6th November 2020
There has to be something to celebrate, and today we can sing ‘Happy birthday!’ to Adolphe Sax, the inventor of the saxophone. 186 years old today, congratulations sir!
Or ‘Gelukkige verjaardag!’ in Flemish. Flemish is close to the Dutch, and Happy Birthday in Dutch is ‘Fijne verjaardag’. Well, I can see that verjaardag is ‘towards year day’. Or, as towards can be to ‘look’ or ‘see’ towards, perhaps ‘see year day.
And I can see that fijne could be fine, so ‘fine see year day’ is sort of happy birthday.
Gelukkige is harder though. But when in doubt, Google translate. Gelukkige sounds Germanic, and in German is ‘glücklich’. Gluck means ‘luck’ or ‘happiness’, and lich is related to licht which is light.
In fact, I believe glück is good luck, ‘g’luck’ the English might say, swallowing the ood. So geluk can be good luck, which just leaves kige. Which in Japanese according to Google translate means ‘tree’. Wow!
And the Japanese have good luck trees it seems. Amazing!
It gives me an idea about a good luck or happy tree. I will give that some thought, for another post perhaps. Anyway, ‘Good luck tree See year today’ to you, Adolphe!
But I also note kig as an abbreviation can be ‘Keep it going’. From
Well, why not, seems reasonable?
So ‘Good luck keep it going See year day’ to you Adolphe! This, of course, can easily be seen as ‘Good luck, keep it going, see yer’ today’ which is rather like what we might have on a birthday card. I’m sure you see what I mean.
Which is all very fascinating, but who was Adolphe Sax, and what was he about, apart from inventing the saxophone?
There doesn’t seem to be a lot on the internet, but it seems he was sax mad, also inventing the saxotromba, saxhorn and saxtuba, according to https://www.britannica.com/biography/Antoine-Joseph-Sax
I can’t find that he wrote about his inventions, so no karma sutra of sax I’m afraid from him it seems.
Born in Dinant, in what is now Belgium, his childhood was extraordinary. It is recorded it was full of misadventure (not to be confused with Miss A D Ventura, allegedly the daughter of Ace Ventura, pet detective).
There are seven times recorded in which he had serious injury, or narrowly escaped death. Even his parents thought he would not live long. You can look them up, but these are the ones listed in his Wikipedia entry.
- fell from a height of three floors, hit his head on a stone and could barely stand afterwards.
- at the age of three, drank a bowl full of acidic water and later swallowed a pin.
- burnt himself seriously in a gunpowder explosion.
- fell onto a hot cast-iron frying pan, burning his side.
- survived an accidental poisoning from keeping varnished items in his bedroom during the night.
- was hit on the head by a rock
- fell into a river and nearly died.
Perhaps all these close encounters with death occurred because he was thinking about what he could invent, looking at the instruments his parents made, and how he could improve them.
His later preoccupation with sax might make him a bit of a nerd as defined by https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/nerd under the second meaning. Even the first might be apt, as nerds can be accident prone, as their minds are on higher matters.
So I make that seven ‘close encounters of the nerd kind!’.
He was a teacher at the Paris Conservatory or ‘Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris (CNSMDP)’ as it is officially known according to Wikipedia.
So he was a sax expert then, taught people to use sax correctly, sorry, the sax correctly.
And he died in complete poverty it seems. That’s sad. It seems rival instrument makers were jealous (mines better/bigger than yours!). Pathetic I call that. When you create an instrument that has bought pleasure to a great many, why fight over patents? Surely you can all benefit from sharing the knowledge and pleasure of making beautiful music together?
The only ones who supposedly benefit are the lawyers and judges of the claims, who certainly make more money than they deserve. But music with its attendant pleasure is far for exiting than a pile of money. And is more easily shared.
Of course, saxophone really means ‘sexy sound’ which is why so many enjoy it. The saxophone that is. Which Adolphe invented. We can thank him for that.
Of course sex is enjoyable too. Which the Most High invented. We can thank him for that too.
Adolphe did live to be 79 years old apparently, so his parents were wrong about not living long.
And as his soul sleeps in rest, awaiting resurrection and the judgement day when we all will be present, he may not hear us on earth. But we can say again ‘Gelukkige verjaardag!’.
Or ‘Good luck, keep it going, see yer’ one day’ to you Adolphe!’
P.S You may have your own favourite sax song, or song containing sax music. It is difficult to choose, but I will put two links to songs I love for different reasons. Both good to dance to in different ways – there are all sorts of sax moves!
Dave Brubeck Take Five
Born to Run, Bruce Springstein
P.P.S. If you are interested there is a ‘winkel’ or shop in Dinant selling sax. Here’s a link to another page explaining how you can get it. The Sax Shop