Today is the anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. It’s one of the most famous speeches in American history, not only for brevity of its content, but for the emotion of that content. And for the conveyance of that emotion, specifically, and the emotion of the man, generally, I can’t think of any better example than Leonard Bernstein conducting Aaron Copland’s Lincoln Portrait… with the composer himself performing the narration.
Today’s auspicious event in history… Assuming you have the same proclivities that I do… Is the birthday of Gustav Mahler Yesterday we had a Bohemian priest. Today a Bohemian Composer. Maybe tomorrow I’ll see if I can find a Bohemian Brahmin, or something equally alliterative… Meanwhile, enjoy Mahler’s 1st Symphony, with the Vienna Philharmonic, under the direction of Bernstein… ‘Nuff said!!! Image found here.
“This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.” “Music can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable.”
Today is the traditional birth date of Ludwig Van Beethoven. We don’t know for sure when he was born, but we do know he was christened on the 17th – and the tradition at the time was to christen a child the day after its birth. Few composers have ever equalled him in importance, and none have surpassed him. His 9th symphony is considered by many to be the greatest piece ever written. I would contend his string quartets are at least as important; but string quartets aren’t as glamorous as the big band stuff… But that’s just a theory… I could be wrong… Through the years conductors have taken to playing the quartets with full orchestral string sections, as if assigning additional players might make up for what is lost in intimacy and ensemble.