Vitamin D

Spring at last. At least for today. I’m not a sun worshipper – my northern European bloodlines don’t allow me to last long out there. But a small dose on a March afternoon was just what the doctor ordered.

Lowering My Standards

When I started blogging, I was told that you can spot the newbies by their voluminous postings. That veterans know you have to pace yourself. But as my boss reminded me this week, pacing is something I’m not particularly good at.

I seem to have reversed the pattern. I’ve been dreading posting lately, putting it off because it has begun to intimidate me. A trip back in time demonstrated one of the reasons.

Early posts seemed to average a few hundred words. 400-500 on a good day. Lately, I’ve topped 1,000 on a frighteningly regular basis. (And I’m not including the infamous ‘auditions comments’ postings, because those are computer generated from previous writing.)

The other thing I’ve done is to take it too seriously. A peculiar talent, taking a good thing to its illogical extreme and killing it off. There’s been a lot of writing/rewriting/editing/censoring going on because I’m seized by the compunction to assess everything from my readers’ various points of view – students, teachers, colleagues, performers, patrons, friends, enemies. (Not really enemies of course, but paranoia keeps us humble.)

Just ‘splaining this for my regular readers, in case you wonder why I may be about to turn terse :)

Random Observations

St. Lawrence String Quartet last night. Who’d have thunk that a bunch of mild-mannered Canadians could dig into Beethoven Opus 131 with such abandon? If you like your chamber music genteel, it probably wasn’t for you. But Beethoven would’ve loved it.

Still ruminating on a piece in the NYTimes a couple of weeks ago about teenagers and ‘classical’ music. I’d send you there, but the link has expired. My preoccupation with the content has to do with the way that article didn’t bypass the significant generational and cultural difficulties with getting “younger” patrons in the seats. Forget teenagers… I’d be happy with a bunch of 30-year-olds. And it’s not about content, it’s about delivery. About the experience and the trappings more than about the music.

Thank goodness no one has invented a laptop screen that’s functional in full sunlight. (Or if they have, I can’t afford it.) Spent my time in the sun plugged into a Tancredi recording. Have to give a linear and intelligible talk on it in a few days, and because I’ve never seen it (!), I have some serious catching up to do. Wasn’t prepared to like it as much as I do.

Caught a bit of Forza on the Met broadcast. Made me shudder as usual. My formative experiences with the big Verdi monsters were not generally positive. Forza, Aida, Trovatore, Don Carlo, Luisa Miller, Otello in less than 5 years. I was still wrapping my mind about opera, period, and I should’ve been weaned on less stiff stuff. Some great music to be sure, but the lingering impression was a blur of cranky high-maintenance divas and divos, unhappy conductors, unreasonable directors, dimly lit gray stone sets, nightmarish backstage cues, and ice-cold fear because I had no idea what I was doing. Yes, I know, too harsh. But it’s taken me half a lifetime to get past it and realize how drop-dead gorgeous these pieces are.

Hope it’s springtime wherever you are. See you in a few days.

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