For me, Valentine’s Day is no more than an occasion for retailers to sell flowers and chocolates. But for lovers, I think every day can be Valentine’s, and a special thought, sweet message, or just a tender hug can be more inventive, expressive and seductive than mere flowers and chocolates.
I’ve received my share of Valentine’s gifts, from red roses (although I have a preference for white) to fancy chocolates with multicoloured fillings (while I crave only plain dark chocolate with almonds), and handmade cards lovingly prepared by my children (probably my favourite).
But so far, I have yet to receive any music.
So what kind of music reminds you of love? In the world of classical music, apart from some of the opera arias, which pieces are considered famous for their romance? How about Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet? This has been used numerous times in vintage black and white features where lovers only hold hands and lock eyes, but never kiss. Or Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, as used in the 1980 feature Somewhere in Time (where I could never understand how Jane Seymour could fall for Superman)? I can think of hundreds of modern love songs, but my mind just goes blank when it comes to classical music.
I asked two very knowledgeable musicologists who, although they tried hard, came up with very limited suggestions. So I ended up posting my question on a classical music forum.
The very few answers put together wouldn’t last even one Valentine’s night! But I did get some interesting ones, including the shower scene music from Psycho (I hope my evening doesn’t end like this one). Another was Barry White, whom I really like, having danced numerous times to his Love’s Theme. However, he has not turned to classical music… yet!
Nevertheless, below are some of the suggestions from the Forum (which appealed to me):
– Brahms’ Clarinet Trio: third movement
– Schumann’s Piano Quartet: third movement
– Schumann’s Romance
– Elgar’s Salut d’Amour
– Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto: second movement
– Shostakovich’s Romance
And a beautiful poem that sounds almost like music:
The keen stars were twinkling,
And the fair moon was rising among them,
The guitar was tinkling,
But the notes were not sweet till you sung them
As the moon’s soft splendour
O’er the faint cold starlight of Heaven
So your voice most tender
To the strings without soul had then given
The stars will awaken,
Though the moon sleep a full hour later
No leaf will be shaken
Whilst the dews of your melody scatter
Though the sound overpowers,
Sing again, with your dear voice revealing
Of some world far from ours,
Where music and moonlight and feeling
— Percy Bysshe Shelley
I think each of these pieces is probably related to some personal experience of the listener. Unfortunately for me, I don’t have many music-related memories, but I do have a list of music that inspires love in me – love for my family, GaMe, my friends, Pippin, nature, wine, music, music, music, and so on….
Below is part of my selection:
– Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet: first movement
– Bach’s Goldberg Variations: Aria by Glenn Gould
– Galuppi’s Piano Sonata by Michelangeli
– Gabriel Fauré’s Après un rêve
You can find all of the above in our Selected Videos section, as well as:
Brahms: Clarinet Quintet, first movement
Schubert: String Quintet, Adagio
Arvo Pärt: Alina
Mozart: Clarinet Concerto
Now it’s your turn to send me your Valentine’s music selection.
Photo credit: heatherpringle.wordpress.com