Janos Gereben wrote:
> Can you remember the first piece of classical music that inspired you?
> A great question, although I wonder about "inspire." Impressed? Moved?
> Enchanted? Beethoven's Seventh for me, its "apotheosis of dance."
Reading the stories of people being smitten by classical music in
pre-adolescence makes me think that I'm a bit of a late bloomer.
My musical education was possibly the thinnest you can get and still
count as one: I played recorder in my primary school choir, and we once
had the '1812 Overture' played to us for some reason.
By the end of primary school, I was able to look at a musical staff and
hear the tune in my head, and was generally playing the 'hard' parts in
choral performances (so, either I played solo and hoped not to get it
wrong, or played a counter-melody, which some parents took to be "the
However, the end of primary school was the end of musical education for
me, and it was nearly thirty years before I studied music again (by which
point, I had long since lost the tune in my head when looking at a score).
But from childhood, I had a different musical interest which never faded:
film music. For whatever reason, I have constantly been taken with
interesting orchestral scores.
Despite the large amount of hackery that is passed off as music in movies,
I think that some wonderful stuff has been written for the screen, with
the best of the likes of Bernard Herrmann and Jerry Goldsmith comparing
favourably with anything that's gone before.
Anyway, on a whim, I went back to University in 2001 to study music, in
a course that was based on the music of the tonal (or common practice)
The set scores for that course included Beethoven's 5th, Tchaikovsky's
'Serenade for Strings', and 'The Magic Flute', and I would be hard pressed
to say which one of them knocked me out the most, but it would probably
be the Beethoven.
I think it's fair to say that since discovering classical music properly
(as opposed to hearing clips in commercials and on hold to big businesses),
few pieces of music have impressed me as much as Beethoven's 5th (even
though I now think his 7th is better, and I'm more taken with the music
of Prokofiev and Respighi these days).
In a two-for-one special offer, my wife also got sucked in to classical
music by my playing Beethoven's 5th and 'The Magic Flute' in the car,
and is now as likely to be found listening to Debussy or Mozart (despite
branding him a "show-off") as she is to listen to some of the horrible
rackets of the 1970s bands she grew up with.
And just to make your heads explode in time for Christmas, she once told
me: "I'm so glad you introduced me to Beethoven; he's like the Jerry
Goldsmith of classical music."
Frank Wales [[log in to unmask]]
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