Not Sure Where To Begin?
my thoughts on Music & Being, which guide my writing.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
The iconic Deadhead adage of "we are everywhere" never seemed more true than when I first heard about Lee Johnson's Dead Symphony No. 6. The Grateful Dead's infusion into the world of classical music was something of a Deadhead community triumph, yet I really didn't know what to expect from this fusion, and I'll admit that I leaned pretty heavily on the skeptic side. Grateful Dead "with strings?" Oh dear, please no.
What is actually transpiring in Dead Symphony No. 6 puts all these fears to rest. You might compare it to the way the Dead's music eclipses the ubiquitous stereotype of "drug music for stoners." This is no mere "Dead with strings" performance.
Having listened, I now find myself hoping that the Dead Symphony caravan somehow makes its way up to Chicago so I can hear it live myself. Lee Johnson's creation isn't something that can be called a Dead tribute. It's more as if the Grateful Dead's muse has manifested itself through Johnson into a classical expression. Lee has allowed the Dead's melodies to seed a final product that is less about Grateful Dead songs being played by a symphony and much more about the intricacies and layers of Grateful Dead creativity finding a compelling voice. Sometimes we can almost sing along, while other times we are given merely taste enough to know which song sparked Johnson to compose and arrange. From there we are treated to a musical experience that reaches its own "gold ring, down inside."
I bring all this up because it is an intriguing element in the evolution of our Deadhead community, and since the music is doing something truly special, I feel compelled to make sure any Atlanta Heads who frequent these pages know about the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra concert on October 5th. It is sure to be an eye- and ear-opening evening. Get there if you can, and come back and tell us all about it.