“Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.”
Goodness gracious, is it that time already? Never too early to jump back into the shark-infested waters, as my mother always said (may not be true).
Soon it will be Christmas.
Thank heavens for the BostonGlobe. Talk about news you can use!
What should we listen to?
What we should listen to is, apparently, prescribed by the condition that soon it will be Christmas. That's the whole thing right there. Perhaps I'm not a nominally Christian female over 20 who cares enough that soon it will be Christmas?
Oh, wait. This is in a newspaper.
Well, I guess you have to write to your audience.
If I said that I didn't like where this was going, I'd be lying...but only because of who I am. I'm ten kinds of strapped in and prepared for the least-researched sentence ever.
...has been an immensely prolific time for composers, especially (and obviously) for those writing for the Christian church.”
I submit that the sense of “historically” being invoked here is not really anything as broad as the word itself suggests. Historically, here, means during the 18th century.
There was actually a relatively short period of time, in a pretty small part of the world, during which most composers were employed by Christian churches.
But, now, see: perhaps that's exactly what this article is after: breaking the Christmas concert paradigm.
“But this trove of musical riches is astonishingly easy to lose sight of, even in so artistically sophisticated a place as Boston.”
Wow, okay. I can't imagine that this sort of self-congratulatory onanism is going to live up to my optimistic projection.
“The sophistication of Boston's cultural patrons is matched only by their class and dignity.
It can seem as though holiday offerings are confined to endless renditions of the “Hallelujah” chorus and an all-too-small group of holiday favorites.”
The construction "it can seem" is so unbelievably rhetorically weak that I'm rather put off. Instead of invoking a familiar sensation, "it can seem" could be used to justify any number of terrible sentences.
“How to break out of this rut?”
By continuing to employ a string of weak grammatical constructions?
“One strategy is to explore a Christmas distant in time and space from our own,…”
Does the rabbit-creature have a garrote made of stars?
...and this is an experience that early music ensembles are especially skilled at providing.”
I'm gonna go ahead and write this off as a segue to talking about specific groups in Boston this season.
“There’s a reason we hear ‘Messiah’ and ‘Nutcracker’ every year — because they’re so great,” said Scott Metcalfe, Blue Heron’s music director.
Really? We're not just lazy or indoctrinated by a false nostalgia!
“But doing these sort of alternative, 15th-century Christmases, there’s no sense that they have a holiday anything like ours.”
Translation: the artistic director of an early music ensemble speculates that, based on available evidence, Christmas in 15th century Burgundy was different than Christmas today.
“For us, there is a desire to pull the curtain open and say, wait a minute, there may be other things out there. Let’s look at them, let’s enjoy them.’ Anne Azéma, the Camerata’s artistic director, said of the impulse behind them: “It came out of a desire to remove oneself from the Christmas routine.”
By putting on a Christmas concert?
By “routine,” she meant “a canon that was developed in the late 19th century in America — a mixture of German-Scandinavian-English music which created this sort of postcard idea of all things that we think now as Christmas.”
Oh. Well, good, then, within the limited scope of expanding that notion to include slightly more European countries over a slightly longer period of time.
That includes the caroling tradition, popular songs about chestnuts and angels, Messiah (this would be the perfect place to throw in the fact that Messiah is an Easter Oratorio that was somehow appropriated by Christmas), and other time-honored entries.
Since I have a blog, I'd like to take this opportunity to mention that the only thing I dislike more then forcefed Christmas music is the people who feed it.
I'm sorry, you were saying something about Christmas concerts?
“It’s wonderful material,...
Is that a nice way of calling it "not music?"
...some of it at least,
...but it’s become so overfamiliar that its impact is often lost.”
If I was still an academic postmodernist ass I'd call it "overdetermined" - but I quit being that, so I won't.
“In a way, caught among all these things, you tend to forget that Christmas has been happening for quite a while,” she continued.
Like basically since Halloween! Every year!
“For us, there is a desire to pull the curtain open and say, wait a minute, there may be other things out there. Let’s look at them, let’s enjoy them.”
First, this the second time in three quotes you've used the "pull the curtain" analogy. I will refrain from speculating about that.
Second, I like "look at" as a metaphor for "listen to."
“These are, nevertheless, holiday concerts, which means that an audience, no matter how adventurous, is going to want something that resonates with their own experience, even if the music is unfamiliar.”
This is where I stopped reading, but only partly because the rationalization-to-description ratio became untenable.
'this the season...