Top Left Link Buttons
  • English
  • German

Mary Jane Freeman

Author Archives

Beethoven: Sparks of Joy

Beethoven’s “Shakespeare” sonata, “I scorn to change my state with kings;” the great Appassionata.

Opus 57 – the “Appassionata” – one of the greatest works of Beethoven’s so-called “heroic” period, provides the backdrop for the following account: 
In the late autumn of 1806, as Beethoven was putting the finishing touches to this sonata, his patron Prince Lichnowski ordered him to perform for officers of the occupying French Army. Beethoven refused, departed in the middle of a furious storm, and later wrote to Lichnowski, “Prince! What you are, you are by circumstance and birth. What I am, I am through myself. Of princes there have and will be thousands. Of Beethovens there is only one!” The manuscript for the Appassionata bears the stains from that rainstorm.
This performance by Murray Perahia is the best I’ve heard. [Notes by Margaret Scialdone.]

Beethoven: Sparks of Joy

One of Beethoven’s “hidden” treasures is found in, Op. 54.

Beethoven’s 22nd piano sonata, Opus 54, is like a buried treasure, appearing between the more famous Waldstein (Op. 53) and Appassionata (Op. 57). Its formidable technical and interpretive challenges also discourage many players from making the attempt. Here is an excellent performance by the Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes. [Notes by Margaret Scialdone.]

COVID: One Humanity

Chinese Vaccines Have Begun To Arrive in Africa

Beginning on Wednesday, Feb. 10, Chinese Covid-19 vaccines have begun to arrive in Africa. Separate from their commitments to the UN’s COVAX convention, China has committed to donate vaccines to 14 lesser-developed countries, with Zimbabwe, Equatorial Guinea and Sierra Leone leading the list. This is a commitment begun in July, 2020, at the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity against COVID-19, held (virtually) in Beijing.

“A batch of China-donated SinoPharm COVID-19 vaccines arrived in Malabo, capital of Equatorial Guinea, on Wednesday,” stated {CGTN} on Feb. 11. At a press conference in Beijing announcing the shipment on Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin noted that It will be the first batch of donations from China to African countries, adding it shows China is fulfilling its promise of making Chinese vaccines a global public good.

The shipment of 100,000 doses was met at the airport by Equatorial Guinea’s VP Teodoro Obiang Mangue, who emphasized the generosity of China in fighting “vaccine hoarding” by wealthier nations. As quoted by Xinhua “Faced with the pandemic, no country, no matter how powerful, has been spared. However, in this context of crisis, only China has extended its hand to Equatorial Guinea, which has become the first African country to receive Chinese vaccine aid, and we are grateful for it.”

Early Monday morning 200,000 doses arrived in Harare, Zimbabwe, with the country committing to purchase an additional 600,000 which they expect in early March. In a statement, President Mnangagwa “applauded” China, “for its consistent humane policy of treating Covid-19 vaccines as global public goods. This kind gesture,” he said, “further attests to the fact that the People’s Republic of China is indeed a true friend of Zimbabwe.”

Other countries in line to receive shots from China include Pakistan, the Philippines, Myanmar, Cambodia, Mongolia, the Palestinian territories, Belarus, and Sierra Leone, according to a Chinese foreign ministry statement “seen by” {Reuters}.

Beethoven: Sparks of Joy

Another from Beethoven’s “new path”, the “Waldstein” sonata, Opus 53.

We come to the “Waldstein” sonata, Opus 53, dedicated to one of Beethoven’s earliest patrons. When Beethoven departed Bonn for Vienna, it was Count von Waldstein, Privy Councillor to the Archbishop-Elector of Bonn, who forecast that Beethoven would “receive the spirit of Mozart from the hands of Haydn”.
The sonata itself was described by one reviewer as being “full of strange whims and very difficult to perform”. A wonderful work of art, it exemplifies the “new path” in composition that Beethoven had determined to blaze. It’s performed here by Lucas Jussen. [Notes by Margaret Scialdone.]

London’s Color Revolutions: A Navalny Spring Offensive?

