Danzi, Franz

Danzi: Franz,1763–1826, German composer.

I listened very carefully as she exclaimed, “A German composer I do not know!”

I was a little bit surprised, since the woman speaking has a Master’s in Music and also plays a darned mean oboe. She’s been in orchestras for years and even taught Music Appreciation.

It made me interested in who Danzi was. (That’s when I’m suddenly grateful for the Internet, instead of needing to pull out my encyclopedia.)

In no time at all, there he was—with an artist’s drawing of a very small man wearing glasses—the personification of studious.

He composed a lot of music—a list of at least two hundred pieces.

So I asked myself, why don’t we know more about him?

Why do some people get recognition in their time and great placement in the history books, and others, second or third position in notoriety for their lifespan, and total rejection from history?

Then I looked at the dates of his birth and death: 1763—1826.

I immediately understood.

If you don’t know a lot about music, you might still be unaware of why there was a lapse in popularity for Mr. Danzi. (Or shall we be overly familiar and call him Franz?)

Franz had one big problem.

His lifespan nearly paralleled that of Ludwig von Beethoven.

So when Franz was writing one of his favorite pieces—like Symphonie Concertante in Eb Major for Wind Quartet and Orchestra, Beethoven was stumbling around the Germanic kingdom stunning audiences with his symphonies and antics.

Overshadowed.

You can be set aside because you do good work and somebody does it louder, or you can even be considered less malicious because a more malevolent fellow is in your era. For instance, there may be other infamous assassins, but John Wilkes Booth takes the balcony.

It was a good thing for me to read.

Talent isn’t always brought to the forefront.

It isn’t always appreciated.

Talent is often suffocated by other effort that sets off more fireworks or, as in the case of Herr Beethoven, pulls it off “deaf-ly.”

Clef

Clef: (n) a sign placed at the beginning of a musical staff to determine the pitch of the notes.

Back in the day when Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue, if a young man wanted to be a seafaring fellow, he had to sign up on one of the boats and stay on it throughout its journey, so at the end of the process, if he survived all the perils and diseases, he could be
considered a grizzled, rugged seaman.

Although the analogy may be a poor fit, such a journey was mine with music.

I signed up to travel the sea of notes and time signatures, but after three years of practicing my piano, I decided it was “girly-girl” and I quit in favor of a football helmet and a mouthpiece.

Yet I never lost interest in the instrument. I especially found it conducive to wooing young ladies, who were more impressed with someone who was tuneful than someone who could tackle.

Here was my problem: since I didn’t complete the journey on the “Good Ship Music” and learn all the information and comprehend the significance of each and every clef, I sometimes found myself temporarily appearing inadequate. I learned to exaggerate and lie.

So when my musical companion showed up twenty-two years ago, to join me in the construction of original compositions, I was quickly exposed by this lady with a Master’s in Music, to be less-than-adept at both terminology and technology.

I had to come clean.

I had to explain to her that I could read the notes, but when my right hand and right eye tried to join with my left hand and left eye to play both bass and treble clefs, I suddenly developed a severe case of “fumbleitis.”

Because I was honest, she was very merciful. She let me pace myself at a realistic rate based upon my true ability.

And like the young man who got on the ship to sail the Seven Seas, who decided to stay on at the first port because he favored the local rum over the ocean run, I, too, have to admit my lack of tenacity.

But because I hung around, listened, observed and learned–and was blessed to be in the presence of a really patient partner–it now appears that I have a good understanding of the working end of a clef.

 

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