Our May blog and radio show celebrates the extraordinary life and leadership of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, parents of 9 children, 42 grandchildren, great-grandparents and musicians. Queen Victoria earned the nickname “The Grandmother of Europe”.
Our article of the month is “ Own Your Time” by Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM. An article on the benefits of playing Classical music is included.
Radio Show Feature Question for May 2017: How did Classical Music play a part of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s life and what musical instruments did they play?
Queen Victoria, Alexandrina Victoria, was born on May 24, 1819 to Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, the fourth son of King George III, and Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, German born. Queen Victoria’s father Prince Edward and her grandfather, King George 11 died in 1820.
At the age of 18, Victoria became Queen as her father’s older three brothers had died with no legitimate surviving children.
Victoria’s was raised in a solitary manner and well educated by private tutors. She learned to speak German, English, French, Italian, Latin ,Urdu and Hindustani. She learned the piano at a young age and became a gifted pianist, singer, and painter. Her constant companion was her dog, Dash. While she was growing up, she attended two to three performances a week in the West End.
Prince Albert was born on August 26,1819 to Ernest III, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld and Louise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg in Schloss Rosenau, Coburg, Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, Germany. Albert and his older brother, Ernest were close companions. Their parents divorced and their mother was not allowed to see them.
Prince Albert began studying the piano when he was very young and began composing many songs and choral works. He was a gifted pianist and singer. Albert and his brother were well educated by private tutors at home in Germany and in Brussels. Albert attended the University of Bonn studying law, philosophy, political economics, and history. His tutors were Fichte, the philosopher, and Schlegel, the poet. He excelled in riding and fencing.
Queen Victoria and Prince Albert:
When Queen Victoria met Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 1836, she heard him play the piano and sing. They were attracted to each other and shared a love of music playing duets at the piano together and singing.
Queen Victoria wrote, “the day after she proposed marriage to Albert, “…he sang to me some of his own compositions, which are beautiful, and he has a very fine voice. I also sang for him.”
Marriage of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert:
In 1840, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were married. It was a love match. Queen Victoria wore a white wedding dress starting the new trend of wearing white wedding dresses. Before Queen Victoria’s wedding to Prince Albert, brides wore colors.
To Queen Victoria, Prince Albert becomes her “husband, friend, confidant, wise counsel, unofficial secretary and government minister.” She relies on “his advice and greater wisdom”.
Queen Victoria and Prince Albert Travel with Their Music:
Wherever they traveled they took their music with them. They enjoyed playing piano duets together and accompanying each other at the piano as they sang. Both also enjoyed the theater and the opera.
Felix Mendelssohn composer meets Prince Albert and Queen Victoria:
Prince Albert enjoyed the musical works of Felix Mendelssohn for voice and piano and introduced them to his wife, Queen Victoria. On June 14, 1842, Mendelssohn brought a letter to Prince Albert from his cousin, the King of Prussia, Frederic William IV.
Prince Albert invited Felix Mendelssohn, the next evening, June 15, 1842, to Buckingham Palace to meet the Queen.
Kupferberg, writes at the time, “the royals were feeling quite nervous about meeting their musical hero; “for all their exalted station, [they] were quite fluttery!” “Apparently, Mendelssohn felt the same way.”
Queen Victoria wrote in her journal of meeting Mendelssohn for the first time on June 16th,1842, at Buckingham Palace: “After dinner came Mendelssohn, whose acquaintance I was so anxious to make. Albert had already seen him the other morning. He is short, dark, … delicate, with a fine intellectual forehead. I should say he must be about 35 or 6. He is very pleasing & modest… He played first of all some of his ‘Lieder ohne Worte (Songs without Words)’, after which…he asked us to give him a theme upon which he could improvise. We gave him 2, ‘Rule Britannia’, & the Austrian National Anthem. He began immediately & really I have never heard anything so beautiful, the way in which he blended them both together & changed over from one to the other, was quite wonderful as well as the exquisite harmony & feeling he puts into the variations, & the powerful rich chords, & modulations, which reminded me of all his beautiful compositions. At one moment he played the Austrian National Anthem with the right hand, he played ‘Rule Britannia’ as the bass, with his left! He made some further improvisations on well-known tunes & songs. We were all filled with the greatest admiration. Poor Mendelssohn was quite exhausted when he had done playing.”
