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I love music but...


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Posted on Jul 13, 2012 9:35:13 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 13, 2012 9:38:21 AM PDT
Cavaradossi says:
For those who don't like to read libretti...

I find the characters come to life more vividly when I know what they are actually saying. But if you prefer to listen to opera only as a purely aural experience, I say "Go for it!" The more people who enjoy opera the better. It doesn't matter how or why you do, just that you do.

Maria Callas was one of the first sopranos I ever heard and the idea of listening to this superb artist without knowing the words the character is saying will cause you to miss so many of the marvelous, almost miraculous, things she does textually. But, in Callas' case, text and music are so intertwined that they are not separated in her art. The thrilling things she does musically are driven by the character's emotions and are word specific.

I first heard a Callas recording (the Coloratura/Lyric) album when I was fifteen and, fifty plus years later, I still can't get enough of her!

Shortly after, I discovered Renata Tebaldi, and a lifelong love for her voice and art began, still in fervent place today. Not for me the then contemporary "feud" between the two ladies! In truth, I never understood why the fans, and not a few critics, took such a divisive position where the singers were concerned. Why deprive yourself of two such wondrous vocal feasts?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 13, 2012 2:58:55 PM PDT
John Ruggeri says:
D. M. Ohara says

John,
In Germany 'Rouladen' are also shutters/blinds to keep out the light and render windows impetetrable. They are called this - of course - because they roll up.
In England, 'roller-blinds' [usually made of fabric] are always inside the glass: in Germany, 'Rouladen' [usually made of metal] are always outside the glass.
Does this say something about our respective national characters?

===============
Dan

My only expeience with 'Rouladen' were the edible kind quite deliciously prepared for my family by
friends born in Germany. I guess my National Character and paunch primarily suggest the gustatory meaning of words.

Regards-John

Posted on Jul 13, 2012 3:06:20 PM PDT
Larkenfield says:
I agree about the great value of the libretti. One can also read the libretti ahead of time and not try to follow it in translation while listening to the music, to get a better idea of the action and dramatic intent. But there is a great problem in conveniently locating them on-line if one has downloaded the opera rather than buying it as a CD. Even then, with some of the budget CD releases, the libretti are not included and I hope this deficiency gets worked out soon by the music companies.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 13, 2012 3:32:13 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 13, 2012 3:38:02 PM PDT
Lark, good points. Like John Ruggeri, I don't always listen to operas (or vocal music) with libretto in hand, but I do need to have them available. I've made a point of keeping my LP opera sets for their librettos---so that I'll have the texts and translations when CD sets omit them.

You mention budget CD releases: Naxos doesn't include librettos or texts/translations with their opera/vocal works budget historical reissues, and so we're on our own to find texts and translations. Sony Classical Masters boxes don't offer the texts for choral works, either.

The new Toscanini box provides no librettos for the opera and choral sets in the box. This isn't a reason for bypassing this very worthwhile reissue set, but it does call for some homework in tracking down the texts.

I got Spencer's big book of librettos and translations of the Ring---for about $16. This guarantees that an easy-to find copy of all four librettos with good translations is always conveniently at hand.

Wagner's Ring of the Nibelung

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 13, 2012 3:42:14 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 13, 2012 3:49:42 PM PDT
Piso Mojado says:
Wagner's alliteration is consistent with that of his Nordic sagas sources, like that of Tennyson and Sir Walter Scott. I won't even mention Beowlf or the Edda.

Posted on Jul 13, 2012 3:44:58 PM PDT
Piso Mojado says:
Rouladen can also mean meat roll in German, but I won't swear to the spelling.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 13, 2012 4:25:26 PM PDT
K. Ramba says:
OH GAWD, could you guys stop talking about Rouladen?! My germanic stomach is growling like a grizzly bear right now...

Allright, that's it --- I'm off to the Kühlschrank.

