Category Archives: Music

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Manipulation and Marriage

After David and Goliath…

I read a fictional book and an article where it said Michal stole David from her older sister, Merab. That Michal manipulated David into marrying her. If that’s true, I actually think that deserves applause. Alas, I don’t think that’s the case. I have to say, though, that1 Samuel 18 is a game of manipulation.

The chapter starts out with Jonathan loving David, the two making a covenant, and Jonathan demonstrating he would do whatever it took to make David king. Don’t underestimate the friendship between Jonathan and David. Between tutoring David of royal duties and training him to become a warrior king, they had to have talked about other stuff…

Saul talked to David about marrying Merab at first. David could marry Merab if he swore his loyalty and fight for Saul. For me, David seems to be putting on an act when he responded: “What am I? and what is my life, or my father’s family in Israel that I should be the son in law to the king?”

There’s no mention of Saul pressing this matter on him, but the next verse reads: “But it came to pass at the time when Merab Saul’s daughter should have been given to David, that she was given unto Adriel the Meholathite to wife.” (1 Samuel 18:17-19)

If David had a preference for either Merab or Michal, it’s likely Jonathan would know. He would know and do something about it. Or perhaps Jonathan and David discussed who would be better suited for David as a wife. Whatever the case, I’m sure Jonathan—who would save David’s life and prove that he could persuade his father—would have stepped in.

The plan for Michal to marry David could have been in action before this. Certainly, now that one of two daughters was married off, David wanted the single one for his wife and something had to happen. I believe Jonathan was instrumental in the plan.

Verse 20 sparks suspicion from two opposing sides–those who think David wanted Merab and those who think he wanted Michal. The verse reads:

“And Michal Saul’s daughter loved David: and they told Saul, and the thing pleased him.”

Yes, now that Merab was unavailable, it seems people come up suddenly and speak of Michal’s love. There were things going on behind the scenes. But I hardly believe Michal could have orchestrated this plan by herself.

Besides, we’re told already all Israel and Judah loved David. So it wasn’t as if people came forward saying, “Guess what? Your young daughter also loves David!”

That wouldn’t have been news to anyone. Surely the readers must realize this.

The verse is vague. A question that should arise is who exactly is “they”? Most likely Saul’s servants but perhaps other servants. Did Saul send them to Michal and ask if she was interested in marrying David? Or was she and possibly Jonathan plotting with them? Michal’s love was perhaps something Saul wanted to hear.

Here was Saul’s thought process and commands to his servants:

And Saul said, I will give him her, that she may be a snare to him, and that the hand of the Philistines may be against him. Wherefore Saul said to David, Thou shalt this day be my son in law in the one of the twain.

And Saul commanded his servants, saying, Commune with David secretly, and say, Behold, the king hath delight in thee, and all his servants love thee: now therefore be the king’s son in law. (1 Samuel 18:21-22)

At first David has the same reaction as he did when Saul presented the idea of marrying Merab:

And Saul’s servants spake those words in the ears of David. “And David said, Seemeth it to you light thing to be a king’s son in law, seeing that I am a poor man, and lightly esteemed?” (1 Samuel 18:23)

Saul wasn’t about to let David go this time. Was he getting counsel from someone? If so, the whom? Perhaps Saul had made David an offer before, but David didn’t take it. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say David was being coached.

Back to the chapter and what happens after David’s passive answer:

And the servants of Saul told him, saying, On this manner spake David. And Saul said, Thus shall ye say to David, The king desireth not any dowry, but an hundred foreskins of the Philistines, to be avenged of the king’s enemies. But Saul thought to make David fall by the hand of the Philistines.And when his servants told David these words, it pleased David well to be the king’s son in law. (1 Samuel 18:24-16)

Whether David was pleased to be on his way to coming king or/and couldn’t wait to marry Michal. He doesn’t mind he could marry her. It’s kind of strange actually. He puts his whole heart in the deadly mission.

“Wherefore David arose and went, he and his men, and slew of the Philistines two hundred men; and David brought their foreskins” (1 Samuel 18:27)

Saul had no choice but to let Michal and David marry. Instead of Saul manipulating the situation, David won this battle.

Jonathan had made a covenant with David. Now Michal also made a covenant with David through marriage. She would be a good wife.

Croce_MozartFamilyPortrait

From Maria Anna to Martha: 5 Influential Piano Gals

Life would be a dark place if it weren’t for music. But thanks to creators of music, my world is a happier place. I’m indebted to so many but I have to say there are some standouts that paved the way for my love of music. Maria Anna Mozart, Fanny Mendelssohn, Clara Schumann, Jane Bastien, and Martha Patten.

Maria Anna Mozart

The two prodigy siblings. Wolfgang was inspired by his big sister, "Nannerl" Anna Maria

The two prodigy siblings. Wolfgang was inspired by his big sister, “Nannerl” Anna Maria

When we hear “Mozart,” don’t we think of the boy? Wolfgang Amadeus? We don’t think of  his talented sister Anne Maria Mozart as much.  Smithsonian  magazine called her “The Family’s First Prodigy.”

