I wake up almost every morning with an earworm. Some fade quickly, other last for days. Sometimes they make me happy, sometimes they make me doubt my own sanity. They come from all genres. I can rarely know what triggers them. The only thing I do know and that they do without fail is reinforce my belief that all music is connected and good music never goes out of style.
Both Canada and the US threw parties in the first week of July. National anthems were a big part of those patriotic celebrations. The anthems were written and chosen purposefully to tell a story, so here’s my little blog about the anthems and the story they tell.
July 1 – Canada Day
July 1 marks marks Canadian confederation – the creation of the nascent dominion of Canada. It’s like a birthday, or maybe a wedding. It marks a becoming, and a coming together.
Interestingly, it was not called Canada Day until 1982. Until then it was called Dominion Day.
The Canadian national anthem – O Canada – was written by Calixa Lavallée. It wasn’t officially our anthem until 1980 but it had been performed and sung as an anthem for decades. It had some early competition in the songs The Maple Leaf Forever by Alexander Muir, and God Save the Queen.
July 4 – Independence Day
Americans celebrate their independence day on July 4th. It is a celebration of becoming autonomous from the British Crown. It’s a coming of age party. It marks a becoming, and a breaking of old ties.
The American national anthem is The Star-SpangledBanner, which uses the tune of a popular British song called To Anacreon inHeaven written by John Stafford Smith (is that ironic? maybe? declaring independence from Britain but always celebrating it by singing a British song?)
As is the case with all too many things historical, the talent of women composers is underrepresented in the genre of classical music. In spite of the odds being against them women wrote, and continue to write, exceptional classical music that can be enjoyed today. They deserve more exposure, so it feels like a good idea to do my bit to mitigate our cultural musical myopia.
Below are some female classical composers whose works I have encountered, with links to music samples for each of them.
1) Ruth Crawford Seeger (July 3, 1901 – Nov 18, 1953) (née Ruth Porter Crawford) was a modernist composer and later composed folk music.
I have broad, perhaps somewhat eclectic taste in music. This is by accident rather than design. Most of the genres outside what gets airplay on popular radio I have luckily stumbled upon while on other paths. Our culture doesn’t really expose young people en masse to much more than current popular music, and that’s a shame. I feel like it’s a good idea to do my bit to mitigate our cultural musical myopia.
Below are links to 31 works of classical music by composers you’ll find on my iPod, and one link to works by a composer most of us would know – all artists born in June, whose works I have enjoyed.