October around my place is a month full of birthdays. In the extended family that lives nearby, there are five birthdays to be celebrated. Rather than do each separately, we usually opt for one big gathering and throw a large dinner party on a weekend convenient for just about everyone. This weekend, the festivities were held at my home. Lorna, I know your birthday is in October too and I have to say, you missed out on some really good food and some killer desserts!
The festive atmosphere filled with so many conversations bubbling at the same time, all at loud levels inspired me to write about that phenomenon of simultaneous conversations and its portrayal in Opera as ensembles. I decided to write the entry in my other blog instead of here. The teaser is here:
Click and enjoy!
Another busy weekend here at my home, as I wrestled with all my electronics of the computer in order to move my home office to another room better suited and more comfortable than my old work area. Now that all my children are out on their own, I’ve reclaimed a spare bedroom and turned it into my new space from which I will ponder all those random thoughts and put them on the screen.
However, it is rather late now, and I’m tired of all the prep, painting, disassembling, and reassembling the computer, and of course the requisite problems of getting it all to work. Too tired to write all that much for this evening, and as midnight draws near, I’d rather unwind and get ready for bed. So how about a little Chopin? I was thinking a couple of Nocturnes ought to be nice and soothing to this weary soul.
So delightfully soothing. Sweet dreams everyone.
Another full moon tonight. June’s moon is called the Rose Moon or sometimes here referred to as the Strawberry Moon. With precious little time to write, I thought I’d instead celebrate another full moon with a Beethoven’s Piano Sonata no. 14, op. 27 no. 2, more commonly known (and more easily remembered) as Moonlight Sonata. Here it is in all three movements:
Enjoy. I’ll be scarce most of this week. Until we meet again…
Yesterday was the wedding day of the daughter of friends of ours. The venue was beautiful, the weather quite nice for November, and the reception an immensely enjoyable occasion. All in all, it was a long but fun day. Sitting in the Chapel, we were treated to delightful music from a chamber ensemble and harpist, setting a serene and tranquil mood as we waited for the big event. Our friends are accomplished musicians and I just knew they would deliver a first rate experience musically with their selections; they did not disappoint. When the time arrived for the wedding procession, a full choral group of singers along with the chamber orchestra and harpist delivered a perfect rendition of Wagner’s “Treulich Geführt”, otherwise known to just about everyone else in the Western World simply as the “Bridal March.”
Opera geek that I am, I knew it came from Lohengrin, a Wagner Opera written and performed in 1850, more than 160 years ago. For people of today, the melody is immediately recognizable and is etched in just about everyone’s conscious mind, linked to the image of bride proceeding down the aisle to her groom-soon-to-be husband. It’s familiarity is so strong that my mind began wandering as it so often does. I began to wonder, what kind of reaction did Wagner’s first audiences have to this music when they first heard it, with virgin ears and no familiarity with the melody; with no frame of reference other than visual cues from the stage? What kind of impact did it have? How delightful must it have been to hear something new and so beautiful? What kind of emotion did this music evoke from a first time listener? Did the music compliment the visual betrothal on the stage?
Thankfully, my wandering mind was brought back to attention by the beautiful bride and the wedding ceremony. Either that, or it was my wife nudging and elbowing me in the ribs, snapping me back to attention. I suppose she’s seen that day-dreamy look on my face before…
Treulich Geführt, from Lohengrin (R. Wagner 1850)