I was listening to some of Khachaturian’s music today, and wondering about him, read a little and discovered he was denounced for music which, interestingly enough, he had written to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the October Revolution. The Central Committee of the Communist party said that his work (along with that of Prokoiev’s and Shostakovich’s) smelt “strongly of the spirit of modern bourgeois culture, the complete denial of musical art.” He confessed his guilt.
We all have perceptions of a particular composer’s sound. The more I listen to Haydn the more I understand he has many voices, and like that line in the New Testatment says, none are without meaning.
This symphony written between 1771-1772 has been called the grandfather of the 5th, which Beethoven began working on some 30 years later.
As I’m sure you’re all aware, music has always been important to me; I really can’t imagine life without it. Usually I go through phrases where I listen to a particular kind of music or artist. But through the years there has always been a constant.: Haydn. It’s a rare day indeed when I don’t listen to Papa. For the foreseeable future, the idea is to share with you some of the treasures I’ve found. Whether you agree with the following statements or not, I do hope you’ll come along and enjoy the journey.
“It’s not holy music, it’s like you and me; it’s very human and shows very normal feelings. More so than Beethoven. I feel better as a person and better in my life when I play Haydn. All art is about searching for answers about what happens after death. Haydn is the one who says, ‘I don’t have the answer, but it’s good, so who cares?'”
Adam Fischer from the Guardian article, The great Haydn road trip
“Haydn is the music of the future still. The true extent of his greatness is for the connoisseur a well-kept secret, for the larger public a ticking time-bomb that has yet to go off. When its hour comes, the explosion, rather than a Big Bang, will be a still small voice telling of the strange within the normal, the vast within the modest, the dark within the bright and vice versa: the essence of human experience in essentially musical terms.”
from Robin Holloway’s On Music: Essays and Diversions
The Beatles were on the radio constantly as a child, and whenever I hear one of their early songs I’m transported back magically as if I were Tony on that old TV series, The Time Tunnel. The Byrds’ Turn! Turn! Turn! does it as well.
For a long time as the youngest in the family, I didn’t own but was permitted to play albums provided I was careful.
If rock music was in the foreground, classical music was in the background. My dad listened to it constantly. He was also a big fan of Beverly Sills and would occasionally play opera, which was incomprehensible to me as a child but made for some very childish antics, which amused everyone and offended no-one. His feelings for opera could be summed up succinctly: The Italians understand opera. Most of the time, however,when his stereo wasn’t being used for ill purposes, symphonies were heard.
My dad and I had a shtick going: I’d make fun of Beethoven, whom he considered a master, and he would distort his perfectly good singing voice to sound like Dylan, the man I considered master.
It would be years before I would be able to appreciate classical music.
The turning point came when at sixteen my brothers walked in on me listening to Days of Future Passed. “It’s classical music,” my oldest brother said with all the scorn he could muster.
The unintended consequence of his comment was the beginning of a discovery that continues until this day.