Gershwin and Fitzgerald

I guess it’s impossible to understand the genius of Gershwin until you listen to Ella Fitzgerald singing the Gershwin songbook. Sure, I grew up on Rhapsody in Blue and An American in Paris just like any good American, but I think that a significant portion of Gershwin’s output eludes the American public. There are many serious landmarks in the life of a young musicologist, and I would say that I’m profoundly enjoying this one.


Breaking point.

However old I live to be, I will always remember that when I was 24, I realized that Heiliger Dankgesang is the greatest music ever written.

AMS Weekend.

Registration fee for AMS – $80
Hotel for three nights – $150
Brahms and His Circle
– $10
Nietzsche and Music – $32
Stravinsky and the Russian Tradition (Vols. 1 & 2) by Richard Taruskin – $20

Having my former musicology professors see that I’ve finally made it – Priceless

More on AMS later in the week, when I recover from the most intense academic weekend of my life.


PS. New Alex Ross book, Listen To This – $0 (booyah, free stuff).

Wagner Shouldn’t Make His Influences So Obvious.

Seriously, though. I’m watching the Levine/Met production of Das Rheingold from 1990. It’s not as good as the Boulez/Chéreau production from Bayreuth.


I’m Back, Baby!

It’s been a long time since I posted on here. I guess my life went through a whirlwind of changes when I got back from Vienna. To make a long story short, I now live in Columbia, Missouri and am working on my Masters in Music History.

I’m playing some Scriabin, Mozart and Liszt on the piano right now. I’m trying to decide which Liszt piece I want to do- there are two from Années de Pélerinage.

I’ve been working on a research project about Mahler that will ultimately lead to my masters thesis being about Mahler and eschatology. Definitely enjoying that work.

It’s late and I need to go to bed. Just thought it would be a good idea to get back in the habit of posting. Look for another, more interesting, post very soon.


Back in the USA.

I’m back in the states. Love being home. Leaving in two months to start grad school at MU.

Been reading a lot. Doing a lot of research. Learning a lot about medieval music. Leonin, Perotin, organum, you know.

I’ve been listening to Television’s album Marquee Moon, which I’m convinced is the greatest thing in the world. I’ve had the title track on repeat for the past week. Maybe I’m a bit over-caffeinated right now, but the following might be the greatest 10 minutes of your life, if you should choose to listen.

Boheme, Sonnambula, Mahler, Freud.

A few weeks ago, I saw the Franco Zeffirelli production of La Boheme twice- once with Anna Netrebko and once without. Suffice it to say, the Netrebko version was way better. The production was incredible, probably the best thing I’ve seen on stage, at least in terms of direction. Everything about it was great.

Other than that, it’s been a slow few weeks for concerts. I saw Bellini’s La Sonnambula, which was basically a good production of a boring opera. Sure, there are some great arias in it, especially at the end, but the story and characters are so bland that I never enjoy it. In addition, the conductor was taking some sections so painfully slow that it was nearly unbearable.

There are some great things coming up this week, though. Tomorrow, I’m seeing the Tokyo String Quartet, which is very exciting. They’re doing some Schubert, Brahms, and Barber. Then, later in the week, is Krystian Zimerman, which should be wonderful. He’s doing an all-Chopin concert. I’ve been watching a video of him doing Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 on YouTube, it’s pretty great. At 20, he played it better than almost anyone I’ve ever seen or heard. That second movement always gets me- Chopin is arguably my favorite melodist.

Other than music stuff, I’ve been seeing some cool sights, but I guess even those are somewhat music-related. I went to the Kunsthistoriches Museum the other day to see a Mahler exhibit, which was quite interesting. They had a ton of artifacts from his life, including his famous glasses (the ones that sat on his nose), his cabbie hat, and many of his manuscripts from symphonies and lieder. There were also a lot of paintings and sketches from his operas. The exhibit really got into why he was such an innovative conductor, which you don’t usually hear much about.

I also visited the Freud Museum this week. It was exciting to be in his apartment, and to see his office, where he had his famous couch. The couch wasn’t there, but they had pictures up so you could imagine what the room looked like with all his furniture in it. Being in that room was very exciting for me, as I’m very interested in psychology. Cool experience.

Today, I’m just sitting around. I watched Act II of Siegfried this afternoon. Soon, I’m going to do some laundry, and tonight I’m practicing.

Thats all I got right now. I’ll post again soon!