Also, Girls’ Day in Japan, “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien” (2010), Magical Alpine Ceremony (2012)

What an auspicious day this has been in my life – a triple whammy on the third day of the third month of the year – which is also celebrated as a Girls Day in Japan (Hinamatsuri) and some other parts of the world.

On this day in 2010, I recorded my last piece of music on my old antique piano. The same day, Elizabeth and I used helium balloons to mark up the eight nodes of a celestial network – a planetarium, if you will – I was building at the Rainbow Shower at the time. This $7.50-solution, saved me over $1,000 which a helicopter rental would have cost to do the same geodesic job.

No wonder they say the #3 is the number of CREATIVITY. If you look closely at the video below, you will see that I was even wearing an orange sports shirt with a number 3 on it. I only noticed that after I had already made the video at the end of the day – Mar 3, 2010.

It was also the day on which in 2012 I had an amazing experience in the Alps during a shamanic healing ceremony:

Alpine Healing Ceremony Part 1: Innsbruck-Bolzano (Mar 3, 2012)

Alpine Healing Ceremony Part 2: At Lake Vernago (Mar 3, 2012)

Alpine Healing Ceremony Part 3: Film (Mar 3, 2012)

And in 1978, at age not quite 33, I also resolved to live the rest of my life WITH NO REGRETS. As a first step, I left my “safe” job at IBM and started my own business. And the rest is history.

“Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien”

Eight years ago on this day, I recorded the last piece of music on my antique piano (c. 1929). Nine days later, my new Steinway arrived. And my musical life was never the same again.

That last musical recording was also very poignant in my life. It was Edith Piaf’s farewell song – “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien” (No, I regret nothing). At age 33, I also resolved to live the rest of my life WITH NO REGRETS. As a first step, I left IBM and started my own business. And the rest is history.

http://yinyangbob.com/HI2010/Mar/Mar_1.html [March 3, 2010 – STORY]

Here’s now that March 3, 2010 recording on my old piano which I made as a virtual improvisation, with almost no prior practice.





Olga Kern nails Rachmaninoff, plays his 3rd concerto as Rachmaninoff himself would have done

Last night, Elizabeth and I attended a third classical music concert in five days. And this one was by far the best. Fabulous, fantastic, phenomenal…. were just some of the attributes that came to mind after we spent 43 minutes mesmerized by the young Russian pianist Olga Kern’s interpretation of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto #3.

In fact, I would venture to say that this was probably the best live piano performance I have ever heard. Which is saying a lot since I have attended hundreds of concerts in my lifetime. Elizabeth was similarly moved both by Olga Kern and the earlier Arizona Musicfest symphony orchestra’s interpretation of Jean Sibelius’ Symphony No 5 E flat major.

“It was the most beautiful concert we have ever gone to,” she said. “And we have been to concerts all over the world.”

She added that the Jeffrey Siegel’s piano concert on Tuesday night at the Scottsdale Center for Performing Arts “seems like child’s play in comparison.”

Siegel played Bach and Chopin. “He talked more than he played,” I replied, only half in jest (see Siegel).

The rest of the audience reacted the same way.  The crowd have Olga Kern and the orchestra a standing ovation that went on for more than five minutes and three or four curtain calls (spoken figuratively – since the concert took place in a large church, there was no curtain, only a raised stage).

Olga Kern, is a striking young Russian Gold Medal winner of the 2001 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition whose performance of the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3 made her the first woman to achieve this distinction in over 30 years.

Here are some of the pictures we took…

Here’ a “Behind the Scene” video of Olga Kern rehearsing with Pacific Symphony:

Here’s also that “Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 30 by Kurt Sanderling, Berlin Symphony Orchestra with a younger Olga Kern  on the piano – Dec 2012:


Olga Kern was born in Moscow on Apr 23, 1975 into a family of musicians. Her parents are both pianists, and she is related to the Russian socialite and memoirist Anna Petrovna Kern. Her great-grandmother was the mezzo-soprano Vera Pushechnikova who performed with Rachmaninoff.

Olga Kern began studying piano at age five with Professor Evgeny Timakin at the Central Music School of Moscow and gave her first concert at age seven in the same city. She won her first international competition, the Concertino Praga Competition, at age 11 in the Czech Republic. At 17, she won first prize at the first Rachmaninoff International Piano Competition. While in school, she received an honorary scholarship from the President of Russia n 1996.

Kern performs all over the world but makes her ostensible home in New York. Her son, also a budding pianist, was a student of The Juilliard School of Music, Pre-College Division. Since September 2016 he is a student of Academia Pianistica Internazionale “Incontri col Maestro” di Imola – Class of Professor B. Petrushansky. In 2012, he got the prestigious Van Cliburn scholarship, first time in the history of The Juilliard School, Pre-College Division.

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Finally, here’s also that Sibelius symphony that both Elizabeth and I enjoyed very much last night.





Chopin was never one of my favorite composers. I played his pieces mostly to please others who reveled in his melancholy music.

