If music be the food of love, play on
— Twelfth Night, William Shakespeare
Forget chocolates, roses or heart-shaped balloons. When it comes to romantic gestures, you can't beat a dawn serenade written by your lover and played by some seriously classy musicians... Or a delicate string quartet as a souvenir of a blissful holiday in the Alps... Flowers can make you smile, but music makes you feel.
The grand gesture mentioned above is Wagner's Siegfried Idyll, the luscious tone poem written for his wife, Cosima, to celebrate the birth of their first child. Just as romantic but less well-known is Webern's short but oh-so-sweet Langsamer Satz which opens Esmé Quartet's program this May, and written as a love letter to the woman he hoped to marry. She said ‘yes'!
In honour of Valentine's Day, the Musica Viva Australia staff have selected some more top tunes to melt your heart.
Leah Blankendaal, ACT State Manager, nominates Henry Mancini's unforgettable theme to the 1970s classic movie, Love Story. Mel Stjepanovic loves Papageno and Papagena's playful duet from Mozart's The Magic Flute. Director of Concerts and Communities, Katherine Kemp, says, ‘the one that always gets me is Arleen Auger accompanied by Dalton Baldwin, with Stephen Foster's song 'No One to Love'. It's so so beautiful and very sentimental.’
Director of Development, Zoë Cobden-Jewitt says, ‘at the risk of serious Fromage Factor, I'd suggest the Intermezzo from Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana. It's a real tearjerker'. Meanwhile, composer and education co-ordinator Julia Potter says, 'what could be more romantic than Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet Overture?’
We could go on... But for now, enjoy this Spotify list of 24 heartfelt harmonies, from William Bolcom's Amor to Georg Frideric Handel's Ombra mai fu. And then, why not let us know your favourite soundtrack for romance?
Happy Valentine's Day.