Mozart and Connie’s Cottages

There is an exquisite garden in Montagu in the Western Cape of South Africa. The garden is part of Connie’s Cottages which are self catering. The garden is much more extensive than shown in the one picture below. The beautifully planned garden reminded me of the theme from Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto. Recently we stayed at the Cottages. When we returned home I played the clip below as a small thank you to the owner Connie, for a really happy visit. And. Thank you Connie for allowing me to play your precious piano.

This post was not solicited. It is a genuine thank you

Beautiful Zimbabwe – An Invitation to Think Back with Deep Gratitude

Please read this post, think about it, and then play the music at the end.

Do you remember the classic film “Out of Africa”? Mozart’s Clarinet Concert: Adagio was played as Meryl Streep and Robert Redford flew over thousands of pink flamingos in Central Africa. Heart rending. The Concerto has inspired this post about Zimbabwe (then Southern Rhodesia) in the 1950s. I was massively privileged to grow up there then, in Bulawayo, Matabeleland.

Did you live in Zimbabwe in the 1950s? I invite you to quietly think back.

Do you remember? The hot summer days. Hotter and hotter towards lunch time. The clouds building up. Getting darker and darker. So dark you had to put the lights on in the house. Then, the searing crack of lightning.followed by a massive clap of thunder. Too close for comfort. The sudden deluge of rain pounding the corrugated iron roof of the house. And outside, the downpour so heavy it became a thick white curtain. Half an hour. The storm was over. Out came the sun. The bright African sun. Running water everywhere. The ditches full. Flowing muddy water. The rain drops shining like thousands of glinting diamonds on the green grass and on the tall green mealies at the back of the house. And the smell! The wonderful smell of fresh rain on the rich African soil. Look up. Towering massive white clouds fill the sky. And there, miles away high in the clouds is a slow moving dark dot. You look carefully. It is a slowly circling vulture. Thank you Africa for the gift of growing up in the palm of your hand.

There is so much more to write about. It is emotionally draining to write this post so I will stop. I hope you understand. You of course have your own memories. Treasure them.

How do I feel? Please let the music I am playing speak to you. Thank you

Original house built c. 1910. Now with additions.

Thank you Africa. Thank you Mozart.

Two Beautiful and Famous South African Melodies

Two melodies which are and will remain close to the hearts of many South Africans.

Please scroll down for the music.

Piano Chord Improvisation – Free Flowing

Do you enjoy playing chorded piano music? Here is a fun thing to do. Try free flowing improvising within a group of chords that go well together. Don’t make up a melody beforehand. Just play and enjoy. Let your hands just play automatically. Here is a fun example staying within C, G7, F, F7, Dm, E7 and Am. Give it a go! Also for fun with the classics, type CDI in the search box.

Chord Driven Improvisation: Csardas, Danse Hongroise (from “Coppelia) – Delibes

Please scroll down for recording

Allow the Masters to inspire your own improvisations.

May I suggest something for all you pianists who play chorded classical melodies. Try improvising within the chord sequences chosen by the great composers. Just let your hands go wherever they want to go. Do not have any preconception of a tune or melody. Just play. Of course there will be mistakes. Stick to the chords and more or less follow the sequence. The chords and the sequences will automatically create new melodies. Such is the inspiration of these wonderful composers. Here is a recording of me trying this with part of Csardas, Danse Hongroise (from “Coppelia) – Delibes. The chords include C, Am,G7, E, B7, Ddim, Fm, Bdim, Bb7, Dm improvisation is not perfect! How can it be! But wow it is fun. No two improvisations will be the same. Just try it with any chorded classical music. The great composers’ choice of chords and their sequence will blow your mind and leave you in awe of their genius. We can only thank them. I hope you find this interesting. Please share this post with other pianists.

To see other Chord Driven Improvisations, search for CDI in the top right of this post. Thank you.

Please scroll down .

Chord Driven Improvisation: Adagio Cantabile – Beethoven

A recording is below

Allow the Masters to inspire your own improvisations.

May I suggest something for all you pianists who play chorded classical melodies. Try improvising within the chord sequences chosen by the great composers. Just let your hands go wherever they want to go. Do not have any preconception of a tune or melody. Just play. Of course there will be mistakes. Stick to the chords and more or less follow the sequence. The chords and the sequences will automatically create new melodies. Such is the inspiration of these wonderful composers. Here is a recording of me trying this with part of Beethoven’s Adagio Cantabile from Pathetique Sonata. The chords includeBb, F7,Gm7.C7,Cm,G, and Dm. My improvisation is not perfect! How can it be! But wow it is fun. No two improvisations will be the same. Just try it with any chorded classical music. The great composers’ choice of chords and their sequence will blow your mind and leave you in awe of their genius. We can only thank them. I hope you find this interesting. Please share this post with other pianists.CDI

Franz Schubert’s Serenade – Chord Improvisation

One of the most beautiful melodies ever composed. Thank you Schubert.

Please note: There is a short pause before the music starts.

Improvisation created and played by John Bartels 26 January 2021 during lock down

Etude Improvisation Using Chords

Thank you Chopin for a wonderful melody. It is a huge privilege playing the melody using chords. Thank you for listening.

John – January 2021 during Covid lock-down.

Ver 3 Melody 10 October 2020

I hope you enjoy this melody I composed.

Please scroll down below the picture and click to start playing.

Thank you.

Tranquillity Baltimore

9 October 2020 No.1

I hope you enjoy this simple melody I have composed Comments welcome.

Click on video to start.

Thank you – John Bartels: jecbster@gmail.com