24. September 2006 · Comments Off on Over & Out · Categories: imported, Ramble

I’m done with Opera. No more until November 8, when we begin Barber of Seville. Now it’s on to Symphony.

Romeo and Juliette had a ton of good oboe lines to play, and I did enjoy that. It’s an opera, though, that I’m ready to leave when it’s over. Some operas I like to hang on to for as long as possible. But Gounod? I was ready to leave.


24. September 2006 · Comments Off on Malcolm Arnold · Categories: Announcements, imported

Malcolm Arnold died yesterday.

I have played some of Arnold’s wind works and really enjoyed them. Many readers might recognize him as the composer for the film The Bridge on the River Kwai, for which he won an Oscar.

24. September 2006 · Comments Off on Rambling For Today · Categories: imported, Ramble

Genuine pattyramble™ ahead. Proceed with caution or, should you fear for your sanity, turn back now. Spelling errors may exist. Nonsense is often the case. Heart rates may rise. Or you might fall asleep. Depends on who you are and how you read this stuff I write!

This is not the whole story of course, but one wonders if the situation has ever been much different. All you have to do is read the letters of Mozart or the memoirs of Berlioz to realize that circumstances have never been easy for musicians, or for anyone who wants to accomplish anything worthwhile.

I do agree that things haven’t been easy for musicians. But the last part of that sentence has me wondering. Is it really true that it’s not been easy for anyone who wants to accomplish anything worthwhile? I don’t think so. But what do I know?

I think some folks have managed to accomplish worthwhile things and the circumstances set them up, it went “just so”, and it was easy and that was that.

And is the writer suggesting that all musicians really care about accomplishing something worthwhile? I hate to burst anyone’s bubble, but I honestly think I want to play music because I love it, and because I happen to be good at it. (And, ideally, I want to “glorify God and enjoy him forever” and music seems to be the way that works well for that purpose, but that desire is often shoved into the background, and being honest I have to admit that.) The fact that it is also worthwhile and, I hope, enriches other people’s lives is a great thing. I would love to think that I’m in it for the good of humanity. But I have to be honest and say I doubt that is truly the case. Sad, but true.

And while music is, I believe, worthwhile, in some ways it’s a really a most wonderful “necessary unnecessary”. (Yeah, I put my quote marks before the period. I like it better. This is my blog. So I get to do things in that un-American way.)

Am I saying music (not just classical, but anything) is entirely unnecessary? Are you all gasping for air now? Well of course I don’t believe that! So breathe … breathe in, breathe out … c’mon … get up off the floor. Air is a “necessary necessary”. Really.

See, here’s the thing: I wouldn’t want to live without music. I think the world would be a heck of a lot poorer without music. I think that people who are struggling and weary and worn are encouraged by music. I think people who are sad and heartbroken grieve through music. I think people who are in a celebratory mood or at a joy-filled occasion celebrate with music. Mommies and daddies all over the world sing to their babies. Children sing songs as they play alone, and sing as they skip rope and play other games. Teens seem unable to let go of music; it is nearly like food. And movies? Movies are scarier because of music. Kleenex is pulled out more often because of music. Funny scenes are funnier much of the time. Tense scenes are definitely more tense. (When I’m too scared or stressed because of a scene I’m watching on the tube I turn down the sound. Things are usually much less intense that way.)

But if music were banned, we wouldn’t die. Not physically. Emotionally, sure. Spiritually, possibly. So that’s what I mean by “necessary unnecessary”. I hope no one bites my head off for writing that! (I have a feeling I’d have to drop the oboe playing if you did that, and, besides, my head is quite necessary for life.)

Am I writing nonsense? I wonder! I’m just doing a pattyramble™ and as I ramble out loud I might write things I’ll later retract. That’s how it goes sometimes with me.

For some classical music simply doesn’t matter. For some, it’s even painful, aggravating, or otherwise annoying. That’s okay. I’ll live. For me, heavy metal doesn’t matter, aside from the fact that it bugs me. Pop country doesn’t matter, except that it drives me bonkers. And elevator music only matters because it’s so annoying it makes me angry. People are different. That’s okay.

All of this started from that quote above, of course. And I can sure take things down a different path than one might think, eh? In any case, the article I’m quoting is here (Note: Link no longer working.) and it’s Richard Dyer’s take on classical music and its future. I do like the article. A lot. I find it very encouraging.

Not that I really feared “classical” music would die off. I believe things will change. They have changed. They are changing. They will change. I believe we’ll lose some listeners and gain new ones as things progress. That’s happened forever, yes? I believe we will never be as popular as popular music is. (Gee, ya thiink?!) But I think it’ll keep on keeping on and so there you go.

Me? An optimist? How the heck did that happen? Hmmm. Something new to ponder.