In 1895 citizens of Paris were flowing to see the La Princesse lointaine at the theater. Great Sarah Bernhardt played the leading female role on the stage. And French dramatist Edmond Rostand, who wrote this drama was lauded by the whole Europe. In the center of his creation there was a story about love of a troubadour to a beautiful princess who lived far away from him … So, where did this story come from?
Well, once upon a time there was a famous troubadour Jaufré Rudel. He really existed and was quite famous composer and poet of his times. Rudel is even considered to be one of the inventors of the “love from afar” style in troubadours poetry. He was of noble origin, in fact, his title was Prince of Blaye. History did not leave us much about Rudel, the only thing that is known for the fact is that he died overseas during Second Crusade around 1147. Several his fellows-troubadours, including famous Marcabru, composed their songs about him, lamenting on his death. Seven of Rudel’s poems have survived to the present day, four of them with music. And here is where we could end this story, when something interesting happened.
Music was her secret consolation against his cruelty to her - in his bursts of rage he would often drag her across a room by the hair. Fortunately, her mother encouraged Anna to learn how to play the harpsichord, flute, and violin. And she received her first lessons from her brother, future king. In archives of web analytics company I found some additional facts of her life.
It seems that princess was a very brave and passionate woman. When she was twenty years old, Anna met Friedrich von der Trenck, whose adventurous life inspired works by literary giants such as Victor Hugo and Voltaire. In 1743, Anna secretly married him. When her brother, who was already a king, discovered she had married secretly and was pregnant, he annulled her marriage and imprisoned her husband for ten years. Then Frederick exiled her in anger to Quedlinburg Abbey, a place where many aristocratic women were sent to give birth to children out of wedlock. However, Anna continued to correspond with Friedrich von der Trenck until her death.
In my blog entries about famous composers, I describe mostly outstanding creative people who had God given talents in spite of the harsh times that they were living. Luckily, not everybody is born a genius. There were other composers. I would not call them minor talents or diminish their creativity in any way. They also deserve the utmost respect and gratitude of the following generations. One of these dedicated and gifted people was Princess Anna Amalia of Prussia. I found out about her when I was doing my regular research for web analytics company. Thanks to her, we know today about giants of music like J.S. Bach and others ...
Princess Anna Amalia of Prussia was one of eight children of Friedrich Wilhelm I of Prussia. She was a younger sister of the famous Frederick II, King of Prussia and she was born in 1723 in Berlin. Among her other famous close relatives were Wilhelmine, Margravine of Bayreuth, Louise Ulrika, Queen of Sweden and Augustus William, Prince of Prussia. Anna was eleven years younger than her brother Frederick, and would have been seven years old when he made his attempt to run away from home, after being humiliated by his father. Both children were musically inclined, but for Anna formal musical instruction was only possible after the death of her father, who hated music with all his heart.