Rise Above

My psychic center exists somewhere between Black Flag’s 1981 hardcore anthem “Rise Above” and the second movement of Beethoven’s “Piano Sonata No. 23” from 1807. This self-revelation came by chance.

Whenever classical station WETA 90.9-FM plays its “Rise above it all” bumper, the reflexive part of me awaits a Black Flag song. It always felt like an emotional trip-up rather than an insight into expressing emotion through art, no matter the age or era.

Then Beethoven jumped into the mosh pit.

I was cheating on WETA with Baltimore’s classical station, 91.5-FM, which was playing the Beethoven piece also known as “Appassionata.” Oddly, it was the “Andante con moto” (moderately slow) section that made me think of Henry Rollins & Co., even though that part is meditative, gorgeous, reflective — all the things Black Flag isn’t. It was an apposite example of opposites, a perfect place to mentally “rise above it all.” But the rest of the sonata is restless, emotional, sometimes angry — written when Beethoven was wrestling with hearing loss.

Punk enough for me.

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Dr. Andrea Bonior · June 26, 2012