Thursday, September 28, 2006


All in all, I managed to wring a productive day out of this one. Cleaned my room, did laundry, deposited a check, got my emissions tested and then my car's--passed, renewed my VA registration, pushed the big pile of change on my dresser into a plastic bag and used a Coinstar for the first time ($25.00, give or take), had dinner, went to campus, gave Jay a CD I made for him with the program from our night at the Kennedy Center, plus various pieces from various composers intended as an introduction to classical music, went to the gym (6th day in a row! I can take tomorrow off!), practiced the piano on the beautiful chapel piano at the law center, Beethoven, Op.28, the Pastoral Sonata, got home, drank a protein shake, listened to jazz, wrote some emails.

I noticed that when I got done playing the piano and started listening to my mp3 player, the music sounded much more alive (Bartok's Cantata Profana). I could hear details I usually don't notice. I wonder if, for musicians, that's how listening to music always is.

Things I've been listening to: Bartok's Cantata is great--I need to find a translation--I've lately noticed how much more enjoyable all music is when you know what the singers are saying. He has a number of choruses for children choir that are lots of fun, rhythmically punchy, nice counterpoint. Bluebeard's Castle is one of the greatest operas ever written--overblown Freudian libretto nonwithstanding. Poulenc's Gloria is silly, but man, so enjoyable.

The rain was falling on a sunny day this afternoon. I spotted a rainbow over Arlington.


Jacob Lyles said...

I bought a Chopin CD, Etudes and Waltzes, op. 10 and twenty something on the etude side. There's something audacious about his style, something a bit reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix (in spirit, at least). It sounds like a challenge thrown in the face of every other composer. The pieces are so lawless, so chaotic, and yet wonderful and beautiful.

On the other hand, I bought a copy of Bach's "Art of Fugue". I debated over three or four different recordings in the record store before choosing an organ version, figuring that fugues sound badass on organs. When I got it home I read the front jacket and you know how they say "it was panned by critics when it came out but now we consider it a master piece"? Well this recording was panned by critics when it came out. I kept on reading further, waiting for the place where the jacket tells me how much of a master performance it is. But it never says it. It just tells how much the CD you just bought sucks.

Scott said...

The etudes are probably my favorite Chopin works. That kind of garish flair bothers some people--the notes are not all as intrinsically important as they are in Bach or Bartok; everything has an air of improvisation. The Waltzes are in the same vein.