Ultimate, a word that originally meant last in Latin has become a description of finest or best in English or ne plus ultra in French. It can be argued that Beethoven's last or ultimate sonata fits both definitions.
Coming near the end of a life of breaking barriers and exercising his considerable will, the composer's last sonatas are artistic works that have earned their immortality.
Each week on World Music (Saturday nights from 8-10 on KSTX 89.1 FM), I take a look at celebrations happening around the world. This week, rockets blaze for the risen Christ in Greece, and Indiana Jones would never want to find himself in Abruzzo next week. Snakes!
For three days the traditional Fiesta is turned upside down as an event known as Cornyation rips apart political correctness and turns it into a stage act dramatizing current events.
Cornyation may be lewd, but the party with the purpose is left intact, the spoof on the Fiesta Coronation takes place April 23-25 at the Empire Theater.
This year there are about 12 Cornyation skits, and each one pokes fun at something different: Childhood obesity, the nearly retired Twinkie, Gov. Rick Perry and sonograms, the NRA, a pensioned Pope, and even Manti Te'o.
It is scary to realize that some of our planet's great art is there for what at the time was an accidental circumstance.
In 1819 Moritz Schlesinger, a music publisher, met with Beethoven and bargained for 60 songs and 3 piano sonatas. These were his last three piano sonatas - the pinnacle of his Late period - and took longer because of illness and other work.
Because of these circumstances there was talk of dropping the sonatas from the contract. The Piano Sonata No. 31 was finished Christmas Day 1821.
If you're older than thirty you may know something of the unlikely and extremely rare probability of a baroque opera being performed at the Metropolitan Opera. This was sometime in the late eighties, but in musical terms seems a lifetime ago.
To quote Inspector Morse, the opera loving sleuth, "I was horrified to discover that the tickets I had received for Wagner were in fact for Handel!"
I can think of no opera composer of the first rank who has undergone so radical a transformation of fortune as Handel.
Music from St. Mark’s presents their annual Fiesta celebration this Sunday at 4 p.m. It showcases the music of Francis Poulenc, including the "Concerto for Organ in G minor" and his grand choral symphony "Gloria."
Members of the San Antonio Symphony will augment musicians of the St. Mark’s Choir and featured soloist Joseph Causby.
Causby is the music director and conductor at St. Marks. He chuckles at the question: Is being a soloist and then conductor like juggling?
My piano teacher told me about the story of Ludwig van Beethoven's creation of his biggest Piano Sonata the "Hammerklavier."
It goes back to John Broadwood sending him his best and biggest piano, and Beethoven's reply was this groundbreaking work. When I looked up to confirm what I was told, I found out the story was even more amazing.