36 Years Ago

36 Years Ago, Vienna 1971—A Student Journal

Day 285: Amazing teachers, amazing friends


Vienna 1971—A Student Journal
A year of music, study, travel, sightseeing & friends.

Day 285 — Amazing teachers, amazing friends
13-May-1972 (Samstag–Sat.)


Had some fun playing in horn ensembles this morning. Spent the rest of the day doing the taping of project [
Fantasy] for future educational work.

At night, went to
Madame Butterfly. Always enjoyable. Puccini’s music is much easier to listen to because of its melodies. That’s why it’s more popular.


Amazing teachers. Once again it’s Saturday morning and we’re playing horn in ensembles with Prof. Gabler’s horn classes. It never ceases to amaze me—the dedication of the Hochschule’s professors (on their own time) to provide additional performance and professional activities for their students: (1) performing the Bruckner 8 in the Musikverein; (2) Prof. Gabler inviting me to rehearsals at the Volksoper, including sitting in the orchestra pit with him; (3) performing in the Saturday horn ensemble classes and concerts; (4) performing in a student ensemble at Schönbrunn Theatre; (5) in electronic music, Prof. Kaufmann taking us to contemporary music concerts; and (6) Prof. Kaufmann’s evening lecture series. If that weren’t enough, both professors took us students out for an occasional drink, food, camaraderie, and great conversation.

As always, give thanks and your respect to all of your teachers (they are there to guide you), and especially to those teachers who go the extra mile. Thanks again to all my professors at the Hochschule für Musik in Wien.

Education tapes. I am in the studio making the educational example tapes of Fantasy on Broken Glass. These tapes show how the entire composition was built from its single sound. I wish I had those tapes today. For many, many years I’ve saved those tapes, but apparently I have lost them.

Amazing friends. “Amazing, the Internet is,” says Yoda, quietly. Ok, it’s not as powerful as the “force” but I did manage to find my 1971 Vienna friend, Mike, through the Internet(s) and send a brief hello email to him. Mike was our student leader, the Canadian organist who studied with Anton Heiler, and who most likely directed us to the many operas and concerts of that year. Did I mention that he has had an insanely successful professional career over these many years? Congratulations Mike. Mike sent a very kind response, with both of us wishing that digital photography had been invented in 1971 so that we could have taken thousands of pictures instead of just the few we did. Thanks, Mike. It’s great to hear from you. It’s a small world—both in place, and in time.

Puccini’s melodies. You have to love Puccini and his melodies. They are the magnet that draws opera lovers to see his operas time and time again. Madame Butterfly is a favorite. Check out Puccini’s Wikipedia page—his birthplace house is very interesting. It shows you can rise to great heights even if you were born poor.

I won’t post a YouTube link today, but just do a search on YouTube to feast on those wonderful Puccini melodies.

Melodies and hooks. If you write pop music (like I do on occasion), we used to say you needed a “hook” for a song. Hook = melody. It can be in the chorus/refrain or in an organ introduction—think Procol Harum’s White Shade of Pale (a legendary song and hook). Even though the trend has been away from melodies and hooks over the years, I am of the mind that a melodic hook is a good thing.

DJs, trance, and hooks? My step-son, Walter, is exploring and learning about the DJ scene. I would like for him to try it and see if he likes it and also see if he can do well. As a result, I am exploring “trance” music—big in Europe and with the top DJs of the world. I like it. Are there melodies and hooks over seemingly repetitive kick drum and bass patterns? You bet. Take the brand-new mega-hit, the recently crowned No. 1 Trance anthem by Rank 1, called “L.E.D. Let There Be Light.” A short 5-pitch motive is the melodic pattern that constantly repeats and becomes the driving “hook” of the piece. I am surprised and impressed at its effectiveness. It works.

Melody, folks.


Giacomo Puccini in Wikipedia

Madame Butterfly in Wikipedia

Procol Harum in Wikipedia


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