Although 23 years have passed since I missed that telephone call, I never forgot the message left on the answering machine. The caller was one of the world’s most successful balladeers. Charlie Landsborough’s voice was unmistakable as he thanked me for the impact my poetry had on him.
Napoleon Bonaparte and Adolf Hitler had much in common. The first was Italian yet he liberated and led the French nation. The latter was of Austrian birth but freed and championed the German people. Napoleon put an end to French revolutionary abuses. Adolf Hitler brought an end to the corruption and banking houses usurious deprivation following the victors’ vicious terms inflicted upon Germany after World War One.
In a letter dated October 1866, French composer Georges Bizet (1838 – 1875) went straight to the point of opera: ‘As a musician, I tell you that if you were to suppress adultery, fanaticism, crime, evil, the supernatural, there would no longer be the means for writing one note.’
Herbert von Karajan (5 April 1908 – 16 July 1989) was an Austrian conductor. He was the principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic for 34 years. During the German renaissance, the National Socialist era (1933-1945), he debuted at the Salzburg Festival, with the Vienna Philharmonic, and the Berlin Philharmonic.
How often do we relax to the quintessential melodies of Spain’s Isaac Albéniz (1860 – 1909). His Rapsodia Espanola, Sevilla and Granada, based on Catalan folk songs, are perhaps the better known of his compositions. These exquisite mind-bending melodies evoke the Spanish dream more than could any Goya painting; but what of the man behind the music?
One of the most surprising discoveries for me was to learn that Franz Lehár, whose operas and waltzes match those of the Strauss family, lived in my own lifetime. Much as I love the melodies and waltzes from The Merry Widow and Wiener Frauen (Viennese Women) I was ignorant of the fact that he was a contemporary of The Beatles and Elvis Presley.
If X-rated entertainment is music to your ears, then orchestral music may be just what you are looking for. Enthusiasts of television soaps would eat their hearts out if they knew what we classical fans have been enjoying for the last few hundred years. If I hint at the plot, you will understand why we’re still glued to our sets; the theatrical ones that are.
Four Green Fields is a 1967 folk poem and song by Irish musician Tommy Makem, described as a hallowed Irish leave-us-alone-with-our-beauty ballad. Of Makem’s many compositions, it has become the most familiar and is part of the common repertoire of Irish folk musicians.
The expression on the trainee upholsterer’s face darkened as he realised he had been beaten by a rival theatregoer to the last seat in the packed theatre. The son of an upholsterer and waitress, August Kubizek was in love with opera.
A Swedish singer has received backlash for removing references to God from a 19th-century hymn that she performed during an annual Christmas season television program.