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Thoughts on the 4th symphony and related issues:

1. This is silly almost to the point of blasphemy, but it cracks me up: there's a line of melody in the first movement, woodwinds and later violins, that has been reminding me of something else for a while. "Not classical..." "it has lyrics..." I thought vaguely, and then one day on the train it came to me. "Celia, you're breaking my heart, you're shaking my confidence, baby..." So now I grin to myself every time we rehearse that point, and have now privately christened it the Cecilia Symphony, which is only appropriate homage to the patron saint.

2. Listening to the 2nd symphony on the radio the other day was a strange experience; they're both wonderful, but it's the gap between comedy (in the classical sense) and tragedy. I kept thinking, oh, right, Brahms does have happy endings sometimes, it's not all leading to the stalwart recognition of despair...

3. I'm still waiting to hear a rendition of the flute solo as good as the one I heard at sixteen, although our flutist is not bad. It needs to be completely three-dimensional, not a melody line, a whole melody plane...

4. The third movement, unlike the others, is more satisfying to listen to than to play. Not sure why this is; maybe because the cello line is comparatively simple and accompaniment-esque compared to the others; the violins get most of the excitement. I am dissatisfied with the way our first violins (of whom I'm normally a big fan, what with one thing and another) are handling the sweet second theme; not singing enough.

5. The second movement doesn't give me quite the same sense of the numinous as the second movement of the second symphony does, but it is still utterly amazing in the emotional range it covers, the polyphony, the variety.

I think that'll do for now. Oh dear.

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