What Are the Rules?


(Shalin Liu Performance Center, Rockport, Massachusetts. Photo by Robert Benson Photography)

The Tannhäuser Gate is my personal blog. This is not a group effort, and I am not going to make any pretense of objectivity. Subjectivity reigns. I am not going to make any effort to cover the entire waterfront, either of audio equipment or recordings. I don’t see the point in telling you that the umpteenth new Debussy La Mer recording didn’t really grab me. As Emerson wrote:

Don’t waste yourself in rejection, nor bark against the bad, but chant the beauty of the good.

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Why name your blog “The Tannhäuser Gate”?

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“The Tannhäuser Gate” is a throwaway reference from near the end of Ridley Scott’s 1982 film Blade Runner. “Tannhäuser” is a reference to Wagner’s opera dramatizing the life of the Medieval German singer of that name.

Blade Runner and Wagner—what’s not to like?

I think that Blade Runner is the greatest science-fiction movie of all time. I think that, because it creates a completely believable future world that is arrestingly foreign, but hauntingly familiar. At the same time, the story almost subliminally makes us uncomfortable about our collective past. Obviously, book author Philip K. Dick tapped into deep historical and cultural currents involving not only what it means to be human, but also, “how then should we live”—in the sense of act or behave. Ironically, in the end, it is a non-human who behaves heroically.

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Why start a blog?


(Graphic courtesy of Stereophile magazine.)

It’s simple, really.

I love music and I love audio gear. I have been blessed in the teachers, mentors, inspirations, and friends I have had in music and in audio engineering. I love sharing my love of music, and I love helping people discover music that is new to them. I also love giving advice on cost-effective audio equipment!

I am a true believer in the value of culture. I believe that the riches of culture are not just for the economically rich. On a deeper level, while it is a commonplace to state that someone views audio equipment as only a means to an end, the end being music, I view music not just as an end in itself, but equally as a means of engendering spiritual growth in the people who hear it.

And I am not just referring to Gregorian Chant or Mahler. Really encountering Porgy & Bess or A Love Supreme—in their full contexts—can also engender spiritual growth. Don’t worry, I also listen to music just for fun.

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