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Classical Notes

Girl Power!

Posted at 5:22 PM on April 27, 2007 by Alison Young

The "Girl King," Christina Wasa of Sweden was an intellectual prodigy. It's claimed that she brought Descartes to Stockholm so she could carry on a conversation about the meaning of love. Sweden's famously cold temperatures and her early-morning study sessions contributed to his sudden death from pneumonia.

In the 1933 movie based on the life of Christina, Greta Garbo speaks a line that sums up her life in that cold, distant country, "One can feel nostalgia for places one has never seen."

As a ruler, Christina ended the Thirty Years War, maybe a bit too hastily as the Swedes were not able to capitalize on the spoils of war. But as far as music and the arts go, she enticed one of the most glittering and creative crowds of musicians and composers to her court from the far reaches of Europe, including places she had never seen but felt nostalgia for, like Italy. The group only disbanded after she abdicated the throne in her thirties to follow her zeal for Catholicism.

You can hear some of the music from her court and more tales about this amazing woman ahead of her time with the Minneapolis group The Rose Ensemble in concerts beginning next Friday.