This week you will be listening to music compositions inspired from the animal world. The first selection was written by Aaron Copland, a 20th century American composer. You will hear the cat chasing the mouse up and down the keyboard with the mouse becoming more and more frantic. There is a brief calm and waltz-like section and then the chase is on again. Finally there is the low-pitched “funeral bell” and a series of chords, and at the very end a limping rhythmic figure. The enigmatic question remains- did the cat catch the mouse?
The stories abound regarding how masterworks come into being. We’ve heard of composers being inspired by moonlight, or thoughts of their beloved, or even dreams. And while some of these may have played a part in the process, the truth of the matter is that most of the time the creativity came out of an atmosphere of discipline and hard work. And so I pass on the next story advising you to take it with a “grain of salt.” Supposedly, Chopin was watching his cat play around the piano one day, chasing its tail and Chopin’s girlfriend at the time remarked that he should write a composition that would describe musically the playful antics of the cat, and thus he composed the Op. 34 No.3. Whether or not the story is true, what is true is that this delightful waltz is as quick and lively as a kitten!
Our musical tribute to animals would not be complete without including the Flight of the Bumblebee which has been played on just about every instrument imaginable. Which of these three pieces would you like to learn someday?
The Cat and the Mouse – Aaron Copland
Waltz Op. 34 No. 3- Chopin
Flight of the Bumblebee- Rimsky-Korsakav