Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Classical Music...Different Not Dumb!

When my brother Jeff (its his birthday today) was a young student in Middle or early High School, we were all making our way through diversity week. Which is of course now every day in the public schools, but in his leadership and general genius he at some point in some presentation got the entire class including the presenter to chant "Different Not Dumb!  Different Not Dumb!" Over and over again. It is one of those moments that I wished I could have seen first hand, but now have to rely on my imagination to bring it to life.
Musically, we could probably stand for a little diversity...and I was reminded that classical music is Different Not Dumb. I was looking around at some projects on kickstarter, and came across a documentary in the works on Beethoven's Ninth symphony (one that he wrote entirely while deaf) and it looks pretty interesting. It follows this single piece of music and how it has changed the world...watch the trailer here...its good!
This led me to remember just how great classical gets. Brahms 4th symphony is a personal favorite, that I studied extensively in my composition class at SPU under Dr. Hanson. You can learn EVERYTHING from the classical genre...except for maybe modern electronics. Along with Brahms I like Vivaldi's 4 Seasons, Samuel Barber's Adiago for Strings, Arthur Rubinstein's versions of Chopin Nocturnes and Chopin's prelude in E minor (This is the first piece I REALLY went for on piano...wish I could find my old music for this.), Tchaikovsky at Christmas time of course, Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition...I could go on, but instead I will point you toward a Ted talk that anyone who likes music, or people, or life should enjoy. Benjamin Zander is the charismatic conductor for the Boston Philharmonic and his words about the importance of music in this video are more then worth your time.
Classical is not just music from another age...so many modern composers seem to land in film scores or television.  Or they just keep making good music, like my good friend John Hinson...and if you haven't heard him you are missing out.  He has some free tracks to download on his site, but I listen to his solo piano album A Still Moment all the time. It never gets old...and he wrote a song for my son Simon when he was born...amazing!
So spill the beans, whats your favorite classical piece? Composer?
Classical - Different not Dumb.


Rebekah said...

awesome post - I myself have always thought classical was just hard, especially vocally when I studied at the conservatory. It is beautiful when done well but seriously sounds bad if you don't have the chops...I think my favorite is handles messiah and of course John Hinson!

Jenny said...

my favorite is jeff and his mantra...classic. but i'm not sure if that's what you meant.

Tavo said...

Here are a just few of my favs. Debussy: Jeux, Nocturnes, La Mer. Ravel: Introduction and Allegro, La Valse, Rapsodie Espagnole. Stravinsky: Petrushka. Schoenberg: Verklarte Nacht. Beethoven: "Rasoumovsky" quartets. Of course there are many others, but these are a few that are special to me.

Jeff said...

Hey! The picture is of Benjamin Zander! He's my favorite. He and Gustavo Dudamel.

(but you didn't ask for conductors)