Thursday, January 01, 2009

2009: a year for celebrating

2009 is a year brimful of things to celebrate, including the birth of Felix Mendelssohn on 3rd February, 1809. Mendelssohn was not only a great composer, but also the man who reintroduced the music of the greatest of all composers, J S Bach, to the world.

Popular music fans think of 3rd February, 1959 as the day the music died, in the words of Don McLean in his song American Pie, because on that day Buddy Holly and two other musicians hardly worth mentioning died in a plane crash. Buddy Holly was only 22 years of age, and had created so many terrific recordings, it is no wonder that people commemorate that date.

But for me 28th February is also a special date, because it will be the centenary of my father's birth. I think of him nearly every day and sometimes think I am slowly turning into him! But I do not have his capacity for hard work, nor his methodical nature, both of which I greatly admire.

The great composer Handel died 250 years ago this year on 14th April, 1759. Beethoven believed that he was the greatest of all composers. I often wonder how much of Bach's music he knew? But I'm not disputing that Handel was one of the very top composers of all time.

Haydn is also to be remembered in 2009, because he died 200 years ago on 31st May, 1809.

Many people will be unaware of the great legacy of John Calvin, born 500 years ago on 10th July, 1509. Most people know very little about him and do not realise that he not only had a huge influence on the Christian Church but also on our modern democratic way of life. It is worth finding out more about him. Even one of his opponents recommended the reading of his biblical commentaries. I aim to complete the reading of his systematic theology The Institutes of the Christian Religion before the end of this year.

I am also celebrating two anniversaries of my own this year. On 29th September, 1959 I had my first piano lesson at Melody Lodge, Albert St Belmont from Mrs Joy Walton, from whom I learnt until I went to high school in 1965. I am grateful to her for starting me off on the journey of learning Music, which, as Rachmaninov said is enough for a lifetime, though a lifetime is not enough for Music.

And sometime in 1969 I began teaching piano, which I have continued to do ever since, except for a short break as a Churches of Christ minister in the early 1980s.

No comments: