Bruckner’s Symphony #8, with controversies

Bartje Bartmans channel gives us the score of the “Apocalyptic” Symphony #8 in C Minor (WAB 108).  This happens to be the 1890 version.  In this performance, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by Bernard Haitink plays.  In the finale note the final harmonic pivot to C Major at 1:13:07.

The coda plays the same sequence from the scherzo four times, then a subsequence three times and then the final three octaves on EDC. Earlier, the finale had begun with a version of the first movement theme on the tritone theme of f# minor before getting to C Minor.

Sebasitan Letocart bases a completion of the finale of the 9th on the idea of extracting one theme from the scherzo trio, which I will cover later.

Piano Master shows a reduction of the finale to piano and note that the last three octaves are to be played fast.

Fur bru presents the 1887 version where the first movement has a rather superfluous loud ending (14 minute mark).  The coda of the finale is not quite as compact (a dimuendo I the middle) and convincing.   Radio-Sinfonie-Orchester Frankfurt, Eliahu Inbal, conductor, ;licensed by UMB from Telarc.

Shosktakovich used the opening theme of Bruckner’s Symphony #8 in the closing of the finale of his Symphony #7, the Leningrad.  Claudio Sanchez offers a score on YouTube, with audio from the Netherlands Philharmonic but scores from several sources documented there. Shostakovich seems to have been particularly tantalized by the loud ending of the first movement in the first version as the opening theme rises up like a call to arms.

In October 2014 I attended a performance of the Bruckner Eighth by Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic (I think it was the 1890 version — first movement ended quietly). The concert had also included Bartok’s Piano Concerto #3. In the 8th and 9th symphonies Bruckner is entering a world that seems dark and even “apocalyptic”.

In March 2018 I attended a performance of the Shostakovich at the Strathmore Music Center in Rockville MD, performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Yannick Nezet-Sequin

(Posted: Tuesday, April 26, 2022 at 3 PM EDT by John W. Boushka)

Furtwangler Symphony #1 – any relation to (or reference to) Bruckner #5?

Wilhelm Furtwangler was a famous conductor and apparently stayed in Germany during WWII despite opposing war. He composed three symphonies, and I have CD’s of all three, but I wanted to talk about #1, in B Minor, about 75 minutes.

Video: (no score available)

Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Alfred Walter, posted by Last-Notes, licensed by Naxos.

The first movement is marked Lento but really is more like a Moderato and is quite brooding, with two expansive theme groups.

The Scherzo says in B-minor and sometimes is lighter.

The “slow movement” in G, is very expansive and has a main theme that will sound familiar. There may be a Schumann piece that is similar.

The finale (Moderato Assai) is again very expansive. The first theme sounds capable of fugal treatment, but the second lyrical theme will dominate at the end. After the recapitulation there is an expansive Coda that is like another development based on the lyrical theme that sounds like driving up a mountain. But at almost the very end, Furtwangler seems to quote the final brass chorale statement at the very end of Bruckner’s Fifth (a half step lower in B-flat) almost literally, making the material in the two works feel interchangeable. But Furtwangler ends on loud chords with drums, not just octaves.

Some commenters on YouTube find Furtwangler’s work dense and tedious compared to Bruckner and Mahler. Bruckner was more accomplished with counterpoint and maybe unresolved dissonances.

Atkinson gives a detailed analysis of the fugal finale of the Bruckner 5th. Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by Bernard Haitink.

(Posted: Saturday, April 23, 2022 at 11 PM EDT by John W. Boushka)

The dimuendos at the end of the Dvorak New World, Schubert “Great” C Major symphonies

I’ve always wondered about the dimuendo from FFF to ppp on the very last brass chord of Dvorak’s Symphony #9 in E Minor, “From the New World”, previously known as #5 (Op. 95, B 178).

Berliner Philharmoniker (orchestra), Ferenc Fricsay (conductor)   licensed to YouTube by UMG for DG 1959 early stereo recording, presented on YouTube by Pentameron.

Maybe the reason is that there are many fortissimo chords repeated on the same chord just before the end. 

On a piano, of course, a loud concluding chord will diminish if held (the end of Scriabin’s Piano Concerto as an example).  If you want a piano sonata to end loudly, you need to make the last chord a staccato

(Of course on many modern recordings or in many concert halls, a final loud chord will reverberate and soften quickly.)

