Friday, April 23, 2010

Spring Concert Series - A Little Night Music

Another one of my earliest music memories is Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nacht Musik serenading me to sleep every night. From the record player in the living room, the soothing sounds floated into my nearby bedroom and wrapped me in comfort and drowsy bliss.

I believe that routine was instrumental in starting/shaping the love I have for Classical music.

Before you think I'm too much of a bore, I admit, I have fallen asleep at the symphony before, all dressed up and everything. The circumstances were extenuating, but I did get bored. I'm certainly particular about it, just like with any other genre. I don't like all of it.

On the other hand, appreciating classical music takes the patience of a willing listener.

I grew up with a great reverence for the classic composers: Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, Wagner, Schubert, Handel, Hayden, Vivaldi, Strauss, Mendelssohn, Verdi, Brahms… the list could continue.

And while I am no expert, can match tune with composer only a fraction of the time, I’m amazed by the genius and complexity of full orchestrations, the blending of multiple melodies and harmonies, the overwhelming emotion both conveyed and inspired listening to classical masterpieces.

In fact, here’s a secret: classical music almost always makes me cry. I can’t explain it. But it does.

Many works of classical music tell a story, another reason I must love it, such as in opera, like Verdi’s La Traviata (the inspiration for films such as Camille starring Greta Garbo and Moulin Rouge starring Nicole Kidman). Classical compositions are used all the time as background music in movies (but that’s for another post J). And it also has given us some of the most inspired, God-honoring works, like Handel’s Messiah.

When I was younger, even though I am by no means an artist, I liked to draw pictures while listening to classical music, imagining what story the sounds were telling. Nowadays, I write to classical music. For one, often no words accompany the instruments, so I can concentrate on the words I’m writing. But also, the melodious movement in my ears helps me imagine my settings better, see my characters clearer, keep my thoughts organized.

The one body of classical music work I listen to the most while writing my stories is Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. If that sounds unfamiliar, you might know it better as the tune to Ode to Joy. The symphony is far more complex, of course, than the hymn inspired by it. It consists of four movements (sections) lasting, in total, a whopping 74 minutes and 45 seconds!

But I never tire of listening because, for me, it embodies art, inspiration, and genius to such a degree that I can’t help appreciating, aspiring and aching with its perfection (in a good way). I’m so in tune with it on some sub-level, I get emotional every time I listen to it – and that’s almost every day. Sometimes twice a day, depending how much I’m writing.

Do you have a song, composition, or body of work that affects you like that? Do you use music as inspiration while writing or performing/using whatever God-given skills you have? I’d love to hear your stories of what kind of music inspires you.

A couple years ago, a movie came out called Copying Beethoven. In it, a scene shows Beethoven’s female apprentice secretly helping him conduct the orchestra. The masterpiece they perform? My favorite. J

So, if you are willing to listen, and if you employ a little patience (don't quit when it gets slower in the middle), this next ten minutes might surprise and inspire you. Keep in mind as you watch, the audience had ever heard this work before... and neither had Beethoven because he was deaf.

Thanks for visiting Dry Ground! Have a blessed weekend!


KM Wilsher said...

My mom plays the flute, has all my life. In fact, she had an opportunity to play for the Boston Pops once. . .I grew up in the orchestra hall as they practiced. It is still comforting music and reminds me of the day :0)

Nice post. Great music!