Yo, That Be Some Chopin?

Though I have done more driving this weekend than warranted, I have tried to sanctify the excess by listening to Chopin’s “Nocturne Op. 9 No. 2” repeatedly while driving. That, and I enjoy blasting Chopin with my windows rolled down as I drive streets frequented by drivers whose tastes primarily run a little more, um, urban in nature.

As I imagine things, if God were to speak through the ivory keys, his voice would sound like Chopin, the poet of the piano, and not Morgan Freeman, though I do like Morgan Freeman. Here is a moving rendition of the aforementioned piece by Chinese pianist Yundi Li.

If you want amusement, note the crass racialist blather pervasive throughout the comments. However, the crass racialist blather does raise questions that I find worth considering, though not through YouTube threads. Why is it that classical music (or, better yet: “chamber music”) as the glory of the Western world and a gift to the rest of the world is just that–a Western gift? I ask this looking beyond the obvious differing aesthetics and scales reflecting those aesthetic differences. Why is it that though Asian musicians (Yo-Yo Ma, for example) might be among the most technically proficient musicians in the world, we do not really expect (or, at least, I do not) creative composers of the level of Chopin to come from Asian countries? Why is that I think I would sooner win the Powerball lottery and then move in with the Keebler Elves in order to share my winnings than live to see a first rate classical composer come from Africa (with the possible exception of white South Africa)?

Lest anybody accuse me of promoting unspeakable thoughts, allow me to lay my cards on the table: I am a mutt. My father is Japanese and my mother is Scott-Irish. Thus, in other words, genetically, I am prone to drink, yet I cannot handle my alcohol. (Drummer, that was your cue…) Yes, I do believe in the reality of race–with clarifications. I think that those who seek to explain everything by appealing to race make the same essential mistake that materialists make–the reduction of reality to matter. This being said, though, I do think that many things can be explained, or at least better understood, through an examination of racial differences. Of course, like anything else, merely acknowledging that which is should not lead to developing fetishistic platforms that attempt to “clean up” life by applying ideological reforms to life’s inherent messiness.

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About Bourbon Apocalypse: A Whiskey Son of Sorrow

"If you can't annoy somebody, there's little point in writing." ~ Kingsley Amis
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2 Responses to Yo, That Be Some Chopin?

  1. todd says:

    I remember once listening to a cassette tape recording of the 3rd movement of the brandenburg concerto no. 3 while on a road trip with my parents. I kept listening, then rewinding, then listening again until the cassette tape was so worn out it broke.

    Would it be more controversial or less to suggest that instead of race you should consider culture.

  2. I don’t know. Here are the questions that I have been considering for some time: how intertwined are race and culture, and if so, to what degree? While I would not take it as far as these guys and others of their ilk, I can’t deny any and all possible (inter)dependencies. The Aristotelian-Thomist in me (and whom I let out only for cocktail parties) reminds me to mind my essential-accidential set of distinctions, but the perpetually frustrated teacher at a community college in the Dirty South in me (and whom I let out only for work and when I am at parties where the people would never dare say the word “cocktail”) reminds me to mind what I observe in my students.

    However, at this point, I wonder about the usefulness in even asking such questions.

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