After yesterday’s blog about Death In Venice with all that solemn music, I thought I’d leave you with something a bit racier for the weekend. No one, in the musical world, was racier than Frenchman, Emmanuel Chabrier (1841 – 1894) who was not just very clever, a man of taste and a great composer but he was also a lot of fun – maybe he had too much fun in fact because he came too a sticky end dying unpleasantly of syphilis at the relatively early age of 54 (stop all this death stuff, it’s the weekend). He is one of classical music’s great losses because he was only able to become a full-time composer for the last 14 years of his life and he had a lot of ideas to give to the world of music. You can hear his influence in many of the composers who followed him, especially Ravel and Stravinsky who were both admirers.
Enough of the gloomy and serious stuff – let’s go to the beach.
A Spanish beach in fact – Emmanuel Chabrier had a five month Spanish holiday in 1882, and, in 1883, my current year of study, he wrote a piece about it. It has become one of the great orchestral showpieces, España, rhapsody for orchestra, and it shows, I like to think, that Emmanuel had a really good time there. He wrote about the attractive women in their bathing costumes and how he noticed that their buttons were not very securely fastened. Tut-tut, he even thought it would be a good idea on his next Spanish holiday, if he took some needles and cotton so that he could help out those Spanish ladies who were coming a bit apart at the seams. Things are a very different on Spanish beaches these days and I think Emmanuel would have enjoyed the views even more than he did in 1882. There is certainly much more to see these days.
Anyway, in January, here in the Northern hemisphere, our minds turn to holidays in the sun and all the uninhibited fun we’d like to have on the beach. Well, don’t we? A good alternative is to listen to Chabrier’s exhilarating piece and I know no better recording than this one, John Eliot Gardiner conducting The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in truly exciting style.
Here it is – I hope it puts a swagger in your step this weekend and encourages you to have some fun:
My novel, Stephen Dearsley’s Summer Of Love, was published on 31 October 2013. It is the story of a young fogey living in Brighton in 1967 who has a lot to learn when the flowering hippie counter culture changes him and the world around him.
It is now available as a paperback or on Kindle (go to your region’s Amazon site for Kindle orders)
…or from Amazon: