Filed Under:

Winter Songs: Young Love In Ithaca, With Schumann's Help

Play associated audio

All Things Considered has been asking listeners for their memories of winter musical moments. Tuesday's story stretches back to the winter of 1958, when Alice Swersey was a freshman at Ithaca College.

"I was dating a guy from up the hill, from Cornell," she says. "On my birthday, Dec. 2, I received at my dorm a dozen sweetheart roses and an album of Rudolf Serkin and the Philadelphia Orchestra playing Schumann's Piano Concerto — which I was totally in love with. And I think I'd casually mentioned that to my date a few weeks before."

Her date was her now-husband, Burt Swersey, who says he'd taken careful note of the remark.

"I think I remembered everything about Alice at that time," he says. "I was just smitten with her, so whatever she told me, I think I remembered very well."

"A piano concerto is a conversation between a soloist and the orchestra, and this is just the most romantic piece," Alice says. "There's something about Schumann, the emotion that he conveys. ... It's very lush, with swelling passages and then the most delicate little piano responses."

Burt says he and Alice had only been dating for a few months when he sent her the record — but that it expressed something he'd known from the moment they met.

"The first time I saw her, my heart really skipped a beat. She bounded down the stairs with her ponytail swinging, and with her little skirt and little sweater and so on, and I just took a deep breath," he says. "I had to find some magic to capture this incredible young woman. I guess it worked."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

'The Terror Years' Traces The Rise Of Al-Qaida And ISIS

Lawrence Wright's new book collects his essays for The New Yorker on the growth of terrorism in the Middle East, from the Sept. 11 attacks to the recent beheadings of journalists and aid workers.
NPR

Berkeley's Soda Tax Appears To Cut Consumption Of Sugary Drinks

According to a new study, the nation's first soda tax succeeded in cutting consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages. But there's uncertainty about whether the effect will be permanent.
WAMU 88.5

Questions About Hillary Clinton’s Newly Uncovered Emails

A federal judge orders a review of nearly fifteen thousand recently discovered Hillary Clinton emails from her time as Secretary of State. A new batch related to the Clinton Foundation was also released. Join us to discuss ongoing questions.

WAMU 88.5

Questions About Hillary Clinton’s Newly Uncovered Emails

A federal judge orders a review of nearly fifteen thousand recently discovered Hillary Clinton emails from her time as Secretary of State. A new batch related to the Clinton Foundation was also released. Join us to discuss ongoing questions.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.