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Classical Notes

Music as Soundtrack

Posted at 5:32 PM on August 1, 2007 by Alison Young

I just have to get in on "The Simpsons" discussion a wee bit here. Plans to see the movie are in the making in my household too. Maybe it's a tad juvenile, but I love the irreverent humor that leaves no one unscathed, musicians included.

One of my favorite episodes has Bart and Lisa addicted to violent cartoons. Maggie, seemingly influenced, hits Homer with a hammer. So Marge organizes a campaign to ban "Itchy and Scratchy." When the kids lose their TV, they finally have to find some other way to pass their time. In unison, all the children of Springfield step outside, rub their eyes and see the world as if for the first time; playing, swinging, and laughing all to the accompaniment of Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony.

It is one of the most amazing moments in TV. "The Simpsons" is a comedy and there's no doubt the writers are poking fun at Beethoven's sub-title: Awakening of cheerful feelings upon arrival in the country. But as the composer said, the Sixth Symphony is "a matter more of feeling than of painting in sounds," and the feeling I have in that episode of "The Simpsons" is sheer joy.