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About Gary

Piano Teacher with over 40 years experience, teaching in the Fort Lauderdale area. Teaches exclusively at All County Music in Tamarac FL.

CPE Bach Solfeggio

THURSDAY, August 6, 2020

CPE Bach Solfeggio

This is one of the most frequently played pieces by developing pianists. It’s also usually very badly played. Most performances at best sound like robots are playing. The problem with these “student pieces” is that it’s almost impossible to find performances by top performers, so you are left with YouTube instructional videos and videos of young people who are not yet fully capable of doing justice to the music, or older students who don’t know how to make the music come alive.

I’ll pick the best I can find, then please listen to each. Leave a comment telling me what you like. A hard rock arrangement is at the end. The point is that people have been playing this music for at least a couple centuries, and it’s still going on right now.

A little girl first…

She gets credit for playing so well at such a young age. I can forgive anything minor that goes wrong, because by the time she is 21 she will probably be amazing. But note the total stupidity of the set up. She has to bring out her own little box for the pedal. Then this little girl has to adjust her own seat. If I were part of this I’d walk out on the stage and help her set up.

But she plays great. She did not add the usual ending that perhaps CPE Bach did not write, and there are places where she did not add octaves in the LH. None of  those things are her choices at such a young age.

Too much reverb…

There is almost no variation in sound. At 00:55 he plays E natural in the LH, which is a really awful mistake. Things like this happen live, but when you are recording you do it again. I’m leaving this here as an example of how NOW to play.

This is much better…

He adds some LH octaves at 00:44, three of them. I have no objection. I’ve thought about suggesting this as an alternate idea, but I’m not quite convinced. The ending is changed, and I don’t like that at all. There could be more variation in touch.

And now Sally…

She plays this very well. She’s doing something with it. It has a lot of contrast, changes in articulation, changes in dynamics. I don’t listen to anything players say if they don’t play well, but since she does, at least in this, I listened to ideas. She has some good ideas. I think she may be a first rate teacher. But I’d like to teach her about jazz minor, why we use the term and why it applies to both modern music and music going back many centuries.

I actually like this…

I would never play it this way. For me it is understated, not dramatic enough. But his way of playing it is very convincing. His basic technique is extraordinary. His trill is great. He starts on the upper note and really drills it. But he leaves off the last two notes, the till suffix.

So far if I could combine the accuracy of Chirag with the drama of Sally, I’d be fully engaged.

What is an 8 string guitar? Well, I like it…

He changes a few notes, and I don’t always like that. But I really like the sound. Guitarists play with details more. The extra notes in the chords towards the end are very interesting. He’s improvising a bit.

Bass guitar, and this fun. Again some notes are changed…

Hard rock? It’s totally different…

This is a bit like what might have happened if Queen used this. It’s like CPE Bach meets Bohemian Rhapsody.

 

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New Theory Posts

SUNDAY, August 2, 2020

This is where I will put the latest subject I’m working on. It will not be in any logical order according to difficulty. To some extent you need to consider each posts as a stand-alone subject that you are exploring. I promise you that everything that goes here is VERY important for any experience musician.

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1873: Wagner Siegfried’s Rhine Journey

SUNDAY, August 2, 2020

Siegfried’s Rhine Journey: 1873

This is yet another miracle recording from the late 50s and early 60s. For the most part I’m only posting about music that is loved or at least appreciated by people who have no interest in opera – which includes me. Strangely, this is not from Siegfried, the 3rd opera in the Ring Cycle. It is from the last one.

From Twilight of the Gods…

Siegfried is actually a main character in the last two operas from The Ring. I won’t bother with the story here except to say that “Dudley Do Right” from The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends was a genius compared to Siegfried.

It’s all about Siegfried…

It really is, to a large extent, since Siegfried eventually brings down all of Valhalla. But in another sense it’s also all about him, because he has an ego the size of Jupiter to go along with his pea-sized brain. His story crosses over from Siegfried – which literally is all about him – and into Twilight of the Gods.

Did Wagner write it his way?

Apparently not, but I’m still checking. This popular selection is actually two parts spliced together from the Prologue of Twilight of the Gods.

I just found that out a couple days by listening to the whole thing. For those of you who don’t want to be tortured by more than four hours of very bad German written by Wagner for singers who mostly can’t hold a steady pitch to save their lives, please thank me. You have to be very patient to find the great music in the middle of so much nonsense.

