Now that I am no longer at the mercy of the cancellations of school officials, I am of the opinion that there are two really good kinds of snow: the extremely heavy frosting kind where everything is buried by a good foot or more and EVERYTHING is closed and the whole area can go right back to bed; and the powdered sugar kind, where everything is just dusted enough that you can easily get to work but there’s a persistent smile on your face because it clearly snowed.
Right now I am enjoying the latter, and since I am in such a good mood (so far) and I’m always happy to indulge in the holiday spirit, I’d like to tell you about something else that pleases me illogically: the brass section.
I say “illogically” because I have been a loyal strings musician since the fourth grade. String instruments are naturally lyrical, expressive, and versatile. They are the backbone of an orchestra, the core from which everything else builds out. And yet a few nights ago I was listening to the WETA classical music station and the deejay played a brass ensemble’s recording of “Deck the Halls.” I loved the warm, mellow, but also somehow sharp sound of it, and it occurred to me: I am a sucker for horns.
Examples: Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Procession of the Nobles.” The glorious, rising and rising finale of Respighi’s The Pines of Rome. Seasonally appropriate: “Chocolate” from Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker. “Bugler’s Dream.” That frickin’ AMAZING series of just six notes, repeated twice in harmony by two horns, at the end of the last movement of Beethoven’s seventh symphony — I kid you not, I have on more than one occasion rewound and played back those fifteen or twenty seconds just to hear the horn measures again. Love.
I don’t know why. Do you? Which other horn-tastic pieces was I trying to think of but couldn’t just now? And do you harbor illogical love for an instrument?