What did I say last summer about Chopin when his Grand Valse Brillante came to me in a dream – that I thought some of his music was fluffy and maudlin? (too sentimental). And yet here he is, late my life, knocking on my doors and moving into my life again (see From my Dreams Journal: IBM AND CHOPIN, Feb 12, 2018).

Which inspired me to work on a “Chopiniada” music video.  It will be a”ballet blanc” (white ballet), a shorter version of Les Sylphides, also known as “Chopiniana.”

Alexander Glazunov had already set some of the music in 1892 as a purely orchestral suite, under the title Chopiniana, Op. 46. In that form, it was introduced to the public in December 1893, conducted by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. I have also done the same, recording some of it on my Clavinova, some on my Steinway.

Once I have mastered the five new Chopin waltzes, including the two from my dream, I may produce the full version of Les Sylphides. Meanwhile, here’s an introduction to the project:

And now, here’s my abbreviated, 16-minute version of Les Sylphides ballet, which runs for about 30 minutes with a full Chopiniana suite.

“CHOPINIADA 2018”, MY PRELUDE TO “CHOPINIANA” – a film by Bob Altzar Djurdjevic – recorded in Scottsdale, Arizona – Feb 19, 2018 on a Steinway and a Clavinova – with Mariinsky Imperial ballet Les Sylphides dance (video only)

By the way, the term Les Sylphides fits perfectly Chopin’s music. Its a French expression that comes from the “Sylphs” – mythological air spirits, like air elementals akin to Santa Tierras (female earth spirits. Maybe that’s why I used a sort of derogatory term “fluffy” to describe Chopin’s music, without realizing that at higher levels that actually means ethereal – divine – heavenly.



America’s vulgar and militaristic “culture”


Oversexed, overweight and undernourished – spiritually and intellectually – masses led by beasts in priests’ clothing

Some 81 million Americans believe the Sun revolves around the Earth!

The D’EVOLUTION cartoon in the header of this editorial was published as a Jan 2018 cover by a leading German magazine Der Spiegel. It makes a case that America is devolving – going backward, not forward. And I can add, the country has probably never been more polarized than it is now.

That’s a political view. But where politics go, culture can’t be far behind. And in some cases, culture has been actually leading the way – backward, appealing to our most base and primitive instincts.

Look at the above images. Those are some of the icons of America’s “music.”

This is what I wrote on that subject in  my “Dumbing Down of America” piece – the title of my August 1997 Washington Times column “Dancing ‘Round the Golden Calf“:

“America is rapidly becoming a nation of mutts. Our country’s traditional character is being systematically destroyed by nihilistic “liberals,” the New World Order’s centurions whose only God is the Almighty Dollar.

The same kinds of people invented the “dictatorship of the proletariat,” and applied it to the unsuspecting Russians. Now, they are trying to ram a “dictatorship of the minorities” down the naive Americans’ throats…

Take the music., for example The romantic serenity of the “classical” (Christian) composers – like Bach, Chopin, Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, Liszt and others – has been usurped by the pagan beat of rap or the heavy metal rock bands which dominate our airwaves…

Why? Because the powers that be in today’s America have chosen to put their money into… pagan music and violent movies. Or into gladiator-like sports, like football or basketball. Meet America’s role models, the superstar gladiators.”

That’s what I wrote 21 years ago. Yet every word of this opening passage rings even truer today than it did in August 1997.

Some 81 million Americans believe the Sun revolves around the Earth!

You think I am kidding? Tragically, I am not.

In 2012, a survey of 2,200 people by the National Science Foundation posed this question, among others: “Does the Earth go around the Sun, or does the Sun go around the Earth?”

A quarter of Americans chose the latter. That’s about 81 million people, according to the population census.

Vulgarity in “Music”

Or just look at the vulgarity of today’s “music” stars, for example, the idols of new generations of dumbed-down Americans.

Just like the tawdry bars and strip joints, they flaunt nudity and sex, even sometimes on stage. They act like the pagan priests and priestess while mocking the traditional morality icons, such as Jesus and Gandhi, for example. in this Lady Gaga video.

They even shrink from promoting the use of drugs (again, Lady Gaga) and other forms of self destructive behavior.

As a result, they are splitting up the country and tearing down the traditional American values to shreds, like that tattered flag, while promoting sex, violence and militarization of our society.

That is the new “culture” the New World Order, or Deep State, if you prefer, have been trying to impose on America for over half a century now. Only the people who hate this country and our traditional values and morality would want to do that. And the modern rock stars are their centurions in the war against the American family (also see – NEW WORLD ORDER’S WAR ON AMERICAN FAMILY, Jan 2015).


* Defeminize the female, emasculate the male

* Destroy the American family by sending women into the work force

* Brainwash children to become obedient dolts and shopping automats as adults 


Also see my 1995 Truth in Media editorial “Green Interstate” which I reworked into a WASHINGTON TIMES column “When Cultures Collide…” published in Aug 1996 and this June 2016 update NO MULTIETHNIC COUNTRY IS SECESSION-PROOF. The piece predicted a break up of America along ethnic and cultural lines – just as what the New World Order engineered in Yugoslavia in the early 1990s.


