The Frisson of the Night

Yesterday I wrote about the joy—the thrill!—of live music.  I’m excited to see it making a comeback after the long, weary months of The Age of The Virus, and hope we will witness a renaissance of live entertainment.

Live music is most at home, I think, at night.  Sure, there are plenty of fine performances that take place during the day, and a talented classical guitarist plucking out Bach’s Bourrée in E Minor adds a bit of classiness to a tony Sunday brunch, but music lives at night.  After all, Mozart composed Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (“A Little Night Music”), not Ein Kleiner Tagmusik.

There is palpable excitement to the night—a delectable frisson, the promise of things to come.  The night is when things happen.  Granted, they aren’t always good things, but they night promises to be eventful.

These thoughts sprang to mind as I was driving to hear Jeremy Miles‘s group play last Friday.  It had been some time since I’d taken in an evening of music, and when I left home I was still weary from a very long week at work (even with Labor Day off and a day of virtual learning, I was drained).  But as I drove in the dark towards the lights of Florence, I could feel my energy renewing as the anticipation of a night of good music built.

In my younger days, I was more of a night owl than I am now.  Professional demands and my own preferences have made me more of a morning person, but I used to thrill at the opportunity to play a live show in Columbia at 9:45 PM on a Thursday night (now, I’m usually getting ready for bed by 9:45 PM on any weeknight).  Most of my best songs were written late at night, into the wee hours of the morning, as I forced myself to churn out lyrics, melodies, and chords.

Even as I’ve grown more domesticated and sleepy, I still find the night, next to the morning, is my favorite time of the day.  I can do without the afternoon—long hours of tiredness, while still slogging out work, are what I think of when I think of the afternoon.  My energy dips somewhere around 4 or 4:30 PM (although teaching lessons during those times has invigorated me somewhat).  But I always seem to get a second wind as night falls, and find I am most productive first thing in the morning, and later in the evening.

Many years ago, a colleague gave me a number of albums from 80s hair metal groups as part of a Secret Santa gift exchange.  One of them was, essentially, the greatest hits of the German band Scorpions, which contained the track “Big City Nights.”  That song (along with Dokken‘s “The Hunter“) became a kind of de facto anthem for nights spend driving between Florence and Columbia—or some other distant city—for a night of rockin’ (“The Hunter” is a relic of my single days; it always seemed to sum up the struggles and urges of modern dating, in all its desperate longing and searching).

The University of South Carolina’s Southern Exposure New Music Series is staging a concert this Friday dedicated to music of the night (appropriately, the concert is entitled, simply, “Night Music“).  I won’t be able to attend, but if ever there was a subject to explore musically, the night is one worth considering.

The night can be dangerous, to be sure, but it seems a time full of opportunities, excitement, and energy.  It also reminds us to be thankful for the blessings of the day, and the joy that is light and sunshine.  There is too much of a good thing:  eternal darkness—like what faces us if we descend to Hell—is unbearable and soul-sucking.

But a little night—and a little night music—makes for a great deal of fun.


52 thoughts on “The Frisson of the Night

  1. Cheers PP.

    We’ll be enjoying the night tonight as our pub meet will probably take us past 9pm. Interesting for me, since I don’t often drive at night and some of those country roads can be a little treacherous. I’ll have a fellow CW poster in the car with us later, though, so I’ll be extra careful – I’ll need to deliver him back in one piece! 🙂

    No live music though. Such a shame. Live music at night and outdoors is preferable. As much fun as open air theatre.

    Anyway, I really do need to get ready. Enjoy your Wednesday, peeps! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Cheers, Pontiac! Please let us know how the pub meet goes tonight. Could be a model for a similar meetup here in the States, although we have considerably greater distances to traverse to see each other.

      Perhaps you and the TCW gang can make your own live music tonight—the raucous chortling of a good group of friends sharing some drinks and some laughs.

      Happy Wednesday! It’s parent-teacher conferences this afternoon. Glory days. : D

      Liked by 3 people

  2. I love classical music and my best and favoured times for listening are first thing in the morning and later in the evening – I won’t say when I am wound down as I am pretty much permanently wound down most of the time these days. Something a bit more rousing early on and then some lieder or songs before sleep, nothing too shrill though with the magnificent English baritone Thomas Allen the current favourite for pre sleep listening. ZZZZZzzzzz……

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Well, I got ready much quicker than normal so I’ve got time to spare.

    Apparently, my CW mucker Hugh Jampton has been posting here. Am I blind? Where exactly is he putting his posts?

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Port (I hate not being sure that I’m responding to the right person…a glitch, I suppose) – I like to refer to the cousins as ‘you lot’, lol, but I always make sure they know I’m being funny and not insulting. Love those folks.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. My name, obviously, does not lend itself to an abbreviation or a ‘nic’. I’m a natural born redhead (thank you, Nana!) and my dad used to call me Reddy Freddy. Which was really quite embarrassing in my late teens, early adulthood, lol. False advertising!! (I think) (no. I’m sure!) (I think)

    Liked by 2 people

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