Something cool you might have missed: Festliches Präludium

Smooth gentleman of leisure, Richard Strauss

Smooth gentleman of leisure, Richard Strauss

My love for Richard Strauss is well-documented in these parts. I’m on record somewhere sometime in saying that he composed with the greatest ease of anyone who ever lived – more than even Mozart, the most common answer given when the “who’s the most naturally gifted?” question arises. Strauss has an innate ability to make music sound absolutely bad ass that towers over everyone around him, and while this is not necessarily to suggest that it means he is the greatest composer or the most meaningful or the composer we’ll turn to in our darkest hours for solace or whatever the fuck else we laud Beethoven and Bach for, we’ve gotta take Strauss for who he was, and that’s someone so unimaginably skilled that it literally and truly boggles the mind.  Continue reading

Something to listen to: The collective sound of the amazed and terrified human sports fan

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything, in large part because we’re in the process of buying a house and I’m theoretically in the final stages of getting a job. Regardless, I’ve also been watching more sports lately, in no small part because my beloved Golden State Warriors are in danger of making the playoffs for only the second time in my adult life. A couple weeks ago the Dubs were playing in Madison Square Garden, the world’s most famous arena, and the site of some of basketball’s greatest performances (Kobe going for 61, MJ for 55, Lebron for 52) in the history of the game. Stephen Curry scored 54 points, more than half the team’s total, and put on a fucking clinic from long range, making 11 of 13 three-pointers.

What I loved most about the game was the crescendoing sense of doom from the Knicks fans in attendance as Curry got hotter and hotter, hitting an ever-increasing assortment of crazy shots. Enjoy the crowd noise. The gasps, oohs, aahs, and shouts are a beautiful collection of what happens in transcendent moments, with 20,000 people united in witnessing something great. THIS is why we love anything great: sports, movies, music, art, whatever. When a single idea, be it a perfect symphony like Brahms 4 or a basketball sharpshooter finding the zone like none other, captures the imaginations of so many different kinds of people, it demonstrates the sheer power of the Platonic, intangible thing known as greatness and its effect on us all.