Salvo Approved Christmas Gifts #s 4 and 5

My next two gift recommendations are inspired by this article by Paul M. Jannakos that ran in Salvo issue 17 (summer 2011).

Music & Truth

Art Cannot Be Reduced to Parts; Neither Can You

On the level of simple physics, music is the reverberation of pitches or tones that pulsate at so many wavelengths per second. The standard "A 440 hertz," which in Western musical practice has become the default pitch by which all orchestras "tune," is a pitch that reverberates a musical tone at 440 wavelengths per second. Every other pitch, or note, thereby has its own standard wavelength, all in relation to A 440.

Yet if one were to limit music simply to the level of tonal wavelengths, music itself would make no sense, and would be literally incomprehensible. To illustrate, imagine translating the whole of Beethoven's 9th Symphony into the digital codes used by a synthesizer—as has been done many times, much to the chagrin of musical purists like myself. Within this physical medium, music is nothing more than a collection of tens of thousands of zeros and ones, as related strictly to binary mathematics. On a basic level, some would say that this is what music "is": tonal wavelengths that correspond to predetermined pitches, or in this case, binary numbers that correspond to predetermined pitches.

Yet in order to be understood for what it truly is, music must be listened to not simply as an arbitrary collection of sounds, each being emitted by a different instrument at a different pitch, but as a meaningful creation of melodies and harmonies that, when experienced as an integral whole, that is, as art in its own right, conveys the experience (and in many cases the ecstasy) of genuine beauty. And this is what we mean by the "aesthetics" of music: the movement, resonance, and texture of sound that makes music a harmonious, lyrical, and idyllic reality.

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With that in mind, I suggest the gift of Beethoven! Specifically, I recommend Beethoven: 100 Supreme Classical Masterpieces. I downloaded it onto my iPhone and have gotten much enjoyment from listening. Only $7.99. The Salvo article refers to the 9th symphony, but for those unfamiliar with Beethoven, try starting out with the second movement of his 7th symphony. See video below.

Which leads me to my next gift idea. This clip is the opening credits sequence from the movie The Fall (2008). This DVD would be a great gift for anyone who like movies with action, art, drama, comedy, animals, romance, fantasy, sacrifice, and redemption. It's really not an exageration to say that this movie has everything. Highly recommended. ???? Watch the trailer.

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