December 14, 2022 · File under Apropos of nothing
I performed an experiment for over a month. I’m not sure when I started but from some time in September or October through the end of November, 2022, the only thing I listened to in the car was XM station 76, Symphony Hall. The main idea was to see if I developed an appreciation.
Historically, I generally find classical music annoying. (Get a fucking drum kit.) I especially hated Mozart, so fucking twee. So at first I kept having to repress a reflex to change the station and I kept catching my hand moving on its own towards the station selector knob.
Really, there is some classical I like. I like playing pieces on guitar for example. I like Carmina Burana. I like some Satie a few few other familiar pieces. I remember someone in my college days had a cassette tape of familiar classical pieces and I kind of enjoyed that when he put it on.
Also in my college days, I tuned my clock radio to Magic 61 at 610 AM, which was a big band / vocal oldies sort of station, thinking that since I hated that shit, especially Sinatra, it’d get me out of bed. What happened though, was that I learned to really like that shit, especially Sinatra. (He was so central to the station’s programming that they had no end of sobriquettes for the guy. Francis A. Sinatra. Francis Albert. And so forth.)
So, I figured the same might occur with classical.
Classical had an uphill battle ahead of it. For one thing, I don’t drive that much. Mostly just 20 minute jaunts, a couple times a day on average, I’m guessing. These are symphonic pieces so you pretty much never hear a whole one. Also, my wife had no interest in this experiment and refused to hear that shit on longer drives.
Some stuff sounds like Bugs Bunny, some doesn’t, all of it sounds like movies. I guess what you need in movies is no drum kit.
So how did it go? Did I learn to appreciate classical music?
Yes, I did. I even think some of the Mozart is quite excellent. Now I put the station on occasionally and I have to resist the temptation to put on Symphony Hall sometimes (like to avoid subjecting other people to it). I still don’t identify as a fan of classical, and I think most of the DJs on Symphony Hall, and anyone else talking about classical, sound pretentious and irritating, and I dislike them far beyond, I’m sure, what they deserve.
I’m also embarassed to be caught listening to it, say, at the gas station. What an asshole I must seem. But I’m glad to have it added to my arsenal, along with other genres I once hated: disco, soul, big band, pop. What’s next? Modern country? Smooth jazz?
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