Saturday, August 7, 2010

Times have Change-ationised!


A Wagnerian Treat for Children: ‘Tannhäuser’

The headline, at the website of The New York Times overnight, was genuinely too surreal not to present here immediately -- and let this be a 'listen' to us ALL in the susceptibility of grown ups to the thought that our amusements are for literally anyone's ears!
At long last, some innocent (in the guise of 2 Wagnerian great-grandchildren) has considered one of the masterpieces in carnal music to be child-friendly, despite its unmitigated debt to those extremes of Eros and of piety which amount, so transparently, to the very same thing. By turning Venus into a Lolita on skates, and with a few other minor tweaks to bowdlerise the Venusberg, the heirs to Bayreuth have contrived to merchandise their legacy as a kind of theme park for happy families of blissful alienation from musical context. Who hasn't known, the keen anxiety to graduate into long pants; but the craving to immerse children in sexual trauma commands a very spiffy forensic term of its own, whose mere mention is likely to shut down this blog. Now, THIS is progress, this insinuation of lust by costume-change. It's enough to make Grandpa Dick wonder what all that trouble was for, to create a sonic signature for the flux of human sexuality which distinguishes it from the attention span and incidents of hopscotch. (There really is a difference, yes?) I, myself, can't wait to see Gürnemanz, infantilised as a pudgy confectioner of after-school treats. Peter Lorre, come back, we're casting for Drosselmayr!

And when these children grow up, how shall they receive the same music they imbibed as a fairy tale, when it must lend light to their maturity? What will they require?

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