How did you get interested in classical music?

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John Haueisen
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How did you get interested in classical music?

Post by John Haueisen » Tue Apr 04, 2006 5:27 pm

I think it might be interesting for some of us to share how they first became interested in classical music.

For instance, I'd guess that my first appreciation for classical music came when I was in the high school marching band. Although I was not much of a musician, and totally uncoordinated as a marching musician, during the off seasons, our band director had us play selections from Verdi and many other rather classical composers.

I may not have been able to play well, but even as a kid, I could tell that there was "something" that the music had to say.

If only I could find my old band director, Robert Hartwell, to let him know that though I failed as a good band member, his efforts did lead me to a love of classical music, which I have had for my whole life. He would probably be amazed to see my many hundreds of CDs from all branches of music, including opera. He might even feel his influence at the dozens of performances of Gustav Mahler's symphonies, as so many of these symphonies tend to include what could only be described as "marching band music."

When did YOU first discover your love of classical music? Did anyone help cultivate it in you?

Gavin Burt

Post by Gavin Burt » Tue Apr 04, 2006 5:53 pm

Heya, this is my first post on these particular forums.

When I was 11 years old, I started taking guitar lessons (and, three years later, I still am). My teacher graduated from William & Mary as a Music Major, and made me learn to read standard notation. At that point, it had sparked an interest for Baroque music (Bach, Krieger, and Handel at first). I started to branch out, discovering new eras.

Taking piano lessons for the past year has also made me love the Romantic era, all the way to where we are now.

- Gavin

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Post by jbuck919 » Tue Apr 04, 2006 6:03 pm

It was already clear to me by the time I graduated from high school, though my knowledge of it was in a very peculiar state (I knew more Stravinsky than Beethoven), that I would never love anything other than classical music. I received my first piano lessons from my father at the age of six; prior to that he already had me reading flash cards to identify clefs, key signatures, etc. Oddly enough, he has never been primarily a classical musician and in a certain sense (sorry, Dad), all his taste is in his mouth, but I owe him everything, for unlike many people here who understandably have a great base of appreciation but no practical knowledge, I would be lost without my ability to read music and (increasingly occasionally) perform it.

BTW, and I forgot, a hearty welcome to the board.

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-- Johann Sebastian Bach

Brendan

Post by Brendan » Tue Apr 04, 2006 6:25 pm

For me it was an accumulation of moments from TV and the movies, I suspect. The Ode to Joy was played at the end of the Sunday edition of Wide World of Sports here in Oz for some years and I loved the music in the the movie The Hunger (initially Bauhaus' Bella Legosi is Dead, I must confess).

One day I was visiting Jenolan Caves outside Sydney, and unbeknownst to me they used to have musicians play some days. I was simply wandering around looking at the sparkling geological glory that is Jenolan when the the prelude to Bach's cello suite no 1 began to make the mountain sing.

I was transfixed - and hooked.

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Post by keaggy220 » Tue Apr 04, 2006 6:41 pm

I've been told that I'm a rare bird. I'm in my mid-thirites and just became interested in classical music 7 or 8 months ago. I just plain got bored with popular music - it all started sounding like the same music rearranged a little differently. I listened to everything I could except for rap (does that count as music?) and I finally and reluctantly turned to classical and I couldn't be happier... It's practically all I listen to now - there is so much material (how many hundreds of years?) The funny part is that 90% of the time I am listening to Beethoveen symphonies - I love them and can't get enough. I started with the 2nd and then went to the 5th, 9th, 7th and now I'm stuck on the 3rd - I am blown away by his stuff!

My wife thinks I'm crazy and I'm embarrassed to tell anyone except my closest friends, but hey - I enjoy music again.

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Post by Ralph » Tue Apr 04, 2006 6:46 pm

Welcome, Gavin. Hope you post often.

I started listening to Toscanini and his NBC Orchestra from the notoriously bad Studio 8-H on a little AM table radio when I was still in my single digits age. From there it's been an endless voyage of discovery.
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Jenolan Caves

Post by Agnes Selby » Tue Apr 04, 2006 7:15 pm

Brendan wrote:For me it was an accumulation of moments from TV and the movies, I suspect. The Ode to Joy was played at the end of the Sunday edition of Wide World of Sports here in Oz for some years and I loved the music in the the movie The Hunger (initially Bauhaus' Bella Legosi is Dead, I must confess).

