-- from the lyrics of the Ode to Joy
FINALLY, after a two month detour caused by technical problems, we come to the FINALE, the fourth movement, of Beethoven's Symphony #9. For those that missed the first three installments on the first three movements, you can catch up with them HERE, HERE, and HERE.
At the top, I've assembled a number of pictures of kisses. Jane Goodall kissing a chimp. Leonardo DaVinci's kissing cherubs. The kissing couple of the Montreal riots. A mother kissing her baby. A Byzantine Madonna kissing baby Jesus. Princess Leia kissing Han Solo. And, of course, Life Magazine's Pulitzer winning Times Square VE Day Kiss. That one in particular seems most appropriate to this diary.
If you've followed this series, you know how the Ninth Symphony begins: In pain. Born out of cruelty. If music without words can convey such things, the picture it offered of the human condition was not in a pleasant light. One musicologist compared the first movement to rape.
Here, in the last movement, we get "A kiss for all the world." The organic unity of this symphony, borne out by godawfully intricate interweaving of small pieces, is made complete in the final movement which turns the first movement on its head. The VE day kiss is a kiss of triumph.
Breaking News: Beethoven Still Deaf!
You know, this is the twelfth diary I've written about music by Beethoven. Did I forget to mention that Beethoven was deaf? Oh, I forgot to mention that part. If you didn't know, well... surprise!
Beethoven's hearing aids.
There are a number of theories about how he lost his hearing. He began to lose it early in his career, but its onset was gradual. By the time of his seventh symphony, in 1812, it was all gone. By the time of the ninth symphony, 1822, he had been cut off from the world of sound for many years. Everything he heard, he heard with his mind and his imagination.
A scene from the film Immortal Beloved(1994) starring Gary Oldman as Beethoven. This was based on a true incident. Beethoven performs his own Emperor Concerto, and things go awry. (Ignore the Russian translator, please. I'll upload a better version later.)
His deafness and the way he overcame this in his music is probably the most romantic aspect of Beethoven's life, and we focus on it too much, perhaps. By the time we get to the Ninth Symphony, his last symphony, Beethoven had endured. It had affected his music. There was both a deeper level of intellectual thought and casual willingness to blow off convention.
A clip from another film, Copying Beethoven(2006) starring Ed Harris and the oh-God-so-lovely Diane Kruger. Beethoven "conducts" (with assistance) the first performance of the Ninth Symphony to a cheering crowd. A crowd whose cheers he can't hear. An orchestra whose music he can't hear. He can only hear the music in his head. That was where it was born and where it stayed.
A couple of notes about this clip. The camerawork visibly shakes at times. That's based on a historical fact: the hall rented for the first performance, the Carinthian Gate theater in Vienna, wasn't sturdy enough to accomadate the enormous orchestral forces that the symphony required. The hall actually trembled. Even though he was deaf, we can be sure Beethoven FELT the music!
That first performance was an enormous public success for Beethoven. The musical world, though, had a difficult time processing what Beethoven had unleashed.
The great romantic composer Hector Berlioz (who we might have a diary on some day) was in attendance. I've quoted him elsewhere in this diary. About the music world's difficult assessment of the Ninth Symphony, he had this to say:
Among the many diverse views that have been expressed on this score there can hardly be two that are in agreement. Some critics regard it as a monstrous insanity; others can only see in it the fading glimmers of a dying genius; more cautiously a few declare they find it at the moment completely unintelligible, but do not despair of achieving at least an approximate understanding of it later; the majority of artistically minded people regard it as an extraordinary conception, though some of its parts nevertheless remain unexplained or without apparent purpose. A small number of musicians who are temperamentally inclined to examine carefully anything that might enlarge the realm of art, and who have thought deeply about the general layout of the Choral symphony after studying the score and listening to it attentively on several occasions, assert that this work seems to them the most magnificent expression of Beethoven’s genius: we believe we have said at some earlier point that this is the opinion we share.The music of this, his late period, is more intellectually complex and creative than the passionate music of his earlier periods. It's more challenging. This is not the bunny slope of classical music. In contrast, Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, the first movement, is usually used for introductory high school and junior college music appreciation courses. Not so much the Ninth. This is music that is great for a first listening, but the pieces only really begin to fit together after many listenings. That's one reason I hope this diary series has been useful.
Fitting the pieces together.
