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Re: Know when the holidays have officially arrived?

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Herb SevushRe: Know when the holidays have officially arrived?
by on Dec 8, 2009 at 9:35:41 pm

Ron -

Not in a sense of argument but only to continue what I find to be an interesting conversation:

When I was in my twenties I remember talking to a friend of mine who much preferred the Beatles to the Stones because to him the Stones were too negative, too dark. It's pretty hard to listen to Rock, a music based on the blues, and object to music based on all kinds of suffering, all kinds of abuse. If "darkness" was out then Robert Johnson should not be listened to, for his indeed was the devils own music - and if Johnson is out then where is John Lee hooker, Muddy Waters - yah da yah da. This was my argument with him. Being 22 I thought this was an argument that could be "won." I'm a little older and don't often make that same mistake.

Now you did say, as opposed to my old friend, that what you object to is music that "glorifies" violence, as opposed to being informed by it. That's a reasonable position. But I do differentiate the artist from the art. I have no doubts that many of my musical hero's have feet of clay - the less I know about them personally the better. But I can't see giving up the Stones because Keith and Mick were whoring junkies or not listening to John Lennon because in a fit of pique he dropped a dime on Paul McCartney or not listening to The Who because Pete Townsend might have watched kiddie porn - I can carry the list to authors and poets and painters and comedians - I'm not willing to give all that up because I disapprove of the artists lifestyle. To contradict Mr Jagger - it's the song, not the singer.

I am sympathetic to the idea that art should take us on a journey - when I read a book I love or listen to music that moves me I have to feel that I'm in communion with the artist - or else there is no art. However it is the artists soul I am in communion with, not his real life - his better-self, not the one that whacks his dog on a bad day.

As for Opera - my problem with European music in general is the belief that all of music is to be found in the notes, whereas I believe that what's best in music cannot be notated. An operatic voice is trained to hit all the notes, but there is no notation that sounds like Van Morrison when he's listening to the lion. I find the whole idea of the operatic voice, no matter how beautiful, to be anti-human - it treats the human voice as if it were an oboe, not a person. When I can hear an opera where the signer growls, roars, shouts and speaks - then I might give it a listen.

Just one man's opinion.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions


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