“In my world, history comes down to language and art. No one cares much about what battles were fought, who won them and who lost them–unless there is a painting, a play, a song or a poem that speaks of the event.” — Theodore Bikel
Growing up in a musical household, we listened to, attended and watched many concerts, musicals and operas together. I have memories of listening to one of my favorite musicals, Fiddler on the Roof, with Theodore Bikel. The world said good-bye to him on July 21, 2015, at the age of 91, but thanks to your library and technology, his movies, songs and books will live on for generations to enjoy. Why not check out some of the movies that helped make him famous? Try: The African Queen (DVD), See You in the Morning (DVD), My Fair Lady (DVD), The Russians are Coming (DVD) or The Defiant Ones (DVD). The original Broadway cast recording of the Sound of Music with Theodore Bikel is available as a music CD through Interlibrary Loan. His autobiography was updated in 2014 and is available through Interlibrary Loan also as is the Songs of the Earth, a CD of folk songs sung by Bikel, originally released in 1968.
Our Did You Know? of today is about a Baroque composer who was also a lawyer and worked in public service: Benedetto Marcello. I chose Marcello in part since he also passed away in July, on July 24, 1739, of tuberculosis. He was only 53 when he died, but had composed quite a repertoire of various genres, including a number of lovely flute sonatas, vocal and organ works (oratorios, songs, sacred works), a variety of chamber music and pieces for harspsichord. Marcello’s brother, Alessandro Marcello, was also a notable composer. They were born into a noble family and because of that, Benedetto’s marriage to his singing student in a secret ceremony was unlawful and declared null by the state after his death.
Fall is fast approaching. How about curling up with a good book over these last few weeks of summer; combine your love of music with a good read? Here are some suggestions: Hot Ice by Gregg Loomis is a murder mystery combining an assassin who is a classical music lover with his job in the intelligence community; La’s Orchestra Saves the World by Alexander McCall Smith, the popular author of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency books, is set in 1939, with a divorcee fleeing World War II London and organizing an amateur orchestra. The healing powers of friendship and music make this a sure book to enjoy! A very new book, The Orphan Sky by Ella Leya, portrays a young classical pianist torn between her country, Azerbaijan, and the West. Paganini’s Ghost is another mystery surrounding an art dealer who is found dead in his hotel room the day after a concert. This book by Paul Adam, is available from our Library as an audiobook on CD or as a printed book through Interlibrary Loan.
Enjoy the rest of the summer and remember to “Stay tuned to The Quarter Notes Blog and in tune with all the music in your life.”
E. Susman, August 3, 2015