Thursday, July 5, 2018

The Iron Horse, A Haydn Mission, and Jethro Tull

Yesterday (July 4th) was the 79th anniversary of Lou Gehrig's famous speech ("Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth".) He was leaving the game due to the onset of a disease (ALS) that would later be known by his very name. He benched himself on May 2, 1939 when it became apparent that something was wrong. Up to that point, he had played in 2130 consecutive games...a record that stood for 56 years. (It was broken by Cal Ripken 1995.)
Gehrig was given the diagnosis of ALS in June and the team scheduled a Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day for July 4, 1939. He passed away June 4, 1941.
I am always fascinated by the intersection of classical music with people and places throughout history that intrigue me. Along with classical music and history, I also love baseball. Wouldn't it be cool if Gustav Mahler had gone to a baseball game during his time in New York (1907-1911)? I have not found anything to suggest that he actually did...I will keep looking....but I did find a citation about Lou Gehrig going to classical music concerts! According to an article in the New Yorker Magazine, Gehrig was a regular at concerts of the NBC Radio Symphony conducted by Arturo Toscanini. Not only was Gehrig one of the greatest players in history, he also appreciated classical music.


I am embarking on another listening mission. If you recall, last month I listened to Mozart's 41 symphonies in ascending and then descending order. Now I will attempt to listen to Franz Joseph Haydn's symphonies, all 104 of them, in ascending order. I am on number 8 as I write this. This will take me the better part of July and August. I doubt I will turn around and listen to them in descending order....we shall see. I am not sure how many of his symphonies I have heard, but I know it is not even close to being all of them. I wonder how many other people in the world can say they have accomplished this? Not too many...but here is one guy who did:

I like the band Jethro Tull, but admittedly I have a pretty limited knowledge of their catalog. I stumbled on what is one of their best known albums this week...yes, I am very late to the's called Stand Up from 1969. The song I heard that grabbed my attention is called Reasons for Waiting. In addition to flute and organ (these are instruments more often heard in the classical world) at 2:25 a very nice string section joins in. Enjoy.

1 comment:

  1. What a cool project! I'll be interested to hear how it goes and what you think. I couldn't do brilliant and innovative as Haydn was, some of those early ones are a little anodyne, IMHO. Have fun!