I’m outta here …

August 12, 2016 at 8:15 am

Today I leave for a much-needed vacation. I intend to continue this blog while away because it is a big source of joy in my life. But there’s also a chance that I’ll have no internet access … and if that’s the case, there will be one of these:


There’s a great classical music story about the need for vacation. Back in the 18th century, Art Musicians were essentially servants to the aristocracy. You found yourself a royal patron, and you did whatever he said. When the king says, “write me music for a fireworks party I’m throwing,” you wrote music for the royal fireworks. When the king asks you to improvise a fugue on his own five-note theme, you write the most complicated, amazing music ever composed (accompanied by copious amounts of royal-ass-kissing.)

And when the prince demands you stay at his summer-house much longer than expected, even though you’re exhausted and dying to travel back home and see your family whom you haven’t seen in weeks … well, you have to stay and continue to play for the prince. Franz Joseph Haydn‘s “Farewell” Symphony was written under these circumstances – and only someone as awesome as Haydn could get away with this level of cheekiness. His musicians appealed to him for help – “maestro, please, we need a vacation!” Haydn wrote a symphony in which the musicians leave the stage, one by one, until at last, only two players remain. The message was clear, and the very next day, the prince let the musicians go home.