Set Your Life to Music

Now, maybe I’m overestimating our general reading public, but I am assuming that at least some of you are worldly enough to have at least passed through a local classical music section on your way to the CD singles, yes? For those of you that stayed for more than five minutes, perhaps to look for that requisite copy of Orff’s Carmina Burana, or maybe an inexpensive version of Ravel’s Bolero (for those special times with your “significant other”–I despise that term, by the way), I address this diatribe.
You aforementioned folks have no doubt seen in your travels a CD or two from the series “Set Your Life to Music”, on the Phillips label? You know, the ones with the innocuous titles like, “Bach for Breakfast”, or “Vivaldi for Valentines”. Well I hate that series! They try to make high art into the soundtrack for some of the most mundane and banal aspects of human existence! The music of Bach and Vivaldi demands to be listened to, not just to be relegated to background Muzak! The music of these composers, among others such as Mozart, Beethoven, and Brahms, to name a few, is chopped into bite-sized morsels (usually lone movements, but I have seen edited versions of even those on some CD’s) and then randomly assorted according to whatever the theme is of the album. Like say, “Mozart for Meditation”, which might have a bunch of adagios or largos on it.
Now, don’t get me wrong here, I’m not an elitist by any stretch of the imagination. I am all for bringing high art to the masses. Americans in particular could use a little culture in their lives. I’m not sure that I believe the claims on some CD’s, like “Mozart Makes You Smarter”, but I don’t see the harm in sharing some of the highest achievements of mankind with your average person on the street. It can be an enlightening and very personally moving experience when you find a piece of music that can inspire or at least move you in some way. That said, I hate modern society’s penchant for making everything into an easily digestible commodity for mass consumption. How can one really appreciate a piece such as Delibes’ famous duet from “Lakme”, when it’s being used all the time in airline commercials?
Anyway, they must be running out of activities to use for titles. There are enough Mozart CD’s alone, in this series, to cover most of the surface area of Texas, and then some. I’m waiting for the day when the folks at Phillips start going barmy trying to think up new titles, and resort to bawdry. Being the good guy that I am, as well as a monstrous ribald, I have come up with a few new titles to start them off in the right direction.
In the mode of “Mozart for Your Morning Coffee”, I moot, “Mozart for Your Morning Movement”. In the spirit of “Puccini & Pasta”, I put forth, “Verdi & Venery”; and ultimately, in the idiom of “Liszt for Lovers”, I offer, “Offenbach for Onanism”. What do you think; should I copyright them first?


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