Sunday, January 28, 2007

Rhapsody On A Theme (Somewhere In Time)

Among my favorite songs, such as Rhapsody in Blue by Gershwin, I have another romantic favorite. I can thank my mother for this one, because it was from her favorite movie... Somewhere In Time with Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour.

The movie takes place in the present day (well, 1980), and Richard receives a visit from an old woman who gives him a watch and makes a loving, desperate request of him: Come back to me. Eight years later, he finds a picture of this old woman, and continues to research her. He visits this hotel, where there is a room with a picture of the woman in her youth. He discovers that she died shortly after giving him the old time piece. Her name is Elise McKenna, and he's utterly in love with her and can't take his eyes off of her youthful photograph. With a great deal of effort, he breaks the barriers of time and goes back in time to 1912 to meet her, shere she is a wonderful and highly respected stage actress in her day. They fall in love despite the odds against them, and they're happy until he's suddenly and unexpectedly thrown back into his own time, right before her eyes. He spends the rest of his heartbroken days trying to get back to her.

The song is called Somewhere In Time, and is taken from Paganini's Variation On A Theme. It has also been called Rhapsody On A Theme of Paganini. It was written in 1934 or so, and it's one of the most beautiful piano solos ever written. It is hopelessly, utterly romantic. In the notes, you can feel the love, joy, sadness, strength, romance, everything that you might feel throughout loving someone... and it's so very moving. It's easy to get caught up in the emotion of the song, blocking out all other sound.

When I worked at the SF Music Box Co, this was one of our most popular musical movements to install by request into a Sorrento music box. We had 16-note, 32-note, and 64-note movements with this tune on them. I believe there was also a higher note movement as well. I gave the 64-note movement to my mother in a glass music box, which sounds absolutely ethereal.

Here's a taste of Rhapsody On A Theme.

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