Thursday, August 01, 2013

How My Brain Works

Some people seem surprised that I continually find new composers and new classical music to listen to all the time. Since "Gamut," the program I host on WTJU is dependent on a continual supply of fresh material, it's important that I keep seeking out new music.

But the process really not that hard -- especially the way my mind works. Yesterday the station received a new release from CPO Records: Friedrich Gernsheim: Symphonies 1 & 3.

Here's what ran through my mind as I looked at the CD.

1) I've never heard of Friedrich Gernshiem. I wonder what his music sounds like? According to the CD, his dates are 1839-1916, so he was late-Romantic. Perhaps his music sounds like Max Bruch, or maybe like that of Max Reger?

The back of a CD can tell you a lot -- if you have a
mind like mine!
2) The disc has two symphonies on it, Nos. 1 & 3. I wonder how many he wrote? Three? Four? More? I wonder if Gernsheim's Symphony No. 2 has been recorded.

3) Symphony No. 3 is Opus No. 54. Which means Gernshiem has at least 53 other published compositions. I wonder how many published works as in his catalog?

4) Gernshiem wrote at least three symphonies, so he's comfortable writing for orchestra. I wonder if he wrote any symphonic poems or orchestral suites? Did he write any concertos?

And that's how it started. I did a little bit of research later in the day, and found out that:

1) Friedrich Gernsheim was a respected composer, conductor, and pianist. His music, like that of  Max Bruch, is partially inspired by his Jewish heritage (both composed a Kol Nidre).

Fredrich Gernsheim, composer, conductor,
and pianist
2) He wrote four symphonies, and all four have been recorded.

3) I couldn't find a single complete list of his works, but there are at least 87 published works.

4) Gernsheim wrote quite a lot for orchestra. In addition to the four symphonies, there is a divertimento, at least five works for chorus and orchestra, and yes, he did write some concertos. His catalog includes a piano concerto, a cello concerto, and two violin concertos.

And that's how my mind works. Numbers (such as opus numbers, or numbered works), suggest other numbers in a series. Types of works suggest other types of works. And since I truly believe just about any composition is worth a listen -- at least once -- I find it easy to discover music. Without trying very hard.

(below is a sample of Gernsheim's symphonic writing)

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