A musical toast to the Top Ten Classical Mothers
With Mother’s Day celebrated this weekend, I thought it appropriate to take a look at musical mothers.
George Frideric Handel’s father wanted him to become a lawyer. Â Young George had different ideas, hiding a clavichord in the attic so he could practice. Â Handel’s mother, Dorothea, surely knew what was going on, but kept, well, mum.
Stories about Franz Joseph Haydn seem to always begin, “He was the son of a wheelwright,” but there was much more to Haydn’s family than that. Â Unlike Handel, Haydn was encouraged in music. Â His father played the harp, while Haydnâ€™s mother sang the melodies.
After the death of Erik Satie’s mother, his father remarried. Â His step-momÂ EugÃ©nie Barnetsche (a composer, pianist, and music teacher) and young Erik did not get along. Â She enrolled him in the Paris Conservatoire which he did not like, staying only to avoid military service. Â He also didn’t like studying, so he was kicked out, which meant he would soon be in the army. Â He got discharged by contracting bronchitis…on purpose. Â Satie wound up playing piano in the Chat Noir cabaret while continuing to study music on his own terms. Â Erik, you should have listened to your step-mom.
Wolfgang Amadeus’ mother went with him to Paris so Wolfgang could search for a higher paying job. Â His mother would become deathly ill and die while in Paris, leaving Mozart to fend for himself. Â Who knows what Mozart’s professional path would have been if his mother had been around.
Mother’s pop up often in music. Â Dvorak’s Songs my Mother Taught Me andÂ Mascagni’s Mamma quel vino e generoso from Cavalleria Rusticana, to name a couple. Â Here’s a list of the Top Ten Classical Mothers as compiled by Limelight Magazine.
Read Top Ten Classical Mothers (Limelight Magazine)