Monday, February 22, 2010

Frédéric Chopin's Birthday Concert

I went to see a Frédéric Chopin's Birthday Concert, it is, or more accurately would have been, his 200th. I generally am not a concert goer; be it Rock, Country, or Classical. I will go to one if sufficiently bugged to but am unlikely to go to one without being persuaded to do so. This is mostly because I am not a very big fan of music in general (I do not download or purchase music; I don't have an mp3 player or a collection of music cds).

I can generally tell if the music being played is being played well (I'll notice things like wrong notes if I'm paying attention); I just am not interested in it the way that some people are. If I had been interested in the concert I would say it was very good. It was a free concert. I sat near the very front. I was given a free rose. I was in a place that is aesthetically pleasing (marble pillars, dozens of statues, stained glass windows, exquisitely carved wood work, paintings, live flowers, candelabras, etc.).

While I am not really interested in music concerts; I am glad that organizations like Opera Circle, Master Singers Inc, and City Music have some free concerts. I think culture and music should be available to anyone who is interested even if they can not afford it.

While sitting and listening to the music I started to think about how what I was experiencing would have been available to a very small class of people for most of history. Instruments are expensive, to become good at them takes years of practice (for most people), to go to a concert would have taken a lot of time (given the means of travel for most people for most of history), etc.

There are a lot of things that most people living in this time period in first world countries take for granted. Take salt, for example, it is so common that most people eat far too much of it (easy to do considering how much is put in foods), there were times in the past that it was so rare that it was used to pay soldiers and used as currency (blocks of salt called 'amole tchew' አሞሌ ጨው served as currency in Ethiopia in the 18th and 19th centuries). Sugar like salt is common place (again in damn near everything) but it too was rare in the past (in Victorian Europe poor people would purposely darken and damage their teeth to look like they had eaten a lot of sugar like the upper class did - was a time in which making art out of sugar was common amongst the upper classes). Hell food in general, there were many times throughout history in which food was difficult to obtain (if a person were to time travel from the past to our time in a first world country the thing I think would most amaze them is the amount and variety of food available).

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