I aspire to a principled blog (see “Touring Quiz,” question 4, below); we here at Think Denk eschew name-dropping. I would never refer to famous musicians by their first names or nicknames, as in “yesterday I ran into Manny at the grocery store,” or even “I remember back when Isaac invited me up to his apartment in the Beresford, just before Jerry bought it.” No, no: here in this cybercorner it is all about the music; fame has no traction for artists searching after the eternal verities. In fact, I was just yesterday contemplating the harmonies and pacing in the famous Schumann song “Ich grolle nicht,” trying to remember how Richard had played the postlude, and reaching back in my memory for Mitsuko’s thoughts about Cortot and Schumann, when Sting came up to me and inquired about the tempo marking “Nicht zu schnell.” Indeed, it is one of those puzzling wonderful markings which tells one absolutely nothing one can “count on,” so to speak; and my companion Sting, with whom I was incidentally and casually discussing this matter, while he patted me on the back, seemed to reflect this amusing ambiguity of terminology with a little joke in which he held up his hand like a policeman and said “not so fast;” and I was thinking all the while, in my pure aesthetic contemplative state, in which I was completely unaware of the fact that I was sitting next to Sting, and in which moreover the fact that he had patted me on the back registered not one iota, that the marking “Nicht zu schnell” does not mean so much “slow” as it reflects the inevitable fact that any instinctive musician, faced with the intensity of this work, will want to respond with a surging tempo… so that the marking seems to speak from Robert directly, saying, “Yes I know you want to go fast, and I respect that, but try to control yourself.” Or so I interpret it. I feel sure that Robert would have respected all sorts of desires for excess, unlike, say, Johannes. And I was going to communicate these purely high-minded musical thoughts to Sting directly, but perhaps he had already read my mind on this crucial matter and he was off to another part of the room. I should bring this all up with Josh when next we meet.

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  1. Anonymous
    Posted March 28, 2006 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Ah, what a wonderful thing a sense of humor is…

  2. Anonymous
    Posted March 28, 2006 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    You forgot to mention your channeled conversations with John and George.

  3. Marve
    Posted March 28, 2006 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    Being guilty of dropping names is still better than ending up in the hospital.

  4. Anonymous
    Posted March 28, 2006 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    marve said:
    “Being guilty of dropping names is still better than ending up in the hospital.”


  5. TJM
    Posted March 28, 2006 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    At least you showed enough restraint not to drop my name in this post.


  6. former music student
    Posted March 29, 2006 at 1:23 am | Permalink

    As for “Nicht zu schnell,” did you know …?

    “As a composer, Schumann had a sense of humour. In his Piano Sonata in G Minor (Op. 22), Schumann indicated that the speed should be “As Fast as Possible.” Later in the piece, he asked the performer to play, “Faster,” and again further in the piece, he wrote, “Still Faster.” Submitted by Peter Ochs”

    By Moore, Lindsay. “Did you know …? ,” Robert Schumann: Then, Now and Always. http://www.geocities.com/Athens

    I was there yesterday, at Twin Spirits, as one of the audience. Though it was too short to tell more about the depth of the extraordinary two soul mates, the music was enjoyable, both familiar works and not very much so pieces. Also, did you know that there is a web site devoted entirely to Clara Schumann? http://www.geneva.edu/~dksmith
    That’s a quite interesting site.

    Good to know that you have such an intriguing blog. Especially, found your interpretation of ‘Kreutzer’ thrilling … after seeing you and Mr. Bell’s performance at Carnegie.

  7. Polly
    Posted March 29, 2006 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

    Ok thought you were kidding until I investigated further. Happy your life is so filled – keep enjoying it.

    Me, working to become a name with enough weight to drop one day…

  8. R J Keefe
    Posted March 30, 2006 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

    Masterful. I mean, about the prose.

    How nice to know that Sting grollt nicht.

  9. ah
    Posted March 31, 2006 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    I am sorry Jeremy, it just won’t do. The AAAND – the Antipodean Association Against Name-Dropping – can no longer have you as their patron saint. (You thought we would not find out?)

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