Let us now compare the modern vulgar rock star images to these cultural idols of the 1930s and 1940s.

Yesteryear stars

What do you see?

You see wholesome Christians. What’s not visible on these images is that they are also TALENTED musicians or actors. Like Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire for example (see below).

They did not flaunt sex. That trend started with Elvis Presley in the 1950s.. Artists like Rogers and Astaire, Shirley Temple, Doris Day and others tried to use their gifts to uplift the SPIRITS of their audiences. Just like Mozart, Beethoven, Liszt, Wagner, Verdi, Tchaikovsky… and other great 18th and 19th century composers did.

We can deduce, therefore, that the modern “music,” “art” and film are being pushed upon us by the ruling “elite,” who are really a vulgar mob, so as to SEPARATE us from God and our spirit guides. That is also part of the New World Order aka Deep State agenda. They want us only to worship money and power money can buy.

Just as I said in my 1997 Washington Times column “Dancing ‘Round the Golden Calf” – culture, the priests of the New World Order – the rock and movie stars – are actually leading back to animalistic behavior. So…


And now, with that as background information, I invited you to check out my recent correspondence with a programming director of Phoenix’s only classical music station – KBAQ. Whether by design or subconconnciously, their programming selections are also contributing to the dumbing down and militarization of American culture.


Feb 5, 2018


Subject: Programming complaint

Hello. I am a supporting member and a regular listener of your classical music programs. And I have a complaint about your programming selections. You have entirely TOO MUCH HAYDEN and TOO MUCH TRUMPETS/MILITARISTIC music.

Please tell your programming director that music is one of the highest levels of SPIRITUAL connection with the Divine – as Beethoven, Liszt, Tchaikovsky, Berlioz and Mozart have amply demonstrated. It is not about military parades and marching bands. Save that for the Superbowl crowds and their animalistic “music.”

So I respectfully request less or no Hayden and other trumpet-based militaristic music.

Thank you.


Feb 7, 2018

FROM: Brian Smith, KBAQ’s associate programming director

Hi, Mr. Djurdjevic,

Please pardon the delay in addressing your concerns. Thanks so much for being both a listener and a member.

On Monday afternoon, just a little while before you wrote, I see that Linda played the Haydn Drumroll Symphony — and an hour before she played the Haydn Trumpet concerto .Please believe me: that is not common! In looking at today’s programming, we have four Haydn pieces evenly spread across 24 hours. Yesterday, there were three.

Haydn, as the father of both the symphony and the string quartet, is a composer who must get his due. Moving forward, the odds are good his music will be distributed as evenly as yesterday and today.

It’s more difficult address your other concern. Marches can be seen as militaristic, of course, as can certain brass passages in music. Overall, we strive for balance in mood and pace, and different times of day bring different focuses. Listening between 9 PM and 5 AM, for example, is going to be a different experience than listening from 9 AM to 4 PM.

All that said, we are always assessing our programming, and comments from members are important to us in making changes. We are not likely to make sudden and major shifts, but we’re always adjusting. Your comments are helpful in that process.

Kind regards,

Feb 7, 2018

TO: Brian Smith, KBAQ

Thank you for your reply, Mr Smith. I appreciate your explanation.

I only used Hayden as a case in point for that day. It’s not just Hayden. I don’t know if it is my bad luck or what, but it seems every time my wife and I get into our car and go somewhere with your radio music on, there is some trumpeting going on, either Baroque or from the 20th century. As my wife is my witness, I just turned the radio off when that happens. And lately, I have been having to do that quite a bit.

It seems to me that unfortunately your station is fitting in with its programming the overall militarization of our society. I feel that you should not only LISTEN to your audiences, but also LEAD them and EDUCATE them about the spiritual quality of music, not to mention the HEALING aspect of it. Which is why I finally set some time aside to write to you and let you know how I feel about your programming.

But I realize I am probably not your average listener. I am a pianist and music arranger myself who has made several hundred music video, mostly of classical music. Most of my music comes to me in dreamtime. And then play it and record it often not knowing what the piece is. Until some of my musically educated friends around the world identify it for me. If they can’t, well, perhaps some of my recordings are originals then.

If you’re interesting, you can check some of them out if you’re interesting at my https://altzar.net/ (current) and altzar.org (2013 and prior) websites.

Thank you again for your reply and explanation.


UPDATE FEB 15, 2018


Florida school shooting: Another result of militarization of American culture

NEWS STORY, FEB 14, 2018 – https://on.rt.com/8z87: The attack on a Florida high school on Wednesday, is the eighth school shooting to result in injury or death so far this year, and the 18th incident involving gunfire in schools.

The figure is more than double that of the same period last year, according to data from Everytown for Gun Safety, a group which tracks gun violence at schools and universities.