We could look at Schubert’s “Great” C Major Symphony (1828, D 944, where the score shows a dimuendo on the final octave at the end, from an Fz.  Most conductors don’t take it (Sawasllisch keeps the volume, which I prefer, unshaved). 

The work today is known as Symphony #9, but there are numbering issues with Schubert’s symphonies.

The C Major Quintet is similar, but it is understandable that a chamber ensemble may not hold volume on a sustained final chord for long.

(Posted: Thursday, April 21, 2022 at 10 PM EDT by John W Boushka)

Amy Beach’s Piano Concerto, and Symphony; why aren’t these played more?

At a time when political correctness and diversity in the arts (now with respect to female composers) is demanded, I still wonder why we don’t see large orchestras and well known pianists taking up the work of Amy Beach (1867-1944), who was married to a much older doctor for much of her life.

The Piano Concerto in C# Minor, Op. 45 (1899) sometimes sounds almost like another Brahms concerto. There is a declamatory opening theme in the most minor of all keys, with a short orchestral ritornel, before the piano enters, and soon takes us to a second theme, and then a very active development and recapitulation with lots of rich harmonies, syncopation and modulations. There is an extensive cadenza (apart from Brahms) before the movement ends with violence, reminding one of how the first movement of the Brahms Concerto 1 ends.

There is a brief “perpetual motion” scherzo, and then a relatively brief slow movement in F# Minor that amounts to a song without words. The finale starts out as a laid back rondo that gradually becomes more intense, to end with triumph in the Picardy D-flat major.

The video is supplied by S.P.’s Score Videos, performed by Joanne Polk, English Chamber Orchestra, Paul Goodwin, and licensed to YT by the Orchard (is that the movie distributor?)   I have the Vox Turnabout CD.

The Symphony in E Minor, Op. 32, (1896), the “Gaelic”, has been compared to Dvorak;s New World, in the same key.  The overall harmonic styles are similar.  But Beach’s first movement has no slow introduction, and starts with a rush in the strings, and is rather compact. Her scherzo and slow movement are apparently based on Gaelic folk songs, as is the big tune that closes the finale.

Neemi Jarvi performs with the Detroit Symphony, from score provided by TheOneandOnlyOne, licensed by Naxos.  I have the Chandos CD. 

(Posted: Tuesday, April 19, 2022 at 2 PM EDT by John W. Boushka)

Dohnanyi’s youthful Piano Concerto #1 with its hymn near the end

The Piano Concerto #1 in E Minor, Op. 5, by Hungarian composer Ernst Von Dohnanyi )1877-1960) was completed in 1898, when the composer would have been turning 21.

Again, the work is a white-hot testament to young male energy and virility. And it is rather long (44 min).

The overall style is somewhat Brahmsian, with a lot a spicy Hungarian rhythms and constant syncopation thrown in. But the expansive style of each of the three movements also deserves note.

The first movement begins with a slow introduction in triple time, and is said to recall the opening of Brahms’s Symphony #1.  The main Allegro has a second subject in the dominant B Major.  The movement ends quietly recalling the opening.

The slow movement (Andante) seems to vacillate around the subdominant tonality of A.

But the finale, starting out Vivace in E Minor in triple time, is indeed grand. It is episodic, with a couple of intermediate cadenza-like passages for piano and orchestra separately. The elements in the finale come together (sometimes fugally) near the end with a grand chorale E Major hymn tune, which a church minister of music believes is original with the composer but has found its way into some hymnals.  The coda, anticipating Rachmaninoff (after a big tune) ends with a flourish of virtuosity.

S.P. Scores Videos offers the score on YouTube, in a licensed Naxos performance by Howard Shelley (pianist) and the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Matthias Bamert.

Update: April 20:

Look also at the Symphony #1 in D Minor (1901), composed at age 24, Op. 9 (54 min and almost of early Mahler proportions).

The work has five movements, the last an Introduction, Theme and Variations and Fugue. Oscillating rhythms mark this work. Performance by Roberto Paternostro, Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz. The OneandOnlyZero provides the video on YouTube.

