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Musical Genius is Born Again, Again and Again *

Three musical geniuses are born this year:

* Johann Sebastian Bach is born into a musical family. His father is a musical director and his uncles are all professional musicians. His music is most immediately recognized as the opening piece in the animated film Disney's Fantasia. (Click here for the Disney version) [1] [2] [3]
* George Frideric Handel will soon be recognized as a child prodigy in music but his father will want him to become a lawyer. When the Duke hears the kid play, the father will be overruled. Most people recognize Handel's inspiring "Hallelujah Chorus". It will make you cry. Guaranteed. (Click Here for the Food Court version) [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]
* Domenico Scarlatti is born into a family that couldn't care less about music. Yet he will build a reputation that will survive into the modern day. I did not instantly recognize his music, but after sampling one of his sonatas, even a tin ear like mine was impressed. (Click here for a sample on guitar) [9] [10] [11] [12]

Long Live the King and the King's Bastard

King Charles the 2nd is dead so his brother James the 2nd takes the throne, but there is a problem... several problems, actually. The whole question of whether a Catholic could become King of England was never resolved, so a minor problem occurred when King Charles converted to Catholicism on his deathbed. That problem solved itself when King Charles died. However, his brother, James, is now King and a well-known Catholic. Many oaths are sworn... not all of them in loyalty to the new King. Some would rather die, so the new King accommodates them. He has them beheaded. Some nobles back the Duke of Monmouth as the rightful king since he is Protestant and the bastard son of King Charles. The Duke leads a rebellion that doesn't end well for him. It takes several strokes of the axe to remove his head. Then things get really complicated when several nobles write a letter to William the 3rd of Orange, asking him to depose King James and claim the kingship. The troops will hit the beach in 1688 and by 1689 England will have a new King and Queen as co-rulers... William and Mary. [13] [14] [15]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
This was a lot to happen all at once. I assume it took some planning. The Parliament certainly had enough time to figure out what to do but the only thing the political parties could agree upon was that having a Catholic King was going to be a big problem. Who was William the 3rd of Orange? Well.. he was a Protestant Dutch Prince whose mother was an English princess and whose wife was the daughter of King James the 2nd. (Sorry, Daddy!) Several leaders of the Parliament (both Tories and Whigs) had written to William, asking him to depose King James, so he took them up on the offer. William the 3rd and his wife, Mary the 2nd, became co-rulers. The College of William and Mary was established in 1693 and named after the King and Queen. It remains the second oldest college in the United States after Harvard. It is located in Williamsburg, Virginia. [16]

French Texas

If you will recall, Robert La Salle, was the fellow who discovered Niagara Falls and explored the Great Lakes looking for a passage to China. In 1682 he took an expedition down the Mississippi to Louisiana and claimed the region in the name of France. Now he is is coming around the other way through the Gulf of Mexico looking for the mouth of the Mississippi but he is having trouble finding it. He lands on the Texas coast and establishes a French colony. He builds Fort Saint Louis near present day Inez, Texas. [17] [18]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Thomas Jefferson attempted to claim Texas as part of the Louisiana Purchase because of La Salle's Texas colony. It didn't fly. (Frankly, I'm not sure the Louisiana Purchase itself was legal at the time but no one is complaining.) The colony itself had lasted only a few years, and when Spain had heard about it, they sent an expedition to find the colony and remove it. By the time they found Fort Saint Louis, not much was left. Indian attacks and disease had claimed the colonists, so the Spaniards did their best to erase the remains of the fort and moved on. Robert La Salle came to a bad end later when he was ambushed by his own men and killed somewhere between present day Houston and College Station. My daughter-in-law makes that commute every weekday and she confirms that it is a killer. (For those who have had humor-by-pass surgery, that was a joke.)

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1685, Wikipedia.

See Also


* The asterisk in the section header indicates that it was read on the podcast.
  1. 01 Toccata And Fugue In D Minor, BWV 565, Johann Sebastian Bach. YouTube (2015). Retrieved on 2 December 2015.
  2. Johann Sebastian Bach - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 15 November 2015. “Johann Sebastian Bach (31 March 1685 – 28 July 1750) was a German composer and musician of the Baroque period. He enriched established German styles through his skill in counterpoint, harmonic and motivic organisation, and the adaptation of rhythms, forms, and textures from abroad, particularly from Italy and France.”
  3. Fantasia (1940 film) - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 2 December 2015. “Fantasia opens with live action scenes of members of an orchestra gathering against a blue background and tuning their instruments in half-light, half-shadow. Master of ceremonies Deems Taylor enters the stage (also in half-light, half-shadow) and introduces the program. Toccata and Fugue in D Minor by Johann Sebastian Bach. Live-action shots of the orchestra illuminated in blue and gold, backed by superimposed shadows, fade into abstract patterns. Animated lines, shapes and cloud formations reflect the sound and rhythms of the music.”
  4. George Frideric Handel - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 1 December 2015. “Born in a family indifferent to music, Handel received critical training in Halle, Hamburg and Italy before settling in London in 1712; he became a naturalised British subject in 1727.”
  5. Christmas Food Court Flash Mob with Hallelujah Chorus of G.F. Handel. YouTube (November 13, 2010). Retrieved on 2 December 2015. “Published on Jun 26, 2013 George Frideric Handel's Hallelujah Chorus from his oratorio The Messiah. The clip shows the banality of people in an ugly food court in an average shopping mall. And what might happen, if people come together...for a serious project.”
  6. Hallelujah Chorus Flash Mob at Brent Cross Shopping Centre. YouTube (18 December 2010). Retrieved on 2 December 2015. “On Saturday 18 December 2010 shoppers enjoyed a Flash Mob of 200 choristers from 16 choirs at London's Brent Cross Shopping Centre performing The Hallelujah Chorus.”
  7. Handel's Messiah flash mob a Youtube smash. QMI Agency (December 1, 2010). Retrieved on 2 December 2015. “The woman in the red scarf is soprano Stephanie Tritchew, 22, a student at the University of Western Ontario's Don Wright Faculty of Music. She's as surprised as anyone that the video has made her a minor star, along with the 100-member Chorus Niagara who sing with her - far beyond Welland's Seaway Mall where the performance took place this month.”
  8. Alex Shrugged notes: halleluyah is Hebrew meaning "praise God". From a Jewish standpoint, the overall Handle's Messiah is inappropriate for Jews to sing, but the Halleluyah Chorus seems reasonable if one keeps in mind that God is the King of Kings in a Jewish context and that the word "Christ" is simply the Greek rendition of the Hebrew "Moshiach" which means "Messiah" or "anointed one."
  9. Alberto Mesirca - Scarlatti Sonata K1. YouTube (2015). Retrieved on 2 December 2015.
  10. Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. Simon and Schuster, 312-313. “J. S. Bach, Ger. Composer, b. (d. 1750); George Frederick Handel, Ger.-Eng. Composer, b. (d. 1759); Domenico Scarlatti, Ital. Composer, b. (d. 1757)” 
  11. Domenico Scarlatti - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 1 December 2015. “Like his renowned father Alessandro Scarlatti, he composed in a variety of musical forms, although today he is known mainly for his 555 keyboard sonatas.”
  12. Alex Shrugged notes: I'm not kidding about the tin ear. My hearing is damaged, so distinguishing fine sounds is difficult for me, but this music was fabulous. I enjoyed researching this subject for sure.
  13. Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. Simon and Schuster, 312-313. “Charles II of England d.; succeeded by his brother James II (-1688); Duke of Monmouth's rebellion: Monmouth defeated at Sedgemoor and beheaded; Judge George Jeffreys (1648-1689) conducts "Bloody Assizes" against Monmouth's followers” 
  14. Monmouth Rebellion - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 2 December 2015. “Monmouth was an illegitimate son of Charles II. There had been rumours that Charles had married Monmouth's mother, Lucy Walter,[1] but no evidence was forthcoming, and Charles always said that he only had one wife, Catherine of Braganza.”
  15. William and Mary - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 2 December 2015. “William and Mary were the co-regents over the Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland, namely the Dutch Prince of Orange King William III (& II) and his spouse (and first cousin) Queen Mary II. Their joint reign began in February 1689 after they were offered the throne by the Convention Parliament irregularly summoned by William after his successful invasion of England in February 1689, the so-called Glorious Revolution.”
  16. College of William & Mary - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 2 December 2015. “The College of William & Mary in Virginia (also known as William & Mary, or W&M) is a public research university located in Williamsburg, Virginia, United States. Privately founded in 1693 by letters patent issued by King William III and Queen Mary II, it is the second-oldest institution of higher education in the United States after Harvard University and the oldest in the American South.”
  17. Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. Simon and Schuster, 312-313. “First Fr. settlers in Texas” 
  18. French colonization of Texas - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 2 December 2015. “The French colonization of Texas began with Fort Saint Louis, established in 1685 near Arenosa Creek and Matagorda Bay by explorer Robert Cavelier de La Salle. He intended to found the colony at the mouth of the Mississippi River, but inaccurate maps and navigational errors caused his ships to anchor instead 400 miles (640 km) to the west, off the coast of Texas. The colony survived until 1688. Present-day Inez, Texas, later developed there.”

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