Friday, May 11, 2007

Feelin' contrary . . .

Here's some things most people like that I don't like:

Heat - Especially the kind of unseasonably warm weather that seems to have most people so excited. Today, the combination of oppressive humidity and allergic lethargy has sapped my mental will to the point that this is all I can think to blog about. I'm bloggin' about the weather. Shoot me now.

House - I just don't get it. To me, Hugh Laurie isn't remotely convincing. All I see when I see him in action is acting. "Look, there's Hugh Laurie. He's playing at being curmudgeonly. He's chewing scenery. . . What are they selling on the shopping channel?" I can't watch it. I also think that Dr. House and Martin Crane both look really fake using a cane. (I'll feel really bad, though, if I learn that one or both of those actors actually uses one.)

Household pets - Actually, pets in general don't make much sense to me, but especially living inside with the humans. My children work just fine as lovably endearing critters, thank you, and they'll support me in my old age. I hope. (Unless they're mad that I never got them a pet. Uh-oh.)

Haydn - OK, that's a little strong. I like some Haydn. I understand his reputation. It's just that I don't feel a strong compulsion to hear any of his music ever again. I heard one of his piano sonatas played in a jury yesterday, and it reminded me of one characteristic that often drives me crazy; his quirky sense of metrical pacing. I don't have the energy (the heat, remember) to flesh this out much right now, but it often happens that a sudden shift in the predominant note-value will make it seem as if the bottom drops out of the pulse. Look at m.9 in this sonata that I heard played yesterday. [Hear here (excerpt). View entire sonata in PDF here.]

Now, I realize that bars 9-11 can be described as a phrase extension which, in theory, would prolong interest. However, those deadly dull 8th-note thirds in m.9 just kill the momentum for me. It's a small detail, but this kind of thing happens a lot with Papa Joe. Actually, this piece has its charms. It suggests to me a humorous type who can't seem to shut up, but just keeps blabbering on and on. If I had the energy, I'd summon to the witness stand many weaker sonata movements which reveal an even odder command (or lack thereof) of pacing. NEXT TIME ON HAYDN HATIN': A blissful Adam & Eve that will make you yearn for the Fall.


Elaine Fine said...

I used to be lukewarm about Haydn until I started playing his string quartets, particularly the inner voices (violin 2 and viola). Now I just can't get enough of him.

As for the Piano Sonatas, it takes a real pro to bring out what needs to be brought out. I love the way both Richard Goode and Alfred Brendel play Haydn. I also love the way Jeno Jando plays Haydn (and he recorded all the sonatas for Naxos--cheap and available). I don't think I have ever liked any performance of any Haydn piano piece played by anyone who was not a mature adult musician.

Don't shoot the messenger. Give Haydn another chance.

sarah marie said...

Do you dislike Hugh Laurie in House specifically, or in everything? I'm a big Jeeves and Wooster fan, sooo...

But I'm with you on the pets thing. Totally gross to share your living spaces with furry animals. Nathan and I shed enough hair on our own, but at least we don't need a litter box. I can do without indoor pets.


I actually haven't seen Hugh Laurie in anything else. That's one reason it's odd that I don't buy his character. Usually I have that problem when I strongly associate an actor with another role. (Jason Alexander, for example, will probably never have another successful role after defining George Costanza.)