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What does beer and classical music have in common?

I’m drinking a beer that is dated back to 1366 (Belgium’s Stella) after singing selections of music from 1791 and 1741, sitting in an apartment built in 1910, and typing this post on a laptop which will probably not last beyond 10 years.  While reflecting on the enduring qualities of this beer, the music and this building, I begin to wonder if those artists designed a century’s life-time into their products intentionally, or maybe it didn’t really occur to them at the time.  Perhaps they were inspired, acted on their impulses and longevity was simply a consequence of their integrity.

The music we sang was the Requiem composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.  He died before he could finish composing it and the fact that it was added to by other composers and still lives on in choral concerts today, seems like a little miracle to me.  It was astutely noted by a musician friend of mine, who attended the concert this evening, that some of Mozart’s movements were very similar to some of Handel’s selections.  Was Mozart copying from Handel or were the similarities a result of the other composers’ styles being influenced by Handel’s popular work?

Today, while I was humming parts of the Requiem, the melodies coming out of my mouth were swinging back and forth between Requiem and songs from The Sound of Music.  Can the qualities of what makes one thing (music, for instance) last a hundred years also be applied to another, seemingly unrelated thing, (like beer) and result in a similar timelessness?

What about this website?  Does the internet have the capacity to sustain human engagement for another 200 years?  Will we run out of energy to power the technology and lose access?  Or, if it does live on indefinitely, will people be able to read this post and understand the cultural references?  Two separate, but equally miraculous things if they were to occur in 2201!

After all the technological tinkering of recent years, it seems very effective still to read choral music from books printed on paper, and to walk up stairs to get to the 2nd floor, and to drink beer in a glass.

I end today with a feeling of accomplishment because I managed to get through the concert without falling over (which I felt I might several times) and I actually sang these movements that are super challenging!  Deep gratitude and appreciation extends to all the people who sang the beautiful music at St. Andrew’s – Wesley United Church tonight, all those who attended to hear us, and all the conductors and choirs over the last 250 years that essentially made it possible for us to access this music today.

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