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I was always receptive to classical music due to two things...

 

My Mother had long owned an old 78 album of the NUTCRACKER SUITE by Eugene Ormandy and the PHILADELPHIA Orchestra, when I was a kid, and I loved listening to an old 78 of "Peter and The Wolf" around the house( narrated by BAASIL RATHBONE, another name I knew before I knew he made movies) and it wasn't until the mid '70's I decided to delve more into which was which, who composed what, and the difference in conductors and that sort of thing.

 

 

Like, how many times, when say, someone is slowly walking to some percieved doom do you hear them hum CHOPIN's "Sonata #2"?   (you know, "dum-dum-de-dummmm, dum-de-dum-de-dum dah dummmmm...)

 

 

Sepiatone

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WD3ydWW6c0o

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In my dotage I only listen to classical music on the radio at home-- I save Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band for the car--

 

The other day I heard a piece of music and I merely thought to myself that sounds like a movie-- if it's classical music-- how come I think it's from a movie?

 

The genius composers of the Golden Age of Hollywood were serious classical composers/musicians.

 

I've heard several of Korngold's and Bernard Herrmann's works on the radio.

 

Anyway, I hung around till it's over and much to my happy surprise it was by Max Steiner and it was from the score of the Gary Cooper movie Fountainhead.

 

The quality of music and the care that they took with it for those movies--it was amazing.

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Princess, that's true, but also, several composers now regarded as "classical" composers also did some film scores back then.  I understand Stravinsky did some film work, and of course, Aaron Copeland, I can't now think of any others, but in the case of Copeland, he didn't didn't do film scores as a rule(or at first for a living). 

 

Incidentally, the classical radio station in my area( the "classical days/jazzy nights" station) has a Sunday feature that centers on music used for film scores. Not just  classical music used, but also contemporary work composed specifically for a film.

 

Many movie studios back in "the day" also "borrowed" many classical pieces to use for a movie's score.  You can hear a lot of DEBUSSY in PORTRAIT OF JENNIE, and the old classic M uses EDVARD GRIEG'S "HALL OF THE MOUNTAIN KING" as it's opening theme.

 

In my quest to learn more about and more music I reverted to two practices.  One dangerous and one not so....

 

I'd keep a pen and paper handy while driving around listening to the classical music station and try to jot down a piece I heard that I liked without wrapping nyself around a pole, tree or truck.

 

I'd also pour through the old LPs in a local thrift shop and look for discarded classical albums and if one( or two or more) looked interesting to me( usually a piece by a composer I was familiar with but never heard the piece, or a composer I wasn't familiar with)  I'd buy it, give it a listen and if I liked it, I'd go find a CD of the music.  If not, no big loss as in the thrift shop those old LPs sold for only 50 cents.

 

I accquired a LOT of good music by doing the latter.  However, I learned something else.....

 

I picked up a copy of an old LP by a composer named JANACEK, and the piece was his SINFONIETTA, which during it's first ten seconds I recognized it as the music used by EMERSON LAKE and PALMER for a song they called "Knife-Edge".  Now, I still have the old vinyl copy and the CD re-issue, and the CD gives Janacek credit for the music, but the vinyl LP doesn't!  It's on their first album.

 

I suppose for almost three generations, children's exposure to classical music was heard every morning due to BOB KEESHAN's children's TV show CAPTAIN KANGAROO using EDWARD WHITE's light classical piece "Puffin' Billy" as it's theme song.  Took me YEARS and a letter from the Captain himself to find that information, and another several years to track down a recording of the piece!

 

 

Sepiatone

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Aaron Copland won an Oscar for The Heiress. I love the story that when the film was in previews the audience laughed when Olivia was stood up, standing on the porch when the car whizzed by. Chagrined, they went to Aaron and asked him to fix it. Listen carefully the next time, he came up with some threadbare little sounds that seem to suggest something a bit more modern that traditional music, and it worked quite well.

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People who aren't "into" classical music hold fast to misconceptions about it's composers.  Like....

 

They were gay...

 

They were "stuffed shirts" full of themselves and devoid of common human foibles.

 

That may have been true for some, but not all.

 

One of my favorite stories concerning a classical composer involves JOHANNES BRAHMS.

