You Can’t Fight Fate

9 Dec

It seems like all of my life I have been connected to Germany. Even disregarding the fact that all four of my great-grandparents were first generation German immigrants, I seem to be surrounded by people who are linked to Deutschland in some way. The language was always interesting to me, even though for years I knew little more than “nein”.

I decided to take four years of Latin in high school, yet German still lingered it my mind, even to the point where I would sit in the back of Latin class and learn funny German phrases from my Austrian friend.  I thought I could teach myself Deutsch over the summer, but like many well-intentioned plans for higher learning, it never amounted to anything. No matter how hard I tried though, the idea of it learning German would not leave me alone, and it was the one language that I held a consistent interest in.

My interest in this language may have been partly due to the fact that as a classical singer (and a vocal major in college) I was given many songs from the German lieder, and it amazed me how a language that has a reputation for sounding harsh could be so beautiful and melodious when put to music.  It wasn’t until college though that I became enamored with one composer in particular: Johann Brahms.

Johannes Brahms was born in Hamburg, Germany on May 7, 1833. He combined combined three centuries of different styles of music into his vast compositions, ranging from large-scale works of chamber and orchestral music, to piano pieces and songs and choral music. I think what I love most about Brahms is his versatility; he could jump from writing huge, complex symphonies to small folk pieces that have accompaniments that are just as interesting to listen to. Brahms died on 3 April 1897 and was buried in the Zentralfriedhof in Vienna, in a grave of honor near the remains of Beethoven and Schubert, as a sign of his importance to German music culture for future generations.

I thought maybe I could limit my love of German music to my voice lessons, yet the German fates had other plans.  I got a job at Hunterdon Academy of the Arts, a music studio in Flemington, NJ, and when I met my boss, he was a musician from Germany! I don’t know why I am surrounded by so many Deutschlanders, but it seems to be something I just couldn’t fight, and so I did the next best thing: I embraced it.




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