Friday, February 23, 2024

Friday Miscellanea

Juan Gris, Violin and Guitar

"If it is true that Mahler's music is worthless, as I believe to be the case, then the question is, what I think he ought to have done with his talent. For quite obviously it took a set of very rare talents to produce this bad music."

--Ludwig Wittgenstein, Culture and Value, p. 67e

* * *

I was delighted to stumble across this post at On An Overgrown Path: Not everyone climbs mountains. I'm somewhat nonplussed to discover that the title of the post is actually a quote from, well, me.

On his excellent The Music Salon Canadian blogger Bryan Townsend wrote:

On an Overgrown Path tells us There is no mass market for classical music. I'm pretty sure of two things regarding that: first, I have known this ever since I got into classical music, so it ain't news and two, that is a big part of the appeal. Not everyone climbs mountains and not everyone listens to classical music.

Bryan's thoughtful response supports my thesis that for two decades classical music has been chasing a non-existent mass market, as exemplified by the strategy of turning BBC Radio 3 into a clone of Classic FM complete with 'info-commercials'. But, and that is very important but, we cannot overlook that classical music is losing traction with audiences to an alarming extent. 

Bryan Townsend is right when he says 'Not everyone climbs mountains and not everyone listens to classical music'. But what happens when the lack of new mountain climbers means that the essential guides and Sherpas disappear to seek other work? What happens when the essential fixed ropes start failing due to lack of maintenance? What happens when the routes to base camps are closed down due to lack of traffic? What happens when essential funding for the climbing infrastructure is withdrawn due to the lack of mountaineers?  What happens when the mountains are dynamited by BBC Radio 3 to make them easier to climb?

This is exactly what is happening with classical music.

Yes, most sadly true: as the audience dries up, the schools of music begin to shut down, there are fewer role models for young musicians and composers and so on. My comment was just from an individual perspective.

* * *

I'm not sure this is indicative of the above, but English National Opera sacks singers during interval

Singers and musicians at the English National Opera were handed redundancy notices midway through the final performance of its acclaimed production of The Handmaid’s Tale.

Formal redundancy letters, which came following a long-running funding crisis at the company, began to be sent out electronically shortly before the curtain for the final performance of the opera’s run had gone up.

But many of the performers only saw the details of their redundancy during the interval, when they opened the notifications backstage.

Despite this, they went back on stage to finish the performance, winning plaudits from the audience at the London Coliseum.

* * *

Music theory from a mathematics perspective: How many melodies are there?

The equivalent of a writer staring at a blank page, wondering how to fill it, is a composer staring at the 88 black and white notes on a piano wondering how to compose a melody that's never been heard before. How can one possibly take the eight notes of a standard scale and write a brand new melody when so many great melodies have already been written? Perhaps they've all been taken!

So, to counter the fear of there being no new melodies, I thought it would be interesting to examine the number of melodies available to a composer looking at his blank stave to see how many there potentially are.

Follow the link for the answer. But the bottom line is:

So, a mere ten note melody will produce over 75 billion potential melodies of 13 notes within the octave! It's going to take our composer a while to work his way through those.

Of course, composers don't work like this!

* * *

The enjoyment of classical music is dependent on listening skills. If you have only ever listened to three minute pop songs you are not going to find a Bruckner symphony very easy to appreciate. Running parallel with this is the issue of reading skills, which seem to be in similar decline: Why Joe College can't read.

Students also lack reading stamina: They have trouble staying focused on a challenging text. In middle and high school, they read short passages to prepare for tests, but rarely whole novels, Kotsko writes. He links to Peter Greene's lament that students' knowledge of literature "is Cliff's Notes deep, and they may never develop the mental muscles to work their way through a long, meaty piece of literature."

Learning "to follow extended narratives and arguments" is a valuable life skill, Kotsko argues. Young people who can't engage with complexity won't be prepared for the world.

* * *

One wonders Is Philosophy Self-Help? Well, certainly lots of it isn't. But from the titles at least, some of it is, or purports to be.

In the past decade or so, there’s been a flowering of philosophical self-help—books authored by academics but intended to instruct us all. You can learn How to Be a Stoic, How to Be an Epicurean or How William James Can Save Your Life; you can walk Aristotle’s Way and go Hiking with Nietzsche. As of 2020, Oxford University Press has issued a series of “Guides to the Good Life”: short, accessible volumes that draw practical wisdom from historical traditions in philosophy, with entries on existentialism, Buddhism, Epicureanism, Confucianism and Kant.

After mulling over several conceptual models, the author concludes:

Philosophy seeds new concepts, novel understandings—as it might be, alienation, ideology, structural injustice; new ways of comprehending freedom, status, power. Philosophical argument serves more to nurture these concepts and give them life than to establish theorems critics can’t dispute. In Murdoch’s words, “the task of moral philosophers [is] to extend, as poets may extend, the limits of language, and enable it to illuminate regions which were formerly dark.”

Which is not terrible, but it avoids the whole question of truth which is, despite everything, still rather important.

* * *

An economist recently called classical music the greatest (nearly) free gift in life, so let's have some examples. First up, a Mozart string quartet from Wigmore Hall:

 Sibelius, Symphony No. 2:

My new favorite harpsichordist, Jean Rondeau with some terrifying Scarlatti:

And a completely different kind of terrifying: the first movement, De profundis, from the Symphony No. 14 by Shostakovich, sung by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau:

Poem by Federico Garcia Lorca.

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Escaping the Zombie Culture

When Ted Gioia is right, he's really right: 

The State of the Culture, 2024

Or a glimpse into post-entertainment society (it's not pretty)

The fastest growing sector of the culture economy is distraction. Or call it scrolling or swiping or wasting time or whatever you want. But it’s not art or entertainment, just ceaseless activity.

The key is that each stimulus only lasts a few seconds, and must be repeated.

It’s a huge business, and will soon be larger than arts and entertainment combined. Everything is getting turned into TikTok—an aptly named platform for a business based on stimuli that must be repeated after only a few ticks of the clock.

TikTok made a fortune with fast-paced scrolling video. And now Facebook—once a place to connect with family and friends—is imitating it. So long, Granny, hello Reels. Twitter has done the same. And, of course, Instagram, YouTube, and everybody else trying to get rich on social media.

It is worth reading the whole thing. I've been pushing back against this kind of thing most of my life. He's wrong that it is a 2024 phenomenon, but the current version is supercharged by new software and media. I think the first time I encountered this kind of sensation was when I was given tranquilizers when I was in the hospital for a few days in my late teens. I got quite anxious when I realized that I had been staring at the wall for quite a while with no thoughts! This is not normal! But it was television that really brought it home. I never owned a television until I was in my forties, too busy and no interest. But when I got one, after a few years I discovered I was sitting there, mindlessly switching from channel to channel, looking for something, anything, to watch. When I realized this was becoming a habit, I cancelled my cable and gave my tv away. That was many years ago and I don't miss it. I noticed an even worse version of this on YouTube when you get hooked on watching those short clips. Mind you, YouTube can be enormously useful, you just have to watch how you interact with it.

I don't use any of the other social media like Facebook, X, TikTok, Instagram and all the others. In fact, a few years ago I decided it was time to "de-digitize" part of my life so I took up writing with a fountain pen, writing a daily journal, writing some poetry, doing some sketching, stopping the use of music software for composing and going back to pencil and eraser on staff paper and so on. Except for the sketching, I have kept all this up, quite happily. Oh, and possibly the most important one, every morning I start the day by reading something serious. Right now it is the Tractatus Logic-Philosophicus of Wittgenstein, but I have read a lot of other stuff. The first hour of the day is devoted to that and not the internet.

I have mentioned all of this before, but in the light of the Ted Gioia post I thought it was worth reiterating. Ann Althouse had something similar up this morning: 10 pages?!! If you scroll down you will see that mine is the third comment. Later on Ann quoted my comment and said:

Even one page of serious philosophy or poetry would be enough of a challenge. It's not the pages, it's the time and the degree of engagement.

Yes, the degree of engagement. Or you might say focus, or concentration. Because what all actual study or creative work requires is uninterrupted concentration--and that is what all our social media software is designed to frustrate, as Ted points out.

But, you know, the solution is pretty simple. Just stop and do something else. Something worth doing. Wood-carving, bird-watching, tennis (ok, pickleball), chess, reading an actual book, play guitar. Anything!


Sunday Musings

The world of the happy is a different one from that of the unhappy.

--Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, excerpt from proposition 6.43, by Ludwig Wittgenstein

I have stumbled across this idea myself a few times, describing it as the difference between standing in a swimming pool with your nose just above the water versus standing in a swimming pool with your nose just below the water. There is also an old quote by an English writer to the effect that if your income is three and sixpence and your expenses three and tuppence you are happy, but if your income is three and sixpence and your expenses four pounds, you are unhappy. The Wittgenstein quote is more about one's attitude toward the world. This also relates to questions of aesthetics. Beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder, but the causes must lie in the aesthetic object.

* * *

I thought of a musical analogy to a Wittgenstein remark about samples. Back when we used a reference standard meter kept in Paris the nature of its role meant that we cannot say that it is one meter long because there is nothing we can compare it to: it is the standard. Similarly, you can't tune a tuning fork as it is the standard. I suppose if you had a number of tuning forks, you could determine if one of them, for instance, were defective. But in that case it would not be a "tuning fork" because it could no longer be the standard. Another peculiar thing I ran across in Wittgenstein is that if there were an island somewhere with a plant that was poisonous to humans and animals, and if there were no humans or animals on the island then the plant would not be poisonous. These odd things come up when you are examining the nature of language and how it reflects or pictures the world. When I have finished my study of Wittgenstein then I am going to take a close look at how music notation reflects or pictures music itself.

* * *

A terrible thing has come to pass in British Columbia: B.C.'s 2024 vintage faces wipeout, as wine report predicts up to 99% loss due to cold

Across B.C., the 2024 vintage is facing a near-total wipeout, according to a report into the January cold snap commissioned by industry group Wine Growers British Columbia.

It says the province faces "catastrophic crop losses" of 97 to 99 per cent of typical grape production. 

Environment Canada data show Kelowna's daily low temperature breached -20 C from Jan. 12 to 14, hitting -26.9 C on Jan. 13.

Daily lows were around -20 C on Jan. 11 and Jan. 15, and did not return above -10 C until Jan. 20.

Wine growers say the loss in grape and wine production triggered by the deep freeze — described by the report as "an almost complete writeoff of the 2024 vintage" — is expected to result in revenue losses of up to $346 million for vineyards and wineries in B.C.

The industry is also anticipating an additional revenue loss for suppliers, logistic providers and distributors of up to $99 million.

British Columbia is my home province in Canada, though I haven't lived there for thirty-some years. When I was attending premieres there of my String Quartet No. 2 in May of last year, I took the opportunity to pick up some fine BC wines including an outstanding Bordeaux blend, a BC port and a couple of bottles of BC ice wine. Here is one I opened a little while ago:

Ice wine, for those who don't know it, is a very rare and special wine. It is made from ripe grapes that have experienced an early frost and are completely frozen. The Inniskillin label states that they harvest at precisely -10° Celsius. Crushing frozen grapes means that part of the water is retained as ice crystals so the juice is richer and sweeter making for a wonderful dessert wine. It tastes rather like honey, if honey were a wine. Ice wine was discovered in the 18th century by wine-makers in the Mosel valley in Germany. Only three countries produce it, to my knowledge: Germany, Austria and Canada and the latter is the largest producer. When I left for my flight back to Mexico I noticed stacks of BC ice wine in the duty-free shops. You really never see ice wine outside the producing countries as very little of it is exported.

So the whole BC wine industry has been wiped out, certainly for this year and perhaps for longer. How long will the vines take to recover? The wine industry has been developed over the last few decades and during this time the main region, the Okanagan, has not experienced catastrophic cold as it did this year. But, as we can see, it is still a very northern area for grape vines and the possibility was always there. Did investors and growers proceed with their plans partly based on the projections of higher temperatures due to anthropogenic climate change? And were the models projecting these changes flawed? These are probably good questions to ask.

* * *

Here is a suitable envoi from an UB40 album I used to have:

Today's Listening

From the marvelous Polish counter-tenor Jakub Józef Orliński and L'Arpeggiata:

 It's not often that you get a whole album of premiere recordings from the 17th century.

Friday, February 16, 2024

Friday Miscellanea

I have been a fan of opera ever since I saw my first European production which was Schoenberg's Moses und Aron in Madrid in 2016. This was designed by Romeo Castelluci and I was simply blown away by the production. Follow the link for a photo and some details. In the New York Times yesterday there was a review of another Castelluci production: A Model for Modern ‘Ring’ Operas Is Unfolding in Brussels.

