Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Classical identity often overlooked

Let’s talk about football.

Relax, there is still music discussion, but I want you to think about your Sunday habits. Presumably, you watch football and thus watch CBS’s coverage of the NFL. (And if you don’t, go along with this. It’s the only time I’ll ask you to do that.) You hear the familiar orchestral hymn to the gridiron that’s only one minute long.

This one song, called “Posthumus Zone,” is the theme song for the NFL on CBS, written by a Los Angeles-based group called E.S. Posthumus. Besides naming songs after themselves for sporting events, they have released three albums of classically composed music.

When I say, “classically composed music,” I mean in the style of Bach. And Johann S. Bach, not Sebastian of Skid Row fame.

E.S. Posthumus is an orchestral styled group consisting of brothers Franz and Helmut Vonlichten. The music is even argued as mixing classical and “popular drum rhythms,” which I only quote because I hope someone smarter than me can explain that terminology.

While that’s happening, I feel that something that’s not been examined in these pages is the disconnect between our accidental love of classical music and our lack of identity for the musicians involved.

Epic scores thrive on every blockbuster and big sporting event we watch. Yet the only identifiable song heard by the masses in these events was probably recorded by AC/DC in 1981 off of a drunken bender.

Now, this may seem accusatory, but it’s really not. I use E.S. Posthumus as an example because I had personally not even heard of them until the past week while snooping on the Internet.

Their “Unstoppable” has 979,000 views on YouTube as of this writing. But more intriguingly, the only bit of news discussed about them is the death of Franz Vonlichten. Franz died in May, and the story was reported in July.

Secrecy and respect for the dead aside, this small bit of news shows a very silent view of the artist. The bombast of Posthumus is quieted by a mysterious death in which brother Helmut declared that he would continue his work in another form. The very group I’ve mentioned is essentially dead.

I didn’t mention this to make the column a bum out, but to approach the subject of value and a scary disconnect between talent and praise. I won’t dispute that the Beatles were the greatest pop musicians of all time, and they deserved all their praise. But then where is the technical ability of the abstract? Or does it matter?

I’ve been a total broken record about the talent of this town, but I never quite mention the Moody Music Building, and that deserves the ire of those students, since their work is their life.

Similar to how I like to pretend that I have a difficult job with simple words, they hold years of theory, practice and expert training for what seems like only a quiet reward.

This is the same disconnect. Similar to how none of us would identify Franz Vonlichten, none of us would identify the guy who did the Kraft Mac and Cheese jingle.

When I discuss music, try to pay attention to every crevice around you. Talent is everywhere, and especially in that building.

Perhaps the ultimate lesson to music lovers and classical music is that identity is something that these creators deserve.

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