current info

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy.

"It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil—he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego." He continued, "The other is good—he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you—and inside every other person, too."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

First People - The Legends. Cherokee Legend of Two Wolves. November 16, 2004. [accessed April 7, 2012].

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Stand Your Ground in Old Prince George's (1877) - updated 30 Dec 2013



Major Bowie, Prince George's Co. fatally wounds a young man.
               Yesterday, about noon, a shooting affair took place on the farm of Major Francis M. Bowie, near Forestville, Prince George's county, Md., in which Major Bowie shot, and,  is stated, mortally wounded a young man named Edward Oliver, son of William Oliver, who resides near Forestville. The facts in the case are said to be as follows: Young Oliver with a wagon on Tuesday last to the farm of Major Bowie, and, it is alleged, carried off some corn or fodder, the property of the major. Major Bowie, hearing of it, took up a bridge which crosses a creek, and by which access is had to the place, and locked his gates. Yesterday morning Oliver came with his wagon and succeeded in forwarding the stream. On making his exit he was compelled to pass near the Bowie mansion, and finding the gate locked talk it from the hinges. Bowie at this stage of the affair appeared and told Oliver if he removed the gate, he would shoot one of his horses. Oliver thereupon picked up a stone and approached Bowie, and it is alleged applied in on complimentary remark with an oath, all the while closing upon Bowie, who warned him not to approach. Not heating the warning, bowie drew and fired a navy revolver at Oliver, the ball entering the left nipple and lodging in the shoulder. The wounded man was removed to his home, and was attended by doctors bird, Thomas and Brent, who this morning pronounced the wound fatal. Bowie was arrested and carried before Justice fund, of Forest Hill, who committed him to the upper Marlborough jail to await the action of the grand jury, which will meet April 1st. The excitement in and around Forestville is intense, and opinions differ as to the justice of the affair, many alleging that Willie acted in self-defense. Though he is one of the oldest inhabitants of that section of the country. It will be remembered that Bowie was attacked sometime since on the road by a party named Fowler, and severely beaten.[1]


               The indictment against Francis M. Bowie, found by the grand jury for Prince George's county, Md., charging him with an assault, with intent to murder, A. Edward Oliver by shooting him with a pistol on this 21st day of March, 1877, whilst trespassing upon his (Major Bowie's) farm near Forestville, in that county, was called for trial at the opening of the circuit court and Upper Marlboro', yesterday morning. Prosecution was represented by William J. Hill, and the defense by the Messrs. Walter W. N. Bowie, Jos. K. Roberts, Jr., and A. Snowden Hill. The trial attracted a considerable crowd about the courthouse, and the case was the first case called upon the opening of the court; the regular panel of jurors was exhausted and seven jury men taken from it; the other five were made up from talesmen [sic], and in a few minutes the trial was opened by the prosecuting attorney.
               He gave a clear and explicit account of the affair, to the effect that during the last year he had rented lands from Major Bowie, and the difficulty arose from the division of some twenty-three shocks of fodder raised on the rented lands. Louis accused him of stealing fodder from the place. He turned and faced Bowie, dropping the reins of his team, being about 15 or 20 feet distant. Some oath past, and Bowie fired the shot, the pistol being about on a level with his waist; the shots struck Oliver in the right breast; his coat being folded over his breast.
               Tyler Suit and R. S. Cator, the state's witnesses, both corroborated Oliver; and the doctors then testified as to the injuries.
               The statement made by Mister Roberts was that it was a case of self-defense.
               Major F. M. Bowie (as allowed by the recent act of the Maryland legislator) was called and sworn, agreed testimony with the prosecuting witnesses' statement up to exact moment of shooting, when he stated that Oliver, with most insulting epithets, was advancing on him, and uplifted as if to strike, and within four or 5 feet, Oliver was shot. The intention was to shatter his right arm, but not kill him.[2]  

               The trial of Major Francis M. Bowie for an assault, with intent to murder, on A. Edw'd Oliver by shooting him with a pistol on the 21st day of March, 1877, whilst trespassing upon his (Major Bowie's) farm, near Forestville, in Prince George's county, Md., was continued in the circuit court in Upper Marlboro', Maryland, on Monday after our report closed. The prosecution was represented by Wm. J. Hill, and the defense by Messrs. Walter W. N. Bowie, Jos. K/ Roberts, Jr., and A. Snowden Hill.
               After the testimony of Major Bowie in his own behalf, as given in THE STAR of yesterday, Frank Bowie testified that the party trespassing on Major Bowie's farm left the public roads, which were then in good traveling order, to get into his field by and on frequented approach. Elisha E. Berry, living on an adjoining farm to Major Bowie's, testified to the same effect as previous witness. John H. Besn testified to threats made by A. Edward Oliver against Major Bowie - that he intended to giving Bowie a worse thrashing than Fowler gave him, if Bowie fooled with him. The case was presented at length and ably; all the Council submitting their views to the jury. At 5:10 p.m. the jury retired for consultation and to make up their verdict, and at 5:45 p.m. they returned a verdict of not guilty. [3]

Author's note - Interestingly, there were two men named Francis Magruder Bowie in 19th century Prince George's County.  The younger Francis Magruder Bowie (1847-1893) was a cousin of Major Francis Magruder Bowie (1812-1877), a wealthy slaveholder. While the newspaper described the younger Francis M. Bowie, see below, as being a millionaire, his elder cousin whose home farm and plantation was known as Dunblane, died broke. Dublane is located on Westphalia road near  I495 and Pennsylvania Ave (Rte 4) in Prince George's County, Maryland.

A full accounting of the murder of Francis Magruder Bowie in 1893 will be posted soon.

Earlier versions of this posting stated that Francis M. Bowie (1847-1893) was a Republican. This information was posted erroneously; there is a third Francis Bowie , J. Francis Bowie of whom I have no information at this time. December 31, 2013 

[1] Evening Star, published as The Evening Star.; Date: 03-22-1877; Page: 4; Location: Washington (DC), District of Columbia
[2] The Evening Star.; Date: 04-17-1877; Page: 4; Location: Washington (DC), District of Columbia
[3] The Evening Star.; Date: 04-18-1877; Page: 4; Location: Washington (DC), District of Columbia
[4] Times-Picayune, published as The Daily Picayune; Date: 03-29-1893; Page: 2; Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
[5] Oswego Times, New York, March 30, 1893. p. 2.

Articles transcribed by John Peter Thomposn, December 2013

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Prince George's County Philharmonic and Madelyn Wanner Make Musical Magic - Review November 23rd, 2013 Performance

Madelyn Wanner, mezzo-soprano

Saturday, November 23, 2013  Bowie Center for the Performing Arts, Bowie, MD
Charles Ellis, conductor – Madelyn Wanner, mezzo-soprano

Stravinsky                 Pulcinella Suite
Mahler                     Songs of a Wayfarer
Mozart                     Symphony No. 41 in C Major, K. 551

Last night's concert by the Prince George's County Philharmonic consisted of three works, two of which are on my personal top ten list, Stravinsky's Pulcinella and Mozart's great final symphony, the Jupiter. That is not to slight by any means, the early work of the great conductor-composer Gustav Mahler. 

The concert featured an absolutely wonderful artist, Madelyn Wanner. Her musical abilities were showcased by the low-voiced orchestral song cycle, Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen of Mahler.  Known in English as the 'Songs of a Wayfarer', this setting of  four texts by the composer often reminds me of the German Sturm und Drang movement so well captured in literature by Goethe's Die Leiden des jungen Werthers (The Sorrows of Young Werther). This is to say that Mahler can be both 'classical' heavy and exhilarating at the same time. Mezzo-soprano Madelyn Wanner who has performed in scenes from Hansel and Gretel with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra rose to the challenge with her moving renditions of the four movements' texts.

Her performance was supported and highlighted by the orchestra creating an exciting ensemble performance.  Ms. Wanner's voice shone forth supported by the orchestra, and at times became one with the Philharmonic when the scoring demanded it. I still can hear the moment in the second movement when the soloist first joined the instruments.  At that instance, I thought there was an entire choir present, so well did her great controlled and yet expansive voice and the orchestra’s musicianship blend in seamlessly. The magical effect which at once demonstrated the high level of technical musicianship and artistry of Ms. Wanner and the Philharmonic was, in no small part, due to Mahler's extraordinary command of orchestration. 

The skilled partnership of the orchestra and Ms. Wanner, for me, was extraordinary. I know this piece of music as a pianist, and am aware of how easily the complex sonorities of the instrumental parts could become only an accompaniment rather than a true ensemble performance. That both the orchestra and Ms. Wanner could soar musically together once more shows the unquestioned musicianship and artistic command of the conductor, Mr. Ellis.

The second half of the concert was devoted to Mozart and one of the pinnacles of western music, Symphony No. 41 in C Major, K. 551. The Philharmonic literally pulled out all the stops - when it came to the brass section. When my knowledge of the score called for ringing sonorities, the brass section met all expectations. There were moments, throughout when I personally would have liked a little tempering, but this was minor and a matter of interpretation, for the brass and the conductor were one last night.
I also took notice of the string section from the very start of the concert. Having reviewed now for several seasons, I can now say the strings have some alive. They are a section of the orchestra that can hold its own even when their colleagues in the brass are sounding brilliant, the new improved string section is a delight. Now at last the clarion calls of the brass section have met their match and formed a partnership with the strings.

This is in no way to leave out the woodwinds, the mainstay and backbone of the Prince George's County Philharmonic since I have begun attending.  Effortlessly, the oboe sings, the clarinets, flutes and bassoons brilliantly rise like comets across the musical sky when composers call for their almost human voices in solo parts. Last night also showed the technical proficiencies and masteries of the unsung heroes of any orchestra - the percussion section that 'quietly' drives the whole ensemble along.

I do note that there were a few entry challenges in the first movement, second theme, of the Mozart, but this in no way detracted from the overall effect. The second movement was sublime, the third appropriately anticipatory and the final movement with its great double fugue an outstanding, vibrant and moving finale to the night. It is hard to believe that this was the Philharmonic's premiere of the great symphony; it should not be the last.

And so I arrive at the first piece on the program.  I am particularly fond of this work, for I once learned the piano and violin arrangement of the suite, and while doing so as part of a music theory class, spent a semester understanding how Stravinsky pulled it off.  As a composer I am still trying 30 years later to understand the genius of this piece of music. I say this because while the individual sections and solo performances met for the most part critical examination, in other words they met my personal expectations and bias, something was missing.  I did not hear the thrill that still is with me even when I sit down alone and play through parts of the score.  The performance did not hang together for reasons I cannot quite put my finger on. Yes there were a few metric missteps, but not enough to cause me to assign these technical challenges. Mr. Ellis' tempos were what I expected so that was not the problem.  The soul of the piece was missing.  Perhaps that is because I am too close to the music, for the audience was so enamored they started clapping right after the end of the very first movement. My sense is that the audience thought this a brilliantly performed start to an even more spectacular evening. 

As I say after each performance, the Prince George's Philharmonic is hidden gem in a crown of hidden-in -plain-sight resources in Prince George's County. The performance last night was well attended, but there are 900,000 residents in Prince George's most of whom missed this chance to hear and enjoy yet another brilliant concert right here in Prince George's County.

From the Prince George's Philharmonic by permission:  "QuarterNotes" News and Events of the Prince George's Philharmonic for  November 2013

 Guest Artist Interview with Madelyn Wanner 
by Susan Pearl

Quarter Notes: Thank you, Ms. Wanner, for taking the time to talk to me. We very much look forward to performing the Mahler "Songs of a Wayfarer" with you at our November 23 concert. Could you start by telling a little bit about your background and training?

Madelyn Wanner: I did my undergraduate work in vocal performance at Peabody in Baltimore, and then completed my Master of Arts degree at the University of Maryland School of Music where I studied with mezzo-soprano Delores Ziegler.
QN: Are you from the Baltimore area?
MW: No, I come from the Lancaster, Pennsylvania, area - from a town, New Holland, which has the second oldest concert band in the United States! I used to play the flute in that band, but now I occasionally go back to New Holland to sing patriotic music with them.
QN: That sounds like great fun! But I suspect that most of your singing is not with concert bands.
MW: That's right. I enjoy singing opera, and have recently performed in Die Fledermaus, Carmen, and La Clemenza de Tito. I think it is important to sing both opera and art songs, and I am glad to be doing these Mahler songs.
QN: And how did you make connections with our Maestro Ellis and the Prince George's Philharmonic?

MW: When Maestro Ellis was planning this season, and looking for a mezzo, he asked my teacher, Delores Ziegler, and she recommended me. [Delores Ziegler sang the Beethoven Ninth Symphony with the Prince George's Philharmonic in April 2005.] I've been out of school only a few years, and I am very happy to be performing with the Philharmonic.

QN: And we are delighted to be performing with you, and especially doing the Mahler! Just last spring we performed Mahler's First Symphony, in which Mahler used some of the themes from these songs, so for us it is a wonderful return to this exquisite music. Please tell us some of your experience with these Mahler songs, and your feelings about them.
MW: They are indeed wonderful songs! I sang the first two songs when I was a 19-year-old undergraduate. My teacher at the time told me that life experience is needed to really perform these pieces. At the time I was most concerned with figuring out how to sing, so I didn't give her comment too much thought. When I started preparing them again for this concert, I finally understood what she meant. It has been interesting for me to look at these pieces from a new perspective. They are amazing songs, and I am excited to be performing them!
QN: And we very much look forward to performing them with you on November 23. Thank you so much!

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Horse Stolen Reward Offered Near Upper Marlboro - 1803

Ten Dollar Reward.

National Intelligencer, Date: 12-05-1803; Page: [4]; Location: Washington (DC),

Stolen from the plantation near Upper Marlboro [Bellefields], on Saturday night the 29th October - and iron grey HORSE, about fourteen hands one inch high, seven years old, stout made, trots and gallops only on the road, is rather dull and goes heavy, having been broke to tHe plough - he has lately been trimmed about the dead and ears.  Any person giving me information so that I get him again shall receive the above reward and if brought home all reasonable charges paid by,

                                                                           BENJAMIN ODEN.

               NOVEMBER 21-tf

Bellefields - 1936
Historic American Buildings Survey

Thursday, August 15, 2013

White House Steward 1901 - 1909, Henry W. Pinckney of Fairmount Heights, Maryland

               Prince George's County, Maryland is rich in history. It surrounds its residents hidden in plain sight and mostly ignored.  With hundreds of historic places (nearly 400), Prince George's County tells the story of an unwilling partnership that grew together to build a state and a country. Residential homes now keep open secrets of the men and women who struggled to overcome social and economic barriers to eventually reach the White House and the summit of American political power.

Henry Pickneys son Roswell Playing with Teddy Rosevelts son Rosevelt Quentin

               Fifty years before Eugene Allen served his country and seven of its Presidents, Henry W. Pinckney of Fairmont Heights, came from New York as the valet to Governor and then Vice President Roosevelt. When Roosevelt became President (1901-1909, Pinckney became the White House steward, and, later, messenger in President Taft's administration (1909-1913). Mr. Pinckney's son, Roswell, the eldest of the four children of Henry and Leonora Pinckney, played with Quentin Roosevelt, youngest son of Theodore Roosevelt, and was one of his "White House Gang" playmates. The 'White House Gang' was "...known for their mischievous childhood pranks. Quentin Roosevelt later joined the Army Air Service and was killed during combat in WWI (Delegado. 2013. History - Never to be Forgotten).

               The magazine section of the Breckenridge News describes Mr. Pinckney's day around the Christmas Holiday celebrations:
Such marketing as is necessary to fill out the menu for the President's Christmas dinner is done by Henry Pinckney a colored man who holds the position of White House Steward and draws a salary of 1800 a year [$1800 dollars in 1905 had the same buying power as $46938.62 dollars in 2013[1]] from the government for managing the domestic affairs at the White House A day or two before Christmas Steward Pinckney sets out in the unpretentious vehicle which serves as the President's private market wagon and makes the round of the markets for the White House patronage is not confined to any one merchant In preparation for the Christmas dinner."[2]

               Mr. Pinckney travels with the President were reported regularly in the press including his trip with Mr. Roosevelt and others to vote for the Republican ticket in Oyster Bay, New York in the elections of 1902.[3]

               Henry Pinckney saw to more than meals. He oversaw travel arrangements attending to the details of packing of personal items and the loading of them onto the Magnet, the President's private train car. Newspaper accounts describe is role in Presidential trips to places like Pine Knot in Albemarle County, Virginia.[4]

               Henry Pinckney along with other members of the Roosevelt White House was invited to attend the wedding of Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. in June 1910.
"Invitations to the ceremony have been received by practically all those who were part of the White House establishment at the time Mr. Roosevelt relinquished the presidential chair. The fact that many of the servants were Negroes apparently has
made no difference in the issuing of invitations for the marriage of "Mr. Ted." Charles Boeder, footman on the White House-carriage in the former administration (McKinley), has signified his intention of being present. Wilson Jackson, a household messenger for the family, and Henry Pinckney, also a member" of the Roosevelt establishment, have received invitations and are anxious to go to the wedding."[5]

