Monday, October 31, 2011

Boo!!

I'm giving myself only five minutes to write this Halloween post, relying as it does on already existing multimedia:

For quietly scary fun, there's this mashup I created a couple of years ago, combining the final two movements of Chopin's Piano Sonata No.2. It features the most famous funeral march ever with the terrifying ghostly echoes of the whirlwind finale:



So, that's to set the mood.

Then there are these two videos which I regret to say I didn't create. But they're frightening visual companions to Schoenberg's Pierrot lunaire. First...



...and it's newer, maybe even freakier, companion [UPDATE: It's gone now, and I don't remember what it was!]:



So, no, I didn't make those, but they did inspire me to make this, which is pretty unsettling: (Check out the look on the sun's face.)



Now, let's pause for an ad from J. Peterman.


Here's my own little take on Pierrot lunaire, combined with some Stravinsky. Creepy clown!



And if you like Stravinsky jabbing at you unexpectedly, you might give this a try. [Click on image below.]



Finally, in light of the surprising intersection of wintry snow cover and October we're having here in the Northeast, you can find all manner of creepiness in these various versions of Schubert's "Der Leiermann," from his song-cycle Winterreise. (None of these are mine: this is just a little playlist I put together for Twitter-based reasons a couple of days ago.) I'll embed one here, but you can find the others by following the link just above:



Enjoy the day!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Wiggles of Spring

A terrific new video has been making the rounds on Facebook and Twitter:



The first time I saw it, I'll admit I felt sad that I hadn't thought of this idea first. It's an absolute natural, and it's not like I haven't been exposed both to the Teletubbies (I have three kids) and Pierrot lunaire (which comes up in a class every year and to which I'd already done this). Four days later...I'm still kicking myself.

So tonight, I did a little thinking about what other projects might work this way and, a little YouTubing and Quicktiming later, I had this:



I'm not pretending it's nearly as inspired as the moonstruck tubbies - this is more of a humble homage to a great work of art. (Which is the great work? Stravinsky's music? The Wiggles' dancing? Daniel Capo's mashup? You be the judge....) It's certainly not as creepy as the first video, but I would say the Wiggles dancing is at least vaguely reminiscent of the kind of thing you see in this recreation of the original choreography for The Rite of Spring. [should start about 3 minutes in.]



And, we have ample evidence that kids can dig Stravinsky, so the Wiggles might want to put The Rite in their rep. In fact, while I was sitting on the couch putting this video together, my four-year old son sat nearby watching and eventually started intoning his own little "bump, bump, bump, bump, bump, BUMP, bump, bump...." which, by itself, made up for the countless hours of Wiggles videos I've seen and heard over the years.

Honestly, I wasn't even intending to post anything, but I was pleasantly surprised at how nicely the Wiggles and Stravinsky aligned without me doing much of anything. I just tossed the two together and all the nice little synchronicities fell into place - like Captain Feathersword (yes, I know his name - remember, I have three children) showing up just as the music changes and doing a little jump on the first big accent that follows his entrance. Pure serendipity.


So, my point here is not to show off some finely crafted mashup - it's to make the point that sometimes the mashup makes itself. I've explored that idea often before, here and here for example, but I'm still pleasantly surprised when things work out nicely.
Thus, I chose not to do any re-aligning, and I didn't even take this over to a nice video-editing program for elegant fades in and out. What I saw is what you get. Except: I chose this Wiggles video partly because the set reminded me of Nicholas Roerich's design (shown at right) for The Rite of Spring, so I layered a Roerich painting over the Wiggles, but fairly transparently. Just adds a few ominous cloud textures. I can't explain the bee at the end...

For the record, this is at least the third Rite of Spring mashup that's found its way to my blog: I'm still proudest of The Rite of Appalachian Spring (which makes Roerich's design the video star), and just days ago I was merging Stravinsky and Beethoven. And there's this Stravinsky-Schoenberg mashup from last spring.

See also: Webern in Mayberry and a whole bunch of Rite of Spring posts here.

P.S. YouTube is telling me my video is "blocked in some counties," ostensibly because of the blatant copyright infringement (René Köhler told me this was his recording, but YouTube thinks it's Boulez), but possibly because it's just wrong.

P.P.S. If you like the first Pierrot/Teletubbies video, there's another one.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Perfect Pitches

So, of course, yesterday's post wasn't all true - maybe I fabricated that very authentic-looking Beethoven sketch and maybe I doctored the video a little bit, but there's always a little truth in fiction.

