Valentine’s Day. Whether you love it or loathe it, it will be all around us this weekend! Ever eager to please, today MusiCB3 will try to cater to both camps. For those of you planning romantic moonlit serenades this weekend, read on for Valentine’s-themed music ideas for your programme. For those of you hiding at home until the heart bunting and pink confetti has disappeared from town, I hope that this post will prove to be mildly diverting and help to while away the time…
George Antheil‘s Valentine Waltzes for piano, and Roger Quilter’s setting of ‘Tis St Valentine’s Day, pictured above, are both in the borrowable sheet music collection at the UL, at classmarks M340.a.95.539 and M290.a.200.48 respectively. The latter is a setting of the song sung by Ophelia in Hamlet, and refers to an old English and Italian folklore that the first man they saw from their window on Valentine’s morning would be their true love. The Pendlebury holds a CD recording of Antheil’s waltzes at classmark CD.Q.137, and also the complete Quilter folk song arrangements on CD (CD.K.337). If one needed a serenade on a bigger scale, Howard Hanson’s ‘Romantic Symphony‘ (M310.a.95.600) could be just the ticket. Slightly bizarrely, an extract of this symphony was used, against Hanson’s will, at the end of the film Alien – not a particularly romantic film, but there you go.
In the sheet music collection at the Pendlebury, you can find Valentine’s pieces for solo flute by Rouse, and for flute and bells by Gorecki, both at 889.E.X2. Janáček’s Intimate Letters for string quartet can be found at classmark 874.D2.J6.
As for the Victorian sheet music at the UL, these are a couple of my favourite finds, both of which appealed to my weakness for colourful illustrated title pages. The cover of Quadrille d’Amour shows a lithograph by A. Laby of “Cupid firing arrows at young ladies in a garden”, while the song Naughty Cupid is decorated with “a portrait of Miss Emma Wilson as Cupid in Ixion” which was apparently one of the first Victorian burlesques to become popular in America.
The extensive DVD collection at the Pendlebury is well worth searching for the perfect Valentine’s entertainment, and can also offer a lot of relationship advice: Così fan tutte teaches us that tricking loved ones into falling for someone else will turn out just fine, while Bluebeard’s Castle reminds us to be wary of people with unusually-coloured facial hair. The Marriage of Figaro shows us that the course of true love never did run smooth, but then of course gives us a nice happy ending.
Happy Valentine’s weekend to all our readers!