27 November 2011

Theorbo-Dulcian-Viola Trio: Beautiful Performance; Beautiful Recordings

Mandl – Sajka - PlatzerE arly music trio last night at Deutscherordenkirche Wien was really excellent.

  • Katharine Mandl, Fagott / Dulcian
  • Elzbieta Sajka, Violetta / Viola da braccio
  • Hermann Platzer, Theorbe
T he program was comprised entirely of 17th Century works.
  • Bartolomeo de Selma y Salaverde (1595-1638) - Canzon a due tenori (alto dulcian; viola da braccio; theorbo)
  • Johann Hieronymus Kapsberger (1580-1648) - Toccata nona und Passacaglia für Theorbe Solo
  • Adam Jarzębski (1590-1648) - Cantata Giovanni Gabrielli
  • Selma y Salaverde - Sonata Vestiva i colli für Dulcian Solo (with Theorbo continuo)
  • Jarzębski - Concerto secondo
  • Alessandro Piccinini (1566-1638) - Toccata XII, Gagliarda III, und Chiaccona in partite variate für Theorbe Solo
  • Giovanni Battista Fontana (1571-1630) - Sonata nona
  • Philipp Friedrich Böddecker (1607-1683) - Sonata “La Monica”

D ulcian is a precursor to the modern bassoon. Ms. Mandl performed on two of them—a smaller alto one, plus a tenor one with a range similar to tenor sax. The trio achieved a fine balance and blending of the timbres of dulcian, 5-stringed violetta / viola da braccio, and theorbo (lute).

T he dulcian part in the Böddecker is amazingly ornate and fast—performed over a languid dotted-quarter/eighth/quarter/quarter viola melody, accompanied by the theorbo continuo. The neume-like notation (which Ms. Mandl explained and illustrated in her pre-performance talk) is prolifically dense in its own right; however, the improvisational cadenzas that Mandl applied took this far beyond the densely-notated score. Truly virtuosic bassoon—on this tender, very old instrument.

Mandl – Sajka - Platzer T he sanctuary at Deutschordenkirche is small and narrow—only about 10 meters wide. The consort last night positioned themselves near the altar, in a 60° circular-segment arrangement with chairs separated by about 1.5m. They recorded the performance using a Roland EDIROL R-44 4-channel digital recorder and two Schoeps MK-21 condenser microphones on a mic stand elevated 2.0m above the floor and angled downward 10° so that the mic axis of the left mic was midway between the dulcian and viola seats and the mic axis of the right mic was midway between the viola and theorbo seats. This distance to the instruments is a good compromise for these pieces—enough separation and directivity for the solo passages and appropriate lower-directivity for the tutti playing, so the listener’s attention is not confronted by unnatural left-right contrasts.

T he wide off-axis response of this mic helps to blend adjacent instruments and enhance ensemble-ness. The 48-volt phantom-power Schoeps CMC-6 preamps (matched pair; one on each mic) are designed to be compatible with really long mic cables—as was the case last night with the EDIROL R-44 placed at one side of the sanctuary. The R-44 uses multi-gigabyte miniature camera-type SD cards or larger-capacity SDHC cards as the recording media and offers 24-bit wide A-to-D conversion and sampling frequencies (44.1KHz/48KHz/88.2KHz/96KHz/192KHz).

T he MK-21 Schoeps mics have a ‘subcardioid’ (wide cardioid) pattern—moderately high directionality and pretty flat frequency response. A pair of them currently costs about USD$3,500 new, and the R-44 is currently under USD$1,000. Mr. Platzer and Ms. Mandl easily set all the mics and recording equipment up within just two or three minutes before the program commenced, switched the EDIROL on, and so began the group’s performance: no muss, no fuss.

W e eagerly purchased 3 of the CDs that were available at last night’s performance (recordings made in 2007, 2009, and 2010, in Deutschordenkirche—which you can order off the group’s website [link below]). The sound imaging that they achieve with these nice mics and this set-up is phenomenally warm and detailed… heartily to be recommended to other early music groups who wish to capture high-quality sound of period instruments without tremendous worry or logistical troubles.

B ravo, for the live performance and for these excellent recordings!

