SNOT-ROCKETS AND BAROQUE MUSIC HISTORY 101
Today was a fine Sunday. I woke up feeling slightly more under the weather than yesterday - a barking-type cough in the wee hours of the morning and a pretty stuffy head. But I had plans to go into the city with a former colleague to hear the complete Brandenburg Concertos (Concerti..sorry) at Lincoln Center. So I got my ass outside for a run, figuring the fresh air and exercise would clear my head, and perhaps the endorphins would have a sort of antihistamine affect. Yes, I frequently make up ridiculous medical hypotheses that sound like they might be legit, and then fool myself into believing that they're real.
I actually DID feel better after the run, although my stuffy head + the cold weather = excessive amounts of snot. But what better way to expunge snot while on the move than snot-rockets? If you've never tried one, I highly recommend it -- very empowering. Nothing quite like blowing your nose into... nothing. I do need to wash my jacket, however. Damn wind.
We left for the city around 2, even though the concert wasn't until 5. If you've ever tried to go into New York on the Sunday before Christmas, you're obviously just as stupid as I am and therefore deserve whatever traffic you hit. And especially if there is a pending transit strike. But we made it in okay.
The concert was fantastic. What added to the experience was that I actually read the program notes and was fascinated to learn the origin of the pieces. Here is it is layman's terms: In his early 30's, Bach was a cocky young bastard working for a rich prince. He popped over to Brandenburg one day to pick up a new harpsicord and ended up playing for this guy who liked him so much, he asked Bach to write some music for him. This was around 1719. But Bach was too busy and was kind of like, "screw him."
A couple years later, the prince was due to get married and the future princess apparently thought her fiance spent too much money on frivoulus things - like music (Bach). Bach knew he'd be out of work soon and - remembering his Brandenburg connection - quickly pulled some musical works out of his [ass] collection, renamed them "The Brandenburg Concerti", and sent them off to the guy, 2 years too late.
Suffice to say, the guy didn't respond. Bach was stuck taking a gig at St. Thomas church in Leipzig where he stayed til he died, 30 years later. And no one's even sure if the guy in Brandenburg ever even heard the music because his musicians were hacks and probably couldn't perform it (remember, there were no iPods or even 8 tracks back then -- if your musicians sucked, you were screwed). They recovered the music later on -- lucky for us!
So I thought it was cool to learn all that. Added a bit of a human element to it all. Thought I'd share it with you lucky bastards. You're welcome.