Why Does This Remind Me of Christmas?

December 19, 2008

With Christmas getting near, I want to share with you some music by a man who I consider to be one of the greatest Europeans, Johann Sebastian Bach.

What is the connection with Christmas? Well I don’t know exactly, maybe it’s a childhood association, or maybe it’s the fact that the music seems to glisten like Christmas tree lights, or maybe it’s the dark minor key mystery that associates it with the darkest time of the year when magical things are expected to happen?

Whatever the reason, this music always reminds me of Christmas!

http://eurofile/2008/12/why-does-this-remind-me-of-christmas.html

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Bach’s Mass in B Minor

December 13, 2008

After posting about Beethoven (as I did in the previous post) and giving the chance to listen to the entire performance of one of the greatest interpretations of his monumental 9th Symphony, I felt like continuing the classical music theme, so to speak.

No blog that claims to be about Europe could possibly be complete without at least one piece, and ideally more, by that awesome genius of counterpoint, J. S. Bach. You are in good hands here, because what you are about to hear (should you choose to click the play button) is an extract from one of the most incredible works of music in all history, the Mass in B Minor. Not only that, but this performance, by John Eliot Gardiner, is acclaimed by critics the world over.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a religious person to appreciate this music, you just need to be someone who can recognize beauty in sound.


The Cultures of Germany, Italy, and France

December 11, 2008

I did a post a couple of days ago that was prompted by a question someone had asked on BlogCatalog and which I just randomly happened to see on there. The question was “What comes to mind when you think of Sweden?”

Well, I was thinking a bit more about this, and I decided to do a similar thing for all the other countries of the European Union, and in that way, I can compile my own personal view of the EU. To keep this a bit manageable, I will start with just a few of the 27 countries. I’ll start by looking at the bigger countries, and the ones I know most about, the larger countries of Western Europe. These are Germany, Italy and France.

When I think of Germany, it is music that comes to mind. Among my favourite classical composers are Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, and Mahler. This is cheating slightly because two of these were from Austria, and another spent most of his life in Austria, but as Germany and Austria are both in the EU it doesn’t matter, because in a sense, they are now both part of the same country.

When I think of Italy, it is food and painting that comes to mind. I love Leonardo and Michelangelo, and also Botticelli and Masaccio and Caravaggio and Tintoretto and many others. I also like pizza and pasta and ice cream.

When I think of France, it is science and mathematics that comes to mind. The list of French scientists is much too long to be contained in one blog post. I also think of Paris, which is the greatest city on earth.

My aim is to post in detail on all of the above topics in the coming weeks. Also, I intend to look at all the other countries of the European Union in the same kind of way.

So I suggest that you bookmark or favourite or follow or subscribe to this blog, to partake of the delights that are to come! And I will welcome any comments (nice polite ones please) with any thoughts you may have about the EU and its amazing culture, or about any of the individual countries.