I love (European) classical music; I’ve played it since I was five and think it can be one of the most emotionally moving and fulfilling things to do.
But it’s incredibly difficult to get me to go see a professional concert, especially a symphony concert. Why? Because the social etiquette surrounding the performance is so dull. And the program notes are often so pretentious.
Hence my amusement at this updated version of program notes from the New Yorker. If the tone at classical performances were more like this:
The opening section, “From Dawn to Midday at Sea,” begins with the plaintive call of the oboe, announcing the rising sun. The English horn and the trumpet answer in a minor key, as if to say, “Thanks for the tip, asshole.” The flutes quickly change the subject, introducing the famous surging triplet melody. The theme bubbles and courses through the orchestra, constantly elaborated and ultimately recapitulated in a massive crescendo of horns and trumpets, at which point the flutes are totally drowned out and seem not a little jaded and you have to wonder if they regret having introduced the theme in the first place.
“The Play of the Waves” is often described as a scherzo, light and humorous, although, as in much of Debussy’s work, the laughs come at the expense of the violas.
…I’d be more willing to go!