Last year’s figures show that by mid-February there were seven school gunfire incidents, of which two resulted in injuries or fatalities. The total number of school shootings for 2017 stood at 65, according to the group. 

ALTZAR: What just happened in Florida is but one result of the militarization of the American culture has led to. To defuse this, we don’t just take the guns away from people. That’s just treating the symptoms. We take out Hollywood – the source of this disease. And stop our government’s global warmongering.

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UPDATE FEB 19, 2018


Elizabeth and I attended our first concert yesterday within the Arizona Musicfest 2018, a classical music festival that has been held for 27 years. It was encouraging to see and sellout classical music event, and hear the story of the Musicfest success.

By the time the festival ends in early March, more than 20,000 people will have attended the carious concerts. Which is great, although it does not change one iota of my editorial on the devolution of American culture – BEWARE OF BEASTS IN PRIESTS’ CLOTHING (Feb 5, 2018).

Why not?

Because over 95% of the audience were people over 60. The current and future generations of young people. In 1937, the median age at orchestra concerts in Los Angeles was 28. Think of that!

For more on that, check out this very good 2014 article article on how the classical music in America is going down the drain:

Requiem: Classical music in America is dead


UPDATE FEB 21, 2018


Last night, Elizabeth and I attended another classical music concert in downtown Scottsdale. This time, it was just the piano rendition of Bach’s and Chopin’s music performed by Jeffrey Siegel.

Here are some photos we took…




From my Dreams Journal: IBM AND CHOPIN

From my Dreams Journal


Last night (Feb 11), I had another very detailed dream about my work as a consultant for IBM. I even still remember the visuals I used in a presentation I was making to a group of executives.

But what I recall most vividly was the Chopin music that accompanied or followed that dream. It was one of his waltzes.

Later on when I awoke, it listened to about 19 Chopin waltzes and figured out that it was actually two waltzes:

Waltz in E-minor, which was published posthumously –

(Arthur Rubinstein)

…and in another part of the dream…

Waltz Op. 64 No. 2 in C# minor –

(Yuji Wang)


INTERPRETATION: During my research into this dream, I also downloaded the music for five (for me) new Chopin waltzes which I will try to learn to play. Some of them sound very familiar, so I may have played them as a teenager.

Looks like Chopin and Beethoven are becoming dominant music guides for me in the last 12 months. I am actually getting ready to work on a Chopin-inspired ballet video.

Sorry, Her Mozart. You and Master Tchaikovsky have had your run for quite a few years. Or maybe you guys are all working together and taking turns in bringing me up a notch or three on my music ladder?   That’s most likely what’s happening.

​And what do IBM and Chopin have in common? Beats me. Maybe they were two separate dreams that I fused into one after I woke up?​




A month ago I had a dream in which Chopin’s Waltz in E minor figured prominently (see From My Dream Journal, Feb 11, 2018). So I decided to try to play it. It is not yet ready for recording but it has been with me every day in the last month since that dream.

Meanwhile, I have found out that Chopin’s Waltz in E minor was probably composed circa 1830, but was not published until 1851, two years after the famous composer’s death. Nobody knows why not. It was the first of Chopin’s posthumously published waltzes not to be given an opus number.

I have no idea why that particular mysterious waltz came to me in a dream. Perhaps it was because in 1830, the year he is believed to have composed it, Chopin left his native Poland forever as I left my native Yugoslavia in 1970.


But unlike me, Chopin did not realize at the time that he was leaving for good. For, by the time he had reached Vienna, news reached him of the Polish uprising against Russian rule. This event, added to the disturbed state of Europe, caused him to remain in Vienna until the following July, when he decided to make his way to Paris. Which is where his creativity blossomed.


What I do know about this waltz s that when I was playing it today, I was suddenly seeing quite vivid images of Dance on Water. Or more accurately, Dance OF Water.  Like an ocean or a lake. So I decided to make this film using Arthur Rubinstein’s soundtrack until my own version of the waltz is good enough for a recording.


Chopin Waltz in E minor (with Arthur Rubinstein soundtrack) – DANCE ON WATER – a film by Bob Altzar Djurdjevic – March 10, 2018




I set out this evening to create a 7-second video for the header of my ALTZAR website. And this is what I ended up with – a 1-minute trailer about my journey from the left to the right brain:


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Beethoven Yang

Over five months ago, in dreamtime on Aug 29, 2017, I received my next musical assignment for 2017. It was Beethoven’s hellishly difficult 3rd movement of the otherwise serene Moonlight Sonata.

Elizabeth and I were about to leave on our planned road trip to Canada. Which turned out to be a Tour of the SIerra Nevada because of all the forest fires up north.

So I really did not get started on this piece until late September.

And it was like hell. My arthritic hands hurt. My music sounded like sh**t. Some of the notes in the lowest register I could not even read. I played them purely by ear.

I can’t tell you how many times I decided to give it up – only to be drawn back to this amazing Beethoven piano composition by some magical force. Probably the author himself.