In the first diary on the Ninth, I made a Spoilers Clip that showed how the key piece in the puzzle of this symphony was used, the motif made from the six notes: EA-AE-EA that recurs throughout the work in various guises.
A reasonable question to ask is this: "Is it necessary to indulge in that level of analysis just to enjoy the Ninth Symphony? Can't we just let it wash over us, enjoy the sensations and the feelings."
Yes, of course you can do that! And the first time you hear it, that's what you have to do. But oh, would this be the masterpiece contribution to the heritage of the human race that the Ninth is if that's all it was? The ninth doesn't require repeated listenings to enjoy, but it bears up to repeated listenings because it reveals its secrets slowly through the interconnected parts. Various pieces start to sound familiar to you. "Hey..." you go. "That sounds familiar somehow. Didn't I hear that part somewhere else before?" And then it clicks, and you go, "Ahhhhhh..."
This level of interconnectedness didn't begin with the Ninth Symphony, nor with Beethoven. But it was Beethoven's thang from early on.
Do you all remember the first movement of the Moonlight Sonata, one of his early works? Of course. You might have it as a ringtone! Everybody knows the Moonlight Sonata first movement. But... how about the final movement? Probably not. Listen to this for a moment and tell me if it sounds familiar:
Moonlight Sonata, Opus 27, final movement, by Beethoven, performed by Glenn Gould
Now, does that sound familiar? If not, back up and listen again. It's that familiar theme of the first movement, the one you have as your ringtone. It has been sped up to Warp 10, the rhythm has changed from three beats to four. Out of that building block, Beethoven forges a brand new piece of music, not sober and placid, but demonic. Anxious and troubled.
So this kind of thematic interconnectedness is part of the Beethoven listening game. In making my Spoilers clip, I focused on the very first six notes of the symphony and tracked it. That's actually very easy to do. It seems Beethoven wasn't trying to be very sneaky with it. It shows up very obviously at all the key dramatic moments.
Because of that, in my first diary, I said that the Ninth has both foreshadowing and backshadowing. The EA-AE-EA motif is the backshadowing to the first movement. But what about the foreshadowing?
The Ode to Joy has been there with us, in more hidden, ambiguous forms, since the first movement.
I struggled with how to present this part. I tried to make another spoilers clip, but I realized it wasn't obvious enough. I try to adhere to a (flexible) "no music notation" rule so I can keep these diaries at or close to the Music-for-Dummies level. But I think it helps to look at the actual music notes just to get a visual graphical feel for what Beethoven is doing. I made a dumbed down (VERY dumbed down) transcription of some of the forms that the Ode takes in the earlier movements. All of the pro musicians may commence laughing at me.
I don't want you to READ or PLAY the music. I just want you to look at the SHAPE. The second one from the top is the basic Ode to Joy theme as we hear it in the finale. Oh Dumbo, you ruined it. You left out this and that... Forget it. I just care about the shape here.
Now compare that to the third line in the graphic, which is my (very dumbed down) version of the second theme of the first movement. Don't read it. Don't whistle it. Just look at the shape. Different, but similar.
Compare the Ode (second line) to the fourth line, which is my (very dumbed down) version of the opening of the second movement. It's a little sneakier, but the pattern is still there.
Now, compare the Ode to the first line, which is my (very dumbed down) version of the melody that is continually repeated in the middle section of the second movement. Much closer.
I didn't bother trying to do this with the third movement. This is all just proof of concept.
There are other types of linkage in the Ninth as well. I've spent most of my energy in this series focusing on the EA-AE-EA. Robert Greenberg in his lectured series, which I listened to to prep for this diary, sees the symphony as a battle between two different keys -- D major/minor, and B flat major, a running battle that continues throughout all four movements, with B flat major playing a good-guy role.
That's too sophisticated for me, because I can't tell one key from another unless you play them back to back. I'm a mere mortal. I'm not a musician, and certainly not one with perfect pitch. I'm like a baseball fan that can tell you everything about Sandy Koufax and the 65 Dodgers, because he loved watching Sandy Koufax, but can't throw a ball to save his life.
That's all I ever want to share with you in these diaries. When I post musical scores, as above (very dumbed down music), my ambition is not to impress you with how much I know or to make you think like a musician, but to share my enthusiasm and love for the music itself.
