes often fell flat as [he] refused to "lean" into them ... The notes were all there as precisely as ever, but the human emotion was nearly all gone."

His ending was dramatic.  A final session, 1953-54, and an all-Wagner program found him unable to remember the music - - when he was known for his memory, generally conducting without a score.  He stumbled through, ambled off stage and never returned. 

enjoy this incredible video of him performing at madison square garden at the end of world war ii



I Will Shape A Merman,
Someone Knowledgeable of the Sea
by Susan Dunn

Summons from a Nearby Sea, Kaskela

From the earliest time I can remember
I heard my mother crying,
A cry no human child could understand;
Not the cry of someone who’s been hit,
Or any other kind of physical pain,
And not the ordinary husband’s-had-an-affair,
Or I’m growing old and there is gray in my hair,
Or I’m sick and tired of these kids,
Or any sort of ordinary despair,

It was something much worse than that:
It was the cry of a water creature stranded on land
Who’s longing for the sea.

Her madness lingers in me
When she has long returned to the deep.
With the call of the siren she summons me,
From my happiness on dry land.

She calls my name and there I am
Sprouting scales and fins, and heading for the sea

Sometimes I’ll see a photo someone’s taken of me
When I’m at ease,
And the look in my eyes is hers
And I despair –
When I’m most at ease, when I’m most myself, I'm her.
There on my neck is a gill;

A land creature, I inherited her longing for the sea,
Something I’d never even seen,
Knowing all the feelings but none of the antecedents,
The pain for which there is no cure.

Someone needs to bring the sea to me.

She never taught me the names,
She only taught me the longing.
If I must long for something,
At least let me know what it is.


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The Human Condition - "Like Humans Do"
David Byrne

For millions of years, In millions of homes
A man loved a woman, A child was born
It learned how to hurt and it learned how to cry
Like Humans Do

I'm breathin' in, I'm breathin' out
So slip inside this funky house
Dishes in the sink
The TV's in repair
Don't look at the floor
Don't go up the stairs

I'm achin', I'm breakin'
Like Humans do

I work and I sleep and I dance and I'm dead
I'm eatin', I'm laughin' and I'm lovin' myself
We're  eatin' off plates and we kiss with our tongue
Like humans do

I'm achin'
I'm shakin'
I'm breakin'
Like Humans do
I'm breathin' in
I'm breathin' out



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Music Etiquette Survey
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What's Your Music Etiquette?

Do you practice music etiquette?  Wewant to know!


Do you stand for the Hallelujah Chorus?

I will from now on

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"Saturday afternoon, starting at 1:00 p.m. ..."
I WAS RAISED IN A LARGE FAMILY headed by a single parent, my mother, who was widowed while pregnant with my brother.  She had few moments of peace and quiet trying to raise the four of us in a small house.  But Saturday afternoons, starting at 1:00 p.m., she demanded time for herself to listen, on the radio, to the Metropolitan Opera, live from Lincoln Center in New York."   (Sally Burnell, Kent, Ohio)

AS the tomato sauce bUbbled in the large pot on the stove, the sounds of Madame Butterfly, Tosca, or La Boheme blared from the hifi...My Dad truly enjoyed this portion of time.  He sat at the kitchen table reading the Sunday newspaper and sang along with the opera.  

"As the tomato sauce bubbled in the large pot on the stove the sounds of Madame Butterfly, Tosca, or La Boheme blared from the hifi"
Dad was always trying to convert me into an opera enthusiast. I, on the other hand, was totally clueless. I always asked the same one question. What was the singer saying? He tried to explain all the nuances of the story yet it was beyond me. Once I remember watching an opera on TV with my father. For a child/adolescent it all appeared pretty ridiculous to watch these adults parading around in such heavy costumes and makeup singing so loudly. As I grew up I remember debating with my Dad what the point is in having the songs in another language. I just was impatient not knowing what was going on. He reassured me that, as I grew up, I would surely grow to love opera and have a greater understanding of this art form..." (Camille Di Loretto)

"there was Always music playing in my house.  My  mom and dad and all 4 of us kids played the piano.  We had one piano upstairs, and another one downstairs.  But the time my dad listened to symphonies would be on a wintry Sunday afternoon.  I remember one ... there was a roaring fire in the fireplace and he was working on a brief in the conservatory.  I could hear the strains of some symphony as I walked past.  "Susie!" he called out with his big bass voice, "Come listen to this!"  His father had given up a career in opera for the law, and Dad had inherited the voice, singing in paid church choirs for years, but using his resonance for judges these days.

