May 2011

Gustav and Alma Mahler were making music, breaking hearts before it was cool

Gustav Mahler is all over Vienna and it was all over him.  He knew the most prominent thinkers of his generation—composers, artists, philosophers, from Wagner to Schopenhauer. His life and his music blended seamlessly—his music was his canvas, his music was Vienna, Vienna was his canvas. And part of that life meant that he, and his wife Alma, were crushing lovelorn souls all over the city.  She even had a guy make a life-sized doll of her. Mahler's a good looking guy, sure, but I'll never understand why Alma didn't go with a guy that made a Real Girl of her...




Categorizing a few of the world's stringed instruments

I brought my mandolin to play in a park this weekend and people looked at it like I’d shrunk a guitar with a shrink ray.  I didn’t know a mandolin was so exotic.  But it got me thinking, if they don’t recognize this very American stringed instrument, would they recognize a lute, a dobro, a dulcimer, an erhu or a sitar, the stringed instruments of the world?  Take a read about these instruments and see if you find them in your favorite local park—in India.