When “Mendelssohn, realizing how much Victoria and Albert enjoyed playing piano duets together, he sent them a special arrangement of his ‘Scottish’ symphony.”
Mendelssohn’s wrote a letter to his mother on meeting with Queen Victoria and Prince Albert at Buckingham Palace:
“Prince Albert sent for me on the Saturday (9th of July, 1842) at half past one so that I could also try his organ before I left England. I found him by himself; but while we were talking, in came the Queen dressed quite informally. She was just saying that she had to leave for Claremont in an hour’s time, when she looked round and exclaimed, “Heavens, how untidy!” – for the wind had scattered some sheets of music from a large portfolio all over the room and even among the organ pedals. Down she got on hands and knees and started picking them up… I begged the Prince to begin playing me something, so that I could boast of it in Germany. He played a chorale by heart, with the pedals – and so charmingly, precisely and accurately that it would have done credit to a professional…Meanwhile the Queen, who had finished what she was doing, came and joined him, listening with pleasure. Then it was my turn, and I began with the chorus from St. Paul, ‘How lovely are the messengers.’ Before I had come to the end of the first verse they both began singing the chorus, and Prince Albert managed the stops so cleverly for me…that I was quite enchanted.
“Then the young Prince of Gotha came in, and we talked for a while. The Queen asked me whether I had written any new songs, because she was very fond of singing my published ones. ‘You ought to sing one to him,’ said Prince Albert; and after a moment’s hesitation she said she would try the ‘Spring Song’ in B flat – ‘if it’s still here, because all my music is packed for Claremont.’ Prince Albert went in search of it, but returned saying it was already packed. ‘ Couldn’t it possibly be unpacked?’ I ventured. ‘We must send for Lady___,.’ Said the Queen – I didn’t catch the name. So the bell was rung and servants dispatched, but to no avail. At last the Queen went herself, and while she was out of the room Prince Albert said to me, ‘She begs you will accept this gift as a memento,’ and gave me a case containing a beautiful ring on which was engraved ‘V.R., 1842.’
“I now begged her that I might not be the loser by this mischance, and hoped she would sing another song. She consulted her husband, who then said, ‘She will sing you something by Gluck.’ Meanwhile the Princess of Gotha had come in, an all five of us proceeded through various rooms and corridors to the Queen’s boudoir, where there stood near the piano a very plump rocking-horse and two large bird-cages…The Duchess of Kent came in, and while they were all talking I rummaged about among the music on the piano and soon discovered my first set of songs; so of course I asked the Queen to sing one of these instead of the Gluck, and she agreed.
“Just as we were about to begin, she said, ‘But first we must get rid of the parrot, or he will scream louder than I can sing.’ Prince Albert rang the bell and the Prince of Gotha said ‘I’ll take him out;’ so I came forward and said, ‘Please allow me!’ and lifted up the big cage and carried it out to the astonished servants.”
“And which of my songs did she choose? ‘Schöner und schöner schmückt sich’ – and sang it quite charmingly, strictly in time and in tune, and very nicely enunciated. ….. I’ve never heard an amateur sing the last sustained G better, more purely or more naturally.”
Mendelssohn visits Queen Victoria and Prince Albert I Buckingham Palace on May 30, 1844:
Queen Victoria wrote: “We went over to the Drawing room to see Mendelssohn & talked to him for some time, then he played to us beautifully, some of the fine compositions he has written lately, amongst them music for the ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream,’ 2 of his ‘Lieder ohne Worte (Songs Without Words),’ & improvised wonderfully on Gluck’s beautiful chorus ‘Que de grâces, que de Majesté’ bringing in besides a song by his sister, which I often sing. He is such an agreeable, clever man & his countenance beams with intelligence & genius.”