One day I was visiting Jenolan Caves outside Sydney, and unbeknownst to me they used to have musicians play some days. I was simply wandering around looking at the sparkling geological glory that is Jenolan when the the prelude to Bach's cello suite no 1 began to make the mountain sing.

I was transfixed - and hooked.
----------------

Dear Brendan, How beautifully expressed. Jenolan Caves have always seemed magical to me and I can just imagine how that mountain sang
for you with the Bach cello suite echoing through the chandeliers of nature.

As for me, I hated my piano lessons but then one day, like yourself, I was in the Blue Mountains staying at the Hydro. And there in the corner
of the large reception room sat three little old ladies playing a Mozart trio. I was hooked for ever.

Regards,
Agnes.

Brendan

Post by Brendan » Tue Apr 04, 2006 7:50 pm

Dear Agnes,

Thank you for the kind words and reminder of the magnificent Hydro Majestic, one of my favourite spots in Australia.

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Post by IcedNote » Tue Apr 04, 2006 9:32 pm

Just signed up here today....

Anywho, my parents signed me up for piano lessons when I was 5. I've been playing ever since (25 now) and actually ended up going to college for music (for composition though). Along the way I became classically trained in guitar as well.

My love for classical music far exceeds any other type, but I'm a huge fan of electronic music (techno, drum'n'bass, etc), hiphop (not rap), heavy metal, etc.

It's good to be well-rounded methinks.

-G
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Post by Corlyss_D » Wed Apr 05, 2006 12:29 am

Welcome, Gavin. Kick your shoes off and set a spell. Post early and often.

In answer to John's question, my mother was a huge Gieseking fan. I've heard classical music since before I was born and always loved it. I've flirted with rock, jazz, all kinds of Mediterranean music, Indian ragas, African music of all kinds, but I always come back to classical. It's my emotional and spiritual grounding.
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Post by Harvested Sorrow » Wed Apr 05, 2006 4:59 am

I was raised in a country household without experience to much other music until I got the internet, so the home wasn't helpful in this extent, except for at one point my father bought a Bach, Mozart (two disc adagios set), and one other greatest hits album (I can't find it, nor remember it) because he actually recalled liking some of the pieces he'd heard in westerns. (such as the William Tell overture) and was hoping to pick out a few. I decided to listen to them, since they were there and all....I gave them a try and liked some of the pieces (mainly the famous Toccata and Fugue), however, I wasn't ready for it yet.

Eventually black metal lead me into classical as I was seeing frequent discussions on the spirit of Romanticism carried into black metal and neo-classical elements of it, so I decided to check out the roots of the genre, as I usually do. It took some time getting used to the sound of an orchestra and simply getting used to the sound of no guitar being used, however, I was able to after some time. It took time, though, as there were times when I'd have to "return to home" so to speak. Early on metal also lead me into jazz, so a family vacation made for a reasonably large amount of classical and jazz purchases (Ironically enough it was eventually purchasing Kind of Blue and reading the liner notes that lead me into rock...), even if most of those are essentially worthless now (they were $7 and under bargain discs).

For a while it was a bit taboo....I'd listen to it for a week or two, then not listen for months before coming back to it. After a while I found material I was able to listen to all the time and after getting sick of having to "buy blind" so to speak with only Amazon.com reviews to guide me, I found this board.

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Post by MaestroDJS » Wed Apr 05, 2006 8:13 am

In the 1960s I was hooked on rock, like every other boy in the neighborhood. Nobody blasted it better than WLS-AM radio in Chicago. Classical music began to interest me in 1968, when I was 11. One turning point for me was the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. Those images of spacecraft in a ballet of sorts, accompanied by a Johann Strauss II waltz, were awesome. This led me to explore my father's old classical records, and my appreciation grew.

Thus I began to dabble in classical music, but the clincher came from a different direction. Much as I began to enjoy the popular classics, I really had little idea what went on under the many intricate layers of music. Help came from a most unexpected source. The comedy album P.D.Q. Bach on the Air of 1967 included "New Horizons in Music Appreciation", in which Professor Peter Schickele delivered a play-by-play commentary of a performance of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony as if it were a broadcast sporting event. Not only is it funny ("He's playing a cadenza! He's out of his mind! He thinks it’s an oboe concerto!"), it is also more informative any book or teacher I had before then ("I get the feeling we are going to hear a lot of that four-note motif, Bob."). This comedy from the "discoverer" of P.D.Q. Bach opened a door for me because it showed this symphony to be an incredibly exciting work of genius. Afterward, I learned to appreciate countless other musical masterpieces, because I had a better idea of what to listen for.

