Most people are familiar with Beethoven’s piece “Fur Elise,” but there are still questions about who the piece was written for. The original manuscript, which has since been lost, was composed when he was forty years old and going deaf. It was dated 27 Apr 1810. It was found upon Beethoven’s death by Ludwig Nohl in 1826, but it wasn’t published until nearly forty years later in 1865. (If you’re trying to piece together a timeline in your head, that was the same year the civil war ended in America.)
The version we know today was the first draft transcribed by Nohl, but there was also a later revised and incomplete version in Beethoven’s hand dated 1822 that used arpeggios in the left hand and had a few extra bars.
It isn’t certain who Elise was, but there are a few possibilities:
The manuscript may have been transcribed wrong, and it may have been “Fur Therese,” as in Therese Malfatti. Beethoven was in love with her and proposed marriage to her in 1810, but she turned him down and married someone else.
It may have been written for soprano Elisabeth Rockel (called Elise and Betty) who had befriended Beethoven in 1808.
It may have been written for Juliane Katharine Elisabet Barensfeld (called Elise) who was a child prodigy and live with Beethoven’s friend Johann Malzel. Supposedly, Beethoven dedicated the song to the 13-year-old Elise as a favor to the above mentioned Therese who lived next door to Malzel.
There is also a theory that ‘Elise’ was a general term for ‘Sweetheart.’
Whomever the girl was, she must have been very special for him to dedicate to her such a beautiful piece.
Being a professional musician all my life, I’ve always given thought to where my musical talents came from. My mother sang in church. I have a great grandmother and a great great grandfather (different lines) who played a pump organ. I also have a great grandfather from Ireland who played the fiddle. But the one who usually comes to mind is my maternal grandfather Earl Culpepper.
I have many fond memories of sitting on the front porch with him as he played his guitar and sang. Sometimes he’d even pull out his harmonica and use some contraption around his neck to hold it up to his mouth. He always sang “Hey Good Lookin'” by Hank Williams and sounded a lot like him.
Earl was born in Mississippi on Christmas Eve of 1914 to Sam Culpepper and Annie Blanks. He was the eighth child of the union and a girl follow him. At age 21, he married Ina Inez Burke and they had two daughters – one being my mother. Earl worked his whole life at the Burnley Shirt Factory in Meridian. After his wife died in 1975, he married a lady from the factory who was widowed. They married in 1977. Earl died 5 Mar 1994 at the age of 79 at Anderson Hospital following respiratory failure/aspiration pneumonia following a stroke. He was buried next to Ina at Liberty Baptist Cemetery, Duffee, Newton Co, MS. MS death cert no 9405973.
Just because I’m moving to Nashville in three days doesn’t mean I’m going country, but sometimes unexpected cool things just happen. I like Dolly, but I wouldn’t say I’m a fan. I like a few of her songs and she seems to be a kick-ass business woman. She’s a fabulous song writer and everyone agrees, she’s a nice person. I don’t think anyone has ever said a bad word about her. That being said, her voice is a little squeaky to me, not very pleasant, until you turn her 45 on 33 rpm.
Whew – these books have taken over my life for the last two weeks. Let’s do something different!
I’d like you to meet someone. This man is very dear to me. I’d like to introduce you to the incomparable Skip Pruitt. We spent a few years on the road together, and he is a dear! We spent more nights than I can count, sitting at the dining table on the tour bus, coloring pictures of The Little Mermaid and watching the same movie over and over again while heading to the next town…and the next…and the next. We only had one VHS with us (Yes, it was a few years ago), and believe it or not, I can’t for the life of me remember the name of the movie, but I DO have blackmail photos around here somewhere of him coloring pretty pictures! Now, why would we only have one movie with us but have a whole box of crayons? I think my next Monday Music blog will be about packing for road gigs.
Skip is a master. His tone, his soul, his stage presence, his professionalism are second to none. His love for the music, the melody, the meaning of the song simply oozes out of every note he plays. He has a new Christmas CD coming out November 21st and I can hardly wait!
In the meantime, this will have to tide us over. This is my FAVORITE gospel song, written by the great Richard Smallwood. Skip puts a whole new meaning to the song Total Praise.
Saturdays are the days I usually post snippets of one of my books, but today is slightly different. As many of you know, when I’m not writing historical fiction books, I’m playing music – the whole “professional musician by night, indie author by day” thing. That being said, I tend to get caught up in the music of the time of whatever book I’m writing. My latest work takes place in 1812, the setting is the Mississippi Territory, known today as Clarke County, Alabama, and a few of the characters are Mvskoke (Muskogee Creek Indian.) Because of this, I’ve been listening to traditional Creek music for the last few months, and this particular song has stuck in my head. It feels more like an ancient chant than a song, and I can’t stop playing it. It is “Heleluyvn.”
Here’s an excerpt from “Elly Hays” coming Nov 4 to all online retailers. Elly is my 5th great grandmother, and the book is the third in the Okatibbee Creek series.
The laborers had erected a small makeshift platform in the middle of the meadow. It rose two feet off the ground so Tecumseh could be seen above the massive gathering of people. Rumors had circulated for months that he would come, as it had been foretold by a bright comet in the nighttime sky in March of 1811, and the gathering crowd numbered into the hundreds, perhaps closer to a thousand, representing over a dozen of the twenty Mvskoke clans.
