Earthquakes in music

Monday, 16 November 2015
I already have written about earthquake records transformed into music (here and here). However, I did not realized that earthquakes could also have inspired music compositions. As I was reading The Melodies of Monsoons: Weather in Indian Classical Music, I was wondering if earthquakes also inspired classical music. 

And, certainly, a few works have been composed after these natural disasters. Among them, the beginning of Handel’s Messiah and Telemann’s Die Donnerode. The later particularly interests me because it was inspired by the 1755 Lisbon earthquake

The Lisbon earthquake struck in the height of the Age of Enlightenment. Two opposing ideas, the orthodox religiousness, and the prevalence of the reason, tried to explain such a natural disaster. It inspired Voltaire’s Candide, which would be later transformed into a Bernstein’s operetta, and a strong debate about the existence or not of a benevolent deity. Rousseau found in this earthquake grounds for returning to the natural life, far from the cities. The Lisbon earthquake inspired the creation of the Portuguese fados (fate), so embedded now into their culture. And here I leave you, with Amália Rodrigues:

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