Saturday, November 17, 2012

My Favorite List of Western Classical Music works

Favorite list of Western Classical Music works

  1. Symphony No.5 in B flat major - Franz Schubert
  2. Symphony No.9 in C Major (The Great) - Franz Schubert
  3. Symphony No.8 in B Minor (Unfinished Symphony) - Franz Schubert
  4. Symphony No.6 in F Major (Pastorale Symphony) - Ludwig van Beethoven
  5. Symphony No.9 in D Minor (Choral) - Ludwig van Beethoven
  6. Symphony No.5 in C Minor (Fate) - Ludwig van Beethoven
  7. Symphony No.9 in E Minor (From the New World) - Antonín Dvořák
  8. Symphony No.6 in B Minor (Pathétique) - Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
  9. Symphony No.2 in D Major - Johannes Brahms
  10. Symphonie Fantastique - Hector Berlioz
  11. Symphony No.4 in D Minor - Robert Schumann
  12. Symphony No.1 in D Minor (Titan) - Gustav Mahler
  13. Symphony No.5 in C sharp minor - Gustav Mahler
  14. Symphony No.9 in D major - Gustav Mahler
  15. Symphony No.5 - Malcolm Arnold
  16. Symphony No.40 in G Minor - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  17. Symphony No.25 in G Minor - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  18. Serenade for Strings in C Major - Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
  19. Symphony No.3 in D Major - Franz Schubert
  20. Symphony No.2 - Sergei Rachmaninoff
  21. Sinfonia Antartica - Ralph Vaughan Williams
  22. Symphony No.1 in C major - Mily Balakirev
  23. Symphony No.1 in E flat major - Alexander Borodin
  24. Symphony No.2 in B minor (Heroic) - Alexander Borodin
  25. Symphony No.3 in F major Im Walde (In the Forest) - Joachim Raff
  26. Symphony No.3 in G minor - Louise Farrenc

  1. Piano Concerto No.1 in B Flat Minor - Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
  2. Piano Concerto No.1 in D Minor - Johannes Brahms
  3. Piano Concerto No.1 in E Flat Major - Franz Liszt
  4. Piano Concerto in A Minor - Edvard Grieg
  5. Piano Concerto in A minor - Robert Schumann
  6. Piano Concerto No.2 in C Minor - Sergei Rachmaninoff
  7. Piano Concerto No.3 in D Minor - Sergei Rachmaninoff
  8. Piano Concerto No.5 in E Flat Major (Emperor) - Ludwig van Beethoven
  9. Piano Concerto No.1 in E Minor - Frédéric Chopin
  10. Piano Concerto No2 in F minor - Frédéric Chopin
  11. Cello Concerto in B Minor - Antonín Dvořák
  12. Violin Concerto in D Major - Johannes Brahms
  13. Violin Concerto in D Major - Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
  14. Violin Concerto in A Minor, opus 53 - Antonín Dvořák
  15. The Four Seasons - Antonio Vivaldi
  16. Cello Concerto in A Minor - Robert Schumann
  17. Concierto de Aranjuez - Joaquin Rodrigo
  18. Horn Concerto No.4 in E Flat Major - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  19. Piano Quintet in A major "Trout" - Franz Schubert
  20. Violin Concerto in B minor - Edward Elgar
  21. Cello Concerto in E minor - Edward Elgar
  22. Violin Concerto No.2 - Béla Bartók

Waltzes & Ballets
  1. The Blue Danube - Johann Strauss II
  2. Swan Lake - Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
  3. The Nutcracker Suite - Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
  4. Sleeping Beauty - Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
  5. Boléro - Maurice Ravel
  6. Romeo and Juliet - Sergei Prokofiev
  7. The Rite of Spring - Igor Stravinsky
  8. The Firebird - Igor Stravinsky

  1. The Ride of the Valkyries - Richard Wagner
  2. Prince Igor - Alexander Borodin

  1. Serenade for Strings in C Major - Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
  2. Eine kleine Nachtmusik (Serenade No.13 for strings in G major) - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

  1. 1812 Overture - Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
  2. Carnival Overture - Antonín Dvořák
  3. Oberon - Carl Maria von Weber
  4. William Tell Overture - Gioachino Rossini
  5. Barber of Seville - Gioachino Rossini
  6. Carmen - Georges Bizet
  7. Shéhérazade, ouverture de féerie - Maurice Ravel
  8. Froissart Overture - Edward Elgar
  9. Hebrides Overture (Fingal's Cave) - Felix Mendelssohn

