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The “Perks”

July 22, 2011

While working at my desk in the library, toiling through a pile of scores  to determine whether or not they are ‘Rare’ – I listened to Janacek’s The Cunning Little Vixen.  Why had I never listened to this?

Some of you reading this might be thinking, “oh please!  I listened to that YEARS ago!”  Personally, I am still emerging from my student years.  Like the little brown noser that I am, I listened to the music I was supposed to listen to- the French melodie for diction, the operas for my arias, and the pieces for which I had to write papers.  You’d think that when I was finally freed from school, I would cut loose.  I did- headed straight for Pandora and filled my channels with Rosemary Clooney and Pink Martini and Ingrid Michaelson…  Anything but classical music!  In that genre, I still listened to the music I was currently singing and not much more.

Now, surrounded by over 31,000 CDs  my student workers regularly share what they currently love or are currently playing or singing.  The result is that I get to know a lot of ‘new to me’ music.  This week it was my oboe player who discovered Janacek for himself.  Knowing that I was a singer, he asked me if I had ever heard it.  Slightly chagrined because I feel like I NEVER know enough music, I had to say that I did not.  So glad that he brought it to my attention!

Here are some reasons why I like The Cunning Little Vixen, and if you don’t know it, why you should consider listening to it.

1.  Of course since I like this piece, the deep inner nerd insists on my researching it as well.  Apparently, the libretto is based on a daily comic strip that was first published in a newspaper.

2. It’s about animals and is the lightest of Janacek’s operas.  So if you like Katya Kabanova and Jenufa, but you just aren’t in the mood for it today- give this a shot.

3. It has wonderful folk melodies and gorgeous musical interludes to mark the passage of time.

4. Do you like Dvorak? Smetana?  If yes, try Janacek!

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