Mendelssohn’s Conducts the Philharmonic Concert on June 10, 1844:
“Queen Victoria and Prince Albert sat “just ten steps away from Felix”. “Mendelssohn was given many encores for his ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ music.” That month Mendelssohn “arranged seven of his ‘Lieder ohne Worte’ as piano duets” for Prince Albert and Queen Victoria “to play together”.
Mendelssohn’s Elijah Performance on April 23, 1847:
“Queen Victoria and Prince Albert attended the second London performance at Exeter Hall of Mendelssohn’s oratorio ‘Elijah.’ Afterwards, the Prince sent Felix his own copy of his program with the following inscription which he had personally written in German”: “To the noble artist who, surrounded by the Baal-worship [a reference to the story of ‘Elijah’] of debased art, has been able, by his genius and science, to preserve faithfully, like another Elijah, the worship of true art, and once more to accustom our ear, amid the whirl of empty, frivolous sounds, to the pure tones of sympathetic feeling and legitimate harmony: to the Great Master, who makes us conscious of the unity of his conception, through the whole maze of his creation, from the soft whispering to the mighty raging of the elements. Inscribed in grateful remembrance by Albert. Buckingham Palace, 24 April 1847”
“Queen Victoria wrote on May 1, 1847 on Mendelssohn’s last visit to Buckingham Palace”: “We had the great treat of hearing Mendelssohn play, & he stayed an hour with us, playing some new compositions, with that indescribably beautiful touch of his. I also sang 3 of his songs, which seemed to please him. He is so amiable & clever. For some time he has been engaged in composing an Opera [‘Lorelei’] & an Oratorio [‘Christus’], but has lost courage about them. The subject for his Opera is a Rhine Legend, & that for the Oratorio, a very beautiful one, depicting Earth, Hell & Heaven, & he played one of the Choruses out of this to us, which was very fine.”
Queen Victory said to Mendelssohn afterwards: “You have given me so much pleasure; now what can I do to give you pleasure?” Mendelssohn replied “he would love to see the royal children playing in their nursery. As a father himself, he was very pleased to accompany the Queen, as she later reported, “all the while comparing notes with him on the homely subjects that had a special attraction for them both.”
“Mendelssohn saw Prince Albert for the last time on May 5, 1847 at a ‘Concert of Ancient Music’ organized by the Prince at the Hanover Square Rooms. The composer performed an organ prelude and fugue by Bach.”
Queen Victoria of England:
“In response to the Prince’s gift of his inscribed ‘Elijah,’ program notes, Mendelssohn made a special piano duet arrangement of his ‘Lieder ohne Worte’ in B flat major, Op. 85 No. 6, especially for Victoria and Albert to play, sent with a note of appreciation on the 8th of May 1847, the day of his departure from London.”
On May 14, 1847 Felix Mendelsohn’s sister Fanny was rehearsing his ‘Walpurgis Night’ with her choir when she had a stroke. She died that night. Felix had always enjoyed a close relationship with his sister Fanny.
Six months after Fanny’s death on Nov. 4,1847, Felix Mendelssohn dies after a series of strokes. He was 38 years old, exhausted, overworked, and grief stricken from losing Fanny, his beloved sister. “Two nations went into mourning. Queen Victoria recorded her personal grief in her diary on learning the news of his death”.
