Art and Culture

A Musical Odyssey

European culture offers a feast of quality music that accompanies the more discerning on a journey from womb to tomb. Perhaps these suggestions will inspire you to explore and enjoy the finest music created by Europe’s most gifted musicians over centuries.  Do feel free to YouTube or purchase any of the following titles that will familiarise you with music that will continue to enhance your life. Think of each track as a glass of sublime aphrodisiacal wine.  I think you will return again and again.

The dawn of my life (Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloe) found its sunrise in my meeting you (Puccini Call me Mimi) upon which my spirit soared to new heights. (Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde in der Liebestod).  Those early carefree days (Johann Strauss The Blue Danube) brought such tranquillity to my life. (Beethoven Moonlight Sonata Adagio).

I cannot reminisce about our first summer together without recalling our romantic strolls through river vales and meadows (Beethoven; 6th Symphony. Pastoral). Do you recall how peaceful those summer afternoons were (Debussy; Prelude a l’Apres midi D’un).  Fondly remembered the unbroken bird song (Delius; On Hearing the First Cuckoo of Spring).

Back then our lives were not totally Bohemian (Smetana; Muy Vlast). After all we had our careers to focus on (Johann Strauss; Perpetual Mobile). However, we usually found time to relax to Mozart’s Concerto for Flute, Andantino. The countryside was so incredibly green and the cornfields gloriously yellow (Vaughan Williams; The Lark Ascending). 

Wherever one travels in Europe there is to be found evocation. How often wished you and I could travel (Albeniz; Espana / Respighi; The Pines of Rome), discover new worlds and enjoy life to its limits (Offenbach; Gaite Parisiene).  Perhaps we could get a feel for adventure (Borodin; Steppes of Central Asia, Sibelius Finlandia) and visit Moscow (Mussorgsky; Dawn on the Moscow River).

There was no denying the intensity of my feelings for you. (Chopin; Piano Concerto.1. Edward Elgar’s Serenade for Strings) brought such harmony to our lives. The violin complements the piano (Beethoven Piano concerto No.2 adagio or Beethoven’s Spring Sonata).

True love never runs smooth and misunderstandings brought the occasional thunder clouds (Beethoven; 5th Symphony). Oh, the heartache of my once losing you (Puccini; Madame Butterfly Love Duet) brought unbearable pain (Gustav Mahler’s Fifth Symphony Adagio).  Happily, fate intervened and we were soon together again soon.  This made my heart as light as a mandolin’s melody (Vivaldi; Various Concertos). 

My life was once again filled with excitement and anticipation. (Maurine Ravel’s Bolero). It was then I felt as though spring had returned (Robert Stolz Village Swallows in Austria). Once again life was full of delightful pleasures (Verdi La Traviata; Let’s Drink).

My darling, you brought such contentment to my life (Recuerdos de la Alhambra).  I was always so very happy with you. (Chabrier; Espana / Josef Strauss; Off on Holiday).

I was at peace with both myself and the world (Chopin, Raindrop Prelude or Debussy’s Perfumes of the Night).  Ah, the mellow lateness of each evening (Mozart; Clarinet Concerto and / Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjeuz; Weber’s Clarinet and Strings). During the later evenings we enjoyed a glass of wine whilst enjoying John Field’s piano nocturnes before retiring.  While I waited for sleep I recalled those lovely nights we spent at Santora in Spain (Siene en la Florista / Carulli; Duo in G. Op.34).

Never to be forgotten the occasion when Christmas was drawing near (Stille Nacht Heilige Nacht). I could hardly wait for the first snow to fall (Meyerbeer The Skaters Waltz). It was then I used to think how wonderful it would be to be in Germany with you for Christmas and New Year’s Eve (The Bells of Aachen and Regensburg).

With the nights closing in the children seemed to be around more often.  I loved frightening them with stories about trolls in the great forests of northern Europe (Grieg; In the Hall of the Mountain King), the Witches Sabbath (Mussorgsky; Night on Bare Mountain) and magic (Dukas; The Sorcerer’s Apprentice).

Those were the days, young Peter; always the soldier was marching up and down the room (Charles Gounod; The Soldiers Chorus).  Our small son had been telling us about a Swiss adventure story (Rossini; William Tell Overture).  By that time you had retreated to the back of the lounge (Pavaroti; Torna a Surriento) to dreamily think about our holidays no doubt.

You and I always had the last dance together (Karl Maria von Weber; Invitation to the Dance). It reminds me of when I proposed to you as we listened to Mozart’s Piano Concerto, No.21 which was followed by Martucci’s Nocturne when afterwards driving home?

I am still very much at peace with the world (Beethoven 9th; Adagio) and in love with you as ever I was (Elgar; Salut d’Amour). Life since has been so wonderful (Schubert; Trout Quintet) and content (Saint-Saens; The Swan).

Time has marched on. I find myself thinking more and more of those inspirational days and evenings when we were younger. (Butterworth; The Banks of Green Willow, Delius; The Walk in the Paradise Garden). Now, in the sunset of our lives I am more contemplative about the future (Sibelius; The Swan of Tuonela / Richard Strauss; Death and Transfiguration) and I wonder how long it will be before I am reflective about Faure’s Requiem. ~ Michael Walsh.

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2 replies »

  1. In the care home that I played music in, I witnessed many a time when an elderly person in a vegetative state would come fully alive, toe or finger tapping, colour in their cheeks, smile flickering, a sparkle and perhaps even an emotional tear in their eye, all this in response to a familiar tune.

    Liked by 1 person

    • In Britain, railway stations that were plagued by bad behaviour, hooliganism, played classical music over the PA system. It worked. Peace was restored.

      Liked by 1 person

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