Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Merry Little Christmas

This was a holiday for the record books, a day of surprises, family warmth and contentment. And lovely gifties, yes! A day rich in the thoughtfulness of loved ones and small treasures that will bring happiness for a long time to come:

My husband...what a guy. He managed to identify some music I wasn't aware of but in which I was immediately interested. Terence Blanchard's "A Tale of God's Will (A Requiem for Katrina)" is breathtaking. I've listened just once so far but it strikes me as being quite beautiful to the ear and appealing to the rhythmic sensibility, interesting to the musical analyst. That's no small feat, eh? If I had to make one criticism of it after so little exposure I'd perhaps say that some of the tracks sound more like the pieces he writes for movie scores than stand alone tunes. But I'd not like to commit yet.

A thoughtful cousin offered a movie---"The Science of Sleep". Regardless of what you guys might think, I don't actually like everything that Lyman thinks is great even though I do think HE is the bee's knees. Lyman and I agree on this: it is a GREAT movie. I wasn't a big fan of Gondry's "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" but this one is absolutely refreshing and fun and creative and ..rings so true. Nice one.

Books about music, actually. More than one thoughtful person gave to me Eric Clapton's (auto)biography. I'm also very excited to have This is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession by a rocker turned neuroscientist (Dan Levitin). Among the very few things I know about the author is that he believes that music is more inherent and fundamental to the human animal than even language. Its an idea I wouldn't rule out from my own experience. I'm anxious to dig in.

Aside: I know I'm not the only person frustrated by the reluctance of average listeners to articulate why a particular artist, song or rhythm moves them in any particular way. As a very smart person once noted, almost anyone will go on and on about why they enjoyed a particular movie or book (or yarn or pattern...) but nearly everyone hesitates to get specific about why the music that speaks to them does (or doesn't). I've thought that perhaps its a failing of our education and culture that doesn't give us the language to describe what we hear. But I do believe that Levitin is going a step further in his book, advancing the idea that the experience of music is so broad, sensually, that language will never be up to the task. What do you guys think of that?

Gifts from the heart and hands...
I received, for the first time ever in my life, a gift from a nephew. And surprisingly, this gift was from my 9-year old nephew, not the 15 or 16 year old guys. It was a lovely audiobook to enjoy with my daughters and I couldn't be more tickled.

Finally, a favorite friend and near-cousin made the most lovely designer bag I have ever owned. I'm sure she'll be very happy to know that after it was opened, and oooh-ed and aaaah-ed over, it was put immediately to work collecting up the books, movies and cd's I was lucky enough to receive.

Getting Old
So this is how you know, right? First there's the inkling that indeed it is better to give than to receive---then knowing that no Nintendo DS or iPhone could be nearly so pleasing as the little buddha salt and pepper shakers nestling in the bottom of your stocking.

Ho Ho Ho.

1 comment:

Special K said...

Awwwww... *blush*

Re: talking about music, I also have a little trouble with it myself, but I've been trying to overcome my fear. I agree that it's probably a language issue. I don't really know how to use the music lexicon to my advantage. I run into the same issue when talking to people about art, but I enjoy talking about art the most with people who aren't used to talking about it, so it's always worth pursuing such conversations.