By 1878 Sam Clemens had accomplished substantial wealth and fame and was living comfortably with his wife Livy and their family near Hartford, Connecticut. Yet something important was missing. A wide gap persisted between his personal cultural development and that of his upscale neighbors and social circles in the Hartford area.
Sam and Livy resolved to fix this gap by extended travel and cultural study in Western Europe. Beginning in 1878 they set out to tour seven countries in Western Europe. Given the prevailing stylistic differences between European and American music at the time, confrontation of these differences was inevitable. Following a symphonic musical performance in Baden Baden, Germany by the Baden Baden Philharmonie, Sam wrote his compelling and introspective analysis of music, defining the place of music in human society. Although he showed an interest in music and made passing reference to his musical preferences on prior occasions, this time he faced music head-on with a clear and compelling message. It was a time of an obvious inflection point in his cultural development regarding music.
In the musical production Mark Twain’s Music Box, the important role of a music box is woven into the story of Sam Clemens’ relationship to music. The mysteries surrounding the music box extend to this day. Perhaps our audience can play some role in finally resolving these 140 year old conundrums. Join the Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes Chamber Ensemble, consisting of what Twain would call ten “high grade” musicians, as they deliver the intriguing story of the music box and Mark Twain’s relationship to music.
We wish to thank the following organizations and individuals for their important contributions and collaborations in the development and presentation of Mark Twain’s Music Box:
- The Park Church
- Elmira College Center for Mark Twain Studies
- Dr. Barbara Snedecor, former Director of CMTS
- Dr. Joseph Lemak, current Director of CMTS
- The Baden Baden Philharmonie, Baden Baden, Germany
- Herr Arndt Joosten, Orchestermanager
- Kiril Nikolow, Principle Cello
- Dr. Kerry Driscoll, University of St. Joseph, Hartford, Connecticut
The Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes is proud to announce its third Musicians’ Choice Chamber Series concert of the 2018-19 season. This concert, titled Mark Twain’s Music Box, will be held in the majestic sanctuary of the historic Park Church in Elmira on Friday, February 8 at 7:30 PM. All ages are welcome.
Mark Twain’s Music Box explores Sam Clemens’ (Mark Twain’s) fascinating personal relationship with music. The production is filled with live music, drama, mystery, and the comedy befitting the title character. Mark Twain’s Music Box is a one of a kind concert that uses fine music to teach about important history, while using important history to teach about fine music.