Mahler’s Having a Moment. He’s Got Lydia Tár to Thank for It.
“I love the composer, but I don’t like the piece.” So sang one of my parents’ favorite songs. And you know what? I didn’t like it either. And neither did my dad. “But it’s so hot,” the song said, “and those people out there are going to burn up.” My dad is of the “if you can’t be first then be last” school of thought – I’d rather get to the top, where I won’t be the worst.
But then my dad took one look at the piece in question and realized it was one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written. It was a piece he’d never heard before, and had no idea how he’d ever hear it again. How could a piece he hadn’t heard before be so beautiful?
He thought that was weird, “but I love the composer,” so he went home, opened the score, and wrote a melody for the piece. The song wasn’t perfect – after all, this music was by one of the greatest composers in history – but he was going to make it better. And then he called me over, took the melody I’d written, and wrote a new refrain, a different lyric, and then took it on the road, going into the streets of Portland, Oregon, singing it in the hope that maybe he could inspire someone else.
“I feel like the most fortunate person in the world right now,” he said after the song was performed, and it hit the charts, bringing him more attention than he’d ever known before. And for a good reason: “I’m not just a composer and I’m not just a musician,” he said, “I’m a composer composer composer!”
And if that wasn’t enough to make you want to hear the song, here’s