Diary of Lisa Taylor, reluctantly 42 (and a half)

Or.. 'f.ck me I'm forty.. two.. and a half', though can look 38 on a - not so deluded - good day. Or 'How to reconcile a well experienced mind trapped in a still - but for how long? – youthful body.' Don't have the 30somethings angst/problems, neither have the resigned (?) ageing baby-boomers in safe family territory outlook yet. Here's how I cope, one day all sexy women will get old... but never invisible. © Lisa Taylor 2005/6/7/8/9. Jeez.. so much for the 42 and-a-half delusion

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

5 February - Sibelius

Am listening to various versions of the same piece of classical on youtube. It’s bizarre but I don’t have an ear for this. When one version directed by conductor x ends, and I switch to same track conducted by other conductor with totally different orchestra, it’s like I hear it for the first time. There is no memory that I know this piece. Even if it’s Sybelius's 5th and have heard it many times both on youtube and live, with some of the best orchestras. Some play it faster or slower and some versions were recorded 20 years before another other one and still I can't store it in my memory. Even if I play them side by side.

I mean, I think it should work that if I hear a mix of a Lady Gaga track by original producer and then someone else, I hear the tune and the changes, or at least some of them, and the song remains the same, but in classical’s case it’s like it’s a new ‘song’ altogether. I love reading the comments under youtube vids by people who know their classical, and some are musicians themselves, as they debate back and forth about the merits of this vs that. I remain excluded from this club. Maybe it's because it's not a song, it's a bigger, more complicated thing and my brain just isn't wired to get it.

Toph explains that Sibelius symphonies were written at the end of the cycle for that genre so the genre was almost a spent force, no wonder the 4th seems to meander quite a bit and the 5th despite having a memorable hook, only uses it so briefly that you hardly retain it. Was he trying to trick us? leave us wanting? and why can't a modern composer revisit it, re-shape it a bit and close the circle so to speak. We're at the RFH, the conductor is a well known Swede, Toph is waiting for the hook he likes.

Parvo wonders where the audience of the future will come from since all are old in the audience (and white) but surely this has probably been a question for last 50 years anyway… audience is always old. You get to 40 and you think 'Ok classical, that will do me, I'over grime and drum and bass and dubstep'. And for next 40 years you go, especially as you can get cheap tix, bus is free, you bring a sandwich and you can fall asleep. Surely it’s perfect? And as you also hit 50 and suddenly want to buy tickets for horticultural shows, the two things are self-perpetrating and won't disappear especially if still super funded by public purse. As for the musicians, maybe there aren't that many young people wanting to take up the tuba, but since if you get a place in LSO you probably keep it for next 50 years, then you only need one new tuba person twice a century and you're ok.



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