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Barad Simith Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-28-04 07:49 PM
Original message
What was your introduction to classical music?
Mine was Christopher Parkening Plays Bach. I was 15, and my older brother was taking guitar lessons from a man who gave him a cassette copy.

I recognized the tunes, but this was my first introduction to Bach (as far as knowing this music was his). And Parkening is such a master. You would swear he's dubbing in a second guitar, but my brother saw him perform later that year in Seattle, and he said all that sound is coming out of a single guitar. (My brother and his girlfriend, both 17, were the only ones at that concert in jeans, he said.)

I bought a copy for myself, and that was the extent of my classical collection for a few years -- one Bach cassette.

Then one day in early 1979 I was in a grocery store, and they were selling volume one (Tchaikovsky) of the Funk & Wagnalls Joy of Great Music LP series. It was 99 cents, with the next 23 volumes something like $2.99 each.

Side one was Swan Lake excerpts, and side two was Sleeping Beauty excerpts. I fell in love with the waltz from Act I of Swan Lake.

I never found a better version of that waltz, even though I collected it by several composers and orchestras, always searching for a version on CD that would equal that old Funk & Wagnalls record. Over a twenty-five year period, I would buy the record every time I found it in a used record store -- I even purchased a couple of sealed copies I found.

The idea was that someday, someone would invent a way to record LPs onto CD, and when that technology arrived, I wanted to be ready with the best copy of that waltz I could find.

And then came eBay, and the mighty search engine. A few months ago I found a sealed copy of that exact recording on CD (different artwork, label, etc.). It's by the Vienna Symphony, conducted by Edouard van Remoortel. After all those years, I found it on CD, brand new, sealed, for $3.45.

Next was the 1980 Carl Sagan Cosmos series on PBS. I bought the soundtrack because a Vangelis number ("Heaven & Hell, Part 1") reminded me vaguely of the music from Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon.

Here I was introduced to Pachelbel and Verdi. The producers connected the Canon to "Spring" (from The Four Seasons), and the result was a perfect fit. I realized that what Verdi did with the violin in the latter piece was no different than what Hendrix did with the electric guitar.

Next was a random purchase based on the LP cover: Alex de Grassi's Slow Circle -- more classical guitar (though some would categorize him as new age).

It was Copland's Appalachian Spring that hooked me for good, made me realize that my previous discoveries were not flukes, that there's a reason this stuff has been popular for so long! I heard the piece in a record store while looking for the usual early '80s ear candy (probably B-52s or Talking Heads), and discarded whatever I was considering in favor of the Copland LP. From that night on, I would never hear classical music with anything but an open mind (open ear?).

Soon after, I stumbled across Glenn Gould's "Bach: Goldberg Variations" (a must-have for anyone who loves Bach, Gould or the piano), but...

The Milos Forman masterpiece Amadeus was my baptism. After seeing it a couple of times, I bought literally dozens of Mozart CDs, many of them classic reissues from the '50s and '60s, and just as many new digital recordings spurred on by the wave of the Mozart revival of the '80s.

From there, I bought all sorts of music at random, from the standards like Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and Schubert, to eccentric works by Bartok, Glass, Adams, Reich ... even something called "Boulez Conducts Zappa: The Perfect Stranger" (which I've since discarded). I think it was a ballet about a vacuum cleaner salesman or something. Regardless, my mind was open to things I didn't quite understand.

Lately I've immersed myself in Shostakovich, Schumann, Bruckner, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Mahler, more Tchaikovsky, more Mozart, more Beethoven and more Schubert. I'm using it all to forget November 2nd, and for the most part, it seems to be working.
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-28-04 08:01 PM
Response to Original message
1. Very early influences at home
My mother had classical records (78s!), and as a preacher's kid at a Lutheran church, I heard a lot of Bach growing up.

I started taking piano lessons at age 8, although I was too fidgety to practice, so I never got to be any good. I can still pick out a four-part song, though.

I began buying LPs for myself when Nonesuch came out with its $2.98 disks in the mid 1960s. My first purchase was the Nonesuch sampler record, "Treasures of the Baroque." From then on, I bought Nonesuch records whenever I could.

When I was in grad school, I knew a lot of musicians, and after attending concerts with them, or attending their recitals, I would rush out and buy recordings of the pieces I had liked from each program.

