Saturday, March 05, 2005

Something truly to be lamented

One of the true joys of my life has been my love of classical music. During the waning days of my bachelorhood in the 1980s, when I lived in Salt Lake City with two wonderful roommates, I used to spend hours on end reading in my room, with my boombox providing a constant backdrop of Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Bach, Handel, Dvorak, and the other great composers. One evening, in fact, I had the rather unusual experience of one of the roommates asking me to turn the music up. Over the ensuing years I have lost none of my love for the genre, but I regret not being able to listen to it nowadays as often as I would like, partly because the responsibilities of marriage and family have constricted my free time, and partly because most of my music collection is still on cassettes, which of course are swiftly following the 8-tracks into obsolescence.

I am old enough to remember when classical music was heard frequently on television and radio; for two examples among many, during the 1960s the opening bars of the second movement of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony provided the theme music for NBC's Huntley-Brinkley Report, and on Saturday mornings millions of pajama-clad children were introduced subliminally to the great masterworks as they watched Warner Brothers cartoons in their living rooms. But classical is today passing out of fashion, and is largely unknown among the MTV generation. Thus this column by Diana West notes its sad decline in popularity, which in turn drives the media outlets that used to bring it to us.


Blogger Barney said...

Contra your roommate's request, my little sister's first coherent sentence was "Turn it down!" (My dad was a jazz aficionado -- BTW, is that Italian?) Anyway, he had a huge Stan Kenton collection (every recording, I believe) which he ultimately donated to BYU. He even prevailed on Mr. Kenton and his big band to record an album live at BYU.

He also exposed us to classical music and other genres. We still call Rachmaninoff, Grieg, Brahms, Beethoven, Mahler et al. "Sunday music" because we used to listen to it before, during, and after Sunday dinner.

When we were in England, we were exposed to a "Great Composers" CD and "magazine" set which appeared every fortnight at the corner newsagent's for £4.75. We purchased all 65 CDs and later bought the binders for the "magazines." On the back cover of each "magazine" are photographs and descriptions of different instruments. Inside are wonderful illustrations, liner notes about the CD, and historical notes about each composer and the period in which they composed. The music ranges from baroque to romantic to opera.

With the Internet, you can listen to classical music all the time (if your employer will allow) by linking (for example) to KBYU FM here. Give it a try. Cheers.

2:13 PM  
Blogger Sylvia said...

My husband and I both enjoy classical music greatly and have played it often in our home along with other genres. Consequently, all of our 5 children, including our "baby" who is 2, love to jam to Mozart and Beethoven, to name a few! They have even been heard, at quieter intervals in the house, to suddenly burst out into a rendition of some piece of music they have heard, including classical! Ahhh, the joys that brings to my heart! :) Once, when they were watching an old cartoon, Bugs Bunny I think, one of them said that they recognized that song - we'd played it on the stereo before. That was fun!

4:15 AM  

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