Almost the moment I finished writing about What? and Why? a perfect example fell in my lap. Blogger Greg Sandow, whose mission seems to be (I’m paraphrasing here) protecting classical music from itself.
The Boston Symphony Orchestra has programmed some Mozart this summer. Wonderful! But instead of telling us why we should listen—I guess they think “written by Mozart” is reason enough—the BSO’s press release offers a big fat What:
“The Symphony No. 39 is the first of a set of three (his last symphonies) that Mozart composed in rapid succession during the summer of 1788.”
Perhaps BSO wants to avoid a Hamilton-like stampede for tickets. If so, they’ve done a fine job. Or, as an underwhelmed Sandow put it:
“Wow, a set of three symphonies. Composed in quick succession. Back in 1788.
Nothing there to make the heart beat faster. Or to awaken even a slight spike of interest in these symphonies, one of them endearing, the second anxious, and the third grand and powerful.”
He suggests a rewrite:
“One long-ago summer, in a burst of inspiration, Mozart wrote his three last symphonies. One is intense, another one is grand. And this is the endearing one, warm, enriching music for a summer night today.”
Which concert would you go to? Yep, me too. That’s how you get people to care about what some dead white guy did over 300 years ago. That’s the difference between information and emotion. (And if you’re intrigued enough to listen to this “endearing” piece of music, here’s a link.)
Thanks to Greg Sandow, for both defending the future of classical music and fighting to make the world more interesting, one sentence at a time.