Music in the Key of B
Getting yourself in the mood for a river cruise down the Rhine and the Danube may be as delightful as spending the afternoon listening to music. You will encounter most of the giants of western culture, starting with the famous “B’s”, Bach, Beethoven and Brahms. Beethoven is so important to German culture that it’s his statue in the middle of Bonn, not some general or statesman.
The Rhine River valley is the legendary setting of the Siegfried stories of Richard Wagner’s famous Ring of the Nibelungs. This four opera endurance test is performed by only the most accomplished Opera companies. Watch for this theme in Emmerich, Xanten, and Bad Konigswinter.
And, then, there’s Vienna. As you stroll down the avenues, you can practically hear the music that was composed and performed here. We are talking Mozart, Strauss, even Chopin, though he was Polish. This was the seat of culture at the height of the Hapsburg power. You may even want to watch Mozart’s antics in Amadeus, just to remind yourself how much of his music is already familiar.
Here are some suggested books and music collections for each of these titans of classical music:
Johann Sebastian Bach
Masters Of Classical Music: J.S. Bach
Ludwig van Beethoven
Greatest Hits Beethoven
My Favorite Brahms
Johann Strauss II
Wagner: Complete Operas (Limited Edition)
The Chopin Collection