I no longer know how many tapes and CDs I have.
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ironflange Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-28-04 10:26 PM
Response to Original message
2. I was 15
My dad, always on the lookout for a good buy, bought a player piano at an auction. It came with a big box full of piano rolls, most of which were classical. I spent a lot of time pumping away at the thing, and thus learned to appreciate the music. Pretty standard stuff, Moonlight Sonata, Chopin Second Scherzo, stuff like that. We soon had season tickets to the local symphony, I took up piano lessons, and a couple of years later majored in music at university. I graduated in 1980, BMus in History. So, naturally, I am now a caterer, music is just a hobby now. Beethoven has always been my favorite, hence the avatar, but I can enjoy almost anything by anybody.

I met Mrs. Ironflange at music school, she was a high-powered pianist who could have had a big career, if she only had the ego for it. She is not cut out for the stage. She's a grade school teacher now, and loves it.

Our son played clarinet in school bands in junior and senior high.

It's out daughter (14) who caught all the musical genes. She is an absolutely fabulous singer and actress, she has the talent and the ego. She tells everyone to watch for her on Broadway one day, wouldn't surprise me.
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Lithos Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-28-04 10:31 PM
Response to Original message
3. Probably The Nutcracker
Then either Prokofiev's "Peter and the Wolf" or Disney's Fantasia as a child.

Outside of a few of the obvious Beethoven pieces and Bolero, my first forays as an Adult, came via Allegro Non Tropo which turned me onto composers such as Sibelius.

L-
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MuseRider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-28-04 10:56 PM
Response to Original message
4. Started piano
at 6, clarinet at 8. It was my outlet in a very nasty childhood. I majored in music, got my BM in Music Ed. I wanted to perform as a soloist but had to stop my education and start working. I never used my music ed degree but have played professionally since I was in college, about 30 years.

My brother was the real musician.
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CBHagman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-28-04 11:44 PM
Response to Original message
5. Mostly through my stepmother.
Edited on Sun Nov-28-04 11:46 PM by CBHagman
She's a talented soprano and amateur actress, and could probably have pursued a career on the stage.

Anyway, she was the one who introduced me to opera, sending me to the Met to see La Traviata and Madama Butterfly, playing things like Lakme and La Fille du Regiment around the house -- things like that.

On edit: I also recall my father taking me to see The Play of Daniel in NYC and to see the Vienna Boys Choir at Lincoln Center when I was a kid.
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Longhorn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-29-04 12:26 AM
Response to Original message
6. My grade school in Indianapolis (School #70)
participated in the Music Memory program. We studied classical music all year (they even played the selections on the radio) and then we had a contest. The winners advanced to the city level where the selections were played by the Indianapolis Symphony. I was a winner and got to go and I've enjoyed classical music ever since.
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undergroundrailroad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-29-04 03:31 AM
Response to Original message
7. In school I studied piano and violin. I also took piano lessons at home.
I learned the basic compensations like Skater's Waltz and advanced to more challenging classics.

One of my hobbies is collecting motion picture soundtracks that "sound" like classical music. I love the sound of strings and I can often hear only the string section on recorded music and love every minute of it.

Thanks Brad for starting the group.

Undergroundrailroad
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Endangered Specie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-29-04 12:29 PM
Response to Original message
8. 89.7 WCPE
Parents played it from day 1, listening to it fills my earliest memories.
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TrogL Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-29-04 05:20 PM
Response to Original message
9. Emerson Lake and Palmer brought me back
I'd given up on classical music because all the stuff I was hearing was boring.

Then I heard their versions of Pictures, Tocatta, Hoedown.
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Poiuyt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-04 01:07 AM
Response to Original message
10. I started to write music when I was in 2nd grade
I was just writing notes down on paper, didn't have the slightest idea what I was doing. But I wanted to be just like Beethoven! I got up the courage to write to the publishers, Simon and Schuster, and asked them how one goes about becoming a composer. They actually wrote back and sent me a very nice letter encouraging me to stick with it. I was so encouraged that I sent in some of my works. They didn't write back that time. My first rejection!
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Reverend_Smitty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-04-04 10:42 PM
Response to Original message
11. I guess I started getting into classical music when I was in High School..
Now I like all kinds of music (rock, jazz, classical etc) but I just became bored with the late 90's pop music and was looking for something with a little substance.

