Love in Search of a Word
You have the candy, the flowers, the lovely meal. Want to really get your Valentine’s attention? Bring on the classics!
WHAT IT IS
Sidney Lanier wrote, “Music is Love in search of a word,” and nobody set passion to music more eloquently than those old European composers. European Classical music spans such a range of style, instrumentation and era that it practically eludes concise description, so I prefer to think of it as musical genre that falls somewhere between Gregorian chant and the Beetles. There are those sticklers who will be quick to point out that the early period included Medieval and Renaissance, thus encompassing chant, to which I will respond, you are correct, but this is how I prefer to think of it. Many musicians and musical theorists (and others who tend to classify this type of thing) consider the Baroque period (1600-1750, and highlighted by J.S. Bach) as ushering in the heyday of classical music. Baroque was followed by the Classical period (1750-1830, think Mozart) and the Romantic period (1815-1910, Beethoven being the bridge between Classical and Romantic). From there we moved into the 20th century, and I’ll just stop with Ravel. But enough of the history—on with the music!
BRING IT HOME
The record companies have done the work, and it’s easy enough to run right out and purchase one of the many “Most Romantic” compilations for sale. Or, you could do some (legal) downloading of your own. Lucy was won over by Schroeder’s Für Elise, and I’ll bet you have your favorites, too. Those young enough to have seen “Twilight” and those old enough to have seen “Frankie and Johnny” (with Michelle Pfieffer and Al Pacino) will recall the musically sweet scene-setter, Clare de lune, by Claude Debussy. Personally, I’m partial to J.S. Bach’s Air from Overture in D. Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata would sit nicely alongside his Für Elise on a compilation of romantic classics. Add Chopin’s Nocturne (pick a nocturne, any nocturne—but Nocturne Op. 9 No. 2 is one of the most recognized). Massenet’s Méditation (from Thaïs) is a beautiful piece. Finish with Ravel’s Bolero for some serious bosom heaving. What would you add to your own collection of “Most Romantic Classics”? Put one together for Valentine’s Day, and you won’t need to say another word.