He trusts the libretto to tell the story, and he trusts it to be timely on its own. After all, the “Ring” has always been relevant; that is the nature of mythic storytelling. And he isn’t misguided in having the operas stand alone. They are distinct — “Siegfried,” for example, an interjection of opera buffa, and “Das Rheingold” a seamless, proto-cinematic vision for the art form’s future. In the first two installments, Castellucci has presented an extended, visual essay on the essence of each work, his staging behaving like Wagner’s score in constantly commenting on and illuminating the action. The results have novelistic sweep and ambiguity, and are both persuasive and breathtakingly theatrical.

The world of “Das Rheingold,” in Castellucci’s production, is one of tribalism and violent hierarchy. Valhalla, the recently completed home of the gods, is a fortress built on loot. Wotan and Fricka, its rulers, enter by navigating — maybe even trampling — the bodies, made to look nude, of countless people laid out across the stage. Surrounding them are statues and reliefs based on the Elgin Marbles, the Greek friezes that have long been housed at the British Museum.

 I will be in Salzburg for the festival this summer and have requested a ticket to a new production of Don Giovanni on July 28 designed by Castelluci and conducted by Teodor Currenzis. This may not be the Golden Age of opera composition, but it is certainly one of opera production.

* * *

One of the reasons I am devoting a lot of time to the study of Ludwig Wittgenstein these days is that he is unquestionably someone who was not out to establish his brand as a philosophical guru or "influencer." There are fewer and fewer like him these days: Everyone’s a sellout now.

The internet has made it so that no matter who you are or what you do — from nine-to-five middle managers to astronauts to house cleaners — you cannot escape the tyranny of the personal brand. For some, it looks like updating your LinkedIn connections whenever you get promoted; for others, it’s asking customers to give you five stars on Google Reviews; for still more, it’s crafting an engaging-but-authentic persona on Instagram. And for people who hope to publish a bestseller or release a hit record, it’s “building a platform” so that execs can use your existing audience to justify the costs of signing a new artist.

There is a rather depressing example in the recent career trend of Jordan Peterson, someone who, a few years ago, I would have cited as an example of someone with the highest standards. But since he has started buying expensive suits and hysterically alerting us to a new crisis every day on YouTube, I tend to steer clear of him. The pre-success Peterson can be seen in this clip. Grubby t-shirt, long pauses for thought and a genuinely spontaneous examination of some important ideas.

* * *

Here's an interesting memoir of opera-lover Dana Gioia: The Imaginary Operagoer: A Memoir

There was something shameful about loving opera. Especially for a boy. Opera was pretentious, boring, effete, and effeminate. By the time I was ten, I understood the unsavory reputation of the art. Opera represented everything that my childhood in postwar America asked me not to be.

I had never been to the opera. I had never even seen an opera house, except in old movies. I knew from the Marx Brothers’ A Night at the Opera that rich people went there, but they didn’t much enjoy it. Only Groucho had any fun. The patrons were old and overweight—bejeweled matrons and potbellied bankers stuffed into tuxedos. There was also something sinister about opera’s orgy of opulence. In Lon Chaney’s The Phantom of the Opera, the opera house was built over the city sewers. A mad composer emerged from this mephitic underworld to kidnap and kill. He wore elegant clothes, including an opera cape, but without his stylish mask, he was a monster. Opera was somehow both tedious and malevolent.

* * *

I think we are developing a theme today: opera! I said above that I became an opera lover in 2016. This was shockingly late in life. Actually I had had a certain amount of exposure to opera before, a bit of listening in university music courses and even more directly, I played the guitar parts in a number of operas by Rossini and others and even the mandolin part in Don Giovanni which I learned specifically for the occasion (and I haven't played the mandolin since!). I've even been to a few opera productions in both Canada and Mexico. But I didn't experience what opera is really about until I started going to European productions. There might be some good ones in New York and possibly Toronto or other urban centers in North America, but I haven't seen them. Europe however is teeming with spectacular opera productions. It really is an absurd art form, opera, because it is obviously out-of-date and ridiculously expensive. For one thing you have to build a large expensive building that can be used for little else. But there really is nothing like a great opera in a great production. And no, a video is not the same. All you can get is a faint hint of the real experience.

