Wednesday, May 17, 2006

posthumous pearls

During Franz Schubert’s short life, around 100 of his pieces were published. To me, this seems like an inordinate catalog for a 31 year-old. But during the next 50 years after his death, his works were published steadily. Occasionally, a long buried piece will still be found. One Viennese music critic wrote in 1862 that "it is as though he continued to work invisibly. One can hardly keep up with him."
No doubt, those responsible for bringing to light his long hidden catalog, were delighted to continue to find that he was more prolific than anyone imagined. I would imagine that his fans, Brahms, Mendellsohn, Liszt, and others who had digested, and been nourished by Schubert’s works were ecstatic to consistently unearth, publish and perform previously unheard music.
What a treat to find that you’ve been provided for after a musician is gone. Though the body of work left by the musician would no doubt be sufficient for a lifetime of enjoyment and appreciation, to be provided with previously unknown creativity keeps it all alive for much longer a period of time.
Personal Files
was released. It contains 49 songs from Johnny Cash never before heard. These were found in his home studio by his son, John Carter. I was serenaded during all my finals week preparations yesterday by guitar and voice renditions of “Farther Along”, “Drink to me Only with Thine Eyes,” “Sanctified”, (complete justify-cation)and 47 other old living room covers and originals that have never been heard before. Many of the recordings include him telling the story of where the song came from, who he was with when it was written, etc. All were recorded between 1973 and 1980.
These days with record labels seeking no investment-high return projects, after an artist is gone, we can expect a barrage of releases of re-compilations, best ofs, the essentials, re-masters, b sides, remixes, cast-off tracks of familiar hits, but 49 spanking new stuffs? Unheard of. And recorded in his cleaned up prime with a new lease on life. It is a bright day for life-long, die-hard Johnny Cash fans.
So I’d suggest for you. Load up your iPod, grab a Fanta® and a cane pole, find an old abandoned depot or warehouse or secluded river bank, and take a couple hours to hear the product of a man singing from his soul. Have your own soul ministered to in the process.

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