Category: Music

Two songs of loss

By: | Post date: March 20, 2019 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Greece, Music, Personal

I have had occasion to think, in recent times, on two songs of loss. I’ve cried to them before the loss, and I’ve thought of them ruefully after the loss, when I had no tears left. I will analyse them and discourse on them in The Other Place; and I’ll have fun doing it; and […]

The revival of bagpipes in Crete

By: | Post date: February 12, 2019 | Comments: 2 Comments
Posted in categories: Greece, Music

I have written on this blog ten years ago on my discovery of the changes in the traditions around Cretan folk music this past century. These changes have taken me by surprise: if you are immersed in an (albeit commercialised) folk music tradition, you assume it was ever thus. In fact, Cretan music used to […]

Is klezmer music a dying tradition?

By: | Post date: August 14, 2017 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Music

One of its prominent proponents is on record as saying so:… Andy Statman, one of the foremost Klezmer musicians in the world, knows that the time of Klezmer has passed. “Each music has its point,” He explained over the phone while working at a Mandolin camp in California. “[Klezmer] is still alive, but in […]

What cultural factors caused the ecstatic, almost religious reaction to Wagner’s operas in the second half of the nineteenth century?

By: | Post date: July 23, 2017 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Music

This isn’t the answer, and I hope it will trigger an answer from the more knowledgeable. Notions of human-crafted art as an expression of the sublime are not particularly new. But in the 19th century, art inspired not merely “almost” religious reactions; it actually came to occupy the place of a surrogate religion. This was […]

What are your favourite pieces by Dimitri Shostakovich and why?

By: | Post date: July 12, 2017 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Music

Impressed by Jeremy Shatan’s answer, to have included the Fourth Symphony! So Mahler, so anxious, so my favourite, and not often heard. The Cello Concerto #1 speaks well to Jeremy’s taste as well, but that piece is better known. So, skipping those two: Ninth Symphony. Jolly, quirky, Haydn on steroids, alternating with genuine lamentation in […]

What would be your choice for a Love song? See details.

By: | Post date: June 19, 2017 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Music, Quora Oh, shut up, QCR. Masiello and Gwin. Others applaud them. I panic for them. I want it to work out, they are both good souls who have earned respite, and find it in each other; I worry that they may not work out, because the world is a cruel place. Yes, nothing ventured nothing […]

What are the best counterpoint duets?

By: | Post date: May 2, 2017 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Music

The canonical counterpoint duets are surely Bach’s Two Part Inventions: It doesn’t get better. God bless Gerubach on YouTube. Answered 2017-05-02 [Originally posted on]

Would you listen to a 5-hour symphony?

By: | Post date: April 27, 2017 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Music

I sat through the 1992 revival of Einstein on the Beach, which goes for five hours, and which is much more static (as hardcore minimalist music) than a symphony would be. I had no problem sitting through the entire thing—even though the opera creators imagined you could walk in and out as you pleased. And […]

Should some of Mahler’s early symphonies be considered more collections of movements than unified statements?

By: | Post date: April 18, 2017 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Music

does anyone regularly listen to the Third all the way through? *raises hand* In fact, the Third is so through-composed, that its original final movement, which ended up as the first movement of his Fourth, quotes the fifth movement of the Third. And the Third has a quite intentional, programmatic structure of building up from […]

If you could have someone understand you by listening to a song, what would it be, and why?

By: | Post date: March 12, 2017 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Music, Personal

You know, the songs that are candidates for this question, I’ve already posted as my favourite songs. But with David Caune and Kat Rectenwald both asking me, sure, I’ll answer again: The regrets of my life, my falls from grace, my sadness at leaving things behind: Gustav Mahler: Der Tamboursg’sell O Galgen, du hohes Haus,Du […]

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