Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Malice of a Symphony

...Just an amusing incident, concerning music, that happened a couple of weeks ago. I wrote this then but didn't post it.

Can works of art have a vendetta against someone?!

Some weeks ago I found a CD of Hindemith’s “Mathis der Maler” symphony at the public library. I hadn’t heard it in several years, so I took it home for a listen.

I stuck it in my CD player. It was exactly as I remembered, with that beautifully textured and colored Engelskonzert followed by the deeply tragic Grablegung and the scarifying “St. Anthony” tormented by demons.

A couple of hours later, I forgot that I had it in the CD player, and went to play another CD. I opened the CD player and put another CD in (the Hindemith symphony CD didn’t come out when I opened the drawer, and I didn’t notice that anything was amiss) and pushed play. Nothing happened except weird scratching noises from the mechanism of the player. I ejected the CD, thinking it had somehow loaded wrong, and tried again. Nothing happened except scary grinding noises from the mechanism of the player. I tried another CD. Nothing happened except awful grinding and scraping noises from the mechanism of the player. This time when I ejected it, two CDs came out – one was the Hindemith. Like an idiot, I put the Hindemith back in the player to see if it worked again – nothing happened except gruesome ripping and crunching noises from the mechanism of the player – and when I pushed “eject” again, nothing happened at all. It’s stuck in there for good. Calls to repair shops indicated that there’s nothing to be done – it costs more in labor to take a CD player apart and take out an impacted CD that to buy a new player.

I hooked up my old discman to my stereo, which works fine. I ordered another copy of Mathis der Maler from the library, thinking I might want to hear it again.

Three weeks later I happened to check my library account online. The “Mathis der Maler” symphony was listed as “1 of 3 holds on 0 copies”. How can they put a hold on a CD they don’t have?! I asked a librarian the next time I was in the library (yesterday). She also had no idea what that meant. She did some calling to other branches and to the central office – it turns out that the CD is in fact missing – it’s somewhere “in transit” but has been there for a week or two. She tried to cancel my hold and put another on, so I could get another copy – but the hold can’t be cancelled because the CD is in transit! Basically I can’t get the CD because it’s being sent to me, but it's not being sent to me because I already have it, but I don't already have it because it's (not) being sent to me.

Something there is that doesn’t want me to hear this music…!

(This posting is Oct. 26, 2010; 208 days until the first performance of the complete StormSound Cycle) -- The problem with the Hindemith symphony has been solved, well, not completely: it's still stuck in my CD player but I got the other copy from the library.

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