  1. Peer Gynt - Edvard Grieg
  2. Holberg Suite - Edvard Grieg
  3. The Planets - Gustav Holst
  4. Lemminkäinen Suite - Jean Sibelius

Independent Pieces
  1. Night on Bald Mountain - Modest Mussorgsky
  2. In a Monastery Garden - Albert Ketèlbey
  3. The Lark Ascending - Ralph Vaughan Williams
  4. Flight of the Bumblebee - Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

  1. Scheherazade - Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
  2. Also sprach Zarathustra (Thus Spoke Zarathustra) - Richard Strauss
  3. Má vlast - Bedřich Smetana
  4. Isle of the Dead - Sergei Rachmaninoff
  5. Finlandia - Jean Sibelius
  6. In the Steppes of Central Asia - Alexander Borodin
  7. Falstaff: Symphonic Study in C - Edward Elgar

  1. Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp minor (Moonlight Sonata) - Ludwig van Beethoven
  2. Piano Sonata No.11 in A Major, K 331 - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

  1. Hungarian Dance No.5 in G Minor - Johannes Brahms
  2. Polovtsian Dances - Alexander Borodin

  1. Hungarian Rhapsody No.2 - Franz Liszt
  2. España Rhapsody for Orchestra - Emmanuel Chabrier

Organ Music
  1. Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565 - Johann Sebastian Bach

Fantasy for Orchestra
  1. Capriccio Italien - Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

  1. Pomp and Circumstance Marches - Edward Elgar
  2. March Slave in B Flat Minor - Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

  1. Enigma Variations - Edward Elgar
  2. Variations on a Nursery Tune - Ernő Dohnányi

Folk Songs
  1. Fantasia on Greensleeves - Ralph Vaughan Williams

Incidental Music
  1. The Wasps - Ralph Vaughan Williams

Monday, May 28, 2012

Life finds a way....

Even as the list of endangered species is increasing and the rampant industrialization and environmental dangers are posing a great threat to the wildlife habitats over the world, new species have also been discovered. This is both remarkable and amazing because, it shows and reflects the resilient nature of life on earth. It also shows how species adapt themselves to the environmental changes in spite of the great dangers posed by factors such as global warming, ozone depletion, pollution and other man made factors. 
Recently many new species have been found in remote and inaccessible parts of the world and also many new types of life have been discovered in the ocean depths in conditions regarded by many as impossible to live. For instance, Tubeworms have been found feeding on the chemicals emitted by the hydro-thermal vents in the Atlantic ocean floor, where temperatures are very hot. Recent explorations to the deepest point on earth, The Challenger Deep, in the Pacific Ocean, revealed many types of single-celled organisms called Foraminifera, organisms that construct shells. They were found in the sample of dirt from the ocean floor, where the water pressure is equivalent to 50 Jumbo jets piled on top of you. 
These new forms of life shows optimism that life finds a way to blossom and to spring itself, as the legendary Phoenix, the mythical firebird that rises from the ashes, to be born again. In 2008, over 1,25,000 western lowland gorillas have been found in the tropical dense forests of Congo. Recently 12 new frog species were discovered in the ecologically fragile, western ghats of India. Every year, the International Institute for Species Exploration at Arizona State University along with an international committee of taxonomists scientists who classify and describe new species choose their 10 favorites. These includes :

Sneezing monkey - A snub-nosed monkey found in the mountains of Myanmar, Rhinopithecus strykeri is named in honor of Jon Stryker, founder of the Arcus Foundation. Believed to be critically endangered, it has mostly black fur and a white beard, and it sneezes when it rains. 

Bonaire banded box jelly - This strikingly beautiful but highly lethal jellyfish looks like a box kite with a colorful long tail. Found on the Dutch island of Bonaire, it is named Tamoya ohboya because a teacher in a citizen science project thought a victim might scream "Oh boy!" when stung.

Devil's worm - Only 0.02 inches long, these nematodes were discovered at a depth of 0.8 mile in a South African gold mine and are the deepest-living multicellular organisms on the planet. It was named Halicephalobus mephisto from the Faust legend because it survives at high pressures and temperatures.

Night blooming orchid - This rare orchid from Papua New Guinea has flowers that open around 10 p.m. and close early the next morning. Named Bulbophyllum nocturnum, it is the only orchid known to bloom at night.

