Virtuoso

Making the Grade

Straight A’s  for everything in our July book basket – 

A+:  A History of Pictures” – by David Hockney and Martin Gayford.  It is really called “A History of Pictures for Children” and we are perplexed:  this stunner of a book is for EVERYBODY.  It is thought-filled and thought-provoking, tempting us to take a fresh look at cave paintings, Egyptian wall paintings, mirrors, shadows, Disney cartoons, pencil marks, brush strokes, perspective, collage, and the influences of photography, movies, and computers. The 4 page timeline of inventions that pertain to drawing and painting is worth the cost of the book alone.  This book is in line for a re-read.

A+: One Real American, The Life of Ely S. Parker” – by Joseph Bruchac.  A superb book about the Seneca sachem (chief) and Civil War general.  Easy to read, filled with information that was new to us (go ahead, ask us about the Iroquois League, ask us about Red Jacket, ask us about Ely S. Parker), extremely well edited and documented, and a timeline is included at the back of the book.  My son and I are impressed by both Ely S. Parker and author Joseph Bruchac.

A+:  “What Linnaeus Saw” by Karen Magnuson Beil.  In my last post, “Our Hour”, I mentioned that we had read about artist/nature observer Maria Merian, who was cited so very many times by Carl Linnaeus.  So, we HAD to read about Carl Linnaeus (1707 -1778), whose quest was to systemize, classify, and name every animal, plant, and mineral.   The book is a weency bit repetitive, but the author is forgiven – Linnaeus’s path to the goal was neither short nor direct.

A+: Three Keys” – My son got a feel for the term “refugee” in “Home of the Brave” by Katherine Applegate (the finest book we read in 2020).  He is now beginning to understand the plight of the immigrant via Kelly Yang’s book “Three Keys”.  This is about friendship, open mindedness, hard work, and having the confidence to speak out for what is right.  We really liked the prequel, “Front Desk” and we will definitely be reading “Room to Dream” when it comes out in September.  Kelly Yang:  A+!

Other study topics from the July book basket

  • The Everglades   “Everglades National Park” by Grace Hansen.  This book is written for the younger reader, but it does come across with the basic facts and the photos (including a nice photo of President Harry Truman dedicating the park) are large and representative. 
  • Geometry   “Everything You Need to Ace GEOMETRY in One Big Fat Notebook” by Workman Publishing.  Oooooh, I do not like this book because any venture into math that doesn’t involve a story problem leaves me dizzy.  BUT, my son really likes it.  DARN.  So we sally forth learning about congruency, chords, transversals, etc.  With each page, I feel like my head is diving deeper into a swirling fog, so I just read the words aloud and marvel that my son is entranced.  I give myself a C-.  
  • Geography – “Bird’s Eye View – The Natural World” by John Farndon/Paul Boston.  Very pretty book, soothing illustrations, AND we both learned a new word!  We LOVE being smacked in the face with a new word!  We have never come across the word MEANDER used as a noun.  A meander is a bend in a river or a road.  It takes so little to make us gleeful.

The Local Diner plans for August (story problem) –  The diner is installing a pop-up snow-cone hut on the diner’s back deck for the month of August.  It will be manned by a high school summer-time employee, who will work 5 hours a day for $12 an hour.  There will be 3 flavors of snow cones:  cherry, mint, and watermelon, and a commercial snow cone machine has been purchased for $250.  The diner is making the syrups and providing the ice.  So the questions are:

  1. How much will the diner pay a week for a high school snow cone artisan?  
  2. If the diner sells a snow cone for $2.00, how many will have to be sold to recoup the money spent of the snow cone machine?
  3. Will the diner spend more on the snow cone machine or employing the high school worker (for the month of August)? (answers at bottom of post)

Classical music:  A+ Musicians  

It was VIRTUOSO NIGHT last night.  My son made the selections (the writing chaos on the side of the page is my son indicating “Yes” or “No” for each of my suggestions) –

