Learning the Largo

Largo Bridge Music

For the past couple of weeks, I have been studying and practicing on the keyboard a small part of the score from the Opera Xerxes by G.F. Handel. The excerpt above has been transposed to the key of C major which is easier for me and my arthritic old fingers to perform as I learn the fingering and tempo.

The piece I’m learning is the bridge music between the recitative Frondi Tenere (Branches Tender and Beautiful) and the aria Ombra Mai Fu (A Shadow There Never Was) both of which are sung by the title character Xerxes of Persia. The piece is only fifteen measures in length and can be executed in about 35 to 40 seconds but the fingering and tempo are a little challenging to me. I’m sure I will get it down soon, but in the meantime, I’m still practicing.

Handel’s Largo, as it is popularly known, is actually a Larghetto tempo, slightly faster than Largo. The opera was designed to be a comedy with Xerxes, a Persian King, falling in love with a Plane Tree. Regardless of the original intent, the interlude above along with the aria Ombra Mai Fu is not only one of the most beautiful compositions in classical music, but has also been adapted with lyrics and performed as “Holy Art Thou” in Christian Churches.

Craft Fair and Bluegrass Festival

Bob at Rodeo Grounds Verna at the Craft Fair

Although we don’t normally venture out on the weekends, today held a special reason, actually two, to lure us out of the comfort of our beautiful home. It was a beautiful spring-like day with sunshine and temperatures in the mid to upper 70’s.

The first event, an arts and crafts show downtown by the library, was interesting; there were many vendors of jewelry, clothing, pottery, knick knacks, books and other stuff. We looked around a bit and Verna bought a decorative screen cover for a wine glass to keep the bugs or falling debris out. We didn’t stay too long, just enough time to look at all the booths.

The other event was our Annual Bluegrass Festival. There were several bands that we listened to, all of which were very good performers. We also browsed the vendors up at the Rodeo Grounds where the event was being held. I bought a souvenir T-Shirt commemorating this year’s Festival.

Photos of me in my new cowboy hat at the rodeo grounds and of Verna browsing at the craft fair. Click on either image to enlarge.

Wickenburg Wall Caricatures

Wickenburg Wall Caricatures

This wall art on a building on Frontier Street just east of the Yavapai Street Railroad crossing is just one of the many interesting things to see in Wickenburg. The caption is “HOWDY,” and depicts cartoon caricatures of a horse, some six-shooter packing cowboys (one with a lasso), a lady and a couple of other townfolk. Although they are cartoons, they are not too far fetched from what you might expect to see in town during roping season which is currently underway.

I took the photo this afternoon when we were on our way to the clinic for a medical test (nothing serious). Click on the image to enlarge.

Easter Egg Self-Portrait

Easter Egg Self-Portrait

A while back, I bought a bunch of silver egg-shaped decorations which I hung out on the palo verde tree in front of the house for the Easter holiday season. I was going down to the road to take pictures of a couple of hedgehog flowers that opened today and I paused long enough to take this photo of one of the eggs which turned out to be a self-portrait of me and my camera. Click on the image to enlarge.

A Sugar Skull Handbag

Sugar Skull Handbag

We were doing a little last-minute shopping down in the touristy part of town today. We saw, but did not buy, this nice handbag featuring “Day of the Dead” (Día de Muertos) imagery. Click on the image to enlarge.

We were shopping for another person (my daughter-in-law) with Christmas Eve as a birthday. We finally settled on a nice hand-made shawl for her. We shipped it 2-day USPS today, so it should be there in time.

Sugar Skull

Sugar Skull

We bought this nice Sugar Skull decoration in a post-Halloween bargain pile at one of the supermarkets here in town. Other than a Halloween decoration, this could be used to celebrate “Dias de Los Muertos” or Days of the Dead that starts on October 31st through November 3rd to coincide with Halloween and All Saints Day celebrations.