Brian Micklethwait's Blog

In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

Home

www.google.co.uk


Recent Comments


Monthly Archives


Most recent entries


Search


Advanced Search


Other Blogs I write for

Brian Micklethwait's Education Blog

CNE Competition
CNE Intellectual Property
Samizdata
Transport Blog


Blogroll

2 Blowhards
6000 Miles from Civilisation
A Decent Muesli
Adloyada
Adventures in Capitalism
Alan Little
Albion's Seedling
Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise
Alex Singleton
AngloAustria
Another Food Blog
Antoine Clarke
Antoine Clarke's Election Watch
Armed and Dangerous
Art Of The State Blog
Biased BBC
Bishop Hill
BLDG BLOG
Bloggers Blog
Blognor Regis
Blowing Smoke
Boatang & Demetriou
Boing Boing
Boris Johnson
Brazen Careerist
Bryan Appleyard
Burning Our Money
Cafe Hayek
Cato@Liberty
Charlie's Diary
Chase me ladies, I'm in the cavalry
Chicago Boyz
China Law Blog
Cicero's Songs
City Comforts
Civilian Gun Self-Defense Blog
Clay Shirky
Climate Resistance
Climate Skeptic
Coffee & Complexity
Coffee House
Communities Dominate Brands
Confused of Calcutta
Conservative Party Reptile
Contra Niche
Contrary Brin
Counting Cats in Zanzibar
Скрипучая беседка
CrozierVision
Dave Barry
Davids Medienkritik
David Thompson
Deleted by tomorrow
deputydog
diamond geezer
Dilbert.Blog
Dizzy Thinks
Dodgeblogium
Don't Hold Your Breath
Douglas Carswell Blog
dropsafe
Dr Robert Lefever
Dr. Weevil
ecomyths
engadget
Englands Freedome, Souldiers Rights
English Cut
English Russia
EU Referendum
Ezra Levant
Everything I Say is Right
Fat Man on a Keyboard
Ferraris for all
Flickr blog
Freeborn John
Freedom and Whisky
From The Barrel of a Gun
ft.com/maverecon
Fugitive Ink
Future Perfect
FuturePundit
Gaping Void
Garnerblog
Gates of Vienna
Gizmodo
Global Warming Politics
Greg Mankiw's Blog
Guido Fawkes' blog
HE&OS
Here Comes Everybody
Hit & Run
House of Dumb
Iain Dale's Diary
Ideas
Idiot Toys
IMAO
Indexed
India Uncut
Instapundit
Intermezzo
Jackie Danicki
James Delingpole
James Fallows
Jeffrey Archer's Official Blog
Jessica Duchen's classical music blog
Jihad Watch
Joanne Jacobs
Johan Norberg
John Redwood
Jonathan's Photoblog
Kristine Lowe
Laissez Faire Books
Languagehat
Last of the Few
Lessig Blog
Libertarian Alliance: Blog
Liberty Alone
Liberty Dad - a World Without Dictators
Lib on the United Kingdom
Little Man, What Now?
listen missy
Loic Le Meur Blog
L'Ombre de l'Olivier
London Daily Photo
Londonist
Mad Housewife
Mangan's Miscellany
Marginal Revolution
Mark Wadsworth
Media Influencer
Melanie Phillips
Metamagician and the Hellfire Club
Michael Jennings
Michael J. Totten's Middle East Journal
Mick Hartley
More Than Mind Games
mr eugenides
Mutualist Blog: Free Market Anti-Capitalism
My Boyfriend Is A Twat
My Other Stuff
Natalie Solent
Nation of Shopkeepers
Neatorama
neo-neocon
Never Trust a Hippy
NO2ID NewsBlog
Non Diet Weight Loss
Normblog
Nurses for Reform blog
Obnoxio The Clown
Oddity Central
Oliver Kamm
On an Overgrown Path
One Man & His Blog
Owlthoughts of a peripatetic pedant
Oxford Libertarian Society /blog
Patri's Peripatetic Peregrinations
phosita
Picking Losers
Pigeon Blog
Police Inspector Blog
PooterGeek
Power Line
Private Sector Development blog
Public Interest.co.uk
Publius Pundit
Quotulatiousness
Rachel Lucas
RealClimate
Remember I'm the Bloody Architect
Rob's Blog
Sandow
Scrappleface
Setting The World To Rights
Shane Greer
Shanghaiist
SimonHewittJones.com The Violin Blog
Sinclair's Musings
Slipped Disc
Sky Watching My World
Social Affairs Unit
Squander Two Blog
Stephen Fry
Stuff White People Like
Stumbling and Mumbling
Style Bubble
Sunset Gun
Survival Arts
Susan Hill
Teblog
Techdirt
Technology Liberation Front
The Adam Smith Institute Blog
The Agitator
The AntRant
The Becker-Posner Blog
The Belgravia Dispatch
The Belmont Club
The Big Blog Company
The Big Picture
the blog of dave cole
The Corridor of Uncertainty (a Cricket blog)
The Croydonian
The Daily Ablution
The Devil's Advocate
The Devil's Kitchen
The Dissident Frogman
The Distributed Republic
The Early Days of a Better Nation
The Examined Life
The Filter^
The Fly Bottle
The Freeway to Serfdom
The Future of Music
The Futurist
The Happiness Project
The Jarndyce Blog
The London Fog
The Long Tail
The Lumber Room
The Online Photographer
The Only Winning Move
The Policeman's Blog
The Road to Surfdom
The Sharpener
The Speculist
The Surfer
The Wedding Photography Blog
The Welfare State We're In
things magazine
TigerHawk
Tim Blair
Tim Harford
Tim Worstall
tomgpalmer.com
tompeters!
Transterrestrial Musings
UK Commentators - Laban Tall's Blog
UK Libertarian Party
Unqualified Offerings
Violins and Starships
Virginia Postrel
Vodkapundit
WebUrbanist
we make money not art
What Do I Know?
What's Up With That?
Where the grass is greener
White Sun of the Desert
Why Evolution Is True
Your Freedom and Ours


