I’m relearning Brahms’ F Major Cello Sonata for a Sept. 30 concert at Chatter. (Tickets tickets tickets.) The other day practicing it, I found myself thinking about Moby-Dick. I find the Brahms insurmountable and personally stymieing, like the white whale, but I also find it huge, labyrinthine, elusive, and puzzling, like Melville’s novel itself—which is, actually, thirty-five years older than the Brahms Sonata (1851 vs. 1886). You find yourself awash in strange beauty. And sometimes you look up and think… wait, why has he spent the last twenty pages talking about knots? In both cases the thing finishes and I feel that I’ve experienced something monumental. A monument to what, that’s a difficult question to answer.
Also in F Major but different in every other respect and written a hundred years later (1982) is “Dance PM,” from Hiroshi Yoshimura’s ambient electronic album Music for Nine Postcards. We’ll play my arrangement for cello and piano. This is one of those records that I heard for the first time and couldn’t stop listening to for about two weeks. Its pleasures are subtle and inexplicable; you just kind of have to hear it. Maybe it’s not so different than Brahms and Melville after all.
Speaking of bodies of water, wait, you heard The Battenkill, right???
10 Best of 2014
January: Wyoming and the Open
February: New Mexico and the Holes
Notes on The Accounts