Johann Sebastian Bach said: “Music is an agreeable harmony for the honor of God and the permissible delights of the soul.”
I’ve attended the rehearsal for my Sunday’s concert just yesterday evening and after that I was invited to listen to another rehearsal where my new friends played Bach – 2 flutes accompanied by a harpsichord. What a lovely and refreshing music it was as it always is! It sounded like two chirping birds chasing each other above the bickering stream of a mountain river on a hot and sunny afternoon. It was just beautiful and when I closed my eyes I could see myself sitting in Rivendell on the rock next to the river and smell the pine trees around me.
People have always been trying to find the means of time and space travel and it is still considered to be science fiction. But is it not the music like Johann Sebastian Bach’s exactly what we are looking for?
Today would be Giuseppe Verdi’s 199th birthday. His melodies are probably the most popular in the world of classical music and, well, all around the world. If you ask somebody on the street if he knows any operatic aria, one of a few possible responses would be “La donna e mobile” (Woman is fickle), which is the Duke of Mantua’s canzone from the beginning of act 3 of Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Rigoletto (1851). The inherent irony is that it is the callous playboy Duke himself who is mobile (“inconstant”).
The canzone is famous as a showcase for tenors. Raffaele Mirate’s performance of the bravura aria at the opera’s 1851 premiere was hailed as the highlight of the evening. Before its first public performance (in Venice), it was rehearsed under tight secrecy: a necessary precaution, because it proved to be catchy and soon after its first public performance every gondolier in Venice was singing it.
Well that was Rigoletto. What is your favorite Verdi opera or aria?