frenchpony (frenchpony) wrote,

  • Music:

The Twenty-Second of November

Ah, November 22nd, how I love thee! I have my radio set to the local socialist community guerrilla station, and they generally have some sort of classical music program on around the time I wake up. Today, the host woke me up by announcing that today is St. Cecilia's Day. Usually, I don't pay attention to saints' days that don't involve overpriced candy or the dumping of enormous vats of green dye into the Chicago River (which, all things considered, makes no difference whatsoever), but St. Cecilia is the patron saint of music. Therefore, said the announcer, he was going to observe St. Cecilia's Day by playing Handel's Ode To St. Cecilia.

This is great. I love Handel. He's like a more user-friendly Bach. And the Ode To St. Cecilia is a fantastic piece of music. On the other hand, there are other sorts of music, that, while not strictly classical, might well be called "classic." This is why, shortly after I woke up, I was dancing around in my apartment, with the Handel still playing on the radio, singing at the top of my lungs, "Oh Cecilia! You're breakin' my heart! You're shakin' my confidence dailyyyyyy! Oh Ceciiiiiiliaaaaa! I'm down on my knees. I'm begging you please to come home!"

Morning at the home of an ethnomusicologist. . .

And since November 22nd is also a date in History, here's one of my favorite dramatic exchanges ever. It's from Sondheim and Lapine's musical "Assassins." It takes place on November 22nd, 1963, on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository, between Lee Harvey Oswald and John Wilkes Booth, a suave, smooth Southern Gentleman who just happens to have killed the sixteenth President of the United States and is trying to convince Oswald to do the same to the thirty-fifth:

BOOTH: Lee, when you kill a President, it isn't murder. Murder is a tawdry little crime; it's born of greed, or lust, or liquor. Adulterers and shopkeepers get murdered. But when a President gets killed, when Julius Caesar got killed. . . he was assassinated. And the man who did it. . . (he lets the sentence hang, unfinished)

OSWALD: Brutus.

BOOTH: Ah! You know his name. Brutus assassinated Caesar, what?, two thousand years ago, and here's a high school drop-out with a dollar twenty-five and hour job in Dallas, Texas who knows who he was. And they say fame is fleeting. . .
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