The truth here is that while listening to Paavo Järvi conduct the passage on the left at 8:44...



...both my wife and I independently thought of the famous "Rite of Spring" passage on the right at 3:01. Obviously, a lot of it has to do with the heavily accented, thickly scored chords in both the Beethoven and the Stravinsky, but I was also intrigued to find that each set of chords features a D-sharp (or E-flat) on top.

Not only did that make it easier to mash Stravinsky's chords into Beethoven's -  I think it's highly likely that this pitch connection is part of what made me hear the connection between the two pieces, even though I certainly don't have perfect pitch. That's the cool/frustrating thing about pitch memory - it's clear to me that my brain can sometimes hear pitches in a way that resembles perfect pitch, but it's also clear that I can't access that skill reliably. (I have "slightly perfect" pitch!) Here's part of a blog post I started more than a year ago and never finished:
I do not have perfect pitch or anything like it. Like a lot of musicians, I often find that I can imagine a familiar piece and discover I'm hearing the pitches in the right place, but that's hardly a failsafe method for me. To test myself, I tried imagining the opening of Beethoven's Appassionata Sonata the other day, and I was distressed to be a half-step low. I thought I'd get that one right for sure. 
However, I had an interesting experience with pitch memory recently. I was coaching a mezzo-soprano in Schumann's Eichendorff Lieder, Op.39 and when we got to #5, Mondnacht, which is perhaps my favorite song ever, I remembered that her middle-voice edition puts this song down a minor third from the original. In fact, I was quite consciously aware of this before I started because there are some funny chromatics in the opening that I knew I might mis-read in this unusual key. So, I started, fully aware that I'd be starting in "the wrong" key. 
And yet, from the second that first low A-flat sounded, I felt a quite strong sense of disconnect I hadn't expected - the note sounded as wrong to me as if a piccolo note had sounded, or as if I'd accidentally struck two keys at once. It even felt wrong. This wasn't a conscious reaction, this was my whole musical being (aural and tactile) saying, "No, No, No." Of course, striking a black key does feel different than striking a white key, and pitch differences in that register are probably more noticeable as well, but still. For someone without perfect pitch, it was the closest I can remember feeling to that sense of absolute certainty about a particular pitch's quality. (On the other hand, other transposed songs in the set hadn't really affected me.)
I stopped and mentioned all of this to the singer; she laughed and said I'd said exactly the same thing when we last coached the song last Spring. Of course, getting old and all that, I had NO memory of that conversation, but my identification with the opening of this song is apparently just as strong. It is a song I've played and talked about a lot. I've added it to the listening list for my Music Appreciation class for the past three years, and I always talk about how that opening B in the left hand represents the earth, which is then kissed by the high C-sharp in the right hand. (The text that follows is: "It was as if the sky had quietly kissed the earth.") So, I've played those two particular keys many times with an intense focus on what they feel and sound like. 
Here's what they sound like:



You can decide for yourself what they feel like, but I think they're perfect.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Beethoven - more ahead of his time than you thought!

Here's an astonishing musicological scoop from MMmusing. Some newly discovered Beethoven sketchbooks have turned up a page that's almost too remarkable to believe. It seems that in his already revolutionary 3rd symphony (the "Eroica"), at the moment of greatest tension in the Development Section, the composer toyed around with adding a wildly dissonant polychord. This would have followed the already jarring (F Major + E) chord that gets hammered several times before the music settles into a beautiful new waltz theme. Here's the sketch:


The newly contemplated notes would have replaced the already dissonant dominant chord that's crossed out. That chord (B-D#-F#-A-C), which treats the previous FM7 chord as a Neapolitan 6th, adds a minor ninth to the B7 harmony that eventually settles into E Minor - but Beethoven considered something much more radical: an Eb7 chord over an Fb Major chord. Perhaps this was to highlight the tension between the primary key of E-flat Major and the new theme in the distant key of E (Fb) Minor. Further sketches suggest that this chord was intended to continue through the next couple of pages. Here's what it might have sounded like, with the new "harmony" showing up first at 0:10. [Thanks to René Köhler and the National Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra.]



What makes this all the more astonishing is that this "crazy" chord is exactly what Igor Stravinsky ended up using to shock Paris about 100 years later in his "The Rite of Spring."