Navalny Supporters Re-group for Spring Offensive To Try To Topple Putin

Feb. 15 (EIRNS)—The Russian opposition to President Putin led by Alexey Nalvany has gone into what it calls a “strategic pause” until Spring, after more than 10,000 people were detained in two consecutive weekends of street protests throughout Russia demanding Navalny’s release from jail, Isabelle Khurshudyan reports in the Feb. 14 {Washington Post}. To avoid jail and other actions by the government, Navalny’s forces have decided to regroup and return to the streets in the Spring, and back candidates in the September Parliamentary elections to challenge Russian President Putin’, and his Party’s hold on power. Navalny has already been sentenced to two years in prison for parole violations, with other cases pending. He returned to Russia from Germany in January,  after his recovery from what was claimed by Porton Down to be poisoning. 

Navalny’s “Chief of Staff” Leononid Volkov told the {Post} Feb. 5 that Navalny’s forces “could not sustain the detentions and beatings” and that continued protests could hinder their goal of winning more opposition seats in the September elections, as well as “paralyze the work of the regional headquarters. Alexei has asked us to concentrate on this autumn, when State Duma elections will be held,” Volkov said, according to the {Post}. Germany’s {Der Spiegel} reported that Navalny’s wife is now in Frankfurt, Germany for “a private visit.”

Last year in Belarus, with 9 million population vs. Russia’s 150 million, much larger daily demonstrations than those for Navalny were held for months after opposition groups, and some Western countries said the elections were rigged in favor of Belarus’s longtime leader, Alexander Lukashenko. These demonstrations sometimes had 200,000 people on the streets. But they steadily lost momentum, Khurshudyan writes.

Two years ago, ahead of Moscow City Council elections, Navalny promoted a system he called “Smart Voting,” which involves informing voters which candidates had the best chances to defeat candidates from Putin’s ruling United Russia Party, but the author claims members of Navalny’s Party are typically prohibited from becoming candidates.

Green Deal Failure

Southwest Power Blackout Disaster: What Can Save the U.S. Economy?

Feb. 15: By Monday night Americans in parts of numerous Southwest and western states were enduring rolling blackouts, some lasting hours in the deep sub-freezing cold of a polar vortex. Many lives were in danger for lack of power and/or electric heat. This shocking event must be a wake-up call to all those, from trade union members to high school and college students, who have been either accepting, celebrating or applying for work to the so-called “Green New Deal”.

“Green” technology – throwback technology – can kill you.

As in the electric grid emergency in Japan’s snowstorms in December, windmills are freezing up in Texas. That state’s 23% of rated electric power capacity which is wind, has largely stopped working, and more than 3 million Texans were without power Monday afternoon in near-zero temperatures. The {Austin Statesman} had reported Feb. 14 (“Frozen wind turbines hamper Texas’ power output”) that wind power, usually rated at 25,100 MW in the state, was rated at just 12,000 MW on Sunday, and actually generating considerably less than that. The state’s regulator, ERCOT (Electric Reliability Council of Texas), was conducting load-shedding operations and warning of potential blackouts, which became actual with 10,500 MW of customer lode cut off on Monday. Late Monday, rolling blackouts were beginning to affect the Southwest Power Pool, involving parts of 15 other states.

The states of the Midwest, gripped by the same polar vortex cold, were saved from blackouts by {coal}. An energy attorney on the board of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners and the Missouri Public Service Commission, Terry Jarrett, wrote a Sunday column on the Upper Midwest situation on, called “Coal Rescues U.S. Power Grid During Polar Vortex”. The Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), which distributes power in 15 states, said coal was on Sunday generating more than half of all power there in the polar vortex, some 41,000 out of 78,000 MW. Natural gas was generating 22,000 and nuclear 10,000 MW. Wind turbine output, predictably, fluctuated wildly, reaching 2,300 MW at most. Solar? 231 MW. “That means these much-vaunted renewable systems produced only about 4 percent of the electricity needed across 15 states,” Jarrett concluded.

In Texas, some natural gas wellheads also froze, along with refining facilities in some locations. The great demand came both from the extraordinary cold, and from the freeze-up and failure of wind and solar power, the ready back-up power for which is almost always natural gas turbine electric plants.