(Posted: Saturday, April 16, 2022 at 10 PM EDT by John W. Boushka)

Eugen d’Albert’s Piano Concerto #1, inspired by the Liszt B Minor Sonata, is a teenager’s masterpiece

Eugen d’Albert’s (1864-1932) Piano Concerto #1 in B Minor Op. 2 (there were two earlier “juvenile” concerti), completed by 1884 and apparently composed when he was 18 and 19, comes across as an attempt to provide the world another Liszt B Minor Sonata, but with a desired loud and triumphant ending. But the piano writing is actually closer to Brahms than Liszt, and the syncopation and harmonies anticipate some effects in the music in Amy Beach’s Piano Concerto about two decades later. Beach will be one of America’s renowned female composers; yet this d’Albert work sounds like the work of a beta male announcing his alpha intellect (on top of pianist virtuosity) as a ticket to hyper-masculinity. (He married six times and had eight kids, so, yes, to today’s woke world he sounds so heteronormative!)

The first section presents the two major subject groups (after a long introduction) along with brief development. The first subject is a syncopated march, and the second subject is a long lyrical line in E Major that will sound immediately familiar to any listener.  I can’t identify the popular song or movie score drawn from it. Also, it’s unusual in any sonata form to present a second subject in the subdominant major.  I know of no other work that does this.

The development starts, and trails off to a brief pause, for the slow movement, of sorts, to start. It is in D-flat, with another memorable theme, and a middle section that sounds like an odd setting of Chopin’s Funeral March (in the same key, B-flat minor).  The main theme returns, before the music returns (a very brief pause is desirable in performance to help the listener follow the form) to the first movement themes for a recapitulation.  He gets started recapitulating the second theme in D this time, before breaking for his cadenza, which is amazing. It is a 3-part fugue, with great virtuosity, and for all its closeness to Bach and Reger, in places it is simply atonal and dodecaphonic (chromaticism simply breaks down). Then for the coda, finally in the Picardy B Major, starts put with a scherzando – so does the finale of Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto.  The second theme grows and explodes suddenly in one grand but brief big tune – Rachmaninoff surely had heard this work.  The runaway coda pivots on the subdominant, a thrill trick that Scriabin would use later to great effect to close out his rather Wagnerian “Divine Poem”.

By comparison with the Liszt:  in that work, the “Grandioso” is the second subject but is triumphant the first time it is introduced.  D’Albert saves the grandioso effects for the cadenza and coda.

The performance here is by pianist Joseph Banowetz, with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted Dmitry Yablonsky, pm the channel by John Beuck, licensed from Naxos records (I have that CD hardcopy in my own collection).

I listened to this work a lot during the last two years or so of my mother’s life (she passed at the end of 2010).

For the Liszt B Minor, performed by Krystian Zimerman, channel of Ashish Xiangyi Kumar

Erolon gives the proposed loud ending for the Liszt (which Liszt changed).

Mikhail Pletnev plays the Dante Sonata quasi Fantasia, D Minor, with lots of use of tritones, and a very loud ending, channel of Ashish Xiangyi Kumar

(Posted: Thursday, April 14, 2022 at 10 PM EDT by John W. Boushka)

Schoenberg’s “Gurre-Lieder”: Is it a cantata, an opera, a ‘symphony’? The ultimate post-romantic masterpiece

I want to repost some old material about large music compositions from my old blogs here in the new environment, and one of my “favorites” is the massive cantata “Gurre-Lieder” (“Songs of Gurre”) by Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951), composed between 1900-1911. 

Schoenberg is often regarded as the first composer to write atonal music in the 12-tone system (to say he invented it is a stretch – go back to Liszt, for openers) but in his young manhood he wrote a few postromantic works that literally took the world of Liszt, Wagner (especially), Bruckner, Mahler, and Richard Strauss as far as it could be taken.  Others, of course, took after Mahler (Shostakovich, and sometimes Benjamin Britten and Leonard Bernstein; to my mind, Shostakovich’s 4th and 8th symphonies really give us two more “late Mahler” purely orchestral symphonies; Britten’s “War Requiem” is the requiem mass Mahler wanted to write if he had lived long enough) .

The libretto is taken from poems by Jens Peter Jacobsen, about a love triangle in medieval Denmark (translated to German).  The work  (usually about 110 minutes) has been choreographed for opera, but is usually performed with vocal soloists, male choruses and mixed chorus, as if it were more like an oratorio.  The female character, Tove, becomes Tovina in my own sci-fi screenplay “Second Epiphany”, where a plot requirement at the end is that she must become impregnated.  