Mandl – Sajka - Platzer Mandl – Sajka - PlatzerDeutschordenkirche Wien

Schools above the Ground: Music of the Spanische Hofreitschule Wien

SRSA n impressive performance this morning by Lippizaner horses and their riders at the Spanische Hofreitschule Wien. Such grace and rhythmic artistry by all!

  • Favory Trompeta / Zimmermann
  • Pluto Favorita / Oberhauser
  • Pluto Medea / Burg
  • Conversano Bellamira / Zimmermann
  • Maestoso Beja I / Zeithofer
  • Favory Gidrane / Egger
  • Pluto Bellornata / Eder
  • Neapolitano Gaetana / Rothleitner
  • Conversano Undine I / Burg
  • Maestoso Basowizza / Zimmermann
  • Maestoso Calzedona / Eder
  • Pluto Riga / Rothleitner-Schreiner
  • Conversano Bonavoja / Zimmermann
  • Favory Dagmar II / Oberhauser
  • Maestoso Biondella / Burg
  • Favory Duba / Zimmermann
  • Favory Dagmar / Zimmermann
  • Siglavy Recolta / Rothleitner
  • Pluto Blanketta / Schreiner
  • Conversano Darinka / Zimmermann
  • Pluto Theodorosta / Oberhauser
  • Favory Wanda / Burg
  • Siglavy Dubovina II / Zimmermann
SRS SRS SRSI nteresting to note that each rider generally trains and stays with each horse throughout the horse’s life after the horse comes to the SRS at age 4 to 6 years. Interesting, too, to note that the SRS riders are promoted from ‘Eleve/Elevin’ (apprentice/student) to ‘assistant rider’ level after not less than about 4 years.

P resenter Georgina Whittle gave animated and informative introductions to each of the 5 15-minute program segments, ending with the Schulequadrille.

  • Schubert – Militärmarsch No. 1 in D major
  • Schantl – Schmiedeck Fanfare
  • Strauss (sohn) – Wiener Blut
  • Boccherini – Menuett
  • Schantl – Andrassy Fanfare
  • Walch – Pariser Einzugsmarsch
  • Ziehrer – Schönfeldsmarsch
  • Fucik – Regimentskinder
  • Bizet – Aus der Arlésienne Suite No. 2
  • Chopin – Polonaise No. 1 in A major
  • Haydn – Aus der Symphonie No. 101
  • Traditional – Österreichischer Grenadiermarsch
  • Strauss (vater) – Radetzky Marsch
T he horses’ executions of the patterns in the dressage ring were astonishingly precise in the synchronization to the music. The tempi of the chamber orchestras who performed on the recordings for these exhibitions are chosen to be compatible with the natural/comfortably-feasible velocities and cadences of the horses. Animals that have served in domesticated roles for centuries clearly love to have meaningful, artistically beautiful roles to play—honest jobs. Their expressions show genuine satisfaction—they clearly enjoy their own achievements. In other words, they do it not just for the sugar-lumps, and not just to be compliant with human ‘masters’. It was wonderful, just wonderful to watch this. Pirouettes! Piaffes! Levades! Caprioles! Bravo! SRSSRS

Celebrating Advent & Christmas: Trumpet-Organ Duos

Stefan Fleißner

W   hile rotary valve trumpets are not strictly speaking historical but rather contemporary brass instruments, trumpet players have in recent years increasingly been using these instruments for all of the Austro-German classical and romantic repertoire from Mozart and Haydn to Bruckner and Mahler... While the use of rotary valve instruments is certainly not historically accurate for the classical and early romantic natural trumpet orchestral literature, many conductors and players seem to feel that the tapered attack and warmer tone quality of these instruments is better suited to the modern performance of natural trumpet parts than the more brilliant and incisive piston valve instrument. There is no question, however, that the rotary valve trumpet is the stylistically appropriate and historically authentic instrument for the late 19th and early 20th century Germanic repertory.”
  — David H. Green.
T he Advent program at Annakirche in Vienna last night was excellent.

