The Corner

Who Cares?

In Impromptus today, I have some fulminating about the “public employees” in Wisconsin, but I also have some notes about DeLand, Fla., the lovely town from which I am now tapping you. I say that one of my favorite streets is “San Souci” — which implies a saint named Souci. Well, this morning, I saw another sign, for that same street, and this other sign said “Sans Souci” (French for “without care”). How conventional. But I just wanted to record that.

By the way, do you know the Gershwins’ song “Who Cares?” One of their best. Also, George’s piano transcription, published in The Songbook (a collection of such transcriptions), is one of the best things he ever wrote (which is saying something).

Okay, it is not so lovely down here that I’ve ceased to stew about Wisconsin. This morning, I thought of something that an insider once told me about the New York Philharmonic. I was inquiring about spiraling costs in the music business — also about why we don’t really have recordings or radio broadcasts anymore. A big part of the answer, of course, is the unions: killing or suppressing music, as they kill or suppress so much else. This insider said, “Don’t think of the Philharmonic as an orchestra. Think of them as Local 802.”

And, sometimes, I do. And, sometimes, so do they. Are the teachers teachers or a union? Can they find a better balance between the two, please? (The Philharmonic does.)

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