Long Exposure

A dotCommonweal essayist mentions reading an author’s entire output of novels over a year. Interesting.

Earlier this year, I reviewed Antonín Dvořák’s last three symphonies a few times, listening consecutively over an evening or afternoon. Last month, I planned to spend some time with the Vaughan-Williams large-scale output, listening to one through nine. I got through all of them, minus the Antarctic music–the one I was most familiar with.

I think the method has some merit, though I can’t imagine myself reading 22 novels by the same author in one year. I just don’t like any author enough to do that.

As for composers, perhaps I would find some understanding in the giants of Central Europe others seem to adore so much. Mozart, for example, all sounds the same to me. Certainly not bad music, but not fascinating to me. I don’t know why. I feel largely the same about the B’s. It socks some people, especially my musical friends. Loving Bach or Mozart strikes me like being a fanboy or girl of Manchester United or the New York Yankees. Success, skill, and all: yes, certainly. But humanly interesting? Not so much.

Any readers here take the opportunity to carve out a large chunk of time to read or listen to a substantial portion of an artist’s work?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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2 Responses to Long Exposure

  1. Liam says:

    I think the only writers I’ve done that with are Thomas Mann and Flannery O’Connor (what an odd couple).

    For composers, it’s harder unless they were short-lived or had a short publication list. A lot of church musicians love to disdain Mozart. The thing is. Mozart is best understood as being idiomatically at home in the ensemble – be it opera scale or concerto/chamber music scale. The beauty is in the playing/singing.

    Haydn had a broader compass, and I think is generally underappreciated in the USA. I would pipe his music into the NSYE if I could.

    JS Bach rarely tires me, though I appreciated him less when I was young. I guess my last deep faith-cum-musical performance experience was singing in the chorus of the St John Passion. Ineffable (the final chorus and chorale are a supernal pivot during the Triduum).

  2. Melody says:

    One of my sisters was kind enough to give me the complete organ works of Dietrich Buxtehude on cd a few years ago. And I also have Franz Tunder’s organ works. But after listening to the whole thing once, I find that I stake out certain favorites to go back to. I don’t binge listen too much because then I just get tired of my favorites.

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