The idea is that the 'first age' is when we're in education as children/young people; 'second age' is when we're working; so 'third age' is now we're (in theory) retired
To quote their site: 'the University of the Third Age is a unique and exciting organisation which provides, through its branches, enhancing and life-changing opportunities. Retired and semi-retired people come together and learn together, not for qualifications but for its own rewards: the sheer joy of discovery!'
'Members share their skills and life experiences: the learners teach and the teachers learn, and there is no distinction between them.'
Today was my first visit to the Classic Music Appreciation group and I thought it would be a good idea, over the coming weeks, to document music to which we're introduced.
This was today's programme:
'An American in Paris' (1928)
by George Gershwin (1898 - 1937)
This was when Gershwin was studying in Paris, and what jumped out at me was the sounds of the city: car horns, bustling people and much traffic, as well as a slight melancholy at one time due pehaps to his being so far away from home.
For more information see: http://www.princeton.edu/~achaney/tmve/wiki100k/docs/An_American_in_Paris.html
and Youtube sample: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oeEMlYpGJzs
Swedish Rhapsody No 1, Op19 'Midsommervaka'
by Huga Alfven (1872 - 1960)
This is a lively, jolly piece of music I'd always though had been written by an English composer, so quite a surprise when it was by a Swede: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yrUFF8MM2RI. Now we know there's more to Swedish music than Sibelius, wonderful though his music is.
Toward the Unknown Region (1907)
by Ralph Vaughan Williams
(1872 - 1958)
This is set to words by the well-known American poet Walt Whitman (http://www.recmusic.org/lieder/get_text.html?TextId=17431).
Apparently Vaughan Williams was arguably England's best composer; but see also Britten, Dowland, Elgar, Delius, Bliss, Rutter and others! (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronological_list_of_English_classical_composers) (by the way, the pic above shows Sir Adrian Boult, Sir Michael Tippett, Ralph Vaughan Williams and Ursula Vaughan Williams at a recording of Tippett's Second Symphony at the BBC in 1958).
Tod und Verklarung Op 24
(Tone-poem for large orchestra) (1889)
by Richard Strauss (1864 - 1949)
Written when Strauss was only 24, it shows an incredible depth of feeling for one so young and is well worth listening to.
Fantasy in C minor for piano, chorus and orchestra Op 80 (1808)
by Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 - 1827)
Grand and inspiring, giving shades of his 9th Symphony (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Choral_Fantasy_(Beethoven)). As I was sat listening I was trying to think what else was composed at about that time, to see how this piece would compare with what else was going on (http://www.classissima.com/en/people/early_19th_century_classical_composers/). If I could only take one composer to my desert island it would have to be Beethoven, so here's one to add to the collection.