Today is the day on which we remember the birthday of the great Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg, born in 1843.
I think that for my chosen quote we’ll go a bit further away from the norm and do this:
I think the string quartet is possibly one of the more perfect examples of artistic expression ever invented… and one of the most difficult to pull off successfully.
If the symphony or the concerto can be called the novels of the musical world, then the string quartet might be a short story – or maybe the personal essay of the musical world.
A work in which the composer has willfully limited himself, and his means of communication.
Imagine trying to write a short story with no adjectives. That’s the kind of thing I mean.
There are no alternative colors available to you to mix the tone of what you’re saying.
No winds, or brass. No percussion. Just the strings.
Okay… try this.
Imagine painting the White House with a number 1 brush.
Or the Sistine Chapel with a roller.
Kind of the same thing…
To voluntarily limit yourself is an interesting concept.
Is it for the challenge, or just to see if you can, in fact, do it?
Of course, the best composers are able to imply, to make you ‘hear’ percussion and other instruments in their writing.
The worst composers…?
Don’t get me started…
Today is also the birthday of the Magna Carta, and all kinds of other things.
I assume that we are all mostly familiar with the Magna Carta.
It’s the document that King John of England had forced upon him in 1215, which he immediately began to heavily edit…
It’s also the birthday of the man who drew the following illustration:
… which, as every good New Yahker knows, is the only correct view of the world.
He typed, tongue firmly planted in his cheek…
Anywho, Saul Steinberg was born on this date in 1914.
Today is also the date that Benjamin Franklin’s famous kite flight was reputed to have happened.
Today, it seems, was quite the busy day in history.
As is every day.
If you only pay attention.
And the world appears to be going to hell all around us…