Let's talk...classical music...wait, don't go to the next blog...stay with me!
Actually, I was originally thinking of something else to chat about when...a few days ago...I found myself driving down the longer (and faster) of the two roads that lead to my home in the country.
For you see, I had been standing in the sun for nearly two hours and...the air conditioner in my car has not worked for a few years now. Windows rolled down, going 50 mph on a country road...instant air conditioner! But I digress...
I was hot and tired so the three Christians channels on my radio didn't appeal to me. There is a time and place for good preaching but this wasn't one of them. I punched the middle button, knowing I'd probably find food for my soul there...the University's NPR channel. Their FM channel is mostly classical, most of the day.
Instantly the sound of a violin began to relieve the tense muscles. I was quite surprised later to find it was a Russian orchestra playing Tchaikovsky...a much softer number than I've heard from his pen. I was close to home when a classical guitar began to play, the favorite instrument for my husband and son to hear on this channel.
The music started me thinking of my introduction to classical music, in early elementary school. It was all about listening to a record and taking a test. Yuk...it made me afraid of classical records for years! I honestly thought to enjoy the music, I had to know everything about the technical aspects so I basically avoided it until my late teens when I began to develop a little more appreciation. It wasn't until my daughter began to play the violin that I truly came to enjoy it (although not in the first few weeks of her classes...ouch!).
I have since learned to appreciate classical music just the same as any genre, by listening to recordings and realizing there are some I love and others I...don't. I began to purchase tapes and later CDs of Handel, Bach, Vivaldi, Beethoven, etc., and recordings that included a variety of composers. After awhile, I came to recognize favorites by each composer; Handel's Water Music, Vivaldi's Four Seasons, Bach's Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring, Beethoven's Hymn to Joy (aka: Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee)...just to name a few.
I truly love all kinds of music including the country and western of my childhood, the California sound and then the British Invasion of my teenage years, the romantic ballads of the 40s and 50s my older siblings enjoyed, the 50s Bebop sound my sister's loved, show tunes, movie scores, the Contemporary Christian music which was just beginning during my Jesus People days, the old Hymns, some kinds of jazz and "Blues"...all kinds of wonderful music.
However, around Christmas...when I hear the beginning sounds of Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring...I always think that this must be the music of the angels. If it is possible at the time, I stop what I am doing, shut my eyes...and let my soul absorb the beauty.
My daughter's wedding and reception is somewhat a blur as I was not feeling well that year. (That's the year I homeschooled from the sofa.) It was before I began taking the insulin, which literally brought life back to me. However, I always think back to the musicians she had playing at her wedding and reception and the extra layer of magic they brought to the special occasion.
I have never officially taught my son anything about classical music beyond CDs like Beethoven Lives Upstairs. However, I smile when I get in the car in the early morning...after he has driven it the night before...and find he was listening to the University's channel on the way home to relax and unwind after a busy day.
There are readers who were raised on the genre and perhaps have music degrees. I'm certain there are others who are like I was when I didn't know Bach from Beethoven. As with learning anything in this world, ask questions...read...purchase a CD (many are very inexpensive) or check them out at the local library.
I was introduced to Yo-Yo Ma by watching Mr. Rogers with my kids so it was an easy choice to purchase one of his CDs. He continues to be a favorite in this household. I learned about The Four Seasons many years ago by watching the credits at the end of a news-type talk show to find out what that beautiful music was they played at the beginning and end of each show. I found many unexpected favorites by listening to Classical Christmas CDs.
I like the way many homeschoolers introduce classical music to their family...one musician at a time. Perhaps Tchaikovsky or Handel around Christmas, Strauss makes me think of Spring weddings, Bach the month of Easter, etc. The music is played in the home as one goes about their day to day work and play.
My knowledge of classical music is so limited, I was actually hesitant to write about it. However, it has brought such...joy...peace...relaxation...and absolute delight...that I so wanted to encourage those who have not made it part of their lives to do so.
I also encourage (please) those who are more knowledgeable to share favorites which would be written on a slip of paper, tucked in my purse and taken with me to the library or music store. For after all these years, I am but a novice...
Now I will brew a new tea I recently found...Constant Comment Green...turn on the CD player...locate my latest novel...and really, really relax.