Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Archive for Hobbies

Jan Woloniecki: Opera Fanatic of the Decade

We ponder – for a bit – the nature of hobbies: those avocational pursuits that run the gamut from harmless amusement to life-dominating passions. I will confess up front that I am a collector, and so I’ve got a certain insight into this hobby-thing that a non-collector/non-hobbyist will not have. My first wife, bless her, was a non-collector, which is, I think, one of the primary reasons why she numbers as having been my “first” wife. She couldn’t understand my “materialistic” desire – neigh, my passion – for acquisition. Indeed, she saw no distinction between collecting, accumulating, and hoarding. (FYI, according to yours truly, “accumulating” is the act of merely acquiring objects without theme, rhyme, or reason. Hoarding is the indiscriminate accumulation of objects, to the degree that the hoard itself – the stockpile, the mass – is the point of the assemblage rather than the particular objects within the assemblage. “Collecting” is a very different sort of thing. Collecting is the selective acquisition of like objects, chosen, researched, and arranged in such a way as to describe some sort of narrative.) To my mind, collecting is an attempt to give structure and shape to the chaos that surrounds us; […]

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