Thursday, January 15, 2015

It's hard to think of many more inspiriting musical greetings than the start of Johann Strauss II's "Tales from the Vienna Woods"


Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra play the Waltz King's Tales from the Vienna Woods -- and with an actual zither for the zither solo at 1:56! (Not all conductors and orchestras use an actual zither. The zither version is much more piquant than the schmaltzy alternative for solo-string ensemble.)

by Ken

By the time music started coming out of the headphones I was already thinking there wasn't going to be music after all, just odd assorted beeps and blips and a background of hiss. The first time, the offer of music had been a surprise, and oddly assorted though the music was, and crummy-sounding, it turned out to be a great help. And this time it was going to be 45-50 minutes of not moving, which I think is longer than the first time. So I was glad to hear the music, even if it was pretty faint, and it was too late to ask if they could maybe turn it up. Well, I did finally ask, but I don't suppose anybody heard me.

The best thing about the music was, you know, the music. The first thing I heard wasn't the very start of the joyful, magisterial, and irresistible Tales from the Vienna Woods, one of the handful of the greatest waltzes of Johann Strauss II. It was the orchestral tutti at 0:17 of the clip, which under the circumstances was actually better! What a welcome! The rest of the music -- all piano solo -- was fine in its dimly audible way, and despite the only-faintly-audible commercials (there was one for Home Depot), and at times two pitchpersons seeming to talk over one another, the music accomplished its function of helping me through it.

I know I could probably have used those 45-50 minutes, or however long it was (I didn't have my watch, of course) to dream up a killer post and lay it out in my head, but I didn't. Anyway, my mind doesn't work so well under conditions of enforced confinement. Plus today I've been kind of knocked out by the start of a course of antibiotics followed by a (totally unrelated) dental extraction yesterday. So I thought I'd just offer you Tales from the Vienna Woods.

Even that wasn't simple, since the first three or four YouTube clips I tried to embed turned out to contain "content from WMG" and are "restricted from playback on certain sties," apparently including this one. Well, fuck 'em. I could give you a link or two, but I don't think I will. Meanwhile, having left this nonpost to the last minute, I didn't have time to play around, and with much of my Johann Strauss hiding somewhere awaiting refiling from previous posts, I grabbed pretty much the first one I laid hands on. And it's fine!


In late developments lots deranged right-wing thugs in Washington and elsewhere said and did lots of deranged and thuggish things today. And that's the way it is.



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