on life, music etc beyond mainstream

Every piece in this album is rich in color and landscape. There’s a plot, intention and meaning. Do I want anybody to know the specifics of plot, intention, and meaning? Definitely not. Why not?

I’ll tell you why not. In 1973 I took a very nice music appreciation class at college. Harry Hammer, our soon-to-be-deceased instructor led us through his favorite classical music. It was very pleasant, especially at 9 in the morning. Our assignment one Friday was to listen to Smetana’s “Moldau” and tell him what we thought it was about the following Monday.

I spent a good part of that weekend prone on the carpet in my dorm room, staring at the ceiling, listening. Sometimes I listened with Sharzhad Karimi, an Iranian woman from our class I had a raging crush on. Sometimes I listened alone. It was a fine weekend, and the music filled my mind with all sorts of strange and wonderful imagery. It reminded me of the times I spent listening to “Revolver” and “After Bathing At Baxters” as a 14-year old. I would come home from school and before anyone would get home I would put on one of those records and recline with my head between the speakers. The imagery that unfolded is still tied to the music, to this day.

So it was disappointing to hear Harry’s lecture that Monday about Smetana’s visual program for the music. The wind instruments that start the piece symbolize a cold stream and a warm stream that eventually combine, form the Moldau, and finally parade through Prague. Getting that information completely destroyed my own imagery, which had involved a desert, an Iranian princess, myself as a centaur, and so on.

I think it’s better not to know about the programmatic intentions of musicians and composers. I’m so grateful that the Beatles never made a video to go with “Tomorrow Never Knows.” Until my dying day I will have the strange vision of a raft and a river of barking puppies whenever I hear that song.

This entry was posted on Freitag, 6. Juli 2012 and is filed under "Blog". You can follow any responses to this entry with RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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