Monday, March 16, 2009

Turn off The Picture

My father has an interesting custom when traveling over seas. He always turns on the movie at his seat, and watches most of it. The odd thing about this though, is that he doesn’t often even put on the headsets. He can’t read lips, as far as I know, yet he laughs at all of the right moments, or simply falls asleep. For many years I thought this was rather crazy behavior. The more I watched films though, the more I realized that this was not such a bad test of a movies worthiness. After all, film is essentially a visual art. The early films didn’t even have sound, and they didn’t need it. The highest in emotions and most hilarious of comedy were expressed without words. So, my take on my fathers approach is that he is putting contemporary cinema to the highest test. That is, if it is funny, or touching, he should be able to see it. If it is not, no need to waste anymore time. Better just to sleep.

Over the last few years, I have noticed television doing something that is completely shocking to me, and actually encouraging for me, who is a semi pro- semi\ fanatic musician, and music lover. The scores of some television are becoming so complex, that if a classical critic or patron were to ignore the show entirely, they would think that this music was the quintessential music of our age, and should be performed at Carnegie Hall. A blend of minimalism and 12 tone structure. Of electronic and of postmodern eclecticism. The shows themselves are often good too, but this phenomenon is often lost to music audiences I believe. Some really moving examples are the shows “Lost”, “Battlestar Galactica” and “Doctor Who”. There are many others as well which you may have discovered more of than me. But before some of you argue with me about the possibility that our next Beethoven or Stravinsky is doing cable TV; turn off the video and listen to any episode of the shows I mention.

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