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Book 8

  1. Matheson, Richard — I Am Legend (161 pages)
  2. McCarthy, Cormac — No Country for Old Men (307 pages)
  3. Dexter, Gary — Why Not Catch 21?: The Stories Behind the Titles (213 pages)
  4. Ryman, Geoff — 253 (366 pages)
  5. Wyndham, John — The Day of the Triffids (267 pages)
  6. Kurkov, Andrey — Death and the Penguin (228 pages)
  7. Chesterton, G.K. — Orthodoxy (183 pages)
  8. Gibbs, Christopher H., ed. — The Cambridge Companion to Schubert (334 pages)

Page count: 2059.

My concert singing diploma course focused on Schubert lieder for several weeks in January and February, culminating in a Schubertiade or all-Schubert recital (in which I sang "Nachtstück" and brought down the house with "Erlkönig"). I decided to enhance my preparation by reading critical material on Schubert and his music. The choices at the Barbican Library consisted of The Cambridge Companion to Schubert and… well, there is no 'and'. Though it has taken me until now to slog through this, I did manage to finish the sections most relevant to me before the recital.

I have nothing particularly insightful to say. This is simply a collection of essays by various experts which effectively gives an introduction to Schubert and his environment, reception, music, performance practices, and so on without delving too deeply into any one issue. I found the essays on the history of Vienna during Schubert's lifetime and his social milieu (particularly his association with various poets) most interesting. Conversely, the essays which presented formal analysis of his music were tiresome. (I recognize the value of theory and analysis, but I feel anaylizing every little note or chord adds absolutely nothing to performance. I have an instinctual understanding of what is occurring in a piece without needing to know the dry technical jargon.) Nonetheless, this little volume fulfilled its purpose by improving my understanding of Schubert and his music.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 25th, 2008 11:32 pm (UTC)
On a vaguely related sidenote (today seems to be a tangential day), one of the first albums I ever bought was EMF's Schubert Dip. I think I was 13.

The songs were cheesy British syntho-pop that had nothing to do with Schubert. But the name was a nice reference to real music, I guess.
Mar. 26th, 2008 01:00 am (UTC)
Huh, I've never heard of it/them. I'd be curious, though, to hear the album to see if there's some musical connection. I would bet there is, buried somewhere in the syntho-pop.
Alexander Arsov
Dec. 30th, 2010 09:53 pm (UTC)
Cambridge Companion to Schubert
As a simple music lover and non musician, The Cambridge Companion to Schubert was a disappointment for me - not unexpected to be honest, since The Cambeidge Companion to Liszt had already prepared me for the fact that the guys from Cambridge love the technical detail (incomprehensible for the layman) and, for all their erudition, are generally poor, muddled and not especially lucid writers. I also found the essays about the historical background most interesting. The ones about the music I might very well have skipped without any loss. I wish musicologist would pay more attention to the biographical context of a composer's works than to cryptic technical stuff.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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