The stuff of music is not stuff. Music’s physical presence, like dance’s too, is gone forever almost as soon as it is played. As Christmas and the planet Earth become more and more burdened with stuff, permanent stuff at that — at least permanently in the landfill — and people seemingly more and more frantic that they’re not spending enough money, you can feel more and more by contrast how music had to have such an enormous part of the festival. To fill an honest need of another person you love is another thing, but even if there is a physical thing involved, it is not the thing itself but the love to which the thing is a mere shadow and the mutually filled need itself. Carpeting one’s wants and feelings of insufficiency with stuff will always miss.
Perhaps as a graduate architectural historian, who had the advantage of critical thinking applied to the subject of appropriate heritage preservation under the strict protocols of first Pierre du Prey, special advisor to Phyllis Lambert, creator and philanthropic founder of the CCA (Centre for Canadian Architecture) at Queen’s University, and then by Professor Martin Weaver from Columbia University through continuing education studies at U Vic, I am either advantaged in my thinking on this subject or perhaps disadvantaged, but I definitely am out of step with our mayor and council on appropriate heritage renovation policy. And our Mayor is quite happy to quote on record that he is in step with The Hallmark Society, The City of Victoria Heritage Committee, City Heritage Planning Staff and in fact in his view, all the heritage bodies who the city should attend to, are in favour of his view of heritage policy. You see the thing is; I can’t in anyway understand how densification including extra height and heritage preservation can collage together. These are two wonderful urban ideals: because densification, leading to increased mass transit use, less car use, revitalization of the urban core or wherever increased density occurs is a model urban planning concept.
A contemporary art dealer I know once exclaimed, as I was taking him around and old master drawings show I had organized, “this stuff has a lot of history. There’s a lot of history here…” as if history were a tangible quality that was somehow imparted to an object, whether by the artist, or by the physical touch of time, or by the many people who had successively owned it, or perhaps by something else…history! Every two years in June, history pours into the already deeply historical city of Boston in the form of historically-informed instrumentalists and singers, musicologists, historical instruments, historical instrument builders, historical editions, and manuscripts. Only a few of the historical folk—locals, most likely—knew that history was being made all around them, while some were immersed in the Roman de Fauvel and others were enraptured by Steffani’s Niobe, Regina di Tebe, as I was. As I sat down for the performance, I noticed a few more empty seat than I might have expected, and during the first intermission, I ventured out on Tremont Street for a few minutes.