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Saturday, January 29, 2005
  Symphony No. 3 in E-flat Major (Eroica)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Norton Recorded Anthology of Western Music, CD 8 Tracks 52-66

I remember the LPs of Beethoven's nine symphonies recorded by the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra under the direction of George Szell that rest in my father's now infrequently used recorded collection. His collection stands silently in an old, tall, black, poorly built, homemade record shelf upstaged by the CDs scattered over the piano, fireplace, and corners of his living room. We lived in West Virginia when he bought those records and I was in second grade. Surrounded by the lush Appalachian mountains I was jostled up and down on my father's knee and we listened to those symphonies repeatedly.

So it is awkward for me to hear that, as the scholars have it, the development section is too long or that the French horn arrives at the recapitulation a few bars early or that there are other faults in Beethoven's symphonies. Though Beethoven may have stormed out of his teacher's classroom and, somewhat recklessly, forged new concepts in music, by the time his tunes reached the Appalachians in the late twentieth century he provided many listeners, such as my father and myself, not an iconoclast's vision but an understanding of the rhythmic immediacy imperative to good music.

Though his relationship with his father and the possibility of attaining fatherhood himself were weakened by the force of his musical talent, Ludwig, in the broad scope of things, thus participates in the activity of fatherhood. 
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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.

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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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