If you were to ask me about my strongest childhood memories, two things immediately come to mind: the piano and my school lunchbox with a blue penguin painted on its cover. All I can remember about the lunchbox was that it accompanied me everywhere I went and was made of tough tin metal, as were most lunchboxes back in the day.
Tonight’s program presents three musical figures that span over 250 years of Western music history. Although one can immediately note considerable differences in each composer’s style or life story, there is one binding factor that brings all three of these composers together: Each composer had left his homeland and readily assimilated into a new culture – a new home where each conceived some of his greatest works.
With the release of a new CD of Karol Rathaus’s piano music, numerous performances of his compositions this season and an unabashed enthusiasm for the research of his works, I thought it would be ripe time-wise to write a blogpost on precisely what triggered my interest in this composer’s life & works.
Is there some mystical blood of Chopin that runs through every Pole’s veins? Or, does every Polish Jew really eat lox and bagels for breakfast? Stereotypes have an odious way of lingering in the human psyche. We love them! They’re as savory as the oozing melt of Vanilla-Pecan-Caramel ice cream on a sweltering, humid day. Yet, deep down we all know just how false these banal pigeonholes truly are. For after the great sugar-rush and surge of dopamine release, we’re left with a jittering void that’s not easily overcome.