Parasitic wasp - This tiny parasite from Spain cruises at just a half-inch off the ground looking for ants, into which it inserts an egg in less than 1/20th of a second.

SpongeBob SquarePants mushroom - This new species of fungus, named Spongiforma squarepantsii, looks more like a sponge than a typical mushroom. From the island of Borneo in Malaysia, the mushroom is unusual in that its fruiting body can be squeezed like a sponge and still bounce back into shape.

Nepalese autumn poppy - This tall, yellow poppy from Nepal lives at altitudes above 19,800 feet. Named Meconopsis autumnalis because it blooms in autumn, it is thought to have been collected before, but not recognized as a distinct species.

Giant millipede - This giant millipede from Tanzania's Eastern Arc Mountains is about the length of a sausage and is called the "wandering leg sausage," hence the name Crurifarcimen vagans. At 6.3 inches long, it is the world's largest millipede; it has 56 rings, each bearing two pairs of legs.

Walking cactus - This fossil of an extinct group known as Lobopodia looks more like a cactus than an animal, with its wormlike bodies and multiple pairs of legs. Named Diania cactiformis, the 520-million-year-old specimen was found in Cambrian deposits in southwestern China.

Sazima's tarantula - This iridescent hairy blue tarantula is the first new species from Brazil to be named to the top 10 list. It is called Pterinopelma sazimai and is found on "island" ecosystems on flattop mountains.

All these reminds me of the conversation that takes place in the Hollywood movie Jurassic Park, between a group of leading scientists sitting together in a scene. The park is made by genetically engineering the DNA of dinosaurs and then to clone them so that people have a glimpse of how life was, billions of years ago. They are discussing ways to make the park a leading attraction on earth, but one scientist, Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) objects to such a idea, saying it a "rape of the natural world." He could not figure out how such a genetically engineered dinosaur species can be controlled by a park. He is of the view that we do not have the power to control the dangers posed by such an act. Because the dangers are not foreseen by us. This conversation itself, summarizes the whole theme of the movie.

The movie also makes clear the fact that nature has a way to amaze and trick even the most advanced technology available to man. It has a way to protect itself and to reproduce itself in the most remarkable, even hostile conditions.

So protect nature, respect it for what it gives you. Save it, save life itself.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Faiz Ahmed Faiz

Recently came across two poems by the great Pakistani poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz. Just one glance at those poems and I got a glimpse of what beauty lay in those lines. The choice of Urdu words and the clear message that was conveyed through those poems was stunning. One poem is about freedom and another is about the moment. It was like "Wow, what poems."

Just read those lines, "Ye daag daag ujaala". There is brightness, but it is blotted, and has many black spots. The poet hopes for freedom, but this was not the freedom which he was hoping for. Fantastic poems. Salutes to you.


ye daag-daag ujaalaa, ye shab-gaziidaa sahar
wo intezaar tha jiskaa, ye wo sahar to nahiin

ye wo sahar to nahiin jiskii aarzoo lekar
chale the yaar ke mil jayegi kahiin na kahiin
falak ke dashth mein taaron kii aakhirii manzil

kahin to hogaa shab-e-sustmoujh kaa saahil
kahin to jake rukegaa sakiin-e-gam-e-dil

jawan lahuu kii pur asraar shahraahon se
chale jo yaar to daaman pe kitne haath pade
dayaar-e-husn kii be-sabra khwaabgaahon se
pukaarti rahiin baahen, badan bulate rahe

bahut azeez thii lekin ruKh-e-sahar kii lagan
bahut kariin tha hasiinane noor kaa daaman
subuk-subuk thi tamanna dabi-dabi thi thakan

sunaa hai ho bhi chukaa hai firaaq-e-zulmat-e-noor
sunaa hai ho bhi chukaa hai wisaal-e-manzil-o-gaam

badal chukaa hai bahut ahal-e-dard kaa dastoor
nishaat-e-wasl halaal-o-azaab-e-hijr-e-haraam
jigar kii aag, nazar kii umang, dil kii jalan
kisii pe chaar:e-hijra.N kaa kuchch asar hii nahii.n
kahaa.N se aayii nigaar-e-sabaa kidhhar ko gaii
abhii chiraaG-e-sar-e-rah ko kuchch khabar hii nahiin
abhii garaanii-e-shab me.n kamii nahi.n aaii
nazaat-e-deed'h-o-dil kii ghadii nahi.n aaii
chale chalo ki wah manzil abhi nahi.n aaii 

