Monday, May 17, 2004

Keeping Score

I'm just not sure what I think about this.

Tonight the Los Angeles Philharmonic will play a concert devoted in its entirety to the soundtrack of Final Fantasy video game. According to the article in the New York Times (online registration required -- sorry), scenes from the video game will be projected on a screen while the music is being performed.

Does that mean if the character dies, they'll have to start over again?

The entire prospect is a double-edged sword. The concert is already sold-out, and the hope is that this will draw new listeners to the concert hall. And I would agree, attracting new listeners is not only a worthwhile endeavor, it is critical to the longevity of any organization.

But at what cost? A member of the Philharmonic said that although parts of it were catchy, overall it was "...on the level of Muzak and pretty much completely without integrity. It's really, really cheezy."

I'm not against broadening the musical horizons of either the LA Phil or its listeners. But how about, in the name of music education, programming a bit of non-video game music as well? It doesn't have to be a "you have to eat your brussel sprout before you get ice cream" kind of punishment. It could be an enticement, ala a Monster Truck Rally:

If you like Final Fantasy, you'll love Carmina Burana....Sunday SUNDAY SUNDAY!!!

Once the masses become acclamated to classical music, we can tell our little secrets: Rent is really La Boheme and Miss Saigon is really Madame Butterfly. Oh, and Bugs Bunny embraces both Rossini and Wagner.

Personally, I have great faith in the public at large. They can handle the truth. Maybe next time the LA Phil will program an entree to go with their dessert. Otherwise, I'm afraid the next concert may be an entire evening devoted to television jingles.

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