Wednesday, July 18, 2007

To Become a Classical Music Snob

That's my goal folks. When I hear a symphony or concerto I want to be the guy who can say, "Hmmm, was that Mozart's 24th or 25th?" But how, you may ask, did I come to such a woeful predicament? I blame my wife. She checked out The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music from the library and I picked it up, naively presuming it just another innocuous tome. Regrettably, I fell prey to its allure--probably due to a combination of predisposing genetic and environmental factors.

Even though the unwashed masses may hurl their disdain against my delicate and refined musical tastes, it has been fun learning more about classical music. I like trying to guess the composer, or at least the century, when I hear something on the local classical station. Also, I'm starting to take note of which composers consistently impress me.

This is the part of the post where I attempt to elicit comments. Are any of you into classical music? Do you have a composer or work that you particularly enjoy? Do you dislike classical music? Which composers would you say have had the greatest influence on Bootload of Boogie? If you could name a cello after a tenor, which tenor would you choose? Let's hear it folks.


  1. I grew up listening to and playing classical music, so I'm down with your new endeavor. For random listening, there's nothing like your local NPR classical music station, or if you don't have one, KBYU is available online.

    Personally, I'm not too interested in anything (classical) written much after 1875 (Rachmaninoff excepted). My favorite listening is Baroque counterpoint, like Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier. The WTC is a pairing of preludes and fugues with each pair in a different key. This is a sample of the Prelude #2 in C-minor from WTC Book 1, and this is a cool demonstration of its companion fugue. I played this fugue once, but lost that talent some time ago.

  2. That fugue stuff is fun. I had forgotten that you used to play. Bach is a master. I've always been a big fan of baroque oratorios and his Mass in B minor is one of my favorites of all time.

    Did you know you can buy his (and Mozart's) COMPLETE works for about $120 on Amazon. It's comes in set with something like 150 CDs. Incredible! Some of them won't be the world's greatest version of the more famous works, but the reviews I've read have been pretty favorable. Those two compilations are on my "want to buy when I get a real job" list.

  3. I can't claim to be able to play any classical music on so called "instruments" but I over the last year or so I have developed a desire to become more classically minded. I have a napster subscription so I try to listen to different stuff everyday at school while I work. I'm still trying to figure out the best way to become more classically literate. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  4. Mat,
    A sales rep visiting our lab told me that the best way to learn more about classical music is to have someone handcuff you around a tree after tying a tourniquet around your left thigh and super-gluing ear phones to your head that are playing soothing orchestral music, at full blast and on repeat.

  5. I totally tried that yesterday even before I saw your comment, but I was quickly mistaken for an environmental activist and arrested. In prison they took away my classical music and all my cellmates had was the best of bones thugs and harmony.

  6. I enjoy Classical Music, but don't usually like to fork out the cash to actually buy it, but I've got a pretty decent collection on vinyl (most for $1 each). My classical CD collection is pretty pathetic, though. Here's what I've got:

    Bach: The Golberg Variations
    32 Short Films about Glenn Gould Soundtrack
    Stravinsky: Rite of Spring
    Handel: Messiah
    Chopin: The Pianist Soundtrack
    Rachmanninoff: Piano Concertos 1,2,3
    Beethoven: Piano Sonatas (Moonlight, Pathetique, and one more)
    Grieg: Peer Gynt
    Beethoven: Symphonies 5&9
    And a bunch of stuff by John Rutter and the Cambridge Singers

    Here's the top ten must know classical works, according to "An Incomplete Education" (one of my favorite bathroom books. I'd put a link to it, but I don't know how.)
    1. Josquin Desprez: La Deploration Sur La Mort D'Ockeghem
    2. Bach: Mass in B Minor
    3. Mozart: Symphony No. 41 in C Major ("Jupiter")
    4. Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 29 in B Flat Major ("Hammerklavier" sonata)
    5. Chopin: Twenty Four Preludes
    6. Tchaikovsky: Concerto in D for Violin and Orchestra
    7. Shoenberg: Piertto Lunaire
    8. Stravinsky: Le Sacre Du Printemps (The Rite of Spring)
    9. Bartok: The Six String Quartets
    10. Terry Riley: In C

    Interesting picks. I'm only familiar with the Bach and Stravinsky. Time to go to Randy's Records again and spruce up the collection.

  7. Brandie,
    No kidding, buying old records. Seems like a good idea for $1, although you'll never get it into digital format.

    So I assume you've seen 32 Short Films About Glenn Gould. Taliatha and I actually own the thing, upon Hubbel's recommendation. Pretty fun from a cinematic point of view.

  8. I listened to a sample of Piertto Lunaire. I like weird stuff but this is too weird, in my opinion. Rob and I went to see a presentation and screening of a documentary on Leon Theremin and the musical instrument he invented--the theremin. Have you guys heard of this? Utterly fascinating. We got to try playing a theremin, which is done by moving your hands through the electromagnetic field it creates.