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Rock & The Ivory Tower

September 13, 1987

As an accomplished pianist with a classical background, I share Allan Bloom's same Ivory Tower. Let me go on.

I have a grand piano I paid thousands for sitting in the middle of this living room in a home I own in an aggressively middle-class "bedroom" tract out here in Northridge.

There are also families with teen-agers and young adults living on three sides of my home. As Bloom writes in his book: When they are in school and with their families, they are longing to plug themselves back into their music.

And plug in they do!

I can actually hear the wires hum on my piano when I hold the pedal down. The blast coming this way from their stereos is flaking paint off my walls!

With windows closed, Beethoven and Mozart clash in the night with "Rock Me Amadeus," "Nasty Boy," "The Roofs on Fire." . . . Last week a nice retired couple who live "on the other side" told me they thought they heard Chopin's Nocturne above the din of "Turn Me On."

Ah! But all is not lost! Times Music Critic Martin Bernheimer once wrote that this San Fernando Valley is a cultural wasteland. Not so! There's several record stores within walking distance of my home--Tower Records towers above them all with one of the largest and most complete inventories of classical CDs, cassettes and records I think I've ever seen!

In another emporium nearby, the young man at the cash register who once said "Ya gotta be weird to like that stuff" when I complained about a very small and limited inventory of classical records/cassettes has been replaced by another young man.

Not only did he know the pianist's Russian name, he also corrected the Opus number I had written on a piece of paper. (The young man had long hair and wore a headband.)

I say hold to your Ivory Towers, barricade yourselves if you must, thou lovers of serious music, tasters of the good wine! There's still beauty in this barnyard.



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