From Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll. Wagner wrote the music as a birthday present for his wife Cosima and hired a small orchestra to play it on Christmas morning.
There’s one thing we all have in common at this time. We are all required to spend a lot of time at home. All this seclusion got me to thinking about music which I associate with home. I’ve come up with a few and have then paired them with some quotes about home.
"Adagietto" from Mahler's Symphony No. 5
Conducted by Leonard Bernstein
Right off the bat, the "Adagietto" from Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 comes to mind as a piece of music that elicits feelings of home, especially in the context of that ferocious symphony. The "Adagietto" appears as a warm and inviting respite from the storm of life.
The quote I associate with the "Adagietto" is by the French Rennaissance philosopher Michel de Montaigne. “My home...It is my retreat and resting place from wars, I try to keep this corner as a haven against the tempest outside, as I do another corner in my soul.”
The next piece of music for home is somewhat obvious and that is Richard Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll. Wagner wrote the music as a birthday present for his wife Cosima and hired a small orchestra to play it on Christmas morning — her birthday. The music was intensely personal for Wagner and he intended to keep it out of print and in the family but circumstances forced him to publish it and we are forever the beneficiaries.
By Richard Wagner
I’m not sure how Hermann Hesse would feel about being aligned with Wagner since the great author had the character of Mozart ridicule Wagner in his novel, Steppenwolf. However, I think this quote fits the music.
“A home isn't just a roof over our heads. A home is a place where we feel loved and where we love others. It's a place where we belong. Love is what makes a home, not the contents inside the house or the number on the door. It's the people waiting for us across the threshold, the people who will take us in their arms after a bad day and kiss us good night and good morning every day for the rest of our lives.”
Another somewhat obvious piece is the second movement of Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9. The music was so compelling in its yearning for home that it was set to a text and named “Going Home.”
Dvorak's Symphony No. 9, second movement
"From the New World"
I’ve selected a quote by Maya Angelou to accompany Dvorak. “The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.”
The final homebound music is Nimrod from Edward Elgar’s Enigma Variations. Elgar based this music on his intimate relationships such as with his wife Alice and publisher. Each variation is a recollection of an incident within the relationships as opposed to a musical sketch of the actual person.
The final quote comes from Frederick William Robertson, a British cleric form the Victorian era.
From Edward Elgar's Enigma Variations
“Home is the one place in all this world where hearts are sure of each other. It is the place of confidence. It is the place where we tear off that mask of guarded and suspicious coldness which the world forces us to wear in self-defense, and where we pour out the unreserved communications of full and confiding hearts. It is the spot where expressions of tenderness gush out without any sensation of awkwardness and without any dread of ridicule.”