The Lyrics: The Ode to Joy by Friedrich Schiller
And now we come to the lyrics. To be frank, I almost always ignore the lyrics in classical music. In fact, I hate classical music with English lyrics. It bugs me because I feel like I have to listen to the words, and I HATE THAT. I much prefer hearing gobbledy-gobbledy sounds in German or Italian so I can focus on the music itself. But that's just me. I'm usually content to know what the lyrics ARE ABOUT so that I can focus on the music.
Beethoven set his sights on setting Friedrich Schiller's Ode to Joy to music some thirty years before he finished the Ninth. In the finished version, he omits most of the words to the original poem which you can read here. Many of the original poem verses refer to drinking, making this a drinking song. For example:
Brothers, fly from your seats,Other verses are more political in tone. For instance:
When the full rummer is going around,
Let the foam gush up to heaven*:
This glass to the good spirit.
Resolve and courage for great suffering,... And there we see some of what may have originally appealed to Beethoven about the Ode. Beethoven hated "crowns," as we have amply documented, haven't we?
Help there, where innocence weeps,
Eternally may last all sworn Oaths,
Truth towards friend and enemy,
Men's pride before Kings' thrones--
Brothers, even it if meant our Life and blood,
Give the crowns to those who earn them,
Defeat to the pack of liars!
Add to it, this as well. The street word at the time was that Schiller, who was a revered but still often censored poet, had intended the poem to be the Ode to Freedom (Ode an die Freiheit), not Ode to Joy (Ode an die Freude). Actually, the lyrics work very well either way. At the fall of the Berlin Wall, Leonard Bernstein performed the Ninth substituting Freiheit. Was that closer to Beethoven's intent? Bernstein admitted he could not claim that. We do know, however, that after Schiller (and Beethoven's) death, Schiller's life-long secretary publicly stated that the original poem was meant to be an Ode to Freedom.
Beethoven, Schiller, and the Illuminati
I love having any excuse to write about the Illuminati. Thank you, Beethoven, for giving me one! If you've never heard of the Illuminati, you don't know enough crazy people! You obviously never heard of the John Birch Society, which was worried sick that the Illuminati was plotting to take over the world and set up a godless left-wing New World Order. It's all out there on the Internet if you want to get your hands dirty. If you have the stomach, TRY THIS for a sample.
However, there really WAS an Illuminati, the Bavarian Illuminati founded in 1776 by Adam Weishaupt, a more radical secret society offshoot of the Freemasons. Slate Magazine tries, somewhat creatively, to connect the dots.
Founded in 1776 by a Bavarian professor named Adam Weishaupt, the Illuminati joined radical politics and Jesuit-style hierarchy to fanatical secrecy. The aims of the order were ambitious, all right: They intended to change the world and had a plan to do it. The means were not to be by violent revolutions. The idea was to form a cadre of enlightened men who would steathlily infiltrate governments everywhere and slowly bring them to a kind of secular-humanist Elysium under the guidance of a secret ruling body. Said Adam Weishaupt: "Princes and nations shall disappear from the face of the earth peacefully, mankind shall become one family, and the world shall become a haven of reasonable people. Morality shall achieve this transformation, alone and imperceptibly."The Organization of the Ninth's Final Movement
... In practice, the Illuminati amounted to a kind of activist left wing of the Freemasons, from whom they drew most of their members. The numbers were never large, but they included people like Goethe (briefly) and Christian Koerner, a close friend and confidant of Friedrich Schiller. Koerner's influence seems to be why some Illuminati-tinged ideas—universal brotherhood and the triumph of happiness bringing humanity to Elysium—turned up in Schiller's famous poem Ode to Joy, which was often set to music and sung in Masonic and Illuminati circles. The poem would later enter history via the finale of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.
As an Illuminatus, an important part of Christian Neefe's duty was to covertly inculcate promising young people in the ideals of the order, then to recruit them when they came of age. Beethoven was as promising as young people get. So did Neefe inculcate this student? Surely he did. Was Beethoven recruited to the order? No—the Illuminati dissolved in 1785, when he was 14. There is also a question as to how inculcatable Beethoven was by anybody. Even in his teens, he was so fixed on his own tack that he only intermittently took notice of the rest of the world.
Not only Neefe, but then and later most of Beethoven's other friends and mentors and patrons were ex-Illuminati or Freemasons. Did those influences have an impact on his life and art? Among many other things, certainly. By the time Beethoven left Bonn, he was already planning to set Schiller's Ode to music, and he had a good idea what that poem was about, from its humanistic surface to its Masonic and Illuminati depths.
There is much esoteric debate about this. Wikipedia takes the position that the finale is a self-contained movement mini-symphony within the larger symphony. I'm going to buck that and describe it more simply, though, as a Variations-on-a-Theme movement (the theme being the Ode to Joy), the variations grouped into about six chapters of changing moods.
Usually, Beethoven's movements have simple Italian tempo labels at the top of the page, like Allegro con Brio ("Fast and with Spirit"). The ninth's final movement is labeled -- get ready: Finale: Presto—Recitativo—Allegro assai—Allegro assai vivace Alla Marcia — Andante maestoso — Allegro energico, sempre ben marcato — Allegro ma non troppo — Prestissimo.
Prestissimo, for the very conclusion, means "Extremely fast, the fastest possible tempo." It's INSANE fast. Faster than rabbits on a hot date! (God bless Youtube).
There are performances of the Ninth (e.g., Furtwangler's, examples here) that take the conclusion so fast it sounds like a jumbled car pile-up. This is unrestrained music.
Go to the music, Dumbo!
So let's go to the music! I will label the sections (as I define them -- you can break it up however you like; you've just as much authority to do that as anybody) as I go. I chose to go with a video of Leonard Bernstein today. Enjoy the histrionics of our much beloved conductor! They are as much a part of the show as the music.
Beethoven Symphony #9 in D minor, Opus 125, final movement, "The Ode to Joy", performed by Leonard Bernstein and the Vienna Philharmonic.
1. The Recitativo section. (0:00 to 7:48)
This is a long section of about nine minutes before the first human voice ever makes its appearance. It begins with a violent and very dissonant chord, one which Richard Wagner later dubbed the Schreckensfanfare, the "Fanfare of Terror."
Just this alone, this opening chord, by itself, became a controversy. Berlioz's reaction to it was precious.
The first chord is again built on an F which is supposed to carry the third and the sixth and does indeed do so, but this time the composer not content with the appogiatura of B flat adds those of G, E and C sharp, with the result that ALL THE NOTES OF THE MINOR DIATONIC SCALE are played at once and produce the hideous assembly of notes: F, A, C sharp, E, G, B flat, D.This is a seven note diatonic chord. Pray tell, what does that mean Dumbo? That sounds complicated! A seven note diatonic chord is as if you laid your arms down on the white keys of a piano. That's not a chord! That's a police department choke-hold! Future composers would eventually use more advanced types of dissonance, but for this time, this was brutal. So the final movement begins with what is, essentially -- a bitchslap.
Enough about the first 11 seconds. At 0:11 comes the recitativo. Pray tell, what does recitative mean, Dumbo? Do you remember what it sounded like when Charlie Brown's teacher spoke to him in It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown? It was a trumpet making a wonka-wonka-wonka sound mimicking the patterns of speech. In older-style operas, recitativo was the dorky half-singing, half-speaking style of accompaniment that let the actors move the story along to set up the next musical number.
In this case, Beethoven uses the bass strings as speaking voices, mimicking the patterns of speech. Whatever they are trying to say, we can tell that it's a wordless howl of outrage of some kind.
This recitativo is interesting in other ways as well. Parts of it sound familiar somehow. Hmmm... And certainly, if you dwell on it -- and you don't have to be a musician to hear this, although you're more likely to only notice it after many listenings -- you can identify little familiar bits and pieces that sound like the coming Ode to Joy theme. And that's what Beethoven has done. The recitativo is built like a ransom note from chopped up pieces of the Ode theme.
At 0:58 comes Beethoven's own synopsis of the symphony up to this point. Nobody had ever done anything quite this weird. The orchestra replays small parts of each of the first three movements, each time interrupted by the angry voices of the basses, as if they REJECT this. They will no longer tolerate this! Each is offered in turn and each rejected. (Notice that the sweet theme from the third movement gets the more gentle rejection at 2:12).
Then a worrying tone comes to the voice of the basses. "What are we going to do about all this?" It's almost despairing!
That's when the Ode theme makes its first tentative appearance at 2:59. It doesn't even get to finish. The bass strings interrupt rather joyfully as if to say, "Yeah! That's what we need!" It croons its approval.
At 3:50 the basses themselves takes up the the Ode theme, stating it in full for the first time without any other accompaniment, their deep thrumming sounding very much like a man humming a tune to himself.
Quite a little drama!