Queen Victoria writes of the death of Felix Mendelsohn:
“November 10, 1847…We were horrified, astounded and distressed to read in the papers of the death of Mendelssohn, the greatest musical genius since Mozart, & the most amiable man. He was quite worshipped by those who knew him intimately, & we have so much appreciated & admired his wonderfully beautiful compositions. We liked & esteemed the excellent man, & looked up to & revered, the wonderful genius, & the great mind, which I fear were too much for the frail delicate body. With it all he was so modest and simple…”
Queen Victoria wrote three days later, wrote, “We read & played that beautiful ‘Lied ohne Worte,’ which poor Mendelssohn arranged & wrote out himself for us this year. To feel, when one is playing his beautiful music, that he is no more, seems incomprehensible!”
“Victoria and Albert had built up an extraordinary relationship with Mendelssohn and her reaction to the news of his death goes some way to showing the depth of her feelings for him, as a musician and a friend. Later in her life, she would proudly exaggerate that Felix Mendelssohn had been her “singing teacher!”
Prince Albert Father and Educator:
Prince Albert was devoted “to the education of his” children.
Prince Albert designed an “intense educational program” of instruction that included an hour of French and German. He also had all of his children study the piano beginning at a young age. Several of his children played piano at a high standard of performance.
Roger Fulford, biographer of Prince Albert, “wrote that the relationships between the family members were “friendly, affectionate and normal”. Another biographer of Prince Albert, Philip Magnus, “wrote” he “tried to treat his children as equals;
and they were able to penetrate his stiffness and reserve because they realized instinctively not only that he loved them but that he enjoyed and needed their company.”
Lady Lyttelton, governess to Prince Albert and Queen Victoria’s children, said Prince Albert was “ unusually kind and patient, and described him joining in family games with enthusiasm.”
As the Royal Family, they “become popular again and accessible to ordinary people, thanks to the example” they “set of simple domestic virtues of monogamy, bourgeois decency and family life”
Prince Albert “Reformer & Innovator”:
- Elected in 1847 as Chancellor of the University of Cambridge. He campaigned “successfully for reformed and more modern university curricula, expanding the subjects taught beyond the traditional mathematics and classics to include modern history and the natural sciences”.
- President of the Society for Improvement of the Condition of the Laboring Classes.
- “Prince Albert not only led reforms in university education, welfare, the royal finances and slavery, he had a special interest in applying science and art to the manufacturing industry.”
- “The Great Exhibition of 1851 arose from the annual exhibitions of the Society of Arts , of which Albert was President from 1843, and owed most of its success to his efforts to promote it.” Prince “Albert thought British manufacturing would benefit from exposure to the best products of foreign countries.”
- “As President of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1859 ” Prince Albert delivered a memorable address.
- “Prince Albert promoted many public educational institutions. Chiefly at meetings in connection with these he spoke of the need for better schooling.”
Queen Victoria as a Mother to her 9 Children:
” Queen Victoria’s many letters show she was …..always at heart a loving mother.”
Queen Victoria’s Accomplishments During her 63-year Reign:
*Queen Victoria opened the Great Exhibition on May 1, 1851 “in a specially designed and built glass building known as the Crystal Palace.” It proved a colossal success. A surplus of £180,000 was used to purchase land in South Kensington on which to establish educational and cultural institutions—including the National History Museum, Science Museum, Imperial College London” that was later “named the Royal Albert Hall and Victoria and Albert Museum.”
* Many of the roads, bridges and rail lines, including the underground railroads, used today, were “first built during Victoria’s reign. Industrial and technological feats apart”, Queen Victoria “worked to transform the face of United Kingdom by eradicating poverty and diminishing class difference.”
* “The literacy rate also experienced a massive rise during her reign.”
*Queen Victoria used “her considerable influence to promote causes that interested her personally: She was in favor of the Housing Commission and other efforts to help the poor. She supported British imperialism and was crowned Empress of India in 1876. She took an interest in the Canadian colonies, which led to the establishment of elected government there, signing the British North America Act in 1840.”
*Queen Victoria working with “ Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, … shaped the foreign policy that made Britain a world empire. During her reign, the Crown took over rule of India from the East India Company; the Royal Titles Act made Victoria Empress of India.”