Her father, Leopold–a court musician and teacher to his children–took them on tour across Europe. The trio was a hit and the siblings made a good team. She was considered one of the greatest pianists.. However, Leopold pushed more for his son’s performances as it was easier for males to break into a professional music career.

Wolfgang saw Anna Maria as a role model. She accompanied him and played his compositions. She also wrote her own, which we sadly don’t have today. But we do have their letters and her diaries which display affection and eccentricity.

I can only imagine her reactions when she opened to write in her diary and found that her brother was at it again. Pretending to be her and writing  irreverent language that I rather not repeat.

 

Fanny Mendelssohn

Portriat of Fanny Hensel 1842 by Moritz Daniel Oppenheim

Another  equally talented sister. She composed over 460 compositions and sometimes they were attributed to her brother, Felix, because it just wasn’t proper for a woman to publish music. Felix, though,  corrected Queen Victoria that a piece she was fond of was not by him but by Fanny.

She said that one of her piano works, The Year, was for “home use entirely.” Of course it wasn’t, but I’m sure she gave informal concerts to her family that the world will never know.

Clara Schumann

Drawing of Schumann

Clara was romoted by family and friends but had a mind of her own and showed the world that women are master performers too.

 

Clara’s career was promoted by her father and associates but had a mind of her own. She took the opportunity to show the world that female pianists can be equal to men. I thank her for that.

I’m not sure if I would have gotten along with her, though. But it was nice of her to promote the career of her husband, Robert. I also have to laugh that while he was a student and guest of her father, Robert scared her by popping out of nowhere dressed as a ghost.  She wouldn’t fall in love with him til later,  but perhaps that’s when the sparks started to fly,

Jane Bastien

Everyone in my piano teacher’s studio knew I was on the lowest piano level. (Some things haven’t changed much.) Even when I was promoted to second on the program, it was common knowledge.. For years, I was playing pieces by either Jane or James Bastien. When I saw other names such as Mozart, Beethoven, Schumann, I longed to be playing those composers—or any other composer however obscure. Anyone but Bastien.

HOWEVER……..

Jane Bastien is still one of my favorite composers. It’s evident in the Bastien teaching books that she’s a brilliant teacher. Thanks to her I was wowed and inspired by the other students who went up on stage playing songs by composers whose names I couldn’t pronounce.

I remember bits and pieces from other famous composers’ songs I eventually played, but I remember the very first piano song exactly  I performed in my piano teacher’s annual recital—which of course was a Bastien song.

I became really excited when Jane Bastien was in a piano convention center in San Diego.  She was a gracious, smiling woman, and I got to take a picture with her. Believe me, I couldn’t have been more ecstatic to meet her than meeting the Mozarts themselves.

Martha Patten

I'm honored my favorite pianist happens to my mom. She could have made bucks but continues to share her expertise and expression music with others. Here she is teaching a grandchild.

I’m honored my favorite pianist happens to my mom. She could have made big bucks but continues to share her expertise and expressive music with others. Here she is teaching a grandchild.

 

A Broadway performer said my mom could have made a lot of money if she moved to New York. My  mom can play by ear, improvise, transpose music into  different keys in a matter of seconds.

The piano could be considered her unofficial sibling when she grew up. Piano and clarinet are her specialties, but she can pick up other instruments. She taught band, choir, drama, and private piano lessons. Her students are complimentary of her and  have invited her to watch them in performances. One student, now a junior high school history teacher, puts on an annual medieval faire in which his students get into character and show the oddities of the Middle Ages. At the beginning of one of his faires, he told the audience how he couldn’t remember much of what he learned in middle school but could remember the words to “76 Trombones” and then announced the presence of my mom.

I can’t count how many times she accompanied a variety of groups–school plays, choir, church functions, talent shows, weddings, and just all type of revenues. I know if my lifetime, she’s played and performed for hundreds of people. So I’ll just say thousands.

Her genius is impressive, but her trademark is how she makes the individual feel. I’m honored that I get a front row seat and hear her best performances–which are played at home.

By the way, she has composed but they are usually “for home entirely.” But my favorites are “Crib Lullaby,” “One By One and Two By Two,” and “No Tail.”

 

 

Sources and Links:
http://www.pianowomen.com/

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/maria-anna-mozart-the-familys-first-prodigy-1259016/?no-ist

Wikipedia

http://historyweird.com/1780-mozart-trolls-his-sister/

Images:
Mozart Family Portrait by Croce
Wolfgang and Nannerl Mozart by Eusebuis Johann Alphen
Portriat of Fanny Hensel 1842 by Moritz Daniel Oppenheim
Drawing of Schumann
Grandma Teaching another Prodigy courtesy of Douglas Patten