Beethoven at the midnight café

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  • You know, I live eat, and sleep both music and the library. Even when I dream, I dream about either musical subjects or library issues.
  • I also consider myself a bit of an intuitive – although I am nothing like Patricia Arquette on one of my favorite tv shows “Medium,” - but in my dreams, I often visit a place called “The Midnight Café” and meet people. The other night, I did have a very strange dream that I think was sent to me from the great beyond so that I could share it with you this morning.
  • So here is the outside of the Midnight Café, so you can get a feel for the neighborhood and the clientele – and you can see the name of the restaurant on the cat’s mouth in this picture. Those of you who know me know that I love Halloween, so it should not surprise you that this is where I go in my astral travels.
  • And here is the inside – you can’t really see the tables on the side – that’s where I sit when I do my astral visitsSo in this dream, I was sitting in a booth at the Midnight Cafe, enjoying a vanilla latte and checking my email when Beethoven came in and sat down at my table.
  • And this is what Beethoven looks like when he visits me in my dreams. He is usually pretty disheveled and almost always short tempered.In this dream, he was pretty grumpy and ordered a large mocha frappachino. Right off the bat, he starts pounding his fist on the table and complaining. I did not bat an eyelash - for librarians, this is nothing new – our job is to help people and get them what they need, and even in a dream, this does not change for me.  Beethoven started off complaining about the size of his coffee drink and the increase in café prices since he was alive. I could not help him much with that, and I attempted to tell him how wonderful it was to have the variety of coffees available, but he grumbled that the service was slow. I tried to have him talk about something else, so I asked him about his music. That really started the litany of complaints as the bulk of his issues centered on his feeling that, both in the afterlife and when he was alive, he never had access to all the musical material that he needed. So for everything that Beethoven complained about, I offered him a library service or product that I thought would help. First, he brought up that, in the afterlife, Wagner is always bragging to him about what he accomplished on earth and the critical acclaim awarded to his compositions. It just made Beethoven sick to hear him go on, and wished that he could just get a quick run-down Wagner’s life so he could figure out how much is the truth and how much is a lie.
  • I recommended that he check out the Oxford Music Online database, and specifically look at the Wagner article in Grove Music Online which will give a good summary of his life accomplishments and a complete list of his musical works – and he could do it right from the afterlife as long as he had internet access – which apparently they do in the afterlife, and I am sure that it is wi-fi.
  • First I showed him how to get to the library web page by opening the TU website and clicking on the Library link.
  • Then I showed him to click to open the library’s web page which looks like this. Then I told him to click on the link for Subject Gateways and to click on the word Music from the result list.
  • I showed him the electronic reference tools that the library provides for both on and off campus use – and where Oxford Music Online was in the line up of music resources.
  • “Look you’ll get this really nice article,” I told him. “And you can read it and find out all about Wagner and his works.” Beethoven said he would have to check it out and then go back and talk to that liar Wagner. I remembered that Beethoven was never noted for his open-mindedness.Then he complained that when he was alive, he often he needed a score from a composer that lived far away from him. It took forever for him to travel to see that composer and get a look at his latest scores – and some composers like Rossini were sneaky and would not let him look at their work. He also said that in Rossini’s case, his sneakiness has carried over into the afterlife and he still won’t let him see his scores.  
  • So I directed him back to the Cook Library home page and told him that he could easily find tons of Rossini scores by choosing the Library Catalog. and doing an Advanced Search with Rossini as his composer/author name and scores as his format limit.
  • I showed him how to do an Advanced Search with Rossini as his composer/author name and scores as his format limit. He had over 34 scores to look at. “That’s not enough,” he yelled. “Okay, okay,” I said. Then you need to do an USMAI search and search the entire state university system. You can have any score from another state school sent here to Cook Library for you to borrow and return.
  • He needed to go back to the Library’s catalog list and select the statewide school search for library materials.
