Tuesday, January 03, 2006

my brother, the dead fiddler

I just listened to the first three movements of Mahler's first symphony, a piece I'm going to be spending a very significant portion of the next month with. Lucky me, the civic orchestra and the Northwestern orchestra programmed the same piece to be performed on three consecutive days at the end of January. That means I have to play it under two different conductors, and that there are very probably going to be a lot of days where I'm spending up to 4 or 5 hours on this one piece. Luckily, it's about an hour long, so hopefully they won't overlap directly too many times.
Anyway, this is a piece I really should know anyway, and as I was listening tonight I was very pleased with how much I was enjoying it. Mahler always makes me think of really depressing things; he had a really hard life (lots of loved ones dying and things like that) and he was big on Fate, if I recall correctly. He actually wrote songs around the theme of "the death of children." But all was well and happy and beautiful and fun until I got to the third movement. It starts with, seriously, "Frere Jacques" in a minor key, predictably done in a round just like you might have sung it when you were a kid. Then, after that was over, we moved on to some very Jewish-sounding music, which unmistakeably reminded me of "Fiddler on the Roof." (After further thought, I think the sound of Jewish music just makes me think of "Fiddler," which is dumb. I probably need more klezmer in my life. But this did sound quite a bit more like the stuff from the musical than not.) My god, I'll be spending the next month with mopey Brother John. I just hope the other monements can make up for this one. Or maybe I'll learn to like it...

No comments: