Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Schubert ahoy

So the Menlo Festival's program plan this year is to plow through Schubert, notionally in chronological order. On assignment, I took B. to the first concert, which covered early Schubert, from the ages of 14 (yes, 14) to 22, and I reviewed it thus. B. liked it because it included "Erlk├Ânig" and "Gretchen am Spinnrade", two of Schubert's most famous songs. It also included "Die Forelle", which is only famous for its re-use as the theme of the variations movement of the "Trout" Quintet (and since "Forelle" means "Trout", that's how the Quintet got its name). It's got a cute tune, but no real drama or development, and the verse is by a far lesser poet than Goethe, who wrote the other two. It ends with an expostulation against the angler who catches the trout, which the singer gave bite to by giving a small vexed pout, earning an audience chuckle.

The Overture in C Minor was not worth preserving except as a curiosity item (well, he was only 14), but the "Trout" Quintet sure is.

Also in the music journalism field, the Redwood Symphony urged me into a feature article on their anniversary. This was not the time to re-air my own querulous feelings about Mahler, but I could honestly praise their performances. Now they want me to attend the upcoming Stravinsky-Orff concert (much of a muchness), but - ha ha - I shall not go, as I have other things on my plate. Schubert still beckons.

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