December 29, 2006
This hasn't exactly been the year of the blog for me. A lot of things have gotten in the way, from the personal (having a daughter) to the professional (starting a new job). In the meantime, so many of the blogs I found engaging in the past have slipped into silence or obscurity, and I feel less connected to those that remain. And of course I've been spending the lion's share of my online time at flickr instead of here. By now I know better than to make blog-related New Year's resolutions, but I will at least say that I hope next year will bring some life back to this site, and I'm looking forward to it.
For now, I hope everyone has a happy (and safe) New Year!
December 28, 2006
I wouldn't call myself a big Bob Woodward fan, but his unique setup at the Post ends up being pretty sweet at those moments when a little depth is needed. This story is obviously one result, but even this excerpt I read yesterday from one of Woodward's books was valuable and (of course) timely. He does his research, occasionally publishing a book, but also ready to speak out in the Post whenever the time is right. While I do think the Times was more informative all around with their ten page obit/profile, the Post was actually able to break news about Gerald Ford -- a real coup, if you think about it!
After reading about it yesterday, I picked up the Robert Levin version of the Mozart Requiem and listened through the later movements (presuming that the first two movements were unchanged since Mozart completed them himself). Because I'm so familiar with the Sussmayr version (I even performed it as a treble in this choir), I found the experience a little bit unsettling. The orchestration does seem lighter and more Mozartean, and some sections -- for instance the Benedictus -- were markedly improved. At the same time though some seemingly minor changes to melodies were quite jarring, and most of the sections that have been extensively reworked disappointed me. This was particularly true of the fugues, the new (!) Amen and the two Hosannas -- for me at least they just don't have the same clarity and sense of movement that the Kyrie and and Quam olim Abrahae sections have. Maybe they'll grow on me?
At any rate, the whole thing is a fascinating exercize and one I recommend if you happen to be familiar with the Requiem. I'll probably seek out some other versions now as well.
December 27, 2006
It's time for me to start blogging again, I think. The past few weeks have been amazing, but they've definitely taken a toll on my awareness of and intellectual engagement with the rest of the world -- and blogging, at least in the way I ususally do it, should be a great remedy for that. I've decided to mothball the del.icio.us linkblog feature, since 1) I haven't been updating it and 2) it takes away opportunities for full posts. And I have noticed that the comments aren't working, so I'll be fixing that in the next day or so.
In the meantime, here's a celebration of Mozart (via ALDaily), filled with great recommendations if you need a broad introduction (I'll be picking up a copy of the Levin Requiem, at the very least). I'm not sure how I missed the 250th anniversary of Mozart's birth last January.
UPDATE: Comments are now fixed.