One of my favorite commentators just happens to also be a classical music critic and recently penned a piece recommending where a newcomer to the classical world should begin. Being such a one myself, I was a bit overwhelmed by the enormous number of his suggestions, but he caught the attention of my nationalistic side with his reference to Americans:
If you’re an American, you’d better know all of Gershwin — and maybe even if you’re not: the piano preludes; Rhapsody in Blue; the Concerto in F; An American in Paris; Porgy and Bess (certainly excerpts). Did your mother ever sing to you “Summertime”? Keeping to the home front, Copland, a Brooklyn Jew, gave us the sound of the American West in Rodeo. He gave us the sound of pastoral America in Appalachian Spring. Try a couple of songs, too — maybe “Heart, we will forget him,” from the Dickinson Songs.
Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man” has been a favorite of mine ever since I heard it in the background of the video that plays in a continual loop in the museum beneath the Lincoln Memorial (that video is one of the best things on the Mall, in my ever-so-humble opinion, and those who gripe that it portrays too many leftwing causes can go jump in a lake – or reflecting pool – but anyway…). Long story short, listening to clips on YouTube couldn’t quite cut it, so I got meself a CD of Copland music. Good stuff. Maybe I’ll try Gershwin next – already know a lot of his stuff from musicals.
Okay, so I got a bit derailed by the end of the semester (two 10-page papers due on 4th of July weekend – how lousy is that?) and have delayed getting back up to speed, but now we are once again on a blog roll. I mean, the blog is on a roll, not in one of those sidebar thingies. You get the idea.
The weekend from H-E-double-hockey-sticks left me in front of the TV (working on a paper) watching the Capitol Concert which was taking place a mere 15 blocks away. Oh well. I enjoyed seeing the Jersey Boys perform – I’m dying to see that show but have been holding out for TKTS tickets – as well as the rest of the show. Well done, as always.
As I noted on twitter at the time (you’re following me, right? You know you want to…), I was a bit ambivalent about the fact that Gershwin’s Rhapsody reminded me of an airline commercial. I’ve also realized lately that a lot of classical music sounds familiar because I heard it in Bugs Bunny cartoons growing up. Still not entirely sure what I think about that – I suppose it’s a good thing, exposing kids to it early on and all that. Right?