(Contact Info: larry at larryblakeley.com)
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song lyrics and mp3 audio files http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/songs/ (all of which are a part of this Web site) can be accessed simply by selecting the "htm" file for the song you want;
quotations http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/quotations.htm; and
essays written by Larry Blakeley http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/articles/articles_larry_blakeley.htm,
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My son, Larry Blakeley http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/larryblakeley_photos_jpeg.htm manages this Web site.
Major Roy James Blakeley (December 10, 1928 - July 22, 1965) - USAF (KIA)
When I was young my dad would say
Come on son let's go out and play
No matter how hard I try
No matter how many tears I cry
No matter how many years go by
I still can't say goodbye
- "I Still Can't Say Goodbye," Performer: Chet Atkins
MP3 audio file/lyrics http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/songs/still_cant_say_goodbye.htm
For a larger image click on the photograph.
Maurice Ravel's Concerto in G - II: Adagio assai; Alicia de Larrocha, piano; Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra/Leonard Slatkin, conductor
Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings, Boston Symphony Orchestra/Charles Munch, conductor
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Concerto for Bassoon, K. 191, in B-Flat (transcribed for clarinet) II: Andante ma adagio; Richard Stoltzman, clarinet; English Chamber Orchestra/Alexander Schneider, conductor
Pietro Mascagni's Intermezzo from Vavalleria rusticana,National Philharmonic Orchestra/James Levine, conductor
Ludwig van Beethoven's The Creatures of Prometheus, Op. 43: Adagio; Bernard Zighera, harp; Doriot Anthony Dwyer, flute; Sherman Walt, bassoon; Gino Cioffi, clarinet; Jules Eskin, cello; Boston Symphony Orchestra/Erich Leinsdorf, conductor
Max Bruch's Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 26 - II: Adadio; Pinchas Zukerman, violin; London Philharmonic Orchestra/Zubin Mehta, conductor
Edward Elgar's Enigma Variations, Op. 36 - Variation IX (Nimrod): Adagio; London Philharmonic Orchestra/Leonard Slatkin, conductor
Tomaso Albinoni's Adagio in G Minor; Paul Nicholson, organ; Guildhall String Ensemble/Robert Salter, leader/director
Georges Bizet's L'Arlesienne Suite No. 1 - III; Adagietto, The Philadelphia Orchestra/Eugene Ormandy, conductor
Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 5 in C-Sharp Minor - III: Adagietto: Sehr Iangsam, The Philadelphia Orchestra/James Levine, conductor
For most pre-Romantic music, terms like "Adagio," "Andante," and "Allegro," which we now think of as temp indications, were used only to evoke the mood or character of a piece; certain metrical patterns were enough to suggest the speed. Adagio actually means "at ease," "stretched out comfortably," or "take it easy!" The works on this album are Adagios in the best sense of the word: the melodic lines are long, the harmonies warm and voluptuously embracing, the pace is relaxed. The invite the limbs of the listener to stretch out and make themselves comfortable as well.
Ravel's Concerto in G, like his Concerto for Piano Left Hand (which was composed simultaneously), shows the influence of a craze for American popular music that swept France in the 1920's. But in profound contrast to the boisterous percussions of the other concerto is the long, quiet tune of the Adagio. Fully half of the movement is for piano alone, until the orchestra intrudes to take up the melody. Then the piano settles into the background, meandering passively through jazzy scales and accompaniment figures.
Perhaps the best-known American work of its kind, the Barber Adagio for Strings began its life as the slow movement of his String Quartet in 1936. Arturo Toscanini introduced the composer's arrangement for string orchestra on an NBC Symphony radio broadcast in 1938.
Mozart's Bassoon Concerto (transcribed here for clarinet) was written in the springtime of his youth, when the composer was only 17, and was inspired simply by the awakening of his own mature voice. He marked the second movement "walking, but at ease," and if the tune is not his most profound creation, it is as supple and graceful a song as any teenager has ever sung.
Pietro Mascagni's opera Cavalleria rusticana, which brought the 26-year-old composer sudden, worldwide fame in 1890, is a short, violent tale of passion and betrayal. The popular intermezzo is played to a bare stage during a lull in the action. Complete in itself, the piece has no themes that refer to other parts of the opera, but its wide-open melody seems to embody all the emotional power of the drama under the hot Sicilian sky. At the opera's premiere at the Metropolitan in New York in 1891, the Intermezzo was applauded and had to be encored three times.
The choreographer Salvatore Vigano startled Viennese audiences in 1801 with a new ballet in the Romantic style, sparking a controversy among balletomanes who were accustomed to entertainments after the old Italian fashion. The was The Creatures of Prometheus, with music by the young Ludwig van Beethoven - the only ballet that ever bore the composer's name. According to the story line, Prometheus (the prototype of the artist/creator) gives life and human emotion to two statues, then leads them before Apollo to learn perfection from the god. Unfortunately, the ballet's libretto has been lost, so we have no idea regarding the specific actions that go along with the music. A slow introduction and cadenza in the cello lead to a lilting ensemble in which melodies are tossed back and forth among several solo instruments: flute, bassoon and harp.
For the great 19th-century violinist Joseph Joachim, to whom the Bruch Concerto was dedicated, it was "the richest and most enchanting" piece in his repertoire. Certainly it is Bruch's best-known work, and the second movement, Adagio, is its heart and soul. The tune, by its very familiarity, soothes the spirit.
Elgar's Enigma Variations, though they were unexplained to their first-night audience, were happily de-mystified by the composer several years later. Each variation, he explained, was a vignette in the life of one of his friends. The "Nimrod" movement recalls a conversation Elgar had with A. J. Jaegar, Elgar's friend and agent, concerning Beethoven's "Pathetique" Sonata - thus the quote from that work. The wide intervals in the tune seem to mirror Jaegar's relaxed, expansive personality.
The majestic Adagio in G Minor is one of those pieces that has grown so popular that it tends to be identified simply by the name of its composer - as "the Albinoni." So it may be surprising to learn that only the repeating bass pattern is actually by that composer. If Albinoni ever put other tunes to it, they have been lost; the familiar upper string parts, the cadenzas, and the realization of the continuo were all written nearly two centuries after Albinoni's death by Remo Giazotto, his biographer. Still, the whole composition seems to be generated irresistibly out of the rock-solid bass foundation.
The evocative character of Bizet's incidental music for L'Arlesienne is somewhat elusive without the scenes of the play it is meant to accompany; the emotion nevertheless retains its power. The Adagietto of Suite No. 1 depicts, with sweet poignancy, the meeting of two old peasants who, when they were young, had been sweethearts but had parted. Mahler gives the term "Adagietto" a rather heavier meaning, qualifying it as "very slow." In his Symphony No. 5, the movement functions as a yearning, restful interlude for strings and harp alone.
It is hoped that you will find this whole album a restful interlude. If at its end you find you are not sufficiently "stretched out comfortably," you are encouraged to play it over again from the beginning.
- Lucy E. Cross
Lucy Cross has taught at Manhattan School of Music, Princeton University, Sarah Lawrence College, and University of California at Riverside. She plays archlute and theorbo in Baroque operas at NYCO, the Metropolitan Opera, and Florida Grand Opera.