It's time you admitted it: there's a real dearth of classical Christmas music. Sure there's Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker ballet, which takes place during Christmas and is NOT about your ex-wife. I gotta be honest with you, when I think of Christmas the first image that comes to mind is not grown men in bulging, form-fitting tights leaping around a stage. Such an image barely makes the top ten! I suppose you can toss in Handel's Messiah, but baroque vocal music to me just smacks of elitism (send all hate mail to firstname.lastname@example.org). Even the many "classical Christmas" albums are little more than traditional Christmas carols arranged with lots of weepy Muzak string sections and bongos. Compared to the veritable overflowing crypt of classical pieces for Halloween ("Night on Bare Mounain", "Danse Macabre", "March To The Scaffold", "Ernest Gits Skeered") there just isn't a lot of classical Christmas music.
Which leaves me a bit thin for material this month.
Which means I'll fill in some space with more of these article-extending one-liners.
Had I been on the ball instead of sinking into my couch, bloated like a Dom DeLuise, dozing on tryptophan, I would have been able to inform you of the local performances of Handel's Messiah (over) or Tchakovsky's Nutcracker (somewhat over… there are still performances at the Performing Arts Center through December 9). Alas, this is the season of Holiday Pops (shows yet on December 8, 14, 15, HIKE!) and heart-warming holiday plays. Which of course really burns my glutteal tissues. No, there won't be any Brahms played until after the New Year. No Beethoven. No spasmodic jerkings of Prokofiev, no teeth-grinding dissonances by Ives. Nada. If you follow the police reports, you know my usual annual reaction to this withdrawal, but I've promised my wife she would no longer suffer public humiliation resulting from my actions, though the creamed corn outfit was mighty snug.
So join me, if you dare, by celebrating the Christmas season in defiance by enjoying this fine music in the proud tradition of ashamed sinners everywhere: in the privacy of your own homes, with the shades drawn and the lights down low. With headphones and a fake John Denver's Christmas With The Muppets CD sleeve inserted over Stravinsky's gloomy mug.
If you are one of the unwashed millions who have yet to experience classical music, allow me to assure you that it is not snobbish (although snobbish people do tend to gravitate towards certain composers like my thoughts tend to gravitate towards Weezy Jefferson in a two piece) and that there is great classical music out there for every musical taste. The problem is, you have to find out which composers you like, all the while speaking a language that is foreign to you… much like asking for directions to Paul McCartney's house while wearing a matching pair of functioning smoking monkey earrings. Now I've made this offer before, only to be rebuked by your gruff silence, but I'm man enough to be shot down again and I'm desperate for any e-mail not having "Viagra" in the subject line. So if you're curious about this new-fangled form of music, drop me at line at email@example.com and tell me the names of your favorite musical groups. I'll input these into my patented database of southern gravy recipes and see what comes out. And if you'd rather not write, I also read semaphore code.
Copyright 2001 Jason Hoffman