A musically inspired tour of Europe
It all started in the school recorder club. We joined as a family project, hoping to learn some music together and maybe create a little more harmony in our family life. But you never know where these things will lead. First to the embarrassment of being outplayed by six year olds. Then to the social death that comes from having to perform in the school end of term concert, in front of a hall full of school kids and their parents. Then to conversations at home about what fun music making can be, about the great Romantic composers and about how small and pannier friendly recorders are. And then there was that hilarious conversation about much fun it would be to get on our bikes with our recorders and whistle our way around Europe visiting the homes of great composers.
Whistling our way across Europe
Make a list of the great Romantic composers yourself and you’ll quickly realise you’ve got to start such a journey in Germany or Austria. With Bach, Handel, Beethoven, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Shumann, Haydn, Mozart, Mahler, Strauss and Schubert. Add to that a couple of salient cycling facts; that the only place you can take a tandem on a long distance train to in Europe is Munich; and that the Danube cycle path runs (downhill) through Germany to Austria and Hungary.
Then before you know it, you are planning the rest of your route around some C19th catchy tunes, and eminent ancient music makers; Liszt in Hungary, Janacek and Hummel in Slovakia, then for a great finale, Chopin in Poland. But no self respecting recorder playing family can embark on a music tour of Europe without being able to pick out a few tunes. So to kick off the trip, we’re going to teach ourselves a four recorder arrangement of the Blue Danube, with Hannah accompanying us on the harmonica. (an interestingly random sound!) Ferry passengers beware!
Then if we run out of money we can always busk our way through the major cities. Who knows what may develop from that? The Jackson Five, the Osmonds, The Wickes…