Welcome to my music blog - The Soundtrack of My Life!

Many of you have asked me “What’s with all the music, Dr. Weiss?” Well, as I’ve told some of you:

I personally call every surgery patient on the evening of surgery just to make sure they are doing well and have no questions that need answering. Occasionally, I would be at the piano and play a song that we had listened to that day. I gradually realized that I wanted to go through all the music that I had played during my life and at least start making a list of the songs that I had recently played.

Well, there are now about 600 songs on the list and I realized that it in a way it represented the ‘soundtrack of my life’! And that’s how I got the idea to record these songs and share them with my patients, friends and family. After I record them they will reside here, for easy access.

Music is truth. It’s honest. It’s really the first social media, where in a way, people could share their souls directly. And isn’t that what the purpose of social media is and why it’s so popular - trying to share who you really are, as completely and directly as possible?

Finally, it has been (and will continue to be) a genuine pleasure sharing these different songs with you and I really appreciate all of your positive feedback!!

Categories

A yellowish moon hangs over a dark ocean

Moonlight Sonata

March 29, 2019

Moonlight Sonata (the Piano Sonata No. 14 in C# minor “Quasi una fantasia”, Op, 27, No. 2) is a piano sonata by Ludwig van Beethoven completed in 1801. The piece is one of Beethoven's most popular compositions for the piano. The name "Moonlight Sonata" comes from remarks made by a music critic 5 years after Beethoven's death, that likened the effect of the first movement to that of moonlight shining upon Lake Lucerne. I can see that. Well put! Berlioz said that it "is one of those poems that human language does not know how to qualify". This sonata was very popular even in Beethoven's day, to the point of exasperating the composer himself, who once remarked, "Surely I've written better things." I guess even back in the day, musicians could never tell which of their songs would be hits! This performance of the first movement of Moonlight Sonata is dedicated to the over 40 people who have requested it, including Lisa M. Thanks. I really enjoy playing it! Dr. Weiss Bosendorfer piano sound - For this recording I’m playing a Yamaha Clavinova – which has the same keyboard action as a traditional acoustic piano, but there are no strings. [...]
Ludwin van Beethoven

Adieu to the Piano

March 26, 2019

On this day (March 26) in 1827, Ludvig van Beethoven, one of our great classical composers, died in his apartment in Vienna at the age of 56 during a thunderstorm (and there reportedly was a peal of thunder at the moment of death!) I didn’t realize that Beethoven apparently had a sense of humor. His last recorded words were "Pity, pity—too late!", as the dying composer was told of a gift of twelve bottles of wine from his publisher. Adieux to the Piano was one of the greatly popular parlor pieces for the piano during much of the 19th and 20th centuries. Although attributed to Beethoven, there is some controversy. During the 19th century unscrupulous publishers (so the music business is the same more than 200 years later!) would frequently attempt to improve sales of their works by slapping Beethoven's name onto them. However, it is listed in the library of congress by Beethoven. In any case, there is a simple meditative peacefulness to this song, and it’s fun to play! Beethoven also wrote the popular "Moonlight Sonata", which clocks in at around 4 minutes (I play it a little faster than usual.)  It's a fun piece and I'd love to share that with [...]

A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes

March 25, 2019

A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes On this day (March 25) in 1909, Jerry Livingston was born, who wrote the lyrics to “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes”, featured in the 1950 Walt Disney film Cinderella. Interestingly, the theme of the song was taken from an Etude by Franz Liszt. The song was also used in the medley for The Wonderful World Of Disney (1969–1979), where it must have been imprinted on my brain when I used to go over to my cousins’ house once a week to watch Disney’s Wonderful World of Color (as it was initially called), as our family didn’t yet have one of those miraculous new color television sets. The combination of a beautiful sentiment and an unforgettable melody must have touched other artists in the same way, as evidenced by versions by Brian Wilson, Johnny Mathis, Cher, Bette Midler, Linda Ronstadt, Shakey Graves and Hilary Duff, among others. Enjoy, Dr. Weiss Bosendorfer piano sound - For this recording I’m playing a Yamaha Clavinova – which has the same keyboard action as a traditional acoustic piano, but there are no strings. Pressing a key activates (in this case) a sound which was sampled from a Bösendorfer [...]
West Side Story Poster

