Cop this!!

Your 'hot spot' for all classical music subjects. Non-classical music subjects are to be posted in the Corner Pub.

Moderators: Lance, Corlyss_D

Post Reply
Belle
Posts: 362
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:45 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Cop this!!

Post by Belle » Fri Mar 31, 2017 3:43 am


John F
Posts: 18477
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 4:41 am
Location: New York, NY

Re: Cop this!!

Post by John F » Fri Mar 31, 2017 4:06 am

Classical musicians have taken all kinds of unlikely jobs to keep body and soul together. Philip Glass drove a New York taxicab for years. Sgt. Quackenbush is certainly competent, but he chose a tempo too fast for his fingers so at one point he has to slow down to get the notes in. Kind of like Dr. Johnson on a dog walking on its hind legs: "It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all."

If you think this is hard on the guy, he has chosen to go public playing this music, and Lebrecht claims he has participated in master classes with no fewer than four important pianists. Their opinions of his playing are not provided.
John Francis

maestrob
Posts: 4722
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

Re: Cop this!!

Post by maestrob » Fri Mar 31, 2017 10:01 am

Need I mention that Charles Ives was an insurance agent by day, or that Brahms in his youth played in brothels?

It's a tough world out there for us musicians.

John F
Posts: 18477
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 4:41 am
Location: New York, NY

Re: Cop this!!

Post by John F » Fri Mar 31, 2017 11:33 am

As far as I know, Charles Ives played no instrument, at least not well enough to do it in public. Philip Glass is a skilled keyboardist and leads his ensemble in performances.

It turns out that the dives where the young Brahms played weren't really brothels. According to Malcolm MacDonald, they were Kneipenlokalen, essentially waterfront bars where sailors might meet prostitutes but couldn't do their transactions on the premises. And since Brahms was there to play the piano, it's not like Philip Glass driving his taxi or Sgt. Quackenbush on his beat.
John Francis

Belle
Posts: 362
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:45 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Cop this!!

Post by Belle » Fri Mar 31, 2017 4:52 pm

It's a question of nomenclature; Jan Swafford describes that place where Brahms worked as a teenage pianist on the Hamburg waterfront as a bordello and argues throughout his book that this had a long term detrimental effect on Brahms's ability to form healthy female relationships.

John F
Posts: 18477
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 4:41 am
Location: New York, NY

Re: Cop this!!

Post by John F » Fri Mar 31, 2017 10:00 pm

According to MacDonald:
Malcolm MacDonald wrote:From the age of thirteen he had, like his father before him, to take engagements playing the piano in the many drinking and wenching dives of the notorious St. Pauli area near the harbour. Accounts in English of his early life usually render these establishments as bars, taverns, and dance-halls; our language in fact provides no exact equivalent for the now-archaic German terms "Animierlokale" or "Animierkneipe" - literally, "stimulation saloons," where the stimulus on offer was musical, alcoholic, and sexual in convenient combination. Providing non-stop dance music late into the night in rooms thronged by prostitutes and sailors straight off their ships, the sensitive Johannes saw a daunting amount of low life in the raw just as he himself was entering puberty. Upon this background some biographers have erected elaborate speculations concerning his later difficulties in relationships with women; whatever the truth may be, the experience undoubtedly left its scars. At a very early age, he could retain few romantic illusions about the opposite sex, let alone about his own.
If "Animierkneipe" means "brothel," MacDonald would surely say so, but according to him it doesn't. From what he does say, I take it that the prostitutes as well as the sailors were customers in these places rather than employees, as they would have been in a brothel. Not that it makes much difference, of course.
John Francis

Belle
Posts: 362
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:45 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Cop this!!

Post by Belle » Sat Apr 01, 2017 2:13 am

The name of that kind of 'bar' sounds familiar; I think Swafford used it, but he still insisted it was a house of ill repute and that it damaged Johannes in his relationships. How can we know this definitively? Historians and musicologists can only take their evidence from surviving letters and journals from the friends of Brahms - chiefly those of Clara Schumann - and piece together a picture from that. I believe that Brahms loved Clara Schumann his whole life, but he had disturbing fantasies about Clara's daughter Julie Schumann which he never revealed to her mother (quite understandably). Brahms seemed to me sexually immature and quite unable to deal with female sexuality. The evidence seems clear that these formative experiences in the sleazy Hamburg 'bar' are responsible for much of the composer's predicament.

And now, back to composers and musicians who have to keep body and soul together in unusual ways!!

John F
Posts: 18477
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 4:41 am
Location: New York, NY

Re: Cop this!!

Post by John F » Sat Apr 01, 2017 4:36 am

"Ill repute" indeed! I don't read biographies to pry into the subjects' private lives but for whatever insights I may get into their careers. And while I don't know which of the recent major biographies is better, Swafford's or MacDonald's, I already have MacDonald and don't need both, so I'll leave it at that.
John Francis

Belle
Posts: 362
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:45 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Cop this!!

Post by Belle » Sat Apr 01, 2017 4:59 am

I find the entire lives of great people absolutely fascinating. I like to know what ingredient makes them great and how they might be different from ordinary people.

You would definitely not like Maynard Solomon's Beethoven books because he does use a fair bit of psychological analysis of the great man, particularly in relation to his sister-in-law Johanna and his nephew, Karl. The stress of the court case over Karl resulted in Beethoven not being able to give sufficient attention to composing and his output suffered at that time as a result. This critical period was circa 1815 to 1818 and also resulted in Beethoven developing poor health from the stress of it all. I don't see how you can separate the private from the public.

diegobueno
Winds Specialist
Posts: 2338
Joined: Thu Apr 07, 2005 2:26 pm
Contact:

Re: Cop this!!

Post by diegobueno » Sat Apr 01, 2017 10:59 am

John F wrote:
Fri Mar 31, 2017 11:33 am
As far as I know, Charles Ives played no instrument, at least not well enough to do it in public. Philip Glass is a skilled keyboardist and leads his ensemble in performances.
I apologize for singling you out for correction, but I just wanted to point out that as a teenager Ives served a church organist in Danbury, which is why hymn tunes figure so prominently in his compositions. He was known as quite a brilliant, if quirky, performer on the instrument too. Jan Swafford mentions a recital he gave in June 1890 which included an arrangement of the William Tell Overture, Bach's Dorian Toccata, Dudley Buck's Variations on Home Sweet Home, and Mendelssohn's 1st Organ Sonata. Swafford notes that the program "would have challenged an organist of any age". Ives was 15 at the time, and later that month he gave another recital, this one containing Mendelssohn's 2nd Organ Sonata, Wagner's Tannhäuser Overture, a Bach prelude and fugue and several other pieces. A review in the paper called his performance "almost phenomenal".

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 1 guest