Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Sleep: its a good thing

Cross your fingers that my run of sleeplessness is coming to an end. After Rob returned early Sunday am, I slept off and on the entire day; and didn't have too much trouble sleeping Sunday. Monday was back to toss-and-turn hell and sleeping on the couch to avoid bothering those other people in my room. But last night? Ahhhh...lights out at midnight, asleep in five 2 or 3 minutes; awakened at 7:00 am by alarm, feeling rested and a surprising lack of glass grit in my eyes.... and the heavens sang....

On Culture (or lack thereof)
I recently read a cover story of a recent Washington Post Sunday Magazine (April 8, 2007). Essentially, it told the tale of an "experiment" to determine how people will or won't react to encountering "great" music in unexpected places. Joshua Bell, reportedly on the world's greatest (ever?) violinists, playing one of the finer remaining Stradivari, placed himself at the exit of the L'Enfant metro stop at the morning rush. Played "great" compositions for 43 minutes. Of the approximately 1000 people rushing by, only about 60 exhibited behaviors that might represent "noticing".

The writer concluded that Washingtonians are culturally vapid and too busy to enjoy the finer things in life. As a person whose other career has centered around the validity of research design, I found this flagrantly misguided. BUT---letting those conclusions go and giving the guy just a small break on his interpretation of facts, what the hell is it with people thinking that classical music is superior to others? That somehow, to walk past an accomplished violinist playing the blah blah blah is somehow indicative of quality in our sense of "taste"? Rubbish! It seems to me if you find 60 people of 1000 (that's 6% people) who appreciate classical music in any other group of working age people, I'd be impressed. Clearly the implication of the article was that we wouldn't know great music if it smacked us in the face.

I ask these questions: how many of us know any more about classical music than Beethoven's Fifth, The Overture of 1812, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, The Brandenburgs or Water Music, Handel's Messiah? In what ways does our culture indicate its value of classical music? Do we encourage our children to listen? Do you ever find live performances of of classical music at the mall or street fair?

What is up with those people at the Post? They know which world we all live in. If they want a fair test, they should try disguising a rock and roll legend... here's my vote for coming across Eric Clapton at Metro Center in the near future. If, in fact, they wanted to write a story on people too busy to smell the roses, they missed the mark. If they wanted to tell us most of the music we hear these days is crap, well, I wouldn't disagree but they didn't really do that, either.

Books for grabs
I'm putting a list of books I'd like to place with new owners in my sidebar. I'll be happy to schlep them with me to Indy next week, to Florida this summer, across town whenever. Just email me which ones you'd like. Many of these were Rob's books and he is a person who dog-ears pages. I'm a book marker, myself (she said with an air of superiority; as if she were also a person who listens to classical music...)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't read the Post but saw it on TV. He was standing there playing his heart out and people were just rushing by to get to where ever they had to go. It appeared to me that had I been there I would have thought just another out of work musician trying to make a buck for a cup of coffee and not given him or his music a second thought. LYFE