Saturday, August 23, 2008
can't stop the music
When did the music stop?
Babs and I had a comments discussion about a shocking change in my life. At least, she thought it was shocking. I thought it was odd.
For the past 59 years, I have lived in a world of music -- as a performer and as a listener. Church music. Orchestra music. Theater music. Mimicry music. Jazz.
I subscribe to several season tickets for music events. I go on cruises primarily to enjoy live music.
So, imagine my surprise when I realized I have stopped listening to music in my car. Ar home. At work. And I have been regularly missing concerts.
I still don't know. I suppose I started doing other things -- like blogging, reading, sorting junk. None of those events lend themselves to listening to and analyzing music. I will always concentrate on one at the expense of the other.
I thought of this last night as I was waiting in my truck before attending a local community theater production of Guys and Dolls. I know every line. Every note. Every word. And I knew the audience crowd was prepared to give a rousing standing ovation before they had heard a single familiar note. It is a crowd that knows what it likes -- and it likes what it knows.
While sitting there, I inserted a CD of Stephen Sondheim's Passion -- the veritable antithesis of Guys and Dolls -- into my truck's CD player. The work has been called Sondheim's most personal work. It is about the varied aspects of love. It has never worked very well for me. The play is based on a second-rate Italian movie. Too melodramatic for my taste. Lines like: "I have been going through a period of great melancholy" are seldom greeted with the guffaws they deserve.
But the music is sublime. The oboe moan that underlines the silly line above saves it from being mere dross. Sondheim actually makes the book work. His music mocks sentimental love and underscores the pain and death of true love. I truly appreciate the score.
Strange enough, after listening to Sondheim's great music, listening to Frank Loesser's indifferently-performed score was actually enjoyable. I simply enjoyed it for what it was.
And I suspect that the music is back. I am listening to and deconstructing Passion as I write.
The female lead declares at one point: "I read to dream; I read to live in other people's lives."
Not me, Fosca. I read and I listen to enjoy the life I have.