Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The walking blues

While I was walking yesterday I thought about how I would get back into the, ahem, Music Critic Web log saddle. And I thought about how great musicians have found solace and inspiration in walking.

In a big biography of Robert Schumann by John Worthen I read that Schumann took long walks. When his daughter Marie was little she became his walking companion and they would walk for hours every day. Imagine being the grown-up Marie and remembering that years later, how you would walk with your father who was Robert Schumann. There is something so touching about that.

Beethoven's long walks were legendary, as illustrated by the picture up above. There are lots of other pictures like that! He used to look unkempt and was unmindful of the world around him and once he was detained because they thought he was a vagrant.

Johannes Brahms enjoyed the occasional Spaziergang which is German for walk.

What about T-Bone Walker?

Going back to the 19th century, I wonder if walking had something to do with inspiring some of the great music we have from that era. I wonder if that music could have come out of our current era, when it is so hard to find silence in which to concentrate.

Beethoven could walk down a road and not hear boom cars, you know?

Even when I go walking in Delaware Park, it is usually so noisy that I have to put in ear buds and listen to something just in defense.

Sometimes I would like to walk in silence but the silence that Schumann and Beethoven knew is just not there.

Hard luck, as the British would put it, for composers these days.

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