As the people waited for him to take the platform, they grew increasingly impatient. They had been assembling for days to hear him speak, so not only were they weary from their travels, but the scorching sun was not improving their disposition. The air was as stagnant as the wait, with not even the slightest of breezes to offer relief from the stifling heat. The afternoon sun melting into evening had made them agitated, and they grumbled and occasionally began chanting for the great warrior to appear and address them. When he did not take the platform after a few minutes, the chanting quieted to a dull objection, only to start up again within a short amount of time.
Over the last few months, reports had surfaced that the Americans would once again declare war against the British. Before and since the revolution, the British had befriended the Indians, asking for their help in warding off the Americans’ expansion. Since the Indians considered the land theirs in the first place, they were pleased to oblige. The Indians had never asked for a favor in return, but the waves of white settlers were growing, continually trespassing upon their tribal land. They needed help, they needed answers, they needed to stop the encroachment. They eagerly awaited Tecumseh’s speech and they were anxious to hear a plan. They wanted to know what he wanted of them. If the reports of an impending war were true, perhaps this was the time to join forces with the British and defeat the white man once and for all.
Finally, a group of elders dressed in vibrant tribal robes with headdresses embellished with porcupine fur and hawk feathers stepped up onto the platform. The cheer began small and grew to a fevered pitch as it spread across the field of warriors like a breeze washing over wheat. The elders greeted the crowd and led them in singing their tribal anthem, “Heleluyvn,” following which the crowd erupted again in anticipation of the great warrior’s arrival.
Hi everyone! I’ve miss you all so much and will hop around the next week and catch up. I have been working out of town for the last eight weeks and completely out of the country for the last five. I have one thing to say about the experience: Satellite Internet is for the birds!
So, now that I’m back, here are the highlights from my last eight weeks: I’ve been working on a ship and going back and forth to Bermuda which is a lovely place. I passed the Statue of Liberty a dozen times. I watched 4th of July fireworks from a UK territory (Thought that was funny!). I had chefs and housekeepers take care of me so much that I admit I’m lazy now and a few pounds heavier. I missed my pets and my trophy hubby more than words can say. I met amazing people from all over the world and now have new and fabulous friends who have invited me to wonderful places like Honolulu and Barcelona. I lost my luggage only once (Deltas fault, not mine). In my downtime, which was constant, I finished the rough draft of my next novel “Elly Hays” and hope to release it in October.
That’s about it. Here are photos:
Oh, look, there’s the Statue of Liberty…again
My floating office
Bermuda’s Horseshoe Bay
I visited a lot of historical sites. This is St. Peter’s Church in St. George, Bermuda. It was built in 1602.
…and the Maritime Museum at Heritage Wharf. Those stone walls don’t look that big, but they were over 20 feet high.
I’ve been a professional musician for mumble mumble years, so I thought it would be fun to write a post or two on music. Some will be about actual music, some about performance, some about my personal experiences in the business, most will be sarcastic and jaded. If you are a musician, enjoy. If you know a musician, send them over. If you’re not a musician, maybe you’ll gain a bit of insight into the business that is music.
This post is titled: The Guys in the Band vs. The Bar Owners.
I can’t say this enough. Be loyal to your musician friends–ALWAYS.
I’ve played in clubs for years, and all the clubs I’ve played in are now gone. Clubs have a shelf-life of 8-ish years. Bars come and go, bar owners come and go, bar managers come and go, but guess what? I’m still working with the same fabulous musicians I started my career with decades ago. If a club owner offers to bring you back to the club as a solo, because he doesn’t like your band, tell him to go fly a kite. DON’T DO IT! In a few years his bar will be closed, and you will be out of work and will not get any other gigs because you screwed your comrades. Be loyal to your band members. Be loyal to your musician friends. The music business is tighter and gossipier (newly created word) than any other business. If you do something unscrupulous, word will travel faster than triplets in 4/4 time at 300 bpm. (I’ll explain that to non-musicians at a later date, but trust me, it’s really, really fast.)
It’s difficult if not impossible in the small music community to rebuild your reputation. The music business is all about who you know and what you’ve done in the past–good or bad. It’s all about picking up the phone and finding a gig for the second week of June. Bar owners are not going to help you do that. The bass player you used to work with four years ago will be the one who hooks you up. Play good. Play nice.
Apparently people around here are doing fun things, and I’ve been so busy I’m missing out.
The challenge is to blog alphabetically from A to Z through the month of April – excluding Sundays. That makes 26 blogs in 26 days using 26 letters. Okay, I got this! I need to catch up on A, B and C though, so here it is.
A is for Ancestry
I’m an ancestry and genealogy nut. It is a time-consuming hobby that takes over your life and causes you to spend more time with dead people than living people. You voluntarily give up sleep, food, and going to the restroom. The most amazing thing I’ve learned is that life is about those around you, which is in contradiction to the whole researching-your-ancestry process, but we all end up in the cemetery, and we all end up forgotten as time passes. What you do in the very short time between your birth and the cemetery is up to you.
B is for Bars
I spend every evening in bars – not partying, though it is always a party, but playing. I’m a dueling piano player. I tell raunchy jokes, I sing songs with incorrect lyrics, and I lead massive, drunken sing-a-longs. My favorite part of the night is when the audience is hot, and their applause and cheering is deafening. Favorite song: The one with the most tip money on it. Favorite drink: Crown Royal. Favorite toast: “Here’s to relationships. They’re a lot like garage sales. They look good from the outside, but once you get in, you find it’s just a bunch of shit you don’t really need.”
C is for Children
I have two. They are older now and are dating and on the brink of multiplying, so I will have more very soon, I’m sure. That’s enough on that subject.