You ever wonder how something becomes a delicacy, elegant, or refined? Who makes these fucking decisions? I like to picture a man of corpulent wealth and size stuffing his fat fucking face with sheep’s heads, fish eggs, snails, and fetal duck eggs while listening to music. In between slobbering bites, the man bellows from atop his dozen chins, each roll praying for the sweet release of death, “Yes! Beethoven will is refined this year. Not next year though.” Unfortunately, dude doesn’t fucking exist. We only have ourselves to blame.
In David Foster Wallace’s “Consider the Lobster”, he goes over how lobster became the popular culinary experience as we know it today. To clumsily butcher the words of a great writer with an array of undecorative expletives, back in the day, eating lobster was like eating rat meat. Only the poorest of the poor, the ghettoed, criminals, or the absolute nastiest of hoes would eat lobster. Shit was a stigma. It would be like if you saw your best friend pounding down tins of cat food. Then in the late 1880s, some rich New York and Washington fucks ate some boiled lobster on vacation, returned home, then showed off to all their rich friends how wonderful boiled lobster was. Thus, lobster is now considered elegant fare. That’s how stupid elegance is. “Would you jump off a bridge if someone told you to?” Hells to the fuck ya we would! Just as long as that “someone” was a fancy fuck in a top hat and they told us that jumping off bridges was “refined”.
Like lobster once was, Saint-Saëns gets a bad fucking rap. He was a composer born eight years after Beethoven died and lived long enough to write one of the first movie scores. Motherfucker was crazy talented yet, even in the classical shtick, people will generally know him for Danse macabre or Carnival of the Animals. Bring up one of his string quartets and people get quiet and noses turn skyward. It’s been said that they lack “depth”. Thing is? They’re really fucking good. Like, fuck ya this shit is good. And Hugues, Agathe, Oden, Lucie Girard (ya, they’re in one fucking family), alongside Guillaume Bellom, play this shit legit as fuck. I think it makes sense that these five fantastic, but not entirely well-known, players give Saint-Saëns’s string quartets and quintets the justice they deserve. It’s downright poetic. Not only are they beautifully done, shit’s recorded and played live which gives it a special charm that only comes from a live recording.
I’d say one or two things have changed since the late 1800s, one of those things being who considers what is elegant, refined, or cool. Levi jeans go with Louis Vuitton. Skate culture is a part of Gucci. But, somehow, classical music still holds an elevated position. Top hat opinions still matter in this genre. But fuck top hat opinions. What do you think? When I listened to this shit, I heard beautiful music. But the only way you can figure that shit out for yourself is to try a piece. Who knows? Maybe in a couple hundred years people will be clamouring over Saint-Saëns’s quartets and quintets, boiling that shit, and smothering in a fuckton of butter. Though I’d prefer if they listened to it.