Friday, April 03, 2009

Allegro, ma with a 40% chance of non troppo

“And today’s weather should be Beethoven-esque,” enthused the announcer on KMFA this morning, “because it’s going to be absolutely gorgeous!”

I don’t mean to be unfair – he didn’t ask to have my alarm clock set to his station; and honestly, there’s probably not a lot he could be saying at 6 AM that wouldn’t piss me off. Still his statement seemed fairly insipid (and if he improved on it any I didn’t hear, because I hit the snooze button). Beethoven’s gorgeous. Brahms is gorgeous. Prokofiev is gorgeous. But they’re hardly interchangeable.

Much of Beethoven’s music has a dark, troubled beauty, better suited to an impending storm than to a bright, warm spring day. Mozart, on the other hand, brings cheerful breezes and sunshine to mind.

Bach weather would be calm and pleasant, without surprises. A Bartók day would be disjointed and jangling. You’d be on your way to the pool to work on your tan and suddenly get lost in a blizzard.

Pretty much all your Russian composers are extremely windy. Shostakovich also has acid rain.

Philip Glass is a long, monotonous, dull Sunday afternoon with nothing to do, and you’d like it to come to an end, but it does not.

Then you have your really heavy composers. If it’s a Mahler or Bruckner day, you probably want to board up the windows and stay in the basement. Wagner weather takes things further: it uproots mighty trees, razes buildings, disorders the universe, and seduces your wife.

I’d get a job as a radio announcer, but you have to get up too early.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home