Sunday, February 03, 2008

Good Boy

Today I took some time off, ordered a Mark Haddon novel, and decided NOT to buy a new recording of the Sinfonia Concertante.

Those who know my obsession towards collecting recordings of this work, thank you for your enthusiastic applause, and your congratulatory messages to my psychiatrist.

Up to now I've had the opportunity of collecting over 20 recordings of the work, and they've always had clear musical ideas, even if (and especially if) they were different from my own. And I've prided myself on my little niche collection by sheer numbers alone, never figuring I'd eventually come across a recording which simply wasn't worth adding to the collection - it's just too uncommon a work to be bashed about as badly as the Bach violin concertos have been. It feels weird. Like if you just discovered you're allergic to a small rare bean you're unlikely ever to meet. Or when you realize that small unseen particles can fly up to 6 feet from your toilet bowl if you don't close the lid when you flush and when you further realize what items lie in that 6 feet radius.

It's like being a mountain climber who looks at a mountain and goes, you know what, I think that mountain looks like an ice cream sundae gone wrong. I'm just not used to having a Sinfonia Concertante recording unconquered. Even if it sounds like an ice cream sundae gone wrong. Withdrawal symptoms. Brrr.

I also condensed and edited my research on Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante from seven thousand to three thousand words to fit the required length requirement of the American Viola Society's David Dalton Viola Research Competition. I've learned a couple of things in the process:

1. If your sentence begins with "There is...", there is at least one way to delete those two words and make that sentence sound that much better, there is.

2. A big difference exists between the words "challenging" and "daunting". That difference is aptly called the Atlantic Ocean.

3. A part of my academic soul jumps off a cliff every time I have to press the DELETE button.

On that last note, nibbling down research is clearly not for the faint of heart. I humbly vow to never again consume orange juice that is labeled "from concentrate".


~tengman.k.~ said...

Yay! A new breakthrough in self-control! Congratulations! BTW, I might wind up conducting a performance of a movement from the Sinfonia Concertante this semester. I have a couple of freshmen who'd like to perform it.

Just wondering, is there any precedent for conducting it in 2? The tempo is not quite fast enough for it to be natural, but that's how the phrases feel.

stev said...


you'll get over them withdrawal symptoms soon enough. most likely. that is.

AF said...

Teng - sorry for the late reply. No real precedent on beating in 2, though Harnoncourt (if I recall correctly) sometimes skipped beats in favour of just indicating the notes, esp. in tuttis.

I see your point though... food for thought: would you conduct the Hallelujah from Handel's Messiah in two?