With the end of the "humming" recitativo, the rest of the orchestra takes up the melody, at first cautiously and calmly. But more and more instruments join in until it turns into whirling frenzy of the full orchestra.
We are ready for the introduction of the first human voices.
2. Human voices Sing the Ode to Joy. (7:48 to 11:33)
We've had to break this series up into four parts because the symphony is so oversized and complex. In a live concert, though, note that, up until this point, you would have been listening to the symphony for about a whole hour. During that whole time, most of the people on stage -- the soloists and the chorus -- haven't uttered a peep! The first audience to hear the Ninth must have wondered, what the hell are those people doing there, anyway? Ah! Beethoven has saved them for last, building up the tension for this moment. They are his heavy artillery. In a live performance, there is a certain electricity as many dozens, maybe hundreds (or even fifteen thousand in some performances) of choral singers stand up and make rustling noises as they straighten their belts, adjust their glasses, and check their sheet music.
Again, we hear the terror fanfare. But now, rather than the howl of outrage coming from the bass strings, we hear the orchestra fall away so a single human baritone voice can take control and belt out the words:
O Freunde, nicht diese Töne!
Sondern laßt uns angenehmere
anstimmen, und freudenvollere!
"Oh friends, not these sounds! Let us raise our voices in more joyful song!"
So we finally have the translation of what the bass strings had been trying to say. It really was rejecting the sounds of the previous movements. There it is, in German. The singer rejects them and insists on something new.
As I noticed in a previous diary, the street word at the time was that Schiller intended the Ode to Joy (An die Freude) to be the Ode to Freedom (An die Freheit) but that was politically too risky for the poet.
And now we get the Ode theme.
Freude, schöner Götterfunken
Tochter aus Elysium,
Wir betreten feuertrunken,
Himmlische, dein Heiligtum!
Joy, beautiful spark of the gods
Daughter from Elysium,
We enter, drunk with fire,
Heavenly one, your sanctuary!
Elysium! According to Google:
e·ly·si·um/iˈliZHēəm/Deine Zauber binden wieder
The place at the ends of the earth to which certain favored heroes were conveyed by the gods after death.
A place or state of perfect happiness.
Was die Mode streng geteilt;
Alle Menschen werden Brüder,
Wo dein sanfter Flügel weilt.
Your magic reunites
What custom strictly divided.
All men become brothers,
Where your gentle wing rests.
Wem der große Wurf gelungen,
Eines Freundes Freund zu sein;
Wer ein holdes Weib errungen,
Mische seinen Jubel ein!
Whoever has had the great fortune
To be a friend's friend,
Whoever has won a devoted wife,
Join in our jubilation!
Ja, wer auch nur eine Seele
Sein nennt auf dem Erdenrund!
Und wer's nie gekonnt, der stehle
Weinend sich aus diesem Bund!
Indeed, whoever can call even one soul
His own on this earth!
And whoever was never able to, must creep
Tearfully away from this band!
Freude trinken alle Wesen
An den Brüsten der Natur;
Alle Guten, alle Bösen
Folgen ihrer Rosenspur.
Joy all creatures drink
At the breasts of nature;
All good, all bad
Follow her trail of roses.
Küsse gab sie uns und Reben,
Einen Freund, geprüft im Tod;
Wollust ward dem Wurm gegeben,
Und der Cherub steht vor Gott.
Kisses she gave us, and wine,
A friend, proved in death;
Pleasure was given to the worm,
And the cherub stands before God.
And with the words, Vor Gott, the Ode theme reaches a mini-climax, one that ends with a stunning change of key. Does that sudden chord change sound a little familiar to you? It should. It's the same one that "opened a great chasm before us" near the end of the third movement. Yes, that has returned.
3. The Turkish March (11:33 to )
Just when the ode theme reaches its climax... the music abruptly stops! We hear a quacking noise from the bassoon. Then another. Cymbals join in. A perky little march theme begins. This too, is the Ode to Joy theme, but transformed. A tenor joins in with the words:
Froh, wie seine Sonnen fliegen
Durch des Himmels prächt'gen Plan,
Laufet, Brüder, eure Bahn,
Freudig, wie ein Held zum Siegen.
Glad, as His suns fly
Through the Heaven's glorious design,
Run, brothers, your path,
Joyful, as a hero to victory.
... And through repeated chants of Freude! from the chorus, the Turkish march works its way towards yet another mini-climax. One that segues into...
