I get to Wallow

Each chapter of my new book is going to feature a piece of music. I’ve mostly decided which pieces I’m going to do, but every now and again a piece will pop up while I’m listening to my ipod, like the Brahms motet titled Wo ist ein so herrlich Volk, and I think, I should get lost in this one for a while.

Brahms wasn’t wild about this piece, I just read. WTF? I just flashed on a scene from when I was 12 years old. A friend of mine was saying how she liked this other friend of mine. I had to tell her that this other friend didn’t like her. “Do you still like her now,” I asked. “Well,” she answered, “it’s hard to continue to like someone when you hear that they don’t like you.” It was so honest and vulnerable at a time when we were all so careful to be anything but.

This motet is from a series of three, and maybe Brahms didn’t think the other two were the best things he’s ever done, but he must have liked this sweet little jewel of a motet. I can’t find a good version to point you too. The ones I’ve found are all performed so fast and clunkily. That isn’t a word I see. Clunk-like? The beauty is lost when it’s done this way.

This picture is from fashion week. These people were waiting to get into Abercrombie & Fitch. All I could think was “bed bugs.” (They had to close down to deal with a bed bug infestation. Does everyone know we’re being over-run by bedbugs here in New York?)


Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

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2 thoughts on “I get to Wallow

  1. Bedbugs are spreading all over North America but I guess NYC is just a little bit ahead of everywhere else. There were reports during the Toronto International Film Festival just a few weeks ago that there were bedbugs in one of the theatres. We hear warnings here in Ottawa to be careful about buying furniture (and not just upholstered stuff) from second hand stores (and don’t even THINK of picking up stuff on the side of the street on garbage day). One science pundit on the CBC even said that in the future we’ll just have to get use to having them just like we are with Mosquitos. I’d rather just have Mosquitos.

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