Weather Report

Brent Reidy

Don't let the title fool you. This is not a post about Zawinul or Shorter. This is actually about…the weather.

Things have been a bit dramatic here lately. Tornado sirens are daily. 5 inches of rain fell yesterday. My poor tomato plants haven't done too well in the winds. Severe thunderstorms come more often than meals–yesterday I think there were at least 4. The worst left me a bit shaken. Lightning struck so close it was visible from both the North and South windows of my apartment. The strikes were bright enough to hurt my eyes and ears. The thunder actually shook the living room. Not fun.

Power has been off and on over the last few days so I've spent more time reading things on paper than CRT. So–haven't responded to delightful comments on my last two offerings. But, thank you all for commenting. It's uplifting in the calamitous weather.

Nothing warms my heart more than the following scenario:  After a good thirty minutes in the apartment complex basement, the tornado siren ceases its call. I trudge back up stairs, fearing how much damage has been done to either my roof or my basil. Once both are checked, precious electronics are plugged back in. Gmail is up within minutes and at the top of inbox: "[Dial "M" for Musicology] X has submitted a comment to…" At least while I'd been below afraid of going out the same way as the Wicked Witch of the East, someone somewhere read what I wrote, and said smarter things about it than I said in the first place. My plants might be dead, but I'm still here and the blog thrives.

This is a cheesy post. I'm sorry. But guest blogging here has made me happy thus
far. And I might as well say thanks in case my luck with missing
twisters runs out. Besides, it's hard to blog about music in weather like this. I don't really much listen to music on stormy days. Nothing ever written or performed by man holds up to a good thunderstorm. Putting on some music while the storm rages feels like cutting a 10-year single-malt with Sunny D.

Most people I've talked to have similar feelings. On a related note: I was challenged by my undergrads earlier this year to explain how Cage is music. They new I spend a lot of time studying Cage, seemed to like and respect, and (a few) were worried that I devoted myself to someone who didn't actually write music.

4'33" is a hard one to get non-believers to like or respect. I think I found a way through the impasse–before I asked my students if they think the noise around them could be "music," I asked how many have ever turned off the stereo in order to better listen to a thunderstorm. Or–had any lived in NYC and attempted to process the chaotic street noise as something sonorous. Most had. Once those things were admitted, it surprised me how many students were converted to thinking of Cage as a composer rather than charlatan or philosopher.

And, on a completey unrelated but hilarious note, I'll leave you with this (warning: French people swearing):

About Phil Ford

Chairman of the Committee for the Memorial to the Victims of Modernism
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1 Response to Weather Report

  1. David Cavlovic says:

    True. No piece of music is ever as good as a storm. BUT STILL:
    Sibelius: Storm from the Tempest.
    Berlioz: Royal Hunt and Storm from Les Troyens
    Rebel: Le Chaos from Les Elements (a tone cluster, yet!)

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