Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Radio Daze

Another weekend is upon us. The doldrums when it comes to news and especially the radio talk shows. I always find it hard to get up in the morning without tuning in to Laura Ingraham, who's become one of my favorite radio personalities. Laura is my favorite kind of conservative gal, smart, passionate, witty, funny and devastating in a one on one debate.

Saturdays and Sundays seem devoted to financial talk shows in the Washington area, all stocks and bonds and arcane financial plans to shelter that vast "portfolio" which we are all somehow assumed to mysteriously be in possession of. Since my personal "portfolio" consists of some old recipe books with thousands of clippings of delicious never-to-be-tried recipes bulging out of loose-leaf notebooks and hopelessly disarranged, or drawers filled with user manuals for appliances which, no doubt, I no longer possess, and which in some cases are probably candidates for the Smithsonian Insitution's History Museum of outdated but fascinating relics of Americana, I hardly think they lend themselves to all the intricacies of market trends and limitations of tax liabilities.

But there's always music on the radio, and in the Washington area we are blessed to have not one, not two, but three classical music stations (the third being a Baltimore PBS station that plays a great selection of unusual and seldom heard classical pieces as well as the "top 40".)

This morning, for instance, they played a sublime piano trio by Chopin -- piano, violin and cello. What a surprise to me as I thought I had heard everything that Chopin had ever written. And as far as I knew, the two Piano Concertos and a Fantasy on Polish Themes for Piano and Orchestra were the only pieces that comprised his work for instruments other than solo piano.
The local commercial classical station, WGMS, is suprisingly popular in the area and is one of the few commercial classical stations still in existence in the country, which does somewhat redeem the tastes of the Washington area, otherwise given to mostly liberal cant and politically-correct pronouncements. But personally, their mix of selections contains far too many wind concertos, and if I never hear another oboe or bassoon concerto it will be too soon.

So, back to Lucianne, the blog and classical music today. I'll bend your collective ears some more in the future on the subject of classical music. Something every self-respecting conservative needs to "expose" himself to sooner or later, preferably sooner. Popular music has its place, but the verities are always with us.
I like to think of classical music as audible math, for those of you out there who are technically and mathematically oriented. That's a good way to think of it, and I will expand on this idea in future columns. For the soft of heart, the ladies and the gents with soul and depth, classical music gives vent to all our deepest feelings, the full range of human emotion, intellect, yearning, fun, joy and wonder. All those ineffable feelings that we all share, those feelings that we know we have but are unable to find the words to express, can be heard in music.

And sometimes, it's just plain fun -- you can tap your foot, conduct an imaginary symphony orchestra in the privacy of your home (the classical version of air guitar), laugh at Beethoven (yes, please DO -- Beethoven is very funny -- a seldom appreciated virtue -- as his sense of fun and joy and trickery and playfulness was given full range in his mastery of his field). If you want a rollicking good time, tune in the Leonora Overture, no. 3 and I guarantee you you won't be able to catch your breath at the spectacular finale, which starts from virtual silence and builds into the most dizzying and glorious explosion of sheer exuberance, triumph and joy you're ever likely to hear. Try it, you'll like it -- what can it cost you?

Well, that's just one suggestion for how to fill your weekend. As for me, I think I'll do a load of wash while listening to the radio. And maybe I'll finally clean out that drawer of manuals -- or maybe not.


At 5:19 PM, Blogger Pindar said...

I enjoyed reading this, since Laura Ingraham is one of my favorites, too. I liked the way you structured things, the way Laura leads into a confession of your out-of-control recipe collection, which somehow flows into music --interesting idea, thinking of music as audible math -- must mull over that later! -- then a brief stop at Beethoven's humor -- what an idea! that never occurred to me, thinking of the mighty Beethoven with a sly sense of humor! --and the Aussiegirl train-of-thought finally pulls into the station -- and all the passengers have had a good time on the trip. I look forward to another such essay!


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