Saturday, May 09, 2009


It has been a fairly rough week. The icing was that I inadvertently offended the wife of a very dear colleague at work. Our team had heard a lot about her, and finally got to meet her as she picked up her man to go to an afternoon Cards game.

As they left, I called out "nice to finally meet you: you are our 5th Beatle!".

Apparently she heard "5th wheel" and interrogated her husband (our main biologist) for 7 innings.


But life beats you up and then gives back. Two items you should see...

YouTube Phenom

First, check out this vid. It is truly joyous and the music really makes it:

It makes me happy that this video has been watched 21 million times. Someone's music, someone's voice, has been heard just as often.

The Timeless Original

Second, and infinitely longer lasting, is that the StL Symphony orchestra is playing Beethoven's 9th this weekend. The finale is known as the Ode to Joy -- the inspiration for my tech blog.

I'm no musicologist but among the amazing things of the piece are:
  • Beethoven was pretty much deaf. At the end of the piece, people had to turn him around to face the audience so that he could see the wild adulation.
  • The libreto (words) come from a poem by Schiller. It celebrates the unity of humankind.
  • Symphonies rarely (if ever) used a choir. Beethoven regularly took traditions that stood for 100+ years and kicked them over.
  • The main melody is taken from a simple major scale that any 7-year-old piano student could play. You and I could noodle with a major scale continually for a decade and not write a better melody.
This is the best audio I could find. The graphic is very weird but the music is good.

Today, we are joyous. Life goes on....

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