Finally in 1972 I bought my very first classical record, Symphonies Nos. 94 and 103 by Franz Joseph Haydn. My biggest single investment was in 1975, just before I graduated from high school. I liked Haydn so much that I bought the new 48-LP set of all his symphonies with Antal Doráti and the Philharmonia Hungarica. That's 104 symphonies plus a few odds and ends; not the thing a typical teenager would buy. Within a few years I had added his piano concerti and his oratorios Die Schöpfung (The Creation) and Die Jahrezeiten (The Seasons). Haydn became a foundation of my collection.

That started my record collection which now numbers about 3000 LPs and 1000 CDs and growing. Even as a teenager I took very good care of my records, and most are still in excellent condition. And looking back on my university years, how did I manage to buy so many records on a tight budget?! Probably because I never spent my money on beer parties, ha ha. I still have the records, so it was an excellent investment.

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Post by greymouse » Wed Apr 05, 2006 9:50 am

My freshman year in college I had to take an elective for the arts. I chose "Introduction to Music Composition" since I played guitar and was already familiar with theory and ear training. Every time the teacher played the piano to demonstrate an exercise, I was amazed at how the music was very pretty ... every single time. It didn't matter if it was Bach, Mozart, Schubert, Wagner, or Debussy. I especially liked how difficult the music was, and I became protective of its purity for a while, thinking it was the answer to all life's problems.

I learned to play piano and organ then, joined the choir, and became a music major. I eventually quit, but now I'm a classical music fan for life. 8) I have about 200 classical CDs, but I also love rock, metal, pop, jazz, etc.

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Post by lmpower » Wed Apr 05, 2006 2:12 pm

I took music appreciation in seventh grade with Mrs. Niethammer. About the same time the movie "A Song To Remember" came out. It starred Cornell Wilde as Chopin, Merle Oberon as George Sand and Paul Muni as Chopin's teacher. I was so enthralled by Chopin's music that I bought and album of 78 RPM shellac records of Jacob Gimpel playing Chopin. My appreciation of classical music has only grown and deepened during the ensuing decades. I don't listen much to other genres nowadays.

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Post by dirkronk » Wed Apr 05, 2006 3:03 pm

Saturday mornings in the late 1950s and early 1960s: background music in Bugs Bunny cartoons and the Lone Ranger. Couple this with a music/choir teacher in elementary school who took us to a kid's concert--prepping us for it by playing Danse Macabre and emphasizing the imagery suggested by the music--and I was well on my way to at least enjoying classical (along with folk, rock, etc.).

College, late 1960s: as a BFA candidate (in Art) I took a required Intro to Music course, and the prof moved at such a breakneck pace, through periods of music I was totally unfamiliar with, that I was driven frantic, feeling like I couldn't keep up. I was fine up to, say, Bach. After that, it all sorta sounded alike to my untrained ears. I wound up actively hating and/or avoiding classical music for years thereafter. (Except for one area: I was introduced to medieval/renaissance music and fell in love with sackbuts, krumhorns and the like.) Rock and folk-rock were in flower, and I followed that path instead, easily and without regret.

Fast forward to the mid 1970s. I was taking some advanced meditation seminars and every videotape used Pachelbel's Canon as lead-in music. Good associations led to appreciation. I went out looking for a copy of the music on record, bought the earlier Munchinger/Stuttgart stereo version (I STILL like that particular version best), and was pretty much hooked right there. Good thing, too. If I'd waited a couple of years, I would have been hearing the Canon EVERYWHERE and probably would have sloughed it off as so much easy-listening pap. As it was, rock had fallen off its creative pedestal into Disco Hell, folk had leaned a bit too far C&W for my taste, and I was ripe to pick up on the variety and power that Classical could offer. Thirty years and many thousand LPs and CDs later, I'm still hooked.

:wink:

Dirk

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Post by Barry » Wed Apr 05, 2006 3:43 pm

Taking music appreciation while an undergrad was probably the biggest single factor for me. I went to see a Philadelphia Orchestra all-Beethoven concert for extra credit.

