Thursday, December 30, 2021
For me, next to Tennstedt, this is the most inspired Bruckner 8, and I'll take it over all the usual recs: Karajan, Giulini, Wand, Celibidache, Furtwangler, it all pales in comparison to this.
Wednesday, December 29, 2021
Let's talk briefly about the Old Concertgebouw.
Tuesday, December 28, 2021
Sunday, December 26, 2021
In the six months since Bubbie died, the world seems different now at its deepest levels. But it isn't the lack of Bubbie that makes it different, or just the lack of Bubbie... it's the lack of twenty-five years of daily memory that left my life with her. It's the whole ethos those now missing years created, the whole cast of characters that she brought to time spent around her, and it's the whole worldview she brought to literally every day spent in her company. It's the world of ostentatious gifts and long thank you notes and three hour phone conversations, and also her continual umbrage at people who did not take social niceties as seriously as she did. It's her belief in the common ordinary decency of all people to whom she spoke so volubly for hours on end. It's also her contradictory belief that vulgarity and 'commonness' is something to be avoided like the most dreadful horrors. It's her belief that learning and culture for its own sake is the highest of all callings and one that should be pursued to the ends of the earth. It's also her contradictory belief that those impractical artistic dreamers like her oldest grandchild who can't do enough to make their way in the world have only their lack of character to blame for their troubles since people like me didn't apply ourselves to do something realistic with our lives like becoming a realtor or shoe salesman. Her world was made by Classic Hollywood, Fitzgerald and Hemingway, Life Magazine and Norman Rockwell, broadcasts of the NBC Symphony and the Metropolitan Opera listened to by a literal ten million a week. Her America, the America of her generation, was an America newly the preeminent culture of the world, and consequently, still barely distinct from the culture of Europe. The entire century thereafter was what happened when America finally was able to shape the world's destiny.
I almost forgot to write about the Czech Christmas Mass this year.
Tuesday, December 21, 2021
In the beginning was the Old New Land.
All things and nothing.
Heaven was earth and earth was heaven and both were hell.
And hell was bad and good.
And good was earth and bad was heaven.
And heaven and hell were inextricable.
Therefore in the beginning man created God, who created the Heaven and the Earth.
For the earth was both with form and void; And the spirit of God moved upon the face of men.
Who said, There was light, and light there is, therefore light let there be.
And man saw the light, that it was good, and man divided the light from the darkness.
And some men called the light Night, and some men called the darkness Day. And the evening and morning were the first generation.
And man discovered firmaments in the midst of the waters, and waters in the midst of firmament.
And man divided the firmaments and used the waters to grow the firmaments, and in competition for the water, man rose up against man, and it was so.
And man called its own firmament Heaven, and the firmament of others Hell. And the evening and morning were the second generation.
And man said, let the men under the Heaven be gathered unto one place, and let God appear, and it was not so.
And man called the others with land heretics, and the occupation of lands he called Holy, and man saw that it was bad, and he called it good.
And man said, since the earth brings forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, and it is so:
Let us bring forth more and better grass, more and better herb yielding seed after his kind, more yielding trees bringing forth more and better fruit, upon the earth, and man saw that it was good and saw no bad in it.
And the evening and the morning were the third generation.
And man said, there are lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from night, let them be signs, for seasons, and for days, and years:
And the firmament of the heaven gave only the light upon the earth that was already upon the earth, and it was so.
And man made two great lights, the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night,
But man set them both in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness, and man saw that one light was good and one light bad, but none could determine which to each, and man fell eternally upon man over which light was the greater and which light the lesser. And each man called that which he was good.
And the evening and morning were the fourth generation.
And man said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly for our people of the light, and scarcely for their people of the darkness, that farming may fail upon the part of the earth closed to the firmament of heaven.
And man created great works, and every living creature that moveth were forthwith affected abundantly after their kind, and every work fulfilled after its kind, and man saw their works benefit all men, and men saw that it was not good.
And man cursed their works, saying, be fallow, and divide, and fill the waters with poison, and let division befoul the earth.
And the evening and morning were the fifth generation.
And man said, we brought forth on the earth living creatures after our kind, but thou art cattle, and creeping things, and beasts of the earth after thy kind, and it is so.
And man made men into beasts and cattle and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after their kind, and man saw that bad was good.
And man said, let us make all men in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
And to every man that is like beast, to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth, all wherein there is life shall serve us, and it was so.
And man said, Behold, we have taken every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to us it shall be for meat.
And man saw every thing that he had taken, and, behold, he saw that it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth generation.
Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
And in the seventh generation all life that served men did rebel against that work which he had made, and they fought to rest in that seventh generation from all work which they had made.
And they did create a new god to bless that seventh generation, and sanctify it: because in that god they would rest from all their work which without a god they created and made.
These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they are created, in the days that men make the earth and the heavens,
And every plant of the field after it is in the earth, and every herb of the field after it grows: until the Lord God shall not cause it to rain upon the earth, and there is not man to till the ground.
Saturday, December 18, 2021
And if you successfully one-upped everybody, you'd get a buzz going for yourself as being particularly knowledgeable, and you were invited 'upstairs' to hang out with what passed for 'VIPs' sitting on the floor in the master bedroom. Presiding over the conversation is an unassuming midwestern guy named Roger Corman, looking way too old to be there, who makes 'the world's best bad movies' and is on the lookout to hire the most knowledgeable members in that VIP room to come work for him, where they acquire the practical knowledge to know how to make films in more than the abstract. And those in Corman's chosen circle, even the ones who don't work directly for him, operate with a kind of halo around them, as though everybody knows that these young upstarts will change movies forever.