It's annoying to have a song running through your mind all day that you can't stop humming. Especially if it's something difficult like "Flight of the Bumblebee."
- George Carlin
I used to have my radio tuned to rock stations, but I found that when I did that, I tap on the desk. But when I listen to classical music, I don't tap. See?
- Brother George, my first high school guidance counselor
I subtitle my blog "Tales of Clutter Combat and Other Adventures". So as I made clear from the start, not all of the posts are going to be about clutter combat. But now I'm figuring that since the blog is after all about "my stuff", then maybe even the filler material should be more often than not focused on my stuff.
So we'll go with what's been filling my head, table space, and hard drives lately: classical music.
After going to see The House on the Rock last week, I've been on a big kick for classical music. I can't remember the last time, if ever, I was really on a kick like this. I don't consider myself knowledgeable enough to be a connoisseur on the subject, but I do own at least a dozen classical music CDs, plus a bunch of later 20th century orchestral music (movie soundtracks, ambient stuff, etc.).
Something I've noticed about every genre of music is that the people who listen to it are convinced that it's diverse, but people who don't listen to it think it sounds all the same. This goes with anything: rap, country, heavy metal, punk, you name it. Classical is no exception. The reality is "classical" music though can cover just about anything from medieval modal music to today's instrumental movie soundtracks. Dismissing it all as "opera music" is shortsighted. Or perhaps I should say "shortlistened".It occurred to be though that I never really got around to putting any of it on my hard drive and in turn to my iPod. So I dug out and ripped a stack of discs today, including the following:
- Ravel. Bolero is quite possibly the song I've heard, in full, the most number of times in my life. (And if you don't know the story as to why, I ain't telling you.) I really don't think I could ever get sick of it. It's funny opening up a sound editor and seeing a graphical representation of this 15 minute piece. It just stretches gradually all the way from near silence to the loudest peaks, like a cone. Most people find themselves turning down the volume half way through. I've also really been enjoyig Ravel's La Valse and Valses Nobles Et Sentimentales. Most Ravel CDs will have all of these pieces.
- Wagner. It's sad that most people are clueless about Wagner, and only after hearing Flight of the Valkyries will they bust into singing "Kill the wabbit, kill the WABBIT, kill the WAAABBIT!" That's kind of ruined the piece for me. Fortunately that's not all he ever wrote.
- Baroque compilation. When I was in college I bought some book on increasing your IQ and study skills, or something along those lines. One of the random suggestions it had was to listen to Baroque music when studying. I was already doing well, but well is never good enough, so I was willing to try things to make the classes easier. I found a double CD compilation of Baroque music. Did it work? Who knows. I do know I got some great music to just play in the background while working on something.
- Holst: The Planets. I bought this some time in the last year or so, but never even got around to opening it. Well, now it's opened. Damn. This is really one of those works you have to hear before you die.
- J.S. Bach: organ works. Bach did a lot of different stuff. He's even somewhat responsible for popularizing the use of our 12-note equal temperament scale, which all western music conforms to today. I like his minor-key organ pieces.
- Mussorgsky. Night on Bald Mountain? Fuck yes!
I like certain classical pieces both as a music-listener and a musician. I think its my mathematical mind that likes dissecting the complexity at times. Oh, and to any of you musicians who like to trash the idea of learning how to read sheet music: keep in mind that if there was no means of writing music to paper, we would NOT have any of the classical music we've been able to keep for centuries!
In the meantime, I hope to take some of the music from the House on the Rock that I bought there on CD, and use it to back a montage of pics and video clips I took on the trip. We'll see.