You know that I’m pretty-much an open book. I have no secrets. But there’s stuff about me that you may not know. It’s funny how little tidbits about a person come to fruition.
It happened over the weekend while Bonaparte and I were having dinner. We listen to classical music when we dine.
And we listen to classical music via the TV! The MC channels play nothing but music!
You can rest assured that this was the way my Frenchman was raised. His stepfather was a classical concert pianist, Jean Casadesus. And in their Paris apartment, there was not one Baby Grand piano but there were two!
Bonaparte’s step dad, Jean. I died the first time I saw the photo. An unlit cigarette as a prop! God bless the French!
Let’s just say that my Frenchman grew up without a TV but with plenty of live music!
Bonaparte’s family was very refined but I don’t think his stepdad dressed like this every night to play at home..
But he DID have a great sense of humor. Here is is modeling Evie’s hat while playing a tune!
And while he was whiling away the hours listening to the tinkering of piano keys, I was listening to other music (Hold on a minute—I wasn’t even born yet!)
The house I grew up in was also filled with music. As early as I can remember, my mother always had the radio on. When I was very young, I can remember her watching the black & white version of American Bandstand. And some of my best memories of my mother were dancing with her as we watched this show. We would do The Stroll in the living room. And the music continued as I got older.
Now THIS is what I remember from my very young days. American Bandstand in the old-school days.
On Saturday afternoons, Clay Cole would be on the TV and we would watch the Brits invade the USA with their rock music. Mick Jagger was always a fave!
Clay Cole with the Stones. Who knew Satisfaction would become a modern day version of classical music?
My dad loved his Irish music. When I was ten years old, my favorite Christmas present was the Broadway Soundtrack of Oliver. I can still belt out those songs.
And now that I’m back on Weight Watchers, my favorite song from Oliver is “Food, Glorious Food” I was singing it when I looked at a bag of unopened Tostito’s in the pantry!
But, classical music was never a part of our listening repertoire.
But then something happened to me one night. And I’ll tell you all about the music that changed my life!
For money, I used to babysit. I started at the age of 12. Back then babysitting at twelve years old wasn’t a crime. Paying the twelve-year-old fifty cents an hour was more of a crime. Anyway, I used to babysit for a couple’s children. The couple was very—let’s say, conservative in their lifestyle. The husband, was an ex-priest and the wife, an ex-nun. They had two girls. And whenever I went to their home to babysit, the girls, most of the time, were asleep. A few times they were up, and they were really great kids!
Now, this wasn’t a family with a big TV—not like the house I grew up in where we had multiple TV’s and zero attention spans. In fact, their TV set was so small, and my crossed eyes so bad that I couldn’t even watch it.
Usually, I did my homework. But one night I got bored. I went over to their console stereo and opened the bottom cabinet to see what kinds of music they had. (Was I really expecting The Kinks?) There was nothing of interest to me. But then, I spotted a boxed set of record albums. This piqued my interest. On the cover was a scene from a Renoir painting. I became more interested.
The boxed set was The Reader’s Digest Collection of Light Classical Music. With nothing to eat that would satisfy an almost thirteen-year old girl, I decided to listen to one of the records in the set.
Little did I know what an impact this boxed set of classical music would have on my life!
My musical epiphany struck me like a bolt of lightening that just about uncrossed my eyes. The song was Zigeunerweisen, better known as “Gypsy Airs.” The beautiful homage to the Roma was composed by Pablo de Sarasate in 1878.
But this was the first time I really listened to it and was blown away.
This guy–and he was quite cute as well!
And these notes blew my mind more than Cream’s Sunshine of Your Love!
So blown away, in fact, that the next day, I rode my bike down to the Brightwaters Public Library to see if they had the boxed set. They did. I took it out and renewed it multiple times. I also made sure I was available for babysitting services whenever the McGovern’s needed me.
Best library on Long Island. I spent many hours here growing up!
The impact that set of records had on me was astounding. Since then, I’ve always loved classical music.
But it goes deeper than that. Classical music is so soothing. It’s so beautiful. It’s so melodic. And each composer has his own personality.
My favorite composer of all time is Franz Schubert. His Ballet Music No. 2 from Rosamunde always puts such a smile on my face! His music is just so sweet—I have a hard time coming to terms that he died of syphilis! What a naughty man!
From the way Franz died, he ate a lot more than Viennese pastries!
My kids were raised on classic rock and classical music. When we lived in NYC, I would have classical music on the car radio. I thought it was a good way for the boys to unwind after a day of learning!
And yes—this conversation all happened over dinner with Bonaparte. As we were listening to music he was unsure of a certain composer whose music was playing. I mentioned it was Haydn. He doubted me. And when he found out I was correct, he was pleasantly surprised! I know my classics!
What’s with the name Franz anyway? It’s such a popular composer name. Haydn wears a wig better than I do!
And if you are ever interested in some fun entertainment—try watching movies about the composers.
My favorite is Amadeus. I swear I’ve seen it at least twenty times at home but the biggest thrill was seeing it on the big screen two weeks ago. I was in heaven!!!!!
The music of Mozart–and those costumes! Amadeus is tied with Amelie as my favorite movie of all time.
And Wolfie was fun!!!!!!
One movie that’s eluded me is “Lisztomania”. Roger Daltry as Franz Liszt would have been fun to see but I heard it wasn’t that good. I’d still give it a go!
I seriously have to look for this movie!!!!
The pathetic thing is that I learned about Franz Liszt from Tom and Jerry cartoons. It where my love of the Hungarian Rhapsodies began.
This cartoon cat is more classy than I am! How sad is that???
Another one of my faves was “Impromptu” about Chopin. It was the first time I ever saw Hugh Grant and I must say, he is a rather handsome version of the sickly composer! The film also focused on his relation with Georges Sand, played by the great Judy Davis! This was such a great movie!
This. Movie. Was. Greatness!
Hugh Grant made Chopin look healthier than he was..
The poor guy was so sickly but he produced some of the most beautiful music!
I swear when my kids were younger, I would wake up early on the weekends to watch a series of kid’s shows about the classical composers. Each week the focus was on a different composer and I cannot remember the name of the show. I think it was either on PBS or Nickelodeon!
I’m pretty sure these are the TV shows I watched with my kids. I need to look for these because Bonaparte’s granddaughter would love this stuff!
And that’s the fact Jack! I’ll bet you didn’t know that I’m quite fond of classical music. BTW, Bonaparte is concerned because he thinks classical music is dying a slow death. I don’t quite agree with him.
What’s your thoughts? Do you think classical music is dying? Do you like classical music? Thoughts please!
And for your listening pleasure, here is Itzhak Perlman with the composition that started it all for me. Gypsy Airs!