What we know is from two sections he wrote in the opera…

In the opera there are two parts: one is Day Break and the other is Siegfried’s Rhine Journey. They are separated by about 11 minutes of very loud, pointless singing in German that you can’t understand if you are German. It’s all one long “vowel movement”.

The two parts blended together…

Someone finally had a good idea: let’s take these two really great instrumental sections and combine them. This is the famous music I’ve known all my life. The question remains: did Wagner come up with this idea of putting them together? Or someone else? I’m still trying to answer that question. But I love this music.

From Twilight of the Gods…

Siegfried is actually a main character in the last two operas from The Ring. I won’t bother with the story here except to say that “Dudley Do Right” from The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends was a genius compared to Siegfried.

It’s all about Siegfried…

It really is, to a large extent, since Siegfried eventually brings down all of Valhalla. But in another sense it’s also all about him because he has an ego the size of Jupiter to go along with his pea-sized brain. His story crosses over from Siegfried – which in this case literally is all about him – and into Twilight of the Gods.

Did Wagner write it his way, as a splice?

Apparently not, but I’m still checking. This popular selection is actually two parts of spliced together from the Prologue of Twilight of the Gods.

I just found that out a couple days by listening to the whole thing. For those of you who don’t want to be tortured by more than four hours of very bad German written by Wagner for singers who mostly can’t hold a steady pitch to save their lives, please thank me. You have to be very patient to find the great music in the middle of so much nonsense.

What we know he wrote in the opera…

In the opera there are two parts: one is Day Break and the other is Siegfried’s Rhine Journey. They are separated by about 10 minutes of very loud, pointless singing in German that you can’t understand if you are German. It’s all one long “vowel movement”.

The two parts blended together…

Someone finally had a good idea: let’s take these two really great instrumental sections and combine them. This is the great music I’ve known all my life. The question remains: did Wagner come up with this idea, or someone else? I’m still trying to answer that question. But I love this music.

Read on if you are interested in how it sounds in the original opera…

This is for people who just have to know how things happened. I’m a teacher, and I’m supposed to know about music. So I did the research. Here’s the complete story:

Twilight of the Gods, Prologue, Orchestral interlude – Daybreak (Tagesanbruch): stop at 18:59

At 18:59 there is around 10-11 minutes of heavy duty German opera. For now skip that, although the singer is Kirsten Flagstad, and she had an unbelievable voice. This is actually a small part of the whole opera that interests me, but wait later to try it.

Twilight of the Gods, Prologue, Orchestral interlude – Siegfried’s Rhine Journey (Siegfrieds Rheinfahrt): stop at 35:25

This is the second part of the orchestral music most serious musicians know. Around  11 minutes of singing get cut. It’s spliced together.

Now, the rest, for brave souls who are not allergic to very loud German!

Here is the whole section, starting with Daybreak and ending with Siegfried’s Rhine Journey. It includes over 11 minutes of singing and ends at 35:25…

The whole section is around 20 minutes long. I don’t like anything that comes earlier, and I don’t like too much that comes later, but I do like all of this. It is in all ways larger than life, and none of us will ever hear anyone sing like Kirsten Flagstad.

The fat lady sings..

Actually, Flagstad was not heavy. She looked stunning on stage, so with her good looks and gigantic voice she was enormously popular all over the world. She was known as “the” Brünnhilde:

A character in Norse mythology, also known by the name Brynhild. Brünnhilde, a Valkyrie, or woman servant of Odin, loved the hero Siegfried.

Flagstad was born in 1895…

So by the time of this recording she was nearly 60. I don’t have the exact date of this recording, but many people think she was the greatest opera singer of all time. Hype? I would say no this time. Her voice was miraculous.

I can’t understand any of her words, but I also don’t care. Anyone who ever heard he live said that in these recordings we only get a very dim idea of what she sounded like. I love her voice, and for the most part I loathe opera, so that’s a pretty amazing thing for me.

I like this in spite of the length:

Try to imagine that if you went to this opera you would at this point be through around 36 minutes of music in an opera that takes over four hours. If you understand this, you’ll also understand why sitting through these operas is a profile in patience.

The words don’t really matter…

I will mention again that Germans can’t understand the words. It’s all about the big sound, the vocal experience, so every vowel is modified for maximum power and effect, and that makes the vowels utterly impossible to understand. In other words, if you don’t have the words in front of you, or if you have not memorized them, you can’t understand anything they are singing about.