"'Music soothes the savage beast' my Mom would say, directing me to the piano when I had become impossible..."

(It's really "breast"!)

Nailed, I had no choice but to enter the sanctum sanctorum

"This is Beethoven," he began.  It was to be a lecture about courage. 

"This is the most magnificent music on earth," he said, "and the man was going deaf."  It was "Eroica" I was now listening to.  "Life requires courage," he said, and he went on, building a watch the way he did, oratorically, and I tuned him out, the way I did, though I caught the part about Tchaikovsky being pathetic and lacking in will-to-live.   

Dad should have been an opera singer.  He had the charisma, and he was built like Pavarotti.  It was wasted on judges, I thought; even when he was chairman of the SEC he should've had a different stage.  Maybe he would've lived longer ...

The timbre of his voice scared me when I was a kid.  Since then I've always been one for "a word to the wise is sufficient," and say it softly, please.  I've been reprimanded by worse than you, after all; by someone with the thoracic  cavity of two Carusos. 

I sat down by the fire, stared into it,  and thought about courage, from the standpoint of a 14 year old.  "I don't know, Daddy," I said, feeling I should say something.  I mean if someone told me to put my hand in the fire, I guess I could."  

He looked at me with the eyes of these men we see on these pages.  He knew what courage I would need, as life progressed,  though, mercifully, I did not.  

It was Handel I chose when it was time to bury my son, and we stood for  The Hallelujah Chorus.  CHopin I played myself on the piano when I buried my dreams of marriage to the father of my children.  And Andrea Bocelli  has bound my broken heart, the Statler Brothers have given me perspective (Why Me Lord?) as well as a fight song (Susan When She Tried) ... many others ... I am never far from music.    

Beethoven?  The Colossus at Rhodes?  I save "Eroica" for the wintry Sunday afternoons of the soul, and the rare times I have the luxury of treating courage as a theoretical concept.  I put "Eroica" on and think of courage ... and Dad ... other things.  It bolsters my resilience, like the Get Well Soon Dietary Supplement® from Arbonne, "scientifically proven to support the immune system."  It's intellectual, proactive, and emotionally intelligent.  

Memories of Mom, too.  The Libra (if you're into astrology), living with three Leos, an Aries and a Taurus.  What she did was direct the 4 of us fire signs to the piano to express and bleed out our passionate intensity.  The Taurus?  She was a singer, and is now a lawyer.  She, like Mom, listened to our piano playing, and sang along with it."   (Susan Dunn, San Antonio, Texas)


"Time to Say Goodbye"

SEBASTIAN STUMBLED ACROSS my website looking for the beautiful song, "Time to Say Goodbye."  

"Knowing she was not going to last long, she wrote me a few pages of advice and loving words.  She started it off with 'Time to Say Goodbye.'"

We share the connection of the beauty of that song, and also of a painful time to say goodbye.  This song means the world to Sebastian.  It was his mother's favorite song.  She used to sing it while she cleaned and he said, "she could almost land the big ending."

She had a great voice, and the reason she couldn't hit that ending is because of her lungs.  She was a cancer patient and she died three years ago.  

Sebastian is a musician, a pianist, and one of his dreams was to sing with his mother.  "She wasn't a great musician," he says, "but she had a great voice, and that's what counts." 

When she was in the hospital knowing she was not going to last too long, she wrote her son a few pages of advice and loving words.  She started it off with "It's Time to Say Goodbye."

Sebastian wanted to do something musically with that song in memory of his mother, so he recorded it on his latest CD.  You can hear it on his website.  Go to and click on "Music."



"'Music soothes the savage beast' my Mom would say, directing me to the piano when I had become impossible.  It always
Nailed, I had no choice but to enter the sanctum sanctorum.  "This is Beethoven," he began, and he told me about courage.  "This is the most magnificent music on earth," he said, "and the man was going deaf."  It was "Eroica" I was now listening to.  "Life requires courage," he said, and he went on, building a watch the way he did, oratorically, and I tuned him out, the way I did, though I caught the part about Tchaikovsky being pathetic and lacking in will-to-live.   

