The first search result for "food music"

The first search result for “food music”

Bwogger Tatini Mal-Sarkar takes us to a dimly lit Chelsea bar on a gloomy Tuesday evening. She’s there to hear Adjunct Assistant Professor of Music Tina Frühauf speak on the deep relationship between food and music in her talk titled, “‘You’re the Cream in My Coffee’: A Toast to Music and Food” which sounds pleasant to both ear and stomach.

To say it’s ambiant would be the understatement of the century. The sole candle flickers at my tiny wooden table, and there’s a black and white film playing on the only non-smartphone screen in the place. I’m surrounded by young, posh twenty-somethings. The smell of real adult non-Barefoot wine fills the establishment. The atmosphere couldn’t be more different from my usual 8:40 lectures, and thank God for that.

I assume one of the regulars looks around the bar questioningly, eyebrows raised at the crowd, and after her friend murmurs the premise of the event, she says, “That’s why it’s so crowded!” What do you mean, bars in Chelsea aren’t always packed to capacity Tuesday nights at 8:30?

At 8:30 sharp, overpowering French music blasts through the speakers, although the event still hasn’t started yet. At last, the event organizer gives a brief overview of Raising the Bar and fairly immediately hands the stage to Professor Fruhauf.
From the start, Fruhauf issues a disclaimer that we’ll be learning nothing about food or music individually, but rather the intersection of the two. Alas, there was no free food. It had to be ordered.

The first piece features organs and is prototypical Bach. It’s heavy and dark and certainly not standard bar music, but apparently Bach wasn’t as buttoned-up as everyone thinks he was. According to Fruhauf, “When he was 21, he was naughty,” sometimes even getting paid in wine. His preferences? More white than red, German over French. Bear that in mind the next time you want to get classy shitfaced drunk like a Baroque composer. At forty, he would drink about a liter a day, and at fifty, he had his own personalized “drinking vessel” handmade.

The Bach doesn’t stop there. The second piece is the Peasant Cantata, a drinking song written in German dialect. Fruhauf then discusses the role of wine in music, which is substantial—by 1930, a few thousand wine songs had already been penned. The country with the most? As expected, France.

The talk is structured as a meal, and the next course is appetizers. For some reason, this means experimental avant garde, so of course the third selection is literally people talking at a dull roar, followed by what sounds like a train whistle. Alas, my critical analysis is faulty, and apparently it’s actually the sound of something to do with junk food. Titled “No Nutritional Value,” it’s a piece of performance art composed in 2001. I’d give you more details, but it was so avant-garde that it wasn’t on Google.

The intersection of avant garde music and food is actually really cool though—the Vienna Vegetable Orchestra makes fresh instruments out of vegetables an hour before every concert, at the end of which they make a huge soup. The idea’s not new either. In the 1960s, the Fluxus movement, which centered around blending art forms, often featured food-evoking music, such as a piece that created the illusion of smell via the sound of a frying pan.

The next course opens up with a much more traditional piece: opera. It’s Cinderella, but the song is her father, Don Magnifico, talking about all the food he’ll be able to eat when he’s married off one of his daughters. Fruhauf talks about how in the work, food represents power and wealth. She goes on to distinguish between operas involving consummated dining scenes and operas involving unconsummated dining scenes, the latter often placing other topics such as politics (as in the case of Nixon in China) at the forefront. A lovely final thought on food in opera, though, comes from Verdi, in whose work every meal must be happy, and every meal must be shared. No solitary Ferris runs for him!

At last, we hit dessert. The title piece of the talk, “You Are the Cream in My Coffee,” chirps its way across the room, and Fruhauf uses it to talk about the general role played by coffee music, particularly the role it played in supporting women’s emancipation. Other than the surprisingly political background, the music, lovingly referred to by Fruhauf as “Java Jive,” is happy and bubbly. It’s rooted in the 1930s, and therefore reflective of the nation’s response to the bucket of laughs that was the Great Depression.

To be wholly honest, the lecture, though delightfully pointed in its initial topic, winds up feeling like a host of unrelated information catapulted at the audience. This isn’t necessarily a problem of the premise of RTB itself, so much as of the sort of topic intended to attract the most attention. Fruhauf was brilliant and wonderful and full of fascinating tidbits of information, but something about the experience didn’t feel wholly satisfactory. Nonetheless, the idea (of both the talk and RTB in general) is commendable and should definitely happen again.

But the lecture’s not quite over yet. Well, to be fair, the lecture is, but somehow Fruhauf leads a round robin of “A Soalin,” the lyrics to which are particularly appropriate for us college students: “Hey ho, anybody home? Food nor drink nor money have we none, still we will be very merry!” That about sums it up.

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