 

Seems in his time there was a wealthy German Baron who was one of Brahms' biggest "fans".  In today's vernacular, you could say he was a real "Brahms freak".  He gave a dinner party with the composer as the guest of honor, and at dinnertime, the Baron presented a bottle of wine by saying, "It's the finest wine in my cellar.  You could say it's my BRAHMS of wine!"

 

Brahms rose his glass to his lips, took a sip and made a grimace of distaste and turned to the Baron and said, " You'd better bring up your BEETHOVEN"   :D

 

Sepiatone

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People who aren't "into" classical music hold fast to misconceptions about it's composers. Like....

 

They were gay...

 

They were "stuffed shirts" full of themselves and devoid of common human foibles.

 

That may have been true for some, but not all.

 

One of my favorite stories concerning a classical composer involves JOHANNES BRAHMS.

 

Seems in his time there was a wealthy German Baron who was one of Brahms' biggest "fans". In today's vernacular, you could say he was a real "Brahms freak". He gave a dinner party with the composer as the guest of honor, and at dinnertime, the Baron presented a bottle of wine by saying, "It's the finest wine in my cellar. You could say it's my BRAHMS of wine!"

 

Brahms rose his glass to his lips, took a sip and made a grimace of distaste and turned to the Baron and said, " You'd better bring up your BEETHOVEN" :D

 

Sepiatone

Sepia - - I'll be totally Frank with you. I've never heard that people think that about classical composers.

 

Most people who don't like classical music are simply people who aren't involved in Higher Culture, but I don't think they are that stupid.

 

Most of the people I know who are not involved in classical music see it as something from long ago and that is old-fashioned and maybe boring to them. But they don't associate it with being gay necessarily.

 

Though I do think probably there are some types of people who are poorly educated who so hate anything culturally refined-- that they can't understand--so they choose to see it to be within a context that they perceive as being pejorative.

 

Classical music is no big deal to most people that I know. Those that don't even care for it that much will go to a concert or recital,if a friend or relative is participating even though they don't care much about the music.

 

Growing up, all of my friends took piano lessons and studied classical music-- even though they may not have gone on for ten years like I did. It was very common--something kids did for a year or two.

 

Even larger number of kids that I went to school with were in the band and we had to study and play classical music.

 

Just like a number of great writers in French literature in the 19th century, a number of great composers died of venereal disease.

 

On the literature side in France we have Baudelaire, Guy De maupassant, and Gustav Flaubert,just to name a few.

 

Schumann died of venereal disease and Schubert's Unfinished Symphony was unfinished because he died of venereal disease at the age of 31. I'm sure there are others but these are the ones that come to mind immediately.

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I might have missed it, but so far I haven't seen anyone mention three of the Greatest: Bach, Mozart, and Brahms.

 

Just to continue with the movie connection: Of course there's Amadeus, a good movie in its own right, whether you enjoy the music or not (but why wouldn't you? Unless you're like Emperor Joseph II, who protested that Mozart had put in "too many notes"...)

 

And there are at least two films (both late 50s, I think) that feature a theme by Brahms ( Aimez-Vous Brahms? and Bonjour Tristesse).)  Probably more.

 

Offhand I can't think of any movies that feature Bach, but I'm pretty sure there must be a few.

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I might have missed it, but so far I haven't seen anyone mention three of the Greatest: Bach, Mozart, and Brahms.

 

Just to continue with the movie connection: Of course there's Amadeus, a good movie in its own right, whether you enjoy the music or not (but why wouldn't you? Unless you're like Emperor Joseph II, who protested that Mozart had put in "too many notes"...)

 

And there are at least two films (both late 50s, I think) that feature a theme by Brahms ( Aimez-Vous Brahms? and Bonjour Tristesse).)  Probably more.

 

Offhand I can't think of any movies that feature Bach, but I'm pretty sure there must be a few.

 

Yep, sure there is, MissW. Surely you've noticed in many a horror movie the use of Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor in order to denote a measure of dread...

 

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Sepia - - I'll be totally Frank with you. I've never heard that people think that about classical composers.

 

 

 

But, I HAVE.

 

And Hollywood didn't help much either.  I've seen several movies in which some homosexual character is introduced in the mix, and if the scene is one that takes place in their home, classical music is ivariably on the home stereo.