The history of opera is a long and interesting one. Have a look at A History of Opera: The Last Four Hundred Years by Carolyn Abbate and Roger Parker. There was one opera I became very fond of early on and that was the first opera that has found a niche in the repertoire: L'Orfeo by Claudio Monteverdi. Here is a recent production by Les Arts Florissants:

The New York Times asks the musical question: Schubert’s Operas Were Failures. Is Their Music Worth Saving?

It’s surprising that opera eluded Schubert, who by most counts started about 20 stage works, completed fewer than a dozen and saw the premieres of just two. After all, he wrote some of the most beautiful vocal music in the repertoire: the song cycles “Die Schöne Müllerin” and “Winterreise,” and hundreds of beloved lieder like “Gretchen am Spinnrade” and “Ave Maria.” 

And yet the operas remain curiosities better heard than seen, often composed to clumsy librettos and denied the revisions that could have accompanied rehearsals.

Another great composer that could not solve the mystery of opera was Joseph Haydn.

* * *

Israel Daramola on the challenges facing music journalism

Can you talk about the state of music journalism now and how it compares to the past?

There’s kind of nothing left, really. I mean, there’s a couple of big brands that still remain, like Rolling Stone and Billboard, and even Spin is still around, but a lot of them have become content farms, especially online, and very few of them are still publishing anything in print. So a lot of it is just hanging by a thread. We’re almost seeing, especially in music, the dawning of another kind of blog era, where there’s a lot of boutique blogs and a lot of local localized music blogs. But as far as a thing that’s covering music, period, it’s probably like one writer at all the major newspapers and outlets and then a handful of music publications that still exist.

I suppose what is amusing about this is that, as far as I can see, music journalism as discussed here is really just pop music journalism and that turned into lifestyle journalism a long time ago--along with simple pieces promoting the latest.

* * *

Let's have a non-opera envoi today as we have already had so much opera. Here, from Cathedral Brixen in South Tyrol (the most Austrian part of Italy) is the Missa in angustiis No. 11 in D minor (nicknamed the Nelson Mass) one of six Joseph Haydn wrote towards the end of his life. Some have argued that this is Haydn's greatest single composition.

Friday, February 9, 2024

Hannigan and Vivier

I sometimes feel there is not a lot to celebrate in Canadian music, but two people that do attract attention are soprano Barbara Hannigan and composer Claude Vivier. Here is the former talking about the latter: Barbara Hannigan on Claude Vivier’s Music.

And a couple of pieces she mentions: here is Lonely Child with Hannigan as conductor.

And here is just a brief excerpt of Wo bist du Licht? with Hannigan as singer:

And here is a different performance of the whole piece with score:

Friday Miscellanea

Tradition is not something a man can learn; not a thread he can pick up when he feels like it; any more than a man can choose his own ancestors. Someone lacking a tradition who would like to have one is like a man unhappily in love.

Wittgenstein, Culture and Value, p. 76e

* * *

Some really good news for students of antiquity: a method has been created to read those carbonized scrolls from Herculaneum. This might mean that down the road a lot of the lost literature of Classical Greece and Rome might become available. In ancient Rome the villa of a wealthy nobleman would have a philosopher in residence. Hmm, maybe we are not as advanced as we think we are...

* * *

How one composer assured the longevity of his music: ‘There’s a certain madness to it’ … fans await new chord in John Cage gig with 616 years left to run

Playing nonstop since September 2001, the performance of John Cage’s composition Organ²/ASLSP As Slow as Possible in an unassuming town at the feet of the Harz mountains is one of the longest-running concerts in the world. Scheduled to last for 639 years, it isn’t due to finish until 2640. (The only musical performance that is forecast to last longer, Jem Finer’s Longplayer piece for singing bowls inside the lighthouse at Trinity Buoy Wharf, London, has a head start of almost two years and is scheduled to wind up in 2999.)

* * *

More and more I find I am less and less interested in the "business of music" though I am very much interested in music itself. But amidst a host of articles on the "biz" this one stood out: Candlelight Concerts Tackles the Job of Expanding Classical Audiences

Since 2019, Fever has been taking on classical music, too. Its Candlelight Concerts series, now presented in over 150 cities, takes “connecting with a wider audience [and] reaching beyond the core demographic of classical music enthusiasts” as its most urgent priority.