But the must useful comparison might be to that of a Mahler symphony.  The work is in three parts.  Part 1 comprises 11 movements (9 solo vocal songs for three soloists, with an orchestral introduction and penultimate interlude.  The whole 52 minute part could be compared to Mahler’s “Das Lied von de Erde”, which some call a “symphony”.  The part opens in E-flat (reminder of “The Ring”) and the final catastrophic song seems to be in B-flat minor, before suddenly crashing back to E-flat minor (Prokofiev would do this later). 

Part 2 is a violent interlude in B-flat minor, with a brief vocal song by Waldemar, who curses God for what I call “the Mousetrap Paradox”.  I won’t explain further here.  But at the very end of this part, the music suddenly crashes on the dominant F Minor, as if it had been the tonic.

Part 3 will start in G-flat and end in C.   That is a tritone jump (mathematically splitting the octave in half) but it also means that the entire work progresses from E-flat to C Major at the end, reversing the scheme of Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony and coming back home to C.

So the overall form is comparable to some other large “symphonies” that needed chorus, starting with Beethoven, then Mendelssohn (#2), Liszt (Faust), Mahler’s 2 and 8, Shostakovich 13 and 14.  The harmonic language is so lush that it sometimes seems to inherit from impressionism (think Debussy’s “Martyrdom”, which actually gets loud).

You can read the “plot” here, with all the vassals, the joker, and the undead spirits wanting to rise from the grave with their dead hands. The “story circle” is pretty clear here from Waldemar’s viewpoint.    The music offers “sprechstimme” with the joker (is he like the character in the Batman movies?) But the world clears with sunrise, and the final chorus literally outdoes Mahler. The conclusion must hold the longest C Major fortissimo in all of music.  This is, after all, about the virility and strength of young manhood.

Even though the work, with all its demands, is not often performed in entirety, the themes and harmonic manipulations in the work will sound familiar to the listener, most of all in the final chorus.  Hollywood knows this work well.

Performance embedded here is from Ryan Power’s channel. Claudio Abbado conducts the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra and Slovak Philharmonic choirs.  Major soloists: Waldemar – Thomas Moser, Tove – Jane Eaglen, Waldtaube – Marjana Lipovsek.

(Posted om Tuesday, April 12, 2022 by John W. Boushka)

“Copenhagen”, play by Michael Frayn, and PBS Film (retrieved older reviews by me)

Review from the original DADT legacy site of 2002 PBS film “Copenhagen”.

Copenhagen (2002, PBS/Hollywood, dir. Howard Davies, from the play by Michael Frayn, with Introduction and Epilogue by Frayn, total is about 105 min) is a conversation between physicists German Werner Heisenberg (Daniel Craig), author of the famous Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle of quantum physics, and Danish physicist Niels Bohr (Stephen Rea). Heisenberg requests the meeting in Copenhagen (home of Hans Christian Andersen), Denmark (during Nazi occupation) in September 1941, at Bohr’s home. Francesca Annis plays Bohr’s wife and provides some narration. Much of the conversation consists of talk between the two men, sometimes on walks, about the whole question of science and politics. Hitler’s anti-Semitism has already cost him an edge in nuclear research, and Heisenberg insists he has no loyalty to the Nazis. The situation reminds one of conductor Wilhelm Furtwangler in Taking Sides (2001).

There is a lot of setup of the talk, though. Heisenberg’s arrival in Copenhagen by steam train and quaint travel to Bohr’s estate is carefully scripted. Their verbal encounters become contentious, as Bohr accuses Heisenberg of a little “nip” in finding fault in one of his lectures. Then they go on a secret walk into the woods, and confront each other. What they said becomes hearsay, from them. But it comes down to the join of physics, politics, and morality. Heisenberg confronts Bohr with the ultimate insight into the nature of nuclear fission (not just fusion) and critical mass, particularly when working with HEU (highly enriched uranium, U-235 isotope). Heisenberg wants to know if America has a program yet, and is debating just how involved he can get involved in what could be Hitler’s nuclear weapon’s program. We don’t know for sure exactly what was said, but restraint on their part could have prevented Hitler from getting The Bomb before America did. Later, they reunite in an empty estate, and consider Hiroshima. Bohr has worked on the Manhattan Project in the United States, and must struggle with whether he contributed to mass deaths. The two men taunt each other about who took the responsibility for doing the critical mathematical calculation involving critical mass of U-235. There is the moral point, that some of us (particularly, in Rosenfels terms, “subjective feminines”) will have the opportunity to discover and speak The Truth about great issues, to possess the proverbial Knowledge of Good and Evil. Any one person’s written work can have enormous impact on the world, for good or for bad. Hitler himself was one example. There is a certain asymmetry in this that existed well before the Internet. Where is restraint on personal opportunity and ambition called for? When is loyalty to a higher calling –faith—to be expected? There is also a parallel between the uncertainty about what they said to each other and about their friendship, and the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle itself. A man is like one of those particles of uncertain position and velocity, and we are back to undergraduate philosophy. Everything is affected by the act of observing it (as Einstein said—“Jewish science” the Nazis called it)—we get to what I would call The Gawker’s Effect. (Maybe that’s why sometimes people fear being stared at.) The music background, featuring piano music by Franz Schubert (like the A-flat impromptu, which Heisenberg attempts to play on the house grand piano, and some slow movements from sonatas), as well as a theme by Mike Post, is haunting.