On the flute:  James Galway – We both love James Galway and we both love Tambourin, a short, happy piece for flute composed by Francois-Joseph Gossec in 1794, for his opera, “Le Triomphe de la Republique”.  For some reason, midway through the video there is a blank screen for about 40 seconds, but NO WORRIES, the spritely music continues – 

On the violin:  Itzhak Perlman   We have compared Itzhak Perlman’s performance to other violin virtuosos and no one touches the finesse he puts into this performance of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor, the finale (composed in 1844).  BTW, my son and I refer to this as the Cat and Mouse movement – 

On the piano:  Simone Dinnerstein   We consider ourselves members of the Simone Dinnerstein fan club.  Her discs are part of our music line-up as we drive to In-N-Out Burger twice a week. We LOVE her way with a Bach invention – 

Welcome to the best part of my day!
– Jane BH
(story problem answers:  1)  $420,  2)  125 snow cones,  3)  the diner will spend more for the high school worker)

A Little Night Music

piano and moon

Question 1:  If my son and I spend 15 minutes every night listening to classical music, how many hours of listening will we have stacked up over the course of a year? (answer at bottom of post)

Question 2:  If we average 3 pieces per evening, how many compositions will we have listened to over the course of a year? (answer at bottom of post)

I have been thinking it would be helpful to have a tab on title-block that would take us to a page where our music themes were listed.  So, OMGosh this has taken forever to assemble (and only includes music I have blogged about since July, 2014), but VOILA!  This post is now tabbed on title-block as “Our Music Themes“.

(This is merely a listing; to read a few short lines of information about each composition and find links to youtube videos of said compositions,  click on the links.)

Music Themes – Post Titles

Art set to music:  Checkered House, by Grandma Moses – from “Good Books, Bad Books

  • Over the River and Through the Wood – Lydia Maria Child
  • Sleigh Ride – Leroy Anderson
  • Carol of the Animals – Robert Davis

Art set to music:  Pirate Chief, by Howard Pyle – from “Fly By

  • The Maid of Amsterdam – traditional sea chanty
  • Overture to The Flying Dutchman – Wagner
  • Pirates of the Caribbean Suite – Klaus Badelt

Art set to music:  The Clipper Ship, by Currier and Ives – from “Garden Par-tay

  • Sea Songs – Ralph Vaughan Williams
  • Overture to H.M.S. Pinafore – Gilbert and Sullivan
  • Over the Waves – Juventino Rosas

Art set to music:  The Fall of the Cowboy, by Remington – from “Answers for Everything

  • Thanksgiving – George Winston
  • Hoedown – Aaron Copland
  • Back Home Again – John Denver

Back to School – from “If it’s August

  • Flight of the Bumblebee – Rimsky-Korsakov
  • Entry of the Gladiators – Julius Fucik
  • Song of the Volga Boatmen – traditional

Barbershop Quartetsfrom “The Cliffs Notes Version

  • Sincere – Meredith Willson
  • Mr. Sandman – Pat Ballard

Benjamin Franklin in France – from “It’s a Date!

  • Overture to The Abduction from the Seraglio – Mozart
  • The Coffee Cantata – JS Bach
  • Symphony No. 45 in F-sharp minor (Farewell Symphony) – Haydn

Black History Month Selections – from “Conversation Circle”

  • Maple Leaf Rag – Scott Joplin
  • The American Scene: The Southwest – William Grant Still
  • Don’t Get Around Much Anymore – Duke Ellington

Blue Days – from “Something Blue

  • Blue Skies – Irving Berlin
  • Blue Tango – Leroy Anderson
  • The Blue Danube Waltz – Strauss

Blue Moon Tunes – from “Second Time Around”

  • Moonlight Serenade – Glenn Miller
  • Rhapsody in Blue – George Gershwin
  • Clair de Lune – Debussy

