Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Completion of "A Career"

As some of you may know, I recently completed my thesis on Dmitri Shostakovich's Thirteenth Symphony. I quote from Laurel Fay's Shostakovich: A Life:

"In his score, Shostakovich dated the completion of the movements... The final movement of the symphony, "A Career," was dated 20 July 1962, a date that... Shostakovich would commemorate for the rest of his life." (pg. 229)

In honor of the man and his music, and in the spirit of continuing the celebration, posted below is the Yevtushenko poem Shostakovich set. I plan on listening to the movement and spending a moment or two reflecting on the text. As Shostakovich said, "Every morning, instead of morning prayers, I reread–well, recite from memory–two poems by Yevtushenko, "Boots" and "A Career." "Boots" is conscience. "A Career" is morality. One should not be deprived of conscience. To lose conscience is to lose everything. And conscience needs to be instilled from earliest childhood." (pg. 229)


The clergy maintained that Galileo
Was a wicked and senseless man.
(Galileo was senseless.)
But, as time demonstrated,
He who is senseless is much wiser.

A fellow scientist of Galileo's age
Was no less wise than Galileo.
He knew that the earth revolved.
But - he had a family.

And he, stepping into a carriage with his wife,
Having accomplished his betrayal,
Considered himself advancing his career,
Whereas he undermined it,

For his assertion of our planet
Galileo faced the risk alone
And became truly great.

Now this
To my mind, this is a true careerist!

Thus - salute to the career!
When the career is similar
To Shakespeare and Pasteur,
Newton and Tolstoy,
And Tolstoy.
Why was mud flung at them?
Talent is talent, brand them as one may.

Those who cursed them are forgotten.
But the accursed are remembered well,
All those who yearned for the stratosphere,
The doctors who perished fighting cholera,
They were pursuing a career!

I take as an example their careers.

I believe in their sacred belief.
Their belief is my courage.
I pursue my career
By not pursuing it!

Friday, July 9, 2010

The State of the Blog

Given recent internet happenings, like the discontinuation of Dial M and recent posts on amusicology regarding the musicological blogosphere, discussing the past, present, and future of musicology blogs is now high fashion. Never wanting to be left out of a trend, I'll add my two cents worth.

Thus far, the blog has been a disappointment. High hopes about starting conversations have been thus far unfulfilled, and our reader count is negligible (to the point of the tragi-comic). After spending much time thinking about what can still be hoped for in this project, and a serious reality check as I taught my first university level class (what free time?), it is time to come to a decision about the future of MusicologicalMusings. I can't speak to my partner, but I intend to keep blogging, with two big caveats. It will now be (even more) back burner, at least until public interest or conversation spikes. And, I am now planning on focusing almost exclusively on new music. 

I have a lot of music from a lot of good friends that I believe people should hear, and I've been gathering scores and music for a few months now. As time permits and I assimilate their ideas, I will be sharing them here, along with whatever music I can cajole them into posting. My ideas about contemporary music have changed throughout my graduate work, a side-effect of attending the school that gives out the Grawemeyer Award. Moreover, I want to do something that I consider important, and that pushes the borders of what musicology is. Given that I'm using a relatively new medium for my ideas, I feel that my ideas should reflect that medium. I want to push myself and you all past the slightly comfortable boundaries we all establish, and move into the frontier of aesthetic judgements and artistic decisions. Absorbing and writing about contemporary music seems the best way to achieve this. I'm hoping that you'll all join me, as I'm positive there is much to be learned about our musical thought in the process.