Piccolos and Pot?

Watched “Mozart in the Jungle” from Amazon last night for the first time (I’m always a little behind on these things). Pretty raw — which always raises the questions about whether film, TV, art, really should be more aspirational or depict life as it “really” is.  I tend to lean toward the latter while freely admitting that particularly gratuitous instances of profanity or violence still sets my teeth on edge. A Huffington Post review of this ten-session, half hour comedic series says this:

The only people who were surprised by the Golden Globe wins for the Amazon series “Mozart in the Jungle” and its star, Gael García Bernal, were those who have not watched the steamy, sharp, and witty show about sex, drugs, and symphonic music. Oboist Blair Tindall wrote the book and is a consultant on the series, which is likely to have a third season.

I did not grow up listening to classical music. It was just not part of our home life — more popular music, big bands, and Broadway scores were what surrounded me as I remember it, before I discovered rock and roll and, later, folk music. Where I was exposed to some of the classics was in the Episcopal church we attended which had a fine organist, choir and music director and drew from the local liberal arts college for talent.

My first exposure to the literature of genuine classical music was in a humanities class at the University of Florida, presided over by a fascinating German professor, Dr. Graeffe. I was blown away! The blend of instrumentation, the harmonies, the various symphonic movements and piano and violin concertos filled not only my mind but my soul…and still can do.

It is a sadness for me that younger people, by and large, do not seem to appreciate such music. Here in Iowa, fortunately, many of our fine colleges and universities still offer opportunities for participation in choirs and orchestras. But, nation-wide, I am afraid fewer and fewer young people are being exposed to, and therefore, appreciate fine music.

I wonder if a show like “Mozart in the Jungle” which depicts young, and not so young, musicians who are “real” people, wrestling with real problems and participating in most of the naughty “sins” du jour that so many other young people are exposed to might serve to “humanize” classical music and invite some of them to give it a listen.

Maybe that’s too lofty a goal for what is essentially a comedy series. At least I can hope.

And, in any case, the characters are well drawn, the plots engaging, the street scenes in New York make me miss the Big Apple where we lived for nine years…

And the music is — Fantastic!


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