Brazil, thinking about – from “Tick, Tick, Tick

  • exploring “The Little Train of Caipira” – Heitor Villa-Lobos

The Cambrian Explosion – from “In Which We Learn about the Cambrian Explosion

  • Simple Gifts – Joseph Brackett
  • Polka Dots and Moonbeams – Van Heusen/Burke
  • 1812 Overture – Tchaikovsky

Chicken Coop Melodies – from “Farm Fresh

  • Symphony No. 83 in G minor (The Hen) – Haydn
  • The Hen – Respighi
  • Pick-a-Little, Talk-a-Little – Meredith Willson
  • Chicken Reel – Joseph M. Daly/Leroy Anderson

Classical Broadway – from “Desperately Seeking Ganesha

  • Rosemary – Frank Loesser
  • Piano Concerto in A minor – Edvard Grieg
  • Baby Face – Akst/Davis
  • Hallelujah Chorus – Handel
  • Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina – Rice/Weber
  • Violin Concerto in D minor – Brahms

Cuckoo for Music – from “Things that go Bump in the Night

  • Organ Concerto No. 13 in F major (The Cuckoo and the Hen) – Handel
  • Symphony No. 6 in F major (The Pastoral) – Beethoven
  • The Cuckoo – Respighi

Dealer’s Choice (my son selects 3 from a list of 10) – from “Starry Eyed

  • The William Tell Overture – Rossini
  • The Cuckoo – Respighi
  • Mambo – Leonard Bernstein

Dental Procedures, music for – from “Messenger Service

  • Symphony No. 6 in F major (The Pastoral) – Beethoven
  • The Barcarolle – Jacques Offenbach
  • The Moldau – Bedrich Smetana

The Doldrums – from “Going Nowhere Fast

  • Sea Songs – Ralph Vaughan Williams
  • We Sail the Ocean Blue – Gilbert and Sullivan
  • Sailing By – Ronald Binge

Duets! – from “Sap Happy

  • The Flower Duet – Leo Delibes
  • Si Fino All’ore Estreme – Bellini
  • People Will Say We’re in Love – Rogers and Hammerstein

Einstein and his Violin – from “Brainiac

  • Violin Serenade No. 6 – Mozart
  • Violin Serenade No. 13 (Eine Kleine Machtmusik) – Mozart
  • Violin Sonata No. 26 in B-flat major – Mozart

Exotic Lands – from “That’s Gotta Hurt

  • Scheherazade – Rimsky-Korsakov
  • Overture to Abduction fro the Seraglio – Mozart
  • Arrival of the Queen of Sheba – Handel

Fanfare for the Water Bear – from “A Fanfare for the Water Bear

  • Water Music – Handel
  • The Aquarium – Saint-Saens
  • The Wild Bears – Sir Edward Elgar

Franz Schubert Night – from “Dr. Livingstone, I Presume?”

  • Serenade – Schubert
  • Ave Maria – Schubert
  • March Militaire – Schubert

French Composers – from “A Test of Faith

  • The Infernal Galop (The Can-Can) – Jacques Offenbach
  • Clair de Lune – Debussy
  • March of the Toreadors – Bizet

The French Horn – from “Working for Peanuts

  • Water Music – Handel
  • Venus – Gustav Holst
  • Pavane for a Dead Princess – Maurice Ravel

Fun Music Only – from “Inventors Invent

  • Dance of the Hours – Amilcare Ponchielli
  • Chicken Reel – Leroy Anderson
  • The Pink Panther – Henry Mancini

Good Shepherd – from “The Rattlesnake Sermon

  • Sheep May Safely Graze – JS Bach
  • He Shall Feed His Flock Like a Shepherd – Handel
  • Tender Shepherd – Charlap/Leigh

Groundhog Day – from “Rodent Rage

  • Winter – Vivaldi
  • Waltz of the Snowflakes – Tchaikovsky
  • Symphony No. 6 in F major – Beethoven
  • Put on a Happy Face – Strouse/Adams

