On a perfect work day I get in my workout without rushing, finish the first batch of clients before my stomach thinks my throat is cut, and get to fix real food (versus strange protein shakes) and eat it before sitting down with the classical station and a book. Today WETA served up this Liszt-Schubert confection.
It took me right back to the days of school orchestra, but also to the epigraph of John le Carre’s “Small Town in Germany,” which was, according to the author, sung to this tune in British messes, sometimes with obscene variants.
Way over there in a small town in Germany
There was a shoemaker, Schumann was his name.
Ich bin ein Musikant, ich bin fur das Vaterland,
I play the big bass drum, and this is how I play!
Six hours and two more clients later, I’m still singing it, and wondering, not just what the obscene variants were, but how fecking long it’s been since anyone in any military mess hall sung anything to a tune by Schubert. Sic transit gloria mundi.