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Thread: Are there any classical works that you connect with a holiday?

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    Apprentice, Piano Grinnin's Avatar
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    Are there any classical works that you connect with a holiday?

    Are there any classical works that make you think of a certain holiday or other event?

    Dvorak's 9th Symphony always reminds me of Thanksgiving Day. Maybe it's the title, The New World Symphony that makes that connection for me. But every year, when I'm preparing Thanksgiving dinner I listen to it over and over again. (Lots of potatoes to peel, sauces to make.)

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    Vice Admiral Virtuoso rojo's Avatar
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    Re: Are there any classical works that you connect with a holida

    Hey grinnin,

    There are tons of such works- the first ones that spring to mind are the Nutcracker suite, and the Messiah (Christmas). I`m sure others will have more to add...

    As for the New World Symphony, I love that work any time of year! Especially the first mvt.

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    Re: Are there any classical works that you connect with a holida

    Music for Thanksgiving:

    Aaron Copeland's Variations on a Shaker Tune
    Basil Poledouris' Anvil of Crom for carving the turkey (just kidding)

    But in all seriousness, I did a google and came up with this article on Thanksgiving...

    source
    WHERE IS THE MUSIC OF THANKSGIVING?

    You know Thanksgiving is coming when you hear Christmas music.

    Really, it isn't fair. Thanksgiving is one of the year's best holidays, but it is musically ... uh ... undernourished. It is a great holiday not only because it is theoretically dedicated to the most heartwarming of human emotions, gratitude and recognition, but even more because it always falls on a Thursday. Still, it needs some great music.

    In the last century, we have begun moving as many holidays as we can to Monday; this gives people a three-day weekend, which they like, and it avoids the kind of disruption you get when a business shuts down for a day in the middle of the week.

    But Thanksgiving is even better than Memorial Day or Presidents' Day or Veterans' Day for a lot of us because it always happens on Thursday. For all students and for a lot of nine-to-five workers, that means a four-day weekend. And we can all use one of those now and again, particularly if we are going off to Grandma's to get overstuffed.

    So, if it's such a great holiday, quick name me a universally beloved piece of Thanksgiving music. All right; musicologists can come up with some pieces by Johann Sebastian Bach, maybe "Cantata 192," Nun danket alle Gott, but that isn't even in the Bach top-40, let alone the classical top-40, the way Handel's Messiah is. It is not part of people's lives, like "Silent Night" or "Deck the Halls." It is not a beloved tradition like Amahl and the Night Visitors or (in some places) Berlioz's L'Enfance du Christ or Benjamin Britten's A Ceremony of Carols.

    Somebody might mention that "Gloria in excelsis Deo," ("Glory to God in the highest"), which has been set to music by nearly everyone who ever composed for a chorus, is really a hymn of praise and thanksgiving - but it is a Christmas hymn, originally attributed to a choir of angels hovering over Bethlehem.

    If you want to stretch the point a little, the Mass, which has been set to music thousands of times, is really a prayer of thanksgiving. It is called the "Eucharist" by theologians, and "eucharist" ("evkharisto," as it is pronounced today) is the Greek way of saying "thank you." But that is only a generic form of thanks, with no particular connection to a Thursday in November.

    There are problems for anyone who decides to compose a piece of music for Thanksgiving - rather than one, say, for Christmas. For one thing, the observance of Thanksgiving is limited to one day per year - followed, as a rule, by several days of cold turkey - while the celebration of Christmas now seems to begin shortly after Labor Day. This means not only that there are a lot more opportunities to hear and perform Christmas music; it also means that the natural time for enjoying Thanksgiving music - the latter part of November - has already been captured by herald angels, jingle bells and red-nosed reindeer.

    That is not entirely an accident, of course. Thanksgiving was originally established in New England by the Pilgrim Fathers not only as a way of thanking God for a good harvest but also as a kind of competitor for Christmas. They thought the observance of Christmas had become contaminated with paganism (they should see what it's like today!) and they hoped that a celebration coming a month before it might take away some of its impact. They didn't win that battle, though they did establish a permanent spot for their contender. They might have had better luck if they had gotten somebody to write a few good tunes for their holiday, but the Pilgrim Fathers really weren't very interested in music.

    So we have a holiday with lots of good cheer but not much music - at least, not much on the level of Bach's Christmas Oratorio or even "Good King Wenceslaus." One problem, perhaps, is that Christmas had a big head start on Thanksgiving - 16 centuries, give or take a few decades - and its observance was spread through a variety of cultures and continents, sinking into people's subconscious awareness and generating all kinds of folklore spinoffs. So perhaps 1600 years from now, Thanksgiving will have acquired that kind of cultural patina.

