Curious factoids……

I decided to google Mendelssohn’s Hebrides overture, which is on the program for the next Symphony of the Redwoods concert, and came up with some surprising trivia!

First was the theory put forward by Iain Thornber, who claims the work, also known as Fingal’s Cave, was purposely finished on the only day of the year the cave is illuminated by sunlight. Mendelssohn completed the initial draft on 16 December 1830, and Mr Thornber says the cave is only fully illuminated around this date when the sun lies 5.6 degrees above the horizon.

Then I discovered that the overture can be heard in Luis Bunuel’s film L’Age d’Or (1930). And of course, I couldn’t resist reading about that film, which seems about as far from the mood usually associated with the piece as you could possibly imagine!

And then that Rock band Radiohead used a brief, yet recognisable motif from the piece in their song Paranoid Android. I guess I could check that out on Youtube, but I confess I haven’t been there yet.

And finally I noticed that the autographed manuscript of the work is held in the Bodleian Library, Oxford – thought I might pop in next time I’m in town and take a look!

Anyway, none of this is really very relevant to the fact that this is a gorgeous piece of music, and you get the chance to hear it live on March 28th or 29th in Cotton Auditorium, Fort Bragg.


2 comments on “Curious factoids……

  1. I noticed the piece used in Paranoid Android which is how I got here, also though Radiohead are from Oxford, (or to be precise Abingdon), where the manuscript is, that’s probably just a coincidence though.


  2. That section from Paranoid Android struck me too. But it is sandwiched between two recognisable quotations from other tunes. The first is a Bach Chorale from The St Matthew Passion, which was also pinched verbatim by Paul Simon and used in his American Tune. This leads into the piece of the Hebrides you mention, and then drifts into a tiny two chord stretch from Alan’s psychedelic breakfast from Pink Floyds Atom Heart Mother!


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