Danzi, Franz

Danzi: Franz,1763–1826, German composer.

I listened very carefully as she exclaimed, “A German composer I do not know!”

I was a little bit surprised, since the woman speaking has a Master’s in Music and also plays a darned mean oboe. She’s been in orchestras for years and even taught Music Appreciation.

It made me interested in who Danzi was. (That’s when I’m suddenly grateful for the Internet, instead of needing to pull out my encyclopedia.)

In no time at all, there he was—with an artist’s drawing of a very small man wearing glasses—the personification of studious.

He composed a lot of music—a list of at least two hundred pieces.

So I asked myself, why don’t we know more about him?

Why do some people get recognition in their time and great placement in the history books, and others, second or third position in notoriety for their lifespan, and total rejection from history?

Then I looked at the dates of his birth and death: 1763—1826.

I immediately understood.

If you don’t know a lot about music, you might still be unaware of why there was a lapse in popularity for Mr. Danzi. (Or shall we be overly familiar and call him Franz?)

Franz had one big problem.

His lifespan nearly paralleled that of Ludwig von Beethoven.

So when Franz was writing one of his favorite pieces—like Symphonie Concertante in Eb Major for Wind Quartet and Orchestra, Beethoven was stumbling around the Germanic kingdom stunning audiences with his symphonies and antics.

Overshadowed.

You can be set aside because you do good work and somebody does it louder, or you can even be considered less malicious because a more malevolent fellow is in your era. For instance, there may be other infamous assassins, but John Wilkes Booth takes the balcony.

It was a good thing for me to read.

Talent isn’t always brought to the forefront.

It isn’t always appreciated.

Talent is often suffocated by other effort that sets off more fireworks or, as in the case of Herr Beethoven, pulls it off “deaf-ly.”

Dabble

Dabble: (v) to work at anything in an irregular or superficial manner

I would like to introduce myself.

My name is Mr. Dabble.

I can’t think of a word that more describes what I have done throughout my life than dabble.

As a teenage boy, I was interested in Southern Gospel Quartets. That particular dabbling had me doodling for a while. So if I’m ever in a gathering where such old-time music becomes a point of conversation, I can hold my own.

Then, for a long time, I was involved in the music industry in Nashville, Tennessee—at least up to my armpits, though it never quite reached my eyeballs.

I met famous people.

I recorded in famous studios.

And I appeared on stage in a variety of ways—from having my own music group to doing backup singing for a Las Vegas show.

I dabbled for a season by taking my clan on the road and having my own little Partridge Family—singing, traveling in a car, pulling a trailer, wearing colorful costumes and attempting to believe that we sounded good enough to be doing what we were doing.

I dabbled with writing novels.

I dabbled by flying coast to coast putting on shows.

I dabbled in writing classical music for a symphony we began in Tennessee.

I dabbled in screenplays. Thirteen of them turned into independent movies, which won awards at film festivals.

Why did I dabble?

Because I am a curious sort.

I have never believed that fame is possible—mainly because it is unsustainable. So the second-best option is to continue to try new things, and conquer them one by one, and have your own personal awards ceremony for your efforts. The nice thing about this is that you never come in second, but can always bestow top honors upon your performances.

The question might be asked by sane men and women everywhere:

What would have happened if you had focused, and not dabbled?

For instance, what would have been the conclusion if you had begun with screenplays and faithfully stayed with them?

I don’t know.

Because then I wouldn’t be a dabbler.

And I wouldn’t be able to write this article about my dabbling.

Classical

Classical: (adj) standard, classic.

I have worked for 22 years with an oboist.

She’s a little bit Mozart; I’m a little bit rock and roll.

When we teamed up, I think she was concerned that our musical tastes might be ill-suited for one another. She had played in symphony
orchestras, and I had bopped around with gospel, blues and pop.

What she did not know was that as a boy of eleven years of age, I got hooked on a record series called “The 25 Greatest Melodies of All Time” and “The 50 Most Influential Classical Music Pieces.” So along with listening to rock and roll and some gospel music, I played my recordings of Strauss, Wagner, Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Rachmaninoff.

It was perfectly produced–the records didn’t have so much of each composition to bore me, just the highlights. What you might call the Cliff notes of the masters.

I loved the music. To this day, I think my partner is a little surprised when I insert a bit of understanding (or sometimes misunderstanding) of the music of that era. Matter of fact, she and I joined together to write some symphonies–our tribute to the styling, with the addition of our original juice.

It’s too bad we have to call something “classical.” It scares off the best market–young humans. After all, why would they want to listen to any music their parents might enjoy?

But what they don’t understand is that these composers who wrote this dynamic material were just a bunch of radical, rebellious, rag-tag and reckless adolescents.

 

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Accelerando

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Accelerando: (adj. & adv.): with a gradual increase of speed (used chiefly as a musical direction)

It was another example of one of those times when I overstepped my boundaries and in the process, slipped on my own crap.

I wrote a musical piece for the piano and was blessed that a small symphony orchestra agreed to play it in one of their concerts. It helped that I was good friends with the conductor. She thought it would be excellent if I performed the piano part with the symphony, giving it more focus.

Never considering my limitations on the magical eighty-eight keys, I quickly agreed, and gave a passive effort of rehearsal.  It was passive because I had enough arrogance to believe that I was a fairly decent pianist, and also regarded myself as being acquainted with this particular music since I had written it.

When I arrived at the first rehearsal with the orchestra, it became quickly obvious that I was ill-prepared to be anywhere NEAR the musical instrument  provided to make the melody, especially when I came to the end of the concerto. Because I was unable to the play music in the correct timing, I slowed them up, which prompted a flutist near the conductor to raise his hand and ask, “Is this passage going to be rubato?”

My conductor friend shook her head without verbally responding.

He persisted. “So — should we anticipate an accelerando?”

She frowned and once again shook her head.

It was very embarrassing–similar to being in a foreign country, and in a clumsy way ordering off the menu, only to notice that the waiter has gone back to the cook to chat in their common language and laugh at your selection.

Later on, my conductor friend explained that the flute player was asking if my playing was going to be rubato, which meant purposely slowed up by my own choice, or if there was some way she could build a fire under me to create an accelerando ( in other words, play it right).

I discovered that day that even in the world of classical music, there is still language available that says, Hustle up your butt!”

The fact that it’s being said in Italian only makes it a bit more elegant.

It also makes it a trifle more aggravating.