 

And I KNOW a few who thought that too.  Because of the misconception that homosexuals are enamored of classical music.  All of a sudden they learn that VLADIMIR HOROWITZ was gay, and they figure it's "par for the course".

 

Of course, we know MOZART, CHOPIN, BEETHOVEN and BRAHMS weren't gay, but that doesn't shake a lot of people loose from the notion. 

 

Most people I ever talk about this with often complain "But, classical music is so BORING!"  And to be fair, quite a bit of it can BE.  But the same could be said of many genres, so it don't wash with me.  Those people lack either the patience or freedom of thought to give any of the music a close, objective listen.  And for some pretty dumb reasons.  Tell you one thing that happened to me....

 

Back in the '70's, when I was delving deeper into the music, but still often partaking of South American smoking preparations, a buddy of mine came over.  I met him at the front door of my house and invited him in.  Beethoven's "Emperor Concerto" was spinning on my turntable, and he stopped dead in his tracks!

 

"WHAT is that you're LISTENING to?" he asked in shock.  I told him what it was and he then asked, "When did you start listening to THAT stuff?"  I told him about my lifelong interest and how for the last few years have been working harder at learning more about it and all, and after a couple of minutes of listening finally said he thought it sounded OK.   So I then asked him, "What brings you by anyway?  I haven't seen you for a while."  He hesitantly said, "Uh, well, I thought you might want o try some of this WEED I got, but now I guess not."

 

???

 

"Well, bring it OUT." I said, "What made you think I QUIT?"

 

"Well, "  he said, "I figured since you're listening to classical music and all...."  :wacko:

 

Long story short, the more BUZZED he got, the better he LIKED it.  I don't know if that's a plus or not, but you get what I mean.

 

What helped him along was hearing a few of my TOMITA electronic treatments of some classical works.  ;)

 

 

Sepiatone

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Back in the '70's....Long story short, the more BUZZED he got, the better he LIKED it.  I don't know if that's a plus or not, but you get what I mean.

 

 

Then you should have taken him to go see Disney's FANTASIA, Sepia.

 

(...word is by the late-'60s, going to a re-release of this film while buzzed was the thing to do, as I'm sure you know)

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What always bugged me about FANTASIA re-releases was that the papers always advertised them with an ad that showed a still of MICKEY MOUSE from the SORCERER'S APPRENTICE in them and the theaters would be filled with parents who dragged their pre-schoolers in thinking they'd see some MICKEY MOUSE cartoon!

 

In about ten minutes or so the kids would be bored and fidgety and NOISY, ruining the whole thing for the REST of us.

 

 

Sepiatone

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One of my favorite topics, laffite.  I remember also having a nice exchange with you awhile ago about opera.

 

I grew up hearing classical music around the house (along with lots of other types of music), so was never put off by it.  Piano lessons went nowhere, as I didn't have the aptitude for playing, and it probably didn't help that my mother was my piano teacher.  But I appreciate and love it, and have heard it almost every day in one way or another for many years.  

 

Here's a favorite piece, not on a grand scale, just delicate and heartbreakingly beautiful.  I was so excited to hear a surf version of it on the radio one night!  Satie:

 

 

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Gay, try listening to all three Gymnopedies in succession; total time about 7 1/2 minutes. The first is the most alluring but all three make up a nice run. #2 and #3 seem quite similar.

 

Satie composed seven Gnossiennes (don't ask, I think he made up the word). They all seem a little serious and perhaps foreboding in some way ... except #5, the black sheep of the group. It's a bit more flamboyant, suggesting something in a lighter vein (comparatively).

 

 

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Another example of people and kids being exposed to classical music without REALIZING it WAS classical music----

 

"Funeral March of The Marionettes" by Charles Gounod.  The theme from Alfred Hitchcock's TV show.

 

Sepiatone

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Gay, try listening to all three Gymnopedies in succession; total time about 7 1/2 minutes. The first is the most alluring but all three make up a nice run. #2 and #3 seem quite similar.

 

Satie composed seven Gnossiennes (don't ask, I think he made up the word). They all seem a little serious and perhaps foreboding in some way ... except #5, the black sheep of the group. It's a bit more flamboyant, suggesting something in a lighter vein (comparatively).

