Tag Archives: Beethoven

Musical Advice

Letter transcription:

1962-02-26-jfy-p-1February 26, 1962

Dear David:

I’ll try to answer some of your questions, but you must understand that I am not the ultimate authority in matters of this sort. (1) I remember reading some reviews of Walter’s last recordings of the Beethoven symphonies (two or three years ago) to the effect that the interpretations were rather too mellow and leisurely for Beethoven. Walter, who died recently, was of course a very old man when he made these recordings and that, it was implied in the review, had something to do with it. I’m sure Toscanini’s recordings have more snap and vigor. He seemed to be able to extract everything there was in a piece of music and get it out where people could hear it, and his sense of what you might call dramatic pacing was wonderful. The trouble with the Toscanini recordings is of course that because of their dates they are acoustically obsolete. But if you don’t have Hi-fi equipment anyway I suppose that doesn’t make too much difference. If you are really interested in records, you can often read reviews of recent recordings in such magazines as the New Yorker, the Sat. Review, The Atlantic, Harper’s, etc. (I wouldn’t trust the recording reviews in Time and Newsweek.) Of course reviewers often don’t agree among themselves not only when it’s a matter of records, but in all other fields of the arts as well. So it comes down to the fact that you have to choose what you like. (2) I’ve noticed a tendency on the part of the RCA Victor people to spread the music as thin as possible. Whereas some other recording company may put a symphony or a concerto on one side of a record, for some reason it takes RCA two sides. (It’s not because the other companies are cutting the music or playing it faster or anything like that). (3) Aaron Copland is O.K. You may find some of his things pretty rough going if you’re not accustomed to modern music, but I think you would like some of his ballet music: Appalachian Spring, Rodeo, Billy the Kid, El Salon Mexico. As far as modern music is concerned, I think you should try to get used to it; it is immensely enjoyable after you get to know it. The trick is just to listen to a piece of music enough times so that it begins to sound familiar. This may take 10 or 15 times, but in the end it will be worth it. Start with the Rite of Spring (Le Sacre du Printemps) by Igor Stravinsky. Stravinsky has probably conducted it himself on records (I forget whether RCA or Columbia). Le Sacre incidentally is hardly “modern” music, since it was composed about 50 years ago, but to many people it would still sound rather queer. If you will pardon my putting it this way, I think Orff is orfull – boring, trivial, and repetitions. As for Saint-Saens: if all of his music just vanished from the world tomorrow, I don’t think anybody would notice much, and even fewer people would care.

The Tewa and Hopi still live close together. That’s a rather complicated situation, and I must say, the way your sociology book has of describing it sounds rather amateurish. If you have to take a social science, why mess around with sociology. Take anthropology.

If you have any further questions on music or records, I will try to answer them. For a start in “modern” music, try Stravinsky, Bartok, Hindemeth (sp?), Berg, Webbern, Schoenberg. You should actually work up to these with Ravel and Debussy.

John

©2016 copyright owned and transcribed by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2016/10/03/musical-advice/

Miss Indiana University

February 21, 1963 envelope

February 21, 1963 envelope

Letter transcription:

February 21, 1963, p. 1

February 21, 1963, p. 1

Kentland, February 21, 63

Dear David

Your fine letter of Feb. 16 was received with great pleasure and appreciation. Chris’s picture, well, “Wow,” she is indeed all you say, very beautiful indeed. She looks just like a movie star, and a lovely one at that. I will be thinking of you tonight and picturing you helping her with her dramatic reading, and also tomorrow night. If her talent matches her beauty, I don’t see how she can miss.

I missed that TV program you spoke of, I had looked forward to seeing it, but had to be on duty in the office and guests wanted another program. Tomorrow night on NBC there will be the life of Maurice Chevalier, but of course you will not see that as you will be at the pageant. I enclose a clipping I have been keeping for you about him. How well I remember those girls Rosie and Jenny Dolly, twins, in their heyday with him about fifty years ago.

I would love to have seen your panel program, and your Dr. Hill sounds wonderful. What a rewarding thing for you to know people like this and be associated with them. Your program for this semester sounds wonderful and I am sure the subjects are ones which will keep you interested and feeling you are doing what you want to do. The requirement of attending eight Beethoven concerts would not be hard to take. I love to hear the cello. When I was a youngster in Chicago and saw all the big musicals, I formed a habit of picking out one instrument and following it through the performance. Thank you so much for the reprint. I remember reading it. I always read everything on that subject with great interest.

We are back again in the deep freeze, and of course you are too. It fell below zero again last night, and the roads very icy and high wind, which all occurred early in the afternoon, so men who were out on the road hunted cover, and we had the first good night’s business this year.

I am so happy for Lea. It is tragic for those who want a family not to have it, as I well know from my own experience. It is a terrible things to grow old without a family. I hear the schools in Brook and Remington have been closed on account of the flu, and Harold said this morning that Patty says half her class are out sick, and there is talk of closing the Kentland schools. I pray it passes us and we are spared such a thing.

Please let me know as soon as you can about the Miss IU contest. I will close and get this in the afternoon mail.

Much love
Grandma

The ten finalists for the Miss Indiana University pageant, 1963, can be viewed in this newspaper clipping.

©2016 copyright owned and transcribed by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2016/08/21/miss-indiana-university/

A Special Treat, Part II

Letter from John - January 3, 1943

Letter from John – January 3, 1943

Letter transcription:

Jan. 3, 1943

Dear Daddy,

The letter you wrote to Mr. Bartlett was published in the paper and we all read it. They left out the New Caledonia part of your address and said you were stationed on an island west of San Francisco.

We went to LaFayette yesterday because Mother wanted to see Dr. Ade about her throat and I wanted to see about the records which were to be my Christmas present but which didn’t come. The girl said they might not get there for a month yet and maybe not even then. She said wouldn’t be obligated to take them because they were meant to be a Christmas present. So I decided to take a Beethoven Symphony instead.

When we got home Uncle Floyd and Aunt Ruth were there. Uncle Floyd showed us the movies he took and today he took some pictures of David, Mother, Mark and I.

Christmas vacation ends today. I want to go back to school and I don’t

Your son
John

©2013 copyright owned and written by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found at:https://genealogylady.net/2013/10/09/a-special-treat-part-ii/