               When questions arose about Roosevelt's "drinks" in Europe, the President was vindicated through Mr. Pinckney's mint juleps recipe was reported by the Chicago Day Book, May 28, 1913:  Roosevelt "never drank any mint juleps at all. He [just] bruised the mint. It was the late Henry Pinckney, negro factotum of the Roosevelt's in the White House, who made the T, R. juleps, and the recipe he left behind read: "A. lump of sugar, a teaspoonful of water and some mint leaves stirred in with the liquid."[6]

               In 1910 Mr. Pinckney was caught up in the meat packing scandals made famous by Upton Sinclair's novel, The Jungle. Headlines blared  FORMER STEWART STEWARD OF THE WHITE HOUSE DENIES CHARGES  MADE BY MADE BY MEAT INSPECTOR DODGE.  
"WASHINGTON Feb 8 Former President Roosevelt was not fed on half putrid beef to keep him savage according to Henry Pinckney who today denied yesterday's testimony of meat inspector Dodge regarding the meat supplied at the White House. Dodge testified before the special committee of the House which is in investigating the food question. Pikney [sic] the steward at the White House under Roosevelt's administration is highly indignant at the charge."[7]  

Mr. Pinckney forcefully "declared that no unfit and unwholesome meat ever gracedthe table of that president."[8] He was answering the charge made before a special committee that was investigating the cost of living in the District of Columbia.   

               From typical over the top news reporting with which we are so familiar today as to forget our long national history of ad hominem attacks on public figures, we know that Bulbous Bill's White House (President Taft) paid Mr. Pinckney $1300.00 per year as a messenger.[9]  This salary in 1910 had the same buying power as $33900.12 current dollars.[10]
Fairmount Heights lost it famous resident in April 2011. The obituary in the Washington Bee spoke of his accomplishments and friendships to a diverse community over the early years of the 20th century.
"The funeral of Mr. Henry W. Pinckney late steward of the White House took place from the First Presbyterian Church on last Sunday. A large crowd attended among whom were Major Brooks and many White House attaches. Rev. T. J. Smith pastor of the church officiated with the assistance of Rev. M. W. Clair of Asbury church. The floral designs were numerous and beautiful among which was a handsome cross of lilies and roses by Mrs. Alice Longworth. (daughter of President Theodore Roosevelt). The deceased was esteemed by all who knew him especially the citizens of this section. Interment was held at Woodlawn Cemetery; funeral director, Mr. J. W. Winslow.  Resolutions were read from the Progressive Citizens Association of this section, expressing loss."[11]

               Mr. Pinckney's house still stands in Prince George's County, silent sentinel of those who worked so hard to enable the words of Thomas Jefferson to apply to all men of all color and creeds. The Pinckney House was built for Henry Pinckney, "who at the time of the 1910 census, was 48 years of age; he had been born in South Carolina and lived in this house with his wife Leonora and their three children. His dwelling was a large and substantial house; in its original form, it would have been one of the most noticeable early buildings in the community of Fairmount Heights (Patterson, 2009).

Henry Pickney House
Fairmount Heights, Prince George's County, Maryland

[1] Historical Currency Conversions. [accessed August 14, 2013]
[2] The Breckenridge News., December 20, 1905, Magazine Section Part Two, Image 8. Library of Congress.
[3] Evening Star., October 31, 1902, Image 1. Library of Congress.
[4] The Washington Times., May 17, 1907, Last Edition, Image 1. Library of Congress
[5] The Broad Ax., June 11, 1910, Image 2. Library of Congress.
[6] The Day Book., May 28, 1913, Image 6. Library of Congress.
[7] The Daytona Daily News., February 08, 1910, Page 5, Image 5. Library of Congress.
[8] The Enterprise., February 16, 1910, Image 6. Library of Congress.
[9] The Labor World., January 15, 1910, Image 6. Library of Congress.
[10] Historical Currency Conversions. [accessed August 14, 2013]
[11] The Washington Bee., April 15, 1911, Image 5. Library of Congress.

Friday, July 26, 2013

The real Prince George of Prince George's County was Danish

Prince George of Denmark, Duke of Comberland Coat of Arms - Wikipedia
             UPPER MARLBOROUGH, Md. -  It is so sad that my county, Prince George's, no longer bothers to check in from time to time with history, let alone teach it. For some readers, history does not matter (you may stop reading any further now), which begs the question why, then, send a gift to the new born Prince George of Cambridge.  For those who do think history matters, the dissonance that arises from thinking the future King of Great Britain' name reflects upon the Danish namesake of the county is unnerving. 

