Video: Video Finds: Music |
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Video Finds: Music

In the first episode of his great 1976 PBS television series about music, Leonard Bernstein gave samples from the major genres and answered the perennial question about which of them was most important by saying “I love it all”. It’s still the only principle that makes sense. A jazz number can drive every classical piece you’ve ever heard straight out of your head for as long as it lasts, and the same applies in reverse. A good song will temporarily eclipse the last movement of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, and when you get your brains back you will remember that Beethoven too, was setting a song. That effect of utter and exclusive absorption is the way into any genre, and beyond that, to a whole field of human creation. You don’t have to know anything about opera to be caught up by the duet for two female singers from Lakmé, and once you are, you might well be at the beginning of an exploration that will take you to all the other operas as well. But these points need no reasoning; they only need demonstrating; and already, in the musical bazaar of YouTube, there is enough enchantment lying loose to get anyone started in a new direction. The only problem is when the pictures have nothing to do with the music, but even then you can find some fragmentary performances that will hold you spellbound, no matter if there is nothing to look at except an old 78rpm record turning on a Victrola. These nothing-to-see numbers have usually been posted by someone so nuts about the music that he can’t bear for you not to hear it. It’s not a bad guiding idea, but in this selection I have tried to ensure that there is always something appropriate to look at, at least for long enough for the aural magic to do its seductive work.