September 2, 2013

"She was a carhop at the A & W root beer stand... That was in 1938... She gave me 75 years of her life...."



That's Fred Stobaugh. He's 96 years old. And you can cry 96 tears if you watch that video.

27 comments:

Jason said...

My favorite musical tribute to a lost love is still the Bach Chaconne in D minor, for solo violin - the most heartwrenching artistic expression of love and grief and faith ever conceived.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ssXHWY9rG0g

Johann Sebastian Bach returned from a trip to discover that his beloved wife Maria, who was in normal health when he left, had unexpectedly fallen ill and died. She was about 36.

Together, the couple had already survived the loss of three children, one just the year prior. Bach had four children surviving at that time.

The piece is a breathtaking tour of the stages of grief long before Elizabeth Kubler-Ross itemized them and put them down on paper.

I never appreciated the beauty of this piece until it came up next on my playlist on a long drive, and I just kept it on... and heard the transition to the major key at the half-way point, as if Bach had escaped his grief by falling asleep and began dreaming of her...and the passages following, as if Bach was covering his beloved's face with kisses. The harmonic language and the dance form evoke imagery of Bach taking his beloved's arm and walking her down the aisle. At 11:30, the violin becomes a church organ, and Bach seems to be reliving the day of their wedding...

And at 12:07, an awakening, to rediscover the heartbreaking fact that she is gone.

To this day I cannot listen to the Chaconne, played well, with a dry eye.

TML said...

That was great. How wonderful did they make him feel just by doing something so simple and beautiful?
My dad's wife Barbara died four years ago. It was terrible for him. My wife sent him this video. I'm glad she did because I wouldn't have been able to do it. I was surprised to learn that he made this book:

http://www.etsy.com/listing/151121561/mourning-barbara

People react in amazing ways after losing a spouse. Now my dad drives the West in his Airstream meeting people and taking pictures. If anyone wants to see them they're here.

https://www.icloud.com/photostream/#A4532ODWXZkWz

sonicfrog said...

THIS is why I'm a musician.

Yeah, getting paid to have fun is great and all, but the most worthwhile thing I've ever done as a musician is to volunteer my time and music along with a number of local musicians and play for the sick, sometimes terminally ill, kids at Valley Children's Hospital each Christmas for the last eight years. We give out presents after our show too.

It's heart-breaking, because you know some of the kids are not going to make it to see another Christmas.

Inga said...
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Inga said...
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RigelDog said...

I like how they hold off showing pictures of his beloved until near the end. The beauty of both of them, and the youth...alas, the youth.

RigelDog said...

I like how they hold off showing pictures of his beloved until near the end. The beauty of both of them, and the youth...alas, the youth.

mrs. e said...

Sweet story.

The Godfather said...

OK, Ann, yes you made me cry.

MadisonMan said...

Honesty in lyrics always shines through.

MadisonMan said...

And -- he looks pretty good for 96.

Inga said...

I didn't quite manage 96 tears, but I did get misty eyed. What a beautiful couple and how beautiful the love they shared for so many years. They were so fortunate to have had one another for so long. It's sad when the memories fade and it's hard to conjure up the face of the departed In one's mind. I guess that was the purpose of death masks before the advent of paintings and photos.

The melody is perfect for the lyrics, just lovely.

(I had to fix it)

Austin said...

The video was charming and "Sweet Lorraine" was moving and inspiring. As far as the Bach piece in concerned, it suffers badly in comparison. Note how it has to be carefully explained, with great specificity, in order for the poignancy and melancholy to be communicated. By contrast, the plain language of the "Sweet Lorraine" lyrics immediately make the profound sentiments expressed commonly accessible and deeply moving. No comparison.

Jason said...

Austin...

I didn't have to explain anything. The piece stands on its own, and has stood the test of centuries.

Sorry you're so deaf to music you need things spoon-fed to you.



Austin said...

Jason,
At risk of redundancy, your entire post was nothing more than a spoon-fed explanation of your unique interpretation of Bach's piece. So don't blame me because you were afraid to let the music stand on its own. Why didn't you just post a link without commentary?

Jason said...

Because not everyone else in the board is as obtuse as you are.

Austin said...

But again, your carefully detailed explanation of that worthless Bach piece reveals it to be as empty, meaningless,and irrelevant as you are.

Jason said...

The Chaconne is "worthless."

Funny. The Chaconne is widely regarded among violinists as one of the single greatest pieces ever composed for solo violin. Line up 100 professional violinists and ask them to name the top three solo violin piece ever concieved and the Chaconne will probably named by almost all of them, nearly 300 years after it was composed.

