the Sweet Smell of Burning Fur (plonq) wrote,
the Sweet Smell of Burning Fur

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Music hunt

Many years ago (~25ish I think) I was listening to CBC FM in the background, paying it little attention for the most part. I am pretty sure it was Jurgen Gothe's afternoon program, where he tended to play a quirky mix of classical, jazz, bluegrass and the like. The next thing I knew, somebody was tearing up a harpsichord with a piece of music that I recognized, but like most classical works, I could not have told you the name of the piece or the composer if I my life depended on it. All I knew was that it was played with a power and passion that was curiously at odds with a delicate instrument like the harpsichord.

It was amazing.

I remember that he identified the song before it played, but since I had not been paying close attention until the song itself gripped me, I had not caught the name. I vaguely remembered that he may have said that it was available on their own CD label, and I remember him commenting on the fact that it was performed on a harpsichord. I listened more closely at the end of the song to see if he would mention the composer and song again, and somehow I came away from that with the words "Hungarian Rhapsody" and "Harpsichord" on a scrap of paper. Since it was my day off work, I hopped in my car and drove down to the nearest A&B Sound, where I knew they had a fairly extensive classical music section.

I milled about in the classical section, scoping out the CBC Radio discs until the lady running the section came over to inquire if I needed assistance. I explained that I could indeed use her help, and I told her the story of this wonderful piece of music I had heard on CBC Radio earlier in the day. I explained that I reasonably sure it was available on their label, and that it was a harpsichord rendition of a song called Hungarian Rhapsody. Her initial response was simply, "Oh my!"

"Are you sure it was Hungarian Rhapsody?"

I assured her that I had written down the name, and showed her the scrap of paper. To her credit, she helped me look for the song before finally selling me on a couple of unrelated discs of Trevor Pinnock playing the harpsichord. They were very good discs, and I listened to them a lot (I have a soft spot for the harpsichord), but they were not what I had been after.

I have since come to understand, and even appreciate her curious reaction when I told her that I was looking for Hungarian Rhapsody on the harpsichord. "Oh my!" was indeed a very understandable response. It would be an, er, interesting interpretation on that piece of music.

I have thought about that song occasionally over the years, but had long since given up trying to track it down. The song popped into my head again this evening, and I decided that I would not sleep until I could identify it. I thought about humming it to Sound Hound, but I am not adept at holding a tune. I decided to do the next best thing, and began randomly skipping through the music in a classical music collection I picked up years ago to be background music for a fancy Thanksgiving dinner we hosted for a number of friends. I was nearing the end of the collection without luck when I suddenly found the piece.

Unsurprisingly it was not Franz Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody no.2, it was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Rondo Alla Turca.

Now I just need to figure out who performed that version I heard all those years ago.
Tags: rondo alla turca
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