Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

I mentioned below that the Middle Gel and I are going to a concert this evening.  It’s just a local community orchestra, but I can’t remember the last time I went to a live symphonic performance and am looking forward to it immensely.

The programme is pretty war-horseish, too, consisting of the Overture to Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte,  Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A minor and Brahms’ Fourth Racket Symphony.  However, I happen to enjoy all of these pieces and it’s good for teh gel to get exposure to them.

As for the Mozart, the use of fugal passages in this – as in many of his other late works – always makes me wonder what direction he would have taken in his development had he lived longer.  Certainly would have changed the face of Western art musick.  (The gel, btw, has noticed that the Kennedy Center is doing the complete opera next spring and has already started lobbying me to take her.  I’m sure this taste will cause that lobbying effort to increase.)

I had a friend in college, a viola player, who used to sneer at Schumann’s orchestral works, insisting that he hadn’t the faintest idea how to write for strings.   I think there’s some merit in this criticism.  I still like this piece, however, in the same way that I like Chopin’s similar attempts:  The lovely keyboard writing in each case makes the relatively poor accompaniments seem, well, rayther touching in a gold-star-for-effort way.

I will be very interested to see how teh gel reacts to the Brahms.  (“Johnny, Johnny, Johnny!”)  I have always loved it myself as being a tragic heavyweight without possessing the slightest bit of twee cloying sentimentality.  On the other hand, I am always reminded of the anecdote about Eduard Hanslick, a Viennese music critic, who remarked of a pre-premiere performance of the first movement arranged for piano four hands:  “Throughout the whole movement I had the impression of two dreadfully intelligent people beating each other up.”

The concert, incidentally, is being billed as an “Oktoberfest”, which really rayther mystifies me.  Of the programme, only the Mozart could really be considered festive (although the final section of the Schumann piece is at least triumphant), and Mozart, of course, was Austrian.    Either I’m missing something subtle or else the organizers didn’t stop to think that one through very carefully.  

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