S tefan Fleißner (trpt) and Reinhard Schobesberger (organ) performed a 1-hour program for a delighted audience that completely filled the pews. The trumpet-organ duo works included arrangements of a number of Marienlieder, plus a variety of contemporary Christmas carols, plus the following:
  • Clarke – Trumpet Fanfare, Prinz von Dänemark Marsch
  • Haydn – Andante, Trumpet Concerto in E-flat major
  • Marcello – Concerto in D minor
  • Schubert – Ave Maria
  • Telemann – Trumpet Concerto in D major
  • Bach – ‘Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring’, from Cantata ‘Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben’, BWV 147
  • Torelli – Sinfonia in D major
I ’ve been in Wien for 7 days, and have attended the Staatsoper, the Wien Philharmoniker, Wien Kammerorchester, Theater an der Wien opera, and various other music events—and I have yet to see a single piston-valved trumpet. Not one. The only thing that anybody uses over here are rotary-valve instruments. Their timbre is very round, full, and capable of a legato sound like nothing else—not as ‘dark’ as a flugelhorn, though, and not as breathy.

T he rotary-valve keys have a shorter ‘throw’ (about 1 cm) than piston-valved instruments, so fingering of rapid passages may, in general, be a bit faster on these instruments, compared to on a conventional piston-valved trumpet. Other biomechanics advantages are mentioned by trumpet players who prefer these rotary-valve designs, including better symmetry between left-hand/arm and right-hand/arm musculature, in terms of holding the instrument… no brass crook for the right-hand “pinky,” and therefore no big forces on that little finger to get transmitted into the lumbricals of the other fingers of that hand; no tension in the left-hand; etc.

Trumpet T he legato playing of Fleißner was superb throughout. Gorgeous, both in the sacred music and in the secular pieces. Annakirche

26 November 2011

Claudia Bosse: Antiphonal Speech, Musicality of Eavesdropping

Claudia Bosse

O    ne can call this incestuous interplay of times a cacophony... Even, in analogy to the competition of generations, a competition among the texts emerges: i.e., the powerful ancient texts make - like unrestrained show-stoppers - the contemporary daily-life reports look pale. But this also means, that the frontal view distances the spectator, so he can feel comfortable. It is striking, that Bosse’s collage does not involve an immediate contemporary text; of all things, it is the present, that creates a blank spot on the "map of the present"- and of course it is exactly this blank spot that the audience has to occupy, to conquer, the eye of the needle for the audience to filter in. The frontality however blocks or contracts this hole in the overall picture, so that access is hindered or even refused. But, you can reopen this hole, precisely when the spatiality of the theatre is not concealed, when the force of the machinery producing its images is contantly interrupted as in Bosse's theatrical practices. This does not mean a return to cosmic salvation.”
  — Sebastian Kirsch, 2011, review of Bosse’s ‘Vampires of the 21st Century’
F ascinating sound-art installation by Claudia Bosse, currently in the Egon Schiele exhibit at the Leopold Museum in Vienna. The installation consists of a series of plate-glass kiosks that are just large enough to stand or sit in, dispersed in a nearly anechoic gallery room that has had foam applied to its walls.

Claudia Bosse
M ost of the glass compartments are large enough to hold only one person at a time (WxDxH: 50 cm x 80 cm x 200 cm). One that is labeled ‘LOVERS’ has two chairs in inside, with enough room for two people to sit facing each other.

S ome compartments have one miniature loudspeaker. Others have two or three of them, positioned at various spots high or low with respect to the vertical axis of the compartment. Some are positioned close to where your ears are located when you are inside the enclosure; others are far above, below, in-front-of-but-to-one-side, or behind your head. These speakers are 10 €, German-made Visaton® 36 mm diameter, 6 mm thick, 1 watt speakers—of the sort that might more usually be found in a laptop computer.

Claudia Bosse
E ach speaker is fed by a pre-recorded, edited, pre-equalized track that is being played-back from a Alesis 24-track hard-disk recorder HD24

Claudia Bosse
T he amplified outputs of the Alesis HD24 are fed via heavy twisted-pair shielded cables that are routed to each glass compartment and snaked up the plate glass walls. The naked black Mylar-cone speakers dangle from these wires—each cable end has been taped to the glass at the right height; the jacket and the wires’ insulation have been stripped; and the speaker has been soldered on, right there.

Claudia Bosse
T he frequency response of these speakers is perfect for the frequency spectrum of the human voice, falling off rapidly below 300 Hz. The recorded tracks are entirely of women’s and men’s voices—either in conversation or in soliloquy. Some of the tracks seem to be spontaneous—‘found’ sounds, ambient bits of incidental speech that Ms. Bosse captured in public spaces. Other of the tracks have the measured phrasing of an actor reciting from a written script or poem or other text.

