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Classical Notes

Classical Notes: May 8, 2006 Archive

Soothing the savage beasts

Posted at 7:04 PM on May 8, 2006 by John Zech (5 Comments)
Filed under: The blog

OK, ok, I know. I know the quote from Congreve is "Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast" (geez, you people are picky). But I'm not interested in softening rocks or bending knotted oaks. It's the little beasties I'm concerned about.

Bob Christiansen blogged last month that his dog hates music, but I think music, classical music, must have a soothing effect on some critters.

A lot of our listeners tell us that MPR's classical music soothes them when their nerves are jangled, and it seems the Ramsey County Humane Society must agree. When we adopted our little kitty, Bijou, last December, I was very happy to hear All-Classical 99.5 FM on their radio.

Now whether it was chosen to keep the staff happy, or the cats and birds (and maybe dogs), I don't know. And I didn't ask. Bijou listens contentedly to our classical music whenever it's on, and (my wife assures me) she perks up her ears a little bit when her master's voice comes on the radio.

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Catching some (X-) Rays

Posted at 10:48 PM on May 8, 2006 by John Birge (183 Comments)
Filed under: The blog

Okay, this gets pretty esoteric pretty fast, but bear with me; I need someone smarter than I am to figure this out.

Looking at my musical almanac, I see that tomorrow is the birth anniversary of composer Julius Roentgen. I remember when one of our classical hosts wondered aloud on the air whether Julius was related to Wilhelm Conrad Rontgen, the man who discovered the x-ray. A listener called to say that she had studied piano with Julius in Berlin, and that Julius and Wilhelm were indeed brothers.

When I tried to confirm this fact, I got suspicious because none of the bios of the composer mention this fascinating connection. After a little more fact-checking, and may be able to put some of this idea to rest:

Julius Röntgen was born in Leipzig on 9th May 1855 the son of a Dutch-German father, Engelbert Röntgen, who was leader of the famous Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, and a German mother, the pianist Pauline Klengel.

Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen was born March 27, 1845, in the lower Rhine town of Lennep, the only child of Friedrich Conrad Röntgen, a well-to-do textile merchant, and his Dutch wife and cousin, Charlotte Constance Frowein.

So that suggests our listener heard it wrong. But I'm still intrigued. Given the German/Dutch connections in both families, perhaps Julius and Wilhelm were cousins, or otherwise related?

As I said, I need someone smarter than I to figure this out. So, "tag, you're it" ! Thanks in advance for the answer; I know that collectively, our listeners know everything! Thank God they don't have x-ray vision...

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