*“Victoria also supported a number of acts that democratized the country, including the establishment of the secret ballot, easing of voting requirements and enacting of wage increases for the working class.”
* Queen Victoria on April 7, 1853 was given chloroform, administered by Dr. John Snow, to ease the pain of giving birth to her 8th child, Prince Leopold, within 53 minutes. Queen Victoria said, “that blessed Chloroform…soothing, quieting and delightful beyond measure”. Later Dr. Snow “wrote in his medical casebooks that the Queen was very cheerful and well, expressed herself much gratified with the effect of the drug.” Queen Victoria paved the way for other mothers-to-be to give birth without pain.
*Queen Victoria wrote 2,500 words everyday. She was a prolific writer.
Prince Albert died on Dec. 14, 1861 at Windsor Castle, Berkshire, UK at the age of 42. Prince Albert and Queen Victoria were married for 21 years. Prince Albert was dedicated to his family, service to his country, and was a life long musician.
Queen Victoria died on January 22, 1901. Her 63-year reign, “was a period of industrial, cultural, political, scientific, and military change within the United Kingdom, and was marked by a great expansion of the British Empire.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queen_Victoria
Queen Victoria was dedicated to her family, serving her country, and was a life long musician.
Own Your Time by Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM
Do you plan your workday in advance and write it down on a schedule? Have you included family time in your schedule? Do you own your time or does it own you?
No matter whether you are in a locker room, boardroom, courtroom, fire station, classroom, on an assembly line, opera/ ballet rehearsal or concert, hospital operating room or in another setting, being in controls of your time matters!
Lesson one: Coach Wooden “Never be late”: Own Your Time
Coach John Wooden, the winning-est coach in basketball always started and ended his practices on time. Coach always arrived early to practice to make sure everything was set up properly. Practice was for 2 to 2 ½ hours and Coach planned every minute of practice. His practice plans were reduced to a 3×5 cards and afterwards his assistant coach copied every practice session plan putting it in a notebook with all the other practice sessions to keep a record of it.
Coach Wooden did not waste time. He said, “I would privately review my notebook from the previous year’s practice for that exact day, looking for clues as to what had been effective and what did not work as well. In fact I regularly reviewed notes from two or three years back-sometimes more.” (“Wooden On leadership” by John Wooden & Steve Jamison)
His meetings with his assistant Coaches were timed too. He would also ask for their suggestions and try them out during practice. When their suggestions worked, they would be added for future practices!
Lesson two: Toastmasters Meeting Run on Time: Own your time
At Toastmasters they watch the time. Meetings begin and end on time. Every minute of the meeting is timed. Speeches are also timed! The first time I visited a Toastmasters Club they handed me an “Agenda” with the time the meeting was to start, how many minutes each portion of the meeting was to be, and what time the meeting would end. Toastmasters’ is an organization that helps “members improve their communication, public speaking, and leadership skills.” Toastmasters teaches you to “own your time”. Visit a Toastmaster club near you to see a timed Toastmasters meeting.
Lesson three: Being on Time, Punctuality is the Key: Businesses have to run on time to stay in business. Employees are being paid to be good team members who are dependable, disciplined; experts in their field, and must arrive at work on time. They also have a positive attitude, a respect for others, and an appreciation for their time too! Businesses and employees own their time.
Tardy Employees Lose Money at a Business: You have heard the saying “Time is money”. At a company I was asked to consult with, employees were arriving late to work and leaving early. These employees were cheating the company each day of money and time. Work was not being completed and other employees could not depend on these delinquent team members. Moral was not good, Companies can go under because of this employee negligent behavior. Managers at the company had done performance reviews of these tardy employees separately and had asked questions to try to correct the situation. It was not working.
I read an article by Zig Ziglar, a motivational expert and mentor to Dr. John Maxwell, of how he had helped a company with similar problems correct the situation by having them announce to their employees that they would be installing “time clocks”. Zig Ziglar said after a month the new “time clocks” were working well and productivity, teamwork, and attitude had improved. After the time clocks were installed, Managers did evaluation reports on the tardy employees weekly, to make them accountable and charge their behavior.