Dad should have been an opera singer.  He had the charisma, and he was built like Pavarotti.  It was wasted on judges, I thought; even when he was chairman of the SEC he should've had a different stage.  Maybe he would've lived longer ...


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The debate rages.  Read about it on every review of an Andrea Bocelli album on, one of the most annoying debates going on these days.  It comes to the fore regarding his album, “Verdi.”  Do we ask if Jonathan Rhys-Myers is “better” than Peter O’Toole?   There are some people who go beyond their craft, who are more than the sum of their parts.  (And how can I think enough to analyze when Jonathan Rhys-Myers is on the screen?  Please!)    

I'm an emotional intelligence coach.  In my field, the academicians find it terribly important to differentiate between "compassion" and "empathy," and to differentiate among "mood," "feelings, and "emotion."  

Do I?  Well, I'm also a linguist, and I could bore you till your eyes glaze over with the nuances, and trust me they are extreme, but my clients could care less.  If you catch my drift. (Notice I used "among" when 3 were mentioned!)  We love Andrea Bocelli.  His singing makes us feel.  He makes us feel.  Feel good, feel sad, feel miserable, long, yearn.  

No song has ever touched me like his duet "Time to Say Goodbye" with Sarah Brightman, except Opera Band's "Prayer in the Night" (which isn't even opera, is it?), and Pavarotti's "Panis Angelicus," and many others, each in its time, each in its own way.  I have 50 absolute favorites.  

Who could be better than Pavarotti?  His "Nessun Dorma" leaves me weak in the knees, gasping for air.  The power of that man’s voice is astounding.  I idolize Pavarotti, I sit at his feet ... who doesn’t, but I don't eat caviar at every meal.  I like some soul food.  I like a good pot of ragu bubbling on the back burner, and that's Bocelli.  He's young.  He's blind.  He's got little kids.  He chooses, or they choose for him, great songs.  None of which is meant to trivialize his talent.  It’s just that it all comes together in a way that makes his work appealing beyond technique or voice quality. 

The fact that one of these men goes by one name only should be at end to one discussion and the beginning of another.    

But, speaking of Verdi, I think Nicholas Clapton's Liber Scriptus is beyond words, but I can't listen to it for too long; it's too much.  It's at the edge.  Bocelli can sing to me all day, all night, all right!  Also I'm learning Italian, and Bocelli's enunciation is easy to pick up.  I've included this album in my EQ Foundation Course (which is heavy on the arts for reason we music lovers know) .  That's another thing, Bocelli does great things, like doing that duet, Vivo Per Lei, with 5 different women, 5 different nationalities.   

I leave it to the critics to count the number of angels that can fit on the head of a pin.  Let me ask you this:  Which do you like better?  Homemade apple pie with crumb topping or Reine de Saba?  

Are you kidding? Bring it on!   

P.S.  Andrea Bocelli has brought a lot of young people into the vicinity of opera, and what's not to like about that?  He's an easy sell.  There's enough of the grand Verdi to go around.  Buy the album and enjoy it!  Then buy 5 more and send them to five young adult who heard the commercial on TV but shudder at the very word "opera" and watch the magic happen.  Bravo!  

Then take my Favorite Music Survey ( ) and voice your opinion. I'd like to hear from you.   

Pavarotti was gracious enough to give Bocelli the nod for "Miserer."  I concur.  Bocelli has the propensity, or is it proclivity ... zzzzzzzz.

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ROUSING SONGS (To me these are inspirational, like when I need to get 
work done like housekeeping.  Also good for getting over a broken heart.)




Synopses of Operas
Building a Classical CD Collection

How to Enjoy a Live Concert
Discover the Classics, Part I

Introduction to Opera

Websites of Operas, Choruses & Ensembles Worldwide
Music Quotes
Pianos Need TLC Too

Before You Buy a Piano

Wonderful midis

Don't Move a Piano Until You Read This


Listen and Download,  

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Preparing coaches worldwide for an exciting career.  Make it your niche . make it your specialty . EQ applies to any issue your client will ever bring to you.  Click on logo to email for introductory packet.  You have nothing to lose but boredom, pantyhose, a time clock and a meaningless job  ....  

