There are only a few shows on TV that I watch on a regular basis, but one that I really try to see is Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations." There is just something in the mix of beautiful locations, his free-wheeling prose, and incredible food which captures my attention. On the most recent episode, he has returned to Paris to mark the occasion of his 100th episode. This is kind of a homecoming for the show, as the very first episode, some six seasons ago, was filmed in the same city. This time though, the focus of the show was to examine a shift in the food-world of Paris; from the high-cuisine of the Michelin star-rated restaurants, to a more casual and simpler way to dine. What he found was that these new 'rogue' chefs DIDN'T throw out the old to create something wholly new, but rather they built upon what had come before them. They stripped off what was anachronous and created a dining experience that was more at ease with itself in the context of our contemporary culture.
As I watched the show, I couldn't help seeing connections to the Prologue in "Highbrow Lowbrow" and to our current musical world in the States. Could we fire up our concerts and recitals by boiling-off some traditions that no long serve us? Should we really roll our eyes when an excited audience member claps between movements of a symphony? Do fancy gowns and tuxedos really guarantee a better performance? Given an attentive audience, could Schubert songs return to ale houses and still retain their sophistication?
I seem to have more questions than answers as I begin this semester, but for today, I just wanted to offer a little food for thought.