Audrey Reedy, team lead for Candlelight Concerts, West Coast, explains: “We realized these audiences were keen for closer and more intimate experiences. We reimagined the traditional concert format, implementing changes that proved highly successful. We condensed the duration from the typical 90 minutes to a more approachable 60 minutes, moved performances from formal concert halls to more accessible venues, and diversified the repertoire to encompass a broad spectrum of themes and genres … all alongside the timeless compositions of classical masters.”

On Feb. 2, Candlelight will bring this approach back to a traditional concert space, presenting a “neo-soul” tribute (featuring the music of Sade, SZA, and more) in Colburn’s Zipper Hall. The event will likely draw audience members who have never been to Colburn before. But is Candlelight Concerts really poised to drive new, long-lasting interest in classical music?

So they are "taking on classical music" by avoiding it?

There are no composers from the classical canon, as commonly defined, represented in Friday’s installment at Colburn — the program, at least, can’t claim to expose new audiences to any works of antiquity. This is not to say there aren’t works here deserving of serious consideration, though the program makes no substantive attempt to encourage or signal this reframing.

But there sure are a lot of candles, so there's that...

* * *

I have this sinking feeling that we will have to have a Taylor Swift item in every Friday Miscellanea to the end of time: ‘Swiftonomics’ Course Brings Taylor Craze to College Classrooms

Solomon Namala, an economics professor at California-based Cerritos College, began teaching Krugman’s course last year. He taught students about the concept of supply and demand using the legions of Swift fans who bought beads to make friendship bracelets as examples—the bracelets became a hallmark of the Eras Tour—thus raising prices.

“Bringing in popular culture topics resonates with students’ lived experiences and makes them more comfortable,” Namala said. “If the learning environment is not comfortable, no matter how great a teacher you are, you can’t connect with the students.”

And references to Swift will “long live,” according to Krugman.

“A lot of students come into it thinking it’s just going to be business and profit and supply-and-demand diagrams,” he said. “And we have this great gift now.”

* * *

Here are Thirteen Ways of Looking at Art.

Art, I have preached, is for bildung, self-development, especially within the context of an undergraduate education. Art helps you to become a deeper, freer version of yourself, etc., etc., blah blah blah, you’ve heard the song a thousand times. So what’s the difference between that and “art is good for us”? If there is one, it is this. The whole modern idea—the liberal idea—is that the group isn’t all. The state, the clan, the tribe: that within these we carve out space for the individual (think of the Bill of Rights, as it dwells within the Constitution); that carving out space for the individual (“to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men”) is indeed the whole point of the thing. But that space is always under siege, mainly by people who think they know what’s good for us: by the church ladies or, now, the progressive commissars, who are really just militant church ladies. The point of art-for-bildung, as I understand it, is to help you to become an individual—a cussed, wayward, stubborn individual, with your own ideas and purposes—not to fit you to the group. Is it contradictory to try to use the setting of an institution, a university, to teach young people to be individuals? It is. It would be better not to have to. But that is what we have.

I'm almost inclined to agree with Wittgenstein that aesthetics and ethics are inherently about values and therefore beyond the region in which we can say meaningful things.

 7. Of what one cannot speak, about that one must be silent. 

--Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus

* * * 

I'm still learning the Chaconne from the D minor violin partita by Bach. At the speed I work it is a long project! But I am over halfway and just starting the section in major which starts at measure 132. The whole piece is 256 measures consisting of an eight-measure theme and thirty-one variations. Even though it is not usually described this way, I think it is one of the greatest sets of variations. Despite its formidable unity, based on a single harmonic progression, it also has an astonishing variety with moments of sublime calm as well as ones of sheer agony. The large arpeggio section is a masterpiece of musical texture that compares favorably with ones by Steve Reich. There are also sections of joyful abandon and confident direction. Sometimes it is a lament and sometimes a festival. A remarkable piece from every aspect and one that you really cannot get to the bottom of. I first tried to learn the piece as a young student in the early 1970s but soon set it aside. I made another run at it in the late 70s, but again set it aside. I finally took it on as a serious project over a year ago and it is a wonderful way to begin the day. I decided to prepare my own edition. Here is that opening theme (at a later date I will put up more of my edition with fingerings):

* * *

Just for fun here is a quick version of the Cage piece Organ²/ASLSP (As SLow aS Possible):

And one of a million performances of the Chaconne, here is Hopkinson Smith on lute:

 Finally, here is Virna Kljaković with a Chopin Nocturne: