I don’t completely grasp it all, of course, being who I am. (“I’m an oboe player, Jim, not an intellectual.” Oh … and ONE of my woodwind quintet members got my “I’m a … Jim, not an …” thing. Everyone else was just puzzled. Sigh. I guess the good news only one knows I’m a Star Trek nerd.) But I just read something I’ll have to read again to try to wrap my brain around. (HAH! I first typed “warp my brain”. Too late, too late.) Here’s a snippet (warning; if you click on the link it’s white type on black. I have to hit option-control-apple thingie-8 to make sure it’s reversed so my eyes don’t go buggy):

Out of this muddle-headed striving one idea emerged clearly: I needed to be supremely rational and brilliant to cope with the challenges ahead, and the way to do that was to create an environment that encouraged the furthest flights of intellect. Rather than getting stuck in the emotional, instinctual thrashings of pop music, I needed to climb up to the Olympian heights of classical purism: Mozart, Bach, some Beethoven, Vivaldi, Mendelssohn, Haydn, Scarlatti, and then other acceptable works by Dvorak et al. In Steppenwolf, hadn’t Hesse praised Mozart for his golden serenity, and Scarlatti likewise in The Glass Bead Game? At times, I sincerely believed that this would become most or all I would listen to, and I would even go surfing around on the Internet to find essays where the authors expounded helpfully on the “simplicity” of rock compared to the compositional virtuosity of the old masters. Of course, it was easy to find just these sorts of essays.

After about a month of this, though, I started to feel there was a problem. First of all, what was I going to do about Mozart’s Requiem? It was written by the master, and it was absolutely thrilling music, but I knew that a piece like the famous “Dies Irae” wasn’t really leading me towards enlightened calm, but rather leaving me abject and shattered. This paled, however, next to The Problem of Stravinsky (who will have to stand in for all his fellows, like Bartok or Shostakovich, notwithstanding the great differences between them). Right there, alongside all my wonderfully smooth quartets and concertos, was The Rite of Spring in its horrible, tempestuous majesty, sounding mostly unlike the other (especially the earlier) compositions I had, yet indisputably classical music by somebody familiar with his predecessors. It was even a classic, one of classical music’s greatest hits.

You can read it all here.

And I found the link to the above reading this: Can Art Create Order?

Okay. I’ll stop now.


  1. Thanks for the link and kind compliments! Your post was the tipping point; as soon I have the required six hours (why do these things always take so much longer than they should?), I’ll change the formatting so that it’s no longer white-on-black. Most readers complain of headaches and mild seizures, and my vague feeling of hip isn’t worth that.

  2. (just checking to see if the comment got held up in moderation)

  3. Six hours, eh?

    For me it would take a lifetime, as I know nothing about that aspect of blogging/computers. (Yet another way in which I am Not Smart Enough. Sigh.)

    I dunno, though. If I EVER had a vague feeling of hip I think I’d want to hang on to it, no matter The Others. 🙂

  4. Sorry … I was away from the computer for [gasp!] … almost four hours.

    But I’m still breathing, and I’m safely home. My computer is keeping me warm again. Life goes on.

    (Side note: Our daughter has her undergrad degree from UCI and now works there. Something with “eee” … but that’s about the extent of my knowledge regarding her job.)