Monday, December 23, 2013

Best Posts of 2013

It is kind of fun to go back and look over the year's posts and see which ones stand out. There was lots of variety in January with posts on some songs from my cycle for voice and guitar, some posts on theory, one on a late Shostakovich quartet, a few posts on Schoenberg and lots of other stuff. Hey, maybe you should go back and read them all! But if not, then a couple of posts stick out a bit. In this one, Music and Social Identity, I take on some academic writings on music and dismantle them. In this post, Hacks, Artistes, Dullards and Con-Men, I attempt to categorize different performing qualities.

In February I put up this rant about how the mass media are tossing classical music down the memory hole: Is Classical Music Invisible? There were a lot of posts on various issues like consonance and dissonance and the Symphony No. 3 of Beethoven, but one of the most interesting was about my discovery of a very early piece by John Cage: Third Construction (1941).

March had a wealth of different posts on everything from music and tax policy to self-criticism to Prokofiev. One post was an introduction to Beethoven's Symphony No. 6. Another was about the forgotten composer Mieczysław Weinberg. I also did a post with a whole lot of examples on what I called Classic Ensembles, meaning, groups of instruments that just seemed to really work well together, both popular and classical.

In April I concluded a series of posts comparing Debussy and Ravel with this one, which sparked some interesting discussion in the comments. I also did a post on Bartók's Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta. I ended the month with several posts on the Beethoven late quartets including this one on the A minor quartet.

Early in May I put up one of my continuing series of posts on the Shostakovich quartets, this one on the String Quartet No. 13 in B-flat minor, op. 138. I did a post critical of one of the leading figures in the "new" musicology, Susan McClary. I also did an amusing post on the top ten myths about classical music.

Lots of interesting stuff in June, including this post on some rhythmic qualities of the Rite of Spring. I put up posts for each of the five movements of my Suite No. 1 for guitar starting with this one. For contrast, I put up a post on the greatest love stories from classical music.

And I think I will stop here and pick out posts from the second half of the year in another post.

Now, to get you in the mood for Christmas, here is some Bach:


Shantanu said...

At the cost of sounding rude, this post suggests you are running out of things to post about! Maybe you should post less often, which is okay, you know.

My opinion might be unwanted, but I really like your blog, so...

Bryan Townsend said...

Shantanu, I have always found your comments to be very to the point! My reasoning for doing this post was, since a lot of readers probably don't read everything I put up, unlike you(!), I wanted to give people who only read occasionally a link to posts that I, at least, think might be worth reading.

Shantanu said...

Well, you know, looking at your recent posts, which have all been very insightful, I guess it was an unfair comment.

Bryan Townsend said...

I promise to only do it once a year!

Rickard Dahl said...

I think it's a nice (and useful) summary. Waiting for part 2.

Bryan Townsend said...

Thanks, Rickard!