Above, you can see the chord Beethoven eventually settled on next to the chord that Stravinsky used - and that Beethoven first conceived! So, Beethoven ended up keeping that E-flat on top (respelled as D-sharp), but apparently even he wasn't ready to unleash such a primitive sonority on the world.

More to come... [UPDATE: It's here.]

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Immortal Franz

Today is the 200th birthday of Franz Liszt. Back in my high school days, when I was trying to learn everything I could about the piano in a small Arkansas town, I remember two books from the local library that made a particular impression on me. One was Abram Chasins' The Van Cliburn Legend, which was written shortly after Cliburn won the 1958 Tchaikovsky competition. Cliburn had grown up less than two hours from where I lived and this book was written with the same kind of celebratory style as the kid-oriented sports books I loved to read - books like Great Quarterbacks of the NFL. So, the Cliburn story was quite inspirational for someone who went, in a few years time, from dreams of sports stardom to dreams of...well, winning the Tchaikovsky Competition.

The other library book I loved was a wildly fictional biography of Liszt called Immortal Franz. Dating from the 1930s, it was written by someone with the wonderful name, Zsolt Harsanyi, which gave it an extra dose of exoticism. I don't remember much detail from the book now other than that it spent a lot of time recounting the composer's many torrid affairs. And that was OK with me: classical music could not have seemed more exciting. (I see from searching online that it was subtitled "The Life and Loves of a Genius.") I also remember liking one part where fictional Franz told a female student, "Women can't play Beethoven." It actually seemed like that might be true to me - I figured this knocked out half my competition if I ever entered the Tchaikovsky! - but I've since learned that women can play Beethoven. (But, of course, they can't play Liszt.)
I never won the Tchaikovsky Competition and I haven't led the extravagant social life that Liszt did (though I've encountered many women who can play circles around me), but I'm still a fan of piano pyrotechnics and the nonfictional Franz. I haven't really played a lot of Liszt, although I did learn (on 24 hours notice) his version of the "Liebestod" from Tristan und Isolde for a lecture a couple of years ago. But there's a lot of Liszt I'd love to play if time and fingers were willing - perhaps some day. High on the liszt of pieces I'd want to try are these two opposites, showing that Liszt can speak to both sides of our natures.










...and if you should choose to start playing these two recordings at the same time, well...that's between you and your shoulders. (Of course, I would never do such a thing to Liszt.)

P.S. Those pieces are: Bénédiction de Dieu dans la solitude & THE Mephisto Waltz.

P.P.S. Yes, I realize it would've tied this post together better if those were Van Cliburn recordings of Liszt - but I couldn't resist using YouTube videos with pictures of Liszt. I have to admit, I'm rather proud of the way those videos are sitting on my virtual shoulders there...

P.P.P.S. But, yes, Cliburn can play Liszt.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Eroica Mix'n'Match

So, having found a way to link up score and video for the lengthy Act II Finale of The Marriage of Figaro, I went right to work on the next big piece we're tackling in music history this semester: the first movement of Beethoven's "Eroica" Symphony, a movement lasting more than fifteen minutes (if the repeat is taken) and even more continuous as musical argument than the Mozart. I'll admit to being a bigger fan of Beethoven 1, 5, and 7 (yes, I'm one of those "odd number Beethoven types"), but there's no denying the monumental, revolutionary quality of the "Eroica." There had certainly never been anything like it before it debuted.

To try it out, roadmap-style, click here. (See disclaimers about user experience in the previous post.)

Again, my goal is to create a sort of one-stop shopping for navigating this sprawling musical landscape to help the listener develop a big picture view of its structure and scope. The fact that the entire outline appears on one page (with score and video) is crucial - I'm always annoyed when a student submits an outline of a work that bleeds over to the next page, because an all-in-one visual is a great way to "think" of a work as a whole. My hope is that the user can feel as if all 15 minutes and all 63 pages are just a click away.

Admittedly, a visual like this, on its own, is a bit depressing.


However, when all those mathematical-looking letters can instantly be turned into music (music both heard and seen on a page), all sorts of significant connections can become apparent. I don't mind admitting that my favorite thing about these experiments so far is score-hopping - trying out all appearances of "Tr1" (Transition Theme 1) in succession, for example, or looping the first few seconds of a theme DJ-style. It's also useful in the classroom to be able to play a theme in contrasting keys in quick succession. Almost exactly in the middle of the movement is a gorgeous "new theme" (maybe the only really good tune in the piece!) that follows the moment of greatest discord - this melancholy theme first appears in E minor, which is far, far away from the brilliant main key of E-flat Major. That's the kind of detail that's hard to put into words (I'm struggling with it right now!), but clicking back and forth between the very first PT and the first NT, I think it's pretty easy to hear.

Not only do these score/video projects build on a recent interest of mine in "big picture" listening - they also are inspired by a long-held belief that the score is underrated as a potentially engaging visual, even for audiences that don't read music fluently. Yes, a score exists first as a set of instructions and, true, those instructions only begin to suggest all that happens in a performance - but it can be fun to follow musical ideas across a page and, as I've suggested often before, a score runs less risk of distracting the listener from listening than Disney animations or the like. Many of the moments in the Fantasia films are so engaging visually that the viewer could be excused for not really paying a lot of attention to the music. (Is it always the listener's job to "pay attention" to the music? Of course not, but if you're reading this, you probably agree that it can be very satisfying and rewarding.)

By the way, I'm aware that the San Francisco Symphony's excellent "Keeping Score" series has an "Eroica" chapter. (Warning: I only just realized that it's one of those annoying sites that plays music upon loading. Bad idea, SFSO.) It has a lot of good features, and certainly provides a lot of detail (especially descriptive) that you won't find on my barebones site. It also does something I haven't managed yet: turn the pages for you. On the other hand, I'm not a fan of the awkward "time-beating" bar that moves fitfully across the screen, bar by bar, and yet somehow not rhythmically. I also don't like the ugly, computer-generated look of the score, and it's very frustrating not to be able to go full screen. And, of course, I don't like that you can't "see" the whole movement in a glance.

It's also annoying that the "Keeping Score" site doesn't let you hear the whole thing. Really? I know there are probably union issues and the like, but c'mon. It's not that I'd go there to hear it all at once, but I'd like to be able to hear any part I want to hear. However, this brings up the slightly awkward "rights" issue of my own site, since I'm "borrowing" a video of Paavo Järvi and the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen that I found on YouTube. I'll do the Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer defense here and say that I don't really understand how this whole brave new world works - your free-flowing videos and mixed media messages frighten and confuse me. ("When I see a big symphony orchestra playing pretty tunes on this smooth, flat, glowing rock, I think, 'Oh no, did an evil fairy shrink them?'  I don't know. Because I'm a caveman. That's the way I think... those violas sound awesome, though!") The classical blogger-twittersphere relies heavily on all the audio and video that's sketchily posted on YouTube, and the music industry seems to be OK with some of it, and it's...well, it doesn't seem like such a big step from linking to these videos to re-posting them myself. If nothing else, I hope you get a chance to appreciate the amazing playing of these musicians. (I did buy their disc - so should you.)

One last thought for now: as I mentioned above, the "Eroica" has never been my favorite Beethoven symphony, though I admire and respect it. ("Ouch," says Ludwig.) But the experience of putting this outline together and tossing these musical ideas around has made me remember how fantastic this music is. Honestly, I think the "Eroica" always suffers in my memory because that opening tune is so...not great. Maybe it's true that Beethoven's greatness comes from getting more out of less, but because that tune comes to mind first when I think of it, I tend to forget all the great stuff. My fault, of course. I remember having the same experience when we played it for Piano Hero - a few bars in and I was riveted for the rest of the symphony. And for me at least, the experience of chopping the music to bits only makes it more rewarding when everything is back in its rightful place.

If you stick around to the end of this video, you'll see what I mean by chopping it to bits. (I'm a little sad I missed Charles Ives' birthday by a day.)



Quick Analysis Notes: I threw the chart above together pretty quickly, changing my methods as I went along, so it's not the most elegant of analyses. The labeling of themes is a bit idiosyncratic, and I was particularly interested in keeping the labels short so that the table didn't get too big. The key areas listed simplify things to some degree, but I think they give a useful sense of the important tonal milestones. If you go to the site, you'll find I added one more fanciful set of links at the end of the outline - these "Big Bangs" are not really thematic, but they capture the "big picture" spirit of the piece quite well.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fun with the First Figaro Finale

[I'm very good at burying the lede, so if you don't feel like reading all this, then just jump down to the video at the bottom, or go straight to my new integrated score/video for this Figaro finale.]

