Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Likes of Ludwig

Think about what he must have liked....tradition has it that he walked around humming to himself all the time.

I once got a disbelieving adult student to notice that he dreamed music: after considerable attempts to deny the possibility he phoned one morning to say that, indeed, music had awakened him in mid-sleep.

It must have been Beethoven's delight in certain specific combinations of tones on certain instruments that sparked the 32 Piano Sonatas, the many sets of variations and sonatas for other instruments and piano, the string quartets, the symphonies.

Much of that specificity is threatened by the over-production that is the pride of the commercial recording industry.  But think about it: just because delight in new technology is exciting--just look at video games and the attention they command--does it mean that we should not notice what price we pay for these intrusions into the lives of our sensory selves?

Listening is one of the areas where the deprivation seems to be almost hopelessly threatened.  And now, with the volume turned up in restaurants, on headsets, and just in general, prospects don't look too promising.