Friday, January 19, 2007

Music Listening

There may be some who can listen to a classical piece once and meaningfully evaluate its worth, but I can't. Nor can I do it after five listenings, nor ten. Twenty, that's the proper amount. Just right. Of course I always listen to music while doing some other activity, so that may be inflated as compared to someone giving complete attention to the music.

I've been listening to this album. Allow me to recount the experience of the proper amount of listenings.

On this CD:

1. Violin Concerto
Composed by Alban Berg

2. Violin Concerto ("Putování dusicky," "Pilgrimage of the Soul"), JW 9/10 (fragments completed by others)
Composed by Leos Janacek

3. Concerto Funebre for violin & string orchestra
Composed by Karl Amadeus Hartmann

After listening 1:

I have no idea what I've just heard. Maybe I could report that it all sounded dark, and the Berg was more tonal than I expected.

After listening 5:

Now I'm starting to remember little pieces and not surprisingly, given way the mind remembers, the beginnings and end of certain tracks. The 1st and 2nd movements of the Berg have no break between them, nor do the 3rd and 4th (this, I know, because iTunes makes a little hiccup between tracks). The Hartmann ends on a dissonant chord.

After listening 7:

I've started to recognize the bizarre (but effective) fanfare that starts the third movement of the Berg. The Janacek is labyrinthine. There's a very fast movement in the Hartmann. The Berg starts with an odd tuning up sound with quartal implications.


The fanfare occurs twice in the Berg third movement. The Hartmann starts with a lonely violin, very quiet, and this menacing wash of sound (that represents, if I had to guess, the Nazis).


The Janacek has this folksy melody traded between orchestra and soloist at the start, very metric. There's an odd moment of shimmering, geometric harps and pizzicato strings (maybe). The Berg ends with the soloist hitting a consonant note, and the winds playing above it.

15: The fast movement in the Hartmann is really good. The Janacek ends up abruptly.

By 20, it's starting to get old. I have nowhere near to a complete aural map in my head (sitting here now, I can't recall what half the tracks sound like, though I'd probably recognize them if I heard them). Still, I have a rough sense of the quality of the pieces.

At work today, I listened to this:

[1/18/2007 3:30:50 PM] Michael Pashuck [my eight year old cousin] says: Hello!
[10:10:31 PM] Michael Pashuck says: I snapped the ping pong ball gun in half.
[10:10:45 PM] Scott D. Scheule says: You rebel!
[10:11:14 PM] Michael Pashuck says: I didn't mean to.
[10:11:28 PM] Michael Pashuck says: I didn't know how poorly made it was.
[10:13:16 PM] Scott D. Scheule says: Don't feel bad. Even Jack Bauer sometimes breaks weapons in half. Usually on a terrorist's skull.

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