The desire to hear more from a viola is probably not the least perverse aspect of the entire episode

I spent yesterday afternoon attempting to read a book about political parties in Ohio in the 1820s. The author, Don Ratcliffe, for reasons I hesitate to explore, fixed on the word “cleavage” to describe splits among large blocs of voters in the antebellum midwest. So it was cleavage this, and cleavage that, and a whole section in chapter one about “the origins of the cleavage” and by about 5.30 pm or so, having wrestled with the thing for over an hour, I decided that the entire business was without question a monstrous exercise in distraction perpetrated on the chaste and unsuspecting reader by Dr. Ratcliffe and (one assumes) Dr. Ratcliffe’s editor at the Ohio State University Press. And so I stopped reading it.

Instead, I went home and listened to this very nice trio for viola, piano and clarinet by Mozart. In terms of the balance of the recording, I could have used more viola, but beggers can’t be choosers, I guess.

It’s called the Kegelstatt trio. (A ‘Kegelstatt,’ for the record, is a place to play skittles/ninepines/bowling games. For whatever reason, I was moved to look this up, and so now I know.)

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