2011 Blue Danube Tour
Gone Chopin, Bach Soon
Essential items for planning our 2011 tour
Our 2011 tour started in the school recorder club. We joined as a family project, hoping to learn some music together but you never know where these things will lead. First to the embarrassment of being outplayed by six year olds. Then to the social death that comes from having to perform in the school end of term concert, in front of a hall full of school kids and their parents. Then to conversations at home about what fun music making can be, about the great Romantic composers and about how small and pannier friendly recorders are. And then there was that hilarious conversation about much fun it would be to get on our bikes with our recorders and whistle our way around Europe visiting the homes of great composers.
The family recorder ensemble in rehearsal Ijmuiden beach
Make a list of the great Romantic composers yourself and you’ll quickly realise you’ve got to start such a journey in Germany or Austria. With Bach, Handel, Beethoven, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Shumann, Haydn, Mozart, Mahler, Strauss and Schubert. Add to that a couple of salient cycling facts; that the only place you can take a tandem on a long distance train to in Europe is Munich; and that the Danube cycle path runs (downhill) through Germany to Austria and Hungary. Then before you know it, you are planning the rest of your route around some C19th catchy tunes, and eminent ancient music makers; Liszt in Hungary, Janacek and Hummel in Slovakia, then for a great finale, Chopin in Poland.
Arrangement of Blue Danube for four recorders - waterproofed for road use
But no self respecting recorder playing family can embark on a music tour of Europe without being able to pick out a few tunes. So to kick off the trip, we decided we'd try to teach ourselves a four recorder arrangement of the Blue Danube along the way. So that's what we did. We started in Munich and waltzed towards the Danube. Once we'd got a Handel on Germany , there was no turning Bach as we headed on through Austria to Vienna and Budapest. Then when we'd had our fill of Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsodies we turned North across Slovakia, crossed the Low Tatras and then the High Tatras to make our way into Poland for a little Chopin, finishing in Krakow. A total of 1805km of musically inspired madness.
Our route took our recorders through Germany, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia and Poland
When we shared our plans with others some called it a classic tour but then they hadn't heard us play. But if you take time to dig deeper into the postings below you will hear us. And hear how our attempts at creating a little family harmony developed as the journey progressed. For better or for worse.
We blogged and tweeted on the road so if you’d like to join in our virtual journey, why not take a look at our tweets and blogs. You can find us on Twitter, subscribe to our blog or hook up with us on Facebook.
From this page you can read more about our journey from the blog postings we wrote as we rode across Central Europe on this pedal powered musical extravaganza.
You can also view our route, look at some of the video we shot of our music making, see some pictures from the tour or even buy resources so you can do a similar tour yourself.