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This is a place where our classical hosts, interns and artists can share their stories, viewpoints and point of view on topics related to classical music and the arts in general. Come back to this page often to read the latest and share your comments.

Old coats

rsz_werther-cover.jpg
Philipp Otto Runge wearing a Werther coat in his self-portrait

Chilly? Try these on for size:

“It cost me much to part with the blue coat which I wore the first time I danced with Charlotte. But I could not possibly wear it any longer. But I have ordered a new one, precisely similar, even to the collar and sleeves, as well as a new waistcoat and pantaloons.

But it does not produce the same effect upon me. I know not how it is, but I hope in time I shall like it better.”

– The Sorrows of Young Werther, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“The Werther cult was so excessive as to be almost laughable at times. Young men rebelled by adopting strange clothes and bizarre haircuts, like those they imagined the romantic hero sported….The standard Werther outfit was, however, a blue frock coat and a yellow vest. Others wandered, consumed for the first time with the need to writer passionate verses, as Werther did.”

– The Social Impact of the Novel: A Reference  Guide 

“I had a good raincoat then, a Burberry I got in London in 1959. Elizabeth thought I looked like a spider in it. That was probably why she wouldn't go to Greece with me. It hung more heroically when I took out the lining, and achieved glory when the frayed sleeves were repaired with a little leather. Things were clear. I knew how to dress in those days. It was stolen from Marianne's loft in New York City sometime during the early seventies. I wasn't wearing it very much toward the end.” 
- Leonard Cohen, liner notes

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHqqlm9yf7M

“Old coat, listen...I must stay on the plain while you ascend the sacred mountain. Receive my thanks. You never lowered your back before the rich and powerful. Your pockets, like tranquil caverns, have housed the great philosophers and poets. Now that those happy days have fled, I bid you farewell, my faithful friend.”  - Colline in La Boheme, before he sells his beloved old coat to help by medicine for Mimi

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSVwpUBu9yA
“Vecchia zimarra” from La Boheme

Mona Seghatoleslami is the host and producer on WXXI Classical 91.5 FM weekdays from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. She also hosts the lunchtime concert series Live From Hochstein Wednesdays at 12:10 p.m., interviews musicians, produces special programs, and works on any project she can find that helps connect people and music in our community through WXXI.