Saturday, January 27, 2024

Thomas Hampson and Schubert Week


Today is Mozart's birthday however just this once, the day is about Schubert. Schubert Week is going on in Heidelberg, Germany! I am guessing it is timed with Schubert's birthday, Jan. 31. It takes place over the next few days at 3 p.m. Heidelberg time, 9 a.m. Buffalo time. You can find it on YouTube.

I became aware of Schubert Week over the last year. It appears to be run by Thomas Hampson. Hampson is a singer I love! Twice when he has visited Buffalo he sang one of our Erie Canal songs, the great song that goes "Oh, the E-R-ie was a-rising, and the whiskey's gettin' low, and I scarcely think we'll get a drink till we get to Buffalo!" That is a great song and he rocks it!

The one problem with watching Schubert week is that it is mostly in German with no subtitles. I can understand a lot of Hampson's German, perhaps because he is American and does not talk too fast. And he throws in a lot of English, which I get a kick out of. However there is a lot that I miss. Including jokes! The audience cracks up and applauds and I am just sitting there, fie. They should add subtitles. That is the only suggestion I have.

Otherwise Schubert Week is pretty much perfect. Up at the top of this post is the first episode of this year's Schubert Week, the one I saw yesterday. You know how YouTube videos always start with "Stay to the end, because...." I will say it in this case! Stay to the end because the fourth and last singer, a very good baritone, sings the Schubert song "Alinde." I love "Alinde"! It has this beautiful accompaniment that makes me think of a barcarole. And you do not hear it very often. I was thrilled when I saw it on the program.

I keep a notebook around when I watch Schubert Week and I jot down hacks I can use. I sing in the choir for the Latin Mass at St. Anthony's and I just joined the great choir at St. Louis Church. It is kind of a hobby gone out of control.

So I love collecting pointers. However here is one hack Hampson shared with us yesterday that we can all use in our lives. If you feel you are forgetting something -- lyrics, or maybe someone's name, or the last line to a poem you have memorized and are reciting to your friends -- look to the right.

It activates the right side of your brain, and you are more likely to remember! That is what Thomas Hampson said yesterday.

Last night at Lounge Academy at the Hyatt downtown this wisdom was passed around and discussed. Howard is going to start using it at the piano on account of you never know. We were all testing it, looking to the right, trying to do it gracefully. It can just be your eyes. You do not have to swing your entire head.

Useful information, from Schubert Week.

Only 45 minutes until the next episode...

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