Billy Joel was interviewed a few years back, and said that the only kind of music that currently moved him was classical. I found this odd coming from a former and still current rocker, but I got it. It seems to be a logical progression… As one gets older, one’s tastes refine and the loud banging music one used to love may be replaced by the quieter, more sophisticated and gentler sounds of a string section or orchestra. That is not to say that classical music is all quiet and boring, and without passion and fire… Stravinksy, anyone? Ravel? Mozart… Okay, you see where I’m going here.
There are a lot of folks who’ll argue that classical music is more complex and deep than rock and pop. One might say that, of course, until one listens to Buddy Holly, The Beatles, The Beach Boys or any number of “classic” rock and pop acts. But again, I get it. Rock is sometimes supposed to be just simple and straight to the point, and almost always immediate and rebellious. And perhaps Classical doesn’t hurt your ears as much… well, Beethoven aside.
Seeing guys like Rod Stewart take on the Great American Songbook seems to support this. They want to go legit, show they are all grown up and sophisticated like.
What is ironic for me, and if you are a regular reader of my “music” blogs you’ll know, is that in my life, quite the opposite is happening. I am listening to things I never listened to when I was younger… I guess it’s a case of never having sowed my musical seeds, so as an adult, I am playing catch up… and loving it. Punk… Afrobeat… Crazy Indie Electronica… You name it, I’ll give it a try.
I do have to say, that there is nothing that quite moves me as much as classical music, and this includes some beautiful and powerful movie scores. Sure there are rock and pop songs that push me into moods and close to tears, or have me reminiscing… Don’t even get me started on Meat Loaf’s Bat Out Of Hell... But there are so many classical tunes that just get me… It can even be something I have never heard before, and suddenly I find myself scrambling to find out exactly what I’m listening to, as I wipe away the tears and struggle to find a working pen and piece of paper to jot it down on.
Classical music just pushes my emotional keypad! It’s very primal. Strange… but this well thought out, specific, charted and intricately detailed music hits me on a very primordial level.
The only real issues I’m finding, are the arguments over what is or isn’t the “definitive” recording of a piece. It’s funny… I think some of these folks would go to blows. Was it Szell or Solti who knows Brahms best? Bernstein or Boulez who gets Ravel? The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic or Cleveland Orchestra? Yes, Cleveland, you heard me! One of the greatest orchestras in the world.
I think the bottom line is this… if you don’t have a killer stereo, a lot of the fights won’t matter, since so much of them are on tones and mic placement. But there are definite interpretations that are better than others. Even the great conductors don’t have the right feel for every single composer. There are certainly pieces and artists they know and do better. And some orchestras just play with an intensity and passion that others do not have. I guess that is the fun… wading through the thousands and thousands of recordings of each piece of music… and finding your own, “definitive” version.
And so, with that long (wood) winded babbling… We’ll get to the actual playlist tomorrow.
How I love music… Live, love and listen!