Halloween, scary music for – from “Back in the Saddle Again

  • Dance Macabre – Saint-Saens
  • Mars – Gustav Holst
  • Masquerade – Khachaturian

Harp Music of the Angels – from “Sunday School

  • Harp Concerto in B-flat major – Handel
  • Harp Concerto in A major – Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf
  • Concerto for Flut and Harp – Mozart

The Hungarian March, 3 Ways – from “Travelogue

  • Hungarian March – Berlioz
  • Hungarian Rhapsody No. 15 – Liszt
  • Hungarian Dance No. 19 – Brahms

Hymns: three from one – from “Riveting

  • Ave Maria – Jacques Arcadelt
  • Symphony No. 3 in C minor (Organ Symphony) – Saint-Saens
  • Finlandia Hymn – Sibelius

Inventions for Inventions – from “Lights! Camera! Edison!

  • Invention No. 6 in E major – JS Bach
  • Invention No. 8 in F major – JS Bach
  • Invention No. 13 in A minor – JS Bach

London Busses – from “Late Bloomer

  • Jupiter – Gustav Holst
  • Pomp and Circumstance – Elgar
  • Fantasia on Greensleeves – Ralph Vaughan Williams
  • Overture to H.M.S. Pinafore – Gilbert and Sullivan

March Madness – from “Ranch Report

  • Colonel Bogey March – Lieutenant F.J. Ricketts
  • The Imperial March – John Williams

March’s Marches – from “Wordery

  • The Redetzky March – Johann Strauss, senior
  • March of the Siamese Children – Richard Rogers
  • The Washington Post March – John Philip Sousa

Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream – from “Flying, Farming, and Felix

  • Overture to Midsummer Night’s Dream – Mendelssohn
  • The Wedding March – Mendelssohn

Michelangelo’s Rome – from “One Sculptor, One Scoundrel

  • The Pines of Rome – Respighi
  • Palladio for String Orchestra – Karl Jenkins
  • Symphony No. 4 in A major (The Italian) – Mendelssohn

Minor Key Music – from “Miners and Minors

  • The Hebrides Overture – Mendelssohn
  • In the Hall of the Mountain King – Edvard Grieg
  • Ride of the Valkyries – Wagner

Minuet in G to the Power of 3 – from “Hendecasyllable

  • Minuet in G – Mozart
  • Minuet in G – Beethoven
  • Minuet in G – JS Bach

Mount Vesuvius – from “Mounting Interest

  • Funiculi Funicular – Luigi Denza
  • Aus Italien – Richard Strauss
  • Neapolitan Song – Rimsky-Korsakov

Music to Soothe – from “Music to Soothe

  • Mass in D minor, motet – Anton Bruchner
  • Sheep May Safely Graze – JS Bach
  • Simple Gifts – Joseph Brackett

Negro Spirituals – from “Heavenly

  • Down by the Riverside – traditional
  • Wade in the Water – traditional
  • Swing Low, Sweet Chariot – traditional

Nocturnes – from “Zootique

  • Nocturne No. 2 – Chopin
  • Nocturne No. 3 – Liszt
  • Harlem Nocturne – Earl Hagen

The Oboe – from “Music Mechanics

  • Arrival of the Queen of Sheba – Handel
  • Swan Lake, final scene – Tchaikovsky
  • Le Tombeau de Couperin – Ravel

Overtures – from “Takes a Lickin’ and Keeps on Tickin‘”

  • Overture from H.M.S. Pinafore – Gilbert and Sullivan
  • Overture from Midsummer Night’s Dream – Mendelssohn
  • Overture from The Marriage of Figaro – Mozart

Paris Tribute – from “A Ghost by any other Name

  • The Swan – Saint-Saens
  • Carillon – Bizet
  • La Vie en Rose – Edith Piaf

Pizzicato! – from “The Price is Wrong

  • Divertissement: Pizzicati – Leo Delibes
  • Symphony 4 in F minor – Tchaikovsky
  • Anitra’s Dance – Edvard Grieg

