23 Jul Friendship Day
You do not get to choose your family, your coworkers, the people you know, or who you fall in love with. You do, however, get to choose your friends.
A good friend is trustworthy, wants what is best for you, and is dependable in times of need, even at their inconvenience.
We would all be far better off if we all had more good friends. Imagine a world where trust, goodwill, and philanthropy were commonplace?
The UN thinks so, so they established a day to encourage the forming and strengthening of friendships.
To celebrate International Friendship Day, Stingray Classica is broadcasting back-to-back works of legendary composers who were great friends in their time.
The Father of Symphony, Joseph Haydn, celebrated the talent of his good friend with the words: “I have often been flattered by my friends with having some genius, but he was much my superior”. This superior conductor was none other than Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Upon Haydn’s departure to London, both he and Mozart were driven to tears, knowing it was to be their last goodbye. Mozart’s death a year later shocked and saddened Haydn greatly. Mozart’s son was granted tutelage under Haydn after Haydn promised it as a way to honour his friend.
Starting from 2 PM on Saturday, 30 July, Stingray Classica will broadcast Haydn’s Symphonies No 83 & 84, followed by Mozart’s opera La Clemenza di Tito.
The following friendship started when an unknown student rocked up at the door of Robert Schumann unannounced with a letter of recommendation. The young man’s musical talents astounded both Schumann and his wife Clara, and the three became lifelong friends. This young man was Johannes Brahms. Schumann wrote an article declaring Brahms’ genius to the public, attempting to help the unpublished talent. It opened a lot of doors for Brahms but also worsened the man’s crippling perfectionism. After Schumann’s premature death, his wife Clara stayed good friends with Brahms, and the two continued to promote each other’s work.
At 9 PM on Saturday, 30 July, we’ll broadcast Schumann’s Piano Quartet, Op 47, followed by Brahm’s magnum opus Ein Deutsches Requiem.
Our final matchup comprises the two men who represent the late flowering of German Romanticism. Their friendship became hard to maintain, however. One was a German and the other a Jew, and the Nazies were rising to power. Despite this, Richard Strauss and Gustav Mahler continued to promote each other’s works through thick and thin. In his reluctant role as president of the Reichsmusikkamer (the Reich Music Chamber), Strauss continuously fought to have Jewish talent perform on German stages, including Mahler’s work, which got banned at the time. A letter from Strauss to Stefan Zweig got intercepted by the Gestapo in which he wrote: “Do you believe I am ever, in any of my actions, guided by the thought that I am ‘German’? Do you suppose Mozart was consciously ‘Aryan’ when he composed? I recognise only two types of people: those who have talent and those who have none.” Strauss got fired shortly after.
On Sunday evening, Mahler’s Symphony No. 6 will be performed under the direction of Sir Simon Rattle OM CBE. Later on the same evening, we’ll be playing Straus’ Eine Alpensinfonei, Op 64.
Join us in this celebration of musical friendships with the Friendship Day stunt, on Friday and Saturday evenings, 30 & 31 July, on Stingray Classica (ch 332)
Author: Jan Hendrik Harmse