Introduction: Short Ride in a Fast Machine

Classical
music has quite the reputation in this country: people seem
interested but put off at the same time, wanting to know more but not
knowing where to start. The complexity and ambiguity make for both
an obstacle and a reward; the more you know, the more you realize you
don't know. Like learning a language, it's a long path uphill with
no clear destination. And yet people take the journey. Unlike pop
music, which anchors us in time, classical music seems to transcend
the present, connecting us to the timelessness of the past. It is a
rich tradition that has roots deep in our collective past, starting
out as brooks in the high mountains, joining together to form a wide
river, flowing into the sea. Without knowing where to jump in, you
risk getting swept away. And the tradition is not all masterpieces.
There are, in fact, more clunkers than gems, making it easy to get
led astray.


This
blog aims to guide the way to a deeper understanding of this
venerable tradition. I hope to be a guide to the myriad
opportunities in Chicago to hear free, amateur or professional
concerts of a Classical and post-Classical variety--for both novices
and initiates alike.


It's a long journey, so let's get started with a piece that requires no introduction, "Short Ride in a Fast Machine".  It was composed by John Adams, an American composer living near San Francisco.  Much more about him to come.


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