This week’s theme on MusicAtoZ is the letter “B”. It’s a blog hop! I hope you join in!
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So, what’s been rolling around in my brain all week? Why, the first lines of “Love Story”, what else?
What can you say about a twenty-five-year-old girl who died? That she was beautiful. And brilliant. That she loved Mozart and Bach. And the Beatles. And me.
I realized that I have long gotten those words wrong. For many years I’ve operated under the delusion that they were “…That she loved Bach, Beethoven, The Beatles. And Me.” My apologies to the author, Erich Segal, but it would have been more alliterative my way. And, while I like Mozart, I’m more of a Beethoven fan myself. Frankly, I think that the Ode to Joy — the last movement of Beethoven’s glorious Ninth Symphony — is one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written. The instrumentation when taken alone is breathtaking. When you add the words by Friedrich Schiller, well, it’s just transcendent.
It was the last symphony that Beethoven ever finished. He did so while he was stone deaf. Yeah. Quite an accomplishment.
I’m not a classical music aficionado by any means. Truly, what little I know of classical music comes mostly from “Looney Tunes”. Still, there are pieces, like Ode to Joy that are too beautiful to forget. I feel the same way about Bach’s Cantata Number 147, which some of you may know as Jesu, Son of Man’s Desiring. It, too, has words, but I prefer the instrumental version myself.
During his lifetime Bach was known more as an organist than as a composer. Fame and immortality would find him after his death. He fathered over twenty children, many of whom carried on his musical legacy. I’ve always found it interesting that Bach lost his eyesight near the end of his life. It doesn’t seem possible that two of the greatest composers of all time would both be stricken by the loss of major senses, does it?
I chose two versions of this musical piece to share with you. I think everyone should hear it played on an organ — as it was meant to be performed. Still, there is nothing like hearing it on an instrument as modern as the guitar to demonstrates its timelessness. (At my wedding my sister and her friend played it on flute and piccolo; there are some beautiful versions of it for violin, as well.)
For my next “B” entry, we’ll skip to something a little more contemporary — The Beatles. The difficulty with choosing a Beatles’ song is in choosing A Beatles’ song. There are just so many.
I don’t have a “favorite” Beatles song, but my favorite “B” song is Blackbird. So, I’m going with that!
No “B” category would be complete for this Jersey girl if it didn’t include Bruce Springsteen. I suppose some people would argue that he’s an “S”, but around these parts he’s just “Bruce”. My favorite Bruce song is Thunder Road, but I’ve already featured that one. Once again I decided to stick with the theme. The best “B” Bruce song is, in my opinion, Backstreets. Pure, unadulterated rock and roll — and Clarence on the tambourine. Enjoy!
You can’t be from New Jersey and not include BonJovi! It just wouldn’t be right. Blaze of Glory fits this week’s theme and it’s a great song!
In honor of “B” week, I’m including a “bonus” track — Kenny Rankin’s cover of The Beatles’ Blackbird. My husband turned me on to Kenny Rankin years ago. He’s always reminded me a little bit of James Taylor. His voice is very pure, his arrangements unfussy. His interpretation of this song is spare and beautiful.
Start thinking about songs that fit a “C” theme for next week!