Websites


Mainstream Media

BBC
Guardian
Economist
Independent
MSNBC
Telegraph
The Sun
This is London
Times


Syndicate

RSS 1.0
RSS 2.0
Atom
Feedburner
Podcasts


Categories

Advertising
Africa
Anglosphere
Architecture
Art
Asia
Atheism
Australasia
Billion Monkeys
Bits from books
Bloggers and blogging
Books
Brian Micklethwait podcasts
Brians
Bridges
Business
Career counselling
Cartoons
Cats and kittens
China
Civil liberties
Classical music
Comedy
Comments
Computer graphics
Cranes
Crime
Current events
Democracy
Design
Digital photographers
Drones
Economics
Education
Emmanuel Todd
Environment
Europe
Expression Engine
Family
Food and drink
France
Friends
Getting old
Globalisation
Healthcare
History
How the mind works
India
Intellectual property
Japan
Kevin Dowd
Language
Latin America
Law
Libertarianism
Links
Literature
London
Media and journalism
Middle East and Islam
Movies
Music
My blog ruins
My photographs
Open Source
Opera
Other creatures
Painting
Photography
Podcasting
Poetry
Politics
Pop music
Propaganda
Quote unquote
Radio
Religion
Roof clutter
Russia
Scaffolding
Science
Science fiction
Sculpture
Signs and notices
Social Media
Society
Software
South America
Space
Sport
Technology
Television
The internet
The Micklethwait Clock
Theatre
This and that
This blog
Transport
Travel
USA
Video
War


Monday May 29 2006

Lots of good things in this, by Armando Iannucci, which I got to from here.

I particularly like this:

I’m always amazed by how quietly people leave a concert hall, or if they talk to each other, it’s chatter about if they can remember where they’ve parked the car, or wasn’t the soprano wearing a nice dress. I think this is because what music does to us is such a private thing, we feel it’s not quite right to voice it.

A private thing?  That would certainly explain listening to CDs in your kitchen, at a fraction of the cost and bother of going to concerts.  For if it’s so private, why go to a public event to hear it, given that now, you don’t have to?

Arnucci answers that thus:

It was when I first started going to live concerts I realised that seeing a piece of music performed live was the best single explanation of what it was about.

But I have never needed to know what music is “about”, and for me, being there generally adds very little.  For me, classical music is like English.  I heard it in my infancy, and I know exactly what it is about.

The only classical music I dislike is the classical music which was leadenly explained to me in music appreciation classes at school.  They chose the most “fun” pieces they could find, and then drained all the fun out of them, by telling me at tedious length what they were “about”.

The music I most adore is the music I found me way to alone, via the gramophone, with no explanation whatever of it except the sound that it made.  That then filled me with curiosity to know what sort of person wrote it, when he lived, where, how, etc. - none of which you get at a concert unless you read the programme notes, and often not then – but learning about Beethoven’s love life, lodgings, personal habits, funeral, etc. was as much to learn some more history in an agreeable way and from a different angle, rather than in order to do “music appreciation”.  I already appreciate the music.

