20 August 2014

A mildly funny story

In my listening, this week I am at last returning to (and listening to the differences among three recordings of) Karl Amadeus Hartmann's First Symphony (Versuch eines Requiems). Perhaps part of the reason is, here I am proposing to set some Whitman (again), myself.

That is not the funny story.

I have a CD player which also serves as an alarm; and for quite a long time now, I have enjoyed waking up, not to a harsh, persistent, repeated alarm tone (well, the tone on this player is not the worst I have known, but the point remains) but, gently, gradually, to strains of music.

One can adjust the volume and the track number . . . I have swapped in and out a few CDs since, so I forget just which track of what disc was the one I selected, but I have left it at that track number for (let's say) three other discs.

The disc presently in the player, to which I was listening (or, "listening," after a time) while waiting for sleep to enfold me, is the Botstein/London Phil recording of the Hartmann First (so far as I know, the only CD on which the Hartmann tone-poem Miserae is presently available). So, as it happened, what woke me was, we might say, almost the least alarming music possible, very soft strokes on a timpani, almost imperceptibly soft. And, as I was well rested, that was all I needed.

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