Category Archives: Essays

Third Ear Music

We usually listen to music in an active way, reaching out, linear. Certain types of music, however, require a different kind of listening for their appreciation. On Saturday night I went to see Ustad Habib Khan, playing the sitar, and Swapan Chaudhuri on the tablas, at the Vedic Cultural Center in Berkeley, in a performance of ragas, traditional music of India…

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Hearing Beethoven

When we talk about the major figures in Western Classical music, Mozart is seen as representing the unique genius of Classicism. His music is the easiest to approach.  J.S. Bach is on another level, such that it is almost difficult to think of him only as a composer. His art is filled with mystery, passion, profundity, and exaltation. He is thought of as the apex of the Baroque.

The influence of Beethoven, in comparison to other composers, in my thinking, eclipses the boundaries of music. When his music is known in context, we can begin to understand just how much it changed, not only music, but all of Western consciousness and Western Culture…

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