4/11/08

What Does That Meme?

“You talkin’ to me?”

Well, technically, I’m talking to whoever navigates to this neck of the woods. But, if you like, yes, I’m talkin’ to you, David Patrick Stearns of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

That famous line from the film Taxi Driver came to mind repeatedly during Juliane Banse’s cultivated recital...

Oh sorry, you weren’t addressing me. You were just quoting a line from a movie without providing a context. Fine. Well sir, nevertheless, I am still addressing you.

Wow, though. Really? You had enough time on your hands during the concert to repeatedly think of that line? Must have been as boring as a civilized, indoor version of Berg—the punch line, my dear Detritus folk, will make itself evident later. David knows what I mean.

For our star fetish, here’s the cleverly referenced clip.

I hope you didn’t pull a gun on her, David. Did you? I hope not. But, I digress.

That famous line from the film Taxi Driver came to mind repeatedly during Juliane Banse's cultivated recital of German song presented by the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society Tuesday at the Kimmel Center - once she got going, that is.

So your crafty movie reference was a compliment. Her, assumedly, beautiful singing struck a match in your head that said, “You talkin’ to me?” Did you actually get to pay attention, what with all the repetitions of “You talkin’ to me?” Odd. Very odd.

Though she trafficks in one of the most refined vocal arts a singer can attempt, her manner was so direct, natural and without any barriers between singer and audience, you felt as if you were being specifically addressed.

So it’s fair to say, you thought, “oh, she’s singing to me,” at which point you were reminded of Robert DeNiro, over and over again? Cultural symptoms: short attention-spans...

Periodical proclamations that the song recital is dead...

It is? In our short three months of bringing you the best music criticism has to offer, I have yet to encounter this statement. For now, I’ll take your word on it. (How many vocal recitals have I attended in the past year? A lot.)

Periodical proclamations that the song recital is dead are seriously contradicted by Banse, a German-born, Swiss-raised soprano who sings Mozart, Schumann, Mendelssohn and Berg like a first language...

Just in case you didn’t know, David, Switzerland has four official languages. 64% claim German to be their first language. And, I’m going out on a limb, here, but I think that Juliane Banse’s first language is German (see her official website).

Now, if you’re talking about the German songs as her first language, that’s not all that different, see. Sie spielen zu mir?

But go on.

... and exhibits particular bravery with contemporary music (her fine recording of Kurtág's Kafka-Fragmente, for one).

Oh boy, here we go again. Why is bravery a necessity to perform contemporary music? Please someone, let me in on the joke. Why? Why can’t we all live in harmony (pun: not intended)?

Sure, it’s only a slight knock on contemporary music—I’m not even sure if this is what David intended—but, these things build up over time with repeated exposure. Like “You talkin’ to me?” as a cultural meme. Similar to: contemporary music requires bravery; Carter is difficult; Brahms is dense; song recitals are dead.

Berg's songs can feel amorphous and indecisive,

You got it!

but not on Tuesday, when they emerged as a civilized, indoor version of Debussy.

Oh. Berg can be tamed to sound good, i.e., civilized with an indoor voice.

Sie sprechen zu mir? Sie SPRECHEN zu mir?

1 comments:

AnthonyS said...

Shhhh, Alban, let's use our inside voice. One more minor ninth leap and you'll have a time out, young man.

Stop kicking your sister, too.

I mean it...