Sunday, April 26, 2009

Classical Not Dead

In high school I played in a couple of bands. I was into Nirvana and Pearl Jam like everyone else, but at some point I became obsessed with Beethoven, Ludwig Van. I would tell my friends and bandmates things like, "There is no rock song that rocks harder than the Eroica," and "Check out the Pathetique piano sonata--prettiest chord progressions ever!" They didn't get it.

But as I learned later, the man-made musical genre classifications we use are just shades of the same color. Cobain, Mozart, Notorious B.I.G.--all of these cultural icons can be rightly called musical geniuses, regardless of the wildly different routes they used to get to roughly the same place. Current science points to music as our earliest (and most complete in my opinion) means of communication and communion with other humans, existing before spoken or written language. Our music faculties are seated deep in our lizard-brains, deeper than language and far deeper than the analytical and problem-solving abilities that differentiate humans from so-called lower animals. So it comes as no surprise how deeply into music we humans get, regardless of age or cultural background. Jeez, I got off on a rant there :)

I still love rock and jazz, but until recently I hadn't been listening to much classical music. Then, a couple weeks ago as I was inventorying new items I came across a 3-CD set that sent a tingle up my spine, all the way to my lizard-brain. THANK YOU, PAUL LEWIS!!!

Never heard of Paul Lewis? I hadn't either, but it turns out he's an insanely talented pianist. We at Watha T. Daniel were lucky enough to get a 3-CD set of piano sonatas by Mr. Beethoven. This set includes the well-known "Pastorale" in D minor and "Les Adieux" in E flat major, as well as eight lesser-known sonatas very worth checking out. After my first listen I felt compelled to place holds on as many other Beethoven CDs as I could find in our catalog, an avenue I recommend to anyone else curious about classical music, but not interested in breaking the bank on new CDs (remember CDs?) My iPod is now 20% Beethoven!!! No joke. Check it out!

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