T he perfectly acoustically reflective plate glass surfaces of the booth interiors produce a listening environment where your ears experience a heightened awareness of directionality—an exaggerated sense of where the sound is coming from. In the ‘LOVERS’ kiosk, the speaker in the center is the most voluble—it is almost always saying something. It is the sound-source that both you and your partner seated in the booth can both hear consistently. The testimony from this central speaker provides the one account that you both can agree upon—a veridical, trustworthy narrator. But I cannot hear the second voice coming from the speaker that is positioned behind your head over there, nor can you hear the third voice from the speaker that is located above my left ear.

A t times I believe that the intermittent/interjecting voice behind my left ear is that of the person whose ‘public’ voice is heard coming from the center speaker, but into my left ear comes this text of reflection, reconsideration, interpretation—an internal dialogue that the person is having with herself, either contemporaneously with the ‘public’ discourse or at some time afterward. The fact that the speaker on the opposite side of the enclosure, behind your head over there, is probably interjecting interior, confessional, discorroborative utterances—maybe with far different emotional tone or factual content—concerns me. I want to talk to you about this after we leave this gallery. But the 5 minutes we spend inside that ‘LOVERS’ box covers too wide a range of ideas and rambling evidence for us to possibly remember, let alone remember accurately. How long does this multi-character ‘LOVERS’ collage continue before it reaches the end of its ‘loop’ and starts again? 20 minutes? 200 minutes?

T he poetical phrasing and sonic punctuations—not just of the more theatrical parts of it, but the ambient, found-sound parts as well—are a joy to hear: the exquisite quality of the multi-track recording and playback, crystal-clear. The musicality of the recorded, processed speech; the wonderful rhythmic design and orchestration of the recordings’ dovetailings with each other; the antiphonality or spatiality of it; the Henry Brant-esque “oblique harmonies” of it—and the intimacy of these small glass chambers, and the discourses that they enact—are all emblematic of what we mean by the term ‘chamber music’.

I have seen Alesis HD24 digital recorders used for recording musical ensembles before, but until now I have not seen them used for multi-track playback in sonic installation-art exhibits. This equipment is perfect for this purpose!

W hat you know and I do not know… What I know and you do not… What we both know; what we both doubt; what we both positively disbelieve... And what we see, through glass cubicles, other people knowing and doubting and disbelieving... The ‘transgressiveness’ of eavesdropping on other persons’ intimate conversations, inner lives, confessions—and the luxury of being ‘permitted’ to do this ad lib in an art gallery installation… The beauty of the artist’s gifting us with these insights that are ordinarily forbidden to us—or gotten only at expense of big, ugly guilty feelings.

25 November 2011

Seoyoung Lee/Heejung Hwang Cello-Organ Duo at St. Peterskirche in Wien

I  looked at the reading on my hiking compass: the temperature inside the church at 3:00 p.m. at the time of the concert by cellist Seoyoung Lee and organist Hee-Jung Hwang was just 10°C (50°F). Brrrr! But what surprising, atmospheric music it was. The cello voice projects perfectly in the sanctuary.

H ow large can the literature for cello-organ duo be? Not too big, but due to composers’ increasing interest in it and several important recent commissions, the repertoire is growing.

F or a space as reverberous as St. Peterskirche, it’s important to keep the tempo slow—so the echoes have a chance to fade and not muddy what comes next. The meditative quality of the setting surely supports taking things at a slower-than-usual tempo anyway.

  • David Bednall - Sonata
  • Jean-Baptiste Breal - Sonate V in G-dur
  • Gabriel Fauré - Elegie, Op. 24, Siciliennen, Op. 78
  • Wilhelm Fitzenhagen - Resignation, Op.8
  • Georg Goltermann - Andante religioso, Op.56
  • Russell Hepplewhite - Invisible Landscapes
  • Jean Huré - Air
  • Theodor Kirchner - 2 Tonstücke, Op.92 for cello and organ
  • Julius Klengel - Andante Sostenuto, Op.51
  • Gustav Merkel - Ariosa, Op.55
  • Serge Rachmaninoff - Vocalise, Op. 34, No. 14
  • Camille Saint-Saens - Le Cygne
  • Timothy Salter - Vitis flexuosa
  • Oskar Wermann - Sonata for Cello and Organ, Op.58

