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August 14, 2012

Saluting a 66th wedding anniversary with Chopin's pop music hit

If you'll pardon the personal stuff today, Aug. 14 is my parents' 66th wedding anniversary, and I just had to send them a cyber shout-out -- especially since there's a Chopin connection.

When they were dating in Washington, D.C., they had their own special song (do couples still have their own special songs?). It was from the 1946 movie "Till the End of Time," the story of Marines adjusting after the war. The movie's theme song left quite an impression on my parents. (My father served in the Marines, so that provided another strong connection to the picture.)

The song, which became a big hit in those days, was based on Chopin's A-flat major Polonaise, the one known as the "Heroic." Any couple that can hang on for 66 years seems pretty heroic to me, so let's hear it for Ken and Betty Smith.

Here's their song in a tender 1940s performance by ...

Ginny Simms, followed by a fully heroic account of the Chopin Polonaise that inspired it, played by a great keyboard artist of the 20th century, Georges Cziffra:

Posted by Tim Smith at 7:25 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Clef Notes

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
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