I've spent the last several months going wild with new, totally
unfamiliar music ... most of it from the late Romantic period. If I
spied a composer I didn't know whose dates fit into the arbitrary time
frame I set up for myself to explore, I'd grab whatever was available
at Berkshire Record Outlet and local secondhand stores, and I'd also get
to sample others through the generosity of friends.
Suddenly yesterday, as I was sweltering in my kitchen and trying to
prepare something cool to feed my family, I heard on the radio the second
movement of the op.90 Beethoven piano sonata. I had come home, musically
speaking. I had to stop what I was doing and just listen. I went back
to my (cooler) room, and found the same performance on cd, and whistled
along. It was heaven!
Last night I started listening again to *all* of the Beethoven sonatas
played by as many different pianists as I have (and, not to brag, but
there are more than several!)
Today, I'm still in that Beethoven-Piano-Sonata mood. It's as if I met
a good old friend I had not seen in too long a time, and now we can't
stop talking to one another, catching up on old times, just enjoying
each other's company.
It got me thinking about MCML. So many times we are eager to explore
the unfamiliar. This is as it should be, or why would we be discussing
music with each other? Discovery is one of the pleasures of this
But where is our profound musical 'home'? Who are the composers we most
turn to when we are feeling like we want to cleanse our tastebuds? Which
are the compositions we select when we need a good old pal, or want to
renew ourselves after a very stressful time? What is our own personal,
guaranteed, tried-and-true feel-good music? What are the pieces of music
we have sought out more than five times in the last year?
Schubert Fifth Symphony comes to mind immediately for me: it has lifted
me from some very serious doldrums.