4. The Fugue (13:16)
The voices drop out and leave everything to the orchestra which works itself into a many-layered fugue based on parts of the Turkish March theme.
This is the third of three fugures in the symphony, and it is the most powerful, perhaps the single most powerful moment in the symphony. This is probably the best fugue Beethoven ever composed. As it works its way forward, it becomes not just anxious but pained. Frustrated! As the fugue reaches its frenzied peak, it slams headfirst into a wall. (at 14:32).
That wall it smashes into is... the EA-AE-EA theme of my spoilers clip! The EA-AE-EA motif makes its most dramatic appearance.
Oh what now? Listen as the woodwinds try to resume the Ode theme. A few notes. Da da DAH da? There's a question mark in the sound. The EA-AE-EA motif is still there, but it's fading. It tries again. DA da DAH da? Like a groundhog peaking its head out. "Is it safe to come out yet?" And then it decides, oh YES, it is!
At 14:59, not cowed anymore, it emerges, and the Ode makes its boldest, and most triumphant appearance, the last time in its pure form, with full orchestra and choir. Surely this is when the orchestra hall shook Beethoven!
We have here a triumph of sorts -- triumph of the Ode theme over whatever the EA-AE-EA motif represents.
5. This Kiss for All the World! (15:46)
The music abruptly stops yet again, setting up a seam in the music. The tempo changes, and after the frenzy of the preceding part, the temperature seems to have cooled quite a bit. A brand new theme emerges with baritones singing the following lyrics. (And notice how similar the new Kiss theme is to the EA-AE-EA) theme.
Seid umschlungen, Millionen!
Diesen Kuß der ganzen Welt!
Brüder, über'm Sternenzelt
Muss ein lieber Vater wohnen.
Be embraced, you millions!
This kiss for all whole world!
Brothers, above the starry canopy
Must a loving Father dwell.
At 17:30, the tone becomes darker, somewhat humbled and religious in a minor key. The only question in the Ode is asked.
Ihr stürzt nieder, Millionen?
Ahnest du den Schöpfer, Welt?
Such' ihn über'm Sternenzelt!
Über Sternen muss er wohnen.
Do you bow down, millions?
Do you sense a Creator, world?
Seek Him beyond the starry canopy!
Beyond the stars must He dwell.
And at 18:36 my favorite part of the Ode, perhaps because I've listened to it so many times that the other parts have lost some of their charm. I almost excerpted just this half a minute to make it stand out alone. The music becomes mystical in tone, the orchestra and choir shaping itself around a tonally vague figure, a diminished seventh chord. It's ghostly.
But as it ends, we have reached another seam in the music.
6. The Ode theme and the Kiss themes merge. (19:56 )
As the music emerges from this sober mystical interlude, the tone returns to that of unrestrained joy. A complicated variation ensues. The more angular Kiss for All the World theme overlaps and combines with the Ode to Joy theme in different ways.
The rest of the words in the movement are just repetitions of the previous words but with new music, so I have no need to post anymore translations.
Another variation at 22:10, based on the two themes merged, sung by soloists. Incredible intertwining of the voices here, a dense tapestry.
7. The Coda (24:56)
The music speeds up dramatically, as we enter the final stretch. The drums really get to let loose here. At 26:01, it sounds wistful, almost worn out by the whole experience.
At 26:14, it's Prestissimo to the end, cymbals and drums banging their hearts out. Bravo! Take a bow, Leonard.
... And with that, we come to the end of the 2011 DailyKos Beethoven Festival, some... um... three months into 2012. Well, I can check this off my bucket list now. "Analyzed the Beethoven Symphony Nine for people smarter than me in public and got away with it without humiliating myself TOO much. Check." The only thing left is having sex with identical twin cheerleaders. In zero-gravity.
I need to thank everybody who helped out keeping Thursday Classical Music alive while I've been busy exorcising demons. That includes Lone1c, Cartoon Peril, Pico, and Zenbassoon. Thank you. Things could have been a lot lonelier around here.
Next week: I'm not going to commit to a subject yet, but it will be lighter, and not Beethoven. And we might have a submission from somebody else depending on the timing. But I'm leaning towards a diary about Fred and Ginger and the black and white Hollywood dance musicals. And other diaries with music by Sibelius, Rimsky-Korsakov, Dvorak, Mendelssohn, and Ravel in the offing.