Monday, May 18, 2009

Simple Gifts

Usually I have something funny to say. Today I don't. There's an Aaron Copland piece based on an old Shaker melody called 'Simple Gifts'. It and another piece calle 'Ashokan Farewell which was the title theme for Ken Burns mini-series called 'The Civil War' are two of my favorite pieces of music. There is something in the simplicity of these melodies that speaks to me, something beyond the notes or words, something quieter than laughter and louder than sorrow.

The bottom line is that we seem to have forgotten that complexity is somewhat over-rated. Things don't necessarily need to be complex to be good. When I was working as a computer programmer I had one motto 'KISS', 'Keep it simple stupid!" (Of course with apologies to Gene Simmons.) The idea was that if you kept the various parts of these highly convoluted and complicated programs simple, the whole would come out better, more functional and far more elegant.

So, when I finally got to taste some of Carlo DeVito's, from Hudson Chatham winery Paperbirch Raspberry I knew that whoever produced it also valued simplicity. Don't get me wrong, there was complexity if one cared to analyze it, but I realized almost immediately that I didn't really care, here was just something that was welcome and familiar, something that brought an instant sense of recognition and of ease, like a familiar simple melody that somehow has gotten in your bones and makes you smile, like a rocking chair that somehow has acquired the perfect shape for your ass, like an unexpected big wet kiss from your favorite cocker spaniel,
(OK, I could make a joke about Gene Simmons here but like I said, I'm just not in the mood.) That's about all I need to say about that.
Rock on Carlo!

1 comment:

  1. Ken

    I just saw this. I am sorry I had not seen it earlier.

    Thank you for the very kind words. And I too am temnpted to make a Gene Simmons/KISS joke, but I'll pass just this once.