Almost anyone can love the works of Mozart and Beethoven, and feel profound joy listening to what they created without being a classical music expert, or even consider it their favorite form of music.
The music they created so long ago, out of such a different world, can still touch hearts and minds today, like a musical arrow shooting through time, finding it’s mark.I have never attended an opera, know nothing about motifs or librettos, yet I have many of Puccini’s arias on my music favorites play list. I rarely listen to a classical music ratio station, yet Beethoven and Mozart are two of my favorite composers.
I usually listen to a variety of music types, from old school rock, pop and country folk, blues and soul, and even disco. Yet, I have a place in my life for the likes of Beethoven, Mozart and Puccini. More than the other artists I love who’ve performed and were alive during my lifetime, their music moves me the most deeply.
I was wondering as I wrote this when or where I first listened to these composers works, that might have caused me to want hear more. I wasn’t raised in a home that played classical music, but I did get a general appreciation for music in general. However, I did grow up in a era where there were few radio stations, and the format was broad; they would play the top 40 of the time, which might mean a song by the Temptations followed by a Frank Sinatra standard, followed by a Johnny Cash hit.
So, I guess it follows naturally that today you would see on my computer play list, Donna Summer, Lady Antebellum, Frank Sinatra, Mozart, Adele, Stevie Wonder, The Beatles, Bruno Mars, Puccini, Tim McGraw and Beethoven, to name a few. In other words, I Iearned to appreciate all kinds of music, from any time period, as long as it was good.
For those of you who might want to listen and learn a little more about these composers works, I have put together some of my favorites, along with a few recollections and recommendations. Who knows? Perhaps one of their musical arrows flying through time will find your heart, like they have mine.
Dear Mr. Beethoven
I have attended only one live concert of classical music, that of the Boston Symphony playing Beethoven’s 9th Symphony at the Tanglewood Music Center, back in the 70’s when I was in college.
I vividly remember that hot and humid New England evening so many years ago; my friends and I running up the long grass field, weaving around people on their picnic blankets, to be as close as possible to the choral group in the amphitheater as they thundered out “Ode To Joy”.
It was so loud! It seemed our hair was being blown back from the power of their voices soaring in chorus! I will never forget that moment in my life.
Thank you, Ludwig van Beethoven!
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Decades after attending the Beethoven concert at Tanglewood, alone in my small home, I settled in my easy chair after a hard days work and started the video tape of a recent movie I had rented, that had won a ton of Academy Awards.
Photo Courtesy wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolfgang_Amadeus_Mozart
It was called Amadeus.
As the opening credits rolled by, I heard Mozarts 25th Symphony for the first time. My jaw dropped and I don’t think it closed until the movie was over. I confess I hardly paid attention to the story, I was so engrossed in the music. (My previous knowledge of Mr. Mozarts works was pretty much limited to the famous opening bars of his 5th Symphony that began each nightly news broadcast when I was growing up and Daffy Duck singing Figaro).
From that point on, I became a fan of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and keep a DVD of Amadeus and most of his recorded works on my music player so I can hear them again whenever I want to feel inspired or need a boost of happiness.
Thank you, Wolfie!
Grab The Hankies, Puccini Is Playing!
If I recall correctly, the first Puccini I ever heard about was Madame Butterfly. I believe my mother was romantically enraptured by the old film from 1932, starring Gary Grant and Syvia Sydney.
My next encounter with Mr. Puccini’s work was what did it for me. It was in a little film made in 1985 that I love to this day, called Prizzi’s Honor
In it, while Maerose, played perfectly as a gangsters daughter by Angelica Houston, is fixing a deadly cocktail to kill off her father in the other room, you gradually hear the beautiful, heart wrenching voice of Kiri Te Kanawa singing Puccini’s O mio Babbino caro in the background. There were several more songs by Puccini in the movie but that moment of comedy and beauty was terrific, and I went on from there, learning to love more of his work.
Many of you will remember another great film, Moonstruck,
that features a opera loving, mixed up, one handed bread maker who falls in love with a old maid, played by Cher, and they fall in love to the heart breaking story and songs of Puccini: La Boheme
I love this film!
If you love those, you will love the wonderful duets and arias from this master of tugging the heart string, performed by the best voices of our time:Puccini Gold
Pavarotti Singing Puccini: Nessun Dorma
You have probably heard this song before, perhaps sung by others, like the great Andrea Bocelli, my favorite. However Pavarottis version is the first I had ever heard, and it still gives me the chills for it’s beauty and power. You don’t need to know Italian to get it.
Beethoven wrote his 9th Symphony over a period of 7 years, while he was ill and deaf, at around the age of 50. He gave his first concert when he was seven years old, on March 26th, 1778. He also died on March 26th, in 1887. Nearly 20,000 people attended his funeral.
When Beethoven was 16, he studied with Mozart for 2 weeks.
Mozart was a Freemason, of the Illuminati “Humanistic” side of the group, so they say.
Mozart wrote his 25th Symphony when he was 17. He wrote a total of 50, by the time he died at the age of 35. Hundreds of years later, a woman in a small house in a small town in the state of Arizona USA was awestruck from listening to it for the first time. She keeps a recording of it close by at all times.
Puccini wrote Madame Butterfly late in life and Nessun Dorma (from Turnadot that he did not finish) just before he died, battling diabetes and the affects of a horrific car accident. He was a notorious womanizer, but I don’t hold that against him. Not after all these years, anyway.