Classical music queue jump to Ned Rorem. Most people seem to react to classical music as if it’s pretty gay to begin with. All that flouncy, romantic, over-ripe emotionalism. It gets relegated to the upper classes at the same time – after all, who can afford to to go to the opera, the ballet etc. Music for rich queens.
Ned Rorem is a modern classical composer. I inherited two of his diaries: New York, Paris – a stunning, uncompromising look at gay life in 40’s & 50’s. He has published more of these & I may eventually get them. He talks about his fellow musicians, his love life and is thoroughly engaging and amusing.
After reading them I had to find some of his compositions. Naxos has issued many of them in their American Classics series. I have two cds; one, with a cover drawing of him by Cocteau, contains two concertos: Flute, Violin; the other is chamber music.
The music is diverting, contemplative at times, lyric at times. It is rarely dissonant or challenging to listen to, both good things. But, to my ear, it lacks personality and perhaps because of my love of jazz, often feels overly controlled. Then again I would never say Beethoven was overly controlled. Like much contemporary classical music is has a very chamber dustiness to it. But worth hearing & owning.
August 28-31 – attending – FanExpo Canada http://www.fanexpocanada.com
October 19 – feature – Cabaret Noir – Welcome to Lake Pinebow
“What did you mean by that?”
“By what Dad?”
“By you know what I mean.”
“If I knew what you meant, I wouldn’t ask. Would I Dad?”
“Now you are just trying to be clever Pete.”
“Don’t say it. I know Dad. Clever isn’t a foundation it’s just a flash in the pan.”
“Well! At least you do listen to me sometimes. If only you’d practice what I preach you’d be better for it.” He smiled smugly.
“Practice what I preach,” I parroted. “Now if that isn’t just plain clever I don’t know what is.”
“What did you mean by that?”
“I mean, you remind me not to be clever by being clever yourself. Doesn’t that contradict your intention?”
“And just what was my intention?” His fingers tapped the dining-room table.
“Your intention, as usual, was to make me feel in the wrong and you in the right.” I crossed my arms and leaned back in my chair.
Silence. It must have lasted five minutes.
“Would one of you bring in the turkey?” Mom came into the dining room with a platter of steaming vegetables.
Neither of us moved. Dad’s fingers once again began to tap on the table. She glanced at him before she put the platter on the table.
“Help yourselves while I get the rest,” she went back into the kitchen.
“Mustn’t disappoint her.” I pushed the platter towards my Dad.
“No, son, you go first. Really. I’m not very hungry.”
I pulled the platter to my plate and scooped off some of the corn and spinach.
“That’s right. I’m the growing boy, aren’t I?”