Friday, February 10, 2012

old dog / new tricks

i read a wonderful piece in last week's new yorker about a pianist's experiences, and obssesive love, of the u.s. composer charles ives' concord sonata. i'm a dummy when it comes to modern, post-modern and contemporary classical music. i'm mostly a pop music sort of dude.

but the magazine essay had me search out some of ives' music. charles ives was an iconoclast who chose a career in the insurance industry and wrote his lovely, dissonant music while building his business to which ives was quite successful at. here i read a bit of my own biography. not the building of business but in the choice of not pursuing an academic career, but of holding down a day job, as i write and read poetry as ives had chosen not to go the usual composer route and instead managed a day job in addition to his obsessions with music over a century ago.

that is a superficial significance but significant just the same. i think many of us writers are in pursuit of our obsessions while holding down the job that pays the mortgage. i liked that detail in ives' biography. i still didn't know the music.

god bless the internets. i pointed my browser to youtube and found many, many recordings of ives. perhaps my ears are trained a bit better after years of listening to ambient electronica and punk rock. then again, maybe it's because i am doing my best to rid myself of my ego and am doing my best to be open to everything.

whatever the case what i want in my life is to be alive and to know it. that includes learning and becoming excited about things. those new things sometimes become obsessions. such as it is listening to ives' concord sonata as performed by the pianist below blows apart what i conceive of as a personal metaphysics. because my metaphysics are not set. they are expanding. what beauties we as a species create. there is a lot of shit in the world. yet music, movies, writing and reading, are expansive. they make us question who we are, what we are becoming, who we were, and what we can do. ah yes, music! we do it because we are alive, and this old dog is not done learning new tricks.


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