Tuesday with Thalia: Theme Songs

Don’t keep reading until you hit play on this link! You absolutely must hear this music, and I can’t wait another second to share the artistry of Stephane Grappelli with you.

Stephane Grappelli is almost unique. He and Django Reinhardt had a strings only jazz combo in the 1920’s, the Quintette du Hot Club de France. The two created their own sound and to me, it is the very best violin sound in the whole wide world.

So, after deliberation and anguish, I have finally sorted through songs and books to invent what I hope will be a lovely, sunny combination for you. Here where I live, I needed a lighthearted, warm pick me up. It’s cold and snowing today!

So I propose that you go forth and read of the grand romp of Jeeves and Wooster chronicled in
“The Code of the Woosters”. Read it with Grappelli and Reinhardt playing in another room, with a cup of
tea and a very buttery crumpet. It will make you laugh and laugh. Your heart will be happy!

Just a taste, from a summary online… “Bertie escapes this ordeal relatively unscathed, but later learns that, via underhanded skulduggery involving lobsters and cold cucumbers, Sir Watkyn has obtained possession of the creamer ahead of Uncle Tom and spirited it away to Totleigh Towers.” HEAVEN FORFEND!

I’d like to point out as well, that Wodehouse’s comical and trivial account of life as a wealthy, happy-go- lucky loafer comes hard on the heels of WWI. The caricatures that dance through the sunlight of Wodehouse’s 1920 are recognizable types, but they are creatures of fancy with none of the concerns or sorrows of that era. I think that is one reason Wodehouse was and remains so popular. Through these lovable buffoons, we can, for a moment live in a world untroubled and entertaining. A world that promises that Our Man Jeeves can Get Us Through. And that is not such a bad place to escape to, after all.


12 thoughts on “Tuesday with Thalia: Theme Songs

  1. *fan girl squeal* Wodehouse! Bertie! Jeeves! Jazz violins!

    “Why are you got up like a policeman?”
    “I am a policeman”
    “A policeman?”
    “When you say ‘policeman,’” I queried, groping, “do you mean ‘policeman’?”
    “You’re a policeman?”
    “Yes, blast you. Are you deaf? I’m a policeman.”
    I grasped it now. He was a policeman…

    Wodehouse is, in my opinion, one of the finest wordsmiths ever to write. And thank you for the music! I have been in need of some excellent 1920’s jazz strings.

    • Oh you are welcome! I am so happy to pair these two. I love LOVE *LOVE* jeeves and wooster, (fry and laurie, books, books on tape, however I can get ’em) and I ache to play my violin less like modern concert violinists and more like some kind of cross between Grappelli and Fritz Kreisler. All the technique, 10 times the artistry!

  2. I wouldn’t go so far as to disparage classical violinists, who are quite fine and wonderful, or to neglect to mention my unrelenting adoration for Celtic fiddle, but neither can I deny my joy and thrill at this heretofore unheard-by-me masterpiece of jazz violinistry. Simply put, early jazz is one of my great musical loves, and I give you my gratitude for sharing this song.

    It is to my sorrow that I admit I have never read a Wodehouse nor seen a show based on his works. In fact, I wouldn’t have ever given him more than a passing thought-and-a-half were it not for his elevation by you Egotists. I can’t say when I’ll get to him, but I’ve put him on my reading list, and when his time has come, I fully expect to return here lavishing further gratitude and praise on you for effecting the introduction.

    • Well, I hope the day you meet a Wodehouse will be soon.
      And I don’t hate all classical violinists. I am one, after all. I just wish that the fashion wasn’t so much for clinical perfection. James Ehnes…He can SERIOUSLY play, and I love him forever. But other than that, it’s this loving personal flair that I miss.
      Go forth, oh David, and listen to much Stephane Grappelli. It goes with Lord Peter, Agatha Christie, Wodehouse and, if you must know, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day.

  3. An excellent pairing, my friend. I love Minor Swing. 😀 I haven’t read as much Wodehouse as I should, but I have made the first steps. Does anybody remember the name of the short story (it’s not a Jeeves one) about the young man who bonds with his frightening possible-future-mother-in-law over detective novels, but then of course high-jinks ensue? I really enjoyed that one; it was one of the first I read some years ago.

    I’ve actually got a CD of Stephane Grapelli and Yehudi Menuhin playing jazz violin duets. Have you checked out any of their collaborative work? I will confess I can’t listen to much of it at a time; I just don’t care much for violin as a jazz instrument. I do need to learn some more fiddle technique, though, secretly, I really wish I could somehow figure out how to make my violin actually *rock.* There was a guy at the ren faire who played the rockingest folk/celtic violin I’ve ever heard. It was amazing.

  4. Pingback: Conclusion « Egotist's Club

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