Is waqt to yun lagata hai ab kuch bhi nahi hai

is waqt to yun lagata hai ab kuch bhi nahi hai
mahatab na suraj na andhera na savera

aankhon ke dariche mein kisi husn ke jhalakan
aur dil ke panahon mein kisi dard ka dera

mumkin hai koi vaham ho, mumkin hai suna ho
galiyon mein kisi chap ka ek aakhiri phera

shakhon mein khayalon ke ghane ped ke shayad
ab aake karega na koi khwab basera

ik bair na ik mahar na ik rabt na rishta
tera koi apna na paraya koi mera

mana ki ye sun-san ghadi sakht badi hai
lekin mere dil ye to faqat ek ghadi hai
himmat karo jine ko abhi umr padi hai

Friday, March 30, 2012

Narsihn Mehta

Once me and my wife went out shopping. While buying a trouser for myself, the shop-owner asked my caste. I said Brahman. He at once remarked, "From Narsinh Mehta's caste?" I said yes.

Such is the influence this great poet-saint from Gujarat had on the psyche of the general public. Many a tales have been told from generations to generations about the many troubles he had to suffer from the hands of the then rigid society. And how, in spite of the troubles and threats to outcast him from the society, through his unerring and loving devotion to Lord Shri Krishna, he escapes these threats and lives a devoted life. His life was full of miracles that saved him time and again. Miracles, by the great Lord, whom Narsinh Mehta loved and adored all his life. Generations, after Narsinh Mehta, came to be known as Nagar Brahmans and these generations are indeed, proud to be called after that great saint. He brought glory to an entire caste of people. He created poems, bhajans and songs in praise of Lord Krishna and one bhajan became immortal and is sung with the same devotion. It tells of the moral values, duties and essence of a civilized Vaishnav. It became a favorite of Mahatma Gandhi.

James Cameron's dive to the deepest point on earth

Great News!!!

James Cameron - Director of The Titanic and The Abyss and the recent Avatar, completed a record breaking dive to the Mariana Trench, the deepest point on earth in a specially designed submarine. He stayed on the ocean floor for about 3 hours and took samples for research in marine biology, microbiology, astrobiology, marine geology and geophysics and also filmed parts of the Mariana Trench.

The Mariana Trench is 120 times larger than the Grand Canyon and more than a mile deeper than the Mount Everest is tall.

Reminds of the great Jacques Cousteau - a French naval officer explorer, ecologist, filmmaker, innovator, scientist, photographer, author and researcher who studied the sea and all forms of life in water.

The Vagabond - Reflections

 Give to me the life I love,
   Let the lave go by me,
 Give the jolly heaven above
   And the byway nigh me.
 Bed in the bush with stars to see,
   Bread I dip in the river -
 There's the life for a man like me,
   There's the life for ever.

 Let the blow fall soon or late,
   Let what will be o'er me;
 Give the face of earth around
   And the road before me.
 Wealth I seek not, hope nor love,
   Nor a friend to know me;
 All I seek, the heaven above
   And the road below me.

 Or let autumn fall on me
   Where afield I linger,
 Silencing the bird on tree,
   Biting the blue finger.
 White as meal the frosty field -
   Warm the fireside haven -
 Not to autumn will I yield,
   Not to winter even!

 Let the blow fall soon or late,
   Let what will be o'er me;
 Give the face of earth around,
   And the road before me.
 Wealth I ask not, hope nor love,
   Nor a friend to know me;
 All I ask, the heaven above
   And the road below me.

-- Robert Louis Stevenson

Another remarkable poem!!!! In this poem, all the poet wants is to travel to different lands. He does want to be in the midst of men or to be surrounded with friends. All he wants is to lead a simple life, to walk the bare earth and to sleep below the starry night. He does not care what will happen to him, he is willing to face the cold winter or the hot winds. It seems he wants to live a life of a wanderer, a carefree life, an free and aimless life. To care for no one, just to be happy with what he has (he is not wealthy, but just needs to take care of the simplest needs of life).

This poem makes me think about another Gujarati poem, where the poet wants to roam the hills and the forests without a guide. He wants to see the natural beauty with his own eyes and not what others want to show. The poem goes on like this....