I also noticed that many of my favorite pop songs had classical instruments or were classically influenced.
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Danse macabre

Post by John Haueisen » Wed Apr 05, 2006 5:44 pm

[quote="dirkronk"]Saturday mornings in the late 1950s and early 1960s: background music in Bugs Bunny cartoons and the Lone Ranger. Couple this with a music/choir teacher in elementary school who took us to a kid's concert--prepping us for it by playing Danse Macabre and emphasizing the imagery suggested by the music--and I was well on my way to at least enjoying classical (along with folk, rock, etc.).


Thanks for the memory jog, Dirk.

I too remember being mesmerized by the imagery of Danse macabre, which an elementary school teacher introduced to us in the 1950s. My grandfather even tried to buy me a record of it, but neither he, nor the college kid working in the record store could spell it, or Saint Saens.
Glad to hear that your love of music has continued. Hope you've experience Saint Saens' Organ Symphony too.

John

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Post by fourseasons » Wed Apr 05, 2006 5:53 pm

I first became interested in classical when I was a teenager. My father would listen to it every Sunday while reading the NYTimes. I guess it just grew on me. Now it's the majority of what I enjoy listening to.

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Re: Danse macabre

Post by MaestroDJS » Wed Apr 05, 2006 7:46 pm

John Haueisen wrote:I too remember being mesmerized by the imagery of Danse macabre, which an elementary school teacher introduced to us in the 1950s. My grandfather even tried to buy me a record of it, but neither he, nor the college kid working in the record store could spell it, or Saint Saens.
Ah yes, Dans Micawber was the younger brother of Wilkins Micawber, of David Copperfield fame. :)

Other persons whose names have inspired musical terms include Viola d'Amoré, Sara Band, Chip C. Baron, Morgan Blätter, Becky Anna Brasileira, David Bündlertänze, Carmen A. Burana, Roman Carnival, Gregory N. Chant, Brandon Burg Concerto, LaJo Conda, Shaw Conne, Ann Danté, Agnes Dei, Claire deLune, Ted Deum, Mann Dolinn, Al Eggrow, Blackie Étude, Gloria N. Excelsis, Wanda R. Fantasie, D. C. Al Finé, Roy Al Fireworks, P. Anna Forté, Dawn Giovanni, Hänsel N. Gretel, Ollie Gretto, Ivan Hoe, Siegfried Idyll, Hérold N. Italie, Harry János, Romeo N. Juliet, Hammer Klavier, May Knight, Swann Lake, Lucia D. Lammermoor, Kiri E. Leison, Beau Léro, Guri Lieder, Hal E. Luia, Mathis der Maler, Nelson Mass, Dans McAwber, Pelléas E. Mélisande, LaDonna E. Mobilé, Rosa Munde, Walter Music, Sara Nade, Claire E. Nett, Cass T. Netz, Cary Lon, Vy O. Lynn, Graham O'Phone, Zax O'Phone, Di O'Tonic, Manfred Overture, Donna Nobis Pacem, Tim Pani, Levi Parisienne, Polly Phonic, Les Préludes, Eddy Pusrex, Demi Quaver, Ma Rimba, Paco Bel Scannon, Kris Schendo, Barber F. Seville, Wes Sidestory, Missy Solemnis, Tempest Sonata, Clark N. Spiel, Russell F. Spring, Millie Terrie Symphony, Sir Price Symphony, Tod N. Tanz, Sonny Tina, Tom Tom, Marcia D. Trionfo, Lento Manon Troppo, Cosi van Tutti, Tod N. Verklärung, Má Vlast, Dee Mary Widdow, Peter Andy Wolfe, Blue Dan Yube and Sue ZaPhone.

Dave

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Post by val » Thu Apr 06, 2006 3:01 am

My mother. She was a piano teacher.

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Post by taisiawshan » Thu Apr 06, 2006 4:39 am

I think I'm not as devoted as you guys in classical music.
I love all kinds of arts, including literature, movies, drama, drawing, dance & of course music. I think they all can be connected.
Before I really listen to classical music, I always thought that most pop music (which I like) will sounds better without lyrics. Then, I think that's the first time I considered listening to classical music.
However, I don't really get captivated most of the time when I listen to classical music, because they are very "abstract" to me. My mind always "fly away" & sometimes I get asleep. Only when I've listen to a piece for thousands of time, when I'm familiar with them, I learn to really appreciate them.
So, here I am, in this forum, trying to learn from you all.

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Post by lmpower » Thu Apr 06, 2006 11:54 am

I like all of the arts too, and I think most artistic people feel that way.

