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Trio Matisse put on amazing performance

Thank you, Trio Matisse for coming to Newton.  Newton Senior High School was the perfect venue to watch this amazing performance, because the Trio put on a clinic.  

As a father of six, most of what I do is designed with my children in mind. I have watched my children and wondered at the fun they have at some of the performances. At Monday night’s performance, I watched my children and thought of how good it is for them to be participants in such fantastic musicianship.

There are three lessons I want my children to learn.

Lesson one: Enjoying classical music is not easy. I will be less specific to this degree: enjoying music is not easy.  We each have a particular music that seams to speak to us, I love Bluegrass and my father loves Klezmer, the Jewish jazz, and my daughter loves pop music. Listening to anything beyond that which we have ears for is difficult.  

A old audiophile once told me that ninety percent of music all music is boring.  I know that he means that in each kind of music there is 10 percent that is fun, or inspiring, or exceptional, or just heartfelt. 

Finding that 10 percent in every genre is a journey. 

Lesson two: Classical music is monstrously complex and incredibly basic.  As a 25-year beginning bass guitar player, I can tell you that there are only 12 notes in music as we know it.

With these 12 notes, one can play the flute, harp, or cello with precision as Linda Chatterton, Rachel Brandwein, and Joel Salvo do or “Mary Had a Little Lamb” on a Kazoo.  It is the arrangement of the 12 notes, the intertwining melodies, the rhythms, complexities that make classical music so interesting. It’s only 12 notes that sound like a whole lot more.

Classical music is also basic, not simple, though, sometimes it is. It is basic to rock music with almost every band rooted in classical. The Trio Matisse played a Beatles medley and showed modern rock music as classical and classical music as modern rock.  

Those who study such things can deconstruct a rock song to its classical influence. I have seen it done. A friend found a Beethoven influence on a singer my friend had never heard before. I have no idea if he was right, but I know I learned something new.  I am often simply surprised that I know, or at least recognize, so many classical pieces that are prevalent in the world around us.  Thanks to Bugs Bunny for many early introductions. 

Lesson three: Music is thought provoking. Philosophy is my thing but I will try not to go overboard here. The philosophical branch called aesthetics deals with the study of art and beauty. Many of us cobble together thoughts on the subject of art without really being consistent, not so, The Trio Matisse.  Even their name comes from their thoughts on art and was inspired by the brightly colored paintings of Henri Matisse, which is how they think of the music they play: brightly played music.

It is fitting that Rachel Brandwein, the harpist, enjoys a rare condition in which she sees music as having color, texture, and shape. What I experienced was simple aesthetics of tension and release, the struggle or dissonance seeking to find rest or resolution. It was in the thinking that I most enjoyed myself.

I will add one more lesson, this one is free, the journey into music appreciation is well worth it. 

For more information on joining the Jasper County Concert Association, please look for us on the web at

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