 A couple times in my life, I have had dinner meetings as clandestine and important (to me) as those in these films.

Review from the “Plays” Blog, 2007

On my last day as a substitute teacher in December 2005, I got to show, to an honors chemistry class, one of my favorite “films.” Actually, it is a 2002 BBC television adaptation of Michael Frayn’s stage play Copenhagen, published in book format by Anchor in 2000 (check Amazon, ISBN 0385720793). The television show starts with a twenty-minute prologue with the playwright talking about the fabled meeting between physicists Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg in 1941. (Stephen Rea and Daniel Craig play the parts in the TV docudrama, directed and adapted by Howard Davies). The play is important because it presents a serious ethical problem. Heisenberg had made an “intellectual discovery” that could give the owner of the knowledge the ability to make an atomic bomb. If he gave it to Hitler, then Hitler could win the war. Now, the moral problem, and the reason science teachers like to show this film to more advanced students, is that, while we “own” our discoveries in an intellectual property sense, there sometimes can be consequences for “publishing” the discovery.  I my circumstances, there were extra reasons why this was an ironic duty on the last day of teaching. 

Supplemental discussion from GLBT blog, Nov. 2006: Is there a “don’t ask don’t tell” de facto policy for teachers?

A small amount of testimony at the COPA trial referred to the possibility that teachers could be fired or reassigned in some cases if they discuss (“abnormal”) “personal information” with students. Does this mean that a teacher could be removed for making “personal stuff” available at a public place on the Internet where kids could find it with search engines?

 School boards regulate what teachers present in the classroom, and of course this has been politicized, especially by parents and pressure groups who fear that the religious or filial socialization of their children can be compromised by pluralistic exposure. Teachers generally have more freedom to say what they want on their own time and with their own resources, especially since they are public employees. Generally, teachers’ first amendment rights have been honored, for example, if they are seen by television cameras attending gay events.

There is a long audit trail of case law about this, both within school property and outside the school system. The issue is muddied by the Internet and World Wide Web, with the issues presented by search engines and by “free entry.” There is a balancing between the legitimate First Amendment rights of teachers (and students) and the need to preserve order and, frankly, safety and security in the school systems. There is a legitimate point that teaching, by definition, involves taking responsibility for the behavior of others who may be less cognitive and less competent in accounting for their own actions or in understanding what they find than are adults. After all, that is why the kids must go to school. The issue becomes much less important in practice for teachers who have only honors or AP students, but the reality of the teacher shortage today is that the challenge of dealing with average and special education students should be shared by as many teachers as possible.

The recent controversies, litigations, and constitutional amendment referendums about gay rights – most specifically gay marriage and civil unions – brings up a troubling point. Issues like gay marriage and the “don’t ask don’t tell” policy for gays in the military draw attention to the reality that gays are often (by circularity) cut out of “paying their dues” and taking responsibility for others in normal family and service settings. Sometimes, persons who do not have these responsibilities may be expected to “sacrifice” for the food of people who do have these responsibilities. In this sense, then, gays (and lesbians) are not the equal of heterosexuals in practice.  What happens if kids ask a gay teacher about his home life? If he or she reveals a same-sex domestic partner relationship, is this violating school policy of disclosing “personal stuff” to students? A number of states have passed constitutional amendments banning gay marriage, and a few (like Virginia, which passed the rather punitive Marshall-Newman amendment on Nov. 7) have gone so far as to ban civil unions from any legal recognition. Since a same-sex relationship cannot have legal recognition, such an answer could be seen as an improper disclosure of personal information to students.

