I hate music.
There, I’ve said it. I don’t dislike it. I don’t brush it off and ignore it. The sounds happen, they attack me and they rape me. I HATE IT!
Can’t it be that just once music could come up to me and be gentle, swirl around me, bathe me in angelic light, help me soar to new and perfect lovely emotional heights, intoxicate me with surreal and compelling perfection? I want to drown a joyous prolonged death in a moment of sonic bliss.
I go to the symphony. What I hear is a room full of lumbering drunks stumbling about garishly slurring their words, breaking bottles, falling face first into the shards of glass and belching puke in my face. STOP IT! Don’t you assholes rehearse? Weren’t you trained? Where is your pride, your talent, your ambition to produce a brief moment of precious unnatural perfection? Instead of caressing me with a lullaby you instead mercilessly beat me about the head and face with a bar of soap wrapped in a dirty towel.
I’ve heard Morgan Freeman speak. There is a hint of real music in his well-practiced narration, his turn of phrase, the way his whole body pronounces the words with that lovely tone and cadence that dances and sings. I know speech can be a thing of great beauty. No one but him seems to bother.
I’ve heard Christina Aguilera sing Beautiful. I don’t remember the occasion but it was on TV and it was magnificent. She had probably performed it live a thousand times and it was as if in each of those performances she strove to make it better, more perfect, to take control, to transcend the art and produce something the gods could admire and covet.
The exceptions are so incredibly rare. Why? Has no one ever been intoxicated and hallucinated a perfect beauty that was not really there? Why does no one strive to make that ideal a reality? Where is the spark of Itzhak Perlman in the rest of the world of music? Can he be the only classical musician who doesn’t sound like a tone-deaf incompetent singing into the wrong end of a microphone in a karaoke bar?
There is Morgan Freeman and his magnificent oration. There is Christina Aguilera in her one perfect song. There is Itzhak Perlman making the world a place safe to open my heart and my ears to the marvel that is a violin in his hands.
Why do I pursue music? Because I hate it. Because it is broken and the only way to stop the horrific assault is to fix it. So I strive and I fail. I stumble and grope blindly. I practice until my hands feel like bloody stumps and as I try to pick up a glass of water I drop it. I thirst.
Sometimes. Sometimes when I practice a short piece and after learning it I play it over and over and over again day after day until I get a glimpse of what it might be if once performed as it should. The mountain is so high, so steep, so slippery and sheer that the eden on the other side is all but unattainable.
I try because I cannot help it. The alternative is to admit that wallowing in this rotting sewage of sound on the airwaves and constantly all around me is all there can be. I know better. My thirst can be quenched if only for a moment.