I suppose it was my junior year and I stumbled across my local classical station and was hooked. I took a class my senior year called "Development of Music" I think there were about 6 people total in it. All we did was listen to the classics and occasionally do some writing about them. It was there that I learned about the different composers and styles, it was the easiest and most enjoyable A I have ever gotten.

Since then I listen to classical music all the time especially when I am doing work. I get made fun of some times by family members and friends for my musical choices but since when do I care what they think about me! I'm just sad that I don't have more friends who like classical music because I love seeing live performances but I have no one to go with. Next semester I am taking a music appreciation course as a Gen Ed and I'm so excited!!!
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FuzzySlippers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-05-04 01:24 AM
Response to Original message
12. When I was 12, my brother (now deceased) went to college
as a voice major. They did a lot of opera there, and he was also in a madrigal group. So that was some of my earliest exposure. My brother later co-founded and was manager of a regional opera company.
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fortyfeetunder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-07-04 03:47 AM
Response to Original message
13. Leonard Bernstein on TV
I couldn't have been more than 4 or 5 when I saw him conduct NY Phil on TV. That was in the days where there were really educational programs on TV (early 60s)

Was more interested in music then from a scientific point of view--what were those sounds and how were they created? But at the time I wasn't talking, and my parents were not musicians so I didn't get the answer until I started lessons 6 yrs later.

I've played in bands, orchestras, and some chamber groups. But now I am content to study theory and play with composing!
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BlackVelvetElvis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-08-04 01:37 AM
Response to Reply #13
14. I have some of those on tape
He was an amazing teacher! He made music accessible to everyone but the man sure couldn't sing! (doesn't matter, you could tell he enjoyed teaching) I love the episode where he explained sonata form.
Those should be shown on tv today.
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fortyfeetunder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-08-04 01:43 AM
Response to Reply #14
15. Lenny was awesome.
Impressive, where did you find the tapes? I'd like to see them again, it's been ~40 years since I saw the original shows.
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Princess Turandot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-12-04 03:47 AM
Response to Original message
16. I think it was probably going to the ballet that introduced me to
classical music. I transferred to one of NYC's better all-city schools in 7th grade, and had classmates who had been exposed to the arts already. So, Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake were likely the first classical pieces which I heard performed by a live orchestra (of the American Ballet Theater) when I attended with friends. We also had music classes, and I became pretty interested in playing the recorder. I bought alto and tenor ones on my own. (Before anyone laughs, a lot of early music was written for the recorder.) In addition to playing standard Handel stuff in school concerts, a guitar playing classmate and I (on a recorder) used to play ad hoc duets of more contemporary music like James Taylor pieces for the younger classes, so they would find learning the instrument more interesting.

Then in my mid-20's, I attended my first opera performance, La Traviata and by Act II, had found my primary music interest.

The sad thing is that I cannot sing, at all lol.

I do like most forms of classical music. Other than the opera, I like early music and vocal ensemble music the best, but with few exceptions, I am open to listening to anything.
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MuseRider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-12-04 10:20 AM
Response to Reply #16
17. Recorders are beautiful
instruments. I have an alto and soprano, I don't play it much but I love to pull it out and just play on occasion.

I too love vocal music, I do not own much of it but I love the interplay between voices and the orchestra particularly(I am going to go play one of those jobs this afternoon and can't wait). As a musician I find it extremely frustrating to have a voice like a frog. Oh well, in my car it matters not.
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FuzzySlippers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-12-04 07:51 PM
Response to Reply #17
18. I have a sopranino.
Edited on Sun Dec-12-04 08:04 PM by FuzzySlippers
It looks like a toy, and I feel slightly silly playing it, but it has a serious repertoire. I've been working on the Vivaldi Concerto in C Major which is horrendously difficult. I don't think I'll ever be able to master it.
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radfringe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-26-04 08:20 AM
Response to Original message
19. Bugs Bunny in What's Opera Doc....
Edited on Sun Dec-26-04 08:22 AM by radfringe
it's true... then late in my 30's I got hooked on public radio station

