Author Topic: An meine Frau  (Read 177 times)

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Offline DaveF

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An meine Frau
« on: September 09, 2019, 11:47:02 AM »
Dear all,

I have been charged with putting together a playlist of music inspired by or dedicated to composers' wives/husbands/life partners, to be played at a wedding, and it's not proving as easy as I'd thought.  Plenty of composers (Berg, Janáček, Shostakovich, Liszt) seem to have been inspired by ladies not their wives, but so far my list of domestically-inspired love music includes only 2 pieces:

Elgar: first Enigma variation (C.A.E.) - since the wedding is taking place in the Elgar Room, Great Malvern, only a short distance from Craeg Lea, this is the clear favourite for the bride's entry;

Schumann: Impromptus on a theme of Clara Wieck

and that's it.  So suggestions of any kind of music, not just "classical", would be very welcome.  (N.B. the bride is quite slim, so Big Bottom by Spinal Tap is probably not appropriate.)

Thanks in anticipation,
DF
"Just because I like something, it doesn't mean it's any good."

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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  • Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?
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Re: An meine Frau
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2019, 12:56:38 PM »
Dear all,

I have been charged with putting together a playlist of music inspired by or dedicated to composers' wives/husbands/life partners, to be played at a wedding, and it's not proving as easy as I'd thought.  Plenty of composers (Berg, Janáček, Shostakovich, Liszt) seem to have been inspired by ladies not their wives,

Another thing, Dave, is that Shostakovich & Bartók dedicated Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District, and Duke Bluebeard's Castle, respectively, to their wives, but one hesitates to recommend either for a wedding....

One might possibly consider an arrangement of Un bal from the Symphonie fantastique
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline JBS

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Re: An meine Frau
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2019, 06:49:02 PM »
Mahler wrote one song as a wedding present for Alma...An die Schonheit, I think, but am not certain.

Didn't RVW write something for Ursula?

Offline Jo498

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Re: An meine Frau
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2019, 01:44:07 AM »
Another thing, Dave, is that Shostakovich & Bartók dedicated Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District, and Duke Bluebeard's Castle, respectively, to their wives, but one hesitates to recommend either for a wedding....

One might possibly consider an arrangement of Un bal from the Symphonie fantastique
The old joke here is to use the 4th movement of the Symphonie fantastique as a processional...

Seriously, Grieg supposedly had a happy marriage. Wedding day at Troldhaugen would be a good processional/recessional. "Ich liebe dich" (usually sung in German) one of his most famous songs.

"Bist du bei mir" is probably not by Bach but you could also look into the Anna Magdalena notebook.
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Online vers la flamme

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Re: An meine Frau
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2019, 01:46:09 AM »
There is Mahler's famous Adagietto, thought to be a declaration of love to his future wife Alma. As for Schumann, his Fantasy in C is also inspired by Clara (again, not yet his wife at the time of writing). "The first movement may well be the most passionate I have ever composed – a deep lament for you," he wrote to her; they were separated at the time, I forget the circumstances.

There is the whole Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach, but I'm not sure how much valuable music is in there.

Offline JBS

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Re: An meine Frau
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2019, 03:50:12 AM »
Forgot an obvious one: Wagner's Siegfried Idyll.

Offline Jo498

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Re: An meine Frau
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2019, 09:14:25 AM »
There is certainly more Schumann dedicated or connected to Clara than only these Impromptus.
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline Mandryka

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Re: An meine Frau
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2019, 09:32:15 AM »
According to Yo Tomita, who's a serious scholar, the first five of Bach's French suites were a sort of wedding present to his second wife Anna Magdalena.

Quote from: Yo Tomita for Masaaki Suzuki's recording of the six French Suites
The French Suites (BWV 812–817) are a set of six keyboard suites Bach compiled in his late thirties, the most prolific period of his life producing a series of important instrumental works. Together with the Inventions and Sinfonias and the Well-Tempered Clavier, the French Suites formed an integral part of Bach’s comprehensive programmes for the education of his pupils. Keyboard suites – a popular genre consisting of about half a dozen stylized dances – had high educational value; one was expected to learn from them the essence of manners and good tastes.

    Traditionally, the French Suites were considered as pair with the English Suites, the other unpublished collection of suites Bach wrote earlier. The ‘French’ are distinguished from the ‘English’ by both the lack of prelude and being smaller in scale. Stylistically, the ‘French’ are the more charming and elegant of the two: they tend to avoid the use of counterpoint, and focus more sharply on the exploration of such galant elements as cantabile melodies and sonorous, idiomatic keyboard texture. When discussing these characters, one cannot disassociate them from their origin: a sort of wedding gift to his young, musical wife – Anna Magdalena Bach (née Wilcke, 1701–60).

The Origin
Anna Magdalena was just twenty when Bach married her on 3 December 1721; it was his second marriage, having lost his first wife, Maria Barbara, from sudden illness 17 months earlier. One can only imagine what an uplifting change this marriage brought to Bach and his children.

    She was a professional singer; her keyboard skills were predictably no equal to her singing abilities. That Bach sent her so soon after their wedding a Clavierbüchlein with the first five of the French Suites seems to attest to their loving relationship. How did she feel when receiving such a gift? Esther Meynell, the author of The Little Chronicle of Magdalena Bach – a romantic fiction published anonymously in London in 1925 – depicts this scene with remarkable clarity: “Very soon after our marriage he gave me a music-book he had made for me. … When I turned the pages with eager fingers, while he stood and watched me with a smile so good and kind, I found that he had written for me in this book many easy pieces for my playing on the clavier – on which instrument he had begun giving me lessons. I was not yet very advanced, though I could play a little before I was married, and he had written these little melodious compositions to please me, to encourage me, to suit the stage of skill at which I had arrived and lead me gently on towards a higher one. Amongst these pieces was a grave and beautiful sarabande – I always thought his sarabandes in the clavier Suites and Partitas were peculiarly lovely and expressive of his mind – and the gayest little minuet, and all were of a charm to tempt any student to the keyboard.  Thus he was ever ready to stoop from his own height and take by the hand a child or a beginner. Nothing ever made him impatient with a pupil save indifference or carelessness.”

Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline Mandryka

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Re: An meine Frau
« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2019, 09:37:52 AM »
Richard Strauss's opera Intermezzo is inspired by his relation with his wife Pauline. Quickly googling for details came up with this as the first example, I'm sure you'll find more

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2011/mar/24/strauss-intermezzo-scottish-opera
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline Mandryka

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Re: An meine Frau
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2019, 09:40:04 AM »
Benjamin Britten of course wrote a lot of music for Peter Pears, who was his husband in all but name.
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline pjme

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Re: An meine Frau
« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2019, 09:59:02 AM »
My thanks go to Wiki!

A próle do bébé in the scores, which were published before the 1943 orthography reform—(The Baby's Family) is a collection of character pieces by Heitor Villa-Lobos for piano. It was composed in three volumes. Series 1 is dedicated to the composer's wife, Lucilia Villa-Lobos.

Darius Milhaud: La muse ménagère:
Darius' piano suite La Muse Menagère (The Household Muse) is dedicated to her, and depicts their daily life together.

Honeggers pianoconcertino is dedicated to his wife Andrée Vaurabourg

Richard strauss / Pauline de Ahna:His wedding present to her was the four songs of Opus 27: Ruhe, meine Seele!, Cäcilie, Heimliche Aufforderung and "Morgen!".[1] He wrote one operatic role for her, Freihild in Guntram.

Roussel's Padmavati is dedicated to his wife.

More later...Which symphony orchestra and chorus will perform?  :D
« Last Edit: September 10, 2019, 10:23:54 AM by pjme »

Offline Jo498

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Re: An meine Frau
« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2019, 10:03:59 AM »
Both the Abduction from the Seraglio and the fragmentary c minor mass have some connection with Konstanze Mozart, née Weber. Supposedly the main soprano parts were written with her in mind, although another singer sang the opera's premiere and iI don't remember if the mass was ever performed in Mozart's lifetime.
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline André

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Re: An meine Frau
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2019, 10:06:19 AM »
For this particular occasion, Strauss’ Sinfonia Domestica seems entirely appropriate  ;D The composer dedicated it to his wife and his son.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: An meine Frau
« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2019, 11:05:52 AM »
For this particular occasion, Strauss’ Sinfonia Domestica seems entirely appropriate  ;D The composer dedicated it to his wife and his son.

Yes very good. It happens to be the most vulgar piece of music ever written (there's even a musical representation of bathing the baby), but very good.
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline DaveF

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Re: An meine Frau
« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2019, 12:32:55 PM »
Phew! Thanks, all.  I knew I wouldn't be short of suggestions, a lot of which got me thinking tangentially...  The list is now looking something like this:

Entry of guests: Nielsen 1st symphony (dedicated to Anne-Marie), 2nd movement, followed by Bartók 3rd piano concerto, 2nd movement (dedicated to Ditta, and yes, perhaps a better choice than Bluebeard in the circumstances);

Entry of bride: C.A.E. from Enigma Variations;

Signing the register: Elgar Salut d'Amour (written for the then Miss Caroline Roberts), followed by Debussy Sonata for flute, viola & harp, dedicated, in common with vast swathes of other French music written between 1880 and 1920, to Emma;

Exit: Grieg: Wedding day at Troldhaugen - not only appropriate for its subject, but dedicated to Nina Grieg on their 25th anniversary.  A very effective, but on my recording anonymous, orchestration.

Strauss Sinfonia Domestica would be great, but the happy couple are in their 60s and more likely to be bathing grandchildren than children.  Some Britten would likewise have been splendid - Being beauteous makes me cry every time - but I decided words would just cause too many problems - secular weddings in the UK have to be strictly that, and any hint of anything that might be sacred words make registrars jumpy.  But I shall be listening to all these suggestions in any case.
"Just because I like something, it doesn't mean it's any good."