The Presidents’ Music – from “The Liberace Instigation

  • classical pieces composed during each administration

The Recorder – from “Well Played

  • Sopranino Recorder Concerto in C major – Vivaldi
  • Ode to Joy – Beethoven
  • Greensleeves – traditional

The Sad Song Scale – from “Two Different Worlds

  • Symphony No. 3 in F major – Brahms
  • What’ll I Do? – Irving Berlin
  • Serenade – Schubert

Saint Patrick’s Day – from “The Business of March

  • Toora Loora Looral – James Royce Shannon
  • The Irish Washerwoman – traditional/Leroy Anderson
  • Danny Boy – Frederic Weatherly

Shrill Thrills! (the piccolo) – from “Jams and Jellyfish

  • Chinese Dance (Nutcracker) – Tchaikovsky
  • Triton Fountain in the Morning – Respighi
  • Stars and Stripes Forever – Sousa

Strauss Family, the splendidly gifted – from “780 Pairs of Saddle Shoes

  • Radetzky March – Johann Strauss, senior
  • Feuerfest Polka – Joseph Strauss
  • Thunder and Lightning Polka – Johann Strauss, junior

String Quartets – from “We the People

  • String Quartet in B-flat major (La Chasse) – Haydn
  • String Quartet No. 2 in D major – Borodin
  • Cantina Band (performed as a string quartet) – John Williams

Summertime – from “Barely Scraping By

  • Summer – Vivaldi
  • Fireflies – Amy Beach
  • Summertime – George and Ira Gershwin
  • In the Summertime – Mungo Jerry

Sunday Night Music – from “How We Write

  • How Great Thou Art – Carl Gustav Boberg
  • Turn! Turn! Turn! – Pete Seeger/Book of Ecclesiastes
  • Let us Cheer the Weary Traveler – Nathaniel Dett

Surprise Endings – from “Bringing Handwriting up to Scratch

  • The Wild Bears – Sir Edward Elgar
  • The Moldau – Bedrich Smetana
  • The Imperial March – John Williams

Tambourines! – from “Peace, Love, and Tambourines

  • Mr. Tambourine Man – Bob Dylan
  • Tarantella – Rossini/Respighi
  • Russian Dance (Nutcracker) – Tchaikovsky

Tea Time – from “Textbooks – if we ruled the world

  • Tea for Two – Youmans and Caesar
  • Tea for Two (Tahiti Trot) – Shostakovich
  • Tea for Two – Art Tatum

Things in the Sky – from “Snakes and Pirates

  • Fireflies – Amy Beach
  • Clair de Lune – Debussy
  • Mercury – Gustav Holst

The Timpani – from “One Thing Leads to Another

  • Dance of the Seven Veils – Richard Strauss
  • Thus Spoke Zarathustra – Richard Strauss
  • Pirates of the Caribbean Suite – Klaus Badelt

Trains – from “Posting about Posters

  • The Little Train of Caipira – Heitor Villa-Lobos
  • The Steam Engine – Patrick Doyle
  • Take the A Train – Duke Ellington

Tribute: music for a beloved grandfather – from “Imagine That

  • Fight for California – McCoy/Fitch
  • The Army Song – Sousa/Arberg
  • Ashokan Farewell – Jay Ungar

The Vatican, background music for – from “Holy Zucchetto

  • Gregorian Chants – traditional
  • Gloria in Excelsis Deo – Vivaldi
  • Locus Iste – Bruchner

Virtuoso Night: Stanley Drucker – from “Affordable Housing Forever

  • Clarinet Sonata No. 1 in F minor – Brahms
  • Appalachian Spring – Aaron Copland
  • Rhapsody in Blue – George Gershwin

