MY MUSICAL BIRTHDAY SONG FOR 2016

Garland Waltz from Sleeping Beauty – the latest musical challenge I received from the Spirit realm

For the last four years, my spirit guides have been giving me musical assignments which I was to turn into birthday songs. This year, it was the Garland Waltz from the “Sleeping Beauty” ballet by Tchaikovsky.

My earlier musical challenges from the Divine – which I was to turn into my birthday musical gifts – came from Brahms and Liszt (Gypsy Suite: Dance of the Planets, 2010),  Ghost Riders in the Sky (2011), Liszt again (La Campanella, 2012), Strauss (Blue Danube, 2013), Rachmaninoff (Rhapsody on a Paganini Theme, 2014), Mozart (Symphony #40, The “Roo Symphony”, 2015), and now – Tchaikovsky (Garland Waltz from “Sleeping Beauty, 2016) .

The recording I am about to share with you, made last night with Elizabeth working one of the cameras, has been over four months in gestation. There is a story to follow in which I will explain what happened during that time. For now, here’s a preview…

GARLAND WALTZ FROM “SLEEPING BEAUTY” (Tchaikovsky) – by Bob Altzar Djurdjevic – recorded in its entirety on a Clavinova on May 17, 2016

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Garland Waltz from Sleeping Beauty – Birthing the Birthday Song of 2016

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 8.25.37 AM

This year’s birthday song – Garland Waltz – had a gestation period of over four months. Unusually long for me, but only half the time Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky took to write the score for the entire Sleeping Beauty ballet (see Creation and Premiere in 1890 below).

The inspiration for this music came on February 12 in Phoenix. That’s the night Elizabeth and I saw a performance of Tchaikovsky’s ballet “Sleeping Beauty” at the Phoenix Symphony Hall. Of course, I’d heard the music before. But this was the first time I got to see the “Sleeping Beauty” live.

The famous line from the Chorus Line – “everything is beautiful at the ballet” – might as well have originated from the Garland Waltz of the Sleeping Beauty.

Everything was beautiful at the ballet that evening of Feb 12. It was a night of magic and enchantment. I savored it for several days. And then I forgot all about it. Until two months later.

The Sleeping Beauty came to me in dreamtime on April 10. More specifically, the Garland Waltz did. I was just about to return to Maui from Arizona and did not have time to do much about it except to research various scores. But I knew I had to study the score, learn it, and record my own version of it.

Working on the Music at the Rainbow Shower

Back at the Rainbow Shower, I started working on this piece a little bit at a time. The Sleeping Beauty score is a work of overwhelming beauty and depth. Tchaikovsky himself thought it some of his best work. Its complexity and richness challenged the dancers and the musicians to greater heights, wrote one reviewer.

I quickly started to understand why. Nearly every bar represents a change of key.  And I had to discern them all by ear. As for the orchestration… wow, that was one of the most challenging things I have ever worked on.

That’s when I understood why I got this assignment from the spirit realm for this year’s birthday song.  They are guiding me up the musical ascension scale, evolving from technically challenging pieces (e.g. Rachmaninoff) to harmonically more sophisticated ones (Mozart, Tchaikovsky).

By the time Elizabeth returned home a month later, the Sleeping Beauty Garland Waltz was still sort of “raw.” But I kept at it every day. And then it all jelled in the last week or so. I stopped using the sheet music except for the most complex passages and playing it all by heart. And then not at all in the last three to four days.

“I feel pretty close to being able to record it,” I told Elizabeth three days ago.

And then last night, right after sunset, I did it, with Elizabeth working one of the cameras.

 

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INTERPRETATION: WHY THIS PARTICULAR MUSIC?

Escape to a World of Dreams and Magic: “Everything Is Beautiful at the Ballet”

Apart from the harmonic and orchestration complexity, I wondered WHY did my spirit guides give me this particular piece of music as my 2016 birthday song assignment?

I think it was because the Sleeping Beauty storyline, and the Garland Waltz in particular, offer a way out of the ugliness and harshness of everyday life. With so much greed, deception and bloodshed in the world, we need a safe place to escape to, a place of beauty, magic and unlimited imagination. And that’s what the Sleeping Beauty is.

If “everything is beautiful at the ballet,” it does not get much more beautiful than the Garland Waltz of the Sleeping Beauty. And flower dances are universal, practiced in many cultures around the world.

Here in Hawaii, for example, we call a garland a “haku lei” (a head lei). You can even see yours truly wearing one as a “Hawaiian Kokopelli” – part of my 2011 Halloween costume.

To me, the Garland Waltz is a flight from harsh reality to flowering fancy. Both the dance and the music are as poetic as can be. A young princess is coming of age. She is in the spring of her life.

The Garland Waltz from the Sleeping Beauty is a reminder that there is a better world available to all of us. All we need to do is unleash our imagination and dream the way we used to when we were children. Which in and of itself is liberating.

That, I think, was the key spirit message woven into my birthday song of 2016. And why they wanted me to share this music with you all.

As is the case with all of my music, this interpretation of the Garland Waltz from the Sleeping Beauty does not exactly match up with what Tchaikovsky wrote. I have made little changes here and there to make the music come out the way I hear it in my Third Ear.

GARLAND WALTZ FROM “SLEEPING BEAUTY” (Tchaikovsky) – by Bob Altzar Djurdjevic – recorded in its entirety on a Clavinova on May 17, 2016

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CREATION AND PREMIERE OF “SLEEPING BEAUTY” IN 1890

In Act I of The Sleeping Beauty the Garland Waltz takes place as part of the celebrations of Princess Aurora’s birthday. The corps de ballet dance with hoops and garlands of flowers to create elegant, evolving shapes, and also bring a bucolic and charmingly youthful quality to the party. 

The famous line from the Chorus Line – “everything is beautiful at the ballet” – might as well have originated from the Garland Waltz of the Sleeping Beauty.

Tchaikovsky composed The Sleeping Beauty, his second of three ballets, over the course of about eight months, but devoted only 49 days in all to the work. He was busy with other projects as well: during this time he composed his Fifth Symphony, the overture for Hamlet, and Six French Songs (Opus 65), and he also conducted numerous concerts. 

When he finished the orchestration for the ballet in August 1889 he wrote, “a whole mountain has fallen off my shoulders.”

In a note to a benefactor he wrote, “. . .the subject is so poetic, so inspirational to composition, that I am captivated by it.” The composer and choreographer collaborated closely, with Petipa (choreographer) supplying detailed instructions about what style and tempo of music were needed where. 

Tchaikovsky was famous for over-doing it: for the “Garland Waltz” in the Prologue, Petipa requested 166 bars and Tchaikovsky gave him 297! 

The Sleeping Beauty score is a work of overwhelming beauty and depth. Tchaikovsky himself thought it some of his best work. Its complexity and richness challenged the dancers—and Petipa (French-born choreographer) himself—to greater heights. 

Ballet historian Jennifer Homans credits Tchaikovsky with the ballet’s enduring appeal, a result of the way his music “works on the human body and spirit.”*

Tchaikovsky had the overture, prologue and outlines of Acts 1 and 2 completed in three weeks. Rehearsals began in August of 1889 and the ballet premiered on January 15, 1890. 

The Sleeping Beauty captivated the hearts and minds of its audiences. By 1892, it had been performed an astonishing 50 times. The dancers marked the occasion by presenting Tchaikovsky with a crown on stage.

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MY MUSICAL BIRTHDAY GIFTS IN LAST FOUR YEARS

2013 – STRAUSS

SOUNDS FROM THE DESERT QUEST (Blue Danube, May 27, 2013) – http://www.altzar.org/Music/96_Sounds%20from%20Desert.html#Sounds_from_Desert_II:Blue_Danube

Also see…

“BLUE DANUBE”: AN ANCIENT SHAMANIC DREAM ABOUT TRANSFORMATIONAL POWER OF WATER

“‘Blue Danube’ – is actually an ancient shamanic dream or transept” (Ancient Egyptian spirit, June 5, 2013) “You are coaxing more out … Continue reading… – http://wp.me/p1jFeo-jV

2014 – RACHMANINOFF

RACHMANINOFF’S RHAPSODY ON PAGANINI THEME

Evolution of My Birthday Song of 2014 – Variations 1 and 18 – a film by Bob Altzar Djurdjevic – http://wp.me/p1jFeo-HQ

2015 – MOZART

TURNING 70… IN ARIZONA HIGH COUNTRY, LEAVING HOME ON A MOZART HIGH

MOZART SYMPHONY #40 (“ROO SYMPHONY”) – RETURNS AS MY BIRTHDAY SONG THIS YEAR A few days ago, a birthday card … Continue reading… – http://wp.me/p1jFeo-1bi

2016 – TCHAIKOVSKY

GARLAND WALTZ FROM “SLEEPING BEAUTY” (Tchaikovsky) – by Bob Altzar Djurdjevic – recorded in its entirety on a Clavinova on May 17, 2016

https://youtu.be/xHXuf7NH_lo

 

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Lunar Rainbow voice recording: 

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