Posted by: Namar | June 29, 2012

Rachmaninoff, Romance and Running Bases

“Baseball is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for baseball.”

Rachmaninoff said something like that. You could look it up.

By the late 18th century, literary taste began to turn from classical and neoclassical conventions. The generation had doubts about the age of reason.Romanticism swept through the world with its spirit was one of revolt against an established order of things; against precise rules, laws, dogmas, and formulas that characterized Classicism in general and late 18th-century Neoclassicism in particular.

It praised imagination over reason, emotions over logic, and intuition over science-making way for a vast body of literature of great sensibility and passion. In their choice of heroes, romantic writers replaced the static universal types with more complex, idiosyncratic characters. They became preoccupied with the genius, the hero, and the exceptional figure in general, and a focus on his passions and inner struggles and there was an emphasis on the examination of human personality and its moods and mental potentialities.

Individualism was on the rise. Previously people had been classified as peasants, merchants or nobles. The creation of the possibility for anyone to become a king became apparent. Napoleon Bonaparte rose dramatically because of the revolution. Fifty years after his death he was still inspiring people to write of tossing responsibility and tradition to the wind. Baseball also showed rebellion against social conventions like the government.

And baseball was born and flourished.

baseball rachmaninoff utopia

Romanticism, like baseball, stresses self-expression and individual uniqueness that does not lend itself to precise definition. Baseball is romantic.

During this time, along came composer Sergei Vassilievich Rachmaninoff. For many in classical music, Rachmaninoff was one of the last connections, if not the absolute last, between 19th century romanticism and modern times. He stands as a giant who combined dazzling virtuosity with stunning efficiency and ease. His recordings shed light on an era of pianists who had mostly died out before the arrival of gramophone-making, leaving their performances in a vast, silent library of myth.

And he would have had a nasty left-handed hook as a pitcher.

He’ll make his pitching debut tomorrow at Elysium Field here on the island.


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