24 November 2011

Gogol’s Terminal Psychosis, No Effective Medical Palliative Care in Sight

Auerbach ©F. Reinhold

I   n the last stage of his life Gogol is increasingly consumed by a religious mania. He considers his past work a sin and burns the second part of his major novel, ‘Dead Souls’. In the end he refuses to eat. In his final hours he is visited by the fantastic figures from his own works – and they show themselves to be more reasonable than he is himself at this point. Gogol has utterly broken with his previous life and renounces it; now it is avenging itself. … This opera is not so much a biography as a poetic and satirical study of one of the greatest Russian writers, whose emotional life is as mysterious and fascinating as his idiosyncratic works... Lera Auerbach … has found her own voice, and it is full of stylistic freedom and dramatic power.”
  — Theater an der Wien opera, program notes, 2011.
T he person must, according to the DSM-IV, have at least two out of five symptoms:
  • (i) delusions, (ii) hallucinations, (iii) disorganised speech, (iv) grossly disorganized or catatonic behavior, or (v) functional incapacities or negative symptoms (such as alogia, avolition, etc)—for a substantial percentage of a one month period;
  • Plus, continuous signs of disturbance must continue for at least six months;
  • Plus, substantial social or occupational dysfunction must be evident;
  • Required exclusion criteria include substance abuse, mood disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder.
C heck, check, and check—with regard to Nikolai Gogol in the last 6 months of his life.

I f you are expecting in Lera Auerbach’s new opera a Gogolesque, cynical account of human nature, or about the ruling class (‘We are the 99%!’), or a scatology as absurdist art, you will not find it here.

N or will you learn famous Gogol’s concept of the untranslatable Russian word пошлость (‘poshlost’). [Vladimir Nabokov explained this as “posh-lust”, “not only the obviously trashy but mainly the falsely important, the falsely beautiful, the falsely clever, the falsely attractive” (Nabokov 1944, p. 70)—the falsely transcendent.] Пошлость reduces reality to a sort of cavalier mediocrity and unrepentant vulgarity—a moral and spiritual condition from which humankind cannot escape—compulsive smutiness, radical pointlessness, compulsive garish carnival, absurd superfluousness.

N o, in this fantastical new opera we get nonstop existential angst and horror—superbly manifested in Auerbach’s score and libretto, and in an exceptionally fine production by Theater an der Wien (who commissioned the work), with performances by ORF Radiosymphonieorchester, Arnold Schoenberg Chor, Grazer Kapellknaben, and Mozartknabenchor Wien… a convincing reenactment, showing the suffering Gogol, receiving no effective medical help for his end-of-life psychiatric condition.

I t is as though Gogol’s invention, пошлость, ironically haunted him during his final days. Which amounts to a lesson to us all, to be careful about what we dream, what we think, what we dwell upon. As our minds begin to fail late in life, those one-time droll ideas of ours—every hubristic preoccupation; every cynical mental posture we ever indulged—every one of them could become real in our waning days—and we may be powerless to make them stop from bothering us. Bad karma or poetic justice, hunting you down in your own lifetime! Ein Alptraum jagt den nächsten!
B   efore writing a note of ‘Gogol,’ composer Lera Auerbach immersed herself in the writer’s complete works and over twenty books written about him. It would take similar efforts to begin to understand this opera: taking us inside the fevered mind of its title character, ‘Gogol’ is less a biographical narrative set to music than a phantasmagorical, psychological investigation. Given a virtuosic staging by director Christine Mielitz, it is also an overwhelming theatrical experience.”   — Zwölftöner (Werner Kmetitsch), 17-NOV-2011.
A uerbach regularly collaborates with soloists and ensembles including Hilary Hahn, Vadim Gluzman, Leonidas Kavakos, Julian Rachlin, Philippe Quint, Gautier Capuçon, Alisa Weilerstein, David Finckel, Kim Kashkashian, Tokyo String Quartet, Borromeo Quartet, Artemis String Quartet, Vanbrugh String Quartet, Kremerata Baltica, Camerata Pacifica, and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Auerbach was born in the city of Chelyabinsk, adjacent to Siberia. After writing her first opera when she was 12, she moved to the U.S. in 1991 where she studied piano and composition at Juilliard. Her piano studies took her to the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hannover. She was awarded the Hindemith Prize by the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival in Germany, Deutschlandfunk’s Förderpreis, selected as a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow, and in 2007 she was selected as a member of the Young Global Leaders forum by the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Auerbach ©F. Reinhold
G   ogol’s ‘grotesque’ is a—] means of estranging—a comic hyperbole that unmasks the banality and inhumanity of ambient reality.”   — Susanne Fusso, p. 69.

