2.17.2006

Adagios, Adagios, Adagios!

It's pledge drive time over at classical KUSC, that time of year when the woman with the syrupy voice talks about how very important classical music is to our lives, and how important exposure is to classical music, and how classical radio is all about exposure, exposure, exposure.

"Have you ever used the phrase 'let the music wash over you'? I know I have. And when I do, what I mean by it is to let the music relax and soothe you. Like a good backrub. Well, for this hour of our pledge drive, we will be playing nothing but adagios. Adagios, adagios, adagios. All music taken from two wonderful collections, aptly titled Adagios I and Adagios II."

It's an indecent sort of exposure, to hear adagio after adagio, unclothed by their allegros. An adagio is an intimate reflection on the the themes introduced (and eventually resolved) in the fast movements. Decontextualized, and lumped together like that, all form and meaning is lost and only the texture remains. Wonderfully sumptuous texture, to be sure. But this is not education, this is gluttony.

I let one amazing Brahms adagio wash over me, but that was quite enough. My tastes are a bit too snobbish and highbrow, I suppose.

So I quickly turned the dial over to the country station.

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