Today would have been my father’s 78th birthday. Last year on this day, I wrote a post about pieces with family connections, including ones I had recently played. Well, it’s happened again – this weekend, I played another piece that takes me back to the beginning of my musical life, and it was my dad who introduced me to it.

When I was about 7 or 8, my dad got me a Superscope cassette recorder (pictured above) and a few recordings of pieces he thought I should hear, including Stravinsky’s Firebird and Mozart’s 39th Symphony. One of them was of Schubert’s 9th Symphony, with Eugen Jochum conducting the Bavarian Radio Symphony.

Last night, ProMusica performed this monumental piece – you can read the review here. Before we played, our music director, David Danzmayr, talked to the audience about how his dad had introduced him to the piece as a kid, too.

Schubert 9 is a massive piece, lasting just under an hour. Its nickname is is “The Great,” but I think it should be called the “Ginsu.” Those of you old enough to remember the TV commercials for those knives will understand – “Now how much would you pay? Don’t answer yet – you also get…” Each movement is twice as long as in his other symphonies, and Schubert makes sure you get your money’s worth. Here’s a link to a recording on Spotify – make sure you’re not in a hurry!

And for those of you to young to who missed out on the commercial, here it is:

And in the spirit of Ginsu – but wait, there’s more! On my way home last night after the concert, I turned on the radio and heard Miles Davis’s remarkable “Godchild” from the “Birth of the Cool” album my father treasured. It was a nice reminder that I can still feel in touch with him, meeting up in the musical world where he spent so much of his life and was my first and most important guide.

Happy Birthday, Dad – I miss you.


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