Midweek Music Upgrade with The General Reader

It is nearly the end of Wednesday here in California, and I have not posted since last week. (Anytime this happens and you hunger for my thoughts and cannot stand waiting for new bloggings, you really should read all those poetry-crit/-appreciation posts from the past few months.) It is also March. Still chained up in winter, American readers from the East Coast or the Midwest are like Hans Solo at the end of The Empire Strikes Back, except whereas HS is the captive of an intergalactic space-criminal’s carbonite-refrigeration technologies (a pure denial of nature), your awful winter has been so viciously natural that nature seems like an evil technology that wants to kill you with frost. I know. I did my years in the mountains back east.

Besides, the California winter hasn’t been a turkey shoot either. Like, the snails are bad right now after the rain a couple weekends ago. Totally chowing down on my plants. Plus I had to wear sleeves while running when it rained.

Music be the food of love, says the man from the play. The purest art, claims Pater in “The School of Giorgione.” Poetry’s nearest analogue, thought Wallace Stevens. “Fuckin’ love it,” affirms everyone who has ever enjoyed any kind of music. So with the weekend in view, here is one of Chopin’s “Etudes,” from way on back in the 1830s. Has a training exercise ever been so catchy?

Here is bonus music featuring a piano, this time from a 1990s composer and his writer friends.

Twenty years after Enter the Wu-Tang dropped, one can make a solid case that the album is part of the best that’s been thought and said, to borrow language from Matthew Arnold. While MA probably would not personally enjoy hip-hop (most Victorian writers probably wouldn’t), I don’t think he would object, in philosophical and aesthetic terms, to giving the Wu-Tang Clan a tentative best-of spot. Not if you sat his ghost down and talked a little. Dude might have inspected schools for a living, but he also wrote some good poetry, like “The Buried Life.”


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