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Remembering the music of their travels

August 10, 2003

I am sorry that Susan Spano thought "Die Lorelei" tacky and cliched ["From 'The Moldau' to the Mississippi, a Flood of Images," July 27]. That folk song begins with the words, "I don't know why I'm so sad, but I just can't forget that old legend." It is one of the most popular folk songs in Germany. The composer is Friedrich Silcher, and the poet is the world-renowned German Jewish writer Heinrich Heine (1797-1856).

I remember singing this song on one of the Rhine vessels -- loudly and not too well -- when passing the famous Drachenfels -- dragon rock -- tears flowing down my not-so-young face.

Henry Brunell



I enjoyed Susan Spano's column because it brought happy romantic memories.

In particular, I remember a lovely afternoon walk with my true love "on the bonny, bonny banks of Loch Lomond," or when I strayed with my love in the "beautiful Vale of Tralee." A ride on an excursion boat on the "beautiful blue Danube" showed that the Danube is brown, not blue, except when the light is right. Of course, for me it was a beautiful blue. Perhaps the romantic highlight was a walk in the Vienna woods, where hidden loudspeakers were playing "Tales of the Vienna Woods."

William H. Shallenberger



We, too, had music appreciation class each week, during which we sat and gazed at the big black radio from which poured the strains of classical pieces.

Like [Spano], I first visited Czechoslovakia in my head while listening to "The Moldau." To this day, I still visualize the bubbling spring, the majestic castles, the peasant wedding and the treacherous rapids whenever I hear this piece played, and I wonder at the seemingly trivial bits and pieces of information we retain throughout our lives.

Thank you for reminding me of the emotions and memories evoked by music and the associations many of us make between particular places and pieces of music.

I did finally get to see the Moldau when I visited Prague several years ago, and that has remained one of the highlights of my travel experiences.

Jane Pade

Long Beach

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