Whoa, Update

I was truly blown away by a recent comment on this blog. Perhaps in order to really make this clear, I have to explain that much of the early part of my summer was spent working on music by Leon Kirchner, which was celebrated wildly and orgiastically (to the extent a chamber music festival in the surburbs of a Midwestern city is capable of such) at the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival. I have a deep affection for his music and for him, and have spent a fair amount of time with him over the last few years…

Sometimes I wake up in a cold sweat from my newest recurring nightmare. It’s twenty years in the future, and someone (some student, some panelist in some piano forum in Lapland or Saskatoon) is quoting to me something from the blog … “But, Mr. Denk, didn’t you say blah-blah-blah?” … super-seriously, as if it were some really profound musicological comment, whereas when it was written it was intended entirely sarcastically or ironically or some such … Nono! I say, desperately, that was a joke, the whole thing! but they look at me pityingly, as though I don’t understand anything anymore.

Which brings me to the subject: the recent post in which I “discovered” that the inverted fugue theme of the “Hammerklavier” was actually the theme from the sitcom Three’s Company. Some enterprising reader did the 0.0003 seconds of work necessary (which you’ll notice, I did not do) to find that the composer of said theme was Joe Raposo, who was quite well-known as the composer of music for Sesame Street. This same reader, I believe, informs me that Joe Raposo studied with LEON KIRCHNER at Harvard!


Perhaps this visual aid will be of assistance …


Here, in this pentagram, everything is illuminated. Or everything just circles back, sickeningly. I considered fleshing this out a bit more. For example, Joe Raposo is also the composer of “It’s Not Easy Being Green,” which is easy to connect to some earlier Think Denk posts about frogs, as well as a general sense of alienation common to Beethoven, Ives, performers, artists of many stripes (mostly green stripes) … Do I even need to draw the transecting line between Beethoven and Kirchner (through Schoenberg of course)? And my childhood memories of watching Three’s Company and eating cookies (cookies!) while being yelled at by my mother to clean my room? It’s mere child’s play to see that absolutely everything in the universe can somehow be connected to this disturbing incestuous circle and why are baristas always so cute?

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  1. Posted July 19, 2007 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    …why are baristas always so cute?

    And why are pianist always defensive? 😉


  2. Kelsey
    Posted July 19, 2007 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    I saw an ad in String magazine for the 2008 ASTA Conference and your little picture was there. I’m very excited. Must find a way to get to Albuquerque.

    There’s two notes or so in the 3rd mvmt of the Brahms violin concerto that reminded me of “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” the first few times I heard it. Not so much anymore thankfully.

    Saw your boy Josh in Napa last night. Good stuff. Though the conductor was crazy to watch. He seemed to dance more than lead. A combination of voguing and “white-boy dancing”.

    As for the baristas, it’s the age-old marketing ploy. Cute girls (are guys baristas too? Are you saying the guys are cute also?) to sell anything. Cars… Beer… Legal addictive stimulants…

  3. Posted July 19, 2007 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

    I think that it’s barista with both guys and gals and those somewhere in between or not on that spectrum:


    I’d say, considering super-seriously (yes. above serious) Jeremy’s last comment, that he must be referring to all baristas. And why not?

  4. Posted July 19, 2007 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

    Oh, and just a little father with that “Mr. Denk blah blah blah” thing, and you could do a Glenn Gould style interview with yourself! Have you done that? Perhaps I should search your blog archives… And what’s that abour Luigi Nono?

  5. Posted July 20, 2007 at 12:02 am | Permalink

    Wow, sorry; a little quick on the post. Farther not father. About not abour. Maybe I should work on my accent.

  6. Posted July 20, 2007 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    Needs further study. Must rate “cute” before and after the consumption of the coffee. In a semi-awake state, damn near anything can seem attractive. Usually this condition is related to beer.

  7. Emily
    Posted July 21, 2007 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    So, is this the musical equivalent of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon? I think it’s a natural human tendency to always be seeking connections between people/things/ideas and the interrelatedness of the universe. It makes us feel more deeply immersed in the sticky soup of communal existence. Whoa….that sounds soooo new agey.

  8. Posted July 22, 2007 at 4:12 am | Permalink

    i must first say that i love the new site, although it has take me forever to go to your previous blog and discover that you moved!!! shame on me for getting behind on posts… i will now catch up.

    don’t you love how we all seem to be connected in some way?

    any chance you’ll be making an excursion to the bay area anytime soon? would love to see and hear you play again .. or just meet for coffee at the starbucks near my campus. i’m sure they have a few cute barristas 🙂

  9. Posted July 22, 2007 at 5:23 am | Permalink

    it’s funny … i was just reading your bio, and noticed that you’re on the faculty at bard college. bard was on my list of schools i was interested in (which also included oberlin, lawrence univ., ithaca, carnegie mellon, and a few others places). as much as i wanted to apply out of state, and entertain the possibility of studying music out of state, i ended up applying only to california schools (which was a great relief to my mum, seeing as we live in sacramento, and she didn’t want me going very far) … notre dame de namur, csu sacramento, san francisco state, and usc, all of which i was accepted to, but i ultimately chose notre dame, where i am now happily situated in the vocal performance program (i actually started in musical theatre, as did my roommate, but i switched majors after first semester, after having an epiphany during a grad student’s voice recital). anyway, i was just interested to see that you have an association with bard, which, had i the money, i may have attended. 🙂

    go on your merry way … don’t mind me 🙂

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