  • When we did this search, he got 207 results. Then he sneered that he did not think that any state university in “your little Maryland” as he put it, would have the scores he needed. So I told him that if he went back to that list of library catalogs and chose the last one, Worldcat, he could search for scores nationwide, including the collections of the largest university libraries in the country. Once he found one he wanted, he could use his interlibrary loan/ILLiad account to request it, and our interlibrary loan office would get the score and send it to Cook Library for him to borrow. All this can be done right from his computer. I showed him this Worldcat search screen and searched for any scores at all by Rossini. We came up with over 13,000 scores. He said that he thought Germany had more scores than America, but there might be a few things he wanted to see, so he might look at Worldcat if he had some spare time. I did not point out that in the afterlife, he probably had plenty of time, as I did not want to start another argument with him.
  • Then he complained that during his lifetime, he never met a copyist that he liked. His hands would just ache from painstakingly writing out the parts to his compositions, but he could never trust anyone else to notate his scores. Beethoven said any time he made the mistake of stopping by Telemann’s cloud, Telemann went on and on about how no one else has composed as many works as he did. Beethoven complained that he could have composed as many works as “big mouthed Telemann” had if he could only have written quicker. I told him that things are really different for our music majors now as the library’s Media Resource Services lab has both Sibelius and Finale notation software. I told him that if he was still composing in the afterlife, he could come to the second floor of Cook Library and check out our MRS lab and all the special software that he could use. I went to the library’s web page and showed him how to see the list of audio/visual software in the lab and pointed out that most nights, the lab is open until 2 AM. He just harumpfed and said that no computer would ever be as perfect as he was. I did not comment, but pointed out that he could even save his compositions to his student webdisk account or email them to himself before he left the lab – just in case his memory was not what it was when he was alive. He yelled that there was nothing wrong with his memory, either when he was alive or in the afterlife. I didn’t want to go down this path, so I asked him what he had been listening to recently.
  • He then told me that he is getting a little sick of hearing the angel chorus and that the harp music was getting on his nerves. He wanted to hear some other music that was not so consonant. I recommended that he try using the Naxos Music Library database and search for some new music to stream. I told him to go back to the Subject Gateways for Music on the Library’s web page (where he had found Oxford Music Online) and scroll down to Naxos Music Library and open the database.I opened the database and showed him how to do an advanced search by musical time period (contemporary)and country (United States) and genre (orchestral) to get a list of recordings by American composers that he could stream immediately on his computer and with the new Naxos app, right on his mobile device. He did confirm that he could download apps to his iTouch so he could stream from it, but he could not understand why I was looking for American composers – he did not think that there were any. Now it was my turn to bang on the table and tell him that he was wrong as evidenced by our lengthy result list.
  • Our search showed 577 tracks of contemporary orchestral music by American composers. And I showed him how to click on the title of a track to stream. I found one that I wanted him to look at.
  • Here was one recording, I told him, that he had better listen to, or I was leaving and going back to bed. I told him to click on the tracks he wanted to stream and to click play selections. I also told him that the liner notes for this CD were superb and he had better read those too. I told him to click on the about this recording link to see them. By this time, I was yelling – Beethoven often has that effect on me. He told me not to get so excited. He said he could not believe that an American composer could write an interesting violin concerto, but he would still check Naxos Music Library out and see what he found.
  • I was about to tell him that I had to leave, but then he got a sad look on his face and said that he wished he could have researched his hearing loss himself, rather than depend on the incompetent doctors. I told him that a good bit of targeted special research is published in journal articles and that our library databases will index these articles and in many cases, provide electronic full text right on your desktop. I took him back to the Subject Gateway to Music on the library’s web site and showed him the variety of music related article indexing databases that the library subscribes to and told him he could search these either on or off campus. I did a quick search in the Arts and Humanities Citation Index database on Beethoven and Deafness and pointed two articles in medical journals in the result list. Many of these articles he could read electronically on his computer. If the library did not own the journal in print or electronic format, he could use his Interlibrary Loan Account to order copies of the articles. Then he threw his hands up and said he could not remember how to do all of this – I told him that I had developed step by step guides to research tasks that he could download from my web page.
