I want to try and convince you that Classical music is worth trying out.In this blog I will give some examples of classical songs for you to try out, and what I feel when I listen to them. For a bit of fun I have prepared a menu of delicacies that you can listen to at specific times of the day.
I will try to explain my feelings towards the music and little things to look out for. I hope you will listen to the pieces and perhaps give your views on them in the comments!
Too often classical music is seen as a stuffy genre that is only listened to by older generations, and has a certain pomposity about it. I try to look past all of the culture of classical and just try to appreciate what the music brings me on a personal level. I love classical music because sometimes it helps me to relax or touches upon a mood that other music doesn’t manage to reach.
Horrible isn’t it! You’re deep within the land of slumber and when your alarm goes off it pierces through it like a pin to a balloon. Instead of setting a typical alarm tone built into your phone why not set the below piece to wake you up as it starts off gentle, and then lifts you up gradually acting like a bridge between sleeping and waking:
Getting ready for work
You are now starting to get ready for work and you might reach for the radio and in a zombie like fashion switch to radio one just like all the other cattle consumers that prefer to be fed over produced pop songs. Today though, you will listen to something different! This piece is probably one of the most recognisable cello performances and is a perfect accompaniment to your morning.
Commuting to work (A or B)
Here is where you are given an option! before you step out of the front door, you might already have a feeling whether it will be a good day or a bad day. Either way you will need a piece of classical that suits your mood so pick accordingly. For a good day pick A or a bad day pick B.
Eating lunch in the park/sat by a river
Your are on your break at work so it’s time to unwind. I recommend that you go for a nice stroll somewhere pretty. I am privileged as the town I work in has a few parks dotted around, and a river running through it. Take out your packed lunch and find somewhere quiet to sit and listen. This French piece is very gentle and is from a romantic suite of music that will personify the gentle breeze and the sunlight which caresses your face. If you examine the complete suite further each separate movement is written about a different type of animal.
On your way home
You’re free as a bird! The day is finally over and it is now the longest time that you will have, between one work day ending and another beginning. This calls for something fun and uplifting. Nothing quite fills me with joviality than “Jupiter” by Holst. Gustav Holst is a well known composer who wrote different compositions for each of the planets known about at that time (this was the 19th century).
Washing the dishes
After you indulge yourself with some well deserved food there are always dishes to wash. If you are fortunate enough to not own a dish washer like I am, then you will have the pleasure of listening to this piece By Strauss. As you deal with your mundane task you can drift back in time to a golden age in European history where in Vienna, there was the elegance of the many waltzes held in those opulent dance halls. This song is one of the most played pieces of classical and is now an unofficial Austrian national anthem.
Relaxing before bed
For something to listen to before bed, it needs to be gentle and to put you into a calming mood. Johann Sebastian Bach wrote the Goldberg variations to cure the insomnia of a Russian Diplomat at Dresden court. The pieces were composed with the utmost restraint. The pieces would be played by one of Bach’s pupils from an adjoining chamber as the count would try to sleep.
Classical music, like some art can still be enjoyed even if you don’t know the meaning of why it was written. Famously British composer ‘Elgar’ wrote a piece titled ‘The Enigma varations’ which to this day still holds an unknown meaning and is left to the imagination of those listening, my piano teacher thought the music was inspired by the landscapes of his childhood home. As much as I like the poetry of lyrics in current pop songs, classical music works a little harder to get through to your soul. The reason why most motion pictures include a sweeping score at moments of intense drama, is because this type of music speaks to us on an emotional level. I will agree that Classical music requires your concentration and you need to be prepared to hear some things you might not like, but if you give it a chance it can be so rewarding. I often go to live classical performances with my father and there is nothing quite like hearing this music live. You get to enjoy the sound, but also to see professional musicians playing music with such relish. Normally when you go to live performances You will be played what was scheduled for the evening, but if there is an encore; that is where the real fun begins. When classical musicians are given creative licence they normally want to show off, and end up showcasing pieces of music you may have never discovered, had it not been for that night!
One piece I discovered on a night of classical was the following and it amused me how comical the violin sounds, and it almost makes it sound alien. The speed and intensity is truly astounding. In this piece the Violin reaches the pitch of a whistle or bird song. For those impatient skip to 3:50 on YouTube and you’ll see what I mean:
Don’t be afraid to let yourself go when listening to classical music. If it lifts you up then let it. If it pushes you down and makes you sad, then that is okay too. Any form of Art is intended to move us, and the more you expose yourself to different sensations and feelings the richer your life will become.