There's probably no musical excerpt I've taught more than the Act II Finale of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro. I have been using it regularly in three different classes (music history, a music appreciation type class, and a big general arts lecture class) going back many years, and I've accompanied it in opera scenes performances two different times; so if nothing else, I've gotten to know these twenty minutes pretty well. The fact that the finale is twenty minutes long is a big part of why I choose to teach it. Teaching opera in excerpts is always frustrating because the best operas (and certainly Mozart's operas) are so cumulative in impact. (Yes, that's true of some symphonic works, but I find it more satisfying to teach a movement of a symphony than an just aria or two from an opera.)

Certainly, there are plenty of Mozart arias that are worth using as introduction to Mozart's style, but it's the ensembles and the way in which he builds momentum over a lengthy scene that interest me the most - and there's nothing quite like this finale. (The Act IV finale is extraordinary as well.) Peter Shaffer makes a big deal about it in Amadeus, giving Mozart this wonderful speech extolling the virtues of the opera ensemble:
That's why opera is important, Baron. Because it's realer than any play! A dramatic poet would have to put all those thoughts down one after another to represent this second of time. The composer can put them all down at once - and still make us hear each one of them. Astonishing device - a vocal quartet! [More and More excited] I tell you I want to write a finale lasting half an hour! A quartet becoming a quintet becoming a sextet becoming a septet. On and on, wider and wider - all sounds multiplying and rising together - and then together making a sound entirely new . . . I bet you that's how God hears the world! Millions of sounds ascending at once and mixing in His ear to become an unending music, unimaginable to us!
Peter Hall, the original director of the stage version of Amadeus, has a terrific chapter on Mozart ensembles in his little book, Exposed by the Mask. He echoes Shaffer's Mozart's words here:
Only opera can exploit the paradox that we all have different responses to the same situation, even when we are saying the same words. And for us – the audience – it is a moment of complete chaos made clear. The music gives it form and meaning. (p.87)
Of course, the length of this finale is a challenge from a teaching perspective. On the one hand, it's not hard to have a big success just showing a video, because it's very entertaining theater* - certainly more entertaining than listening to me rattle on and on. On the other hand, it's easy for the students not to think much about the music at all. That doesn't mean the music isn't a big part of what makes the scene entertaining - but there's a lot to be learned by investigating both the finer details and, most importantly, the large-scale structural principles.

Several of my recent blog posts have been about hearing/seeing/experiencing a large work in “big picture” format. I love dfan's comment from one of those posts:
I remember as a little kid when I suddenly realized that I actually could hold the whole structure of the first movement of Beethoven's 5th in my head and follow it from beginning to end, and that it actually made logical semantic sense in the same way that a long sentence does, rather than just being a continuous stream of arbitrary music that happened to end at some point. 
Back in the darker ages, before YouTube had become so useful, I created for students a Quicktime file with the audio for the finale and a series of captions that describe the gist of what’s going on, with prompts to listen for various musical details. The over-riding structural principle for the finale is quite easy to grasp: the way in which the characters are systematically added to the stage, building from duet to septet. “A quartet becoming a quintet becoming a sextet becoming a septet….” In fact, although this finale is often celebrated as twenty minutes of continuous music, each of the five big sections (Duet; Trio; Quartet; Quintet; Septet) could stand alone pretty well as a musical number. It’s noteworthy that Mozart moves the plot along without using the more conventional recitative style for these twenty minutes, but it’s also not exactly true that the plot moves forward continuously. In fact, as Peter Hall suggests, there are moments throughout the finale when the characters turn to the audience (at least figuratively) to confide their inner thoughts, the special point being that we get to perceive multiple sets of thoughts all at once.

Aside from pointing out the obvious about characters being added to the stage, I also like to emphasize the pacing choices Mozart makes. Most important is the way in which he uses an old-fashioned courtly dance style at three crucial junctures in the finale. A lot of the dramatic tension in this finale comes from the back and forth as to who has the upper hand; sometimes it’s the Count, sometimes it’s the Countess, Susanna, or Figaro. Though most of the music is fast-paced, and even frenetic, each of these dance episodes is used to slow things down as we watch the characters sizing each other up. The courtly dance style works well for this, combining a surface formality with barely concealed emotions simmering away beneath. It’s easy to think of dozens of powdered wig period films in which dance scenes are used to the same effect. There's a broader analogy to what Mozart accomplishes with his operas in general, because he generally relies on fairly standard musical styles that can appear merely polished and elegant on the surface, but which can reveal amazing depths of human feeling.

