“A Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever”

So wrote “my man” John Keats. But, it’s not always that way.

Tonight, on the way home from our midweek service, I decided to flip over to the classical public radio station. The show “Adventures in Good Music” hosted by Karl Haas was just starting.

He called this edition of the show something about “tonal colors” or something, and was describing a driving trip through Oregon while listening to the Larghetto movement of Beethoven’s Second Symphony. He said he wanted his listeners to share in that experience, so he played the piece. Right in the middle, he started doing a “play by play” analysis of the music. This lasted through the Beethoven and into Tchaikovsky’s great Marche Slave. Man! I couldn’t believe it!

Then it hit me…this is exactly what the Sweets, Martoias, Webbers, and others are talking about when they try to show the difference between modernity and the time we find ourselves in now. Rather than experiencing the power and beauty and emotion of the music, I found myself distracted by the incessant “explanation” of it. Could this be a parallel to the “talking head” version of “worship” that we’ve become accustomed to? Could it be that it would be much more powerful if we could hear the music of the gospel, rather than be distracted by some commentary?

Just a thought on this Wednesday evening. You’ve got yours…