The
Legend
Opera
Adaptation
The
Music
The
Libretto
The
Humor
Historical
Research
Robert
Milne
From the
Maestros

 


Henry Steiner (left) and Robert Milne at the old gravesite of Washington Irving,; 2010

Mr. Milne spent countless hours researching the original story in Washington Irving's book of 1819 - 1820, "The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon." He also studied the Germanic folklore of bizarre creatures of legend, in which this particular story was deeply rooted. With his wife, Linda, he visited Sleepy Hollow, New York, and met with Henry Steiner, the life-long resident and village historian. Mr. Steiner showed them the gravesites of various Van Tassle family members and others. He also explained that, based on his research, many of the details of the story were based on Washington Irving's observations of local scenery and old Dutch customs. The character of Ichabod Crane may have been modeled after a local schoolmaster. Irving first heard the story of the headless horseman from an old millhand in sleepy hollow. Many, many details of the opera's story came from Mr. Steiner.

Mr. & Mrs. Milne visited with another historian, William Lent, who provided the photo of the Pocantico bridge, above, as well as other useful information.


Robert Milne

Robert Milne was a French horn player in his youth, attending the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, and becoming Assistant 1st horn in the Rochester Philharmonic to Verne Reynolds during his third year at the school. He later performed with the Baltimore Symphony as Assistant 1st horn. But then he discovered the fun of playing piano for audiences, which he says is "easy."

His career then branched off and he became a full time concert pianist, performing ragtime and early American piano styles for the past forty years. His informative and entertaining concerts number about 250 a year. Discovered by members of the Library of Congress, he was taken to Washington, D.C., in 2004 to be filmed and recorded over a period of three days. During this time he was referred to as a "National Treasure" by the Librarian of Congress, Dr. James Billington.

Mr. Milne has written a piano concerto, a trumpet concerto, numerous art songs, a flute suite, about 40 piano rags (described by some as "classical in nature"), music for the stage play "Orvie," music for the stage play "The Christmas Chimes," and uncountable smaller pieces. He's also written five books, one of them a collection of poems.

Mr. Milne was designated a "Musical Ambassador" by the United States Dept. of State in 2005, and performed five tours of the Japanese islands in this capacity. He also performed for the Swiss Parliament in Berne, Switzerland, as a representative of the United States.

Mr. Milne possesses an amazing ability to hear and remember music in his head, even several pieces at once. He has recently been studied at great length by doctors of neurology Kerstin Bettermann, M.D., and James Toole, M.D., to see how he does this. The studies involve MRI brain scans (over four hours at present), and memory tests that Mr. Milne describes as "brutal." These studies are an ongoing project.

Ron Ludy


 

The
Legend
Opera
Adaptation
The
Music
The
Libretto
The
Humor
Historical
Research
Robert
Milne
From the
Maestros

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