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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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