Rise Above

June 26, 2012

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