Adagio For Strings

Day Six of The iPod Challenge. Or at least I think it’s day six. I have already lost count. That can’t be good.

For today, I have chosen Samuel Barber’s “Adagio For Strings.”

I love classical music, I just don’t know many composers, aside from the most famous–Beethoven, Bach, Chopin, uh…that one guy…I swear I know more and really do enjoy classical music! I swear! I like to listen to it when I write, and I mean seriously hunker down and pound out some hefty word counts. Classical music helps me focus more intently on what I’m doing and offers little distraction by way of me singing terribly and off-key with the music I usually listen to. Classical music also makes me feel smart, which is very difficult to do at times. Okay, most of the time. Okay, all the time.

But classical music awakes the portion of my brain that’s all “quantum mechanics is like, super easy, you guys.”

I want to solve mathematical equations all night and party every day.
I want to solve mathematical equations all night and party every day.

Whenever I listen to Adagio For Strings, though, it elicits  a reaction in me that is much different.

I actually stop what I’m doing and sit and listen. No moving, talking, nothing. I sit and I let the piece take me away. The first time I heard it, I got shivers up my arms and I might have teared up a bit, as well. The violins wax and wane and swell and move languidly about the entire duration of the piece. It matches your emotions as you listen. In the movie “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story,” there’s a gag where Dewey Cox is supposed to get ready to perform on stage, but he is standing off in the shadows, brooding. One of his band mates says, “Dewey Cox has to think about his entire life before he performs.” It’s silly in that context, but when I listen to Adagio For Strings, I do the same thing. I sit and think about all I’ve done; the good, the bad, the in-between, the moments I wish I could change, the ones I wouldn’t change for anything.

The things a few violins invoke in me is bonkers.

Barber knew what he was doing when he composed this. He knew exactly what he was doing, and for that, he is to be applauded. Any music that can stir something inside you should be given the utmost respect. This is where I start feeling despondent over the state of the current music scene. The majority is crap. You know it, I know it, the artists certainly know it, but couldn’t give two shits because it’s a paycheck. I know not all musicians feel this way, to just generate as much mediocre music as they can, while they can, to get their fifteen minutes of fame before the next manufactured pop sensation comes along and bumps them from the scene. Robin Thicke, anyone?

Daddy didn't give attention to the fact that his son had this hair. Robin spoke in class today.
Daddy didn’t give attention to the fact that his son had this hair. Robin spoke in class today.

Music, like anything in the artistic realm of creativity, should always be done because you love it, it’s your passion, you can’t see yourself never not doing it. The moment it is nothing but dollar signs to you, just stop what you’re doing. This is why I’m content as-is with my writing. Yes, I’d like to write that one something that makes everyone stop and take notice of me, to be able to write something that future generations will still talk about and find relevant…to make it big. To have my shot at momentary greatness. But by doing so, there has to be an amount of soul selling. Fame never comes without a price or without pressure to keep up your fire for as long as possible. That puts tremendous pressure on the artist to create, to appease the gods that pay them. Eventually, they will suffer their talents and as quickly as they caught on, they will fade out. To some, that flash in the pan is worth it. To me, it wouldn’t be. I’d rather stay an unknown and still find the joy and peace in writing than have that momentary stardom. My bank account would disagree with me, but my bank account can go eff itself.

Well. Wasn’t that a fun little tangent to spin off on? My apologies. I’ll stop blathering now and leave you with the original intent of this post: the music. I hope it moves you the way it moves me.

Thanks for reading, as always.

E

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