Friday, October 22, 2010

Unexpected Pleasures


One of the unexpected pleasures of living in Laury's house is discovering those things she knows that I don't. Music, for example. Her classical music CD's include composers I recognize, of course, like Beethoven, Chopin, Rachmaninoff. But it also includes a composer whose name isn't common household knowledge...at least not to me. Joseph Bodin de Boismortier was a French composer popular in the mid-1700's. His Baroque pieces usually featured the flute and the recorder as he composed simple pieces that could be easily learned by amateur musicians. Boismortier was unusual in that he did not have a patron and made his fortune purely by composing music and selling it. It's interesting that someone so successful has slipped into obscurity. I chose this YouTube video to share because it features the viola de gamba, one of my favorite instruments. If you search YouTube, you can certainly find other examples of his work.

The first time I listened to Laury's Boismortier CD I felt this centuries-old house speak to me as the music caressed its ancient stones and beams. It was as if the Baroque music reminded it of its glory days...those years in the 16th,17th and 18th centuries when this house and this village were in their prime, bustling with activity, trade, and travelers; those centuries between the Hundred Years' War and the Revolution that would sweep France in the late 1780's when peace provided a vibrant economy and the Chateau provided opportunity for trade rather than conflict. Oh, if these walls could speak!

'Unexpected Pleasures' will be an occasional blog topic here. Look for future posts on music, books, the arts, and culture.

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