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this week's featured recording for 5.20.22
Sonata in C Hob. I/WU 10 by Franz Joseph Haydn  (1732-1809)
I. Allegro

 This week on the blog:   The blogger is on vacation this week. here's something originally from  Monday, February 4, 2019
I'm Bored!


Not being a mother, I don't have access to the official book of things to say to your children in every situation,  and thus I don't know what page it is on. But I'm sure it's in there somewhere. When your child complains that they are bored, you say "no, you are boring."

They may have updated the book since, because that seems a little unnecessarily cruel for this enlightened era, but it may have some redemptive sting in it after all. Being unable to either provide your own external stimulus or (gasp) even being able to find sufficient stimulus in the workings of your own mind is a skill, and it ought to be cultivated; otherwise, you risk being bored a lot.

At least, you used to. These days there are screens everywhere and access to thousands of entertainment options. It would seem that the likelihood of being bored has gone down. But then, the tolerance for being able to deal with even a short period of non-entertainment has gone down with it, so there is still a grave risk that at some point a young mind may not know what to do with itself.

I was a child before the days of the internet and even the IPOD was a new and expensive commodity so...

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On deadline
from August 8, 2018

Somebody asked me the other day if I just played the piano for fun. Having found out that I am a professional musician it occurred to her to wonder whether I ever approached the instrument the way an amateur would, simply to derive enjoyment from the playing and not care if and when the piece was ready for prime time--perhaps not even to get that worked up over mistakes that would not be cited in the paper.

My answer? sort of. Then I elaborated.

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The Beginnings of Musical Notation

(the Pope gets "inspired" by the thought of written music) 



"Imagine being able to sing at sight a melody you had never heard before. The very idea would have been considered madness until Odo made his spectacular claims. Now, music was about to become "a thing made," and composers began to get a little more respect. But changing local customs, now that was the real struggle. "

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Putting on the brakes
the finale of the "Flashy French Organ Toccata" Series

Steve thought he'd have a little fun. I was conducting a small group of singers from The Chorale from a seated position on the living room floor (I told someone it felt like being a cross between a conductor and a Rabbi). The singers were seated on couches and chairs or standing behind them. When I cut everybody off at the end, Steve kept right on holding the note. I turned to him and said, "so you're the guy during the Hallelujah chorus...!"

That joke immediately registers with singers, who recognize the spot toward the end of the piece when, after eight repetitions of the word "hallelujah!"--suddenly, there is a pause. Dead silence. Unless, of course, someone hasn't been counting their hallelujahs and sings an impromptu solo. woops.

 The silence, of course, is followed by the grand conclusion, loud, majestic, and very slow. As we wrap up our series on Flashy French Organ Toccatas this is the last feature I want to point out--what happens at the end. We've noted that all of these toccatas are very busy--that there is a constant stream of notes, that most of them are very loud, that some of them have contrasting melodic sections in the middle before returning to the atmosphere of the opening, that the overall plan of these pieces is actually very simple but the shower of notes makes them sound complicated, and that they usually get louder toward the end, crescendoing to a mighty climax.

But all good things must come to an end. 


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