Word of the day: streber

One of my German colleagues is in town this week. As we sat through a design session this morning, he asked, “How do you say streber in English?”

I shrugged, and he said, “Go to Leo.org.” We looked in the English-German dictionary on the site, and we found the following translations: careerist, eager beaver, geek, grind, nerd, sap, striver.

So: streber. Sounds better than pencil-neck.

And no, I don’t remember why he asked me for the translation. It couldn’t have been something I did.

Making sense of Schoenberg

Last night’s rehearsal of Schoenberg’s Moses und Aron was … interesting. I can’t add a lot to fanw’s characterization of the rehearsal except to note that it’s a little early in the process to be gathering more than first impressions of the work. None of the singers are secure enough yet in the melodic line to really tell what it sounds like.

In fact, the more I hear of it, the more I’m reminded of Marianne Moore’s “Poetry”:

I, too, dislike it.
Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one discovers in
it, after all, a place for the genuine.

Though reading the fuller text of the poem, where Moore rails against poets who are so abstract as to lose all that is genuine, one might think that she is in agreement with fanw.

But I can’t forget a moment toward the end of last night’s rehearsal, where the tenors and then the sopranos took turns singing a twelve-tone “melody” against a block chord in the other voices that was tonal (at least at first). It was strikingly beautiful, breathtaking in fact. And I’m going to hang in there to see if it gets better as we do, if in fact Schoenberg’s music is “not really modern, just badly played.”