23 November 2011

Paul Lewis’s Performance Suggests Cardiovascular Kinesthetics as Source of Inspiration for Features in Schubert’s Late Piano Music

Paul LewisT he excellent performance last night by pianist Paul Lewis at the Mozart-Saal in the Konzerthaus in Vienna provided some new insights about acoustic effects that are idiomatic of piano that may have interested Schubert late in his composing career.

T here are many passages in the Vier Impromptus (D 935, 1827), Fantasie (D 760, 1822), and Sechs Moments musicaux (D 780, 1823-28) that have emphases with the sustain pedal applied—the Sechs Moments more than the others. The impression we receive as the sound “blooms” or blossoms in the few hundreds of milliseconds after the chord’s strings have been struck and sympathetic resonances are established in other strings and in the soundboard amounts to a tactile/haptic sense of flow—of a “systolic” pushing of blood through large blood vessels, and of the blood vessels’ elasticity, acting as a “reservoir” with network-like capacitance to absorb the flow and to subsequently dissipate it in the rete of smaller vessels beyond.

Pianoteq bloom
I t requires a piano with an efficient, high-impedance soundboard with a high Q-factor (fast decay of high overtones). You can play around with these properties with the Pianoteq software if you like. The software enables you to alter or exaggerate the “bloom”—how quickly or slowly it develops after the hammer strikes the strings; how long it takes for it to ring-down and decay while the sustain pedal is depressed.

Systolic momentsI n Lewis’s playing, we see the physical origins of the sound—besides the properties of the instrument itself, there are elements of his performance practice that contribute to his technique and the sound that it affords. For example, he places the piano bench very high—so that the top of the bench is almost even with the underside of the keyboard… Last night, it was only 2 cm lower than the surface of the flange that mounts the pedal mechanism to the underside of the Steinway Model “D”. The thighs slope downward, and this puts Lewis’s legs in an angle of slight extension—about 140° between the femur and the tibia shaft centerlines. His elbow is high as well—also in a position of slight extension.

L ewis’s pedaling technique involves, then, considerable so-called “concentric” contraction by the rectus femoris muscle of the right leg, in addition to the flexion of the ankle. The dynamics of Lewis’s right leg motions contributed substantially to the “blooming,” systolic sonic effects of the accent-sustains in these Schubert pieces.

W hy does this interest me? Because these pieces are introspective and quite emotional, and I want to think about how they came to be so. These pieces were created late in Schubert’s short life, after the consequences of his syphilis had begun to be apparent, and after his treatments with mercury compounds (one of the few modalities of “treatment” for syphilis in the 19th Century) had also begun to exert their neurotoxic side-effects.

W hile it is possible for those of us who are not musicians—who are not composers—to be oblivious to the rhythms of our bodies, to the rhythms of our life and of our mortality, it is pretty implausible that a composer, or any elite-level musician performer—would not notice. And, having noticed such things—especially abnormal things, changed or changing things, potentially life-threatening things—like the pulsatility of one’s heart that is altering day by day as it has to work harder; or palpitations of a chronic or sub-chronic abnormal heart rhythm; or the progressive dilatation of an abdominal aortic aneurysm; or the worsening of stenosis of the aortic valve in the heart, or worsening incompetence of the mitral valve—having noticed them, it is, I think, impossible for a composer not to attend to them. Impossible for those physical, kinesthetic effects not to creep into one’s music; impossible not to become a bit preoccupied or obsessed with such persistent sensory stimuli in one’s writing.

L ewis’s lucid, passionate, pulsatile playing of these late Schubert works last night—evocative as it was of preoccupations with systole, and pressure-wave run-off, and hemodynamics equations, and windkessel compliance, and vessel elastance and storage, and ventricular-arterial coupling, and how severe aortitis changes these things—caused me think of this. Life is short: compose like hell, while we can; play like hell, while we can.