About

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Everybody’s making confessions these days, so here’s mine: I have had an affair with classical music all my life. Classical music caught my attention as a boy, watching a cartoon, and it has held me captive long into adulthood. My love for it never stops growing.


Here’s why I decided to create this site. The day before New Years eve 1998, I was driving my twelve year-old daughter to her violin lesson and she asked me to name my favorite piece of music. That question opened a floodgate as I went back over the years remembering the works that I’ve heard and loved. The next day, I wrote down as many pieces that popped into my head. The list grew to over 150 pieces by numerous composers.

At that point, I started writing about each piece in the order it came to me. Like all freelance writers, I wanted to see my words in print, and self-publishing on the web seemed the best way. I originally published it on geocities.com, which yahoo bought and eventually closed down in October of 2009.

I publish every Thursday and Sunday around midnight. I intend to share with you a all the pieces of classical music that I’ve discovered at some point in my life and tell you a little bit of how I found the piece, the emotion it evoked in me, and any other thoughts about it. I will try to present the works in the order in which I discovered them. May you get as much enjoyment from this treasury as I have.

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45 Responses to About

  1. Bob nemes says:

    You’re amazing!!!

    Love you

    Like

  2. Larry Drell says:

    Thank you so much
    You write beautifully
    and make this come alive in an incredible way

    my story is a little different
    It was Symphony Sid, a NYC DJ who introduced me to my love
    of music
    that kept me sane
    from midnight to 4 am throughout those formative years

    Like

    • kurtnemes says:

      Thank you so much Larry for your comment. AND Thank you for opening your house to Laura and me. We had a wonderful (and illuminating) time and feel comforted by the community you’ve formed and support. Looking forward to reading your blog, too, so please send the link. My email is knemes0@yahoo.com. All the best.

      Like

  3. Rola Yousef says:

    Hello!
    I’ve nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award.
    For More details click here:
    http://rolayousef.wordpress.com/2012/03/16/the-versatile-blogger-award/

    Like

  4. Thank you for visiting my blog. I’m glad I found your blog, and I am sure to visit it many times during the school year for reference!

    Like

  5. Hi Kurt, thanks for following my blog, and leading me to yours in turn. It’s so interesting to read your posts and I look forward to future entries. With all good wishes LT

    Like

  6. Hi, you will see from the latest post on my blog that I have nominated you for the ‘Reader Appreciation’ award for your interesting blog. I hope you feel able to accept – please see my post for more details. With all good wishes http://wp.me/p2uVnL-ay

    Like

  7. letizia says:

    Thanks for following my blog, which then lead me to your great one. I love your initial reason to start your blog, and am looking forward to following along. I love classical music (although I’m certainly no expert!).

    Like

  8. Pingback: Downtown today and more Bach « pinknoyze

  9. Hello, I have just nominated your blog for the ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award:

    http://leapingtracks.wordpress.com/2012/12/10/with-friends-like-these/

    Please accept my very best wishes without any obligation. This is simply my way of saying thanks for a great blog and for being an inspiration to me on my blogging journey.

    Liz aka LeapingTracks

    Like

  10. Gallivanta says:

    I am interested that you started your self publishing on geocities. Have you found it is easy to transfer your stories from site to site as each one has closed?

    Like

  11. kurtnemes says:

    Hi Gallivanta. Before it shut down, I copied all files to my local drive. So I had my content. But then, I found that some rogue company copied all the text from Yahoo’s Geocities and put them on a site called Reocities. That kept me happy until they put a heading on each page recently, which shows webcams from around the world, some of which are dicey. Now my name is associated with that content. Wish I had deleted the text online before they closed the site down. It looks like WordPress and Blogger are the blogging sites, however, if you have a choice, you can consider moving your content to a site hosted on your own service provider. WordPress gives you the software to do this. That way, if WordPress ever goes away, you would still have control of your content. Best

    Like

  12. Gallivanta says:

    Thanks for that information. Glad to know what is possible.

    Like

  13. littlewing43 says:

    Thank you for listening to my music. I’m so glad to receive your comment !

    Like

  14. parmis rad says:

    Thank you for this blog which I so randomly stumbled upon. Oddly enough I too was first drawn to classical music with a cartoon (Tom and Jerry’s version of the Hungarian Rhapsody). It turns out I’m not the first one who got their piano/classical music fixation from a cartoon. There are more of us out there!

    Like

  15. The Mole says:

    Thanks for following my blog! I’m glad that you’ve led me to your blog – and by extension, a community of Classical musicians that I can connect with. I can’t wait to read through your previous, and upcoming, posts!

    Like

  16. justme920 says:

    Just found you from a “like” on my own blog space. I love this blog, the clips, the concept–all of it! I saw earlier this month you were thinking of discontinuing your blog writing–please don’t! After all, I just found you.

