The Decline of Western Civilization

I am often inclined on Saturdays to spend a few hours at the Brothers K cafe. I bring my laptop and some scratch paper, sip away on a cortado, and listen to music on my headphones as I work; it is a pleasant way to pass the time. That is, until the cafe instituted an “open mic night” on early Saturday evenings, which I unfortunately encountered last weekend. The entire enterprise seems more for the benefit of the very small number of people who run the show rather than for the actual patrons. As for me, one moment I was industriously working away and the next I was aurally assailed and had to make a hasty path to the exit. All this, mind you, while I was listening to the Dichterliebe. The horror! It’s enough to make one choke on one’s smoked salmon sandwiches.

One thing that makes the Dichterliebe so wonderful is the piano score, which transcends mere accompaniment. To mention just one example, I love how the piano finale in XVII is foreshadowed in part XII. It’s fun to play and fun to listen to; here is Fischer-Dieskau in an 1956 recording.

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One Response to The Decline of Western Civilization

  1. Georges Elencwajg says:

    The captions under the beautiful pictures are a great way to remind you of some fine points in German grammar : in meinem HerzEN, da HABE ich gestanden (instead of “bin gestanden” which is heard in dialects), etc. The music and the singer accompanying the grammar course are not bad either .

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