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Heather Broadbent

The Blue Danube

November 11, 2012 at 6:43 PM

A few days ago, The Blue Danube spoke to me, literally. I was unpacking from my move here to Utah and showed my mom a miniature violin that I had in a miniature case. She asked me if it played The Blue Danube. I replied no it isn't musical - then I picked it up and looked underneath and low and behold it was musical. I turned the key and out came music box music The Blue Danube. I asked my mom how she knew and she said she saw the lable on the bottom of the case. Later that same day I received an adorable computer card from my mom, one she had sent before she saw the miniature violin. It was a little bear orchestra mimicking the Vienna philharmonic playing The Blue Danube. Then that night my mom and I were watching Frasier, the episode with the book that came out about his love affair with his piano teacher - hilarious episode. Anyway he goes to his former piano teacher's house and her mother was playing the piano and guess what she was playing - The Blue Danube. So after, three times in one day, it was definitely a message to me from The Blue Danube.

Because of my love for the violin, I have been very fortunate to travel to many beautiful places and The Blue Danube is one of them. In September of 2011, I played a festival with the Gabrovo Chamber Orchestra in Bulgaria. Before the festival started, I had a friend invite me for a weekend with his friends on the Danube. Of course I said yes. The Danube. I knew the Danube through music, Strauss' Blue Danube Waltz, which I played many times in an orchestra. Thinking back, I remember playing it for the first time on piano probably when I was seven years old. My mom always listened to classical music so I am sure I heard it many times in my youth. So here I was able to actually go to the Danube. My friend and I picked up another couple and we drove and drove and drove. I understood very little Bulgarian and spoke even less. My friends spoke very little English. I had no idea how long the drive was going to be or even which direction we were going. We left after their work so around 5:00. It got very, very, very dark and we were still driving. Finally we came to a small city and a car zipped out of the darkness. We followed the car to a very narrow, very bumpy road - actually road is a little more definitive than what this was - it was more of a dirt path. Finally we arrived at a bungalow with a table covered with food and surrounded by people. I had an amazing dinner with great people and friends right along the Danube. Couldn't see the river because it was midnight but the next day - what a sight. I was on the Bulgarian side in the city of Lom and the other side of the river was Romania. I swam in the river while my friends fished for dinner. It was beautiful. One of the most amazing weekends in my life. When the sun sets over the Danube every particle of the river sparkles. I swam in the beam of light on the river from the setting sun. I felt a part of the setting sun, the river and the nature with the knowledge in my mind this is the amazing river I know about because of music. Incredible. That night my friends and I ate the fresh fish that were caught just hours before. The fish was so delicious - it melted in your mouth.

Here is an excellent video of the Vienna Philharmonic playing The Blue Danube. The pictures of the river with the music demonstrates how descriptive the music really is. When the first violins have their harmonic eighth note passage it is as if you hear the flow of the river.

This is a Bulgarian Patriot Hymn for the Danube. Translation of the title is Quiet, White Danube.

Our lives are very much like the flow of a river.  The cities and possibly countries that the river flows through are the different chapters of our lives. Our lives,  have to be in constant flow like the river - sometimes it may be faster than others and sometimes it may get stuck in a little eddy but eventually it will flow again and take us to more amazing adventures.

Happy Practicing!!!

Heather Broadbent

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