But that’s really a very minor problem…

The story is so simplistic that a  child could easily understand it, and Wagner’s German writing is utterly awful. (Yes he WROTE all the words.) It’s old German, so it’s as difficult for Germans to understand as Shakespeare is for us. The difference is that Shakespearean English is utterly brilliant, and Wagner’s German is moronic. It’s so awful that I can’t understand the English translations, and I read German fluently.

 

 

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1870: Wagner Siegfried Idyll

SUNDAY, August 2, 2020

Siegfried-Idyl: 1870

There are two versions of this, and until recently I did not know this. So please listen to a bit of both and pick a preference.

One version is for a very small group, only strings and winds…

There are only two horns and one trumpet. Essentially there are five string players: two violins, viola, cello and double bass. Then there are: flute, oboe, two clarinets, bassoon. It’s a very intimate sound.

The other version is for 35 players…

The larger version came later, and until recently it was the only version I had heard.

A special present…

This was written as a Christmas present to Cosima, Wagner’s second wife, who was Liszt’s daughter. Later this theme became part of an opera, the 3nd part of The Ring. Composers never let good ideas go to waste,

Version I: The small ensemble…

Instruments:

Flute, oboe, two clarinets, bassoon, two horns, trumpet, two violins, viola, cello and double bass.

This version seems to be more preferred now, but the above recording was done may decades ago by Klemperer. I only found this recording last week. It’s growing on me.

Version II: Almost full orchestra…

Wagner expanded the orchestration to 35 players to make the piece more marketable. The piece is commonly played today by orchestras with more than one player on each string part. Perhaps this was made to appeal more to the average listener, but I like it better. To me it has more drama, wider contrasts. My understanding it that there are not more instruments, just more people playing those instruments, but that makes a big difference because in climaxes the brass players can play out more, and to me it feels as though the string players can sort of lean into the big parts more. So the large ensemble is my preference by far, although I also like the smaller version.

 

 

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1840: Wagner Rienzi Overture

FRIDAY, July 31, 2020

Rienzi Overture: 1840

Rienzi, der letzte der Tribunen (Rienzi, the last of the tribunes) is an early opera by Richard Wagner in five acts, with the libretto written by the composer. Rienzi is Wagner’s third completed opera, and is mostly written in a grand opera style. The time of composition is hard to determine. Written between 1837 and November 1840, it was first performed in 1842. The full score of Rienzi was completed on 19 November 1840. It was Wagner’s first success.

Wagner never wrote a final, official version…

Rienzi was never established by the composer into a finalized version. Overall it is not possible to accurately reconstruct Wagner’s “original” Rienzi because Rienzi was never clearly finished by the composer.

It was more than six hours long…

The first performance of Rienzi was well received in Dresden despite running over six hours (including intermissions). I love this next part, even if it is not true. It’s a great story:

One legend is that, fearful of the audience departing, Wagner stopped the clock above the stage.

Subsequently, Wagner experimented with presenting the opera over two evenings and making cuts to enable a more reasonable performance in a single evening.

From very popular to seldom performed…

Despite Wagner’s reservations, Rienzi remained one of his most successful operas until the early 20th century. However, since then only the the overture has remained highly popular, so there was a total reversal as audiences became more and more enthusiastic about his later operas.

Wagner turned against his own composition:

Wagner later perceived Rienzi as an embarrassment.  Cosima Wagner recorded Wagner’s comment in her diary for 20 June 1871:

Rienzi is very repugnant to me, but they should at least recognize the fire in it; I was a music director and I wrote a grand opera; the fact that it was this same music director who gave them some hard nuts to crack – that’s what should astonish them.

 

 

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1842: Wagner The Flying Dutchman Overture

SATURDAY, August 1, 2020

The Flying Dutchman (Der Fliegende Hollander) Overture: 1842

It’s a love story and a ghost story. The Flying Dutchman is a legendary ghost ship that can never make port and is doomed to sail the oceans forever. Wagner’s story is both a love story and a ghost story. Every seven years, the Flying Dutchman, who is condemned to roam the sea for having defied God, is cast ashore and can seek redemption. Only the love of a faithful woman, willing to sacrifice her life for him, can release him from his curse.