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Post by Lark Ascending » Thu Apr 06, 2006 3:09 pm

I became interested in classical music last year after watching a BBC documentary which featured Vaughan Williams' The Lark Ascending and In The Fen Country which I considered the most beautiful music I had ever heard in my life, enough to prompt me into purchasing a box set of VW's symphonies & orchestral works. I began listening to classical music stations and very shortly the works of other other fine composers -Ravel, Chopin, Holst and Delius to name a few - joined the VW on my shelf. The CDs relating to my music tastes prior to discovering classical rarely get a play these days.

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Post by Reed » Fri Apr 07, 2006 12:35 pm

A very interesting subject which took me on a trip down memory lane.

Although being taken to the local symphony every year in elementary school, and watching several of Bernstein's young people's concerts on tv may have planted the seeds, I didn't really follow up on any of this until I was in my 20's. Another long-term planting of the seed was the music in 2001. I remember going to a record store and asking for recordings of Ligeti's music (I was about 15 at the time) and being told the 2001 soundtrack was the only recording of these pieces. Of course, I now know that complete versions of Requiem, etc. were on Wergo, which is where Kubrick got them from.

Later, in the 70's I saw another Kubrick movie, Barry Lyndon, and got the soundtrack to that. Then I followed up on it this time, and got recordings of works by composers featured in the film: Bach, Vivaldi, and the Schubert Piano Trio opus 100, the slow movement of which is used so poignantly in the film.

Then, one thing led to another. Remember record stores? And clerks in said institutions who knew their stuff? I was living in DC at that time, and the people at several stores, notably Serenade Record Shop, were very helpful in the, "If you like that, you'll like this" school of thought.

And the local DC public radio station at the time was quite good, and free concerts at the Phillips Collection and the Julliard at the Library of Congress. Pretty soon I was selling my Bruce Springsteen albums to get more Mozart!!! I even took classical guitar lessons for awhile with a Segovia pupil.

And now, after having purchased thousands of recordings and bought hundreds of concert tickets, here I am.

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Post by dirkronk » Fri Apr 07, 2006 2:30 pm

Reed wrote:Another long-term planting of the seed was the music in 2001. <SNIP> Later, in the 70's I saw another Kubrick movie, Barry Lyndon, and got the soundtrack to that.
And did you see yet another Kubrick opus--A Clockwork Orange? The young main character in that one goes into a record store, to buy recordings of the "divine Ludwig Van." Anyway, he pauses near the entrance and while the scene plays out, we can see the rack of LPs right behind him, and the record in front is a Decca of Strauss's Also Sprach Zarathustra, and IIRC it even has a starburst or sticker on the cover touting it as the theme music for "2001"...a very early and very blatant example of merchandising placement and cross-selling in movies.
:wink:

Oh...and yes, I remember record stores AND knowledgeable clerks quite well. The one who helped me find my first classical LPs when I decided the music was worth listening to wound up being a very close friend. And still is after 30 years.

Cheers,

Dirk

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"musically-inspired names"

Post by John Haueisen » Sat Apr 08, 2006 12:30 pm

Did everyone notice the wonderful posting by MaestroDJS, on the subject of musically-inspired names?
In case you don't want to scroll back for it, here it is again:

Ah yes, Dans Micawber was the younger brother of Wilkins Micawber, of David Copperfield fame.

Other persons whose names have inspired musical terms include Viola d'Amoré, Sara Band, Chip C. Baron, Morgan Blätter, Becky Anna Brasileira, David Bündlertänze, Carmen A. Burana, Roman Carnival, Gregory N. Chant, Brandon Burg Concerto, LaJo Conda, Shaw Conne, Ann Danté, Agnes Dei, Claire deLune, Ted Deum, Mann Dolinn, Al Eggrow, Blackie Étude, Gloria N. Excelsis, Wanda R. Fantasie, D. C. Al Finé, Roy Al Fireworks, P. Anna Forté, Dawn Giovanni, Hänsel N. Gretel, Ollie Gretto, Ivan Hoe, Siegfried Idyll, Hérold N. Italie, Harry János, Romeo N. Juliet, Hammer Klavier, May Knight, Swann Lake, Lucia D. Lammermoor, Kiri E. Leison, Beau Léro, Guri Lieder, Hal E. Luia, Mathis der Maler, Nelson Mass, Dans McAwber, Pelléas E. Mélisande, LaDonna E. Mobilé, Rosa Munde, Walter Music, Sara Nade, Claire E. Nett, Cass T. Netz, Cary Lon, Vy O. Lynn, Graham O'Phone, Zax O'Phone, Di O'Tonic, Manfred Overture, Donna Nobis Pacem, Tim Pani, Levi Parisienne, Polly Phonic, Les Préludes, Eddy Pusrex, Demi Quaver, Ma Rimba, Paco Bel Scannon, Kris Schendo, Barber F. Seville, Wes Sidestory, Missy Solemnis, Tempest Sonata, Clark N. Spiel, Russell F. Spring, Millie Terrie Symphony, Sir Price Symphony, Tod N. Tanz, Sonny Tina, Tom Tom, Marcia D. Trionfo, Lento Manon Troppo, Cosi van Tutti, Tod N. Verklärung, Má Vlast, Dee Mary Widdow, Peter Andy Wolfe, Blue Dan Yube and Sue ZaPhone.