Somewhere

March 22, 2019

On this day (March 22) in 1930, Stephen Sondheim was born. Sondheim wrote the lyrics to the beautiful love song “Somewhere” (sometimes referred to as “There’s A Place for Us”) from the 1957 Broadway musical West Side Story. Stephen was one lucky boy when he got his first professional job to write the lyrics to Leonard Bernstein’s landmark musical.   I think the music stands very strong on it’s own (understatement.) But I have to admit, Sondheim’s lyrics are pretty good. Sondheim has received an Academy Award, eight Tony Awards (more than any other composer (including a Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre,) eight Grammy Awards, a Pulitzer Prize, a Laurence Olivier Award, and a 2015 Presidential Medal of Freedom. In the 1961 film, the song occurs after the rumble in which Tony has stabbed Maria's brother, Bernardo. Having nowhere else to go, Tony runs to Maria, who has just been told of her brother's death and who killed him. When Tony comes to her room through the balcony window, Maria, in shock, pounds against his chest. Realizing in spite of her anger that she still loves Tony, Maria begs him to hold her. After Maria cries [...]
Cow Cow Boogie

Cow Cow Boogie

March 16, 2019

On This Day (March 16) in 1909, Don Raye was born, who wrote the music for ”Cow Cow Boogie (Cuma-Ti-Yi-Yi-Ay)”, a "country-boogie"-style blues song utilizing the folklore of the singing cowboy in the American West. In the lyrics, the cowboy is from the city and tells his "dogies" (motherless calves) to "get hip." The lyrics were written by Benny Carter and Gene De Paul. The song was written for the 1942 Abbott & Costello film Ride 'Em Cowboy, which included Ella Fitzgerald in her first film role (a minor one). The first recording was by Freddie Slack & his Orchestra, featuring vocalist Ella Mae Morse in 1942. The record was just the second release by Capitol Records and their first million-seller/ number one on the charts record. Morse learned the song from hearing Ella on a soundtrack she had acquired, even though the song had been cut from the movie! Benny Carter, a pioneer on the alto saxophone, was an American jazz saxophonist, clarinetist, trumpeter, composer, arranger, and bandleader. Carter had an unusually long career. He was perhaps the only musician to have recorded in eight different decades. This one’s dedicated to my friend and patient Barbara J. See Ella [...]
Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast

March 14, 2019

On This Day (March 14) in 1991, Howard Ashman who wrote the lyrics for “Beauty and the Beast” passed away at age 40 from complications due to AIDS. He also wrote the lyrics for The Little Mermaid and Aladdin. While finishing “Beauty and the Beast” his health began to decline due to his illness. He grew weaker but he remained productive and continued to write and he completed the lyrical work on “Beauty and the Beast” before succumbing to AIDS. The film was released mere months after his death and is dedicated to him. “Beauty and the Beast” is dedicated "To our friend Howard, who gave a mermaid her voice and a beast his soul, we will be forever grateful. Howard Ashman 1950–1991. I’d like to dedicate this performance to my dear friends Peggy and Dan, who treated my new wife and I to an unforgettable performance of the play at the Schubert Theatre in Los Angeles in 1995. Bosendorfer piano sound - For this recording I’m playing a Yamaha Clavinova – which has the same keyboard action as a traditional acoustic piano, but there are no strings. Pressing a key activates (in this case) a sound which was sampled from a Bösendorfer Imperial [...]
Van Morrison holding a guitar

