In Honor of the First Day of Fall….

Yesterday, September 24th, marks the first day of fall.

Whenever I hear the phrase “Autumn Leaves,”  I always think of the Miles Davis version. Here it is:

My own fall memories include collecting leaves and making collages of them in school. And there were school camping trips in the fall. Locally, we have a lot of red maples, and watching the leaves change is very pretty. At least twice i helped my aunt rake leaves–or at least I tried to. Little kids enjoy running through piles of leaves. If there’s a crab-apple tree in your yard, it’s fun watching the seeds fall. We used to call them helicopters because they resembled tiny propellers. And I always think of hot apple cider, although we don’t always buy it.

We went to Vermont and West Virginia on two separate Thanksgivings to visit family. The leaves hadn’t fallen much then,and we got great pictures when taking the scenic routes. Later, on a trip to Montreal, we saw a lot of silver maples on the train ride up. They were gorgeous!

I hope it will be a happy season.

“Phantom of the Opera” Favorites

The first week of June, 1992, my aunts and I spent a week in New York City. We did the whole tourist thing, and in the evenings we saw musicals. I loved them all, but this was also the first time I ever saw Phantom of the Opera. It is still a favorite musical. We saw it at the Majestic Theatre, where it is still playing. A couple of years later, we saw it at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. The show was also a birthday present for my cousin a couple of years ago. She and her daughter spent the day in New York, and that was her surprise.

As everyone must know by now, the music really grabs you–from after the auction scene and the chandelier of the Paris Opera House rises. At the end of the first act it comes crashing down. And all the way through you’re on the edge of your seat.

“Think of Me” is my favorite song from the show, with lyrics. I saw Jackie Evancho perform it on America’s Got Talent the other night. She did a great job! The song makes me think of happy days that can’t come back again.



And since I’m a night owl, this next one,  “Music of the Night,” seems fitting. I have a Merlin music box that plays this, so it’s another favorite.


And here is the song with the words:


Finally, “Masquerade” is my third favorite. It’s another music box tune– a unicorn.

In the stage play, the costumes are very colorful, and the number is often performed with dignity. The movie version is also spectacular,but here the costumes are in black and white, like traditional harlequin costumes.As one commenter said here, it is very tempting to play this over and over.


The Lark Ascending

Yesterday morning, when my second alarm came on, Classical WETA 90.9 was playing Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “The Lark Ascending,” based on a George Meredith poem. My assistant was about to turn the radio off, but I begged to leave it on. I hadn’t heard it in a while. It’s good not to block melodies out as much.

Williams is a favorite composer, but he deserves a separate entry sometime. Here’s some background on both works.

Here is the music. The first video is how it was originally heard. The second is the orchestral version.





Bolero – Ravel

When I was in high school, the head librarian shared her love of classical music with me. Since I didn’t know very many pieces at the time, I asked her what she recommended in building a collection. “You gotta have Bolero,” was the first thing she mentioned. Here is a link to some background on the genre.

I also like this article on Ravel which reveals what inspired him as he wrote the music. Here are some additional cool facts from the London Daily Mail.

I thought it would be fun to see it performed by the London Symphony Orchestra, from a May 2013 performance:

And finally, I love this animated version:

Music to Wake By

Thank goodness for the daily online playlists at Classical WETA 90.9 FM! Yesterday I woke up to Mozart’s Piano Sonata in C, K. 545.

The tune is very familiar, and it always struck me as very bright and cheery. I’m glad to finally know the title. Here it is:


While I was browsing this evening, I discovered this other Mozart piece, which Classical Music Only  refers to as Mozart’s greatest violin work:






I Remember My Mom Dancing…

Yesterday, September 1, was the anniversary of my mom’s birthday. I remember so many things about her. We talked all the time, and she was very curious about people, places, and technology. She was amazed by how things worked.  She taught me a lot, and I can still hear her voice inside my head when I have to make decisions or I’m wondering what to do about something.

She also took a great interest in the type of music I listened to. I owe at least a few recordings to her urging. Like my aunt (her sister) she was a staunch supporter of having eclectic taste in music.

When Fleetwood Mac was in  their heyday, Mom got a kick out of their song, “Say You Love Me.”  She would always dance to it. I would dance right along with her, and sometimes we would both get tickled.

As I progressed through my teen years, sometimes I was embarrassed or self-conscious. Mostly I accepted it as the joyful part of my mom.

I think of her every day. When “Say You Love Me” comes on the radio, I remember her dancing. And I still have Fleetwood Mac’s albums somewhere.


via Fleetwood Mac – Say you love me Live 1977 – YouTube.

Don’t Worry; Be Happy

Continuing on the “happy” theme, when this Bobby McFerrin song was released in 1988, it was all over the airwaves.

Sometimes, worry and responsibility are necessary. “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” taught me how not to sweat the small stuff. Flexibility is a good skill to develop.