Dave

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Post by SueCan » Sat Apr 08, 2006 3:59 pm

What an enjoining topic! We all ponder this question occasionally. Thanks for asking it, John. My love of classical music began in a strange place -- under the drafting board of my father. He was an architect who worked at home until opening a larger practise in a 'proper office'. I remember at age 3-4 'colouring 'under his table while he worked above me. Always there was classical music playing. I could hear the LPs 'drop' from their holding stack (not a great strategy probably) and would stop crayoning for a moment to see if it was piano, or St. Matthew Passion or Dvorak's cello concerto (not that I knew that then -- these were just some of his favorites). In my mind's eye, I can still look up and see the screws of his moveable T-square and smell the leather of his shoes. This moment might have been the impetus to start Classical Kids -- to build context, images, and emotional connection to music that asks more of its listeners.

Whatever, a thought followed me through yesterday. Sometimes, I enjoy well-produced honest 'world music' (not New Age!) because I like to escape the searing intensity of classical music. I rather envy the apparent ease with which folk melodies flow and rhythms seduce. In the end, I wouldn't trade the fierce condensation of classical music -- but it can be a huge relief from this soulful angst (or maybe it's just the pieces I like). I can't decide whther this puts classical music hugely in touch with today's times, or if we sometimes need a relief from both!

Sorry, I've strayed from the question. Must be the spring! Sue

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Post by jserraglio » Sat Apr 08, 2006 6:27 pm

Strangely enough, Chuck Berry's famous song first made me aware that Beethoven and Tchaikovsky were musical forces to be reckoned with. Dave Brubeck's albums also played a role, as did singing plainsong in our church choir.
Louis Lane and the Cleveland Pops Orchestra did light classical fare during the summers--I never missed their Cole Porter Night, and that started the ball rolling. Later, I was lucky enough to attend a university that encouraged students to spend time listening to concerts and seeing plays.

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Post by strehmelinski » Sat Apr 15, 2006 6:15 pm

I have enjoyed reading many of your childhood recollections; I too was apparently created to love good music. My mother tells me that when I was a toddler I would find any available piano and happily bang away at the keys. I heard my first classical record at age 7 -- some orchestral recording of the old chestnuts -- and I was hooked! I would sit at our old record player and play my favorites over and over. I soon discoverd our public library and would regularly check out the maximum allowable number of records every two weeks. Does anyone remember the collections of Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops? Because I was taking piano lessons, I was especially fond of recordings for that instrument and soon developed my taste for certain performers and their interpretations of certain composers -- a taste which I still retain to this day; Richter's Rachmaninov, Kempf's Beethoven, Argerich's Chopin, Gould's Bach, Perahia's Mozart, Wild's Liszt, Laroccha's Albinez,..............................................................

Dies Irae

Post by Dies Irae » Sun Apr 16, 2006 12:45 am

I became interested in Classical Music when I accidently found that I could memorize vast amounts of it with very little effort. (The printed score, not the sounds).
I took piano lessons as a pre-teen and one day was idly inspecting the shelves at my local library when I came across the full score for Wagners "Die Walkure". Naturally, I couldn't make any sense of it at all at first observation. But I promised myself that I would keep at it, until I could read it with some ease and possibly hear the music in my head while doing so. After months, I found that not only could I read it, and hear it in my head, but also had it pretty well memorized. Since then, I have memorized the complete scores for Beethovens 5th, 7th and 9th Symphonies and for Bruckners 7th and 8th. Unfortunately this ability has not been accompanied by any facility for performing. In other words...I have no talent. So as the saying goes,...with that ability and about $2.00, I can get a ride on the NY Subway System.

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