               Prince George of Denmark and Norway, Duke of Cumberland (2 April 1653 – 28 October 1708), born in Copenhagen, the younger son of King Frederick III of Denmark and Norway and Sophie Amalie of Brunswick-Lüneburg.  His mother was the sister of Ernest Augustus, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, later Elector of Hanover.  was the husband of Queen Anne and distant relative of King George I, first of the German rulers of Great Britain from whom the current House of Windsor descends. King George I was the eldest son of Ernest Augustus, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, and his wife, Sophia of the Rhineland Palatinate. Sophia was the granddaughter of King James I of England through her mother, Elizabeth of Bohemia.[1]

               King George V and King George the VI, grandfather and father of the present monarch, Elizabeth II, are the immediate reasons for naming the child George. Prince George the Consort of a Scottish Stuart who slop happened to also rule England, and ultimately unified the dominions into the United Kingdom are not part of the George's of the German House of Hanover which included King George III of revolutionary fame.

               One can only hope that we would try not to twist history to suit our preconceived present and ephemeral vision of glory and focus occasionally on the actual history of this important county in US history.  His Royal Highness Prince George of Denmark and Norway, Duke of Cumberland, was like the county named for him, an important figure in British history but he is far from any reason the reason to name a future King after him. The county does of a strong connection to the United Kingdom and so some remembrance to any British monarch is perhaps in keeping, but the a linking to the coincidence of the same name is not a reason. 

So all together now: 

Prince George's County, Maryland, 
was named in 1695 
after a Danish prince 
who was marry to a 
Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain.
"Prince George's County, Maryland is wasting no time paying homage to England's new favorite son, Prince George Alexander Louis. Third in line to the British throne, Prince George will always have a connection to Prince George's County -- so says County Executive Rushern Baker. After all, the newborn prince is a namesake. Baker says the county is sending the baby a gift package, which includes a commemorative plate with the county seal on it, a county umbrella, because it is always raining in England and some other keepsakes. The prince also has a standing invitation to visit the county."[2]

"LONDON — In choosing to call their first child George Alexander Louis, Prince William and his wife, Kate, selected a first name steeped in British history.
While “George” means “farmer” and “earth worker” — not trades typically associated with U.K. royals — it has been borne by six British kings, four of whom served in a row.
Below, a look at the British monarchs called George who preceded the nearly week-old prince now third in line to the throne.
GEORGE I: The German-born, first king of Britain from the House of Hanover — which provided six British monarchs — acceded to the throne in 1714. The king — who spoke German, French and a little English — ruled until his death in 1727.

GEORGE II: Initially unpopular, George II gained greater respect as his reign lengthened. He was the last British king to fight alongside his soldiers, at the age of 60. Because his oldest son had died, George II’s grandson inherited the throne upon his death in 1760.

GEORGE III: Upon succeeding his grandfather, George III became the third Hanoverian monarch, and the first to be born in England and use English as a first language. He ruled for nearly 60 years, during which time the American colonies declared independence. Once George III became mentally unfit to rule, his eldest son acted as Prince Regent from 1811. The monarch died in 1820.

GEORGE IV: Prior to assuming the throne, George IV secretly and illegally married a Roman Catholic. He later married Princess Caroline of Brunswick, who he tried unsuccessfully to divorce after assuming the throne in 1820. He was known as much for his marriage difficulties as for his interest in art. His only legitimate child died in childbirth, so the crown went to his brother upon his death in 1830.

GEORGE V: He assumed the throne in 1910, and made hundreds of visits to troops and wounded servicemen during World War I. His legacy also includes starting the sovereign’s annual Christmas Broadcast — a tradition that began in 1932. He died one year after celebrating his silver jubilee, leaving his son Edward to take the throne.

