beauty and the beast – part I

when the beaver decided to dive into classical music a few years ago, it expected to get completely hooked on romantic rebels who needed a hundred-piece orchestra or modernist masters who never met a 12-tone scale they didn’t like.  instead, i fell in love with joe haydn.  [btw, before we go any further, nothing (and i mean nothing) will mark you as a classical music greenhorn (or a dumb american) like pronouncing this guy’s surname as it’s spelled… save yourself a lifetime of embarrassment in the schnitzer lobby and boldly proclaim your undying allegiance to the complete oeuvre of yo-sif hīdin’ ~ and thank me later.]  okay, where was i?  oh, yes… *swoon* …papa haydn.  to give you a sense of how un-cool this fellow initially appears, let me just tell you he was born the same year ben franklin began publishing poor richard’s almanack.  zzzzzz… i know.  and yet, the more i learned about him and the more i paid attention to his simple-sounding music, the more i fell teeth over tail for this guy.  the humor, the cleverness, the complete lack of ego, the length of his canon… perhaps it’s some perfect combination all rolled into one.  when i hear one of his (100+!) symphonies, i can’t help but think of jack nicholson delivering that line to helen hunt: you make me want to be a better man.  living on a planet choked by environmental degradation, desperate poverty, and unspeakable violence, it almost seems necessary for one’s spirit to hear some haydn every now and again.  his music reminds me that humanity isn’t a total washout, and frankly, it encourages me to be a better beaver.

this evening at the arlene schnitzer concert hall, the best band in the western land will be playing symphony #60 by papa haydn.  i assume if you didn’t go to the show on saturday, you’ll be there tonight.  what?  you still don’t have tickets?!  click on this sentence and become a better human.

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