Wednesday, May 14, 2014

What You Love and What You Hate

Is it what you love or what you hate that more clearly defines your nature? We all, sort of, love Mozart, right? And Bach? So that doesn't define us too well. But what is it you hate? Do you hate contemporary music? Or country and western? Or, shudder, cumbia?

If I want to find out something about someone's musical tastes I tend to find out more if I can get them to tell me what they hate. People often don't want to say. They say they like this music or that music or "all music", which always makes me skeptical. No-one likes all music. But if you tell me you hate chamber music or Brahms or hip hop or jazz, then that says something.

I think it is that you have to have more exposure and knowledge to know that you hate something, but we tend to say in a fuzzy way that we like x, y and z, just to be agreeable. Well, not me, but I am a notorious curmudgeon. If someone says to me "you like classical music?" I say, no, I'm a hard-core classical fanatic. I'm a classical snob on steroids--something like that.

You know what my particular nightmare would be? If someone moved in next door who decided to take up the electric guitar and did a lot of practicing. For hours. Every day. With the guitar not quite in tune, as students do. That would result in my having to move. Immediately! Mind you, it would be almost as bad if a drummer or brass player moved in. The problem is that, after having been a music teacher for thirty years, you really DON'T want to hear someone practicing. Even if they paid you.

The music I want to hear is very specific and I want to listen to it with great attention. Often with the score. Pretty much everything else I want to avoid!


Shantanu said...

Well, I'll come today and say that I don't really like the Hammerklavier sonata, especially the slow, sloppy, on-its-knees, "Mausoleum of all sorrow" movement - I was thinking of this only today. Glad somebody provided me with a chance to say this!

There is a B-flat piano sonata I really adore: Schubert's D. 960.

Bryan Townsend said...

It's never been my favorite either. But there are some other late sonatas that I really love. Great descriptive phrase that: "mausoleum of all sorrow"!

I am not nearly as familiar with the Schubert sonatas as I should be.

Shantanu said...

That expression is not mine - apparently it was used by one German writer Wilhelm von Lenz to describe the third movement.

Schubert's sonatas are really great works! I really like the last four (D. 894, 958, 959, 960) a lot, in Wilhelm Kempff's recording.