 

 

 

Yes, with my short attention span I left out nos. 2 and 3, but as a whole it's really lovely.  Interesting to read that he described some of his pieces as "furniture music," not a description many composers would use for their work!  That was such an exciting era for music, and so much more.

 

Here's another favorite.  I think I first heard it in Somewhere in Time, and it really stayed with me.  Again, an abbreviated version:

 

 

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Gay, you must have been THRILLED when BLOOD SWEAT and TEARS ended their second album with that "Variations On A Theme By Erik satie".  Which also got some interested in classical music back then too.

 

 

Sepiatone

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Gay, thanks for that RACH. Had not heard it recently at all and it came off so well. I experienced an odd sensation of having forgotten that it even existed. Thanks for posting that.

 

I hope I didn't come across as criticizing you for not including all three Gymnopedies, not all all. It was a compulsive mention (the other two) for anyone perhaps not knowing about them. There is such a lilting beauty to them and the three together can make for a nice meditative/listening experience. That first theme is so etched on our minds because of its ubiquity (movies, commercials, etc.). The three are marked by the composer as Sad or Grave. Perhaps so, they are artistic renderings of such, but the feeling I get while listening is something different, wistful nostalgia, eg, something not so dire as the original markings.

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Since we seem to milling about "familiar" territory, here's another. This has been used in film and notably The Elephant Man and in a way not be revealed in order to avoid a spoiler.

 

Luckily, I found Leonard Slatkin whose version matches the recording he made on the vinyl (transferred to CD) to a tee. I love the tempi, some try to milk the music and in the doing have it lag a little too much (for my taste). This is perfection IMHO.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CcflwUYYoXk

 

-

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Besides THE ELEPHANT MAN, you maybe noticed an orchestra was sawing through Barber's ADAGOI FOR STRINGS throughout the movie PLATOON.

 

I also notice a similarity of that piece and the score for THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD.

 

 

Sepiatone

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This was "Dream of the Witches Sabbath" and I have wanted to comment on this. Perhaps the first music ever composed that would purport to be "scary" or "macabre" something of the sort, a dream sequence of some "individual." (as opposed to the earlier music whose equivalent might be an "analysis" of emotional content and not yet arriving at what we have in this symphony, something more visceral to the senses.) There may been music like this in earlier eras but would have no doubt been couched in more formalized modes of expression and would be a lot less attention-getting for our eager modern ears. An elementary sense of music history deems it astonishing that this symphony could have been composed as early as 1830. Beethoven had been dead only three years, Schubert still alive while the major symphonists (Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn (sp) of the future had hardly shown themselves yet. Compared to a Beethoven symphony one might think that Symphonie Fantastique could have composed 30-50 years later. Also, no doubt the first "Program Symphony" where an actual story or of real life are depicted, concerned the depiction of a specific "individual."  And of course the first true Romantic Symphony.

 

Heck, I was trying to put this in a way that didn't sound preachy or lecture-y. Thanks for reading. Please see the Wiki page for this symphony, Lenny Bernstein has some interesting comments.

 

"Le Bal" is another movement from the symphony, a waltz that will not remind you of Johan Strauss, something a bit different and very modern for 1830.

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

So, anybody know the reason why classical music got tagged with the referrence as "longhair" music?

 

 

Sepiatone

 

Why don't you look it up for us and render a report?

 

That's your homework.

 

;)

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When I was playing the piano, I was very proud of the fact that I could play several Beethoven sonatas.

 

I could play the Moonlight 1st movement, however I could play Sonata number 20 in its entirety.

 

For years that made me feel very good. Like I had accomplished something with those ten years of lessons.

 

Well, the other week I was listening to the classical music station and they were playing number 20.

 

It's rare that I hear something a professional pianist play that I can play. I was thrilled.

 

At the end of the piece the DJ musicologist came on and told this brief story about Sonata number 20:

 

Beethoven did not want to publish the Sonata because it was too simplistic and easy to play. But he may have been short of money at the time-- because he was often short of money -- and his brother Kaspar von Beethoven, who worked part-time as his music secretary, decided to publish it over his objections.

 

Anyway, when I heard that, I realized why I was able to play one of his sonatas all the way through.

 

Still no matter how simple or no matter how puerile this Sonata may be, I'm still proud that I can play it.

 

And I guess I have Kaspar Von Beethoven to thank for it.

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