Cliff notes

Posted on Jan 12th, 2013 by Jeanne Golan

January 1 – largely celebrated as New Years Day with all intention of newness and fresh starts, largely dreaded as 2013’s fiscal deadline which as it turns out is still in play, and generally overlooked as Viktor Ullmann’s birthday.

Based on what friends born on major holidays say, I can only imagine how Viktor perceived having his day inevitably eclipsed by the flipping of the Gregorian calendar.  So here’s a toast to him – in the past month, the Ullmann album made some “Santa’s Classical Music Lovers” lists (paradoxical as that sounds), and rated as “the best of 2012” in a few places, including Ariama and the Culture Catch.  I’d like to think he’d get a kick out of all this… but then, surely, he’d return to work, something he was insatiable about.

I, on the other hand, am taking a break from the usual dailiness of what constitutes a musician’s life and find myself compulsively engrossed in pop culture – not junky stuff (well, mostly not, and define junk anyway!).   Listening to new music or music new to me, watching any manner of mystery and intrigue in movies and touted tv series, all kinds of quirky indie productions…  from Dr. Who to Monsieur Lazhar, from Vegas to Nashville.

Is this the anti-Ullmann rearing up?  And then I remember that Viktor himself needed to pack up for a while – that was his anthroposophic phase.   Seeing what he produced in the years that followed, that time away certainly wasn’t for nothing!  So here’s to the New Year and its surprises – these weeks’ kernels have nearly finished popping, so to speak.  And didn’t I spy a Rilke text set for actor and piano in the Ullmann catalogue?


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