The Great Farewell

Dallas, Texas and the surrounding area is a God-forsaken hellscape, and is likely as close to a prison as I’ll ever get. Consequently my eyes have constantly been on the lookout for diversions on the weekends, and one such diversion is the potential allure of the Houston Symphony, a scant 3 or 4 hours away. According to my internet research, they are performing Mahler’s massive Symphony no. 2 this weekend, at least in part because it is the end of Hans Graf’s reign as Music Director. What better way to celebrate one’s tenure than with the “this is a death but we’ll all be resurrected” vibe that isn’t self-indulgent in any way? Continue reading

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Cruising with Bruckner & Sibelius

Things have finally settled down from the insanity of April, and with that the desire to write something, anything, returns, at least somewhat. Of course, I’m doing this from a hotel room in Dallas, Texas, listening to headphones and simultaneously trying to remember and forget the things learned this week, which is doing nothing for whatever passes for a “creative process.” Right now, I’m just cycling through bits of music that I really like, a playlist which looks strange and is admittedly an out-of-context affront to the composers’ intentions. Then again, perhaps Strauss and Barber would feel good about themselves if they knew that I was gaining some combination of motivation, satisfaction, and solace from random excerpts of the shit they wrote.

Driving down here I did an experiment that I entitled “Will Bruckner and Sibelius Symphonies Make Me Hate Texas Less?” and I have to say, the results are encouraging. The contention that classical music, even raucous classical music, is something to be experienced in a moment of contemplation or repose is something that I think I officially don’t agree with. It was fun as hell to roll the windows down (or at least push a button to make them go down) and crank up the finale of Bruckner 8 or Sibelius 2 – no less fun than cranking up The Black Keys or Radiohead or Geto Boys or The Mills Brothers.

I think it’s pretty obvious that I don’t give a fuck about the conventions associated with classical music, and I probably realized this all along, but it really hit me somewhere in the vacuous wasteland that natives call Oklahoma. By the way, I’m from Kansas City! Tangent: I’m listening to the “Wo ist er…” bit from Salome, and I have to say, this cover photo of Birgit Nilsson is freaking me out.

WTF

She looks like a drag queen version of Brendan Gleeson taking a shit in the middle of a Moroccan restaurant, which is actually less fucked up than Salome now that I think about it. Anyway, I just want to say definitively, on the record and for the record, that classical music, while capable of generating tidal waves of emotion and requiring serious concentration to fully appreciate, can also just be a hell of a way to cruise the Interstate Highway System.

Also, I’m still here. Thanks for sticking around.