In honor of the 4th of July, Barrymore Laurence Scherer discusses the musical inclinations of one of the country’s founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson, in Thursday’s (7/2) Wall Street Journal. “Jefferson was a true Renaissance man,” Scherer writes. “Music, however, was Jefferson’s particular delight, ‘an enjoyment, the deprivation of which . . . cannot be calculated,’ he declared in 1785. From early boyhood, he pursued this ‘passion of my soul,’ studying the violin with a teacher in Williamsburg, Va. By the time he matriculated at the College of William and Mary in 1760, his playing was so fluent that he was invited for weekly chamber music gatherings with the royal governor of Virginia. … The future president’s musical tastes—which he imparted to his children—were sophisticated and broadly rooted in popular composers from the 17th through the middle-18th centuries. He deemed Arcangelo Corelli his favorite composer, deeply admired Haydn and had a great love for French and Italian opera. … In old age, Jefferson wrote with typical insight that ‘music is invaluable where a person has an ear,’ continuing that ‘it furnishes a delightful recreation for the hours of respite from the cares of the day, and lasts us through life.’ ”

Posted July 2, 2009