    Like

  17. Maggie says:

    First, thank you for following my blog, Kurt. It has led me to yours, which I am about to follow. I grew up hearing classical music (my father had over 7500 classical music albums), and I was classically-trained on the piano. Kindred spirits here.

    Like

  18. atempleton says:

    Thank you for following my blog. Not every post will have music attached, but sometimes there will be references to Radiohead or Peter Gabriel. Definitely want to read/listen to your posts. My “favorite” piece of classical music at this moment is the Bourree from the first scene of Saint-Saens ballet, Javotte.

    Like

    • kurtnemes says:

      Thanks for the comment. I love Peter Gabriel, too, and Amnesiac is one of my favorite Radiohead albums. Thanks for turning me onto the Saint-Saens. I’ll definitely give it a close listen. Best

      Like

  19. Thanks for the follow and I look forward to reading your blog as well! My father was a composer and my earliest memories are listening to chamber music (my mom was a violinist) from my favorite perch under the piano. I can’t imagine a life without music and it will be fun to check out your favorites too! Classical music is a little – let’s say – rickety down here in Mexico but as in many places, it manages to persevere and thank god for the internet! Thanks again, look forward to your posts!

    Like

    • kurtnemes says:

      Thanks for your nice comment. Classical music up here in the states is also rickety, though, I think it’s being kept alive by our immigrants who value music education. I love the story about your father and lying under the piano! Did you ever see that movie called Impromptu about George Sand and Chopin? There’s a scene like that. Do you make music? Do you have kids who play? All the best

      Like

  20. Hi Kurt, I have had time now to read through several of your posts and I find them really useful in developing my knowledge of classical pieces. I find your writing style very captivating so keep up the great work 🙂

    Warmest wishes
    Charlotte

    Like

    • kurtnemes says:

      Hi Charlotte. Thanks so much for the encouraging words. You know, I originally wrote most of these entries (about 187) in 1999-2000 and posted them on a free yahoo site. Then I stopped writing for about 10 years because of a series of major life events. During that time, Yahoo ended that free hosting so the site was dead, but I had a copy of the content. About 3 years ago, with the advent of WordPress, I thought I’d repost them, since, during those intervening years, youtube had been created. I didn’t get many hit for the first two years and went through all my original posting. I was ready to give up when another kind blogger, like you, who followed me encouraged me to keep the page going and start giving back to the community by liking and commenting on posts. That brought me into contact with a larger community of writers, musicians and lovers of things cultural. But I had run out of posts. So for a third time, I am reposting the content, this time for a new audience. When I get through those 187, I’ll pick up my life story, and write about more pieces. Funny enough, I’m still discovering new pieces all the time. Once again, thanks for the encouragement. I took a fiction writing course this year, and I’m taking a month off in August which I’ll spend in NYC trying my hand at working on a number of stories, and of course, updating this site. All the best.

      Like

      • Hi Kurt, I have had a couple of hectic weeks but always find a little time to call back and read through your posts. I am so glad you decided to continue and share your work with a new generation of music fans 🙂

        Warmest wishes
        Charlotte

        Like

      • kurtnemes says:

        Thank you very much for choosing a career as a singer – one that brings so much joy to others. I’ll have to start writing about vocal pieces I love in your honor. All the best.

        Like

  21. taplatt says:

    Thank you for following my blog. I look forward to reading yours.

    Like

  22. kvennarad says:

    As a ‘lay consumer’ of music of all genres, I’ve decided to start getting regular email alerts of your posts. I hope when you get to ‘L’in your ‘A o Z’ you will consider my own 20c favourite – Gyorgy LIgeti. I don’t know whether your personal taste includes much modernism, but I can remember being transfixed by the ‘Kyrie’ from his Requiem when I first heard it. Not many pieces of music can do that to me. It still amazes and thrills me.

    Like

    • kurtnemes says:

      Thanks for all the wonderful comments you’ve been making on my posts. I’ll devote L to Ligetti. I first heard him of course in 2001 a Space Odyssey (since I know you’ve watched a lot of Kubrick from your comment on Clockwork Orange). All the best

      Like

  23. jetgirlcos says:

    Hello fellow music lover! Thank you so much for visiting and following my blog for “A to Z” ! I am so happy to have found your almanac. What a treasure that you are sharing with your readers. I am an amateur flute player (have a music ed. degree, but don’t really use it) I, too have always loved “classical” music of all sorts, and I love your A to Z theme because now I can discover some new (to me) composers and their works. Thank you!

    jetgirlcos visiting via Forty, c’est Fantastique

    Like

  24. SalvaVenia says:

    Longlasting affair … 😀

    Like

  25. Cathy Laws says:

    Hey just wanted to thank you for following my blog which ultimately led me to your site. I just so happen to be a music lover as well and was a huge fan of Fantasia as a child. Happy Monday! Looking forward to your future posts 🙂

    Like

    • kurtnemes says:

      Thank you for following my blog. Music is a great uniter and we associate so many life events to tunes. For example, I remember a song from 49 years ago and the way it made me feel as a 10 year old. All the best.

