Felsenmusick - The Weblog of Daniel Felsenfeld
The Web Log of a Certain Daniel Felsenfeld: Composer, critic, avid reader, aspiring
bon vivant, capricorn, shadowy figure, advice for the lovelorn

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

More Reasons for the State to Fund Classical Music

This from an article about the Spitzer debacle:

"Shortly before his pre-Valentine Day's Washington, DC, hotel tryst with the call girl now publicly known as "Kristen," Spitzer asked his aides in the Mayflower Hotel if they had a classical-music CD he could bring to his room, a witness said.

Between 9 and 9:15 p.m. on Feb. 13, Spitzer came down to the hotel bar and asked his contingent of about eight for a CD, which no one had, the witness told The Post.

The governor - normally a rock fan who last year attended a Bruce Springsteen concert in Albany - was said to be wearing a blue sweatshirt and jeans.

"At the time, he claimed it was to help him focus and concentrate," the source said of Spitzer. "He said he was going to work late into the night."

The governor was seeking the mood music just minutes before the prostitute arrived at the hotel."

I wonder, was it Berg's Lyric Suite with it's coded messages of love and betrayal, or even Lulu (Traviata being too obvious save for the Pretty Woman set?). Threepenny Opera? Tristan? I would love answers--if he liked, say, the Eroica symphony, which recording? Was he a fan of the clipped, relentless school favored by Toscanini, or did he prefer Furtwangler's Wagner-like barline-free mellifluousness? Did he go in for the brooding angst of Shostakovich--particularly since tax dollars were involved--or the carefree fripperies of Vivaldi violin concertos (how dissapointing). Was it the elegant machismo of Copland's Third that made him able to "concentrate" so vividly, or was it the second movement from Ravel's Piano Concerto in G? Maybe he went in for the hard dissonances of a Boulez, or the quiet murmers of a Webern?

I wish I knew. But with the state of music education in New York, it is easy to see why even the highest price call-girl or Secret Service agent can't help but be vague.

What's sadder: the term "mood music," or the fact that nobody in the retinue had any?

Sunday, March 09, 2008


Thanks John for this new video translation of the Carmina Burana. I will never wonder again what the hell this piece means.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Classical Music Blogs, To Be or Not to Be

At the exact moment when I was pondering the whole notion of blogging--I wonder, I thought to myself (in my most po-faced and baleful mode), is this worth it, is anyone actually reading anything here (aside from Alex)--lo a self-Googling (1) reveals something fascinating: I am listed in the Wikipedia entry under "Classical Music Blogs." An honor to be listed with such luminaries as Noise, the Concert, Post-Classical, ThinkDenk, etc. So this was what I needed, the spur to keep going. After all, according to Anne Midgette (herself blogless...for the moment), apparently people read them. (2)

I'll spare you my comments on yesterday's primary to say that I deftly avoided watching returns with my usual fanatical obsession by attending a quite-good concert by the Oratorio Society of New York. The evening's fare: two pieces by Faure, plus Paul Moravec's haunting and deftly made Songs of Love and War.

Mostly, I am excited to see two pieces which are favorites of mine only in the abstract (never have I seen them live). Michael Nyman's chamber opera The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat and the collaboration between Tom Stoppard (an absolute hero) and Andre Previn Every Good Boy Does Fine, both part of the InCite Arts Festival rolling into town from Boston next week.

But other than that, my news on the personal front is that I've finally finished a huge piece I wrote in collaboration with the great string arranger Larry Gold (who doubles as my father-in-law), a Soul Symphony. More details on this to come soon, no doubt.

Nice to be back, to be appropriately Wiki-d, and to once again loll about in the soft courage of my bloggish convictions. Or, as they say in the film Juno, "honest to blog."


1. Admit it, you all do this, late at night, when you can't sleep.
2. Handily, I am also mentioned in the entry for poet Ernest Hilbert, who is a friend and once-and-future collaborator, and quoted in two other entries: an entry on Barber's Knoxville (which makes sense as I wrote about this piece in my book, and, oddly enough, an essay on the movie Closer, the author of which somehow managed to track down an article I wrote about Cosi for the New York City Opera.