Wednesday, May 29, 2013

It Rite As Well Be Spring

But wait, there's more! I thought that previous post was all I had to say about The Rite of Spring on its 100th birthday, but my brain wouldn't stop generating puns and pretty soon "It Rite As Well Be Spring" ambled by. Well, just as the words "Rite of Appalachian Spring" once inspired this mashup, I suddenly realized that Vivaldi's iconic Spring concerto is a PERFECT match for Stravinsky's iconic spring chords. I don't really see any reason to say anything else:

It's Gonna Be All Rite

Today marks the 100th birthday of the work about which I've blogged more than anything else, so it wouldn't be rite not to post something. I have a little something in the works for next week, but here's a quick recap of my Rite writings to date:
Or, if you prefer, most of those links can be found within this festive little collage map from 2012:



Happy Rite Day. Hope you have a riotous time!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Leafs' Lament

Yesterday on Twitter I boldly proclaimed:
My blogging sabbatical (heretofore unannounced since I just decided to call it that) ends tonight! Or tomorrow. Can you feel the excitement?!
But a funny thing happened on the way to the blog. I'd planned to finish up a post-in-progress after dinner, but then remembered that the Boston Bruins were playing the winner-take-all Game 7 of their first-round hockey playoff series. I'm not a particularly big hockey fan, but hockey Game 7's have a dramatic potential that has to be experienced to be understood. (If only Verdi had known, he might've really been successful. Imagine Rigoaletto!) Laptop in lap, I naively thought I'd be able to write while watching, which I suppose is like planning to cook dinner while riding in a car whipping blindly around curves at 90mph. The action is virtually non-stop and you have no idea when the big moment is going to happen, so coordinated multi-tasking just doesn't work.

Don't panic, this hasn't morphed into a sports blog (yet), although sometimes I wonder if "classical music sports blogger" isn't the perfect niche for me. I have written before about the aesthetics of hockey in one of my all-time favorite posts, Atonality on Ice, where I proposed that the wild, hard-to-process back-and-forth of hockey action is analogous to the way in which atonal music often leaves the ears in the virtual dark. One often does better to live in the moment than try to discern clear patterns that might suggest what will happen next. Goals are constantly being turned away - and yet the promise of meaning is ever-present.

The truth is, I've probably watched at most about ten such Game 7's, but it turns out there's never been a Game 7 like this one. (Meaning in sports has a lot to do with the tantalizing possibility of improbability.) The hometown Bruins took a brief 1-0 lead on the upstart Toronto Maple Leafs (more on that name in a bit), but had fallen behind 2-1 entering the final period. At this point, my family took an active role in the events that unfolded as my wife decided to sit and watch with me. In short order, the Leafs added two quick goals to build up a virtually insurmountable 4-1 lead. No hockey team had ever come back from three goals down in the final period of a Game 7. Wife of MMmusing wandered off, idly noting that she was clearly bringing the Bruins bad luck. Not long after she'd left, Boston scored a goal and when the love of my life appeared again to see how things were going, I had to tell her she was banned from the room. True superstitious soul-mate that she is, she understood perfectly and only learned of the events that followed via primal screams from your normally mild-mannered correspondent.

That's right, the Bruins scored twice in the final 90 seconds of regulation and then finished the miracle 5 minutes into Sudden Death overtime. Like a ridiculously over-the-top movie plot (or Verdi opera). In the meantime, the only use I'd managed to make of my "writing instrument" was to fire off a few tweets like the following:
My dear wife watched Leafs score twice to go up 4-1 and then missed 1st Bruins comeback goal. She's been banned from room since then...
Although I can type a typo with the best of them, typing out "Leafs" kept feeling strange to me, even if it is correct. Once the once-in-a-lifetime outcome was settled, I found myself thinking about how horrible it must be to be on the wrong side of such an ending, but the mischievous part of me thought it would be fun to express this in a way that had fun with leaves being leafs. I'll spare you the rest of this process (which continued into today as I wordsmithed while overseeing the final final exam of the year) and just show you the final version of my tweeted Leafs' Lament.
Disbeliefing fans grief fallen Leafs,
reliefed of playoff lifes by Bruin thiefs.
It's silly, of course, but the iambic pentameter  and all those explosive f's (10 if you make the most of "of") have an old-school, Beowulf-ian kind of flavor that captures the raw, gripping, historical nature of the moment. And, if you "correctly" pronounce "lifes" so that it sounds just like "leafs," you'll find the "leaf" sound appearing four times within the nineteen syllables. Like so:


So with that, my long blogging silence is ended. Ironically, the silence is framed by strange poems inspired by the unexpected (see 12/30/12). And perhaps soon enough I'll finish that post-in-progress which also has to do with unexpected inspiration. It's actually about music.* Stay tuned...

* UPDATE: Of course, this post is also about music in a broad sense, as I find this kind of poetry is at least as much about sound and rhythm as it is about whatever the words might mean. As it happens, the recording above is also an example of a musical transposition. The anonymous "singer's" recording has been transposed up a major third to protect the innocent.