Nothing Says I'm Sorry like a Barber Sympathy Card

The Minnesota Orchestra is on tour throughout the southern part of the state, something of a tradition. Another tradition seems to be that they whip out Barber’s “Adagio for Strings” as a sympathetic gesture to console communities’ hardships.

They did it a few years ago in honor of fallen troops in Iraq. And they’re doing it again in the wake of a bus accident that killed four children in Cottonwood.

This, obviously, is not the problem, because it’s

a piece certain to evoke strong emotions from the audience.

Don’t you think so? Click here.

In fact, I think it’s a nice gesture. The problem I have here is one miserable sentence, albeit insignificant in light of the situation. The article’s author, Graydon Royce,

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recounts conductor Osmo Vänksä’s impressions of the first time the orchestra played Barber for similar reasons thusly:

It was an extraordinarily emotional moment, he recalled, and it fulfilled his core philosophy that music is an essential service, not an elitist luxury.

Here are some essential sevices: electricity, water and sewage treatment, waste management, fire, police, medical, etc.

Is music really an essential service? Hesitantly continuing his line of thought, at theoretical best, music is a socio-biological necessity, i.e. we are naturally musical beings who require the benefits of sharing music. I suppose we can live without music, but life wouldn’t be nearly as rewarding. I hope that’s all he’s insinuating.

But providing expensive orchestral music, that’s not luxuriant? How many people are involved in the production of a two-hour concert filled with symphonies and concerti? The required resources are mind-boggling. If Vänksä means that his type of music should be less expensive and more accessible, I agree. But, it will never be cheap. Orchestral music, by nature, is luxuriant, pure and simple.

Perhaps he's in the wrong profession.


Anonymous said...

This one gets my nod for best post title so far.

It's America's cryin' music. And America's slo-mo, hyper violent period war film music.