Thursday, February 9, 2017

Reading Material at Evan's 35th Birthday Concert - Part I

You are at Evan Tucker's 35th Birthday Concert for which there are lots of fantastic musicians on the bill. Please ignore them all so you can focus solely on Evan's music. If someone is making noise next to you while his music is playing, you needn't ask them to stop. They will shortly be shot. 

This reading material exists to be consumed as you listen to Evan's music. Do not read this while other people are performing. as that is impolite, and we have to make it seem as though they, not Evan, are the point of this concert. 

Like all self-absorbed musicians, Evan certainly does not find his own music dull even if he sometimes finds it as bombastic as you find his personality. He does, however, realize that many Americans of the 21st century find music without comprehensible lyrics to be a chore, and therefore the thought occurred to him that it might be a good idea to give a little bit of reading material to go along with it so that listeners might slightly better understand what his music might be alluding to. 

Writing about music, as the saying always goes, is like dancing about architecture. There is no reason to write about music unless the music is too boring to love without help. This thought is slightly despair-inducing in this composer, because in the context of 2017, it either means that his music is too dull for most people to love, or that nearly all the music he loves is too boring for most people to love. 

Yes, of course Evan thought about turning this explanation into a fire and brimstone Jeremiad like those he issues every day on social media to which you've become so accustomed to glazing over. He was sorely tempted to issue yet another denunciation of his frienemies at this celebration of his clearly massive ego, and who knows, by the end of this pamphlet he may no longer be able to fight the urge to inflict upon you precisely that lecture he types every day into the ether(net) about all of your moral failings. 

But in this era of trial and tribulation, our troubles are so omnipresent that they needn't elaboration even from those who are clearly willing to give it. What is there that he can say about the universe you haven't heard from him a thousand times before? He has always found your universe a rather dispiriting, dull place. What could it matter that he says, yet again, that its recent turn to make manifest all those ugly things which always seemed to him to exist just beneath its vapid surface was, to his eyes, inevitable?

Whatever he has to say about this universe matters not at all. For your dearly beloved composer, as I'm sure you've come to realize by now, does not exist in your universe. He is, rather, a holographic apparition hailing from a parallel universe, perhaps even from a parallel Twenty-First century; in which the crises of the Twentieth Century never obliterated the Nineteenth. In his universe, words like culture and civilization never acquired boredom's patina - let alone imperialism's. The world of this universe was always a dreary place to him, deserving to be burned to the ground by a President who is its most perfect incarnation. 

Whether or not this universe is as dirty and decrepit as it now seems to you, and always has to him, there is a better verse at just one remove from us all, and will remain at one remove no matter to what dark places the future shall remove us. A multiverse of ten dimensions exists where all things are possible - a decaverse where the trials and verdicts of our particular universes are met with a cosmic shrug.

The beginning was without form and void. When humans first attained consciousness, we perceived some form of infinity in our natural surroundings, to which we attributed the properties of higher beings. Whether or not higher beings are what endow us with the infinite, the infinite nevertheless exists for the simple reason that as a metaphor, we can conceive of it - shape without form, shade without color, paralyzed force, gesture without motion. 

Many thinkers believe that the simple fact that we can conceive of a dimension in which impossible concepts might exist is evidence that such dimensions do exist - and the best evidence we have of this is the arts, where the mission is to redefine how we conceive of possibility itself, and within the arts, the best evidence is music. 

How do you even describe music to someone who's never heard it without sounding like a schizophrenic? The most literal description of music is that it's vibrations that make patterns in your head that strongly suggest you to feel certain emotional states.... And yet music makes perfect logical sense to everyone who hears it. How do you possibly explain it except to say that it's a trans-dimensional experience that bends the rules of any universe of which we're yet familiar?

Perhaps this is why music and religion have gone so hand in hand for so many millennia. By any physical law yet discovered, music is an inexplicable miracle in itself. No neurologist can yet explain why or how the brain perceives music, only that it does. Music can open worlds of self-expression to both the performer and the listener, yet can also express things beyond the self that make each individual listener feel like just a quintillionth of speck within the oneness of all things - yet bonded with them all. To this composer's mind, music does not exist to change the world because music is not of this world. It is the only partial scientific proof we yet have of a spiritual world made manifest on earth. Every ring of a musical vibration you hear is comprised of aural rings at still higher frequencies.

This is, of course, the kind of pompous and condescending description that turns everybody off of classical music permanently. There isn't much we can do about that. This composer's long since learned that he's a piss poor advocate for classical music. How can he possibly advocate well for something so embedded in the fabric of a life lived so differently from every other person in his generation? Not even his brothers grew up learning Yiddish. Not even his Jewish friends had grandparents from the 'old country,' let alone see them three or four times a week. No other family seemed to have a steady influx of relatives, not especially educated or wealthy, coming through the house who'd switch between English, Hebrew, Yiddish, Russian, and Spanish as though it was something everybody does at the dinnertable - and half-a-dozen other languages on special occasions. For a kid from Pikesville, it's astonishing how Europe seemed right next door.

Somehow, he never got the memo that America was something different than this. He was once the golden child of a paradise completely apart from America, who seemed to assimilate information as soon as he read it, and to leave this paradise was a decade long nightmare from which he shall never completely wake. How could he take to the music of this new world completely when so much of it reminds him of what he lost? There's a lot of music from these other genres which he likes very much, but he can never truly love them. He can love the people who make their music, he can esteem the music enormously, but it is that fusty, dusty, musty old music from a civilization everybody hates that has his heart and always will.

Because he is not of the 21st century, he is of the 19th and the 23rd. In the 21st century, he isn't much, just an eccentric in a small and declining American city. In the 23rd, he'll probably be even less. Not much he's written yet is worthy of any kind of posterity, though he's very proud of Psalm 2, but even if his music's better than he thinks it is, what use is posterity to a creator who isn't around to enjoy it? Nevertheless, when a musician encounters a tortuous path in his own time, he tends to find some solace in the idea that somewhere, someone, eventually, will dust off the manuscript (or eliminate 200 years worth of bugs from his Bandcamp website) and appreciate in the early 23rd century what people neglected in the early 21st.

No doubt this sounds like self-pity, a characteristic for which this composer is better known to some people than he is for his music. But in his defense, as he's begun to age, he's come to pity the world more than himself for all which they've missed.

What is it that separates music like this from the music of surrounding eras? This is not 'better music' than other music. There is no such thing in the arts as 'better than', there are only different types of greatness - and the greatness of some art eludes people. The greatness of the old standards of 'classical music' eludes a great many people from his generation, and that fact has always filled this composer with terrible sadness that he has very few people with whom he can share his love.

What he has come to realize is that the love of a very specific period of classical music

Psalm 1:



Psalm 2:











Psalm 3:

Vaughan Williams



Psalm 4:



Psalm 5:


Richard Strauss


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