GEORGE VI: The father of Queen Elizabeth II was the most recent King George, memorably portrayed in the Oscar-winning film “The King’s Speech.” His first name was actually Albert, but he selected George — his fourth name — to use as sovereign in honor of his father, George V, and to create stability and continuity in the monarchy following the abdication of his brother, Edward VIII." [3] 

[1] Wikipedia
[2] Prince George's County sending gift box to namesake British prince newborn. Posted: Jul 25, 2013 6:41 PM EDT Updated: Jul 25, 2013 6:47 PM EDT By Karen Gray Houston, @kghfox5dc - bio [accessed July 26, 2013]
[3] Some history behind Prince George's name. 2013. Associated Press. [accessed July 27, 2013] 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mozart to Mahler with Michael Mizrahi - The Final Concert of the Prince George's Philharmonic 2012-2013 Season

Michael Mizrahi
Photo by Andrew Chiciak

               Last night at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center in College Park, Maryland, the Prince George's Philharmonic ended its 2012 - 2013 season at the top of one of the highest mountains of western music. The two masterpieces are bookends of the Romantic tradition. Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 24 in C Minor, K. 491 foreshadows the heart of romanticism while Mahler's Symphony No. 1 in D Major, the Titan, gathers all of the soul of the Romantic Era of western music in one giant structure summing up all that has come since Mozart and setting the stage for the 20th century's musical offerings.

               Michael Mizrahi was the soloist for the Mozart Concerto. Mr. Mizrahi received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia, where his concentrations were in music, religion and physics. He holds, in addition, master’s and doctoral degrees from the Yale School of Music. Mr. Mizrahi's command of the piano is artful, brilliant, informed, and virtuosic. All of these masterful qualities brought out the very essence of the concerto form. The derivation of the word concerto is open to many theories, one of which is highlighted by Mr. Mizrahi's and Mr. Ellis' collaboratively nuanced interpretation.

               The word concerto may  have arisen from the mixing of two Latin words conserere (meaning to tie, to join, to weave) and certamen (competition, fight). The idea, brilliantly executed by the two Maestri along with the classical sized orchestra, is a piece of music, concerto, in two parts with the soloist and the orchestra alternating episodes of opposition, large scale counterpoint, cooperation, and independence in the recreation of a great conjoined symphonic fusion.

               Mr. Mizrahi was able to switch from a concertante collaborator to a spotlighted fiery soloist in an impossibly brief blink of an eye. One moment he was in complete partnership with the wonderful woodwinds, the next producing waves of sound from pulsating scales that can only come from a master of the pianoforte. This extraordinary ability to switch seamlessly between roles demonstrated the true place of the cadenza, a small piece of improvisation most times obscured, but not this time. From the exploration of emotion in the 1st movement's cadenza to the brief paraphrase of Beethoven homage to this piece in the third movement's cadenza, Mr. Mizrahi was in control.

               The conductor, Mr. Ellis, continued his skillful ability to bring out the various sections of the Philharmonic treating them as soloists in their own right; in the Mozart they surely sparkled in a glittering, stellar performance. With some minor tempo bumps that did nothing to subtract from the overall performance, the orchestra demonstrated is proficiency, skill and art. I am still absorbing the performance having come to the concert with my usual baggage of 40 plus years of expectations based on previous renditions. I was delighted to be treated to a performance de novo that served to reacquaint me with the music as if for the first time - a rare treat in deed.

               After intermission it was time to tackle a peak in the summit of symphonic music. If this was your first hearing, the experience could give you a sense of vertigo. From the drone reminiscent in Beethoven's great 9th Symphony opening, to the sonic tsunami of the ending an hour later, you are swept along through a musical process of creation made audible, sensible, and metaphorically visible. There are no words to describe listening to this music, because it is felt in the soul not circumscribed in the mind. You do not so much understand the music as stand under the emotional weight of it.

               The titanic symphony of Mahler became last night a grand concerto concertante in the sense that I described above.  The Prince George's Philharmonic and its conductor, Mr. Ellis, were all at once soloists and partners in a great endeavor that required every bit of skill and artistry they could muster.  And they did.

               The heroic strings finished the season at the top. The woodwinds gave their all and the brass shook their fists at the gods themselves. And lest we forget, the percussionists' determination and proficiency capped the performance.  How does one even begin to write a review of such a performance? The answer is recognition of the talents, skill, understanding, competency, and mastery of his instrument, the orchestra. Mr. Ellis achieves excellence in performance by in part showcasing the artistry of his orchestra allowing them to shine, and in doing so creates masterful performances. He deserves the accolades due a soloist last night.

