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Anxious gatekeeping

Analogous to nervous cluelessness is something we might call “anxious gatekeeping.”   This is desire to police the borders of poetry, or of...

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Reviewing the Library

As I listen to my music purchases in order, I remember parts of my life. Right now I have a recording of The Goldberg Variations, which my friend Bob Basil turned me on to. I have no idea of the year, but apparently it followed my Morton Feldman phase and a desire to repurchase music I had owned a very young person, like Solo Monk, and some Sinatra that my parents owned. It also followed my very belated discovery of the string quartets that Mozart dedicated to Haydn, which I know David Shapiro had told me about. I see Gidon Kremer's Bach unaccompanied violin pieces are coming up soon, though I can't remember whether it was Bob or David who told me to get those.

After that will some Ned Rorem songs sung by Susan Graham. I love her voice, though I don't always love Rorem's songs. If I have a particular relationship to the original poem that Rorem is setting to music, like a Frank O'Hara poem, then I sometimes think he is doing it wrong. I just don't love his style either. I think he is excellent but not superb, in a word. I must have been listening to these songs when I was exploring the relation of words to music in my own mind.

After that is Adagio for Strings (Barber). I know I listened to that first after reading a book by the New Yorker music critic on classical music, Alex Ross, The Rest is Noise. This had to have been a classical music phase in which I was trying to remedy some of the more glaring holes in my knowledge. I downloaded a recording of a symphony I have very well since the sixth grade, though, around this time. Beethoven's "Pastoral." I still listen top Adagio for Strings fairly often, because I have it as my alarm.

After that, Johnny Hodges and a recording of the Art of the Fugue that I never liked very much.

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