Posted on Jul 13, 2012 4:41:11 PM PDT
Soucient says:
make mine spaetzele

Posted on Jul 13, 2012 10:37:48 PM PDT
Nada says:
One shouldn't confuse "Rouladen" with the shutters "Rollladen". Yes, three l(!) since the last reform of orthography. Ugly, terrible - but can't be helped.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 13, 2012 11:01:42 PM PDT
John Ruggeri says:
K. Frese says:

OH GAWD, could you guys stop talking about Rouladen?! My germanic stomach is growling like a grizzly bear right now...

Allright, that's it --- I'm off to the Kühlschrank.
===============
Friend

Kindly join the rest of We Gustatorial Music Lovers on this thread.
"Food at the service of music, or vice versa".

http://www.amazon.com/forum/classical%20music/ref=cm_cd_et_up_redir?_encoding=UTF8&cdForum=Fx2O5YQ79OVJBUQ&cdPage=1&cdSort=newest&cdThread=Tx1J6NVR4GMCKHM&newContentID=Mx3KU881IQS94NE#Mx3KU881IQS94NE

CAVEAT: Any ancillary weight gain is strictly on you.

Regards-John

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 14, 2012 8:05:30 AM PDT
barbW says:
Every thing Beethoven, Mahler or the Zepplin guys composed can be reduced to its simplest elements and studied from many different angles, and compared exactly to other works, and traced back through the history of music, and evaluated by its effectiveness or failures, AND even put in words using long-agreed upon terms.

So, of course, a working knowledge of how music is constructed and its musicological history will help you as with any other educational investment. My students often complain that it gets 'in the way' of earlier pleasures, but then they grow to the next level of appreciation by integrating the new approach.

With music, of all kinds, there's;

the listening and relaxed experiencing etc.
the theoretical and the historical/philosophical etc.
and the performance/interpreting

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 14, 2012 12:29:18 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 14, 2012 12:31:16 PM PDT
D. M. Ohara says:
Many years ago when visiting a friend in Tuebingen, we had spaetzele - which I liked; so my friend presented me with a spaetzele machine, which, for those who don't know it, looks like a giant garlic press. Flying home, there was a delay at Echterdingen [Stuttgart] airport, and we all had to remove our bags and have them meticulously inspected. A security officer found my speatzele machine and asked, incredulously: Wass ist das? I relpied nonchalently: 'Ein Spaetzele-maschine!'. He repeated the term with a mixture of disbelief and contempt.
I later discovered there had been a jewel robbery in Stuttgart, and police thought the gems were being spirited away on an outward flight. None were found on our plane; but I'll never forget the incident.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 14, 2012 2:30:58 PM PDT
K. Ramba says:
You should see our Sauerkraut machines! They look like a Big Bertha, only bigger. ;o)

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 14, 2012 2:33:16 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 14, 2012 3:23:27 PM PDT
K. Ramba says:
"Kindly join the rest of We Gustatorial Music Lovers on this thread."

Mio amico,

oh suuuuuuure - so that I get EVEN MORE ravenous? I'll probably sink my teeth into the wood on my desk as soon as I start reading all of your voluptuous gourmand's fantasies! (But thanks anyway for your noble-minded invitation ;P) About that "ancillary weight gain": Not going to happen. I'm as thin as a rake - so it was, so it goes, so it will be, no matter what or how much I devour. Oh my, I have a hard lot, don't I?

Posted on Jul 14, 2012 5:03:26 PM PDT
Soucient says:
werranth,many of my students, when asked what their experience with classical music had been thus far, professed to having listened occasionally to it because it was so "relaxing." I could hardly wait to play "Rite of Spring" for them!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 14, 2012 7:05:18 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 14, 2012 7:37:16 PM PDT
John Ruggeri says:
Soucient says:

werranth,many of my students, when asked what their experience with classical music had been thus far, professed to having listened occasionally to it because it was so "relaxing." I could hardly wait to play "Rite of Spring" for them!
================
Friend

I can relate to the relaxation understanding no matter what music I am hearing. At times of great stress and /or depression when I am emotioanlly "OUT of It" the psychological term I often use to describe the therapeutic effect of music on me is RELAXING. The music could be Debussy's "Prelude to an afternoon of a Faun" or Richard Strauss' "Elektra" which are objectively in terms of decibels and frisson at opposite musical ends.

