Sunday, February 22, 2015


CHOPIN - he was Polonaise

Today might have been the 205th birthday of Frederic Chopin. They’re not sure if he was born on February 22 or March 1, in 1810.  (I missed commenting on his bicentenary: it was just before I started blogging.) My husband believes that Chopin’s music is “civilized”. He believes all the music written during Chopin’s era, what we now call the Romantic Era of music, is civilized.

The Romantic Era composers: Beethoven, Paganini, Rossini, Donizetti, Schubert, Strauss (Johan), Mendelssohn, Schumann, Liszt, Wagner, Verdi, Strauss (Johan II), Brahms, Saint-Saëns, Delibes, Bizet, Tchaikovsky, Dvořák, and Grieg. Though the list goes on and includes so many more composers you will have heard of, I’ll stop with Grieg, one of our favorites. The list is in order of their birth, and I do thank the Wikipedians for the list. I just googled list of Romantic Era composers, and there it was.

GRIEG - Have to have Norwegian music, of course!

As I read down the list, the music of many filled my head. (Oops! I just went back to the list to close it, and there was Debussy – oh, and Delius and Richard Strauss and Sibelius. Oh heck, can’t leave off those born later like Scott Joplin or Franz Lehar, and Vaughan Williams and Rachmaninoff and Ives and Ravel. I’m like a kid in a candy store.)

RAVEL  (as Danny Kay called it : "Rav'-els Bo'-la-ro")

I buried Johan Strauss II in there – he’s Frank’s favorite. Give him a waltz and he’s happy as the proverbial clam. Give me the music of any of the Romantic Era composers and I am delighted.

STRAUSS - Just the opening strains of this piece make FJ smile.

I started out to write a bit of an essay on Chopin. Men like him have been on my mind for a while now. He is in a group I’ve put together, a group of highly talented men who died too young. We have to wonder what more they would have given us had they lived to a ripe old age. I think of Chopin, Gershwin, Thomas Wolfe, the poet Rimbaud, John F. Kennedy, all died before the age of forty.  So my Chopin etude has morphed a bit.

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