Wednesday, December 1, 2004

Mozart! Poetry! Traffic! Yippee!

Last night I went to the library for my poetry group. I was there a bit early, so I went to the Books-on-Tape section to get the next installment of The Great Ideas of Philosophy, which I've been listening to on the commute every day. I got my set of tapes, then ho-hummed around the Books-on-CD section, which I rarely visit, seeing as I live in the dark ages and do not have a CD player in my car.

You will NEVER believe what they have in the Books-on-CD section ... the Teaching Company's "Great Masters" series of lectures by my favorite Teaching Company lecturer, Professor Robert Greenberg! Oh, joy! What excellent, good fortune!

What followed were several moments of great indecision. Which "Great Master" series to listen to first? Oh, the agony! Do I go with someone like Beethoven, whose biography I read a few months ago? Or Mozart, with whom I'm also pretty familiar? Or Liszt, about whom I know less? Or Mahler, about whom I know very little indeed, other than that he wasn't a happy-happy-joy-joy kind of fellow?

I finally settled on the eight-lecture series on the life and works of Mozart, for several reasons:

1) I'm working on the Mozart Fantasie in D Minor on the piano, so I've been in kind of a Mozart state of mind lately.

2) My favorite movie in the whole world is Amadeus, and I love learning what I can about Mozart.

3) I was curious to see how anyone, even the great Robert Greenberg, could fit the life and works of Mozart into only eight lectures.

4) Well ... I just really love Mozart. He's my friend.

Lucky for me, I had to borrow the hubster's car this morning (mine needs to visit "the shop"), and his car has a CD player! So I took a morning sabbatical from The Great Ideas of Philosophy and listened to Greenberg's Lecture 1: Introduction. It was a rapturous drive to work for me. I was even glad to find a huge traffic jam at the "malfunction junction" merge of I-40 and I-240. I was sad to see that it had been caused by a wreck, but I must admit that I relished the extra half-hour of Mozart lecture it granted me. (I know, I'm selfish. And I do feel bad about that.)

Remember how I said yesterday that the poetry group would last for two hours, leaving me little time to practice piano, work on theory, do Precepts homework, and clean house?

Well, the poetry group lasted for three hours. We spent the entire three hours reading and talking about T.S. Eliot's poetry (along with the predictable(?) tangents of Christianity, existentialism, psychics, reincarnation, John Crowe Ransom, C.S. Lewis, myths (and Jung, and Campbell), Virginia Woolf, television, poet laureates, "What the BLEEP do we know," home schooling, and who would bring what food to next week's holiday party). It was one of those marvelous three-hour segments where the only quiet moments are those in which people are thinking and wrestling with ideas. It was one of those three-hour segments where, after about two hours and fifty-seven minutes, everyone glances at their watch and gasps. "Has it been three hours already? Oh my!"

And we never even made it to Prufrock. We decided to schedule an "Eliot II: Prufrock" discussion in February. Ah ... several hours of discussing "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" with fellow poetry lovers. That'll be almost as good as sitting in a traffic jam with nothing to listen to but Professor Greenberg talking about Mozart.

Life is good.

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