Enjoying the talents of Austin’s youth

Published 7:01 am Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Hormel Historic Home Living Room was filled with the sounds and stories of Johann Sebastian Bach, Bela Bartok, and George Gershwin last Sunday afternoon.

Over 30 people enjoyed the talents of four young area pianists while learning about the history and motivation of the composers.

While I, as one who enjoys music, haven’t spent much time thinking about how or why music is crafted, pianist Peggy Reich has done extensive research and explained that math and science actually can influence how a composer writes. A structure and story is often created for the music before the melody is put in place. In one example, she described Bartok’s An Evening In The Country. She said that Bartok wanted listeners to experience the feeling of being in the country instead of just imagining an image of the country.

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Ms. Reich told of some the quirky and unique qualities of the various composers, some of which invoked laughter and ah-ha moments from the audience. When Peggy introduced the Fibonacci Sequence as a factor in some compositions, one guest expressed his appreciation for her analysis. My mind and how I experience music was definitely expanded by this enlightening program.

Tom Hormel, George and Lillian Hormel’s second born grandson, is an accomplished composer. I have a sampling of his recordings and, in listening to them following Peggy’s lecture, I recognize new elements that I had not heard before. To know the composer a bit makes hearing the music even more special as I can glimpse the heart of the person who wrote the lovely notes. Tom is 86 years old, and, after years of work, his ballet composition, The Legend of Bird Mountain, has been recorded with the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. The music is a love story that conveys both joy, tragedy and new life.

Music was an influential factor in the lives of the Hormels. Having been a teacher, a performer, and lover of music, Lillian Hormel would have enjoyed participating in the recent event in her own living room. We look forward to bringing more events like this to the community in the future.

Presentation History Happy Hour — History of Mower County Cemeteries

5:30 social, 6 p.m. presentation, Monday

Presented by Jaimie Timm of the Mower County Historical Society. Free for members of the HHH, Friends of the Library, and Mower County Historical Society. $5 for nonmembers

Hearth & Home Series — Crockpot Creations

10 a.m., Tuesday

Presented by Hy-Vee’s Chef Kristine. FREE, coffee and snack included.

Holiday Card Playing Party

Noon, Thursday, Nov. 17

$10 per person

Enchanted Evening Tours

Friday, Nov. 18

Hors ’doeuvres by 3B Catering, 6 p.m.; Bissen Family Concert, 7 p.m. $10 per person

Open House with Entertainment, Shopping and Cranberry Cake

11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 19

$10 per person

Soup & Santa

4:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 19

$5 per person