A new start…

In 1851 Wagner claimed that The flying Dutchman represented a new start for him:

“From here begins my career as poet, and my farewell to the mere concoctor of opera-texts.”

Today most people agree that this is the first of the really great Wagner operas.

Wagner was often broke…

While Wagner was writing Rienzi, which came right before The Flying Dutchman,  he owed so much money that he tried to flee his creditors. His plan was to escape to Paris via London and make his fortune by putting Rienzi on stage in Paris.

Things got even worse…

His plan was a disaster. His passport was seized by the authorities in the name of his creditors. Wagner’s whole life was full of such stories.

A dangerous sea voyage…

He and his wife, Minna, made  a dangerous escape on the ship Thetis, whose captain had agreed to take them without passports. It was a rough journey. A trip that was expected to take eight days took three weeks, and some suggest that this voyage might have been part of the idea for Wagner’s opera.

The creation took several years…

Wagner wrote the first draft of the story in Paris early in 1840, but he did not conduct the premiere until 1843. Wagner composed the overture last, and by November 1841 the orchestration of the score was complete.So I think it is safe to say that the whole opera was finished around 1842.

Leitmotivs…

This is the first time Wagner used a number of leitmotivs (literally, “leading motifs”) associated with the characters and themes. The leitmotifs are all introduced in the overture, which begins with a well-known ocean or storm motif.

And now maybe the greatest drinking song ever…

I’m looking for a really well-staged version of this, but here is the main idea. Everyone is eating and drinking. Men and women are flirting. But at the end they find out that some of the men they have invited to to join them are the crew of the ghost ship, and the whole scene becomes very spooky. If the whole opera was this entertaining, I might become an opera fan.

 

 

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My online method book, and why I did it

MONDAY, August 3, 2020

I use Finale…

(This is not a paid endorsement. I just know the program will accommodate my editing needs)

The books you buy in stores or online are in a conventional format and cannot be changed or edited to your needs. For teaching purposes, this can be limiting. I do all my work on the computer with Finale, and then print out what I’m working on for my students. (Disclaimer: I only use public domain works, or my own original compositions.)

Revisions are impossible with conventional method books…

Many years ago I wrote to a music publisher to alert them to errors in their method book, at a time when I was using it to teach. The top editor thanked me for my feedback but stated that any changes would be in the future. They only did major revisions under rare circumstances, and it took years to do so.

My method is revised daily…

Using Finale, I have no limitations on what I can edit, or how often. This allows me to accommodate all of my students’ various needs and levels of playing.

My method is interactive…

When you buy a book nothing can be done to make a piece more playable for a given student short of scratching out and scribbling notes on the page.  Simplified versions are often too simple or too hard and may leave out important notations from the standard version. With my method, if a student sees a better way to play something, or if I need to make an accommodation for smaller hands, we do it immediately. The result is that students can then have music that is tailored to their needs. Then their special version is available just for them.

I can blanket-cover problems…

More is often better. If one page of an example or exercise is supposed to cover an idea or problem, then ten pages of variation on that exercise is much more complete, and more interesting to the student. That means that I can blanket cover that problem with like exercises that help the student get the practice they need without being totally repetitive and boring.

I can also skip…

Sometimes you don’t need everything in a book. Sometimes a book does not have what you are looking for. You may already know most of what the book has to offer except for a few pages. And you may feel like you would be wasting money to buy it. 

Everything changes when you only print what you need…

With over three decades of using Finale I have literally written and saved thousands of my own exercises and compositions. These cover everything from the most basic, beginning materials right through to very advanced music. There is no waste. I am able to restructure the method materials for each student, skipping what is not needed. This allows each student to be paced individually. It accelerates the  learning and playing of more advanced music. In short, you have more interesting music much sooner.

I do not distribute anything that is copyrighted…

I only use public domain music or music I have written myself. I never violate copyright, and I don’t copy other people’s original music, therefore I am not “reinventing the wheel”. More importantly, I am not copying other people’s mistakes. The perfect side benefit is that my method allows my students to pick up any music on their level of playing and work through it on their own. 

My own compositions are central to what I teach…

Since I have my own archive of method materials, I find it easy to supplement existing conventional materials with new ideas. This is especially important during the first few years of learning, for which much of the music on the market is incredibly ordinary and boring.

