2/23/08

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,

(612) 673-7299

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.
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1 comments:

AnthonyS 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.