Saturday, July 2, 2005

You can't make this shit up...

No, I'm not referring to the heinous hijinks of our current administration, although I easily could be. Here's hoping you are all reading about the Rove scandal on some real blogs, i.e, those by the well-informed politics junkies among us.

In the meantime, however: This is the kind of thing that makes me deeply embarrassed by my own bourgeois parenting. I confess to owning several of the ubiquitous Baby Einstein DVDs. They were one of those things I thought too pretentious for words, back before I was a desperate woman willing to contemplate subjecting my child to any evil corporate influence if it meant 15 minutes in which to check my email. At least it was commercial free, with classical music to boot.

The other night, we took our daughter, now 2 years and 7 months old, to a new restaurant. Some sort of generic classical music was piped into the dining room, which we of course ignored, as we were intended to. (Here I have to say that nothing seems stranger to me than the idea of classical music, of almost any variety, as "background" music. Unlike the cookie-cutter quality of most pop songs, even good ones, classical music is all about variation--in tone, mood, tempo, pitch. The whole idea of canned symphonies or "greatest opera favorites" smoothed over to an unoffensive volume really offends me. This is music that demands to be listened to carefully, entirely, passionately--not as background to some idiot woman's complaints about her loser boyfriend, or to the unmusical conversation that ensues when dining with the under-3 set. And yes, I know I'm totally off topic.)

Anyway, as my daughter is now wont to do, she said, "What's this song about, Mama?" I wasn't listening, and brushed her off: "I don't know, honey, I can't hear it."
"It's Mozart." She announced. And it was. If my own classical music education wasn't so far in the past, I should even be able to identify the piece, but I can't. If I even read the "Baby Mozart" DVD listings, I should be able to identify it, but I haven't bothered. But damn, did my little overeducated, pretentious, upper-middle class academic heart swell with pride. "My daughter can recognize Mozart! I can't be the maternal failure I fear I am!"

Of course in the cold light of day, I realized that she has no idea what "Mozart" is, let alone who he is. She announces the strains of "Baa Baa Black Sheep" with equal perpicacity.

Still, I smell an advertising contract somewhere...


At 2:00 PM , Blogger Terminaldegree said...

Here I have to say that nothing seems stranger to me than the idea of classical music, of almost any variety, as "background" music.

You might find it interesting to know that a lot of this music was intended as "background" music! Telemann's "Tafelmusik," for example, was composed to be performed during dinner. Haydn later became annoyed with people who talked or fell asleep during his compositions, and he wrote the "Surprise Symphony" to startle them into paying attention! But a lot of this stuff was written by musician/servants who were expected to churn out tunes for dances, meals, and even firework celebrations. Interesting, no?

On to your original topic: It's pretty darned cool that your daughter could recognize a piece this early. Fantastic! (If you really want to nurture this skill, SING with her often. But maybe you do this already...)

Sounds like your daughter is a pretty smart little cookie. :)


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