Virtuoso Night: Sir James Galway – from “Thousands and Thousands

  • Concerto for Flute and Harp – Mozart
  • I Saw Three Ships – traditional
  • Flight of the Bumblebee – Rimsky-Korsakov

Virtuoso Night: Wynton Marsalis – from “Novel Ideas

  • Concerto in E-flat major for Trumpet – Haydn
  • Moto Perpetuo – Paganini
  • The Prince of Denmark March (Trumpet Voluntary) – Jeremiah Clark

Virtuoso Night: Itzhak Perlman – from “Insert Clever Title Here

  • Humoresque – Dvorak
  • Out of Africa, title music – John Barry
  • Violin Concerto in E minor – Mendelssohn

Waltzing with Tchaikovsky – from “Case in Point: Ibn Battuta

  • Serenade for Strings – Tchaikovsky
  • Swan Lake Waltz, Act II – Tchaikovsky
  • Eugene Onegin, Polonaise – Tchaikovsky

Wistfulness – from “Finish the Poem

  • Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture, love theme – Tchaikovsky
  • Ashokan Farewell – Jay Ungar
  • What’ll I Do – Irving Berlin

Worker Bees, a soundtrack for – from “Bee Plus!”

  • Moto Perpetuo – Paganini
  • The Pizzicato – Leo Delibes
  • Flight of the Bumblebee – Rimsky-Korsakov

 

Welcome to the best part of my night!
– Jane BH
(answer 1:  91+ hours)
(answer 2:  1,095 pieces of music)

Affordable Housing Forever

crab 1 crab 2 crab 3

Our study of invertebrates concluded with an in-depth look at hermit crabs, one of nature’s super-star recyclers.  My son learned that hermit crabs take over shells left behind by snails…the snail dies and disintegrates, but the shell remains in prime condition for hundreds and hundreds of years.  As the hermit crab grows, he houses himself in larger and larger shells.  We learned that the posterior of the hermit crab is soft and curvy so it can easily back into a shell (miraculous and yet, a teeny bit repulsive).  We bid a regretful farewell to Susan Middleton’s book, “Spineless”.  Terrific resource.

Our Farmer Brown story problem last night – we calculated the number of stitches in a pair of striped boot-socks that Farmer Brown just knit for himself (seriously, more than 6,000 stitches).

A new unit! Chemistry.  I need a pair of Farmer Brown’s socks because I am quaking in my boots about this chemistry unit.  I did serve as a lab assistant for my high school chemistry teacher, but as I recall, my primary responsibility was to manage donut orders for all of the science teachers. We are using a DK book, so I know the images will be fantastic.  We’ll just see how this goes.

Maestro Matching – I gave my son two matching tests last night – first we matched symphony composers with famous compositions. Then I gave my son a list of composers and he placed them in chronological order.  Yay!  A+.

 drucker

Music: Last night was VIRTUOSO NIGHT showcasing clarinetist Stanley Drucker! While listening to “Exploring Music with Bill McGlaughlin” on the car radio last week, we heard Mr. McGlaughlin talk about clarinet player, Stanley Drucker.  AWESOMENESS: in 1948, at age 19, Stanley Drucker was appointed principal clarinetist of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra (let’s just think about THAT for a moment), and he retired in 2009.  The math: Stanley Drucker served as principal clarinetist for the NYPO for 60+ years!!!!!!!! (this really calls for 60 exclamation points!).  This is the sort of thing that grabs our attention, and listening to him play flew to the top of our priority list.

  • First, a short youtube video celebrating his 60 year tenure with the NYPO:

  • Then we listened to Mr. Drucker play Brahms’ “Clarinet Sonata No. 1 in F Minor”.
  • Then we listened to the “Doppio Movimento” movement (the “Simple Gifts” variation) of Copland’s “Appalachian Spring”, played by the NYPO.  The clarinet is paramount in this piece.
  • Finally, we watched a show-stopping performance of Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue”, with Leonard Bernstein conducting AND playing the piano, and Stanley Drucker beginning the piece as no one else could:

Welcome to the best part of my day!

