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Classical 101

Sending Music to a Sick Friend


I have a close friend living in another state who is dealing with a serious illness.

It's not as if I can run over there to take care of his kids, as much as I'd love to. And I'm willing to bet he has a freezer full of casseroles. It's sad, though — with me being so far away that he'll have to miss out on my late mother's tuna fish-potato chip-mushroom soup slow bake that was a Friday night staple until the Pope changed his mind.

Still, he's someone I love a lot, for whom I'd like to do, well, something.

So I decided to send him music.

In this era of downloads, smartphones, I-this and I-that, it may seem quaint to get a CD in the mail — especially a homemade one, filled with music selected for you by someone who's known you and yours for years. (His mother made killer Toll House cookies.)

So I made a playlist to send my sick friend some cheer. I knew something about his taste in music, and I added my own spice. Here are some of my selections:

Johann Sebastian Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No. 5
This is the best known of the five concerti. It's festive, with lovely D-major positive energy. Dance music bookends an elegiac serenity.

Claudio Monteverdi: Vespers for the Blessed Virgin: Introduction 
"Oh, Lord, make haste to help me." A little prayer never hurt.

Ruggero Leoncavallo: Mattinata
Why not be kissed by the Italian sunshine in Luciano Pavarotti's voice? 


Franz Schubert: Impromptus, Op. 90, No. 1 and 2
These pieces have speed and delicacy.  

Here's one more, from a show we saw on Broadway together over 40 years ago: Chicago. Yeah, I know all about the movie. And I know this show is still on Broadway. My buddy and I saw Gwen Verdon, Chita Rivera and Mary McCarty. We were among the first to hear the great classical duet Class

Listen up, and pay attention to the words.

Schubert is great, but some days you just gotta laugh.

Say a prayer for my friend.

Christopher Purdy is Classical 101's early morning host, 7-10 a.m. weekdays. He is host and producer of Front Row Center – Classical 101’s weekly celebration of Opera and more – as well as Music in Mid-Ohio, Concerts at Ohio State, and the Columbus Symphony broadcast series. He is the regular pre-concert speaker for Columbus Symphony performances in the Ohio Theater.
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