Saturday, April 9, 2011

A Musical Interlude

I was born into a musical family. In fact, one of Napoleon's diaries recounts a concert he witnessed by the Baskir musicians...

"...Certainly more barbaric music had never resounded in His Majesty's ears, and this strange harmony, accompanied by gestures at least as savage, produced the most burlesque spectacle that can be imagined..."

Later, that burlesque spectacle would be recreated by my father on The Unexpurgated Folk Songs of Men, which was the subject of a previous blog post. My father was inspired by folk singers like Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie to learn to play guitar and sing folk songs. He, in turn, inspired his three sons to take up musical instruments. I learned enough piano to be able to play it without breaking it, whereas my brother became quite proficient at waking me up with Chopin's "Marche Militaire", played at concert-hall volume. I was a flutist, which was good enough to get me into a performing arts high school and drafted to play in the orchestra pit for several high school musicals. I also got a chance to play "Bourree", by Jethro Tull, before a packed house at my high school. One thing that all flutists in the early '70s got used to was chants of "play Jethro Tull"; it was kind of like the long-haired guy who shows up at every rock concert and demands to hear "Free Bird".

My father also inspired this particular cartoon...

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