Shit that makes me cry, Volume 1: Nielsen: Symphony no. 1

As a grown man with a job who occasionally pays bills, society tells me that generally speaking I ought not cry. Normally, I take society up on that, encasing my emotions in enough metaphorical lucite to protect that Honus Wagner baseball card. Every so often, though, something comes along and moves me to tears, bringing me untold joy and disappointing 65% of fathers in America. This is one of those somethings…

Years ago, my dear friend Dave McIntire and I listened to all the Nielsen symphonies in one night and wrote retro diaries about them. At that time I was fairly unfamiliar with Nielsen’s symphonies. I knew the famous 4th OK, and I was familiar with the nutso 5th, but the rest were varying degrees of murky. Fast forward four years and I’m a little less murky on some, a little more murky on the 4th and 5th, and desperately in love with the 1st.

Continue reading


Something to listen to: Sibelius Symphony no. 1

Finland’s most famous mustache. And person.

I got back from vacation a week ago, but since that time it’s been an endless siege of applying for jobs, selling furniture on Craigslist, cleaning, and all the usual catch up shit that comes with being gone for two weeks. One thing that didn’t change over the course of the last month or so, through still having a job to not having one, Kansas City to Las Vegas to Tacoma and back, the terror of plane travel (which wasn’t that bad, of course) to the calm of just sitting my ass on a couch, was the fact that I listened to Sibelius Symphony no. 1 a whole lot, and I still am.

Continue reading

Something to listen to: Mahler – Symphony no. 1, MTT/SFSO

Michael Tilson Thomas

Am I the greatest Mahler interpreter alive...and maybe even dead?

A while back, I asked the question “Is MTT underrated?” and I’m pretty sure the answer was yes. With every open gig under the sun being snatched up by people not far removed from being carded for drinks and members of the “old guard” dropping like flies that have back problems or mysterious illnesses, Michael Tilson Thomas just keeps plugging away making great music in his little corner of the world. It seems impossible that someone who is Principal Conductor of the San Francisco Symphony, Principal Guest Conductor of the London Symphony, Founder of the New World Symphony, and the YouTube Symphony guy can seem overlooked, but somehow he is.
Continue reading

Something to listen to: Schumann – Symphony no. 1 ‘Spring’

Robert Schumann

My compositional skill says I was my generation's Mozart. My pouty lips, steel eyes, and elegant frock coat say I was my generation's Justin Bieber.

If I turn my head 90 degrees to the right from where I am typing this very sentence at this very moment, I will see a blizzard the likes of which I have never seen before.  I feel like I’m in the Siege of Leningrad, provided they had comfortable loft-style apartments with internet access and a full Netflix queue during the darkest hours of WWII (let me check WikiPedia…). No wonder, then, that I wish it were spring.

Well, it can be, at least in my ears and at least for half an hour or so.  And even if you’re not in a blizzard, you still want spring to come.  You know it. Continue reading