      Like

  26. Willy Nilly says:

    Your blog is a wonderful restop on a hectic journey. I have no musical talent, but there is nothing wrong with my ears. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and appreciation of classical music.

    Like

  27. Karyl says:

    Wow. I love this idea. I started singing in my church choir and have been listening to more classical music. Looking forward to leaning more about music and your life.

    Like

  28. Hi. Glad to have found your excellent blog. I particularly loved the video (Karl Richter) playing the Toccata and Fugue in D minor. I must admit I quarrel with parts of the performance (ie: the fugue is played far to fast to my way of thinking), but the organ is magnificent. I studied the organ myself at Chichester Cathedral in England in my late teens but even that wasn’t as beautiful (or as powerful) as the one shown on the video unfortunately!. Richter is a lucky guy to have such an instrument to play on! One could hardly go wrong! As for the architecture of the church – gorgeous (really frozen music!).
    I compose a bit myself and wonder if my other site would interest you at all? http://musescore.com/user/29067
    The automatic sound is pretty hectic – mainly because I myself haven’t yet learnt how to indicate the correct tempi (!) but the Allegro for organ and the Sonata quasi una fantasia are not too bad! I’d be very interested to hear what you think of them sometime.
    I look forward to going through more of your well-written and extremely interesting postings. Like you, I have had a life-long passion for great music. I can’t imagine what life would be been without Beethoven, Mozart or Bach. (I’ve also got a poem on my blog about when I visited Beethoven’s birthplace as a youngster of 15 and actually played the first movement of his “moonlight Sonata” on one of his very own pianos there. But that’s another story altogether, but we obviously share the same semtiments!
    Kindest regards,

    Like

    • kurtnemes says:

      Dear “Thurstan.” Thank you so much for following my blog and your kind compliments. I am happy to have the opportunity to learn more about you and your multiple artistic endeavors–painting, cartooning, poetry, piano and composition. You story and about the secret visit to Beethoven’s house and then how you captured the connection to the Titan through his music! That must have been a religious experience for you as a boy. Please direct me to links where I can listen to your music. My ex-brother in law lives in London and is cartoonist for the Economist and Guardian. Your cartoons remind me a bit of Ronald Searle style. Looking forward to reading more of your posts. All the best.

      Like

      • Hi Kurt, thank you for your kind (and prompt) reply. Very interesting indeed. I think I would prefer to response by email but the link you asked for seems to be (I’m not really sure as I’m a total ignoramus when it comes to computers I’m afraid) either musescore.com/user/29067 or if you google: Thurstan Bassett/musescore.com it leads (eventually!) to some of my stuff. How about letting me have your email address? Mine is: bassett@global.co.za.
        Kindest regards, Mike.

        Like

  29. Dear Direction of Musical Almanac,
    My name is Arianna Rostagno and I take care of StreamOpera’s management, a website I hope you already know.

    http://Www.StreamOpera.com is a special website dedicated to OPERA through High quality streaming on demand.
    Every week we publish two operas, recorded in important theatres, at the moment in Italy and Europe only. Among the most famous theatres there are: Royal Opera House, Opéra Royale de Wallonie Liége, Teatro La Fenice of Venice, Arena di Verona, Teatro San Carlo of Naples, Teatro Carlo Felice of Genoa etc.
    At the moment we have already published 75 Operas.

    Obviously our aim is to sell the operas via streaming, at the moment at a cost of €3.99. However, Streamopera doesn’t only offers operas as mere commercial windows. In fact, thanks to the two curators Sabino Lenoci and Davide Garattini, directors of the magazine Rivista L’Opera, we offer a large number of sheets on the composers, with reference to each opera, synopsis and critics sheet for each work we publish. Furthermore, there’s a section for interviews to great artists who talk about one character in particular which they have played.

    We hope you’ll find our website interesting and useful, and we would also like to ask you to give us your help: as professionals in this field, we’d very much appreciate your opinion on our project, if you find it easy to use, if you reckon it lacks of something or you have any suggestions to give us.

    If you like our project, we would love to find a way to collaborate with you, while keeping ourselves available to any proposal.

    Waiting for your kind and prompt answer,
    Best wishes,
    Arianna

    Like

  30. kvennarad says:

    Kurt, I have the collection of poems you wanted, but unfortunately I can’t find your email address. Please let me know it.

    MM.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. kkessler833 says:

    I also love classical music! I don’t have a favorite composer but I am partial to Chopin, Bach, and Mozart.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Wivesrepublic says:

    Very interesting bio. I love classical music too.Nice to meet you from the AtoZChallenge.

    Liked by 1 person

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