Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's BĂȘte Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Monday, June 28, 2004


Recently read, vividly remembered but vaguely in the details: In a review of a performance of music by Beethoven some time in the 1940s, Virgil Thomson criticized the performer (or the conductor) for trying to make what he called the "passagework" as dramatic as the thematic stuff, ruining the piece's texture and washing all the colors monochromatic. Passagework: The placeholder to keep your interest warm at a low, even flame until the explosion of the good stuff. In classical, too, the bridgework getting you from point A (or the Key of A) to point B (or the Key of B). Upon reading Thomson's remark, my first reaction was relief and gratitude -- a big name classical guy is giving me permission to get bored when listening to one of those big pieces. Then, annoyance -- to quote my old poetry teacher, Ken Mikolowski, "Why can't the whole thing be like the good parts?" Now, acceptance. Even, admiration. The ears and the heart need a rest between the big events, and silence is too jarring for the old classical style. Lots of rock songs have bland, forgettable bridges to hold the place between the explosive, catchy, wonderful choruses. And I'm glad they're there.

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