Composers Datebook®

with host John Zech

Friday, November 2

Verdi and Bach on wine

Synopsis

Today we dip into the “Composers’ Mailbag” for two letters, neither of them dealing with any significant musical matters, but both (coincidentally) with wine.

In a note dated November 2, 1894, Giuseppe Verdi writes (in his typically blunt style), “Dear Sig. Melani, I received yesterday the cases of wine. Now what is left is to pay for them. Please send me the bill for what I owe you minus the empty cases and returned bottles. Do it as soon as possible as I am going to the country and want to send you a check before I leave. As always, G. Verdi."

The second (and more personable) letter is dated November 2, 1748, and was penned by Johann Sebastian Bach to his cousin, Johann Elias Bach. It reads: “Most Esteemed Cousin, That you and your dear wife are still well I am assured by the agreeable note I received from you yesterday accompanying the excellent little cask of wine you sent, for which much thanks. It is, however, greatly to be regretted that the cask was damaged, either by being shaken in the wagon or in some other way, for when it was opened for the usual customs inspection here, it was almost 2/3 empty, and it is a pity that even the least drop of this noble gift of God should have been spilled. I remain your wholly devoted cousin and most willing servant, J.S. Bach.”

Music Played in Today's Program

Giuseppe Verdi (1813 – 1901) Libiamo (Brindisi), from La Traviata Frank Chacksfield Orchestra London 436 849

Additional Information

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