Day 364: Organ Music (End of Year One!)

BrahmsCD58This is the last day of listening to Johaness Brahms, and the end of the first year of my three-year journey.

Tomorrow starts a new leg: the 11th century novel The Tale of Genji, noblewoman and lady-in-waiting Murasaki Shikibu, and Enrico Caruso CD 1.

A strange pairing, perhaps. But it’s time for me to read some of the classics of literature I haven’t gotten around to reading.

 

And I’ve always wanted to hear the great Caruso.

But, that’s tomorrow.

Today, this morning, is Organ Music.

I’ve always liked organ music. Brahms’ organ music is no exception.

But it’s a tough sell because Brahms doesn’t seem to recognize a melody to save his soul. Like most of his orchestral music, concertos, and vocal music, this is just a collection of notes to my ears. There’s nothing for me to grab onto, nothing that touches my soul in a deep and meaningful way.

I know there are Brahms experts out there who argue with me about my opinion, and that’s okay. As I’ve stated all along, I’m no music expert. I hold no Ph.D. in Musicology. I’m just a fan of music from a wide spectrum of genres. I know what I like, and what I don’t.

I flipped out over Beethoven. Discovering his music was life-changing for me.

I was ho-hum, even negative regarding Haydn’s music. That bored me to tears.

Brahms falls somewhere in between flipped out and ho-hum. He’s not Continue reading

Day 123: Twenty-One Tracks of Meh

HaydnCD123I really wish I could say that what I listened to today profoundly moved me.

Alas.

I just listened to 21 tracks of music that passed through me without leaving any impression at all.

That’s not good.

Oh, Track 20 (Movement II – “Allegro di molto” – of Haydn Baryton Trio No. 87 in A Minor) raised an eyebrow. But only slightly. In Spock fashion.

The rest of these trios sounded the same to me.

Yawn.

Now, if you’ll excuse me I have to Continue reading

Day 9: Meh (But a Truly Competent Meh)

Haydn009It’s a beautiful Fall day. The sun is shining. The temperature at this moment is a crisp 46 degrees (that’s 7.78 Celsius to some of you), on its way to a high of around 70 degrees, with nothing but sun, sun, sun in a sky of blue in the forecast.

Maybe that’s why Haydn’s symphonies are not holding my attention this morning.

I listened to CD 9 twice. And I could have sworn I was listening to the same movement on repeat the entire time.

Symphony No. 34 in D Minor begins with a long adagio movement that, although substantive, isn’t particularly memorable. Movement II (“Allegro”) is somewhat better, although it sounds unlike the previous symphonies I’ve heard. It sounds more like a full orchestra, more like a traditional symphony. The sound is big. Lots of instruments. Movements III and IV follow suit. They’re expertly crafted. No doubt. But they don’t move me.

This symphony was composed in 1765. Haydn was 33.

Symphony No. 35 in B Flat, composed in 1767 (Haydn was 35), sounds like another full-orchestra symphony. By that, I mean I hear fewer solos form oboes, bassoon, horns, etc. Movement IV (“Presto”) is a lot of fun. Very lively. Not particularly memorable. But a flurry of instrumentation that I enjoy.

Symphony No. 36 in E Flat, composed, according to Continue reading