Song and Story

Welcome! 🙂 I hope the daily music posts here on the blog are giving you a boost, in these strange and unsettling times. If you’re new to the series and would like to check out earlier posts, you’ll find the first one here.

Today’s post features (yet more?) music by Felix Mendelssohn. The first of these two Songs without Words is a new find for me, and a new favorite. It’s solemn and majestic, exploring the rich sound especially in the piano’s bass register. The second of the two Songs has actually been on the blog before (I’m stealing from myself 😉 ). This one, in E Major, is a very old favorite. I’m not positive, but I think it might be the first of the Songs without Words that I ever learned. I first played it when I was ten, the same summer that I first read Richard Adams’s Watership Down. 

Segue into personal sidebar (there is a connection, don’t worry!)… Watership Down was a life-changer for me. I remember reading it over three days, at my grandparents’ house in northeastern Pennsylvania. Total immersive magic. What Adams did with words shaped my own style immeasurably as a writer: I still owe him my love for vivid description, quiet but inexorable pacing, and an overall quality that I can best describe as gentleness: writing that is never aggressive or flashy but finds exactly the turn of words that resonates with the reader. That’s the kind of writer I try to be. Watership Down defined that summer (thirty years ago already?) and has always been linked in my mind to the E Major Song without Words. Back then, when I played that music, it wove together in my imagination with the story I had fallen in love with. It had the same deep expression, the same gentleness, and the same shifting mood between dark and light.

All of that was a very long introduction. Hope you enjoy today’s recordings. 🙂 As always, you’re welcome to share your thoughts and responses to the music in the comments. Make sure to subscribe to the blog if you’d like a daily dose of music, and visit back soon!

P.S. for those on Facebook: tomorrow, Saturday, 4/4, I’ll be giving a short concert via Facebook Live. If you’ve been enjoying the blog, I’d love to have you tune in on my FB page on Saturday at 7 pm, for about half an hour of music by Mendelssohn, Bach, Beethoven, and Gershwin. (Today’s two Songs without Words will make an appearance.)


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