– Jane BH

Thousands and Thousands

Our Wonders of the World Unit: last night – giant sequoias!  The largest trees, the oldest trees (my son learned about counting rings in a slice of tree trunk to determine the age).  We love that the hugest of the huge trees have names (like “The President” and “General Sherman”).  We love that there is only one way to get an accurate measurement of the trees: a forest ecologist has to climb up to the top (some 300+ feet up, count me out).  But here is what got us thinking: a typical giant sequoia can produce up to 11,000 cones a year.  11,000!  What if they all drop at once?  Is there some sort of cone maintenance protocol?  What’s the deal here?

sequoia cones

Our George E. Ohr Unit: with great regret, we finished the A+ book on wacky, outrageous self-promoter, potter George Ohr. If you don’t know about George Ohr, here is the heartbreaker:  although he was able to support his family with the sale of his utilitarian ceramic pieces, and although his art pieces won awards at the national level, he was unable to sell ANY of his thousands of art pieces!  No one wanted them.  Fifty years after he passed on, the public “discovered” Ohr’s work and went into a buying frenzy.  There is now a fabulous George Ohr museum in his hometown of Biloxi, Mississippi, designed by an architect worthy of the project: Frank Geary.

ohr 2 ruffled ohr okeefe museum ohr book

Our Back Yard:  mistletoe has made a home in one of our oak trees, so last night we learned all about this parasite and its legends.  Then we took on a related Farmer Brown story problem.

 mistletoe clump

Our Farmer Brown Story Problem:  Farmer Brown has donated clusters of mistletoe to a local ecology club for a holiday fund raising project.  Club members are going to sell sprigs of mistletoe (packaged in cellophane bags and tied with a festive red ribbon) at the Holiday Romance Dance.  If 150 bags of mistletoe are sold at $5 each, how much profit will the club realize (remembering that although the mistletoe was free, the bolt of ribbon cost $60 and the cellophane bags cost $60)?

Our Music Theme: last night was VIRTUOUSO NIGHT starring Sir James Galway, flute player (flutist/flautist/flute player…we learned that all terms are correct, so ONE LESS WORRY).  Of note for anyone wanting to improve their flute playing skills: there are several FREE really fun master classes taught by James Galway on youtube!

We love listening to Sir James Galway:

  • Mozart’s “Concerto for Flute, Harp, and Orchestra”, movement II –  as a non-pharmaceutical means of lowering blood pressure, this piece is probably the music equivalent of an aquarium in a physician’s office.  Unhurried and soothing.  Ahhhhhh.
  • “I Saw Three Ships” – the traditional Christmas carol, so brightly played, from Galway’s Christmas CD of 1992.  The CD is still available and really, if you celebrate Christmas, you should own it.
  • Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Flight of the Bumblebee” – composed in 1899 for the opera, “The Tale of Tsar Saltan”.  How can he play this fast?  Is this played with one breath?

Welcome to the best part of my day!

– Jane BH

Insert Clever Title Here

Greetings.  I couldn’t think of a snappy title to lure any and all into this posting.  Well, you are here!  Welcome!  Here is our update from last night:

STORIES AND STUDIES

India: We have completed our unit on early 20th century India. We finished the novel, “All My Noble Dreams and Then What Happens” by Gloria Whelan – a captivating read with interesting historical information and a wonderful point of view. I do think there is a disconnect between the story and the title, but nobody is asking me. We finished our unit on Mohandas Gandhi (maybe one of our best units ever). I am so impressed with the DK Eyewitness book on Gandhi: OUTSTANDING research and well organized. I am still trying to find a poster of Gandhi that I like…am thinking about having a print shop make up a poster sized copy of the DK book cover. Hope this is legal.

gandhi

Explorers: Last night we read about Hernando Cortes, and we learned the difference between an explorer and a conqueror. Suffice it to say, we won’t be searching high and low for a poster of this MEAN man.

Le Fictitious Local Café story problem:  The 3 cooks and 4 waitresses at “Le Fictitious Local Café” need new aprons. Aprons for the cooks cost $8 each, and each cook needs 3 (so there will always be a clean one to put on). The waitresses all want aprons with cute rickrack stitched on, and these are available for $15 each. Each waitress needs 2 aprons. How much will the owner of the café need to shell out to provide aprons for his staff?

Classical Music: It was VIRTUOSO NIGHT again, starring violinist Itzhak Perlman!

  • Humoresque, by Antonin Dvorak. Until you’ve heard this piece conducted by Seiji Ozawa, featuring Perlman on violin and Yo-Yo Ma on cello, you have not heard the potential of this composition.  BTW, a “humoresque” was a genre of music in the 1800s that suggested a fanciful, sweet mood.
  • Out of Africa, the title music, by John Barry, composed in 1985. Itzhak Perlman’s solos break your heart.
  • Violin Concerto in E Minor, movement 3, by Felix Mendelssohn.  This video (linked below – my FIRST youtube link BTW!) is not the crispest, but who cares?  We LOVE it!  Perlman knows this piece backwards and forwards and upside down. We have watched this at least 10 times.  It is the perfect background music for a cat stalking a mouse.

Welcome to the best part of my day!

– Jane BH

Novel Ideas

Today’s topic:  finding the perfect novel to read aloud to my son – what I am seeking (yay!) and what I am avoiding (yikes!).

books

Yay: we like advanced vocabulary and young adult protagonists.  Yikes: the typical young adult “coming of age” novel is not appropriate for my son. Yikes, yikes, yikes:  themes of alcoholism, drug use, rash behavior, abuse, incest, death, disconnected parenting, suicide, sex, and people being outright mean to one another.  I preview loads of books so we don’t have to head down these dark roads.

Also, because I am the one reading aloud, I have some say in the book genre.  I have tried ’em, but I usually don’t care for sci-fi, fantasy, stories with recurring villains, or time travel.  Here is what I am looking for:  humor, adventure, mystery, self-reliance, team efforts, friendship. I am looking for the good read with storylines complex enough to warrant rereading.

We probably read 50 novels annually. Here are the books we cannot get enough of, so they get reread about once a year:

  • Hatchet – Gary Paulsen
  • Cheaper By The Dozen – Frank B. Gilbreth
  • Schooled – Gordon Korman
  • Surviving the Applewhites – Stephanie S. Tolan
  • While Mrs. Coverlet Was Away – Mary Nash
  • Mrs. Coverlet’s Magicians – Mary Nash
  • The Wednesday Wars – Gary D. Schmidt

Here is what we worked on last night:

My son was presented with a long list of locations; his job was to divide them into city, state, or country categories. We finished the amphibian unit (yay!) and we started the lizard unit (yay!). We finished the pirate book (which was a disappointment to the end, although we did learn one teeny fact: Black Bart was the most successful pirate ever) (but we don’t know why) (sigh). Our Farmer Brown story problem dealt with the purchase of new water troughs for the pigs.  Oink.

Classical music theme: it was VIRTUOSO NIGHT showcasing trumpeter Wynton Marsalis.

  • Franz Joseph Haydn’s “Concerto in E-flat Major for Trumpet, movement 3”.  Aw, such a lackluster title for such a lively, commanding piece.
  • Niccolo Paganini’s “Moto Perpetuo” (perpetual motion).  The goal for the listener is to determine where the trumpeter is taking a breath in this piece, which is essentially a four-and-a-half-minute endurance-test.  And note:  this performance is a small testament to the skills of Mr. Marsalis.
  • Jeremiah Clarke’s “Prince of Denmark’s March”.  Often referred to as “Trumpet Voluntary”, Clarke’s composition is used for many a glorious wedding processional.

Welcome to the best part of my day!

– Jane BH