Bleak Inheritance

I wrote an article on William Schuman for Symphony magazine, which I'll give you the details on presently. I couldn't really spare the time, but chances to write about Schuman are rare, and I love his music too much to have resisted. I gather that being a huge Schuman fan puts me in somewhat of a minority (what else is new?). There is a prejudice abroad that Schuman's composing career was only propped up by his powerful position as President of first Juilliard and then Lincoln Center. Don't you believe it. I met Schuman once. He had some … [Read more...]

A Clementi Afterthought

One more word about Clementi, and as example a piece I bring into many classes. I was always a collector of canons, even before I discovered Nancarrow, and Clementi was something of a fanatic about them. (Sometimes to his detriment; the otherwise magisterial Op. 40 No. 1 Sonata is a little marred by its canonic scherzo, which doesn't bear enough weight for the rest of the piece.) There are eight canons in his massive, almost-five-hour piano opus Gradus ad Parnassum, and two of them are inversion canons. It seems to me that an effective … [Read more...]

Linked Out the Wazoo

Somebody urged me to join Classical Lounge, so I did, and lots of people there wanted to add me to their friends list, and I always pushed the "accept" button. And I started getting notices that people wanted to befriend me on Plaxo Pulse, so I'd go over there and thread my way through the web site, and then the similar LinkedIn requests started pouring in. And I got invited to join NetNewMusic, as did apparently my entire circle of acquaintances, because most of my e-mail time over the next couple of weeks was spent acceding to requests to … [Read more...]

Classical Reflections

The monothematic sonata (in which the main theme reappears as the second theme, and sometimes representing other functions as well) is reflexively associated with Haydn, but it could just as well be identified with Muzio Clementi. Except that Clementi approaches the idea with more nuance than Haydn. Often Clementi bases all his themes on the same motive, or else the second theme is a variation of the first, and perhaps the closing theme the inversion of the first. For instance, in the Op. 37 No. 2 Sonata in G, the opening theme: is varied to … [Read more...]