Tag Archives: Music Box

Robert Schumann’s hand injury

James L. Franklin  Chicago, Illinois, United States   Robert and Clara Schumann. By Eduard Kaiser. 1847. Via Wikimedia  The death of the American pianist Leon Fleisher (1928–2020)1 whose brilliant career as a piano soloist was upended in his mid-thirties by the development of a crippling movement disorder affecting his right hand, brings to mind the composer […]

The two nightingales

Inga Lewenhaupt Einar Perman Stockholm, Sweden   Jenny Lind standing at a keyboard. Library of Congress, Bain Collection. Accessed via Wikimedia. Source Two remarkable women were born in the same year two centuries ago: Jenny Lind (1820-1887) and Florence Nightingale (1820-1910). Both became world famous, Jenny Lind for her beautiful singing voice, Florence Nightingale for […]

Mahler’s endocarditis and broken heart

Michael Yafi Houston, Texas, United States   Gustav Mahler (1860–1911), Austrian composer, and his wife Alma (1879–1964) near Toblach.. Unknown photographer. 1909. ÖNB, Bildarchiv Austria, Austrian National Library Gustave Mahler (1860-1911) suffered from personal setbacks throughout his life. Despite receiving more acclaim in early 1900, the death of his daughter Maria from scarlet fever and […]

Four Women Dancing

The urge to move to music is universal. Dancing represents an essential part of human culture, and acts as a social unifier, increasing cohesion in a group. Collective effervescence, a concept created by sociologist Émile Durkheim, is what sits at the heart of dancing and gives it its unifying power. A more unified community is […]

Gymnopédie

Mark Tan Northwest Deanery, UK   First phrase of Gymnopédie. Erik Satie, 1888. Gymnopédie No. 1. Public domain Oblique et coupant l’ombre un torrent éclatant Ruisselait en flots d’or sur la dalle polie Où les atomes d’ambre au feu se miroitant Mêlaient leur sarabande à la gymnopédie [English translation]: Slanting and shadow-cutting a bursting stream […]

“Moonlight” and silence

Anne Jacobson Oak Park, Illinois, United States   Woman at the Piano. 1875/76. Pierre-Auguste Renoir. The Art Institute of Chicago. At seventeen, I knew little about the limitations or losses that might cause a person to second-guess a vocation, deeply held belief, or identity. Perhaps those questions about the unknowable future inhabit the soul of […]

Smetana, his music, his illness

Bedřich (Frederic) Smetana was one of the major figures of nineteenth century European music. Regarded as the founder of the Czech national school of music, he composed The Bartered Bride opera and the symphonic poem “Má Vlast” (My Homeland) with its beloved Vlatava (The Moldau) melody. Like Ludwig van Beethoven, he composed exceptional music even […]

Shostakovich and his mysterious neurologic disease

For most of his life Dmitri Shostakovich lived under the shadow of Joseph Stalin, the brutal dictator of the Soviet Union. In 1936, Stalin and some members of the Politburo attended a performance of Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk. Stalin did not like it. The next day, the opera was criticized, denounced, and ridiculed in […]

Medicine, musically

Willem Blois Halifax, Nova Scotia   Robert Pope, Visitors (1989) “This painting is like a psychological ecosystem, where the worlds of healthy and sick meet.” (Pope 1991) I sat on the piano bench, head down, staring at the space between middle C and the key above it. I could see my teacher out of the […]

The lost art and the hidden treasure

Jennifer Bingham Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania   It is the moment we catch ourselves wishing someone had mentioned how many pieces were in this puzzle that we look up to find progress. Photo by Pixabay from Pexels. The puzzle box is empty and the pieces are scattered across the table. After all, a puzzle was never meant […]