Monday, May 10, 2004

All Mozart Sounds the Same? I really like this. I also agree with some of it. My wife can't get into classical music. She says she feels like "you have to be in the club" to get it. (I know people who feel the same way about jazz -- I mean, Jesus, it's dance music!)

Anyway, I managed to lose that hesitation early on. My father used to take me to the opera once in a while. I loved the dressing up, the drama, and sometimes the music. Other times, though, I felt like I had to sit respectfully and try not to yawn. A lot of this crap is boring as hell. But I was just a kid, so what did I know. Then, one night, about an act or so into Verdi's Ernani, I noticed my father checking his watch. This, from a guy who puts on Der Fliegende Hollander (or however you spell it) to relax! At the interval, he asked if I was liking it. I'm sure he would've stayed, for my benefit, had I declared the show a triumph. But I said "no" and we left. So I got over the "castor oil" thing. You don't have to like it all.

Actually, I was briefly afraid that the whole thing had lost its magic, now that I knew it was okay to be bored, to think a performance (or composer) stunk: I went to a Pagliacci with my school -- hated it. And I saw Gotterdammerung and nearly blew out my ears from yawning so much. I gave up for a while and concentrated on Motorhead. Then my father an I went to Barber of Seville at the Met -- Thomas Hampsen as Figaro -- and I was blown away again (I actually shouted "Bravo!" at Hampsen's curtain call, felt like an idiot and a poseur, and vowed not to do it again. But he did deserve it.)

Via, via, via. I got this link from Lileks, who got it from Teachout, who got it from somebody else who has a complementary list about poetry. Sample:

Everything you liked in high school is bad. Everything your English teacher told you to like is also bad, but for different reasons. If you liked what your English teacher told you to like, you are now teaching English.
I missed the whole teaching English thing, but only by thismuch.


Anonymous said...

About feeling like you have to be "in the club" - I sort of felt like that for years. What a waste! Where do these nonsense ideas come from? I guess, in a way, there is sort of a "club" but it's a club that ANYONE can join anytime. No invitation required. I know a lot of people worry about looking dumb but it's pretty much the same as with anything else. At first you do look dumb but you learn and you get over it. One of the first things you learn when you get into classical music is that the members of the "club" enjoy arguing about the music as much as they enjoy the music itself. It's sometimes a vicious game but it's a lot more fun to be on the inside than it is to be on the outside looking in so tell your wife to join the fun.

I rarely find any classical music boring but for someone who's used to music as background, which is the way most people listen to music most of the time, learning to actually LISTEN can be a challenge. But then, most worthwhile things do involve a challenge.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I didn't mean to post anonymously. My name is Lynn and my weblog is here: