The Merry Widow Waltz

May 31, 2010 @ 8:23 pm | Filed under: Betsy-Tacy, Books, Music

“I’ve a new waltz I want Mamma to hear. She talks so often of the great Strauss. Here is a piece as good as any of his and it is also by a Viennese.”

heaventobetsyHe began to play.

The opening phrases were short and artless. They sounded like a rocking horse. But the swing began to grow longer, the rhythm stronger. The waltz began to ask questions, wistful, poignant. It took on a dreamier sweep.

Then a gayer theme sent Uncle Rudy’s fingers rippling over the keys. The melody wove in and out. It circled, swayed, as though it were music and dancer in on. It was irresistible.

—from Betsy in Spite of Herself
by Maud Hart Lovelace

It just freaked me out a little to realize that the Happy Birthday song on Tom Chapin’s Moonboat CD—Wonderboy’s favorite CD, hands down—is set to the tune of the Merry Widow waltz.

The Merry Widow (first performed in Vienna in 1905)
Merry Widow hat spoofed in a set of postcards, 1908
Composer Franz Lehar

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5 Responses | | Comments Feed

  1. We saw The Merry Widow Waltz at the Lyric back in January. The girls were so enchanted by the music that a CD of highlights is in regular rotation in the car.

    What a lovely piece of music the waltz is, yes, but my favorite? Vilja.

    Best regards.


  2. That should be “but my favorite *track*?”


    Best regards.


  3. Melissa, thank you! I remember your opera post but had forgotten you saw Merry Widow. Thanks much for the links.

  4. The children all crowded around as the video began to play. “I love this music,” Bella sighed. We had to watch it three times.

  5. Oh! We know and love that Happy Birthday song (learned it a Music Together class once upon a time) but I didn’t realize it was the Merry Widow!