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Friday, December 10, 2004
  String Quartet Op. 76, No. 3, Hob. III. 77, Poco adagio, cantabile (second movement)
Franz Joseph Haydn
Norton Recorded Anthology of Western Music, CD 8 Tracks 7-11

On Mondays I have been driving up to Mason, Ohio as a visiting artist. My project there is to assist some of the first and second grade classes of Mason Elementary School in writing anthems. By this time we are halfway through the project--the end product being a unique song book and recording--and the anthems that have emerged from these young minds are all, as one would expect and want in an anthem, very easy to sing and remember. These are memorable tunes because the composers have either borrowed a tune (Twinkle, twinkle for instance), modified a tune (Are You Sleeping can be taken in so many directions), or simply made good use of the Major scale (Sol-Do seems a popular point of departure).

Like these young artists in the growing community of Mason, Haydn borrowed a tune he learned as a child, made it his own, and knew the significance of each scale degree. In this tune he accentuates the gravitational pull of 'Do.' He leaps only when he is fully confident and follows such a leap with descending steps. Most importantly, he is repetitive.

The variations, described in the anthology as a "study in nonharmonic tones," never upstage the tune but rather provide the listener an excuse to hear this heartwarming melody five times. 
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In January 2004 I starting writing an opinion for each selection in the Norton Recorded Anthology of Western Music. Now, more than a year later, I am almost finished. Soon, I will have an archive full of opinions on the music we so carelessly call "classical." And no one can stop me.

Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Director of the Contemporary Performer's Workshop... Music Teacher for St. Aloysius Gonzaga School... Principal 'Cellist of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra... Composer

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