I love my birthday. Sadly, it's over, but I'm happily looking forward to next year. :)
One thing I love about it is that I get to celebrate with people who really love me, people who know me to the core. Sometimes that manifests as the gifts people give me (and I love gifts!). Along with a subscription to the Turner Classic Movies monthly magazine, homemade cookies, lovely products from Lush, Sarah Brightman music, and a cool card deck on tea, I also received this book, 1,000 Recordings To Hear Before You Die. (Thanks for the above to Antonette, Lee, and Stacy. Sniff. I love you guys.)
Here's why I'm calling out this particular gift: Tom Moon makes you SEE his love of music, how pivotal it can be. Reading his introduction, I absolutely want to follow his direction and "flip through the pages, land on something at random, seek out the music, and have an unexpected eureka! moment." It makes me want to read -- and listen.
A longer taste of his introduction as he talks about how he compiled this massive, 1000-plus-page book:
Listening this way requires patience, curiosity, and that most precious commodity, time. I'd argue it's worth it. No matter how fast the download speed, music still unfolds in real time, one stanza after another. It's a journey. Not every recording will come jumping out to leave a strong first impression. Sometimes great music takes a while to get under your skin. But when it does, it stays there.
Then there was the question of how to organize the book. Categorizing the music by genre was an obvious route, but on reflection it seemed the only way to honor the spirit of the project was to present the entries dictionary-style, alphabetically by artist. Finding renegade jazz pianist Cecil Taylor next to sensitive singer-songwriter James Taylor, who abuts the Russian composer Tchaikovsky underscores the astounding range of musical expression available, while subtly discouraging people from hanging out in the genre neighborhoods (ghettos?) they know best. This journey taught me that there's great treasure waiting on the other side of wherever you draw your territorial lines.
Of course, I'm probably drawn to Moon's description because it's been a journey for him, and music obviously stirs his soul. There's a passion there.
(Feel free to ask me to look up a particular artist or group. I'd love to dive in and find something I might not have stumbled upon on my own.)