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Never Liked Old Beetle-Brow Much



Most popular music is designed to annoy you. Raucous, maybe, or tedious, or teased into an undynamic drone. I cannot pass the time with it for long. I often have music going in the shop, quietly, to mask the buzz of the fluorescent lights, but I’m apparently not as interested in being told that everything sucks in 4/4 time by someone that’s never gotten up before noon and has their M&Ms sorted for them as I used to be. Life does suck — or at least sucks the life out of you. Why make it worse?

My wife likes the Pastoral Symphony. I never liked old beetle-brow much myself. He was having a resurgence back in the seventies when I played an orchestra instrument, and he rubbed me the wrong way. And what was that little shite’s name in Peanuts that was always sawing away at him? Linux or Schroedinger or Sloppy or something. Who cares? Peanuts always sucked, too. Discerning grade-schoolers read B.C. .

But my wife wears me down in the most pleasant ways and I find myself softening on the old, deaf, dead Napoleon bumkisser. He sounds at least 14 percent better than the fluorescent lights to me now. That’s a damn sight better than Looking Glass or Sugarloaf ever was.

Music For The Loose In The Joints

Wilhelm Kempff playing Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, 3rd movement.

He must be old there. Not sure when that was recorded, but it looks plenty recent, and he was born in Germany in 1895. He stopped playing in 1981 because he had Parkinson’s disease, which for a pianny player must be as horrifying as Beethoven’s deafness was to him. He died in 1991.

Eighty-ish and playing like that. Most people his age are carping about their allowance of prune juice in a home at that age. He was a German, and a European, and lived through WWI, WWII, and the the Cold War, and kept going. If our cable goes out for an hour we go on a four-state murder spree. Maybe we should buy pianos.

Watch him while he plays. He is not executing the music. He is extracting its essence. There are places where it’s not exactly sloppy — that’s the wrong word — but it’s loose in the joints. He feels it. Me too.

Tag: Beethoven

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