To Soothe a Savage Beast: Music Reviews

Music, I believe, is where our culture reaches its climax. It has an architecture, soaring to a steepled point of transcendence. We must cherish the greats: those men who celebrate the beautiful, and make us whole. I offer my thoughts on the latest additions here, in the hope you too will be ennobled.

André Rieu: The Blue Danube Waltz, But Every Time it Gets Slower

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Ah, the ‘Blue Danube’. Richard Strauss was a man ahead of his time. They say the Danube really does look blue, when the moon shines just right.  It is not hard to imagine, when you hear this piece played by the world’s greatest violinist and his orchestra. I can picture André’s leonine mane, his sly Dutch fingers, the ruffles of his shirt front. He moves with a slow romance, and does not speed through the honey of life. He is what all young men should aspire to be.

André Rieu: New Year’s Concert Bumper Edition DVD

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Oh to see the top hats and coattails! Oh to glimpse opera glasses and gowns! This is an evening of magic, my own pumpkin carriage right there on digital versatile disc. I quake as André strides into view, beaming with a masculine power. But those dancing girls, the screeching sopranos who throw themselves at him, they are not good enough for him! I have seen how they look at him. I watch them each evening, every time I replay this masterful concert. They will not have him.

Marshall Bruce ‘Eminem’ Mathers III: Kamikaze

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Mather’s latest release is a defiant contrapunto to the emerging hip-hop establishment. Like the sparkling sculptures of antiquity, something ineffable sets Mathers above the other tinkerers in the so-called ‘rap’ genre. Perhaps it is a clarity of enunciation, that leaves his timbre less muddied. Or perhaps it is the control with which he alludes violence: somehow less crass, less threatening. Whatever the reason, Shady masterfully models a contained rebellion, a virtuous civil pact that resonates with middle Australia.