Wednesday, March 9, 2005

Me Romantic Mushy Head

It's time to come out of the closet. The romantic-mush closet, that is.

Now, it took me years, years, to admit to myself that I was a nerd. That I was not a Cool Party Girl. It was difficult, but I felt such a release after owning up to my nerdiness. Only then could I truly learn to embrace life and value myself.

Now, I am owning up to something else: I am a romantic mush. My head is full of melted butter. I would rather cry in my beer (if I liked beer, that is) while listening to Emmylou Harris than debate politics or show off how smart I am. Oh, I would so love to be intellectual and cynical and smart ... but I just can't do it anymore.

I'm not sure why I feel compelled to come out of the closet of Romantic Mushiness at this time. It's just that I'm going through another Schubert-Standchen phase. This always happens when I go through a Schubert-Standchen phase. Perhaps it, too, shall pass.

I do go through Schubert-Standchen phases. Sometimes I'll go for hours at work, listening to every recording of Standchen that I can find (a couple of links are at the end of this self-absorbed post).

I generally go through these phases when I'm feeling melancholy. Not depressed, but melancholy. Big difference. Depressed is bad. Melancholy is sad but poetic. Melancholy makes me want to write and play the piano. It's when I'm melancholy--not depressed--that I do my best writing. And today I'm melancholy. (Unfortunately I'm also at work, but that's another story.)

So I'm listening to Standchen. I don't know what "standchen" means. (OK, I just googled it. It means "serenade.") All I know is that it is the title of one of Schubert's many songs, and it is absolutely beautiful. And melancholy. Romantic. Just makes me want melt into the industrial carpet.

I don't have many recordings of Schubert's songs, but I do have this one at home. Standchen is also on it (selection 6), as is the hauntingly beautiful Litanei auf das Fest Allerseelen (selection 2), as well as the well-known Die Forelle (selection 3), Erlkonig (selection 11), and others.

There's a nice violin version here (Disc 2, Selection 2). And I like the cello version (selection 5), performed by Maria Kliegel, which is available in its completion through naxos.com

(This is meditative stuff, so if you're in the mood for hip-hop or techno-pop, you might be better off listening to something else!)

(P.S. I am so completely self-educated and ignorant when it comes to music. If any of my fellow romantic mushes out there have recommendations for other CDs of Schubert's songs, I would love to hear them. Even if you're not a romantic mush, please feel free to leave your suggestions.)

4 comments:

  1. Ah, Waterfall, you made me feel the profound nostalgia inside of me! I still and still regret not to be able to perform that lieder in the conservatory. Though most of them written for tenor tessitura, the most expressive interpretations of Schubert songs come from baritones, not because I am a baritone, honestly. ;-)

    Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau is a classic. His Winterreise is brilliant. However, there are others, of course:
    1) Olaf Bär - Lieder Recital: selections from Schubert's Schwanengesäng, Winterreise and Die Schöne Müllerin, also songs by Schumann (selections from Dichterliebe and Liederkreis, Op.39), and those by Brahms, Wolf and Beethoven. A compiled history of German lied tradition I would say. [EMI Red Line]
    2) Matthias Goerne - Goethe songs [those set to texts by Goethe, including Erlkönig. If you analyse that song harmonically, you would find very interesting results!]

    But, if you want to indulge with more melancholy, you may want to move to the Russians [Rachmaninoff and Mussorgsky], the Scandinavians [Grieg, Stenhammar and of course SIBELIUS!] and Eastern Europeans [Dvorak and Kodaly].

    Faure chansons would be different taste as well.

    How I missed singing!!!

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  2. *raises hand*

    I'm a romantic mushhead too. I know that's a huge surprise to you. :)

    No recommendations for romantic mushy music. Although, I like an artist named Gary Stadler. Good stuff. Soothing.

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  3. (waves hand) Count me in! I'm hopelessly romantically mushy.

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  4. Emrah: Ahh, Rachmaninoff. I love listening to him when I'm REALLY melancholy! I actually worked on one of his preludes (in b minor, I think) in college while reading War and Peace. I'll always identify that piece with the sad, wintry scenes in the book, and vice versa.

    Thanks for all of the suggestions! I've heard of Fischer-Dieskau and think I have some things by him, but I'm not familiar with the other two. Looking forward to my next CD shopping trip!

    Jeanette: You? A romantic mushhead? No! I don't believe it! ;-) I've never heard of Gary Stadler, will have to check him out.

    Daisymarie: Welcome to our ranks of romantic mushheads!

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