Breslau tales for Music Lovers

These texts written by Beata Maciejewska and compiled into Breslau Tales for Music Lovers read as if they were songs composed according to some classical rules of composition. The author begins with an overture, preparing the reader for what is to come.

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She writes: Aristotle insisted that music improves our manners. But he could say this because he did not know of the Augustinians of Wrocław, who indeed loved music like no one else and who had temper as violent as the football fans of “Śląsk” Wrocław.

In another place she writes: The devil is playing a sonata, the angel is playing a rhapsody. The infernal violinist is playing in Żmigród on the palace grounds; the celestial musician – in Grabiszyn (Gräbschen) Cemetery. The devil is more gifted, he is playing his own song. The angel has not even learnt the notes adequately.

And in still another place: Breslau University professors knew how to transact business. They gave Brahms an honorary doctorate and... demanded a gift of gratitude.

And elsewhere: An angelic chorus and a chorus of adulators sound most beautiful, but a chorus of drinking students can also be pleasing to the ear. Especially after the sixth beer you’ve had in the beer hall of the Schweidnitzer Keller or Piwnica Świdnicka, which the residents of the old town of Breslau will readily confirm.

After such an overture no tranquillamente is to be hoped for. Because the author prefers songs played at allegro to the stately adagio, or even andante. But if need be, she will sway the reader’s emotions from the sweetest dolce, through the sensuous misterioso to the wild furioso. With a virtuosic precision, she guides her reader to places, events, milieux where music was created for centuries, where music was played and where, most importantly, it was listened to. Sometimes maestoso, sometimes cantabile, sometimes lacrimoso or scherzando, not giving the reader a moment’s respite. Like a consummate musician, commanding a hold on the audience, she will not loosen her grip until the very last bar.

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