Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Allure of Vinyl

Today at an event a friend mentioned he'd bought some albums at the local flea market.

We stood talking about our individual collections of albums.

Both very proud to share what we'd each had accumulated.

[My collection was inspired by both my grandfathers who loved playing albums on their stereos.  Though eclectic in the music they listened to one grandfather collected primarily albums of country music stars (now legends) while the other collected primarily Lawrence Welk albums.  My father also has a large collection of albums. So I guess you could say my love of collecting record albums comes from them.]

He walked away to do something and when he returned he had the newly purchased albums in his hands to show them to me.

He flipped through the pile to show me what he'd gotten.

As we continued talking another man, upon seeing the albums in my friend's hands, got this smile on his face and walked up and took the pile of albums from my friend and flipped through them.

The conversation swirled around these albums.


The response of the second man upon seeing the albums prompted this writing.

That smile said it all.

That need to hold the albums.

That need to flip through the albums.

That tactile response to that square of cardboard.

Oh, and don't forget the smell of the albums. 

The smell that accumulates on cardboard after decades pass.

Oh, and don't forget the artwork represented on the album covers.

The artwork tells so many stories about the album, the people who were singing, the signs/fads of the time.

I mean, who hasn't flipped through a pile of albums just to see what's represented there?


'Tis sad for today you can't flip through a pile of albums.

That tactile need of flipping is replaced by clicking and scrolling.

For, after all, how can you flip through a digital album?

It just isn't the same thing!


Lest you fret over the loss of albums be aware that there has been a resurgence, of sorts, for the old LP albums.

There is still a market for those old albums according to my friend - and he would know!

In some instances new vinyl albums are being produced.

So, before you pack up the albums to send off to Goodwill or the dump, take a moment to flip through them.

Let the music of yesteryear flow once again through your brain.

Better yet, power up the turntable and hear the music again!

You will smile that smile.

And you will more than likely put the albums back where you found them.

[If you don't, let me know!]

Thursday, April 2, 2015

A Musical "Colossus"

anything colossal, gigantic, or very powerful
extraordinarily great

  Colossus of Rhodes

I read the following today:

Beethoven was the colossus, 
a figure whose titanic energy and sublime originality 
went on to define the cult of the hero-musician in the nineteenth century.

Even today in the 21st century Beethoven is still regarded as a titan of classical music.

And rightly so.

But today, about whom could this statement be said?

[Fill-in-the-blank] was the colossus, 
a figure whose titanic energy and sublime originality 
went on to define the cult of the hero-musician in the 20th century.

Sometimes when I asked students this question they are tempted to fill in their current favorite musician/group.

But, when they think about it they often end up choosing someone who has, if only by longevity in the music field, proved to be a colossus.

I find it interesting that in music, because of the very nature of the business, there can be found a colossus in every area not just composition as the above quote may imply.

However, if we focus only on composition there is, I believe, within this one area several divisions of composition that would have to be recognized: classical music, film or movie music, popular music, etc.  

Another area of music in which a colossus might be found is conducting - this again could be divided into different types of conducting: choral/instrumental, symphony orchestra/Broadway orchestra, school ensemble/professional ensemble, etc.

Don't forget the actual performers of the music. 

Vocal and instrumental areas would have to be divided by the seemingly infinite number of different types of vocalists and instrumentalists.

Even in music education there are those we call "master teachers."

They too could also be colossus.

It wearies my brain to even think about trying to name a colossus in any area given above.

Sure, there are those that I admire. Sit in on a few of my classes and their names will be very familiar to you.

I do believe that given time the "cream rises to the top" (as the old saying goes) and that longevity in and impact on whatever music area being explored does play into the labeling of someone as a colossus.

Everyone has their favorites.
But, who would you honor with the label "colossus?"