Better than the other way, but still

All musicians know that too much work is far better than too little. No argument; most of us have experienced the latter, and it’s no joke. That said, I need to vent: if things continue, I think parts will begin to drop off. Here I am, with the following projects in various stages of disarray:

1) The Chopin Ballade project. The book proposal is out for consideration; the thing has been in the works for fifteen or so years, and I’ve given a paper related to it both here and in the UK over the last few years.

2) The Chopin and Temperament project. More recent, papers given in U.S., U.K., and Poland. Expanding to an article. Except that I keep thinking of new stuff, like with (1) above.

3) Write a paper for a symposium at Stanford this April, plus learning some music to play at the evening concerts there.

4) A major nineteenth-century reconstructive project involving sketches and drafts and partially surviving scores and so on.

5) My teaching, remember? Let’s not even discuss all the administrative add-ons…

6) A dissertation at a foreign university for which I’m serving as Research Advisor, on a sort of pro bono basis (I could not have said no, in good conscience).

7) All other aspects of life, such as fully operational and contributing member of my family, etc.

8) The myriad letters of recommendation one is asked to write, more or less constantly.

9) Occasional tasks like refereeing submissions to journals and so on. These may sound like less important tasks, but they are not; people read my Dreck too, and if the pieces are in one’s specialty there is a responsibility to contribute in this way.

10) SHOVELLING YET MORE SNOW GODDAMNIT—OK, it’s just this year and it’s Colorado, but combined with the weeks of bitter cold, it’s really beginning to tell on me.

11) Not to mention the stuff that’s back-burnered, such as the book on the reception of “national” music and musical exoticism, a subject on which I’ve also been giving papers over the last three years.

12) Other occasional tasks such as a guest presentation this coming week on the film of Jesus Christ Superstar for the Rock and Film class. Now, don’t jump to conclusions: I’m exactly the person to do this. It came out when I was in high school, I saw it several times, and I’m planning a bang-up musical back-story to the thing, the various musical languages Andrew Lloyd Webber uses and so on. In the past, I’ve done the same for This is Spinal Tap and Almost Famous. It’s a hoot. A time-consuming hoot, but a hoot.

OK, that’s a dozen. I’ll stop, and I’ll try to stop whining, because I feel (slightly) better. I fully acknowledge that not one of these things is bad; I’m buried in wonderful, invigorating, necessary stuff—stuff of the sort that I prayed my life would consist of.

Still beginning to crack, though! The flesh is weak, and weakening further.

I’m thankful that Phil is on his game, because I’m likely to be blogging a bit irregularly. Now, a certain Someone has a trumpet lesson tomorrow, so we have to go practice and run his Thomé Fantasy

About jonathanbellman

Professor of Music History and Literature and Head of Academic Studies in Music at the University of Northern Colorado. Author, *The _Style Hongrois_ in the Music of Western Europe* (Northeastern University Press, 1993), *A Short Guide to Writing About Music* (2e, Longman, 2008), *Chopin's Polish Ballade: Op. 38 as Narrative of National Martyrdom* (Oxford University Press, 2010), Editor, *The Exotic in Western Music* (Northeastern University Press, 1998), author of bunches of articles and reviews and so on. Likes to play the piano, the mandolin, and even guitar sometimes. A. M. and Jo Winchester Distinguished Scholar at UNC, 2011.
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3 Responses to Better than the other way, but still

  1. Kip W says:

    Are you in Fort Collins, or just near it? If you’re interested in another performance of the Chopin Ballades, go to Boomer Music on South College and get the CD of Wendell Diebel that includes them. He was head of the music department at CSU for years. He told me once that he took lessons from Olga Samaroff, who took from Leschetitzky, who took from Moscheles, who took from Beethoven (I may be missing a link here).
    There are two CD reissues of his self-issued LPs. He was a fine player, and a great teacher. He also composed, but I never heard what he wrote. It was premiered at Carnegie Hall, and not recorded.

  2. Jonathan says:

    I’ll try, next time I’m in Ft. Collins. Some years ago, we had a former student of his here, and she spoke of him much the way you do. I’d like to hear what he does with the Ballades.

  3. Sara Heimbecker says:

    I’d like to publically thank you for the excellent presentation preceeding the Jesus Christ Superstar viewing the other night. The students really enjoyed it, especially the line about “these are the people I went to high school with.”
    Now where’s that AMS presentation on Spinal Tap?

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