Paula Abdul

I Felt Just Like Paula Abdul

Paula AbdulI never watched American Idol with any intention, but sometimes Steve would watch it years ago. I would be in and out of the room with some horrid example of non-talent performing with unspeakable intonation issues. At the end of those performances Simon, more than Randy, would launch into a blistering tirade about how truly awful the performance was. He was always right but so harsh.

But then there was Paula. I don’t think we will ever know what drugs she was always on, but she would be the sweet one, trying to soften the blow of the verbal castigation the performer had just received. She would always say something like this:

You just look beautiful tonight. Really. I love that outfit on you.”

Zosha-Di-Castri
Zosha Di Castri

Well, last night the San Francisco Symphony performed Zosha Di Castri’s new work, Lineage (2013). In the pre-concert talk, she came out for an interview.

She “just looked beautiful” last night. (She really is quite gorgeous.) But the piece was 11 minutes of structured orchestral warm up. It had no melody, just some amorphous quasi-pitched whining in the woodwinds that was most accurately described as “If you heard this in your head, you would need a therapist.” Well, that’s just great! Because we all heard it last night, and we all now need therapy.*

I’m sorry. For my money, I don’t need to hear any newly composed soundscrape. It’s all been done before in the 20th century. It left the world a cold place back then, and it left my heart in a cold place last night.

What the world needs now, perhaps more than it has ever needed it in the past, is gorgeous, rhapsodic melody.

Melody.

Beautiful melody.

I demand melody!

Not this 4 contiguous note, repetitive, pop crap the commercial, mass produced “musicians” of our time foist upon us out of every speaker.

I want soaring, sophisticated melodic enchantment that grabs my soul and lifts me to a place of inspiration.

As I watch the 21st century world crumble into everything greedy and mean, I at least want the horror of it all to have a lofty and noble soundtrack with gorgeous melody.

Yefim-Bronfman
Yefim Bronfman

Then, Yefim Bronfman, not a very “you look beautiful tonight” sort of guy, came out and sat at the piano with the orchestra to perform the Tchaikovsky‘s Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor, Opus 23 (1875).

Now that’s what I’m talking about.

Melody.

And Bronfman gave a stunning, electrifying performance. The audience couldn’t help itself, though I managed, and was screaming “Bravo” at the end of the first movement. But his entire performance was a treat to behold, something to soak into the marrow of your soul.

I was filled to over flowing and left at intermission.

I just couldn’t contain any more. Bronfman’s performance of the Tchaikovshy was too perfect to be followed by anything else.

Melody. Rhapsodic performance.

Thank you! Thank you!

*Unlike the “performers” on American Idol, I am not saying Zosha has no talent! I just need to live in a more beautiful world than the music she composes. Zosha, fill our souls with stunning melody. Therein lies the greatest challenge of this century!