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Changing your opinion of a piece


peonymusic
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I am interested in hearing what you all have to say about experiencing a great change in perception of a specific piece of music.

I can practically feel my brain cells cracking open when an opinion is changing in my brain and heart and ears. An example: when I was in high school, some 400 years ago, a friend played the Prokofieff Violin Concerto #2 for me, indicating how highly he thought of it. Since we were on something like "a date" (remember those?), I said how much I enjoyed it. But it was, then, simply awful! I did not understand it, thought it was ugly, and would gladly have cremated the record (remember those?) if I had the chance. Then, a few years later, I heard it again and its great glorious aggomeration of surprising wondrous sounds entered my soul, somehow. It moved from despicable to surpassingly beautiful in seconds. I felt at that moment as if something were breaking, and felt also that my perception had moved to another realm. While I realize that while this sounds both grandiose AND pretentious, always an endearing combination, it is an accurate description of my feelings then. And now. Even now, I do not allow myself to listen to that music without proper attention, that is, not casual listening, like when eating dinner or chatting with others. It is precious, and I protect it and that moment.

I'd love to hear the changing-of-the-musical mind experiences of others. Or am I the only only? color> color> green] color>

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I can think of a couple major pieces where my opinion changed, but I was not aware of the change - it happened when I wasn't looking, as it were. The first time I heard Brahms Symphony #1 I didn't like it much, and I really disliked Mahler (Das Lied Von Der Erde). The next time I actually listened to them was years later and my ears had opened in the meantime. I remembered not liking them but could not understand what was not to like. Both composers are among my favorites now.

One recent experience - I heard a recording of the Neilsen G min string quartet and found it rather boring. Then I played it in a coached workshop. That was an eye-opener (or ear-opener) because I had a chance to find out what was going on. I love it now. I think its easier to gloss over pieces with a thicker texture and not hear whats happening.

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It's not so much a specific piece, but a style of music that I've grown from disdain to delight. My first love of music was and always will be the Baroque period music, particularly small ensemble and chamber pieces. As I began discovering classical music (on records, yes a million years ago here too!), I could not STAND the loud, blaring crashing music of in particular, Beethoven's more known pieces. I would change records, change radio stations anything but deal with that unsettling music. I looked to music to calm and soothe. Who was this Beethoven, trying to shake my emotions and rattle my nerves???

Long story short? Beethoven's Ninth is in my top ten favorites now. Having opened my ears, mind and heart to his more popular pieces, I've also discovered his many other compositions. I think as we age we become more open-minded and willing to consider other ideas than what we have held tightly to as young people.

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Strange though it is, I really didn't have that much affection for Barber's Violin Concerto at first. Now it is rarely out of the CD changer!.

For me, classical music in general was a mystery (I thought it was all Bach and Mozart) until Barber's Adagio for Strings attracted my attention. Since then I have greatly enjoyed classical music.

I know, I'm a Barber obsessive.

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I didnt think much of the Vieuxtemps 5 at first, now it is my favorite of all of them! I didn't like the Brahms Concerto the first time I heard it, now I think its the most powerful and robust violin concerto ever written (more than even the Beethoven).

It can go the other way, if you listen to and play something too long you can get sick of it.

Alternatively, there have been times I have had to listen repeatedly to something before I had any opinion at all.

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This definitely happens to me! One particular example I can think of is Beethoven's 5th. Of course I had heard it before and new the famous theme. But I never really liked to listen to symphonies per se. Then one year we played it for one of our symphony concerts, and just from rehearsing it and listening to it attentively to hear my part (2nd violin) I came to love it. There is so much more (duh!) than the popular theme. Wow-the second mvmt I just love. It can bring tears to my eyes. And the triumphant finale...goosebumps!

So for me to have a change of heart about a piece involves listening to it with a purpose and perhaps being involved in playing it.

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Back when I was in music school, I found Bach boring (I know, I know!), much the chagrin of my teachers who must have been questioning my intelligence/musical aptitude. Now, Bach is my favorite composer. I am constantly amazed at the intricacies of his music and its majestic beauty. So many layers, so much going on, so much to learn. I find there are infinite ways to listen to and understand his music. It is a never-ending quest.

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When I was in college we played a major oratorio every year at the holiday season. After doing The Messiah for two years and Judas Maccabeus for one, we went to Bach's Christmas Oratorio. I really hated it. I finally got through it playing English horn, transposing one of the original instrument parts. Now of course, I love it.

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this happens to me regularly... the first time i ever saw perlman play, i was probably about 5 or 6 years old, and he was playing the sibelius violin concerto. it left very little impression on my little brain and when my parents gave me a tape that christmas of perlman playing the tchaikovsky and the sibelius. i fell in love with the tchaik but never gave the sibelius another listen. about ten years later i was at camp attending a masterclass, and someone played the first movement of the sibelius... i couldn't believe my ears! i was shocked that i had been ignoring such a gorgeous work for so long. now the sibelius is one of my favourite concertos

i tend to have the mind-changing experience a lot in orchestra, too... at the same camp as mentioned above, even the same year possibly? we played the bernstein serenade with martin chalifour. noone knew the piece before we played it, so they had a big listening session for all of us to follow our music while listening to a recording. of course, we all got lost, and were utterly confused by the music, and thus dubbed it the "$h!t piece" for the remainder of the three weeks.. of course it grew on us and we loved it by the end. my latest project is actually trying to convince my teacher to let me play it, fat chance.

however, i think i can say honestly that vieuxtemps 5 is one piece i will never fall in love with. at least, i hope i never do. especially since i'm trudging through the ends of working on it right now. uggggh.

-li

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