               If you heard the concert you were rewarded spectacularly beyond all reason and expectation. I only wish more Prince Georgians could hear the orchestra and fill the seats. How is it that we complain so much about what we do not have and give so little to what we do? The arts are a crucial, critical, integral part of a calculus of quality of life, a community without art is not alive.  If this county truly wishes to be more than just a place to survive, it must reach out and support all the arts, for art defines who we are and who we want to be.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Kiplin Hall: Birthplace of Maryland | MPT

Kiplin Hall: Birthplace of Maryland | MPT

A must see for students and those whose desire to learn never sims

"Kiplin Hall: Birthplace of Maryland is a remarkable story of history, religion and politics that could have been ripped from today's headlines - except that it occurred over the past four centuries. This magnificent 17th century manor house in the north of England - north Yorkshire to be precise - is often described as the "birthplace of Maryland", for it was here that George Calvert, the first Lord Baltimore, developed the concept of a colony in the Americas dedicated to religious freedom for Catholics. Rising from humble beginnings without title or riches, Calvert's genius and pluck took him into the King's inner sanctum - a feat almost unheard of in those days - to become Secretary of State to King James, whom he persuaded to accept his dream of a colony."

Monday, April 08, 2013

Saturday, April 6th, 2013, the Prince George's Philharmonic treated its audience to a splendid concert

Gabriel Cabezas, soloist
Sphinx's 2012 Isaac Stern Award
                 On Saturday, April 6th, 2013, the Prince George's Philharmonic treated its audience to a symphonic evening at the Bowie Center for the Performing Arts, here in Prince George's County, Maryland.

               The orchestra was led by guest conductor, Anthony D. Elliott, Professor of Cello, and Conductor of the Michigan Youth Symphony Orchestra at the University of Michigan.  Mr. Elliott last performed with the Philharmonic on March 31st, 2012 in an "extraordinary rendition" of the Prokofiev Sinfonia Concertante for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 125. [Review: Prince Georgian April 1, 2012]

               This time Maestro Elliott lent his formidable musical talents in support of an amazing young soloist, Gabriel Cabezas, in a performance of one of the great cello concerti, the Saint-Saëns  Concerto for Cello No. 1 in A Minor, Op. 33. At twenty, Mr. Cabezas is the winner of the 15th annual Sphinx Competition, and Sphinx's 2012 Isaac Stern Award. As soloist, he has appeared with the New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, the National Symphony of Costa Rica, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the New World Symphony, and the Nashville Symphony. His technical proficiency and musicianship was partnered with the Philharmonic's demonstrated musical ability to showcase and not overwhelm guest soloists. The brilliance of Mr. Cabezas' playing electrified the audience.

Anthony Elliott
Conductor and Cellist

               At the end of the performance, the audience was treated to a very special unannounced performance of the Sonata for Two Cellos in G Major by Jean-Baptiste Barrière (1707 – 1747). With two masters of the instrument playing together the result was magical.  I asked Mr. Ellis about the tonal qualities of the two instruments and he kindly explained to me that Mr. Cabezas played a very good 80 year old American made cello, while Mr. Elliott's instrument was made in Italy in 1703.  

               After intermission, Mr. Elliott conducted the Brahms Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 73. Sometimes referred to as the 'Pastoral' Symphony because of perceived hints of the famous Beethoven's Sixth, and accordingly most times performed with that reference in mind, this time Mr. Elliott brought out what Brahms wrote about his work: that it is " melancholy that you will not be able to bear it. I have never written anything so sad, and the score must come out in mourning." The emotional content of music was writ large in Mr. Elliott's performance and the Philharmonic rose to the occasion.

               Mr. Elliott was able to fuse the strings, woodwinds, brass and percussion into a personal tonal statement that supported his interpretation. This fusion of the parts into a whole is distinct from Mr. Ellis, who produces a musical parfait of layered distinct sounds, crystallized in a glittering sound. The Philharmonic's ability to respond to two distinct conducting styles and interpretations is a sign of their splendid professional abilities.

               The evening started with a performance of Roussel's  Bacchus et Ariane, Suite No. 2, Op. 43. I was delighted that Maestro Elliott kept the Prince George's Philharmonic tradition of a musical preview and explanation (with the orchestra playing musical motifs of significance) to help the audience understand what they were about to hear. Mr. Elliott began the night with a wonderful spirited performance.

               The Prince George's Philharmonic continues to dazzle; you really need to come and listen to this first-rate ensemble, a county treasure.

Saturday, May 11, 2013 - 8:00pm
Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, College Park, MD
Charles Ellis, conductor - Michael Mizrahi, piano

Mozart                      Piano Concerto No. 24 in C Minor, K. 491
Mahler                      Symphony No. 1 in D Major (Titan)