And so this evening, almost five months later, I decided to record my “work-in-progress” audio version of this piece.

Here it is. It is far from perfect. Or even close to perfection. But it is what it is as of this Sunday, Jan 21, 2018.

Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, 3rd Movement – YANG – recorded on Jan 21, 2018 in Scottsdale, Arizona – a film by Bob Altzar Djurdjevic\



Beethoven Yin

The 3rd movement of the Moonlight Sonata, which I recorded and posted last night, shows us the YANG-side of Beethoven. It is fast and furious, burning with passion like an inferno.

By contrast, here’s now the 1st movement of Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” – which gives us his YIN aspect, mellow and serene, line moonlight.

Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, 1st Movement – YIN – recorded on Oct 12, 2017 in Scottsdale, Arizona – a film by Bob Altzar Djurdjevic


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My greatest satisfaction comes in that forte section at about 1:50 mins of the piece where both hands are playing simultaneously partly dissonant staccato chords. It is that section that made me try to play this 3rd movement in the first place. I feel Beethoven’s RAGE in it over his loss of hearing. He wrote this Sonata in 1801 when he became first aware that he would be going deaf. He was only 31 at the time.

Can you imagine the pain such a realization would cause to a composer and pianist of his talent and skill? And yet, he never gave up. Even when he was almost completely deaf, he created his greatest masterpiece – the Ninth. I did not realize this until this moment, but perhaps that’s what is also keeping me coming back to this piece even after giving up on it. What’s a little arthritic pain compared to something as terrible as deafness for a composer?

So maybe subconsciously, I am doing this as a tribute to good old Ludwig. Hm… And maybe, he has been the one nudging me to do it.

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From Bob and Elizabeth

Here’s our Christmas Message 2017 video which we made on Saint Nicholas Day – Dec 19, 2017 – at our Scottsdale home.


Here are also some still shots from that recording session.




Christmas Message 2015: Merry Christmas! Mele Kalikimaka!

 * * *

UPDATE DEC 24, 2017


These photos were taken right after our tonight’s Christmas Eve dinner with her family.





On our drive back home from Los Angeles via Palm Springs, Elizabeth and I kept humming the entire time the famous Va Pensiero aria from Nabucco.

This music even played in my third ear in dreamtime the night of Nov 10-11.

So when I woke up on Nov 11 (two days ago), I knew I had to record my own version of it. So I downloaded the sheet music – to be sure I played it in the same key as written by Verdi (F major).

Here’s now my second recording of the famous Nabucco aria without the imperfections of the first (Nov 13) impromptu version.

NABUCCO: VA PENSIERO – recorded by Bob Altzar Djurdjevic on a Clavinova in Scottsdale, Arizona – Nov 16, 2017 – a film by ALTZAR, edited Nov 17, 2017

I had worked on it on and off during the last two days, and On Nov 13, on a spur of a moment, I decided to record it “as is” in one fell swoop. And this is a result:

NABUCCO: VA PENSIERO – recorded by Bob Altzar Djurdjevic on a Clavinova in Scottsdale, Arizona – Nov 13, 2017

Here are now some still shots from this impromptu recording:


When the last sounds of the “Va, penciero” encore died down on the LA Opera stage at the end of the three-hour “Nabucco” opera on Nov 8, 2017, I had tears in my eyes. I am sure many others in the audience did, too. There was a momentary pause, a second or two of silence. And then thunderous applause and ovation broke out anew.

After several minutes of a standing ovation, the ensemble of the LA opera, lead by Placido Domingo (tenor), Liudmyla Monastyrska (soprano) and James Conlon (conductor) performed “Va, Pensiero” again as an encore to Verdi’s “Nabucco.”

Monastyrska, the soprano, started singing first, appearing to do so spontaneously. Then Domingo joined her in a duet. Then the chorus also pitched in, followed by the orchestra. It was a musical cascade with the conductor doing his work on the stage rather than in the pit.

At the end, the audience also joined in and sang the last bars with the opera cast and chorus. That was about 3,500 people singing together as one. The encore was followed by another standing ovation by everybody, including the cast and the orchestra.

The same thing happened in January 1901, when Giuseppe Verdi died. At his funeral, Italy wept an sang as one. Almost a quarter of a million people took to the streets, marching to “Va, Pensiero” from Nabucco – sung by a massed choir under the baton of celebrated maestro Arturo Toscanini.



Elizabeth and I learned about that and many other interesting facts about Verdi’s life at the one-hour pre-show lecture we attended by the conductor, James Conlan.

It was only on Wednesday that I began to understand the patriotic significance of this opera to the Italians. The opera is ostensibly about the Hebrew slaves in Babylon in the 6th century BC. But when it premiered in 1842, there was no such thing as the country of Italy.  Unlike the Jews in Babylon, the Italians were exiles in their own land, divided by rivalries between the various city states and principalities.

With “Va, pensiero,” Verdi helped create a united Italy – without trying to do so. This aria has become an unofficial Italian anthem. It is something that every kid in Italy can sing, according to the conductor.

