What I Learned This Week: #76

Monday, November 5 – Sunday, November 11

The Week in Democracy: The Country voted on Tuesday. I vote in a deep blue neighborhood in the inner city where I stood in a long line at 6:45 am. The last time I stood in a line was to vote for Barack Obama. This time I voted against a lot of people (Democrats, too) and that is not an inspiring way to vote.

The Week in “Oh, That’s What That Song Was About”: I stopped in Cincinnati’s karaoke bar, Tokyo Kitty on Tuesday for Happy Hour. One of my friends sang Cher’s Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves, not realizing it was a song about a young girl who gets knocked up and left behind by the scoundrel. “Papa would have shot him if he knew what he’d done” really threw the bartender for a loop. Hilarious.


The Week in “Wow, You Wrote a Symphony!”:” The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra played Beethoven’s 9th Symphony this weekend. It is one of the most performed classical pieces of modern times, a soaring symphony that elicits feeling of hope and joy for humanity. To open the program, the CSO commissioned Composer in Residence Jonathan Bailey Holland to write a companion piece.

Holland’s symphony, Ode, is a modern-sounding piece that takes its cue from both the notes of Beethoven’s work and the concept of using the music to communicate the spirit of the time. Beethoven wrote during the rise and reign of Napoleon and Holland is writing in a tumultuous political period. In a pre-show discussion with CSO Assistant Conductor Gene Chang, Holland talked about the influence of Black Lives Matter, jazz music (he pays tribute to jazz artist Ahmed Jamal in Ode) and the acceptance of Rap music as a “real” art form. He used these influences in Ode, especially in the second movement.

I liked his piece very much. The lady next to me did not like one note. And she was bitter about having to sit through it. New music is challenging for most people, I think.

Even for those who may not have enjoyed the new music, the audience during the pre-show talk was certainly enamored with Mr. Holland. Picture an audience of classical music geeks who finally get to ask a real, living composer about composing. They asked several questions about how he does it. There is a magic in what people hear and they wanted to crack the puzzle via Mr. Holland. Conductor Louis Langrée alluded to this when he introduced Mr. Holland on stage, saying it was nice hear directly from the composer instead of from the ghost of the composer.

Composer Jonathan Bailey Holland and CSO Assistant Conductor Gene Chang talkin’ about music.

The Week In Pie/Ode to Pie: This week I got in some “pie practice” for Thanksgiving. To get me in the mood, I started with an old family favorite, Bourbon Chocolate Chip pie.  I can’t remember the last time I made a pie, but the last time I didn’t live in a place that had granite countertops. The physics of the cooling properties of granite assist in pie dough creation, so it was good to get out the fancy rolling pin to make some pie dough. My pie crust is decent, but still better than anything store bought. Plus I get to eat cinnamon pie crust crackin’s dipped in bourbon pie goo. Let the holiday calories start rolling in!

Pie Crackin’s and Pie Goo – a match made in calorie heaven.







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