Regards-John

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 14, 2012 7:06:23 PM PDT
John Ruggeri says:
. Frese says:

"Kindly join the rest of We Gustatorial Music Lovers on this thread."

Mio amico,

oh suuuuuuure - so that I get EVEN MORE ravenous? I'll probably sink my teeth into the wood on my desk as soon as I start reading all of your voluptuous gourmand's fantasies!
==============
Friend

Wood with Pesto is a delight;-)

John

Posted on Jul 14, 2012 7:26:13 PM PDT
John Spinks says:
John R.,
Being a Texican, I prefer bean dip or a good black bean and corn salsa spread on my wood. What's this pesto stuff anyway? ;)

Soucient,
I remember taking a music apreciation class at the undergrad level. I'm afraid I intimidated the music majors a bit. I already knew the music examples that were presented in class. The teacher was always on me about not being a music major and the music majors viewed me as a bit of a weird duck. Sometimes you just can't win.

Posted on Jul 14, 2012 9:21:58 PM PDT
Soucient says:
Good for you, John Spinks. I'd like to have had more of your kind in my classes.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2012 7:58:32 AM PDT
barbW says:
I'm a weird teacher I guess, but I haven't seen music appreciation classes 'stick' with students for very long. Along with art history appreciation classes with their examples of paintings, it's a good and conveniently constructed and presented overview of the periods and the developments corresponding to lifestyle specifics of each time period, but ask anyone in here if that's what encourages their zeal for CM through the decades?

Students will say, I went to the classes, never got an appreciation and hated being there. It was just easy credits. We need more involvement or relevant comparisons to the trends of rock and roll in the 50s and 60s, for example. Something they can make interesting associations with, while they're learning that the musical expressions are universal.

There's something undefinable in every individual's experience that results in them becoming a CM fan. As teachers, I wish we could spray a little of each around the class, a little interesting history and the enticing examples from that history and the ongoing development of musical elements as the audiences had been prepared for the increasing dissonances. As we taught the fuller picture, hopefully the pupils would get the best chance of admiring where music has been and where it is today as an artistic and logical sequence.

This is difficult for me to put into the right words. sorry

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2012 8:27:49 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 15, 2012 10:38:27 AM PDT
Werranth, I don't have an answer.

I do think one issue might be the deadening effect of the chronological/analytical approach so often used in art-history and music-appreciation courses.

I think that approach turns most people off.

"You have to know counterpoint and fugue before you can begin to understand Beethoven and Brahms and Shostakovich"---well, actually you don't.

"You have to understand the International Gothic school of painting before you can understand the achievement of Giotto and Masaccio". Actually, it works in both directions, but most non-art students need to be inspired, and this doesn't generally do it.

I would venture to guess that most of us here got into counterpoint and fugue well after we'd already been hooked on Beethoven and Brahms and Shostakovich.

Yes, a systematic and chronological approach is necessary for art-history majors, and I think it's necessary for music-ed or music-performance majors---but I don't know that it works for other students.

I suspect that most of us here came to love CM (and art) in ways other than academic instruction. Certainly that's true for me.

I think a lot of it comes from parents. Children may roll their eyes at---and discount---what their parents say, but they notice what their parents love.

When our children were little, we camped each year in the Tanglewood area of western MA so that we adults could go to concerts. My wife gave our two young daughters crayons, coloring books, and flashlights. She and I listened to the music (from our blanket out on the lawn behind the Tanglewood Shed, along with 10,000 other people out there). The kids turned on their flashlights and did coloring.

At some point we noticed that they had turned off their flashlights and had started listening. We didn't say much, not wanting to spoil it for them.

