I've spent the last few days doing one of the things I do best. I started to look for a specific recording by Sviatoslav Richter, and got an arm full of CD's. They're all Richter recordings I had forgotten I had. Apparently, I am quite a collector of Richter recordings.
I did find the recording, the Schubert Piano Sonata in B flat D. 960, but just not the one I intended. Listening to it (and the recording I had intended to as well) I decided to use that one instead. Of course when I actually put my opinions in print, I at least try to make sure my facts are correct. That means checking even things you are use you know already and being able to confirm them by a reputable source.
After starting to write the review, I was drawn into the structure of the Sonata. Musical analysis is to say the least a digression from commenting on a recording. However, I am running with it and finding some fascinating details. I have had more than a few Ah HAH! moments which I will eventually write about as well.
When you check dates and biographical details, encyclopedias and Dictionaries are the first source. For me those were Groves On Line where you are met by a log in form. You can subscribe OR likely your local library subscribes to it and you have access through your library to it for free (well, the subscription still comes out of your taxes). The second place to look for biographical details online is the Wikipedia. This is where the next fork in the road comes.
The page for Franz Schubert. Glancing down the table of Contents I see the listing for Media. Well, curiosity got the best of me and I clicked on it. I found a page with some examples of Schuberts writing. The tuning of some of the choral music with orchestra was highly suspect to say the least. The piano works were another matter. Several examples from Leonard Hokanson's Schubert cycle. Those were a minute and a half segments, but a minute and a half beats the usual 30 seconds by a long shot! You actually get a feel for the performance and the music! The other pianist on the page didn't fare so well. The performance is fine except that someone challenged the edition used in the recorded performance. That lead me to.....
Now where was I? What was I looking for? and why? Well, I had to think about it. But you see how and where I got by taking all these forks in the road. Distractibility its known as, however, in my case, the distractibility became an asset. Following all those forks in the road lead me to many strange and totally unexpected place. I heard music I didn't know existed. The writing, if not accurate in all respects hooked my curiosity and I at least poked my head in the door of those new strange rooms
Thats how The Record Jacket Historian became one... Curiosity, love of music and a thirst for knowledge. And that, dear reader, is the fine art of digression, almost taken to the nth degree!
There is a piece I'm writing about Richter's performance of the big Schubert B flat Sonata. I promise it will be interesting and perhaps controversial