Unless otherwise noted, graphics and photographs are royalty free from or in the public domain from


“Luciano Pavarotti and James Brown in Concert:  What Their Charts,” Say,”  By Semiramis the Psychic 

What happens when the Godfather of Soul and the King of the High Cs get together to sing “It’s a Man’s World”?  Two superstars can put on a super show, but this isn’t one of them and it’s predictable from their charts.      

It was “a man’s world” for Brown, who wrote both the lyrics and the music, but it wasn’t a man’s world for Pavarotti.  His world is peopled with caring women.   

The lyrics include (depending on how Brown played it that day):  This is a man’s world but it wouldn’t be nothing without a woman to care.  It would be nothing, nothing, not one little thing … He’s lost in the wilderness, He’s lost in the bitterness, He’s lost, lost..” 


How well-matched are they?  Quite.  Pavarotti has sold more classical records than anyone ever, and Brown was bested only by Elvis. They are tops in their fields – though Brown has now crossed over, and Pavarotti’s health and voice are declining.  At the time of the concert, they were 73 and 71 respectively.  A time in their lives/careers when people came to pay them homage as much as to be entertained.  This role however, sat more comfortably on the head that wore the crown (Pav) than on the soul of the Godfather, who, to the end, gave the people more than they asked for.  With his soul.      

Why doesn’t Pavarotti carry the show or even just hold his own?  If you’re talking about soul, what does it take to sing Otello saying goodbye to the woman he loved more than life itself and then killed, just before he knifes himself?    


Pavarotti was born October 12, 1935.  Sun in Libra, moon in Aries. 
Brown was born May 3, 1933.  Sun in Taurus, moon in Leo.   

James Brown came in fighting like a man. His birthdate is disputed and his name got mixed up.  Mistakenly made a “Junior” he was called Junior, and later Little Junior when he lived with a cousin.  He had the Junior removed.       

Pavarotti was the doted-on only son of a baker and a devoted mother.  They were always very much a part of his life.  Pavarotti’s father, an amateur singer, was his first teacher.  The two sang side-by-side in the local chorus.  Family legend is that “if it weren’t for…” the elder Pavarotti would have been an opera singer.  Pavarotti, who gave a concert with his father in adulthood, seems to treat that with the Italian garbo. Hard to translate, it basically means ‘I love my dad.  It’s a good story.  Let it be.’  That sort of affable graciousness (and dislike of conflict) is in Libra Pavarotti’s chart.     

Pavarotti was educated to be a teacher and then sold insurance before exploding on the opera world.  Non-physical labor is in his chart.     

Brown’s mother abandoned him and his father when he was born.  His father raised him for several years, with a string of live-in girlfriends, and then sent him off to live with an aunt who ran a brothel.  Living in abject poverty, he made it through 7th grade, while picking cotton, racking pool balls, shining shoes, sweeping stores, washing cars and dishes, singing in talent contests and even buck dancing.  Whatever it took.  All of it physical.   


With no stable model in his life of a caring female, Brown married 4 times.  Several of the wives accused him of domestic violence.  He allegedly said a woman should be controlled [so they can’t abandon you] and “must know their limitations.”  He fathered at least 8 children, 5 sons and 3 daughters.  His teens and early adulthood were spent with men, some of the time in prison.  He fathered one last son very late in life, and named him “Junior.”   

Pavarotti canceled a concert late in his career when his mother died.  He had her caring for many years.  He married Adua in 1961, lived with her (and she managed parts of his career) for 35 years, and fathered 3 girls with her.  He has a daughter with Nicoletta,  The only male he fathered, the baby’s twin, died at birth.  Other women for him?  Nicoletta was allegedly his mistress for 10 yrs before the divorce.  Adua said there had been other “assistants.”  Most Libras are girl-magnets.   


Sun rules power and ego, the essence of who we are.  But the zodiac wheel takes a turn at Libra.  Libras focus on others, and relating to them.  The sign of Partnership, Libras don’t want to be alone.  In these pairs, they want balance and fair play, and their favorite partnership is at home.  Along with this, of course, they abhor conflict.  At their least evolved they can be careless, aloof, and uncertain.  Uh oh.   

Taurus?  Sensuous, yes, they love their comforts, but they earn them.  For them, it’s not just winning the game, it’s the rewards.  This I must add, is the essence of “it’s a man’s world” – to work/fight and win, and to the victor goes the spoils.  Bulls are practical, reliable and determined.  At their worse, they can be stubborn, perfectionist, self-centered and greedy for more than their share.  Uh oh. 


How you feel inside.  Brown’s is in Leo – magnanimous and passionate in expressing feelings, and at best loving, artistic, radiant and dignified.  At its negative, this moon is extravagant, exhibitionist, domineering and self-centered. 

I’d think twice about doing a concert with this man, especially if I were a Libra.  At his worst he’s a show-stopper. That’s never a negative on the stage.  Not that Pavarotti would want to hog the stage or take more of his share.  Just that it’s supposed to be a good show.  

Leo moon lives for love and admiration and Taurus will work for it.  The desire to be center-stage is so strong, they’ll bull-y someone else off stage.  There is also youthful exuberance in this moon.     

Pavarotti’s moon is in Aries. Self-motivated, energetic, extraverted, courageous and inspiring at the top, but can be impatient, demanding, inconsiderate, obstinate.  There’s something about the look on his face as he waits his turn. Aries’ moons don’t like to be told what to do.  Maybe he’s balancing his scales, wondering how to play it.  Something’s not right.   Pavarotti is known for being quite emotional offstage, while remaining inert and unresponsive on stage.  And now, physically, he must be propped up, as he is here, on a chair/throne.  Likewise, one can almost see the prompters.  He does not always bother to memorize the words.  He plays aloof to Brown’s domination of the scene.  Mind you, both men are clearly respectful.   


Uranus should figure in the chart of musical people, and it’s here.  Placement in Pavarotti’s indicates he would have to force himself to communicate and impose himself on someone else.  Here, he does not.    

Uranus for Brown comes out in the rebel, but also the visionary.  When Brown left prison the last time, he said he had found the Bible, and wanted to fix “soul.”  Many would say he did.   

Little Richard said:  "He was an innovator, he was an emancipator, he was an originator." These are all qualities that we associate with the planet Uranus, the planet of radical change, rebellion, innovation, freedom.   

Pavarotti “broke free” twice in his life, predictably at Saturn Returns.  When he quit selling insurance to become the world’s greatest tenor, and again when he left his wife to marry his assistant.  Brown rebelled his whole life, particularly where women were concerned. 


Papa did indeed get a brand new bag on the first return.  It was in the early 60s that Brown’s records began to top the charts.   

Pavarotti’s was in 1963-65.  This is when Lucky Pavarotti’s opera career was launched.  Due to cancellation of a tenor, due to the largesse of a woman, and thanks to Lady Luck, Pavarotti got his break in an opera with a woman’s name, Lucia di Lammermoor.  Joan Sutherland recommended him to replace the tenor, a caring midwife as it were to the birth of his stardom.  Later that year he made his La Scala debut and signed with the only record company he has ever had.  He kept one agent most of his career.  The man holds the center. 


For Brown, 1991-93.  Brown was just out of prison (again) in 1991.  In 1993 he was in rehab for … whatever.  “Success isn’t everything,” he said, when he got out.  His personal life was so often in shambles.  He was so … lost.    
For Pavorotti, it was 1993-95.  During this time he laid the groundwork for a major lifestyle change – his official separation in 1966 from his wife.  He later married his lover of 10 years,
Nicoletta Mantovani, who was younger than any of his daughters.     


Brown starts the concert, up and running.  While he arguably defined soul to several generations, his dancing moves were also the inspiration for Mick Jagger and Michael Jackson. They served a dual role for this dynamo.  When he cavorted in front of the band, back to the audience, he was giving the goof-offs hand signals about what their fine would be if they didn’t shape up.  Pavarotti, on the other hand, had a conductor for his “band,” and sent stand-ins to his rehearsals.  

The vitality of Brown is unbelievable.  A blogger fan who saw him in concert at Bimbo’s in SF the year he died said Brown delivered the best rendition of “Brand New Bag” that he had ever heard.   

Pavarotti, plagued by overweight, excess in other areas, surgeries, and now cancer (we wish him the best) was propped against a throne/chair and seemed listless.  However, Brown had been battling prostate cancer and was to die just months later.  Critics who have seen Pavarotti perform in the past several years have commented on his increasing physical disabilities, glazed eyes, difficulties on stage, and inevitable voice changes —when he shows up.     

The Libra waivers.  He is sometimes called the King of Cancellations for his numerous no-shows, including the cancellation of 26 out of 41 Met performances.  He has cancelled as late as 2 hours before a performance where thousands paid thousands, unrefundable.  And this for flus, colds, and all the handkerchiefs over his head at rehearsal, etc., Serious things as well.   One critic even suggested “a nervous breakdown.”  Well, that’s Libra.   

Brown, on the other hand, wouldn’t cancel, wouldn’t admit to being ill, and died in a hospital presumably only because doctors wouldn’t let him go home when they found congestive heart failure from complications of pneumonia.  His friend, Charles Bobbit, claimed he often performed while ill.     

Any good performance requires discipline and no one can beat a bull on that, especially with a chart like Brown’s.  Increasingly Pavarotti is said to no-show, not to have learned the lyrics, to send stand-ins to rehearsals, to need to be physically carried and propped on stage (even the victims he will be killing in an opera must run toward him).  Libra is a far softer sign, more feminine, more interested in the personal relationships. Perhaps at this stage in his life, this Libra is more interested in his family, his personal relationships, and is vacillating.  He was gifted with a voice the likes of which most of us will never hear again in our lifetime, but as Brown said, “success isn’t everything.” 

Brown has a voice, yes, but he had a will of steel.  Only a bull with a moon in Leo could build what he did from what he had.  It was work, and “man’s work.” 


Brown worked for everything.  His performances were always known for their intensity and length.  The bull’s stated goal was to “give people more than what they came for – make them tired, ‘cause that’s what they came for.”  

Pavarotti can be dramatic in his private life (unable to sing at Diana’s funeral because of his grief), but is not always on-stage.  With his sign he loves to give his “partners” what they want.  When asked what the audience wants, he replied, “I know what they want.  Nessun Dorma.”  And that, he was unable to give in that performance. Much of the time, lately, he doesn’t give the audience anything at all, except torment.  He teases them and then doesn’t show up.  Is it time for him to retire?  Is his heart no longer in it?  This partnership on stage didn’t work.  Does he want just the partnership at home?  The Libra is still balancing his scales.   


From their charts it looks like: 

1.  Brown wrote both the words and the music, sings them, and leads off.  That’s pretty bullish.    

2.  Brown believed it is a man’s world, because it has been for him.  He started picking cotton as a kid.  He’s made toys for women, yes, but he had little nurturing from women.  None from the one who really matters to a man, his mother.  What ‘care’ Brown got came from men – his father, Bobby Byrd when he was in prison.  The only person at his deathbed was a man.    

3.  Pavarotti knows that it doesn’t mean a thing without a woman to care, because he has had women that care.  From his mother forward, he has been aided in his life and career by females and surrounded by their love.  He has fathered only daughters; his only son died.    

4.  Pavarotti got told what to do, and Libras don’t like that.

5.  Pavarotti’s chart would predict his puzzling lack of affect on stage.  It would take effort to overcome it and sometimes he either can’t or won’t.  Same with true partnering on-stage.    

6.  The Bull with Leo can and will upstage anyone – ANYONE. Even the world’s reigning tenor. 

Brown leaves saying “Grazie” – he bothered to learn the language.  When asked how he felt (about the concert) he said … oh come on, you know what he said, “I Feel Good.”

I don’t think Pavarotti did.  We see him bowing his head at the end.   

Did Pavarotti care?  A loveable and well-loved man, his chart shows he would forgive before he even thought about it.     

About Brown, the Rev. Jesse Jackson (his friend since 1955) told AP, “He was dramatic to the end – dying on Christmas Day…. He’ll be all over the news all over the world today.  He would have it no other way.” 

Nope.  You’re never going to upstage a Taurus with Leo rising.  They’ve got charisma.  You won’t outwork one either, and a success takes both.  James Brown was, after all, the hardest working man in show business, and the Godfather of Soul. 

You can see the video here:


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Now playing Schumann's Abegg Variations.  
classical music sequence is used by permission from the Classical Piano Midi Page  ©Bernd Krueger,


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