Monday, March 5, 2007

The thin line between sublime & ridiculous

Jeremy Denk's post today is his most 'out there' I've read to date. Too Proustian for me. (And no, I've never read any Proust; not only is it Proustian - I assume - but it's looong - so I hear - and, yes, I have seen Little Miss Sunshine - in which figures a Proust scholar played by the great Steve Carell - and wished for more than it provided; I'd give it a a solid "somewhat overrated.") Nonetheless, I appreciated this little paragraph describing one of his concerts with Joshua Bell:
    We (me and Josh) had many wonderful audiences on our most recent tour, but my favorite was in Madison, Wisconsin. This is because when Josh announced our (perpetual) encore, “None But The Lonely Heart,” as usual some portion of the audience sighed and swooned and gasped with delight. Another portion, however, after a telltale moment—and I imagine this was the younger, more studentish portion of the crowd—found this gasping ridiculous and overwrought (and probably don’t really know “None But The Lonely Heart” anyway): they laughed. This second tide of laughter was the antidote to the gasping cliché. Oh, Tchaikovsky! How Romantic! Get over it, you’re a sucker. I enjoyed this, a lot. Perhaps too much. I laughed an evil laugh inside. Perhaps somewhere deep down I had some resentment towards “None But The Lonely Heart” stored up and I was letting the audience work it out. I enjoyed imagining the two elements of the audience at war, something like the war between the lyrical and the cynical within myself. What a ridiculous title, “None but the Lonely Heart;” doubtless some mangled original Russian, some stilted bit of fey easily-sold Romantical drivel. Yick. Clearly I have issues. (Jeremy Denk)

Ah yes, the "war between the lyrical and the cynical." What I like is the nuanced understanding that this music we love can so easily be viewed from different vantage points - not just from different people in an audience, but by one person. Well, at least by one person with issues.

1 comment:

Sarah Marie said...

Ooh, Lisa Gollenberg tipped me off that you have a blog. I like it!