Sunday, February 13, 2005

mompoet sound jounal #5

Murray Perahia and Radu Lupu
Mozart: Sonata, K. 448 (D Major)
1985 CBS
***** (out of 5)

My Mom and Dad are classical music enthusiasts. When I asked them for help with my listening project they loaned me a Sikora's bag stuffed with about 10 CDs. At some point I will do an analysis of who lends me one CD and who gives me a bagfull from which to choose, but that's another journal entry.

When I pressed them to choose one, they identified the Mozart Sonata. Dad told me Mom chose it. Mom told me, "it seems accessible, catchy melody and enthusiastic rhythm." (For a moment I flashed back to American Bandstand - "It's got a good beat. I can dance to it.")

Then I dilly-dallied about listening to it. But if you've been following my journal you know that. It's not like I've never listened to classical music before. I have a few CDs and I've even attended a concert or two when I was younger (can't remember what they were). From time to time at home I listen to Bach's Brandenburg Concertos and I like Mozart's The Magic Flute. Usually I choose it when I want to be calmed down, but with an activated brain. I was feeling guilty though, listening to it while I drove, or washed dishes or studied. My Dad sits and listens intently to music, so I thought that's what you are supposed to do. Mom helped with this. She told me that she daydreams while she listens, and encouraged me to just live with the music and listen while I did other things.

Both of my parents are musical and music loving. Mom was introduced to classical by her roommate at college.

Then I met Dad and he courted me by bringing records we could listen to on dates and buying me records as birthday and Christmas gifts. I also took voice lessons and sang classical songs, although I didn't really appreciate them at the time.

My Dad (who tells me that my existence is partly owing to a conversation that he had with my mother about Brahms) was introduced to classical music as a child. His mother, father and stepfather all listened to it. Dad played the piano.

Mom and Dad's favourites include Bach, Mozart, Haydn, Handel, Beethoven, Schubert and Brahms. As they read this, they are probably laughing at how I have slaughtered their list and put the names all out of order. Well, maybe not, but I bet I will receive an addendum to this list. They attend Friends of Chamber Music concerts regularly and enjoy their "wall of music" (more cds than I have seen in any home at any time in my life).

As I listened to the Mozart Sonata (in my car mostly) I was excited at first by its energy. Mom mentioned "the exuberance of Mozart." I heard that right away. The piece has three movements - first and third are fast and made me think about running. Middle is slower and more subtle but mostly bright-sounding. I enjoyed listening to two pianos - so many notes all together. Dad told me about the pianists:

Perahia is probably the technically most proficient pianist alive today. Technique is very important to me, mainly because poor technique gets in the way of enjoying the music, just as sufficiently low fidelity gets in the way of listening to music reproduced electronically. Perahia uses his tremendous technical ability to dig into the music and present it in a way that one can see the different layers of it at any one time, and can also sense its structure over periods of time, very well...Lupu is a very good pianist. I would put him a notch or so below Perahia.

Mom encouraged me to take my time learning to listen, and to just enjoy the music immediately. Knowing how to find the layers that Dad talks about takes time and experience.

Different types of classical music affect me in different ways, but all of them have beauty of one sort or another, a great deal of organization (some of which I don't perceive until years after I first hear a work), and just a feeling of "rightness."

On about the fourth listen, I could pick out one theme that repeated through the piece. I also noticed that the third movement began with the same notes as the first, but played differently. The CD player came in handy. I toggled back and forth between them to be sure. I guess if I keep listening to classical music I will become more perceptive and intuitive about such things, and this will become part of my delight in listening. As it was I decided to simply enjoy where the music took me. By the end of the week I can hear bits of it in my head when I am quiet. That's nice.

I will definitely listen to some more Mozart, and some Bach, which Dad says I will like also. I have the Bach Orchestral Suites 1-3, which he recommends as the next step. Mom suggests Haydn as "crisp, humorous and bouncy." Sounds good to me!

Thank you Mom and Dad for leading me gently to Mozart and for putting up with my skittishness. I think there's a place in the music part of my brain for some more classical listening.

Question: did I look up "rondo?"

mompoet - A musical composition built on the alternation of a principal recurring theme and contrasting episodes (which I will look for when I listen to final movements of symphonies and sonatas)

Next Listening Project: Andy loans me Green Day

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good review! I'm going to grab some Mozart and get in on the stereo right now! Also looking forward to your Green Day Review ... It is a favourite of my youngest child .... who is the same age as your youngest child .... my eldest is also the same age as your eldest .........hint hint as to which neighbour of Mompoet!

Neighbour of Mompoet