Day 70: Old Kvetchers…and Birds

HaydnCD70Today’s Haydn CD (70 of 150) appears to be the last of the Welsh Songs for George Thomson.

I can’t say I’ll be sad to hear the last note of the last track fade away.

But I have quite enjoyed exploring these old folk songs scored by Joseph Haydn.

Almost as much as I enjoy listening to the old kvetchers here at Panera Bread.

One retired guy is Tony. Another is John. They’re fixtures as sure as the booths in which we sit.

I don’t know who their hangers-on are this morning. But Tony is waxing eloquent about some political issue or another. When Tony gets rolling, he’s a force to be reckoned with.

Also of interest this morning are the huge groups of birds that swoop and flip and land in the tree outside the window. A lady with her son a few booths up from where I sit said, “Are you guys watching the birds?” I don’t know to whom she asked that question. But I spent time this morning filming the birds and taking a few picture. The movie turned out great. But the photo didn’t do the scene justice.

I wonder if I can upload a video clip to this blog? Hmmm. I’ll give it a try.

Yup. It worked. Amazing.

What do you think?

Today’s CD feels and sounds different from yesterday’s. The music is more interesting. The singing is more pleasant. I’m not sure what’s different. (It has to be more than my ears.) But something is. I’m actually enjoying each of these songs today.

The musicianship is Continue reading

Day 67: Thank You, “Wolfgang”

HaydnCD67I’m embarrassed. And somewhat pissed.

Last night, I forgot to rip more CDs from my Haydn Collection into iTunes.

In other words, yesterday’s CD was the last one from my wonderful box set by Brilliant Classics that I had on my laptop. I usually rip 8-10 at a crack just so I have a healthy reserve.

Wow. Time flies.

Fear not. YouTube to the rescue.

Thanks to a cat named Wolfgang Amadé Mozart who posts Haydn music to YouTube, I’m able to listen to today’s CD ,anyway.

Thank you, Wolfgang!

Here’s what I’m hearing today:

Track 1 (“Jenny dang the weaver”) is the perfect way to start, especially after the Aural interruptus I experienced this morning after sitting down with my cup of Light Roast. “Jenny dang the weaver” plays from 00:00 to 02:15 and it’s a delightfully jaunty tune, shared by soprano Lorna Anderson and tenor Jamie MacDougall. The title, alone, made me laugh. Not quite out loud. But it was a good sturdy internal chuckle.

Here are the lyrics to and a bit of information about this improbable tune, once again from Continue reading

Day 30: Overheard Conversations

HaydnCD30This morning at Panera, as I refilled my mug of Light Roast coffee, I overhead a group of old guys chatting in a little nook area near the front of the restaurant. One man, who looked to be in his mid to late 60s, had his laptop open and he was talking to guys who looked to be 10+ years older than that.

“Are you referring to Internet Explorer?” the man with the laptop asked. “Because I have Google Chrome and Firefox, too.”

I glanced over and looked at the gaggle of retirees and thought, “Really? Twenty years ago, guys of this age would be jawing about being retired – not about web browsers.”

Life is funny, innit?

Symphony No. 96 in D , “The Miracle Symphony,” was composed in 1791 and is part of the London Symphonies. It is called “The Miracle Symphony” because, according to its entry on Wikipedia,

It is so called due to the story that, during its premiere, a chandelier fell from the ceiling of the concert hall in which it was performed. The audience managed to dodge the chandelier successfully as they had all crowded to the front for the post-performance applause, and the symphony got its nickname. More careful and recent research suggests that this event did indeed take place but during the premiere of his Symphony No. 102.

Haydn was 59, when this symphony was composed and first performed.

Symphony No. 97 in C was composed and first performed in Continue reading

Day 20: Eavesdropping

HaydnCD20Sometimes, being at Panera in the morning is a lesson in trying – hard! – to mind ones own business.

Like this morning for example. There’s a man and a younger woman (a dad and his daughter, I quickly discovered) sitting in the booth behind me who are deep in conversation of a serious nature. “The irony is,” the man just said, “that’s not who I am…wearing the right suit, saying the right thing at the board meeting…”

I don’t know who he tried to be, or what he wants to be. But it’s clear he’s not being what he thinks he is.

I’ve found that to be true with most people these days.

“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation,” Thoreau wrote in Walden (1854). (Note that he did not write: “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation…” That’s a misquote, according to the Thoreau web site. Plus, the quote did not come from Civil Disobedience and Other Essays. That is another mis-attribution. Oh, the things I learn…)

Whatever the exact quote, or its precise source, I think not being what one is is one of the great tragedies of human existence. I wonder if Haydn ever thought to himself, Continue reading

Day 10: People Watching at Panera, In B Flat

Haydn010Because I arose later than usual today, I couldn’t get my usual table (which, actually, is a booth) at my usual morning hangout, Panera Bread.

The table at which I sit this morning, munching on an Asiago bagel (toasted with light cream cheese) and sipping a Light Roast coffee (colored with Half & Half to a just-so golden-brown color) is a round table that faces into the restaurant in such a way that allows me to watch people talking to one another. I can’t hear them (Duh! I’m listening to Haydn). But I can see them. (Admittedly, I am in control of which way the table faces. The photo below indicates I could just as easily have sat in the other chair, facing the window. But I chose to sit with my back to the window so that I cPaneraOct10ould see into the restaurant.)

I’ve forgotten how much fun that is – watching people while listening to music, so that it’s like I’m scoring a private movie in my head. Their actions take on more dramatic, or even comedic, meaning when I replace the “score” of ambient sounds one typically finds in a restaurant in the morning with music of my own choosing.

I feel like I should join ASCAP or something.

In this particular Panera, the talk is often about the Bible. Before I stuck earbuds in my, well, ears and replaced people’s voices with Haydn’s, I heard “…we’ll have to read the scriptures for references to leadership” and “let’s pray about that.” Also, I see Bibles on table tops, as well as books by Christian authors.

I also, pre buds in ears, heard job interviews being conducted here and there.

Welcome to West Michigan, where jobs and Bibles often go hand in hand.

Another thing I noticed: Continue reading

Day 7: Lamentatione, But No Light Roast

Haydn007If there’s one thing I can always count on at this particular Panera Bread it’s this: The coffee I want will be out. Doesn’t matter what time of day I arrive. Or how many other people are here, or have been before me. The Light Roast urn will be dry. Taste it and you’ll discover why. It really is that good.

So here I am, at 6:25 am, waiting for Light Roast. No other coffee on the planet will do.

In the meantime, I have Franz Joseph Haydn’s Symphony No. 25 in C to keep me company.

According to its entry on Wiki, this composition is “[r]are among Haydn’s symphonies” because it “lacks a slow movement.”

I’m not sure if the folks on Wiki are hearing the same symphony as I am. The first movement is painfully slow, very much the adagio it claims to be — until about 3 minutes in. Then it bursts into a much-welcome allegro molto. Perhaps the chap who wrote that wasn’t waiting for a steaming mug of Light Roast coffee.

But, suddenly, I don’t care if I have a steaming mug of Light Roast in front of me or not. (Thank you, Franz Joseph.)

That’s not to say that I think Symphony No. 25 is the greatest thing since Symphony No. 24. On the contrary, Light Roast or not, I’m not warming up to this symphony. I’m not hearing the hooks.

Symphony No. 26 in D minor (“Lamentatione”), on the other hand, is fascinating. Its first movement, a kick-ass “allegro assai con spirito” (allegro = “fast, quickly and bright” assai = “very much, quite fast” con spirito = “with spirit”) boasts very clear and clever melodic lines that sound as contemporary as Continue reading