kill the wabbit... http://frogstar.com/wav/tv-bugs.asp
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demzilla Donating Member (300 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-01-05 05:10 PM
Response to Original message
20. Night of the slow chicken . . .
When I was a teenager I had a friend whose father was a cantor. He was a brilliant man, a passionate musician, and a serious pothead. I recall sitting in their living room, absolutely stoned out of my mind -- along with the entire family -- eating chicken cacciatore while listening to a Nonesuch recording of Bach's Magnificat and the Cantata No. 51, with Theresa Stitch-Randall's mellifluous booming soprano and the blaring trumpets. We were all eating the chicken ve-r-r-r-y slowly, and had the most transcendently blissful grins on our faces as Bach wove his way through every cell in our bodies and every element of our consciousness.

While not exactly my introduction to classical music, this just confirmed in my mind that there was something definitely very cool about it.
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demnan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-03-05 01:51 PM
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21. Piano lessons
I learned to love music, got pretty advanced in reading music too, good for someone with no real talent.
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GoddessOfGuinness Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-07-05 01:56 AM
Response to Original message
22. The ones that I wanted to listen to again and again were
Saint-Saens Organ Symphony and a three record set of Bizet's Carmen.

I grew up with classical music from the time I was a baby.
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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-13-05 05:06 PM
Response to Original message
23. My intro ...
My parents always sang in chorales, and now I am, too. I really started to learn in college, buying the cheapest collection of Beethoven symphonies I could find, Vivaldi's Four Seasons, of course, and took a classical music appreciation course because I thought it would be some easy credits, and it was. I also bought cheap Nonesuch records.

I learned I could play classical music as loud as rock 'n roll records.

I had a friend in college who had the most gigantic record collection of anyone I had ever met, with music in all types of genres. He was a big influence on me.
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Seabiscuit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-15-05 04:58 AM
Response to Original message
24. Piano lessons from early grade school.
Edited on Sat Jan-15-05 04:59 AM by Seabiscuit
Before that my father taught me how to play the overture from "Tannheuser" by ear - then the lessons began - I didn't really learn to appreciate classical music until 8th grade - when I moved to a new town, got a better piano teacher, and got my first classical albums - both Van Cliburn, as that was the year he won the Moscow Competition (1958-59?) performing Tchiakowski's Piano Concerto. Shortly after that I built my first "hi fi" system for kits, joined the Columbia Record Club, and was off to the races. By my senior year I had performed several solo recitals. Continued at Oberlin College where I got a piano scholarship and took courses in music history and music theory at the Oberlin Conservatory. Dabbled with the harpsichord and organ while there. Built a harpsichord three years later.

I ended up in law. Music, and classical music, turned into a hobby for me but one I've always loved.
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-21-10 01:25 AM
Response to Original message
25. Toccata and Fugue in D minor
7th grade music class. Knocked me over!
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BeyondGeography Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-31-10 10:15 AM
Response to Original message
26. My dad liked the loud stuff, Pictures, Saint- Saens organ concerto, 1812
Edited on Wed Mar-31-10 10:15 AM by BeyondGeography
He would only play excerpts; had no patience for the actual music, just liked the explosions. Too bad, because the second movement of the organ concerto is one of the gentlest and most touching rides in the repertory.

Later on, the Russians got me going; particularly Rachmaninoff and Prokofiev, whom I rarely listen to anymore (save Rachmaninoff's Vespers...highly recommend). But a solid month of listening to Variations on a Theme of Paganini when I was a college student told me "classical" would play a major role in the rest of my life. And it has.



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meow2u3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-05-10 11:06 AM
Response to Original message
27. Three: my grandpa, my mom, and Looney Tunes
My grandpa and my mom were opera buffs; they had opera records up the wazoo until someone broke into our house and stole practically all of them.

Looney Tunes, especially Bugs Bunny cartoons, features parodies of classical pieces such as "The Rabbit of Seville" and "What's Opera, Doc?", which still cracks me up to this day.
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Rabrrrrrr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-20-10 12:49 AM
Response to Original message
28. Warner Brother Cartoons most likely. And playing violin as a child.
But I'd think Warner Brothers, with their amazing use of orchestra to subtext the music, as well as their use of actual classical music pieces (and esp. Rabbit of Seville and What's Opera, Doc?) really made me feel that orchestra music is exciting and wondrous and asskicking.

And then it went from there.
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