Day 83: More Strings

HaydnCD83Today’s CD contains three more compositions from Haydn, performed by the Buchberger Quartet. None of them stand out to me. They’re all equally good.

So I’ll just introduce the members of the Buchberger Quartet (their site is in German):

Hubert Buchberger violin
Julia Greve violin
Joachim Etzel viola
Helmut Sohler cello

The other players in the quartet do not have their own web sites, apparently. So, no link to them. Sorry.

The string quartets on this CD were composed in 1769, which means Haydn was 37 years old.

I listened to this CD 2-3 times through. It was Continue reading

Day 82: The String Theory

HaydnCD82Ahh, now this is more like it.

It’s music like this – and full-blown orchestra compositions – that I think of when I think of Classical music.

Probably, between the two types I just mentioned, a string quartet seems the most Classical to me somehow.

I can picture these four musicians sitting in an art gallery attended by well-heeled people sipping a slightly chilled Chablis, nibbling on a cube of goat cheese, and admiring Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s “Le déjeuner des canotiers (Luncheon of the boating party)”

renoir_galletteAfter all, nothing says Classical music like wine and snooty people, right?

Not always.

Case in point: Here I sit, not snooty in the slightest, sipping a really awful Folger’s instant coffee, nibbling on a muffin from Sam’s Club, with nary a goat in sight, let alone cheese made from said goat.

And I’m diggin’ the music.

That’s my version of The String Theory: Classical music played by a string quartet – four musicians playing violins, viola, and cello — fits anywhere, with people from all walks of life. It’s just really pleasant, enjoyable, soothing music.

Or stirring music, as evidenced by Continue reading

Day 17: Haydn Seek

HaydnCD17jpgWhat a long, strange day this has been.

I arose late this morning because I was up again during the night. (Acid reflux is not my friend, although it is an occasional acquaintance.)

Therefore, I didn’t get to Panera at my usual time, and so didn’t get my usual table. The place was packed.

My butt could find no purchase.

So I drove around wondering where to go, visions of Light Roast coffee dancing in my head. Finally, around 8:30am, I decided to return to Panera and hope for the best.

I was in luck — or, so I thought. There were booths open, and Light Roast coffee aplenty, but when I opened up my laptop and sought Haydn CD 17 in iTunes, I couldn’t find it.

Son of a gun, I thought (only with less finesse). Continue reading

Day 11: More Competence

Haydn011Stately. Well ordered. Mature. Competent.

I wish I could muster more enthusiasm for Haydn’s Symphony No. 40 in F.

Alas, I am unable.

This is a very fine symphony. But it’s like a lullaby to me. In fact, if not for the Light Roast I’m chugging I’d have nodded off listening to it this morning.

According to its entry on Wiki, Symphony No. 40 was written before 1763, but its exact date is unknown, which means Haydn could have been about 31, or younger.

By the way, why do I note Haydn’s age at the time of composition?

Haydn2aBecause that’s one way I make concrete something that heretofore (heretofore?) was unknown at worst and nebulous at best. I want to know who Haydn was when he composed these masterpieces (yes, even “competent” symphonies from Haydn are masterpieces in my book). So I place him in historical perspective. Part of that includes giving him an age.

Another part is to note what was going on in America (and the world) at the time this symphony was composed.

In 1763, America had just fought the French and Indian War. Britain issued the Proclamation of 1763, which begins with this: Continue reading