Saturday, December 14, 2019

Schubert, Vivaldi, Donizetti

I meet often with several highly educated men. They are intelligent and sceptical about any hypothesis but, much like the tricky handoff in The Music Man, give them a snippet of a great old hymn and suddenly they are energized, enthusiastic and united.  I witnessed them breaking into "Stand Up, Stand Up, For Jesus", a capella, in the student union.  

I have heard 

"Music has charms to soothe a savage breast." Music has the power to enchant even the roughest of people. This proverb comes from the play The Mourning Bride, by William Congreve, an English author of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries.

From what I have seen and heard, many different civilizations completely understand the power of music, trumpets, drums, choruses, and rhythm.  The musical written and directed by Lee Hirsch "Amandla!" and the CD "Maori Songs" show the power and joy available in music in any culture.

Franz Schubert's "Standchen" was one of the first pieces of music that we both recognized as affecting.  Later, watching again one of Lynn's favorite movies, Strangers in Good Company, I was taken by the score of Schubert's music: Impromptu D. 899, String Quartet in C Major D. 956 and the lovely Nocturne D. 897.

Some of Vivaldi's music is captivating, too.  I realize that if one gets into virtually any music or any art or any activity or hobby, it can be captivating, fascinating and uplifting.  We have both been dancing through the dishes to Vivaldi's Concerto for 2 Mandolins P. 133

Much of the fun of Donizetti's The Elixir of Love (1832) comes from the English translation, available on our old CD of the Chandos production, conducted by David Parry.  The love of the transfixed Nemorino for the gorgeous Adina is ok but the bluster of Sergeant Belcore (who can feel the ladies "passion" growing stronger but is not surprised - he is, after all, a sergeant, as he modestly reminds us) and the master quack Dr. Dulcamara's assurances of the power of his specialized aphrodisiac elixir are superior.  

For immediate performances, search YouTube.

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