Which is not necessarily true of the official national anthem. They come and go with the change in the winds of history and various kings, rulers and dictators. But Verdi’s Nabucco stayed, like an anchor forever grounding the Italian people to their country.

Here’s an excerpt from a BBC story published on the 200th anniversary of Verdi’s birth.

“Can you imagine any country today in national mourning over the death of a classical composer? When Giuseppe Verdi, born 200 years ago next week, died in January 1901, Italy wept as one. Almost a quarter of a million people took to the streets, marching to Va, Pensiero from Nabucco – better known as the Chorus of Hebrew Slaves – sung by a massed choir under the baton of celebrated maestro Arturo Toscanini.”

The reason the Italians took to the streets that wintry day at the dawn of the last century was about much more than just music. Verdi’s operas had provided the soundtrack to the politically tempestuous half-century that preceded his death, and his most famous arias had become quasi-anthems for a nation recently unified. When Nabucco had its premiere at La Scala in 1842, ‘Italy’ was  simply a cluster of geographically contiguous kingdoms and principalities with little more to unite them than a common language.

So when Italians sang the Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves at Verdi’s funeral procession, it wasn’t just because it was a catchy tune they knew the words to. Its subject – the Israelites giving poignant voice to their longing for the promised land – had become a powerful analogue for the long-frustrated desires of the Italian people. When they cried  “Viva Verdi!” during the funeral procession, they were still acutely conscious of the slogan’s double meaning and its clandestine resonance for the agitators of ‘the Risorgimento’, as the cause of Italian nationalism was known.

The letters VERDI also spelled out the name of the King of Sardinia who, in 1861, finally took the throne of a unified nation for the first time since the 6th Century – Victor Emmanuele Re D’Italia.” (for more, see http://www.bbc.com/ culture/story/20131002-verdi- when-music-meets-politics).”


All these photos were taken before the opera started.

Verdi’s aria was inspired by the biblical Psalm 137, one of the best known psalms. Its opening lines, “By the rivers of Babylon…”  express the yearnings of the Hebrew people in exile following the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem in 607 BCE. The rivers of Babylon are the Euphrates river, its tributaries, and the Tigris river. The psalm reflects the yearning for Jerusalem, the Hebrews’ home.

Gebhard_Fugel_An_den_Wassern_Babylons.jpgScreen Shot 2017-11-13 at 7.32.13 PM


A 10-hour surgery gives my piano the feel and voice of angels

When my Steinway concert grand and I were reunited back in April, I thought it sounded great at its new desert home in Scottsdale.  It was a vast improvement over its sound in the damp and humid Hawaii climate (see REUNITED: MY STEINWAY AND I – http://wp.me/p1jFeo-2fs).

In fact, my 7-foot grand ($81,000 list price) sounded better than even some of the 9-foot top-of-the-line Steinway Model D pianos ($156,000 list price) which I played side-by-side in the Steinway dealer’s showroom. But I knew it wasn’t perfect. The action (touch and feel of the keys) was still harder than that of a Model D. And there were some other minor issues with a couple of individual keys that needed adjustment.

In other words, nothing that a listener would necessarily notice. So Tony Smith, the Steinway tech, and I agreed to tackle these issues in the fall, after the piano has had a chance to “settle down” and acclimatize to the desert dryness.

Yesterday, Oct 11, was the D-day. It was the day Tony was to perform a major surgery on my Steinway, akin to a heart transplant in a human body, but also including the entire vascular system’s overhaul. As in complex medical procedures, there were no guarantees that the operation would be successful. I just had to pray and hope that the skilled “surgeon’s” hands produce the desired result

And what was that?

“I want to retain the beautiful sound of my piano,” I said to Tony before the start of the surgery. “But I also want to have the feathery keyboard feel of a Steinway Model D ($156,000 list price) or of a 9′ 6″-ft Bösendorfer concert grand ($250,000 list price).”

In other words, it was a tall order.



The surgery started a little after 11AM. It ended around 9PM. Tony, who is also an accomplished pianist and thus understood the finer points of my request, spent nearly 10 hours practicing his art and magic.

Here’s the gist of the surgery in technical piano terminology:

Full prep and regulation. 
File hammers, lubricate                                         
action centers, key pins,                                        
capstans, regulate and                                           
adjust all points, tune,                                         
voice. Full tuning.

Tony was finished just as Elizabeth and I arrived back home after a dinner function. Tony looked dead tired with bags under his eyes. But his eyes were sparkling,

“You will be amazed,” he said. “This is not the same piano anymore. It’s night and day difference in sound quality as well as the feel. This piano now sounds like the new ones I tune in showrooms or for major concert events.”

At first, I wasn’t going to play it right away. It was getting late at night and I wanted to be fresh when I did it. But with a statement like that from the Steinway tech who is usually a master of understatement, I could not resist.

I sat down and played a few segments of Chopin’s “Grand Valse Brillante” and the Etude “Tristesse.”  I was totally blown away.  It did indeed feel like a new and different piano.

