since freedom is a breakfastfood, and mannheim is a universe.

I adore e. e. cummings, if you can’t tell. I also really love A House Like a Lotus, but that’s not news. And I love Christa Wolf. I really need to get back to Der geteilte Himmel.

And another thing I really really love is Mannheim Steamroller.

Part of this is for sentimental reasons, like the fact that Christmas isn’t Christmas without everybody dancing goofily to Mannheim’s rendition of “Deck the Halls” or the quiet flute of “Bring a Torch, Jeannette, Isabella” through the house over the noises that accompany baking. Or the sentimental reason that my dad likes to tell me about when he first heard Fresh Aire III – in the corridors of Garrison House sometime in 1979. Or the sentimental reason that I am reasonably sure I want “Dancin’ in the Stars” from Music of the Spheres played at my funeral.

Anyway, my favorite Mannheim song is “Going to Another Place.”

(Come to think of it, “Going to Another Place” played at my funeral would be okay, too.)

Mostly, growing up, Fresh Aire III and the Christmas albums were all we listened to. But, because Spotify is amazing, I’ve expanded my repertoire of late, and yesterday while I was pounding out the prickliest speech ever I turned on Fresh Aire II.


Mostly because of the constant presence of the main motif of “Going to Another Place.” The track’s original appearance is apparently on FAII, which explains a bit more about why it mysteriously appears on a Christmas album – it was popular, and also magnificent.

But on FAII, it’s everywhere – and I love it.

I also heard bits and pieces of other things from other albums (and this continued to happen on FAI and FAIV, which made me think of the bit where in Madeleine L’Engle’s work almost every book has in it a character who appears briefly in another book, to imply that every story takes place in the same fictional universe.

All of Mannheim Steamroller’s music takes place in the same musical universe. HOW BLOODY COOL IS THAT.

If you give the universe enough space, as Charlie McDonnell says, it will begin to repeat itself. And frankly, that is unbelievably beautiful.


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