An Article from Aaron's Article ArchiveGood Music
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Saturday, 26 June 2004 9:38 PM MDT
I'm passionate about music, good music. Probably it's because music so easily affects me, and can quickly and deeply move the very core of my being. Last September I mentioned a song from BYU Singers' Songs of the Soul album and how powerful it was.
This weekend, I let iTunes randomly play tracks from my collection (many of my CDs are archived on my computer's hard drive so I can listen to hours and hours of music while I work) and one of my favorite numbers from the aforementioned CD played, Water Night. For some time I've known that one or more numbers on this CD were composed by Eric Whitacre, including When David Heard that Absalom Was Slain. I double-checked, and sure enough, Water Night was also written by him. I'm also a fan of Eric's Cloudburst (which isn't on this CD).
Naturally, since I was at the computer, I Googled Eric's name and found his web site:
What immediately caught my attention, was the flash-based MP3 audio player he has on his site. The next thing I knew, I was listening to samples of Eric's works, high-quality excerpts, many as long as two minutes (which is far, far superior to the lame 30-second excerpts most commercial sites limit one to hearing, which is mostly insufficient to let the listener know what the song is really like). I wasted over an hour at his site, listening to stuff. Wow! He's good! I bopped on over to Amazon.com and added the CD Eric Whitacre: The Complete A Cappella Works, 1991-2001 (performed by BYU Singers under the direction of Ronald Staheli) immediately to my wish list.
If you want to hear an excerpt from Eric's Water Night that prompted my own exploration of his web site, you too can visit his site with a flash-enabled browser, then use the flash-based MP3 player to listen to it and others. Or you can download it directly from Eric's web site and listen to it on an MP3 player on your own computer. The address for the two-minute excerpt is:
Eric's site excerpts from two versions of his Cloudburst composition. They can be directly accessed at the following addresses:
http://www.ericwhitacre.com/flash/music/Cloudburst.mp3I love them both!
This evening I chatted with my sister about good music. I lamented how few people it seems in the U.S. these days who have even been exposed to anything other than what's on the radio, or what's promoted by record companies. I don't mean to be prideful or stuck-up or sound like I'm better than anyone else because of my own musical tastes. (Compared to most "Classical" or "Jazz" or "A Capella" folks, I'm an ignorant Schmo.) I know that everyone has their own tastes. But I wish more people would try other varieties, would let their children grow up hearing all kinds of music. Then there would be more people to share good music with who would appreciate it. I wouldn't feel so alone.
(I personally have great distaste for most things in the rap, techno, or rave categories of alleged music so that's one area where I choose not to experience a wider exposure to new music. Perhaps one reason is that much of it is musically boring, so repetitious that it's severely deficient in creativity. Maybe it's like improvisational jazz, where playing it can be very enjoyable, but listening to it gets monotonous very quickly. I don't know. Maybe it's because of the repulsive antisocial and/or vulgar lifestyles some of the artists in such genres pursue. Sadly such lifestyles are becoming pervasive among artists of almost every genre of music. Okay, that's the end of this little tangential rant!)
Fortunately I've got a good core cadre of family and friends who appreciate good music with whom I can share my excitement at discovering a new artist, composer, or performer, so I really can't complain. I suppose the bulk of my lament of musical loneliness stems from my recent perusal of several online LDS singles web sites. I noticed a dearth of single women who care for anything other than pop, rock, country, etc. Perhaps more than I know do like good music but just aren't passionate enough about it to mention it in their online profiles. I hope so.
Thank you, Mr. Eric Whitacre, for sharing your talents and creativity, and for sharing quality, lengthy excerpts of your compositions online! I will definitely support you by buying CDs containing your music. And I would die at the chance to sing in a choral ensemble singing some of your stuff someday. That would be terribly enjoyable!