Tonight I am Batman.
Well, not really. But I am listening to the score from the most recent Batman movie: The Dark Knight.
I am not a Hans Zimmer fan, but he has put together an extremely good score for this film. For those of us who thought he was a Gladiator one-note (or one phrase) composer, I will offer my apologies. The score is more than program music; it can stand on its own.
I was actually running an experiment. In #11 and #12 -- plates of grace, I lamented the fact that, when I move to Mexico, I will be forced to leave behind my sound system for DVDs and CDs. I feel no better after the experiment.
After listening to the score on my sound system, I played the same music on a lap top. I then tried a sample on a friend's iPod with external speakers. I received several suggestions that any MP3 player with external speakers would sound exactly like a big sound system.
Several years ago, I participated in Weight Watchers -- around Thanksgiving time. The group moderator pointed out that we could avoid falling off of the wagon with several tips. Her first tip was gravy. Her suggestion: make home-made for the family and buy a tin of canned fat-free gravy. Because it tastes exactly like the real thing. I did not hear any of her other tips. And it was my last meeting.
Somewhere along the line, we have lost our ability to discriminate between the good and the adequate. When I listen to scores, I want to hear bow strokes on strings and vibration on brass mouthpieces. The progression from vinyl to CDs to MP3 has resulted in a sound that is, at best, adequate.
I think I know why. My ear was trained to listen to live music --with all of its brilliance and aural warts. But live music is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Even where it should exist. Look in the orchestra pit of any theatrical production. And do not be surprised if there is an electronic keyboard where the strings should be. Some young adults have never heard live music.
But I have. That is what I want to hear when I listen to music. (Yes. Yes. Babs, I know. Sometimes, just listening is good enough.)
Maybe I will just need to accept the fact that if I want to be mobile, I cannot have a sound system that belongs in a theater. Just like Stilton and Cheddar cheese, it will be a fond memory.
But, I tell you, I am not eating any of that blasted canned fat-free gravy.