15. August 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: Ramble

I recently had to sit through a performance of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (it was the conductor’s farewell concert). At first it was simply boring, but as I listened more carefully, it grew increasingly painful, until it became excruciatingly so. I literally began tearing my hair out and trying to cut my skin with my nails (there were large red marks when the performance was finally over). The pianist, I was certain, kept flubbing the notes and getting the timing off. But few around me seemed to agree. “Well, he certainly plays it differently from Gould,” was the most they could say.

The audience, like that of private libraries and the FOX News Channel, was decidedly old. I don’t recall seeing anyone who looked younger than thirty. And, aside from thoughts of this whole orchestras-playing-classical-music thing dying out, it made me wonder: what’s so great about classical music?

And then I went here:

Classical music is at once one of the best known and least understood forms of music, and many music fans who feel they would never like classical music are surprised at just how enjoyable it can be.

Of course, classical music can take a great many forms, and not every music fan will appreciate every kind of classical music. To some people, classical music is best enjoyed in a crowded concert hall, with a glass of wine and good company. To others, the best classical music is enjoyed alone, perhaps in a darkened room with a great stereo system. Still others will enjoy making their own classical music in the company of family and friends, perhaps playing their own piano or enjoying a night out.

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