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What kind of music would Thomas Jefferson have had on his Ipod?

March 19, 2009

I was listening to The Thomas Jefferson Hour this past week (mp3 for show 760), and I had to pass along these thoughts by one Clay Jenkinson on what music Jefferson would have had on his iPod (or, since he would have been more rational and enlightened, his Zune):

Corelli, Mozart, . . . Handel, Hadyn . . . We know Jefferson’s musical tastes, and he was . . . high classical. . . . Jefferson would love Bach; he did love Bach, because he believed, as Bach did, that music was somehow the mathematical signature of the cosmos. . . . You know, when we think of music, it’s screeching and drum beats and it’s something very different. For Jefferson, it’s about order and symmetry and harmony and elevation and inspiration. And for us, it’s like, “Can’t you get right to my gut and make me feel more animalistic than I usually am, and liberate the real deep primate in me?” It’s a very different set of principles.

Ah, sometimes you find allies in the most unlikely places.

I do enjoy the program here referenced, the podcast The Thomas Jefferson Hour (which is really the The Thomas Jefferson Forty-Three or So Minutes). It’s kind of quirky. Usually the show is split evenly between the “host,” David Swenson, interviewing “Thomas Jefferson,” who is portrayed by Clay Jenkinson, followed by a conversation between Swenson and Jenkinson. The episode here referenced was one where the show was devoted to Swenson and Jenkinson talking about listener mail and whatnot. The show is mixed; sometimes it is filled with half-baked ideas and muddied sentimentalism, and, at other times,when it sticks to period history and Jeffersons’s views, its content genuinely stimulates the intellect.

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