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Wash off the blood before you touch the keys

By Michael J. Smith on Saturday April 8, 2006 10:58 PM

That liberal but splendidly bipartisan newspaper, the New York Times, has a very long and remarkably fawning piece -- featured, at the moment I write this, at the very top of their Web site -- on Condoleezza Rice's fondness for chamber music. Apparently she is a very good pianist, who plays Brahms and Shostakovitch with a foursome of string-playing friends. It's always nice to see the human side of a prominent war criminal.

Condi has good things to say about Brahms -- "passionate without being sentimental" -- and even more to her credit, her piano is a nice mellow old Chickering, rather than what would be, in New York, the inevitable brazen-throated Steinway. To paraphrase Nabokov, you can always count on a murderer to have a sensitive ear.

But at least she plays, and apparently puts a lot of herself into it. Nixon used to play the piano -- though he couldn't read music and had to figure out everything by ear. Also, he could only play in the key of G; I don't know what to make of that.

Do any prominent Democrats do music? There's Clinton and his saxophone. Maybe that says it all.

Comments (8)



when i watch condi play

it makes me

without being pasionate"

Don't be putting down my beloved jazz by bringing Clinton I into it, Smith. Or I'm going to have to ask you to step outside...


No putdown intended of anybody but Clinton. Though I have to admit it's hard for me to love a saxophone. Not impossible, but hard.



jazz is good for sax only

J. Alva Scruggs:

Oh, MJS! Say it ain't so! Who among us could fail to be thrilled by the baritone sax on Morphine's "Early To Bed"? Or "Scratch", for that matter. Sassy, brassy and raucous. Kind of like this site, if you think about it.

Sweet Sue Terry's Pink Slimy Worm is fabulous. The title, BTW, is not meant to entice men of the Clintonian spirit. Rather, it's a disparaging nickname some famous composer aparently gave the horn, shortly after its invention...

Then there's The Tiptons... (sigh) I could go on all day...

Not that I know their politics or anything...


Clearly I need to broaden my musical horizons.

J. Alva Scruggs:

Many thanks to alsis. Sweet Sue Terry has some streaming versions of her songs and an interesting blog. She's also pro-union and a tai chi practicioner. She can make the sax sound like a flute or a trumpet.

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