I can still remember a time when I tried to teach this scene from the piano with a fat piano-vocal score that never stayed open; I'd suddenly think about a moment 35 pages down the road and awkwardly flip my way around, then jump over to the podium to see how quickly I could zero in on the right spot in the VHS or DVD. Fun, but crazy and frustrating. I've been using PDF scores in class almost exclusively for years now, but it still can be a challenge to get around efficiently in the score, on the iPod, and on the DVD.

Although I'm pretty good at flipping from window to window on the laptop, I knew there had to be an easier way. Thus began a week-long journey, with some lessons in html, Acrobat, Quicktime, and javascript (!) along the way. I won't go into all the techy detail (although I will admit both that I love fiddling with code, and that I have almost no training in doing so), but I finally managed a solution that works very well in the classroom. I'm still struggling to make this something that can be easily shared online, due to differences in web browsers, screen sizes, and various compatibility issues, but I've decided to post what I've got so far. 

The beauty of this system (which I hope to employ with many other long pieces) is that one can, with one click, jump right to the same place in the score and the embedded video. I have found this to be wonderfully freeing in the lecture setting. I'm sure there must be easier ways to do all this, and I'd love to learn flash or HTML5 to that end, but this is a start.

To try it out, click here. For best results, you'll then want to go fullscreen (use F11 in Windows) and then reload the page (usually F5 or Ctrl-R works) in fullscreen mode to size the score optimally. (Hit F11 again to exit fullscreen mode.) If the commands aren't working, you may need to click in the white space around the movie window so that the commands go to the browser and not the score or movie. Finally, you'll almost certainly need to wait a few minutes before the movie fully loads. You'll probably also need to approve the use of a javascript-embedded file (you may get a warning about potentially dangerous content - I promise I'm not out to get you!) and you'll need Quicktime installed.  (See, it's killing me that there are all these little disclaimers; but once these things are set, it should work beautifully.)

Here's a good 'ol YouTube video that shows you sort of how it should work. You should watch the YouTube video fullscreen, ideally in HD.



The main features:
  • Easy-to-use score. Just click on the left or right margins to turn the pages backwards or forwards. (At this point, the pages don't actually turn as the video plays, but the bookmarks will take you to the right places.)
  • Embedded video. This is a nice Met, all-star production with Fleming, Terfel, Bartoli, et al. It has useful subtitles as well. I just pulled it off of YouTube; there are a variety of little glitches along the way, including one spot where about half a page of music gets skipped. However, I don't want this project to be about getting lost in a great video; the video is there to help the user see the stage context and follow a rough translation. If you want to watch the opera, go watch the opera! (There are worse ways to spend your time...)
  • Page numbers marked in the video. If you look in the bottom right corner of the video window, you'll see a little box that shows the current page number, so if you get lost, you can always pause and flip to the correct page.
  • "What to listen for" captions playing beneath the video. These are just the old captions I made years ago, slightly updated and re-timed for this video.
Again, the main point is that all these items are linked, so it's really easy to jump round and explore the score. If you're interested, the three "dance episodes" to which I referred are:
  1. beginning of the Trio, when Susanna emerges from the closet, to the confusion of the Count and Countess.
  2. Interrogation #1 in the Quartet, when the Count asks Figaro about the mysterious letter he received.
  3. Interrogation #2 in the Quintet, when the Count asks Figaro about the papers left behind by the mystery man who jumped out the window.
[Here's a synopsis of the opera if you need to get up to speed.]

The rest I leave to your own exploration. This obviously won't work so well on small screens or smartphones. I don't know if it's iPad-ready or not. If you're interested in downloadable files that wouldn't have to load over the Internet on your computer, feel free to email me about that.

Of course, there are many music textbooks now that come with guided listening programs, some of them pretty good. But it's gratifying to integrate score, video, subtitles, and captions this way, and to know that I can do it with other scores. And, to be honest, it was just a fun, geeky thing to do. Hope you find it useful. Mozart's the best!

* For the record, the video I like to show in class is the Peter Sellars "Trump Towers" version. In spite of Sellars' reputation for being outrageous, I find that this production takes the characters more seriously than many others and makes the emotions feel genuine and even unsettling. I also don't think anyone will ever sing Figaro more beautifully than Sanford Sylvan.