Catapulting into Classical

A headlong leap into music, history, and composing


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Haiku Wednesday: Schubert, Snow, and Gray Hair

Stick figure with gray snowflakes falling on his head

Snow fell on my hair
Making it a shiny white.
I thought I’d turned gray.

And I was happy
To be close to journey’s end;
But it did not last,

For soon the snow thawed.
My black hair made me despair.
How far must I go?

From night until dawn
Many a head will turn gray,
But, sadly, not mine.

The above haiku is a paraphrase of Wilhelm Müller’s poem Der Greise Kopf, set to music by Franz Schubert.  It is part of Schubert’s epic song cycle Winterreise.  The song immediately precedes The Crow, previously described here.  The wanderer, having left his lover and the comforts of home, wanders through an inhospitable winter landscape. Here he seems to find the coating of snow making his hair gray ironic; he wishes he were old, and that his journey, that is, his wandering and his life, were closer to an end.  For him, bitterly, it is not to be.

Here is Der Greise Kopf performed by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Murray Perahia.

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Image attribution: Stick figure in snow by C. Gallant, 2017.


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Why Catapulting into Classical?

I realized I forgot to tell you how the website got its name.  Let’s fix that.

I was talking with someone about music, and they said, “You know, it seemed like you were only casually interested, and bam! suddenly Schubert.  It’s like you catapulted into classical music.”

I liked the image, it fit me.  It’s not uncharacteristic for me to become interested in something and become rather absorbed in it.  My approach is enthusiastic, but not always systematic.  There can be a slightly-out-of-control element to it, just like a catapult.  And while I have an idea of where I want to go, I’m never quite sure which path I’ll take, or where I’ll end up.  Ah, but getting there is wonderful!  Which leads me to my Throwback Thursday Quote of the Week, up next.

Oh, and the music over the careening stick figure is the first vocal line from Schubert’s Winterreise.