“This is effortless,” I said when playing some particularly difficult passages of the Grand Valse. The keyboard felt feathery, just that of 9-foot Steinway.

Tony just grinned in self-satisfaction.

And the sound was not only the same as before, it was out of this world… crystal clear, sheer perfection. It does not get better than that.

“This was an exceptional experience,” Tony said. “I can sometimes spend hours on an instrument but I don’t often get this kind of a result. This was amazing for me, too.”

So Tony left around 9:30 last night a tired but a happy man.


This morning, I spent an hour or so playing the various piece of Chopin, Mozart, Beethoven and Rachmaninoff.  Some soft and slow. Other fast and furious.  The piano responded as it it were on autopilot.

“My old Steinway died and ascended yesterday,” I told Elizabeth yesterday. “And then reincarnated as a Model D.”

Here’s a collage of some my new recordings on this reborn Steinway.  Any imperfections in this recording are that of the pianist not the piano.


MY STEINWAY’S ASCENSION, REINCARNATION – Part 1 – Chopin’s Grand Valse Brillante – recorded on Oct 12, 2017 – a film by Bob Altzar Djurdjevic – camera work by Elizabeth Fuentes


In this part two, you can see and hear me play Chopin’s Etude “Tristesse” (Sadness).  Chopin supposedly said this was his favorite piece of all he had composed.  His music is full of melancholic feelings. So no wonder he felt that way about this slow and mournful etude.

MY STEINWAY’S ASCENSION, REINCARNATION – Part 2 – Chopin’s Etude “Tristesse” (an excerpt) – recorded on Oct 12, 2017 – a film by Bob Altzar Djurdjevic – camera work by Elizabeth Fuentes


Next came Schubert’s Impromptu in A major. It is the last piece I played when I thought I might become a professional pianist. By contrast to this recording, the impromptu sounded nearly perfect back then. 

At 15, I was then attending simultaneously the Belgrade Music Conservatory (piano) and the freshman year of high school. And then I quit my music to pursue other interests, partly under my father’s influence (“how are you going to support your family as a musician?”).

So I became an engineer, like my father. Except that I never really practiced this left brain profession. And now I have returned a full circle back to music and to my right brain. C’est la vie…. (“such is life”). 

Anyway, back to Schubert…

MY STEINWAY’S ASCENSION, REINCARNATION – Part 3 – Schubert’s Impromptuin A major (1st movement) – recorded on Oct 12, 2017 – a film by Bob Altzar Djurdjevic – camera work by Elizabeth Fuentes


I didn’t plan this, but it seems fitting that the next piece I recorded was the first one I learned to play when I started my return to classical music in 2005. About 45 years after Schubert’s Impromptu, I tried playing Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.

And it was a struggle even though the first movement is technically relatively easy for a pianist. My fingers felt like led soldiers. It took several months to get to an acceptable level of performance.

Yet unlike back when I was 15, and playing technically much more masterfully, back in 2005 time I found myself playing with my heart, too. Tears would roll down my cheeks brought about by the beauty of Beethoven’s music even if I occasionally hit a wrong note or a chord. I didn’t care.

I also improvised, not always sticking exactly to the written music. At first I did it with apologies to great Ludwig. Later I felt Beethoven (and Mozart) were guiding me to do so, to build upon what they had created. In recognition of that, back in 2010, I even produced a visual blending of our faces.

And now, with that as a preamble, here’s my latest recording of the Moonlight Sonata on my newly incarnated Steinway.

MY STEINWAY’S ASCENSION, REINCARNATION – Part 4 – Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” (1st movement) – recorded on Oct 12, 2017 – a film by Bob Altzar Djurdjevic – camera work by Elizabeth Fuentes



May 2, 2017


I could not be happier with the sound of my Steinway concert grand, now that it has been tuned for the first time in Arizona by the best local tuner, according to the Steinway dealer.  It actually sounds much better than in Hawaii.  And it is definitely richer than the sound of Steinway’s largest concert grand – Model D – which I have played both here and in Hawaii.

Tony, the piano tech agreed who did the tuning, agreed.   He is also an excellent pianist. So he knows the instrument both as an engineer and artist – from the left and the right brain.

“It’s the dry air,” both Tony and I agreed. But that also poses new challenges. We will need to try to increase the humidity inside the house to prevent the wood from shrinking too much. And the piano will have to be tuned a couple of more times before the end of year before it gets fully acclimated to the desert.

After Tony had left, I sat down to put my Steinway through its paces. I did not plan the pieces I ended up planning. I just played. And Mozart and Rachmaninoff took over and did the rest. So now you can judge the quality of its sound for yourself.






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Screen Shot 2017-05-04 at 10.01.57 AM

UPDATE MAY 3, 2017


 * * *

It’s interesting how life evolves in cycles,. Like a spiral staircase to heaven. With some detours here and there are we generate karma that blocks our upward thrust.

This evening, I was compelled to record Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata on my Steinway, newly reunited with me here in the Arizona desert.


