Saint Patrick's Day: to each composer his own beer
Every year on 17 March, bars and pubs are decked out in green, the colour typically associated with Ireland and its famous Saint Patrick's Day. It wouldn't be Saint Patrick's Day without an Irish beer. What if we added a bit of music ?
If you've not familiar with the local customs, don't worry, it's easy. Grab a big green hat, go out to a pub (preferably Irish) and order a beer... or several. Lager, white, amber, stout or red ale, there's something for everyone. So why not for certain famous composers?
A lager for... Mozart
Even if it isn't the most popular beer in Ireland, lager is still the world's standard-setter. The classic blond. Like Mozart. Not sure what beer to order at the bar? Make it a lager. Not sure what to listen to for inspiration? Make it Mozart. It works every time.
An abbey beer for... Bach
Abbey beers used to be brewed by monks. Today there are among the most popular beers. Some composers drew rich inspiration for their compositions from religion. Bach was one of them: his works include countless cantatas, masses, passions and oratorios, chorales and sacred songs.
A red ale for... Vivaldi
Ginger. Like the colour of red ale. Or like the colour of the hair of the famous "ginger priest", Vivaldi. Red ale is enormously popular in Ireland, less so in other countries. Its fruity, caramelised taste and ginger hues will have you humming Vivaldi concertos and sonatas before you know it.
A stout for... Dukas
Stout is Ireland's star beer. It takes precision and rigour to serve this strong, black beer. Tilt the glass, don't fill it all at once, wait a bit... Take these tips for a beer that's ready to enjoy. Like Paul Dukas and his music. This French composer had a reputation as a stickler and a perfectionist. He was forever starting his compositions over again, throwing out a lot of them and keeping only what he thought were his best pieces.
A white beer for... Lili Boulanger
Yes, white beers are often ordered by women. No scientist has ever wondered about it, so let's take advantage of the fact to talk about women and music with one of the most famous of them all: Lili Boulanger, the first woman to be awarded the Prix de Rome in 1913 for her cantata, Faust et Hélène
An Irish coffee for... Brahms
Non-beer drinkers can still drink to Saint Patrick's Day with that other famous Irish beverage: Irish coffee. Irish coffee is dense, thick and hot, just like music by Brahms... or the way it is often performed. The conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt had this to say about it:"With each performance by each orchestra, things are added on, the dynamic becomes more violent, the texture stiffer, to the point that everyone has forgotten that, last century, these symphonies had none of these colossal machineries. I went back to the autograph scores and worked through them, bar by bar, with the orchestra to try to understand why we had come to play Brahms so heavily."