First, it's Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's birthday. Last year I read the book Marrying Mozart (don't bother, is what I have to say about that). I know who he married, so there is no mystery or anticipation when reading about how he dated all of her sisters first. I have been trudging through his 2nd horn concerto for months and months with my horn teacher, apparently unable to play the 16th notes smooth enough. Today, in Mozart's honor, I'll give it another shot.
Second, it is the birthday of Jerome Kern. What a song writer! Ol' Man River, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, Only Make Believe (I was just a kid when I first heard Howard Keel singing Only Make Believe in Showboat, and I was suddenly in love--was it with Keel's deep and chocolaty voice, or was it Kern's sense of melody--maybe both). And when Fred Astaire sings The Way You Look Tonight in Swing Time--swoon. Yes, I know Astaire was doing the singing, and I know Kern didn't write the lyrics, but he was at the root of the joy. I have a CD of Barry Tuckwell (a famous horn player) slipping around in Kern melodies (my husband calls it French horn elevator music), but when Tuckwell plays The Way You Look Tonight, I nearly have to pull over and listen to it in Park (if I'm driving at the time--otherwise, I can just sit back and enjoy).
Third, today is Lewis Carol's birthday, author of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. I clearly remember seeing the handwritten manuscript in a case at The British Museum, but I can't quite figure out how to relate Carol or Alice to the French horn.
Fourth, today is the anniversary of the death of Giuseppe Verdi, noted composer. My orchestra is playing opera these days, and Verdi is on the list for the concert we're giving in a couple of weeks. I am playing 4th horn this time around, and I wish I understood why any composer would write exposed parts for the schlep in the fourth chair.
Someday, when I'm feeling low, and the world is cold, I will feel a glow just thinking of you, and the way you look tonight.