About    Listen    Site Index    BLOG 001 < > 

this week's featured recording for Monday, May 29, 2023

from the Sewickley Presbyterian Church "Word Sung" service of May 21st, featuring Mozart's "Coronation" Mass. You can watch the whole service on their Youtube channel (click on the Youtube logo at the bottom right of the video player), but this week I've cued up the "Gloria" movement.

If you'd like to see the explanatory video that went out to the church the week before our special service, it is available here. I spend about half an hour exploring the connections between Mozart's mass and our weekly worship service, and some things to listen for in Mozart's music.

Now What?

It's been a wild semester for your webmaestro. If you've been watching this space you will know that updates haven't come often, the reason being that this web site is run by an actual flesh and blood human being, who strings these words together by tapping plastic buttons with his fingers to form patterns that can be decoded by other actual human beings. It may only be a matter of time before this website becomes AI chatting with other AI but in the meantime, it's still person-driven, aimed at a people audience. Anyhow, this person has been a little busy. The new job has, for a number of reasons, taken up much of my time, and even ore of my energy. Anything without a hard deadline tends to be a casualty under those circumstances. My experiences during this semester may find their way to this page: there is certainly enough there for several posts. In the meantime, let me sum up by saying that things have gone very well. So well, in fact, that it will soon be time to grapple with a new problem: increased expectations. If you've set the bar high right out of the box, what do you do for an encore?

Many years ago I was writing a piece of music. I came to a particular moment in the piece--early in the structure--and found an interesting harmony, A voice in my head told me I ought to save it because it was sufficiently interesting that if I used it up early I was going to have to come up with something even better when I got to an analagous spot later on. But the other members of my in-head compositional committee told me to risk it. Go for it, use it up now, and when you get there, you'll come up with that something better. I plunged on ahead with no actual idea what that was going to be. But when the time came, I found it.

I sure hope that works as a long term strategy. I don't have any idea if it will, but somehow I'm confident. Strike while the iron is hot, says the old adage. And: doors willl open that wouldn't open if you play it safe all the time. That's not an old adage, but it does come from experience. Listen, learn, adapt, and don't try to recapture the past. Let it all hang out.

Ok, enough with the platitudes. I'm going to go make some music.

an old article on Mozart--kind of--to go with this week's recording above:
Says you!

If a great composer says something, do we have
 to take his word for it?

One of the dangers of reading pianonoise is that you get encouraged to think. I mean really think, not think the way most people use the word most often, as in I think I'll have a sandwich or I think it's sunny out. I mean cogitate, think for yourself, puzzle it out, and if somebody is presenting an opinion, consider whether you ought to adopt it first before you click on accept. Read the fine print, figure out their agenda, try to find out where their ideas have come from, and whether or not you think they are still valid. It's not a popular concept, believe me. Or not.

And if that isn't obnoxious enough, we model it here by sometimes coming to blows with the august dead. For instance, here is a page about something Bach said and why he might have said it. And another one.

Bach didn't say very much, and he didn't generally explain himself either. Mozart, on the other hand, wrote a lot of surviving letters, had lots of opinions to share with lots of people, and as such is an authority on practically everything.

read on

[email protected]