Have I Told You Lately

March 11, 2019

"Have I Told You Lately" is a song by Northern Irish singer and songwriter Van Morrison for his nineteenth studio album Avalon Sunset (1989). C’mon, this has to be one of the best love songs ever, by one of the best singer songwriters! Clocking in at 1:20 (despite a dropped verse), this is not quite a Weiss Music Minute. I guess there was just too much love in this song to be contained in 60 seconds. This version is dedicated to my wife, who first turned me on to Van Morrison, on her birthday (today). More than 27 years ago, I surprised her with an intimate surprise party wedding (a story for another time.) I had produced a multi-track recording of me playing this song as we walked down the aisle (on a cassette!)  I still never get tired of playing it. Bosendorfer piano sound - For this recording I’m playing a Yamaha Clavinova – which has the same keyboard action as a traditional acoustic piano, but there are no strings. Pressing a key activates (in this case) a sound which was sampled from a Bösendorfer Imperial Concert Grand piano. Try listening to it with a good set of headphones! It sounds better than [...]
Judy Garland as Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz holding Toto

Somewhere Over The Rainbow

March 5, 2019

On This Day (March 5) in 1981, Yip Harburg, the lyricist of “Over The Rainbow” passed away. Critics have ranked Judy Garland’s rendition of “Over the Rainbow” as the Number One recording of the 20th century! Yip put words to Harold Arlen’s music for “Over the Rainbow" for the movie The Wizard of Oz, for which he won an Academy Award for best original song.  He also contributed much of the script for The Wizard of Oz, including the part where they give out the heart, the brains and the nerve. Unbelievably, the song was deleted (and later thankfully reinserted) from the film after a preview because MGM chief executive Louis B. Mayer thought it "slowed down the picture”! Yip also wrote the lyrics to the standards "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?", "April in Paris", and "It's Only a Paper Moon", as well as all of the songs in The Wizard of Oz. He was known for the social commentary of his lyrics, championing racial and gender equality and union politics. Tragically, although never a member of the Communist Party, he was falsely accused and blacklisted in McCarthy’s fake communist witch hunt of the 1950s.  He refused to identify other [...]
Bessie Smith, original singer of "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out"

Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out

March 3, 2019

On this day in 1925, Jimmy Cox passed away after giving us the immortal Roaring Twenties hit “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out,”  written for Bessie Smith (one of the most popular blues singers of the 1920s and 1930s) who originally made it famous back in the day, before being widely re-popularized in 1992 by Eric Clapton on MTV Unplugged.  Interestingly, Clapton had previously recored the song with his band, Derek and the Dominos, for their first album (Layla). It was Duane Allman’s first song with the group and was recored live, vocals and all, with no overdubs on the first take! The song’s lyrics, told from the point of view of a one-time millionaire during the Prohibition era, reflects on the fleeting nature of material wealth and the friendships that come and go with it. Tragically, it wasn’t recorded and released by Bessie Smith until 1929, just two weeks before the Wall Street Crash that ushered in the depression, and 4 years after Jimmy Cox died at the age of  42. So Cox never even knew of his enduring legacy! I was fortunate to first be exposed to this song at a long closed Greenwich Village supper [...]
A portrait of Frederic Chopin

Chopin 'Minute' Waltz

February 28, 2019

Minute Waltz On This Day (March 1) in 1810 Frederic Chopin was born in Warsaw, Poland. Chopin's music, his status as one of music's earliest superstars, his association with political insurrection, his high-profile love-life, and his early death have made him a leading symbol of the Romantic era. He was a child prodigy (giving public concerts by the age of 7), and at the age of 21, settled in Paris where he lived for the last 18 years of his short life. He died at the age of 39, probably of pericarditis aggravated by tuberculosis (Mozart, another child musical prodigy, was born about 50 years earlier and also died at a tragically young age - 35.)  The Waltz in D-flat major, Op. 64, No. 1, has long been known as the "Minute" Waltz. Its nickname was intended to mean "small" in the sense of a "miniature" waltz. Chopin never intended for this waltz to be played in just one minute. A typical performance of the work will last between 1½ and 2½ minutes (this one clocks in at about 2 min, 20 seconds), but sounds great to me when played even slower!  Chopin got the inspiration for this waltz as [...]