I'm feeling a little neurotic today, so I hope you will bear with me, dear blog readers.
Maybe it's low self-esteem, or true modesty, or what--I don't know--but I always assume that, if I know something, then that "something" must be common knowledge for the rest of the world. Like yesterday, I figured I was parading my true ignorance of well-known things when saying I'd only just heard Chopin's Op. 2 variations for the first time ever.
So it always amazes me when I know something that someone else doesn't know.
The other day at church, the anthem was a pretty baroque-sounding thing for three voices. The poor pianist was turning her own pages as she played, and there were apparently a quite a few repeats. The pages wouldn't stay turned, so she kept having to slap them back in place as she played. After the service I went up to her and said something like, "Hey, next time you need a page-turner, just let me know!" She laughed and said she could have used me. Then we talked about composers and pieces with repeats ... and she said something about how they'd done a piece by a Michael Haydn.
"Who knew there was a Michael Haydn?" she said.
Well, of course I know about Joseph Haydn's little brother, Michael. Doesn't everyone? Apparently not. So I told her an interesting little tidbit about how a symphony that had been attributed to Mozart was actually written by Michael Haydn. And that it's too bad that no one has ever heard of Michael Haydn. If he was good enough to be mistaken for Mozart all these years, he couldn't have been too shabby of a composer.
Then she said that they'd done an anthem recently by J.C. Bach, and that the music director had expressed surprise that there had even been a J.C. Bach.
Well ... doesn't everyone know about J.C. Bach, the youngest son of J.S. Bach? And that he was known as the "London Bach" and was wildly popular in his time and was friends with Mozart, to boot? His sinfonias are wonderful, and I listen to them pretty often at naxos.com. But it seems no one has heard of him now. It is a shame. Is there a J.C. Bach Awareness Group out there that I can join?
Because not everyone knows there was a J.C. Bach.
The good news is, the knowledge I'm gaining from the Teaching Company lectures are becoming a part of the encyclopedia of my brain. Some things (like J.C. Bach) were already in the encyclopedia and are just being reinforced. Other things, like much of what I'm learning about Robert Schumann, are completely new.
Either way, I forget that I haven't always known these little facts about composers and music. It seems like I've known these things forever.
No, I do not work for the Teaching Company. This is not a true Teaching Company commercial. Those folks have just really enriched my life. And I'm learning that I'm not such an uninformed doofus after all. :-)
I love, I love, I love Robert Greenberg. I think I am his biggest fan.
BTW, you can hear Michael Haydn's Symphony in G, previously attributed to Mozart, here. (Mozart wrote the Introduction to the symphony for his friend, but Michael Haydn wrote the rest).