    It's partly a question of mystique. Christmas is, at least for believers, a subject of mystery, a celebration of the birth of a miraculous child, an instance of God reaching out to touch humanity. Thanksgiving can be (and for many of us is) no more than an excuse for overindulgence and a chance to watch football games.

    But it is also a feast of mysticism and contemplation, a time - even now, in the midst of mourning over our great national tragedy - for reflection on how we have been favored; a time to express our recognition that some force larger than ourselves has, looked down upon us in our present sorrow and treated us kindly. That is a subject for great music.

    16 November 2001

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    Apprentice, Piano Grinnin's Avatar
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    Re: Are there any classical works that you connect with a holida

    Good article, KBOC. Thanks for posting it. It's true. There isn't much music out there for Thanksgiving. Well, not yet anyway. I'm getting some good ideas from the comments here about things to add to my "line up".

    Anyone have any music that makes them think of Halloween? (I gotta think about that one.)

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    Re: Are there any classical works that you connect with a holida

    Soundtrack from Holloween? (John Carpenter wrote it, btw...)

    or Tocatta & Fugue in D Minor (Bach) comes to mind as well

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    Vice Admiral Virtuoso rojo's Avatar
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    Re: Are there any classical works that you connect with a holida

    How about Night on Bald Mountain by Mussorgsky? And the Sorcerer`s Apprentice by Dukas. Maybe parts of Orff`s Carmina Burana also??

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    Re: Are there any classical works that you connect with a holida

    It's pretty hard not to associate William Henry Fry's Santa Claus Symphony with Christmas.

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    Captain of Water Music Thomas Dressler's Avatar
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    Re: Are there any classical works that you connect with a holida

    How about the 1812 Overture for the 4th of July? Every time I go to outdoor orchestra concerts with fireworks on the 4th, they play the 1812 Overture for the start of the fireworks.

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    Seaman, Mezzoforte
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    I suppose I could blame the connection on London Symphony Orchestra (not sure who is the "best" the world has to offer with Orchestras (another thread?) but I sure do enjoy this every time (I wonder how Handel would handle it if he could hear it?)

    (Do we have a christmas music thread anywhere?)

    http://www.rhapsody.com/player?type=...=false&__pcode=

    London Symphony Orchestra (A Classic Christmas-2001)
    "Joy To The World"

    cheers

    L

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    Admiral Honkenwheezenpooferspieler Corno Dolce's Avatar
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    None other than JSBach's *Christmas Oratorio* during Advent and Christmas.
    *If a man wants God to hear his prayer quickly, then before he prays for anything else, even his own soul, when he stands and stretches out his hands towards God, he must pray with all his heart for his enemies. Through this action God will hear everything that he asks* -Abba Zeno-

    *Protagoras: "Truth is subjective. What is true for you, and what is true for me, is true for me. Your opinion is true by virtue of its being your opinion."

    *Socrates: "My opinion is: Truth is absolute, not opinion, and that you are in absolute error. Since this is my opinion, then according to your philosophy you must grant that it is true."

    "Improvisational Art": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSxVO3EoCRM

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    Vice Admiral Virtuoso methodistgirl's Avatar
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    You can add Beethoven's 9th to the list because of the Song of Joy
    that came from it.
    judy tooley

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    Commodore con Forza Tûrwethiel's Avatar
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    I always associate Mr Bach's St Matthew Passion with Easter as, years ago, I used to spend half of Good Friday playing it in St Andrews Cathedral.

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    Commodore con Forza
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    i don't know or understand any of the holy days on the calendar, and it still amazes me since i'm a descendant of a very catholic family.

    i connect some classical pieces with other moments of my life, like anyone who listens to music.

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    Admiral Honkenwheezenpooferspieler Corno Dolce's Avatar
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    Aloha sunwaiter,

    Its sad to hear that you do not understand any of the Holy days on the calendar despite your being a descendant of a very Catholic family. Since you have made such a categorical statement I must then surmise that you are content with your ignorance of these matters, n'est-ce pas?

    Humbly,

    CD
    *If a man wants God to hear his prayer quickly, then before he prays for anything else, even his own soul, when he stands and stretches out his hands towards God, he must pray with all his heart for his enemies. Through this action God will hear everything that he asks* -Abba Zeno-

    *Protagoras: "Truth is subjective. What is true for you, and what is true for me, is true for me. Your opinion is true by virtue of its being your opinion."

    *Socrates: "My opinion is: Truth is absolute, not opinion, and that you are in absolute error. Since this is my opinion, then according to your philosophy you must grant that it is true."

    "Improvisational Art": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSxVO3EoCRM

  15. #15
    Commodore con Forza
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    yes, quite content. my thirst for culture is not as fervent as yours, bruddah.

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