Sunday, January 6, 2008

Musical Suggestions for Valentine's Day

A musical Valentine gift?
How about the most popular valentine ever sent by a great composer?
Of course, it is the so-called "Moonlight" sonata by Beethoven(he did not name it "Moonlight"; rather, the publisher thought that title up).
Beethoven, seemingly, was strongly infatuated with one of his students, a beautiful 17 year old countess , Guillieta Gucciardi, who never became aware of his longing for her.
At any rate, she was immortalized by his dedicating this composition to her.
The most durable musical valentine in history - it was published in 1802.

The fabled pop pianist George Shearing has a wonderful arrangement of "My Funny Valentine" by Richard Rogers. I have a video of it he did at the Carlyle in New York about a generation ago, and Shearing wrings the sponge dry by putting this great tune into different classical styles, such as Bach, Delius, Rachmaninoff and Schumann. It goes on for several minutes, and is one of Shearing's most brilliant offerings.
See if you can find it!

I rather doubt that the Bard would have accepted, let alone understood the florescence of Tchaikowsky's music to Romeo and Juliet; but, for the modern ear, is there any piece of music depicting the love of one human being for another more representative than this composition, absolutely drenched in beautiful melody? Highly recommended!

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Blogger thegreatest said...

2 nice performances of "My Funny Valentine" on YouTube
one by Kristin Chenoweth

one by Frederica von Stade

February 5, 2008 at 1:00 PM  

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