17. October 2005 · Comments Off on Eek! I Might Just Have Nightmares About This · Categories: That's Entertainment!

I am off to bed, but just heard, on my local PBS station, a rape of one of my all-time favorite arias: Gershwin’s Rapsody In Blue, on a re-broadcast of The Lawrence Welk Show from the ’60s. It’s like – I became “musically aware” in the mid-to-late ’60s, just as FM radio was taking over, and Welk was on his last gasps (ABC finally canceled the show in 1971). And now I’m thinking, “how could people listen to this dreck – it’s like one jump above elevator music?”

Update: I know I am being a bit elitist here: But much of the power of Rhapsody in Blue is in its dynamic range – that rapid transition from diminuendo to crescendo, as well, with this or any other great classical aria, one looks for the subtle differences in arrangement from one conductor/orchestra to another – those little fades when transitioning from one section to another – the vibratos and harmonics…

But, in the world of Welk music, all this is sanitized, homogenized, and compressed so as to appeal to those whom we “elitists” refer to as “the unwashed masses”. But, among those, are oh-so-many who like what they are hearing simply because they have never heard anything else. Or, when they’ve heard it, they were so startled that they have retreated back into thier Welk (or Grand Ol’ Opry, or mass-market radio) world.

But, it’s the second law of economics: “everything happens on the margin.” I’m looking for those marginal players – whether they are into Welk, or Trisha Yearwood, or Britney Spears, they are simply there because they don’t know anything else. I am a musical evangelical; I trust that when these people hear The Sound, they will become converts.

Comments closed.