And to think – nothing separates Handel and some sweet guitar licks but the centuries.
“Thought you might appreciate this new ‘Baroque’ version of Justin Bieber’s song ‘Beauty & a Beat,” said @bonaomi1. My readers know me so well!
A long time ago, while generating ideas for blog posts, it occurred to me that it might be good to write about what makes each art different. And then I thought, no, that’s stupid – what makes each art different is that it’s a completely different art. Obviously. But there was something I was trying to get at there beyond the superficial differences, and last week I figured out what it was.
I was at a Baltimore Symphony Orchestra concert, the one with the Rachmaninoff. I’m not even a huge Rachmaninoff fan, being raised to look upon him with a suspicious eye, but all the same. Garrick Ohlsson was playing these beautiful chords, and the orchestra was unspooling its notes gently behind him, and I thought to myself – there are places classical music can go that nothing else can. There are things classical music can express that nothing else can. Classical music can do things that nothing else can do.
And then I thought, okay, classical music snob, if that’s the case, why do you listen to so much indie rock? Hmmm? Missy? If classical music is so darn transcendental, what do you need with a bunch of clever lyrics and a bass line?
Good question, good question. And that’s when it hit me about the cracks in the universe.
Let’s say the universe is riddled with crevices, filled with emotions and truths. There are crevices only classical music can ever hope to enter, and facts about life that only classical music could ever hope to dig out. And inside those little holes there are bits that only Rachmaninoff himself can get to, next to the divots solely Beethoven could ever hope to go. The better the composer, the better the music, the more and deeper the cracks, of course, but there it is. That’s why we need classical music, to go the places only it can.
But! There are other cracks, that indie rock can access. The same – dare I say it – for pop music, with its bounce and feel-good fun. And then cracks that a painting can pick at where music could never hope to fit. Cracks just for dance, cracks just for actors. We need them all if we can ever hope to explore as much of the universe as we can. If we let any one of them die we lose our avenue to its portion of life.
So that’s what I think about during a concert, in case you were ever wondering. Cracks in the universe. Maybe I read too much Heinlein.*
* This is impossible.
The devil went down to Georgia; he was looking for a soul to steal
He was in a bind ’cause he was way behind and he was willing to make a deal
When he came upon a young man sawing a viola and playing it hot
And the devil jumped up on a hickory stump and said,
“Ah-HA! This one’s already mine!”
So he took the violist’s soul and got the hell outta there. (Get it? The hell outta there!)
… No, seriously, Mr. Daniels. I do apologize.
We interrupt your usual Thursday viola joke/Friday LOL/Monday video schedule for a few additional music gifts so that you can order anything you like in time for the holidays. I’ll make it up to you next week, I promise.
Boys, I hope you aren’t feeling left out — I know an alarming number of music gifts I’ve featured thus far have been girl-oriented, provided of course that you aren’t a cross-dresser, in which case you probably feel fine. But just in case, here’s something you can put on YOUR wishlist or wrap up for your best Y-chromosomed friend. Because dudes, this is the best shirt of all time. OF ALL TIME!!!
Awww, I kid. Everyone knows I have a soft spot for Kanye ever since a two-dimensional parody of him insulted Mozart in favor of Beethoven (that’s right; my affection is illogically transferable). Plus they call it the “Bach to the Future” t-shirt and everyone knows how I feel about a good pun (everyone knows a lot about me). Bonus: this sucker is only $6. Or $50 if you order ten — buy one for your whole orchestra!
Or I don’t know, maybe $6 is a little out of your price range. How about $4.95 for a full twenty Yuri the Angry Viola stickers? That’s twenty presents right there! Shopping list = done.
Awww. I just can’t stay mad at a man who loves Beethoven.
Related anecdote: I saw the original Kanye-vs-Taylor throwdown live on account of because I was hanging with my friend Tarik, who watches pretty much ALL the awards shows. Tarik happens to be African-American. When Kanye busted onto the stage and made his little speech, Tarik stood, threw the remote control onto the couch, said “We don’t claim him,” and walked out of the room with his hands in the air. Gilded comedy gold!
No, I mean the group has a clever title. If “A clever title” is also a clever title for the post, then what we have here is exponential cleverness, and we must tread carefully.
Has anyone heard any really good street musicians lately?