Music: Classical

I don't know much about classical music. I can name some of the famous composers: Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Wagner, Handel, Mahler . . . I know I'm missing a lot of them. Like, a lot. But that's because I've always mostly avoided classical music.


Because when I listen to it—I mean, really sit down and listen—I dislike the effect it has on me. It moves me more than I like. "Pomp and Circumstance" reduces me to tears every time. No idea why. And that's not even the really old classical stuff, but still. Classical (or maybe orchestral) music weirds me out.

This isn't true of, say, movie soundtrack music. I have many John Williams and Bruce Broughton CDs and all that and I don't sob when I hear any of it.

When I was in high school they arranged for the Honors students to visit the Meyerson Symphony Center, which was still pretty new at the time. It was exciting because we all got dressed up (I'll never forget, I wore black velvet) and went to listen. And I love music. I love the pictures it paints in my mind. But classical music does something to my insides that not just any kind of music seems able to do. And that night I sat and listened and then found myself having to focus on all the old people sitting around us—one of them was trying to surreptitiously unwrap peppermints or toffees or something—to keep from falling apart in front of all my classmates.

People may think I have a hard heart, but I don't. I have a very guarded one.

Anyway, today I have been listening to some Mozart and some Beethoven, and I have not been crying because I've been tuning a lot of it out as I write. But I've at least discovered I prefer Beethoven to Mozart. I like them both, I guess, but I like Beethoven more. That seems like a good thing to know about oneself, and it's a step, albeit a tiny one, in dipping myself into classical music. A kind of therapy, maybe. You know, where small amounts of exposure to something helps cure you of the phobia or whatever? Like that.

What shall I try next, I wonder?


Kimberly said...

Some things affect us on a subconscious level. I blame string theory. The vibrations of certain music, art or scenery plays our inner strings in just the right way to make us who we are.

M said...

Oh no! Don't get me started on string theory!

But yes, I do feel like some things just "resonate" at the right frequency, in tune with what's within us . . .