Category Archives: Music

Piano recitals (2)

Some recitals offer an anthology of great autonomous works from the canonical repertoire.  Others place works in a sequence to narrate the grand story of a composer, genre, or tradition.  A more recent kind of recital assembles a variety of … Continue reading

Posted in Listening, Piano

Piano recitals (1)

Traditional piano recitals, both live and recorded, consisted in precocious and neurotic virtuosos performing anthologies of canonical compositions by precocious and neurotic geniuses.  This interpretive tradition has recently come to an end, together with its supportive critical and scholarly discourses … Continue reading

Posted in Classical Music, Listening, Piano

The Wandering Musician

Perhaps no other genre in classical music is as intensely Romantic as the Wanderlieder cycle, the song cycle depicting the adventurous peregrinations of a young wayfarer.*    Such cycles represent the epitome of 19th century male subject position as poet, composer, … Continue reading

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Heine & Schubert’s “Der Doppelgänger”

Franz Schubert’s seminal song “Der Doppelgänger” (1828) is suspended in a unique historical and stylistic moment of classical music, with its ostinato piano part looking back to Bach’s passacaglia and its declamatory vocal part looking forward to Wagner’s Sprechgesang.  It … Continue reading

Posted in Classical Music, Friends, The Double | Tagged ,

“Looking for the perfect beat”: Great pop songs since the 1950s

What is pop music and what makes it irresistible?  One way to find out is to list irresistible songs.  All fans of pop music make lists so here is my personal anthology of great Pop songs. 13 May 2020   … Continue reading

Posted in Popular Music

Learning from the listening skills of composers

When we discuss musical classical works that draw on other classical works we focus on allusions, references, quotes, paraphrases, parodies and the like, trying to see how new compositions revise and appropriate earlier ones.  However, I have been thinking that … Continue reading

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Sheltered listening (Beethoven’s “Archduke Trio” under quarantine)

Why did classical music first, among all the artistic genres, respond with enthusiasm and generosity to the current quarantine, making large quantities of its resources freely and globally available?  Even though it is among the least popular genres, why did … Continue reading

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Friends making Music together (3)

There are moments when the thought of a friend makes us pause and ponder where they are and what they are doing right now.  It is not because we miss or need them.  We do not worry about their situation, … Continue reading

Posted in Attunement, Friends, Listening, The Double

Music at the threshold

I would love to read a collection of papers on compositions whose liminal character represents a turning point in classical music.  I am thinking about works which might have taken different directions.  In which particular pieces can we see a … Continue reading

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Making music as rhythming the refrain and becoming-bird

As I embark on listening to the twenty-piece, two-hour solo piano cycle, Vingt Regards sur l’enfant-Jésus (1944) by Olivier Messiaen (1908-92), I start with the opening     glance/gaze/contemplation, the one from the perspective of the father, Regard du Père. I try … Continue reading

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