ભોમિયા વિના મારે ભમવા’તા ડુંગરા,
જંગલની કુંજકુંજ જોવી હતી;જોવી’તી કોતરો ને જોવી’તી કંદરા,
રોતા ઝરણાંની આંખ લ્હોવી હતી.
 મારે ગણવી હતી;
ડાળે ઝૂલંત કોક કોકિલાને માળેઅંતરની વેદના વણવી હતી.

એકલા આકાશ તળે ઊભીને એકલો,
પડઘા ઉરબોલના ઝીલવા ગયો;વેરાયા બોલ મારા, ફેલાયા આભમાં,
અકલો અટૂલો ઝાંખો પડ્યો.

આખો અવતાર મારે ભમવા ડુંગરિયા,
જંગલની કુંજકુંજ જોવી ફરી;ભોમિયા ભૂલે એવી ભમવી રે કંદરા,
અંતરની આંખડી લ્હોવી જરી.

How similar these two poems are, in their thought, expression, content and the essence. They talk about being alone in their wanderings, to see and feel the world through their own eyes, to live a simple life, devoid of materialistic cravings. They want to be at peace with nature. To be with nature.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Spark

Everyone needs a spark to ignite that thing in him or her. What lies dormant within oneself does not find expression unless there is no outside force applied to it. Many of us must have experienced this in our lives. Some are naturally motivated. They have that inner drive in them that takes them on and on. They know what they want to do. It is the inner force which compels them to move forward. 

But what about those who do not have that drive in them? What do they do to express themselves? Such person's creative urges and expressions lay hidden for years, sometimes they do not find a suitable outlet to pour forth their thoughts and feelings. At such times, it is the responsibility of us - intelligent, moral, and mature individuals - to lend support, to act as mentors and to seek out those creative energies in a person and to urge and motivate them to move forward in life. 

In an age where man has set out explorations in outer space, where Super-earths are being discovered, where man has delved deep in the ocean depths, it is important for one to look at oneself, to look at the inner qualities and energies that drive us to do what we want to do and express ourselves creatively and be more intelligent beings. 

Perhaps meditation and one's own realisation of one's thought pattern can help in this. There should be a sense of freedom to free oneself of one's fears, inhibitions, and whatever one feels is letting him of her down or is an obstruction in expressing oneself. 

Life is too short in live in fear, Who knows what lies in store in our next life? Think of today, this moment. Sit down, let the world fly by, there will be times when the world too will join you in your celebrations. But take your time to see deep within yourself. What qualities you have which you can express better than the person sitting next to you. It can be any quality e.g. can you paint better, write better, cook better. You have an art of thinking in pictures? Perhaps you are good with handling objects e.g. moving your body in rhythm, or ability to fix things up. Or perhaps, you speak better than the other person e.g. you have good oratory skills, are better in speaking with good tone, voice, words etc. Are you good in understanding persons, you like to socialize or keep friends? You are sensitive to other people's thoughts, you can clearly understand them. That, too, is a good talent to have. You care for the environment? You like to be informed about the latest events happening in your neighbourhood, or take part in contests, fun fairs, quizzes, competitions, marathons. Or you like to be alone and like to reflect on how to grow better plants, how does a star shine, what are stones made of, etc. 

Take time to gather your thoughts, concentrate on yourself and once you come to a point of deep realisation, that is your moment. You have to then build on these qualities and shape your own future. This future will be yours and yours alone.

The Way through the woods - Reflections

They shut the road through the woods
Seventy years ago.
Weather and rain have undone it again,
And now you would never know
There was once a road through the woods
Before they planted the trees.
It is underneath the coppice and heath,
And the thin anemones.
Only the keeper sees
That, where the ring-dove broods,
And the badgers roll at ease,
There was once a road through the woods.

Yet, if you enter the woods
Of a summer evening late,
When the night-air cools on the trout-ringed pools
Where the otter whistles his mate.
(They fear not men in the woods,
Because they see so few)
You will hear the beat of a horse's feet,
And the swish of a skirt in the dew,
Steadily cantering through
The misty solitudes,
As though they perfectly knew
The old lost road through the woods . . . .
But there is no road through the woods.
                                       -- Rudyard Kipling 



Reading this poem gives you that mystic feeling, of a road closed long ago, among the wooded forest, where there still lingers that haunting rider and his lady love. Splendid poem. Very haunting and full of mystery. I wonder, when in some quiet and remote travel spot, you might see some road winding through a forest, remember this poem. It might add that aura of the unknown seeing you through hidden eyes.