All these years of Celebrating Time, all these days of trying to come up with what had happened on all those days (till my readers got sick of reading about saints), and I’d never realized that Brahms and Tchaikovsky were born on the same day. May 7. And yes, it was really May 7 because it was after all the calendric corrections I won’t go into.
The very helpful Gregg Whiteside on WRTI pointed this out this morning (If you Google Gregg Whiteside, by the way, you’ll find out he came to us courtesy of WQXR in New York, who fired him due to a (reportedly) anti-semitic private remark to a friend (some friend!)). If you’d asked me, before I heard this, how close in age I thought they were, I would have said, judging by their music, Brahms was born at least 50 years after Tchaikovsky.
Not true. Brahms was actually seven years younger.
See for yourself – two of my favorite pieces by each. (You may get distracted during the first, from Swan Lake, by the incredible pipe-cleaner arms of Anna Pavlova.)
And now, excerpts from Brahms Requiem.
Interesting. Just realized my two favorite pieces are both about death.