I used to have ‘thoughts’ articles a lot more often than I do now. Concert reviews would be every Tuesday, but now they’re the evening of (or a day or two after) the concert, and I’m taking on too much music to have extra thoughts (or blog space or typing time) to sit around and ramble about other stuff.
But this is nice. I’d originally intended to move Thursday’s music post to Tuesday and leave this wrap-up for Thursday, after the semi-series was really wrapped up, but I haven’t decided if I wanted to compile the past eight weeks or so into a series or not.
It’s nice just to have this time to chat, isn’t it? Let’s sit around and just ponder on our accomplishments thus far, if you’ve been reading and listening with me for the past (more than) two and a half years. We’ve been through (at the time of this posting) 520 blog posts, 275 of which have been devoted to pieces of music. That Webern post on Sunday was piece of music no. 275! That’s actually not entirely accurate, but it’s what I’m sticking to for organizational purposes, and as you may have noticed, I do love organization. It’s not accurate because some stuff is combined into one article that are really separate works (Haydn’s earliest quartets didn’t get anywhere near their fifteen minutes on the blog, with the earliest groups of 6 quartets each in their own article, but Beethoven’s op. 1 piano trios, all three of them, each got their own article, so they’re counted separately. Anyway, it’s about right.)
According to the way I’ve organized and written those articles, then, we have 27 pieces of Mozart, 21 of Haydn, 21 of Beethoven, 15 of Chopin, 13 of Schubert, 11 of Mahler, 11 of Brahms, (only) 8 of Mendelssohn, 8 of Schoenberg, 7 of Sibelius, 6 of Bruckner, (only) 5 of Bach (eek) (and the same of Babbitt, 5 works)…
Those are the top performers on the blog, I think, and of that list, only Chopin and Sibelius aren’t German speaking natives. I won’t spoil anything, but there will be some more Russian stuff coming up later in the year, so a few of those guys will get a boost in their numbers. But that being said…. 27 Mozarts or 21 Haydns might sound like a lot, and all added together, that’s a lot of German and Austrian music, obviously to the exclusion of the Russians and French and English and American and Hungarian and Czech and the Swedes, and on and on, but there’s also stuff coming later in the year to fix that.
We’re almost at the halfway point of the year (and we will be making note of it Thursday), and now at the end of another series that features German-speaking composers. On the one hand, it is (or by the end of July will be) high time to go elsewhere on a musical map of the world. But on the other… there is still so much more music of the above-mentioned composers that I myself haven’t even begun to listen to. Quartets, trios, piano sonatas, concertante works, songs, operas, all the other forms of chamber music. There’s a ton of it, and the Germans and Austrians are to classical music what the French are to wine production: they make up the greatest portion of its consumption and history. Or something like that.
The first Symphony Series I did was a German(ic) one and I had a very specific thread that ran through the (composers of the) works, from Beethoven to Brahms to Bruckner to Rott to Mahler and so on. Subsequent series haven’t been as tightly-constructed, but were just simple slices of symphonic history presented in chronological order. And now we have the added excitement of the String Quartet Series, which I originally told myself would not necessarily coincide with the midweek schedule, but of course I can’t help myself so it has.
Back at the beginning of May, we started off with Bach’s third cello suite for the weekend, then Haydn’s superb op. 20 no. 5 string quartet, coinciding with some of his own symphonies. We then did symphonies and quartets of Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn (string symphonies too!), Bruckner, Brahms, (a quartet each of Zemlinsky and Schoenberg as the jump from Brahms to) Mahler, and then Webern’s op. 9 on Sunday. You should be able to guess what’s coming this week, then.
So you see, they weren’t necessarily related, but it was another swing at some of the biggest names in the repertoire, and we still have lots more to address from them all (actually we’re coming close to finishing Mahler’s oeuvre, but it’ll take at least another year to do so), and we finished Brahms’ symphonies in the process…
In any case, if I do decide to package all those guys up together in a series of both the midweek and weekend works, I’ll include a link here and under the ‘Series’ menu of the homepage. If not, then we can always go back in the history of the blog and revisit them.
After what’s coming up next month, I have dedicated time and energy to giving attention to non-German/Austrian folks, as there is some other stuff we must also address. There are tons of things on my to-do list that I’m dying to share and write about, but they are all queued up for some time in the future, and there are very few spots left for this year…. so stay tuned. Nice talking to you.