Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Schubert's Ich Grolle Nicht and Wilco's Hummingbird

Because it sure ain't Schumann's. If you're familiar with with Wilco, I find the piano style and tempo to be uncannily reminiscent of Hummingbird:

I've just started work on a performance analysis of Fischer-Dieskau's 1976 recording of Ives' Ich Grolle Nicht setting, where DFD's phrasing borrows the structure of Schumann's setting rather than Ives' score. Mistakenly searching for Schubert and Ich Grolle Nicht, I discovered this gem.

My favorite moment of this performance? At 1:05, the mid-phrase terror that slips into the tenor's voice as he gets lost on a long tone during an inconvenient page-turn, and seems to be sight-reading.

I think it has all the makings of an undiscovered kitsch classic. Let's meme this to notoriety.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Never fear! This is not an abandoned blog.

This isn't a vacant or dormant blog, except that it sort of is.

For months, I've been thinking about various albums, thoughts, events, books, magazine articles, memes, blog posts, trips, cute things my dog does, what it's like to teach a college class with two weeks or two hours notice, what Mendelssohn said about the keyed trumpet*, the challenges of trying to learn two languages at once when English gives me much trouble on its own and the like. With each of these, I think, "Wow, that would make a great blog post!" I've started some, and many of those are saved as drafts so when life slows down--say, late December--and I get really bored, I can start posting them all at once and it will seem like a very exciting life that I lead. (But I'll have to excise references to the beautiful weather, all the walking I've been doing, the farmer's tan I'm getting, or my time-sensitive jig will be up.) But of late, I've started putting my research into--get this--Word documents! I've also been doing voracious reading that's really not typical of me. I'm a slow reader, seldom finish books, and have been tearing through them (relative to my normal pace, anyway). I won't say which books yet, because then I'd have to comment on them, and this would become an actual post, and I wouldn't get up in time tomorrow to do my menial job, which is to enter standardized test answers into an excel file or type up transcripts of focus groups.

Since I posted last, I've been to Boston twice (once for a musicologist friend and friend friend's wedding in Southern Maine, and again last weekend for my good friend and her husband The Cantor). I bought too many books, which I'm burdened by reading. I hate gravesite pictures--almost as much as I hate one-room house birthplace tours ("and here is where Herbert Hoover's mother kept her skillets...")--but along my theme of American music, I'll share my twitpic of a really boring William Billings plaque I found across the street from the Steinway shop next to Emerson College alongside the Boston Common on Sunday. Enjoy.

It's positively scintillating.

*"I must not forget to mention that the trumpeters, one and all,
blow away at those infernal keyed trumpets, which always seem to me like a pretty woman with a beard; they are also without the chromatic tones and sound shrill and unnatural.”