Last week I went to see a new movie about the Beatles on tour, directed by Ron Howard, who was just the right age to become a Beatlemaniac (10 when they first came to the US). It was pretty much what you expect from that kind of film: film and TV clips, concert footage, interviews with people who were there at the time1, interviews with celebrities2 that were kids at the time, and so on. And while it was lots of fun to visit the early 60s again (as the guy who usually writes in this spot would say “We were so young!”), it wasn’t earthshaking. The gold standard for this kind of thing remains The Kids Are Alright, which in less than two hours tells you everything you need to know about why The Who were the best hard rock band there ever was or will be (and why, if you previously didn’t care about that, you should.)
What was earthshaking was that after the film was over and all the credits had rolled came a film of a Beatles concert at Shea Stadium3. With no advance notice, by the way. Some of the audience left before that; I might have, if a friend hadn’t told me it was coming. And it was awesome. They were one amazing live band: tight and focused, with amazing stage presence. It was literally worth the price of admission all by itself. As I understand it, while the film is going to be on Hulu, the concert is not, so you should all go see the combination while it’s still in theaters.
This weekend, I have tickets to see Bach’s St. Matthew’s Passion, put on by a local Bach society. This, as the Wiki link advises us,
sets chapters 26 and 27 of the Gospel of Matthew (in the German translation of Martin Luther) to music with interspersed chorales and arias. It is widely regarded as one of the masterpieces of classical sacred music.
Which lends an interesting perspective. Bach’s goal in writing this piece was to express his religious convictions and glorify Christ. Meaning that I’m not in sympathy with:
- Bach’s intention
- The choice of text
- The version of the text.4
But it’s an extraordinary and lovely piece of music. Which is enough, even if JSB might be disappointed in that being all of it for some of his listeners.
So, what are you up to?
Image by kmardahl