Friday, 9 March 2012
Classical Music: Ignorance is not bliss.
For some reason, our culture has drummed into our subconscious that classical music is dull, boring, and for old people alone, or music geeks who are genius's at the violin, piano, and harp. When we put the radio on, we would rather hear a band sing about moving like a person called Jagger, or if we are in a slightly more deep or romantic mood, then we are requesting Adele's 'Someone Like You' every hour. Why was this song so successful? Was it Adele's unique and powerful voice? Or did it say the words we have all felt at one time but were never able to express? What I have gathered from most people is that the reason they like the song is because they can relate to it, it touched a nerve that had only been touched once before. Add this song (possibly the most successful song of 2011) to the other massively popular love songs by Bon Jovi, U2, Lionel Richie, Celine Dion, and every other artist that has released a similar kind of thing, and it becomes pretty obvious that people love a love song - even if they don't admit it!
But if people love this music so much, why do they instantly turn Classic FM off and snub opera? The music does exactly the same thing - it touches a nerve - but in a different way. If anything, classical music does more than the love ballads we all adore, because there is something fundamentally different with the genre. Now I am, by far, no musical student. I play no instrument, and I am not a classical music buff. However, I am a person converted from this ignorance, and what I feel when I listen to a classical piece is the strangest phenomenon - my heart feels whole and complete, sending my "spirit" soaring - to the point where it is almost overwhelming. The swell of the instruments as they build up to the finale of the set brings tears to my eyes and, as if I haven't been the biggest cheese-puff already, I cannot fathom how anybody on this planet can write, arrange, or play a piece that sounds like it was made in a celestial paradise.
If you have actually bothered to read this you're probably thinking - mega weirdo, you need psychiatrical help, get a life - but no. I am completely sane, and I find myself fortunate to appreciate music. Some people have this feeling for all music, or maybe just rock, or soul, but for me it is classical music, opera, and as you would have noticed if you've been following my blog, movie soundtracks.
That saying, I am a nobody when it concerns knowing my classical/opera, but I am trying to know more. And I'll admit, a good deal of these came to my attention from films, but they made me want to find more. Some of my favourites are, and I'm sure any classical music expert will laugh even more at how poor my knowledge of the genre is:
Intermezzo for Cavalleria Rusticana - Mascagni
Symphony no.5 - Mahler
I giorni - Ludovico Einaudi
Piano Concerto no.2 - Rachmaninoff
Gymnopedies 1 - Satie
Madame Butterfly - Puccini (sung by Maria Callas)
Nocturne no.6 in G Minor - Chopin
This list shows my pathetically small and unadventurous search, and will probably make me look like an idiot. But each one of the pieces I found heartbreaking and even almost soul-shattering; it is one of the strangest experiences when music affects you to the point of tears. I have 200 classical/opera songs on my iTunes, and I hope that that number will grow considerably over the next year.
P.S. Apologies for any corrections made in this article concerning classical music/opera, and the pieces I mentioned.