PDF files…

Finale makes it easy to create a format that anyone I teach can open, print, or save. That is the Adobe Acrobat format (we all know it as pdf). Adobe Acrobat Reader is free and is available for many Windows and Mac versions, and Android, and can be downloaded at:

https://get.adobe.com/reader/otherversions/

So as a student you potentially have access to everything I have ever done. At some point I should create an index so you can ask me for something that may be of interest to you.

What I’m doing is the future of teaching, not the past…

I’m ahead of the curve. At least 20 years back the makers of Finale told me that as far as they knew no one else had done what I’ve done. That has not changed. It’s just a better way to teach and a better way to work. I’m not stuck in the past, and there are no limits on what I can do.

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Klemperer: Complete Wagner Album

WEDNESDAY, July 29, 2020

Wagner: Orchestral Music (CD review)

Otto Klemperer, Philharmonia Orchestra. EMI 7243 5 67896-2 (2-disc set).

I totally agree with this reviewer. If I had more money I would buy this two CD set in a heartbeat. I have owned at least one of the original recordings from which this more complete list was assembled. The whole recording is a bit more than 158 minutes long. That’s more than two and a half hours of music, and it’s all spectacular. There is hardly any really famous orchestral music by Wagner that is left off this recording.

The complete recording is here…

All you have to do is to link any of the time stamps I’ve put in here, wind it back to the beginning, and you can play the whole thing.

However:

The CDs have tracks, and you can look to see what is playing. Since there are 16 selections, you won’t know what you are hearing unless you already know all the music and the names of each track.

And so:

I did two things. First, I set it up so that you can play each selection, starting at the right place, which will tell you what you are hearing.

But I changed the order:

CDs of this sort always attempt to arrange the music in what the editors think is the best “dramatic” order. It really never works because these are mostly from entirely different operas. In a couple cases you get two in a row from the same opera. So why not present it all as Wagner wrote it, from beginning to end? That’s what I did. First you get Rienzi Overture, which was his earliest orchestra selection that has remained extremely popular with audiences. Next is The Flying Dutchman (Der Fliegende Hollander), which is really kind of a ghost and love story combined. All the rest is in order, so Parcival, his last and perhaps greatest orchestral work, is at the end where it belongs.

1840 Rienzi Overture

Wagner considered this an immature opera and wanted nothing to do with it later in his life. His wife continued his wishes and blocked its performance. The opera is very long, and there are all sorts of other problems with it, so it is seldom staged in its complete form. But the overture is very good and remains an audience favorite.

1842 The Flying Dutchman (Der Fliegende Hollander) Overture

It’s a love story and a ghost story. The Flying Dutchman  is a legendary ghost ship that can never make port and is doomed to sail the oceans forever. Wagner’s story is both a love story and a ghost story.

1842 Tannhäuser Overture

Tannhäuser is just too silly for me to take the plot seriously, but you can read about it if you wish. This is one of the most popular and famous of all Wagner’s orchestral works.

1847 Tannhäuser, Act III Prelude

This is beautiful music, and I don’t know it. But it must come just before Act III because of the name, “prelude”.

1847 Lohengrin, Act I Prelude

This is really famous, and it is unusual in that it starts up very high in the strings, then gradually gets louder and louder as the music descends. It just sets a mood. It intensifies then gradually ebs away at the end. This is called a prelude because it starts the whole opera, but I don’t know why it is not called an overture.

1845 Lohengrin, Act III Prelude

Strangely, I can barely remember this name, and I most surely do not not that it is from act III. I’d rather be hanged from the neck than forced to endure several hours of a Wagner opera, but love the music, and I’ve known it all my life. It’s fantastic brass music. I’d love to know how Wagner learned to write such incredible brass parts.

1859 Tristan und Isolde Prelude  

This music is so famous that it is marked as a turning point in musical harmony. Generation after generation of musicians have analyzed what Wagner did at the beginning of the composition, and it’s most definitely of very strong interest to anyone who is trying to figure out the history of harmony.

1862 Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg Prelude

This is yet another opera I could never sit through, but this prelude is amazing, and it is often called an overture. The exact difference between and overture and a prelude is pretty murky, although generally an overture starts at the very beginning. There can be a prelude before any act.

1862 Die Meistersinger, Act III, Tanz der Lehrbuben & Einzug der Meister

Why this is not called a prelude I do not know, but probably because it is not at the beginning of act III. If you think you have heard this before, you are mostly right. It’s the same music from the Prelude, but it’s arranged and structured a bit differently.

