I am listening to this pice by Paul Hindemith called Trauermusik right now. Actually, I have the one track set to loop over and over, this is about the 5th time this session, and I listened to it this morning a few times too. I’m not sure what it is about this particular pice with me, but sometimes I get in a mood and this is the soundtrack for it. (It’s raining right now, maybe that’s it…)
In January of 1936, Paul Hindemith was in London preparing to perform his new viola concerto in the Queen’s Hall. But the day before the performance, Kinge George V died. The entire nation was in mourning. As a tribute to the late king, Hindemith composed this piece “Trauermusik” for Viola and String Orchestra in the space of six hours and performed it in a studio concert with the BBC Symphony Orchestra the following day.
This piece is sublime, haunting, beautiful, and heart-wrenching. It is a piece that for me conjures up feelings of nostalgia, of sorrow, of pristine beauty. It is said that during the BBC performance, many of the musicians were openly weeping. The performance I am listening to by soloist Geraldine Walther and the San Francisco Symphony is one of the finer recordings I’ve heard of this piece. She really makes the viola cry and mourn with sorrow and anger.
To me there are three things that are amazing about this piece of music. One is that Hindemith accomplished this feat of composing the music quickly for a tragic occasion and performing it a day later. The next thing is that this piece has far outlived the occasion for which it is written – being one of the finest continuing pieces of standard repertoire for both the symphony orchestra and for the solo viola alike. Lastly, the sheer haunting, organic beauty of this piece itself is what amazes me the most.
Mike, and old friend of mine gave, me a CD of his after one of his performances, billed under the name “That One Guy”. The title of the disc is “Songs in the Key of Beotch”. I recently rediscovered this item in an old suitcase of mine and decided to rip it and add it to my playlist.
Now, Mike and I go way back. We used to play in jazz bands and orchestras together, at Los Medanos College and did a substantial amount of mountain biking up Mt. Diablo. There was a day where we would both easily make it to the summit.
I can remember at least one instance where we were playing together in my last performance with the Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra, and in a moment of pure mischief, I advised Mike that we were going to give the conductor John Maltester a razz and spin our basses during a few bars of rest before the end of the finale. My god I thought John was really going to kill me right then and there, backstage after the performance. He was so pissed – I do beleive he was purple.
Anyway, go check him out.
Yet more fallout from the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (“DMCA”): The Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel (appropriately acronymed “CARP”) is recommending some ridiculous formula for calculating royalties, which effectively comes out to something in the neighborhood of 200 percent of average revenuse out there. Obviously this would kill the whole thing.
It would be an incredible shame to lose such a valuable resource of music and information. I for one love listening to the wide varieties things that you just can’t find in traditional media sources, and the wealth and variety of broadcasts out there is just amazing to me. At this moment I see ten classical broadcasters out there, 25 jazz streams, and 20 under the “international” heading in iTunes. Where I live, the traditional radio broadcast quality sucks, there is only one station that claims to be classical, and it sucks too.
Why not just charge an appropriate royalty that is porportional to station revenues, so that some of these little guys can still keep alive and we can all enjoy a good thing? It seems to me that it would be in the best interests of the record labels to keep these guys in business in a way that they could thrive and grow, and generate revenue as the medium expands to the mainstream. If this medium dies, we all lose.
Check out these links for more information:
Save Internet Radio Website: How you can help!
SHOUTcast – extensive listings of broadcasters you can tune in to right now
Apple iTunes Internet Radio Demonstration