Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Concerto of Quaff: How to connect chicha with the Louisville Orchestra.

It always is advisable to define one's terms, particularly when confronted with the illiteracy prevalent in today's world of declining e-ttention spans, and so when I say to you that I'm a longtime fan of classical music, here's a definition of it.

Classical music is art music produced or rooted in the traditions of Western music (both liturgical and secular). It encompasses a broad period from roughly the 11th century to the present day.[1] The central norms of this tradition became codified between 1550 and 1900, which is known as the common practice period.

And yes, by linking to Wikipedia, I'm in full possession of an ironic sense. Meanwhile, last Friday we attended a performance by the Louisville Orchestra. I wrote about it at NA Confidential.

The Louisville Orchestra plays Robert Schumann, at the Ogle Center last night.

... as the four horn players were brought to the front of the orchestra to perform their part of Schumann's Konzertstück for Four Horns, Bernhardt observed that horn players come equipped with towels and the frequent need to unburden their instruments of condensation in the form of human spittle. The principal horn player agreed and demonstrated the process, removing the u-shaped section, blowing into the mouthpiece, and spraying the ground.

We had a very good view of all this from the second row, and it didn't offend me, as I played trumpet briefly as a child, before learning that one actually was compelled to practice to play successfully. What was truly funny was the horn player's comment, glancing down at the puddle: "Tomorrow morning, this might be New Albanian Hoptimus."

It is the first time Hoptimus has been mistaken for chicha, and gives me a valuable seasonal beer idea. In fact, a Chicha Horn might become the next trendy fermentation vessel.

And what is chicha?

Chicha, in all its incarnations, ranged from the Andes up to what is now the southwestern United States. The Apache made a traditional corn beer, the prohibition of which was one of Geronimo’s reasons for rebelling against the resettlement regime in the 1880s. Recent archaeological evidence suggests that some Pueblo tribes of modern-day New Mexico, long thought to be teetotalers, were making their own fermented corn drink about 800 years ago. So, arguably, chicha is the original American beer.

When the link to my thoughts about the LO's Schumann homage appeared on Facebook and Twitter, page views abruptly spiked, and there was much social media banter by the orchestra's musicians. Several thoughts belatedly occurred to me.

Since we've had a Public House, we've had orchestra members and friends as customers. Some of them I've gotten to know quite well.

I shouldn't be surprised that a horn player would mention Hoptimus. Perhaps because classical music has a reputation as inaccessible to wholly normal folks like me, it might seem odd, but it definitely isn't.

Whenever I've written about the Louisville Orchestra, there have been plenty of readers, and an enjoyable conversation, as during the most recent occasion:

Forget those horns and their spittle! How about VIOLA VENOM?

I can be fairly slow on the draw, but it's finally dawning on me that the these beer loving musicians are being criminally underserved. NABC has its cooperative Houndmouth Ale, and our Black & Blue Grass is loosely tied thematically to bluegrass music. Pop and rock groups have their beers, too, but damn it, why not a classical-themed brew? A seasonal bottle release could be tied to the LO's fundraising efforts, and a portion of proceeds help support the music.

Conceding that I've no idea where these thoughts are headed, if such a beer is practical (surely it will not be chicha, as attractively subversive as the notion strikes me), or if we have the time or capacity to brew it, nonetheless these past few days have been filled with "how stupid can I be" moments. This has been staring me in the face for years.

Classic beer for classical music. It really needs to happen.


David Kahl said...

Roger, I'm doing what I can as a home brewer!

The New Albanian said...

Yes you are! What a wonderful page; from WC Handy through Handel. I will put up a link when I get a chance.

David Kahl said...

Very kind! Thank you!