1854 Das Rheingold, Scene 4, Einzug der Götter in Walhalla

The Ring is really four different operas, each leading to the next. This is not called an overture or a prelude because it is in scene 4. What that means is that there is no overture to Das Reingold. But you’d have to listen to the whole opera to find out why. I’d ask Wagner, but he’s dead…

1856  Die Walküre, Act III Prelude, Walkürenritt

This is from the second opera of The Ring. We have heard the music everywhere, even in Apocalypses Now. There is probably not a person on the planet who has not heard this music. But most do not know the name of the music, or where it came from.

1871 Siegfried-Idyll

This was written as a present to Cosima, Wagner’s second wife, who was Liszt’s daughter. Wagner was only two years younger than Liszt, so we can figure Liszt was not exactly happy about the marriage, but apparently he made peace with the situation. Cosima was almost 25 years younger than Wagner. Later this theme became part of the opera, the 2nd part of The Ring. The original version was scored for only 13 instruments, but in most modern performances the are several players on each string part. In it’s original form the music is very intimate. Played this way it sounds a lot like a string quartet with with the addition of winds. I have usually heard the more complete version, but I like both.

1871 Siegfried, Act II Waldweben

I don’t know this music, and when I heard it I could not even guess what opera it is from, but it’s from Act II of the same opera, and it’s very good.

1874 Götterdämmerung Zwischenspiel

Zwischenspiel is literally German for “between play”, and it means “interlude. So this music goes between two parts of the opera. Why is it not a prelude? I don’t know.

1874 Götterdämmerung, Act III Siegfrieds Trauermarsch

A “Trauermarsch”is literally “grief march”. It means “funeral march”. I’ve heard this in countless movies, and John Williams wrote something with very much the same feeling for Star Wars. You hear it when important, tragic characters die.

1878  Parsifal, Act I Prelude

This has to do with the Holy Grail. It’s long and complicated, true of all Wagner operas, and so far I’ve never made it through a synopsis. As is true of every opera Wagner wrote, you could not pay me to sit through this, the whole opera, but the music is magnificent. This time the music is actually called “prelude”. I’ve given up trying to figure out why the names for the same kind of music keep changing.

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1878: Wagner Parsifal “Overture”

TUESDAY, July 28, 2020

An overture famous for 137 years…

There is a long, complicated story behind this, and technically this is not really an overture. It’s really:

Parsifal, Prelude to Act I

The Parsifal Story

I am not personally much interested in the story itself, and I could no more listen to a complete Wagner opera than go through minor torture for a few hours. It’s just not my thing and never has been. I am in no way an opera lover. But this music is incredible, and even many people who don’t like Wagner’s music love this overture, or prelude, or whatever you want to call it.

Otto Klemperer…

A year ago this man was just a famous name to me. Over the last few months, since Covid has ground the whole world to a stop, I started listening a bit to Klemperer, then more, then ever more, and I can now say that there have been only a few conductors in the history of recordings who could make time stop this way. Many of his recordings are longer than anyone else’s, but instead of feeling slow or boring, they are fascinating, full of incredible details that you just don’t hear elsewhere.

Overtures are for those of us who don’t much care for operas…

This music stands alone, and for way more than a century overtures of this sort have been extremely popular around the world. In a way they sum up musically everything that happens in very long operas, so they are musical overviews in a way.

Wagner was a complicated person…

In fact, of all the major composers I know of, he may be the most unlikable. There is more to his story, and I’m starting to view him a bit more favorably, now that I know more about his life. He had a really rough childhood. So perhaps we should cut him some slack. But there is no doubt that he was one of the greatest musical geniuses who has ever lived. I try hard to separate Wagner the man from Wagner the composer. Parsifal may be my favorite composition of all that he wrote.

He always had money problems, and even his friends were exasperated by his behavior:

“Until his final years, Wagner’s life was characterized by political exile, turbulent love affairs, poverty and repeated flight from his creditors.”

The Overture (or Prelude to Act I) to Parsifal reminds you of how much slower life used to be. Imagine, this is just a “prelude”, meaning something that goes before. It is like a both a summation and an introduction. I think it contains some of the most magical sounds I’ve ever heard, and it has haunted me since I was around eight years old. I have always been hard-wired for sound. I was born that way. If I am around a total experience, the first thing to be engaged will always be what I hear.

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