I don’t know exactly. I have recorded this piece of music many times before, including some rather unorthodox orchestrations. Such as with the Tibetan bowls and the wind and the bird calls in Maui (on Feb 24m 2011, for example. Which connected the East and the West – http://altzar.org/Music/Concert34_Beethoven_TibetanBowls.html).

With tonight’s recording, however, I think it was going back to my roots. Or at least my roots here in the Arizona desert.

 * * *


When I bought this Scottsdale home in 2005 after a painful divorce, I also acquired an antique piano. Mostly as a piece of furniture. Its mahogany finish looked beautiful in my living room (http://yinyangbob.com/Photos/Grayhawk/Chapter_2_Piano.html​).


In December 2007, however, had the innards of my antique piano completely replaced. It cost more than I had paid for for the whole piano originally. But I figured, if I am going to play again, I had better do it on an instrument that at least sounds relatively good.

That was the start of my musical renaissance. When I got my restored piano back, circa early Feb 2008, I started to play again. ​This is what it sounded like in Apr 2008, for example, when I recorded the “Autumn Leaves:”

https://youtu.be/NRxtmQoOqBY [music video]

Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata was the first “serious” piece of classical music I learned to play.  And as easy as it now seems, I struggled with it.

I remember flying from Phoenix to New York in Feb 2008, for example, for one of my frequent business meetings in the Shitty. I was seated in first class next to a man who was flying to Kiev, Ukraine, for a premiere of his new composition. He was going to conduct there the Kiev Symphony orchestra.

I confided in him about my difficulties in playing Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. He tried to comfort me that it’s really not that hard. He must have had a good laugh inwardly.

Now in hindsight, when I think about that conversation, I have to chuckle. Because the Moonlight Sonata is probably the simplest and the easiest pice of music I have recorded since back then. A piece of cake compare to some other Mozart, Rachmaninoff or Schubert pieces. And yet it is still also one of the most beautiful.

That antique piano was the one I had eventually shipped to Maui, and later traded it in for my Steinway (in 2010), along with my Mercedes “rocket ship” – the SL 600. Not literally. I used the money I got for my Mercedes to buy the Steinway.

And with that as a preamble, here is now…

BEETHOVEN’S MOONLIGHT SONATA RETURNS TO THE DESERT – a film by Bob Altzar Djurdjevic – May 3, 2017


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APRIL 24, 2017


This morning, after traveling more than 3,000 miles across the Pacific and overland from California, my Steinway concert grand piano arrived at its final destination – our Scottsdale home.

The first music I played on it was Mozart’s “Rondo alla Turca” (Turkish March). Elizabeth was there to record this short excerpt – just so you can hear its sound in addition to seeing what it looks like.

Mozart’s “Rondo alla Turca” excerpt on my Steinway in Arizona – Apr 26, 2017 – a video clip by Bob Altzar Djurdjevic – filmed by Elizabeth – [VIDEO CLIP, 42 secs]

* * *

The piano is a bit out of tune, but it is still a superior sound to any other instrument I have played, including the bigger and more expensive Steinway Model D’s. On Monday, I am having it tuned by a Steinway piano tuner. And then it will be perfect in its pitch as well the richness of the sound.

YEAH! Welcome to the desert, you “jungle kid.” 🙂 Great to have you back.

Here are some still shots Elizabeth also took this morning:


(For those of you who are new to this Steinway adventure, I have had it shipped from Hawaii to Arizona – see the story below)

 * * *

APRIL 24, 2017


‘My Steinway concert grand and I are reunited after a 5-month separation. And it FEELS GREAT! Yeah!

When I decided to put my Maui property, the Rainbow Shower, back on the market in early December 2016, I had shipped my grand piano to the Steinway dealer in Honolulu on consignment. We were both hoping for a quick and mutually profitable sale.

When that did not happen by the end of March, I invoked the Plan B: Have my piano shipped to Arizona.


Shipping a Steinway grand piano is complicated affair even for a local move. But doing it across the Pacific ocean for 3,000 miles is an experience onto itself. In the process of doing, I learned so much that I feel I can now qualify for a piano dealer. 🙂

Anyway, my grand piano arrived at the Scottsdale Steinway dealer’s warehouse last week while Elizabeth and I were in New York. Today, the dealer and his crew of 3 uncrated it and reassembled it.


They were amazingly efficient. In less than an hour, I was sitting at my Steinway playing Mozart’s “Rondo alla Turca” (Turkish March). It’s my favorite piece to run a piano through its paces.

When Kevin, the dealer heard it, he asked me to play the same piece on his Model D – the biggest concert grand Steinway makes. Which was conveniently sitting right next to mine.


After I did it about four times, moving from one piano to the other, we both concluded that my piano had a better,, brighter sound. Yet the Model D is a more expensive instrument.

So now that my Steinway is out of the box, literally, they will deliver it to, and reassemble it at, my Scottsdale home on Wednesday. Then we will be finally and irrevocably reunited.