Arnucci describes classical music as the love of his life.  For him, it is like a big romance.  For me, it is also a love thing, but it is family rather than a big romance.  It’s always been there.  For him, there was and is the joy of discovery.  For me, there is the simple fact of it.  Individual pieces are, for me, the romances.  (And I am promiscuous.)

I possess quite a few DVDs of people conducting and playing classical music. Occasionally – Carlos Kleiber and Leonard Bernstein spring to mind – something is added by seeing such gesturing. But what is added is still rather beside the musical point.  It’s more a parallel pleasure than a pleasure that really adds anything to one’s understanding of the music.  If anything, for me, Bernstein performances are like extremely high quality sausages.  I enjoy them hugely.  Bernstein was a fabulous conductor.  But to enjoy a Bernstein performance properly I find it best not to also to be watching it being made.

The only time in my life that I can remember when witnessing the performance live made a basic difference was when I saw Peter Maxwell Davies conducting one of his own cacophanously hideous works, at Essex University a long time ago.  By waving his arms about like a maniac and pre-warning us about and then pointing at all the tuneless, rhythm-less and melody-less dramatics of this group of players and that group of players, he was able to take all our minds off what a horrible din it was, for the duration of the din, and at the end we all clapped happily, for we had truly enjoyed ourselves.  A later listen to a CD of the same thing revealed the mere music to me in all its hideousness.  So, I learned what it was “about”.  So bloody what?  What it actually was “about” was something else entirely to what it actually was.  So it is with much music.  Most, probably.

Arnucci again:

My fondest musical memories are of live concerts, of seeing and hearing Belshazzar’s Feast for the first time at a Glasgow prom, and being overwhelmed by the violence and energy of Walton’s music. Of seeing what The Rite of Spring looked like, not just what it sounded like.

Well, my fondest musical memories are getting to know certain records or CDs for the first time, and playing them over and over again.  Solomon Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto 1 (ancient mono record when I was about seven), Erich Kleiber Beethoven 6, Klemperer Beethoven 7, Navarra/Firkusny Brahms Cello Sonatas, Oistrakh Shostakovich Violin Concerto 1, Oistrakh(s) Bach Violin and Double Violin Concertos, Rostropovich Shostakovich Cello Concerto 1, Bernstein Shostakovich Piano Concerto 2, Ferras Brahms Violin Concerto, Ferras Sibelius Violin Concerto, Beecham Rimsky-Korsakov Scheherezade, Malko Shostakovich 10, Bernstein Shostakovich 5, Kondrashin Shostakovich 8, Silvestri Vaughan Williams Tallis Fantasia, Barenboim/Barbirolli Brahms Piano Concerto 1, Kempff Beethoven Piano Concertos, Klemperer Mahler 2, Firkusny Dvorak Piano Concerto, Rostropovich Dvorak Cello Concerto, Kertesz Dvorak 6, Monteux Dvorak 7, Mehta Saint Saens Organ Symphony, Barenboim Mozart Piano Concertos 20, 23 and 25, Anda Mozart Piano Concertos 14, 17 and 21, Serkin Mozart Piano Concertos 19 and 20, Quartetto Italiano Beethoven opus 131 and 132, Perlman Brahms Violin Concerto, Grumiaux Beethoven Violin Concerto, Boult Vaughan Williams 6 and 8, Jochum Bach B Minor Mass, Janet Baker Mahler Orchestral Songs, Janet Baker Schubert Songs, Stern Rose Istomin Beethoven Triple Concerto, Stern Schneider Katims Casals Tortelier Schubert String Quintet, Zukerman Elgar Violin Concerto, Solti Bruckner 7 and 8, Barenboim Brahms Requiem, Blomstedt Neilsen 3 (my first classical binge of the CD age), Blomstedt Strauss Alpine Symphony, Janowitz Strauss Four Last Songs, Raphael Ensemble Brahms Sextet op 18, Rogé Saint Saens Piano Concertos, etc. etc. etc.  More gramophone and CD memories keep flooding back as I write, and I could basically go on adding to that list indefinitely, and – thanks to the magic of word processing – in something approximating to the right order.  The relatively few concerts I have attended do not begin to compare with all that.

Maybe it is merely that my central nervous system makes me get music simply by listening to it, whereas others need to map it visually before they can feel at home with it.  Maybe it is as simple as that.

Now, of course, with DVDs, there is opera.  With opera it really does help to know what it is about, in fact it is essential.  First thoughts about that here.