The Bicycle and the Bastille

"Velocipede galop, op. 134" by Giuseppe Operti. New York: William A. Pond & Co., 1869.

Last week In the Muse brought you “The Battle of the Sewing Machines,” a 19th century piano piece that fondly mimics the chug of an old sewing machine. The piece features cover art that depicts sundry anthropomorphic sewing machines on the attack, revealing perhaps a bit of 19th century tension at the fate of man vs. machine. Today we bring you another fine example of music and the machine in honor of the Tour de France, the grueling bicycle race that is winding its way through 2200 miles of mountainous road as we speak.  Celebrate this ultimate test of human endurance at a leisurely pace with a piece inspired by the forerunner of today’s modern, 21-speed titanium frame,  “Velocipede Galop,” from the Historic Sheet Music Collection, 1800-1922 in the Performing Arts Encyclopedia.

Speaking of France, celebrate Bastille Day today with the Sousa’s Band 1898 recording of “La Marseillaise,” from The March King: John Philip Sousa, also in the Performing Arts Encyclopedia.

Finally, celebrate the birthday of Woody Guthrie with the U.S. Coast Guard Band recording of “This Land is Your Land,” from Patriotic Melodies. Learn more about  Guthrie and the Library of Congress in Woody Guthrie and the Archive of American Folk Song: Correspondence, 1940-1950 in American Memory.

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