“Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and charm and gaity to life and to everything.”–Plato
Plato, of course, was so right. Hope you enjoy reading about and hearing two different forms of what I call ‘happy music’, the first in honor of our Irish friends for the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day. Each year, my husband and I try to schedule trips to my hometown of Syracuse, NY to visit with my childhood friends and see either a Syracuse University football or basketball game. A few weeks ago we travelled to Syracuse for a weekend which was especially exciting. My longest friend, I refuse to say ‘oldest’ (since I was in the 2nd grade!), her husband and we love to catch up and meet at their (and now our!) favorite Irish Pub, Kitty Hoynes, which we did. My husband was so looking forward to it because his very favorite Celtic band was scheduled to play the same night we were having dinner there with our friends. The band is called Searson and is made up of outstanding musicians: Celtic fiddler, Colleen Searson, her sister, Erin, on piano and vocals, plus a drummer and guitar player. All I could think of as we enjoyed the music was how happy it made us all in the pub; maybe the good beer had something to do with it too? Searson played with such wonderful energy, one song after another, with few and quick breaks. Each one composed by themselves. You may wonder why I include this experience in a classical music blog. Well, because Searson’s fiddle player was classically trained. You HAVE to check them out on their website. I know you will smile and start tapping your feet or clapping your hands to this very happy music. It’s unavoidable, even without the beer in hand! One more wonderful Celtic group that I just HAVE to share is Natalie MacMaster and her husband Donnell Leahy. We recently heard them live at SUNY Stony Brook here on Long Island, for the second time. Their incredibly talented young children played fiddle along with them, danced and sang. It was a night to remember. Take a look at Natalie’s website and then be on the look out for them as they tour the world. Maybe they’ll be near you. It’s a wonderful concert.
The Library has a number of Celtic recordings which you might enjoy after wetting your appetite with Searson and MacMaster. Since St. Patrick’s Day is coming up, try getting out of your strictly classical music, comfort zone, as I did and listen to some very Happy Music: Celtic Grace (by Aureole), Songs from the Heart or Believe (both by Celtic Woman), Voyage (by Celtic Thunder), Haunting Slow Airs from Ireland (by Kieran Fahy), The Celtic Album (Boston Pops Orchestra), to name a few.
You may not understand how a group called The Holocaust Survivors Band is included in this post of ‘happy music’. When you click on the link, you’ll see why. Klezmer music is one of my favorites because it brings home thoughts of my family’s heritage. This Klezmer Band is amazing. PLEASE take a moment to read the article on them and listen to the brief videos. I know it’ll bring a smile to your day and quite possibly more tapping feet! As the article says “music is catharsis”, and this is one of the best examples of it. Until The Holocaust Survivors Band comes out with a CD, try checking these out at our Library: Klezmer Fiddle (DVD), My Mother’s Brisket & Other Love Songs (CD), Songs of Our Fathers CD), or read about Klezmer in The Book of Klezmer: the History, the Music, the Folklore by Yale Strom or Klezmer!: Jewish Music From Old World to Our World by Henry Sapoznik.
Our Did You Know? for today is about Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767), one of the most prolific composers of the German Baroque. His birthday is March 14, so I felt it apropos to share some interesting information about him. There didn’t seem to be any instrument Telemann couldn’t play: by the age of 12 he had taught himself three instruments. By 1712, he advertised himself as being able to play the violin, organ, harpsichord, recorder, chalumeau (early clarinet), cello, and calchedon (lute), as well as being an accomplished baritone singer. In 1714, he married the 16-year-old daughter of the city clerk in Frankfurt. They had eight sons and one daughter. Just listen to some of his works on the following CDs which you may check out at the Library and I guarantee you’ll be enchanted: Wind Concertos, Die Ouvert uren Tafelmusik, and Concerto in A minor for recorder, viola, strings, and continuo. There are plenty more at the Library!
Enjoy and remember “Stay tuned to the Quarter Notes Blog and in tune with all the music in your life!”
E. Susman, March 14, 2015