“Musick has Charms to sooth a savage Breast,
To soften Rocks, or bend a knotted Oak.”
(William Congreve The Mourning Bride, 1697)
I think it’s pretty clear from the fact that I write about food that I love it. And, between the dial on my radio, the CD player, and summers volunteering at Tanglewood, summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, it is probably no secret that I love music.
Combining the two can deepen the experience of being with friends and family. Whether a picnic on the lawn at Tanglewood or dinner around the table, music can enhance both the flavors and the atmosphere of breaking bread.
What I cannot abide is the ear-splitting music at too many restaurants. Last month we had an absolutely delicious dinner at a Greek restaurant. When the waitstaff came out to perform authentic folk dances, complete with smashing dishes, we were delighted at the unexpected addition to the evening. However, we were less than thrilled when the decibel level of the accompanying music was set to “deafening.” Worse, when asked to turn down the volume, the manager refused.
As long as I’m ranting, it’s just not cool when the music at a wedding (or bar mitzvah, quinceañera, or candidate’s election night party) is so loud that guests have to repair to the lobby in order to have a conversation. If I go to the trouble to get all farpitzs for an evening out (as opposed to my writing uniform of jeans and slippers), I want to enjoy the glow.
I wonder what Congreve would say if he were to wander into the Hard Rock Café today. His savage breast might just heave up and throttle the inventor of the amplifier.
Phew. Glad I got that off my chest.