But you think it's "worthless."

Johannes Brahms wrote of the Chaconne: "On one stave, for a small instrument, the man writes a whole world of the deepest thoughts and most powerful feelings. If I imagined that I could have created, even conceived the piece, I am quite certain that the excess of excitement and earth-shattering experience would have driven me out of my mind."

But you think it's "worthless."

The Chaconne has been the subject of entire books devoted to its mysteries and meanings. But you think it's "worthless."

The Chaconne was widely considered the signature piece of Jascha Heifetz, the premiere violinist of the 20th century, who continued to perform it into his 70s.

But you think it's "worthless."

It was a signature piece for the nearly undisputed classical guitarist of the 20th century, Andres Segovia, who transcribed it for guitar.

But you think it's "worthless."

Violinist Joshua Bell - one of the top concert violinists in the world for years, said of the Chaconne: "not just one of the greatest pieces of music ever written, but one of the greatest achievements of any man in history. It's a spiritually powerful piece, emotionally powerful, structurally perfect."

But you think it's "worthless."

Yehudi Menuhin, one of the great violinists of the last century, said of the Chaconne: ""the greatest structure for solo violin that exists"

I can think of no more efficient way to establish your musical ignorance and insensitivity than what you've written here.

A smart guy might say, "you know? Maybe I should take another listen! I might... just MIGHT... be missing something.

What would YOU do, sir?

Austin said...

It's interesting you mention Joshua Bell. Approximately seven years ago, the Washington Post magazine ran a story where Bell played incognito at a busy intersection during the morning rush hour. Among the selections Bell performed was Bach's Chaconne now under discussion. The instrument Bell used was hand crafted by Antonio Stradivari, for which Bell paid 3.5 million. Anyway, almost nobody paid any attention to his music, though many people threw dimes and quarters his way. He collected about $33.00 in a little under an hour.


Jason said...

What a miserable toad-like existence you must lead.

I pity you.

Austin said...

What a vulgar, loathsome, and grotesque sense of being you exhibit.It is truly frightening.

ColibriNoctis said...

OMG... I can't believe that anyone who understands music, and/or has ever experienced loss, could ever say that the Chaconne was worthless!!!

I heard it some time ago... I do not know much about music, and next to nothing about Bach, and yet the Chaconne made me cry, well actually ball in tears throughout.
I didn't know that it was written 5 days after Bach's wife died, but I did know that it is heart wrenching and angry and bittersweet. It reminded me of death and loosing someone so precious and dear, but I only heard it without knowledge of its history.
If you all cannot get the story from the music itself, then you are either not listening or you have never experienced such loss of someone you loved more than yourself.
I totally agree with Jason, although my visual interpretation of this piece is a little different, it is by far better than "Sweet Lorraine" or any other modern piece could ever hope to be. It's the only piece of music that makes me cry every time I hear it, and while others will fade into time, Bach's Chaconne will still be played centuries from now.
Lara St. John's old version of this is the best I've heard, so if it doesn't move you, then I feel sorry for you.

Austin said...

No, it is I who feels sorry for you. Particularly if have genuinely deluded yourself into believing that Bach's Chaconne is anything but an endless, obnoxious, desultory, screeching, cacophony of irritating noise.

PS- The Emperor has no clothes.

Jason said...

Austin is like a blind man raging at the sighted.

ColibriNoctis said...

Lol...
Really Austen? Wow...
I bet that you probably never bothered to play the Chaconne again, if you ever had... in fact, I'm not certain that even if you did play it, like most people in the world, you only heard it, but you did not listen.
I'm sorry you do not understand it. I only ask that you do not pity me, because I really don't need it... One should only pity those who cannot help themselves, who are ignorant, and/or cannot understand.
Sadly you haven't defended your case at all, instead your previous comments show me just what kind of person you are...
You lack passion, and wisdom. You have proved yourself as a know-it-all, because instead of acknowledging that there are other pieces of work that can move another person, you call it "empty, meaningless, and irrelevant" not to mention "worthless"...
Just because you do not understand it doesn't make it any of those. I would pity you, but it's obvious you don't deserve it.
There's only one way to deal with a person like you, since you know everything, and are already so full in your own head, then I needn't waste another breath.
(In Layman's terms: I'm not going to spend any more time on you.)
Have a nice day! :)

Austin said...

Jason is like a disabled man raging at the able-bodied.



Austin said...

Jasen, really, now you're just begging. Quit it, it is undignified.