Day 141: More Snow…And Chico

HaydnCD141Back to Panera this morning for some Light Roast coffee.

It’s only $2 for a mug of it.

Yet, that $2 buys me a half day of sitting here drinking coffee, watching people, and using electricity from their outlets.

It’s a great gig, if you think about it.

And I don’t, really. I have bigger problems to fry.

But you can think about it, if you wish.

Today’s performances once again featured Stanley Hoogland on fortepiano.

However, unlike yesterday’s performance, today’s began more subdued. Less jovial. More melancholy. At least, the tempi was slower on most of these performances.

Movement I (“Moderato”) of t he second piano sonata (Piano Sonata in D HOB XVI: 19) reminded me of Chico Marx playing one of his signature piano pieces in the classic Marx Brothers movie Animal Crackers.

Don’t ask me why.

Because I’ll tell you anyway.

The notes and style between 1:44 and 1:50 are vaguely reminiscent of some of what Chico is playing in this clip:

It’s funny how my mind connects dots and/or makes associations.

Most people probably wouldn’t be reminded of Chico Marx as they listen to Stanley Hoogland.

Oh, well.

As I wrote, I have Continue reading

Day 73: Cold

HaydnCD73The current temperature in Grand Rapids, Michigan, at 7:30am on December 12, 2013, is 11 degrees. (Or -12 C for all of my European readers.)

That’s cold.

Typically, this kind of cold would stay away until late January or early February. This year, however, it arrived early.

It’s bad enough for a resident of Michigan in the 21st century. I wonder what Haydn did to keep warm in the late 1700s, early 1800s when he was composing the score for these folks song? Did he sit beside a roaring fire? Did he have candles blazing everywhere to give the illusion of daylight? Did he wear a coat and gloves all of the time? Did he exercise to get the blood flowing?

Did he have a daily routine?

Dickens_Gurney_headI often wonder how these creative geniuses did it under conditions we, today, would consider primitive. Charles Dickens, for example.

England in the mid 1800s couldn’t have been a picnic. Especially in the winter. It must have been so cold. And bleak. (The phrase “Dickensian” wasn’t coined for nothing.)

So how did he do it? Writers today have laptops and the Internet and central heat (or air conditioning) and electric light and the ability to travel to exotic locales to compose their novels.

Dickens had none of those things. He probably had an ink well, a quill pen, and cold fingers. (I picture Bob Cratchit huddled over a dying ember, rubbing his hands together for warmth.)

Yet, Dickens’ literary output was staggering, and remains among the most influential works in the world.

Same for Joseph Haydn. How did he do it? What were Continue reading