Friday, November 13, 2009

Ulysses, David Finckel and me

The stuff on the Internet! How does anyone get any work done?

Every day I feel like Ulysses who had his men strap him to the mast of the ship so he would not be able to heed the call of the Sirens.

I got that right, don't I? My knowledge of mythology is not great and most of it comes only from Schubert songs. People in Schubert's era, they knew their mythology. We are so stupid in comparison.

Speaking of which, back to me and the Internet. I have written before about the site Instant Encore and it is the source of constant distractions.

Because every day in my email it seems there will be something. If you sign up as a fan of someone on Instant Encore, the site lets you know whenever something new about that person is posted.

Now, I understand this can turn into a problem. So I have signed up as a fan of only three people. One is JoAnn Falletta, the music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. Because of my job as Buffalo music critic I like to know what is going on with her and what people are saying about her. Another person I signed up as a fan for is Leonard Pennario, because he was my buddy. But that is not too much of a problem because I am the only person in the world writing about him. I cannot believe the site even lists him!

The third person I signed up for is Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau because he is a singer I am just crazy about. Now there is my problem.

You throw something at me about Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, I will stop in my tracks and look!

And they have a way of doing this so it is irresistible. You get this note in your box. "New Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau video! WATCH NOW." That "Watch now" and all you have to do is click. Who can resist? Not I.

Today it is this cellist, David Finckel, taking apart Fischer-Dieskau's vibrato. I am serious.

Finckel is this intense and intellectual guy sitting at the piano and he has this gizmo that measures sound vibrato. And he turns and says to you, "Today we take apart the vibrato of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau in the Schubert song, 'Du Bist Die Ruh.'"

Now he's got me! This is a song I love!

Finckel, sitting there cradling his cello, plays the first lines, which of course are silken, seductive, beautiful. He listens, blinking, watching the screen. And I guess you can see the sound waves vibrating. I don't know. I forgot to watch. All I was doing was listening. And, I have to say, enjoying the idea of someone else listening along with me. That never happens!

And the time is passing.

I see this is "Talk 19: 'Du Bist Die Ruh.'" Now I am thinking, what about the other 18 lectures? They must all be out there!

Woe is me!

That is a picture up above of the cellist David Finckel who sabotaged my morning. He is posing with the pianist Wu Han. They have recorded with violinist Philip Setzer. He is from the Emerson Quartet. And I love to talk about my worst interviews of all time. The great Mr. Setzer was one of the best. He probably does not remember it. But it was!

However that is another story for another day.

How am I ever going to get my work done?


  1. Mary, It appear there are 43 David Finckel videos, and has indexed them all for you.


  2. Now music artists and fans can have fun in this coolest site and win some exciting prizes.

  3. Mary, that strapping to the mast thing is the best analogy I've ever read about the lure of the computer!

  4. Wait. I'm still Googling "strapping to the mast". Uh oh. Google images returning results that are DEFINITELY NSFW.

  5. Well Mary, the Finckels are quite a family of cellists. When I was growing up in Bennington, cellist George Finckel (David's uncle) was on the faculty of Bennington College and the father of two cellists, Christopher and Michael, both active in the New York City area —Christopher is the cellist in NYNME (NY New Music Ensemble), which often plays at... Read More June in Buffalo. So anyway they were a quartet of cellists with the late George as patriarch. BTW pianist Wu Han is David's wife and together, as you may know, they now run the Chamber Music Ensemble of Lincoln Center.