May 1st, 2022 Gus Air on the G-String May 1st, 2022 Gus I have been a busy sculptor. My next piece combines a real violin with the sculpted bronze hands that are playing it. The note that is being played is on the G-String, hence the name of the sculpting. To let you in on the secret of how I named it is a true story that comes from history and has done its part to change it. Sometime between 1717 to 1723, Johann Sebastian Bach wrote “Orchestration No. 3 in D Major.” He composed this piece for his patron, Prince Leopold von Anhalt. Bach was in his early 30s and not yet an established composer, furthermore, the Anhalt family was not enamored with Bach’s music. Orchestration No. 3 did not get much exposure and languished in a drawer for around 150 years, very much like J.S. Bach’s other famous Opus, the six Brandenburg Concertos, that he composed as an application for a new job, with the Margrave of Brandenburg. Since his career with Prince Leopold von Anhalt was at risk, he tried to entice the Margrave to hire him. He sent the six Concertos to him, but just like the “Orchestration No. 3 in D Major,” the Margrave didn’t even listen to any of them, nor did Bach get the job when Prince Leopold unceremoniously fired him. Luckily a wise and music-savvy scientist named Carl Sagan was in charge of picking the music for a gold-plated CD that was to be sent into deep space for a future Alien to find. The second Brandenburg Concerto went out on Voyager I in 1977, but the job application to the Margrave of Brandenburg was just a few hundred years too late. The Orchestration No. 3 in D Major at least had a second chance to be heard sooner.A very talented violinist, a friend of Richard Wagner and the son of Prussia’s Chief Prosecutor, thought to be Germany’s best violinist, discovered Orchestration No. 3 in D Major. He re-scored it so that he could play it on just one string on the violin by changing the key to C Major and lowering the entire score one octave. That string happened to be the lowest string on the violin, the G-string. His name was August Wilhelmj. Audiences came to use the name “Air on the G-string” for it. It was an immediate success and remains so still today. You would recognize it instantly as it is frequently played at weddings. So how did the G-string get its other, more lusty connotation? The 1939 World’s Fair opened in the Queens district of New York. We did not enter World War II until 1941 on the Day of Infamy. The World’s Fair attracted 44 million people, including King George V and his Queen, along with Albert Einstein, and many more notables. But it also attracted a less lofty group, strippers! Mayor Fiorello La Guardia made it the law for strippers to wear a Bikini-like bottom in New York when performing. First, Fredericks of Hollywood and then Victoria’s Secret repurposed the G-sting in their naming of the skimpy garment. The G-string on the violin is just a thin wire, and it happens to be the lowest in position and sound of the violin strings. What could be a more appropriate name for Mayor La Guardia’s mandated tiny modesty vestment? Save or Share:Click to email a link to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)MoreClick to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window) Related From: Art, History
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