It’s all about trying

We like to think that this school band performance of “Also Sprach Zarathustra” by Richard Strauss in many ways exemplifies the themes of the film it is most associated with, 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. Or if not the themes of Stanley Kubrick, then at least of Arthur C. Clarke. For human beings must strive, must struggle to reach a highest state, to find the perfect — or at least accurate — notes. We must come together, in communion and fellowship, to make ourselves better, the human tribe in all its glorious flaws. Granted, the tutti of this particular performance is a ragged, naked attempt, the horns desperately seeking the notes as written in the score, but hear the brave tympanist still keeping the rhythm, the strings coming in. ‘Tis a courageous battle, a stark symbol of the beauty of efforts that go on despite failure after failure.

What’s that, now? It’s by a band of deliberately bad musicians who toured and put out records?

Okay, in that case, it is just funny as hell.


  1. says

    “For human beings must strive, must struggle to reach a highest state, to find the perfect — or at least accurate — notes.”

    Or grab the femur from the left overs and annihilate the tribe next door.

    ‘Cause, you see, the monolith gave those hominids a little bit of knowledge (a dangerous thing), with the lunar monolith being a signal to the Saturn/Jupiter monolith that mankind had progressed enough to reach the Moon.

    You can either bang the rocks together in rhythm creating a noise which enlightens and entertains, or you can bang the rocks chaotically creating a noise with engulfs and destroys. If you bang the right rocks together, you get fire, or an atom bomb.

  2. Jeff Webber says

    Your timing is perfect — I’m just wrapping up the quite excellent Brian Eno biography, “On Some Far Away Beach.” Eno was one of the early members of the Portsmouth Sinfonia and the idea of music by non-musicians music became central to his philosophy. If you’re an Eno fan, break out “Put a Straw Under Baby” and you’ll hear the Sinfonia at their finest.

  3. says

    Good lord, I would love to see Ric Flair walk the aisle with that playing in the background.

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