There have been cases in some states where teachers have disclosed gay marriages or unions in class and have not been disciplined, but these have tended to occur in states, like California, with a more pluralistic social climate. In many cases, it may be all right for teachers to “tell” if they refer to sexual orientation as “status” (Bill Clinton’s word) rather than as psychological interest or a propensity for “conduct.” They could refer to a biological or genetic hypothesis, but not to anything deeper about personal choices. That starts to sound like a content-based speech restriction.  The issue bears comparison with the military “don’t ask don’t tell” where, by law, a statement (even in private) that one is gay triggers the presumption that one has a propensity to engage in prohibited acts. Persons have been discharged from the military for disclosing homosexual orientation on personal websites or on social networking sites.

With teachers, a comparable but less draconian situation seems to exist. In fairness to school systems, one must note that their sensitivity to “personal stuff” is a community standards issue; in their world, content that is legitimate in an open adult world might be interpreted, and unfavorably legally, in their protective community, even when discovered accidentally.  There is also a similar problem if a teacher’s statements (in a public place) indicate to others (such as parents or administrators) a “propensity” to show an undue interest in the attractiveness of minors. This would be likely to affect many more heterosexuals than homosexuals (most people caught in chat room stings, as on NBC Dateline, have been heterosexual). This problem is existential: an older person who does not have an intimate relationship with someone his own age (and show complementarity) is likely to be viewed as more vulnerable to “temptation,” even though admitting to “temptation” itself is not defamatory. Teachers (even subs) could get into serious legal trouble (possibly attracting passive solicitation charges) with statements that they view as existential but that could be viewed as self-defamatory by others. There is little experience with this in the law with respect to the World Wide Web, and it is tangential to COPA, but the trial and opinion might give some guidance as to how the open access and search engine issue (and filters or labels) plays out with disturbing or ambiguous speech found by minors. For a gay person, the lack of legal equality (in recognition of adult relationships) could become relevant, because it could make a statement be regarded as “personal” and therefore indirectly solicitous or motivated by illegal intentions. On the other hand, if this legal conundrum is rolled out, we see a lot of deference to “prejudicial thinking” which amounts to a content-based restriction on free speech.

 I found, in my own case when I was substitute teaching, that it was very difficult, with certain disadvantaged students, to maintain classroom discipline (“poor classroom management”) when they did not see me as an “equal” who had faced their kinds of life challenges and “manhood” experiences. How does one answer this, as an exercise of faith? The Catholic Church has tried to build a whole priesthood culture around men who do not reproduce, to make them credible as authority figures, as long as they give up their freedom and preach only the Church’s teachings of socialization for “normal people.” Ironically, unmarried women have always been well regarded, often preferred as teachers, and “authority figures” for small children.

It is also important that, given the supposed teacher shortage, that new teachers making a “career switcher” move after retirement still have to invest about $4000 in tuition for licensure before getting a permanent job in most cases. For a gay man, in a political climate in a state that goes out of its way to say that he is not the equal of other more “manly men” as a role model, this does not sound like a sound private investment. (Of course, again there is an existential problem: if one is drawn to other men who he perceives as “better,” what does that say about him?) So there is a chilling effect. At the same time, we watch the spectacle of school districts desperately trying to recruit teachers from third-world countries because Americans are appalled by the political climate (as well as the pay) in public schools. That reminds me of the circularity problem that the military has created for itself in recruiting and keeping linguists (with “don’t ask don’t tell”). It’s important to note that some teachers (including subs) can face contingent responsibilities to deal with intimate custodial care issues (as with some special education students), and for an openly gay person, the “DADT” doctrine codified into federal law in 1993 might have legal repercussions even outside of the military. I once was asked if I would mind “helping out in the locker room” and, as a sixty-year-old man, wearing only swimming trunks myself and manning the deep end of a swimming pool on a surprise field trip. I declined. (And I don’t swim.) All of these concepts (regarding speech, legal status for relationships, and forced-intimacy occupations like the military and teaching – all becoming more important as society contemplates ideas like national service) bear parallels that are rather scary. It’s well to review the history of attempts to ban gay teachers in the past, such as the Briggs Initiative in California in 1978, or the Washington State bill in 1986, which defrocked Republican Spokane mayor Jim West had supported.

 See my footnote link note 157.  There was also a PBS show “A Hidden Life” which I’ll look up later. 

(Posted: Saturday, April 9, 2022 at 12 noon EDT by John W. Boushka)