The Green New Deal has been coming at us for 20 years and more from an instigating center – where? In the British royal family, particularly Prince Charles, who is known along with his father Prince Philip for wishing, {very publicly}, that there were far fewer human beings on this planet than there are. Wind power is just one of the dangerous technological leaps backward it promotes. Just two weeks ago, a big five-day conference of the World Economic Forum, Europe’s center for the Green Deal, targeted “the cement, steel, aluminum and chemical industries, as well as the ships, planes, and trucks that move them.” It claimed these sectors “exceeded the total amount of carbon the world can emit”. And don’t get them started about food – the Royal Institute of International Affairs reported to that conference that you should eat no meat, only plant food, and less of that than you do now.

Do you need any of these to live? Food? Electric power? Do you farm with animals? Work with chemicals or steel or cement? Stop kidding yourself that the Green New Deal is “infrastructure” and “jobs”. Put yourself in a car in Austin or Houston looking for heat in zero weather and to charge your phone. The Green New Deal is physical economic collapse, and deadly.

What will save us? Cooperating with the other major countries that don’t accept this green nonsense – especially China and Russia. Build real infrastructure, especially nuclear and fusion power and space travel technology. Listen to the late Lyndon LaRouche, in a speech eight years ago, “No to the Green Policy; Build the Credit System”:

“So mankind has to change his policy: Dump the Green policy, which is presently the greatest single threat to humanity, that’s a killer! And we have to understand that it is the increase of man’s intelligence, which means also scientific intelligence, the ability to create, the ability to generate higher energy-flux densities per capita and per square kilometer of territory—these are the standards on which credit is generated. It’s to increase the population of the planet: increase it! Stop this killing people: increase it! Because we need more work done. We need, also, increases of the energy-flux density of the work being done. These are absolute necessities for us…. So the point is, we need every human being. We need them to live longer and better. We need them to become more creative. We need to have their children better educated, and developed. We need an increase of the potential productivity of the human force, per capita and per square kilometer, and those are the missions that we must fulfill.”

Beethoven: Sparks of Joy

A Presidents Day tribute to G. Washington and A. Lincoln both of whom loved music: Beethoven’s Kreutzer sonata for violin and piano played by a master.

The Kreutzer Sonata, Beethoven’s ninth for violin and piano, is sometimes referred to as “the other Ninth”. The story of its dedication is famous: The half-African violinist George Bridgetower came to Vienna, where he and Beethoven immediately hit it off. Beethoven composed this sonata for him and dedicated it accordingly. Unfortunately, during the celebration of its successful premiere, Bridgetower impugned the morals of a woman whom Beethoven admired, leading Beethoven to rip up the title page and dedicate the sonata instead to the violinist Rodolphe Kreutzer, who actually disliked the work and never performed it!
        At the age of 82, the great violinist Nathan Milstein performed the Kreutzer sonata with pianist Georges Pludermacher, in what was to become his last public performance. A short bio of Milstein precedes the sonata.[Notes by Margaret Scialdone.]

Beethoven: Sparks of Joy

Today, Beethoven’s second piece of Opus 49.

We are eternally grateful to Beethoven’s brother Kaspar, who arranged for the publication, against the composer’s wishes, of the two “Leichte Sonaten” Opus 49. There is hardly a piano student who has not learned from study of these graceful pieces. 
We present here the Opus 49 number 2, Beethoven’s 20th piano sonata, complete with score (performer sadly unidentified). [Notes by Margaret Scialdone.]

Beethoven: Sparks of Joy

Beethoven’s “Leichte Sonaten” composed in 1795-76 but not released publicly until 1805 are often studied by students.

The Opus 49 “Leichte Sonaten” (light sonatas) are only known today because Kaspar van Beethoven, one of the composer’s brothers, decided on his own to present them for publication in 1805, fully ten years after they had been composed. They are both two-movement works of great charm, popular among students and professionals alike.

Here Wilhelm Kempff performs Beethoven’s Sonata #19, Opus 49 no. 1.

Beethoven: Sparks of Joy

Beethoven’s piano sonata Op. # 3 in E-flat major, “The Hunt,” was written in 1802.

The third of the Opus 31 sonatas is affectionately known as “The Hunt”, a nickname that describes only the last movement – fast, rollicking, and full of “horn calls”. This is one of Beethoven’s most good-natured works, displaying grace, charm, and wit throughout.

British pianist George Harliono recorded this sonata in the “Snape Maltings” concert hall – a repurposed building originally used for brewing beer and now famous for its superb acoustics. [Notes by Margaret Scialdone.]

Page 36 of 38First...353637...Last