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Hearing the Zither Once MoreAlpine_Zither_001

It began with a zither player named Tomy Temerson who came aboard our river boat in Germany to provide an evening of surprise entertainment.

His “zithermusik” was fabulous as we listened to tunes like Edelweiss, La vie en Rose, Maria Elena, and the theme from the Third Man.

The zither, according to Tomy, originated in Germany, Austria and Switzerland (the German speaking countries of Europe).  And although it is an ancient musical instrument, its heyday was in the 1920’s. If you could not afford a piano you would buy a zither.  Tomy played for us on an instrument made in 1928.

Tomy Temerson, Zither Player

Tomy Temerson, Zither Player

Bill was especially excited to hear this music since he listened to his mother play when he was a young boy.  And we were so moved by the beautiful music and the unexpected surprise of the evening that we were both on the verge of tears.

From: http://musicofyesterday.com

A zither is a stringed instrument that is plucked with a “plectrum” and could be one of the most ancient musical instruments.  It consists of a flat box which lies on the table, strung with five metal strings passing over the frets, and from 27 to 40 strings of various kinds played as open strings plucked with the fingers to form the accompaniment to the melody which was played with a plectrum, on the strings nearest the performer.

Hungarian Gypsy Music

Silver Duo 2

On another evening two violinists came aboard, accompanied by a guitar player.

They played classical music that was so heart rending we were literally struck dumb.

And then they veered off to Hungarian gypsy music!

When I was a young girl, my Hungarian father extolled the beauty of such music.  He told me how it went from deeply tragic and sad to extremely lively and joyful, and that it inevitably would bring the listener to tears.

I was stunned to hear the music of my father’s origins played by a wonderful trio of beautiful  talented young people.

And yes, I was brought to tears.

As you might imagine, we purchased both CD’s!

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