Zig Ziglar “Changed the Picture”: Own your time
Zig Ziglar had changed the picture at this company by helping them install time clocks in order for his employees to receive their paychecks. By doing this employees became productive, had an improved attitude, did better work, completed assignments on time, and became responsible and accountable for their time on the job.
After reading Zig Ziglar’s article I suggested to the company I was assisting that they announce at a meeting that they were installing “time clocks” and each employee was to sign in and sign out each day. After the time clocks were in operation and the company employees had been signing in and out for a month the employees were more productive, had a positive attitude, and became more responsible and accountable for their work. Managers were also doing evaluation reports on the tardy employees weekly as a reminder to them.
Concerts and Rehearsal Begin and End On Time:
As a musician playing the violin and viola, I have played concerts with Frank Sinatra, Natalie Cole, Lou Rawls in concert and performed concerts as a soloist, with orchestra, playing in opera or ballet orchestras, and in chamber groups around the world. The timing in every piece is important. Concerts and rehearsals must begin and end on time. Each piece must be timed to the minute.
In fact as a musician I always arrive early to warm up and get ready before the rehearsal or concert begins. In running any business it is imperative that employees show up on time and leave on time each day. Time management is a must in every part of your life. Without managing your time there is no discipline. Own your time.
What one thing can you do to “own your time” every day?
Like Coach Wooden and Toastmasters, plan every minute of your workday and your family time in advance and put it on your schedule. Stick to your schedule and own your time.
Rabbi Harold Kushner and Senator Paul Tsongas said, “Nobody on their death bed has ever said, “I wish I had spent more time at the office.” Let your legacy be that you spent quality-focused time with your family and made sure your business was successful too. Own your time!
Contact Madeline Frank for your next speaking engagement at firstname.lastname@example.org
“Music Therapy: 10 Health Benefits of Listening to Music” (March 30, 2017) by Ajumoke Nwaeze. Listening to music has the power to heal.
“The Secret of Teaching Science & Math Through Music” by Madeline Frank, Ph.D. is now available in book form, and newly updated as an e-book on Kindle, Nook, or iBook:
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“Musical Notes On Math” by Dr. Madeline Frank teaches your child fractions and decimals, the fun way, through the rhythm of music, Winner of the Parent To Parent Adding Wisdom Award is now available in book form, newly updated as an e-book on Kindle, Nook, or iBook.
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Tips on how to use “Musical Notes On Math”
Madeline’s Midnight Melodies- Music From around the World” . This CD complements her books with a blend of dance music, gigues, tangos, ballet and favorites including “Danny Boy”, Puccini’s “O Mio Babbino Caro”, Debussy’s “Claire De Lune” and others. “Madeline’s Midnight Melodies” is music to relax by and to move by for music therapy. ”Madeline’s Midnight Melodies” CD is now available for purchase by downloading a song, downloading the album, or by CD by clicking below:
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Dr. Madeline Frank’s book “Leadership on a Shoestring Budget” is available through amazon.com. To order your copy of “Leadership On A Shoestring Budget” as an e-book on Kindle click on the following link:
Wishing you and your family a happy Mother’s Day from Your Non-Invasive Medicine Music Expert, Madeline
For over 30 years, Dr. Madeline Frank has helped children and adults overcome problems through Classical music. Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM is an award winning teacher, author, researcher, speaker and concert artist. She has found a scientific link between studying and/or listening to musical instruments and academic and societal success. Madeline Frank earned her Bachelor and Master’s degree from the Juilliard School of Music. Her education has included scholarships at the Juilliard School, Indiana University, and the University of Cincinnati and she has a violin performance diploma from the North Carolina School of the Arts. (C) 2017 Madeline Frank.