Taking a Break with Music

Monday, August 30, 2010 - 12:00 AM

This is the last week of the traditional vacation season. I love the terms associated with vacation. To “vacate” means to “get out.”  “Relax” means to “loosen.” We also “take a break,” have “time off,” and “get away.” In all of those words or phrases is the idea of relief from everyday routine, and there are myriad ways to escape quotidian matters.

Travel to far-away places with strange-sounding names or maybe just take a walk around the block, stopping for another cup of coffee and another piece of pie. (By the way, have you ever taken your usual route to work without being in a hurry to get to your job? You’ll probably notice things you’ve never before given yourself time to see.) 

Is there a musical element to your vacations? Music can be the very point of a vacation, perhaps abetted by great scenic beauty in Tanglewood’s Berkshires, Bridgehampton’s beaches or the Aspen Festival’s Rocky Mountains.

But there’s also the idea of simply taking a break from what is musically routine. Do you turn off the classical music and get your motor runnin’ with some classic rock when you get out on the highway? Trade the Beethoven “PastoralSymphony for country music when you go on the road again? 

Here’s another possibility: With music almost inescapable in New York City stores and restaurants, maybe the way you break the routine is with silence -- although John Cage argued, in his famous piece 4:33, that even in silence there is music. 

So, when you want to take a musical break, how do you do it?

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Comments [9]

Raul Nunez

Yes, about vacations... I have suggested before to start a fund for well deserved long long vacations to far far away places for Nimet and Terrance.

Sep. 11 2010 11:18 PM

I put on ''LOUIE...LOUIE''.....

Sep. 02 2010 02:18 PM
Kenneth Bennett Lane from Lake Hiawatha, NJ

Rachmaninoff, Paderewski, Vladimir Horowitz, Franz Liszt, Frederic Chopin, Sarasate, Josef Hofmann, and Simon Barere and, a bow to the non-classical, the flambuoyantly-costumed Liberace, ALL demonstrated that talent with a flourish a la Cyrano de Bergerac, adds flavor to the confection that is music. GIVE YOURSELVES A BREAK and LISTEN TO THE UNFAMILIAR, YOU MIGHT GET TO LIKE IT !! Of course, there are style considerations and the composer's supposed intentions that should prevail if indeed we KNOW from the composer what he seeks to convey. The true masterpieces survive even the entreprenuristic aspect of uniqueness for its, THEIR, own sake.

Aug. 31 2010 07:36 PM
Ivan Strausz from Manhattan

I loved the "old" WQXR and I love the "new" WQXR except for one recent change: all the talking that goes on lately about personal matters: vacations taken, blogs posted, friends met. Could your announcers devote themselves more to announcing and playing music?

Aug. 31 2010 06:56 PM
Judy Siegman from Brooklyn, NY

I'm sure you'e charming -- I know you are -- I've seen you in person. But, dear Jeff Spurgeon, on the air your lilting voice too often drops the final syllables that give us vital information, such as who the unfamiliar artist is, or even the familiar one. I can't always go to my computer to find out what's playing -- e.g., I may be driving my car. And then, so much else crowds my day, I half forget; I'm just left with a vague annoyance. So, please, can you -- um --er -- ah (as you often do articulate) -- can you keep the voice and diction clear for those last words? Than kew!

Aug. 31 2010 07:27 AM
Rosemarie Gates

Along with my opera CDs and other classical music CDs, this summer on vacation I packed a Kentucky bluegrass CD. Some of the songs had me howling with laughter and all of them were charming - pure fun! I hadn't realized I liked bluegrass until recently. While in Great Barrington, MA this summer for a Pergolesi opera I stopped by a farmer's market where an incredible band was playing. I made a mental note to listen to more of it. So, here's to doing things you don't expect to and taking notice of what's right in front of you.

Aug. 31 2010 02:07 AM
John J. Christiano from Franklin NJ

There are times when I do change gears (gasp!) from classical. Usually, it's right in the middle of some interminable (read: intolerable) clarinet concerto.

(Un)fortunately I have been blessed with a musical ear that is deaf to no genre of music (ok, maybe hip-hop/rap). But the buttons on my car radio cover, starting from left to right, country, classical, easy listening, classical rock.

Aug. 30 2010 02:34 PM
John Turner from Indianapolis

In answer to your question as to whether or not the basketball team required a plural or singular verb. In the UK a group is always plural as it has more than one member. Here, we see it as a unit, as your newsreader remarked. In cases of this sort, personal preference is valid.

Aug. 30 2010 08:09 AM
Michael Meltzer

Helen Merrill, June Christy, Peggy Lee, Anita O'Day, Chris Connor, Jo Stafford, and yes, my secret love, Doris Day.

Aug. 30 2010 03:39 AM

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