I hasten to add: This wasn't something we planned. Our goal was to keep them quiet during the performance so that we could hear it. We hadn't anticipated that they would get turned on to CM.

I think my point might be: No thrill exceeds the thrill of discovery. Those kids discovered CM for themselves. As did so many of us here.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2012 9:09:59 AM PDT
barbW says:
Hi Angelo,
I agree with you, with similar experiences with my children, but what can we do proactively?

Telling the coming generations that you might just have to find it for yourselves, or you'll just have to be lucky? We do that with chess and the extremely interested chess players do just fine, -- there's not many of them. But we don't even have that hands-off approach with sports anymore.

Will they appreciate what they're missing in the long run? I mean, are there significant consequences in life for missing out, falling through the cracks? The reason I ask, is that music appreciation along with musical development seems to come along most effortlessly in the younger years. Once the adrenaline levels have been elevated by sports and romance and independence, learning music becomes less likely. Then they get to college and there's so much competition for their time. And then they get to be 52 and the earlier thrills have run their courses, but they have no music foundation in their lives, so they dismiss as irrelevant the music around them. Many of my friends are like this. The music for kids is intolerable, while the music for adults is beyond them.

I'm merely thinking out loud here, on a Sunday morning. What is it about Sunday? By this time of the week I'm too tired, and already anticipating the coming week, to compose a coherent post..

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2012 10:34:38 AM PDT
John Ruggeri says:
I wish schools at all all levels would have music apprreciation classes and parents would make easily available to their children CM in the home where my musical love began with no techy talk just
"THE MUSIC"

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2012 10:36:21 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 15, 2012 10:40:27 AM PDT
Werranth, thanks---and I think your post is quite coherent!

Other than parental initiatives that work---you did that, too---I don't have an answer. I wish I did. I wish I had a suggestion for teaching CM in the public schools that actually works. I believe that we have to do it, but I don't know how to do it.

I do believe that sending orchestra musicans---articulate, funny, interesting musicians--- into the schools has an impact, if the kids are young enough. I do believe that having a young, good-looking maestro such as Dudamel in LA who likes kids, knows something about sports, and knows how to reach them---has an impact. By contrast, having a maestro who takes a limo from New York to Boston, does two rehearsals and four iterations of a program, and then takes the limo back to New York, does nothing whatsoever for the continuity of CM in Boston. (Or in New York, either---but of course that is another story.)

Am I suggesting using sex appeal to sell CM? You bet. Kids need to see that CM isn't just something for old people. Dumbing-down doesn't work, and teaching in a deadening and soporific way doesn't work. There has to be a better way. Sad to say, I don't know what that is.

I do believe that the Project Discovery program did wonders by way of introducing elementary- and middle-school kids to live CM, live theatre, and art. My wife taught science to eighth-graders for 33 years. Her teaching team took kids to live theatre [and to museums, too] each year. The teachers contributed their time and their interest, as did some parent volunteers. There was no appropriation from the town for this, so the parents had to pay for the buses, often by organizing the kids to sell stuff. It worked.

But devising effective courses to teach art and CM at the college level---well, that defeats me. And this saddens me.

You've outlined what happens when we fail to reach them. I think there are, in fact, "significant consequences in life for missing out...", as you wrote. Those consequences are both personal and corporate.

See---it's easy for me to complain, and not so easy for me to suggest constructive alternatives. I know that education is the answer---but it will take minds more imaginative than mine to come up with something that works.

In the long run I think it's the parents that have to do it. How to get there---well, aye, there's the rub.

Many thanks for this conversation.

Angelo

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2012 11:36:41 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 15, 2012 11:38:19 AM PDT
John Ruggeri says:
Angelo et al

With most homes having a computer I would suggest parents have a once or twice a week
1/2 hour music evening with their little ones stariting @ age 4.. YT alone has enough music to teach a major course. The session can be with snacks and mixed with varities of music. I did not know that CM was considered a separate species until I was totally immersed in it NOR did I think it was not FUN in the broadest sense of the term.

Regards-John
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