  • I showed him my web page and my link to Wozworld Quick Guides to Research and the guide for searching for journal articles. “Are you insinuating that I am stupid?” he yelled. “No, “I said, but everyone needs a little help in remembering how to do these things – they can get complicated - and the quick guides are really easy to follow.” By now he was getting fed up. “Well aren’t you just the know-it-all!” he yelled at me. “Sometimes I just need someone to talk to me about a problem. Sometimes I just need some advice. What Cook Library product do you have for that?” he yelled as he pointed at my computer.  
  • I told him how any students or faculty could make an individual research appointment with me. They can either come and meet me in the library or take advantage of my on-site Center for the Arts office hours at lunch time. This semester, the hours will start the first week of March and I will be sitting in the Atrium area on alternating Wednesdays and Thursdays from noon – 1:30 pm. This way, I am hoping to be able to meet with more students after their masterclasses. I am there to listen and to help on any topic.
  • Then, he put his head down and said that sometimes he was fearful about playing the pianoforte in front of large crowds in the afterlife – Liszt always makes nasty comments and how he never plays loud enough and Chopin gets a pained look on his face any time Beethoven hits a wrong key. I told him that I could find him some books about performance anxiety and that I have a brochure that I created with tips for performers that I would share with him. He said that his technique on certain instruments needs improvement and when he visits Berlioz’ cloud, Berlioz is quick to shoo him away and tells Beethoven not to touch his saxophone. I told him I could help him find saxophone technique books that would explain how to play the instrument. He then admitted that Leonard Bernstein keeps asking him to give a talk in the afterlife about working collaboratively with others, and as that was not his forte in life (or apparently the afterlife), but he did not know where to begin. I told him that he could bounce some ideas off of me and that together we could try to put together some type of speaker’s outline and find some nice quotes to introduce his speech.“Liebchien, you would do all this for me?” he asked incredulously. “Yes, but I also would do it for any music student or faculty member at Towson University,” I said, “that is what I am there for. They can email, phone, or visit me for help for any research question that they have.” “I thought that you would only do this for me!,” he yelled and stomped his foot. “I am insulted to think that everyone gets this type of treatment at Cook Library.” With that last complaint, Beethoven disappeared in a large cloud, and I was left drinking my latte. And amazingly in my dream, it was still warm.
  • The story of Beethoven visiting me was a dream, but both my solutions to the research questions he posed, and my offer of assistance to everyone one of you, are not. I hope that you enjoyed hearing about my dream and have learned a little about what is available to at Cook Library. My other favorite tv show is “Ghost Whisperer.” I hope that I have watched enough episodes so that I am prepared when I am working in the music stacks and turn to find Beethoven peering over my shoulder. Don’t be surprised if you see me talking to myself at Cook Library - I will probably still be trying to help Beethoven - who may be persistent enough to visit me during the daylight hours, or discover a liking for the library Starbucks’ lattes. You just never know who you are going to find at Cook Library, so stop by and visit soon.
  • Beethoven at the midnight café

    1. 1. Beethoven at the Midnight Café<br />Music Department Convocation<br />February 2, 2010<br />Lisa Woznicki, Liaison to Dance, Music and Theater<br />Reference Department<br />Cook Library <br />
    2. 2. Image: www.impawards.com/tv/posters/medium.jpg<br />
    3. 3. Image: http://www.my-mania.com/halloween/village.hltm<br />
    4. 4. Image: http://www.shortnorth.com/VictoriansMidnight.html<br />
    5. 5. http://www.rock-hill.k12.sc.us/teachers/bves/jmccallum/mccallum/thinkquest/trivia.html<br />
    6. 6. Image: www.cheshire.gov.uk/Library/pn/pn-reflib.htm<br />
    7. 7.
    8. 8.
    9. 9.
    10. 10.
    11. 11.
    12. 12. Result = <br />34 scores <br />
    13. 13. Result = <br />207 scores <br />
    14. 14. Result = 13,00+ scores <br />
    15. 15.
    16. 16.
    17. 17. Result = <br />577 tracks to stream <br />
    18. 18.
    19. 19.
    20. 20.
    21. 21.
    22. 22. Images: www.amazon.com<br />
    23. 23. Image: http://www.shockya.com/news/wp-content/uploads/ghost_whisperer_season_3_dvd_art.jpg<br />

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