Today, I learned …

a lesson in minimalism.

Before today, I didn’t realize it was a style of music.  The first piece I heard I hated.

“Rather be staked to an anthill than have to listen to it again”  hated.

But I am a seeker of knowledge and know that just as you can’t judge a book by its cover, you can’t judge a genre by one artist.

So I went seeking.

I found some interesting things, fascinating sounds, hypnotic renditions, all of which had one thing in common; they put me in the mindset of waiting for something to happen.

The other shoe to drop.

On the edge of my seat, knowing that any moment, something would jump out or change or become irregular.

But it didn’t.

I found that, while it may not move to the top of my playlist, there were some pieces I liked.  I even found one by Steve Reich I found enjoyable.  (Yes, only one, Mr. Reich … I mean, I know it was your birthday and all, but I really meant that whole “staked to an anthill” thing).

The search unearthed a lovely and yet somehow disturbing piece by Jimmie Peggy called Angelus Domini.  I was most certainly waiting for something to jump out at me on this one.  I even went so far as to cover my eyes at one point … just in case.

And then there was Philip Glass.  I’m still not certain if this is the same Philip Glass, pianist extraordinaire, who takes up a lot of space in my playlists, but I was intrigued just the same.

The pièce de résistance of my experimental searching came when I ran across Dan Holland’s “Mahatma”.  I was swept off my feet by this simple, yet complicated piece of music.

One could formulate the opinion that it was because it was played on piano.

I do love the piano.

That wasn’t the reason, though.

It left me breathless and exhilarated.

Maybe even enthralled.

I’m not certain I have ever felt enthralled about anything, but I imagine it felt a bit like that.

And I believe it would have even if it had been played on another instrument.

I may never know the answer to that question, but the answer to the question “do I like minimalism”?  Some of it, yeah, surprisingly, I do.

I love learning new things.  They make me more than I was yesterday and whatever I learn tomorrow will make me more than I am today.

And so it will continue until I die.  I’ll never know everything, but each thing changes me, for good or bad, one way or the other, and from each one of them, I learn.

I grow.

I become.

I owe a friend who was honoring the birthday of Steve Reich for this journey.  Had I not subjected myself to seven minutes of hell, I would have had no idea this genre existed; and because I subjected myself to seven minutes of hell, I went in search of something less hellish.

A good day all around.  A good day, indeed.

Mahatma … by Dan Holland

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