Category Archives: music

Autumn Falling Over Everything

Today marked the end of season at Innisfree Garden. The weather was uncertain, a bit humid and cloudy, but even so we ventured out. We weren’t the least disappointed except, of course, in the knowledge we’d not get another chance to visit until spring.

The post’s title borrows a phrase from John Ashbery’s poem, Street Musicians.” There is no straight line connection between this post and the poem, and, indeed, there may be no circuitous one either. I didn’t think Ashbery would mind, whether or no, as the phrase captures so very well all the falling autumn brings.

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Listening List

Haydn, Piano Sonata No.59 in E Flat Major, Hob. XVI: 49 (1790)

The autograph manuscript of the final sonata on this record, Hob. XVI:49 in E flat, bears the date June 1, 1790, and a dedication to Maria Anna Gerlischek, housekeeper to Prince Esterházy and the wife of a raffish violinist in the Esterházy orchestra named Johann Tost, for whom Haydn wrote his string quartets Op. 54, 55, and 64. Neither the date nor the dedication, however, reveals the true history of the sonata. Haydn’s correspondence shows that Frau Tost—or “Mademoiselle Nanette,” as he called her—had in fact commissioned the work as a present for Marianna Anna von Genzinger, the wife of the emperor’s personal physician and a lady immensely esteemed by Haydn. As the composer confided to Frau von Genzinger in a letter of June 20, 1790, moreover most of the piece was not newly written:

This sonata was destined for Your Grace a year ago, and only the Adagio is quite new, and I especially recommend this music to your attention, for it contains many things which I shall analyze for Your Grace when the time comes, it is rather difficult but full of feeling. [citation]

An Operatic Apocalypse: The Drumf and the Rhinegold at Turn Park Art Space

Yesterday we took a day trip to West Stockbridge, Massachusetts, lured by the chance to hear two of our favorite singers, Lucy Dhegrae and Ariadne Greif. Well, OK, also, we’d missed earlier performances of The Drumf and the Rhinegold, and it was way past time to make up for that cultural lack. Continue reading

In a City Garden

In casting about for a poem to accompany the photographs on this post, I pulled Paroles, a slim book of poems by Jacques Prévert, from my book shelf. The photographs, by the way, are of the Central Park Conservatory garden in late March, with snow still on the ground, and late May. Continue reading

Ramblin’ with History

On our last day in Derbyshire, we rambled both in the hills and along the River Derwent. I’ve long appreciated the wide public access to the English countryside, of which I’ve taken substantial advantage over the years on visits to the Yorkshire Dales and Moors, Devon, Cornwall, Sussex, Shropshire, the Brecon Beacons, the south Wales coast, the Lake District, and Norfolk—not to mention many rambles on Scotland’s mainland and the Isle of Skye, and along the west coast of Ireland. Continue reading

Visiting Mr. Darcy’s Mansion

Chatsworth House

Well, not exactly, though it’s said that Jane Austen may have “based her idea of Pemberley on Chatsworth House”:

The eye was instantly caught by Pemberley House, situated on the opposite side of the valley into which the road into some abruptness wound. Continue reading