“Music of the Spheres”


Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles
(photograph by Carol Highsmith)


Earlier today, I wrote a brief post about the Overture to Tannhäuser, by Richard Wagner.  In that light, it seems apropos to mention this nice little item about classical music more generally.


By the way . . .  One hears from time to time about the approaching death of classical music.  Evidence for its impending doom is found in the age of its audiences; they’re old, and soon to go the way of all flesh.  And then . . . oblivion.  Nobody will be left who cares about Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms.


But maybe things aren’t so bad.  I read an article several years ago — I can’t quite remember where — in which the author cited several writers who had made precisely that argument.  In the 1930s.  And in the 1880s.


It seems that, as people age — or, perhaps better, as they mature — they come to appreciate classical music more and more.  Thus, when the current generation of classical-music-supporting geezers dies off, there will be another right behind to take its place.  And classical music lives on.  Always on the edge of the abyss, perhaps, but never quite going over the cliff.


May it be so.  (If it doesn’t get better, that is.)


Incidentally, I love the Disney Concert Hall.  I wish it had been there when I lived in Los Angeles.  I was introduced to classical music by a beloved high school German teacher, Lenore Smith, who happened to have a degree in piano performance as well as degrees in German (one of them from the University of Heidelberg); I first learned about Mahler and Bruckner and Hindemith and Buxtehude and Schönberg and the rest of the glorious tradition of German-speaking classical composers in German.



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  • Kathleen Dalton-Woodbury

    And vice versa, learning about those wonderful composers made me want to learn to speak German (as much as I do, that is).
    Signed, another classical music lover.

  • Mark Jasinski

    Love your comments and going down for classical.

    Now it’s time to learn about Bartok, Villa Lobos, Ravel, Rodrigo, Vaughan-Williams, Elgar, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Rachmaninoff, Sibelius, and of course Roby Lakatos!

    Try this on for size…

    Prokofiev: 20 Visions Fugitives for Piano, Op 22 (Arr. for strings by Barshai, Yuri Mashmet and the Moscow Soloists.

    Best wishes,

    • danpeterson

      I know and enjoy them all.

      But I’ll look for the specific Prokofiev piece that you mention.


  • Alan

    Or, if you are looking for more Tannhäuser, the arrangement by Liszt of the overture for solo piano. Maybe you already know it. There are two wonderful recordings from Jorge Bolet. I find it interesting sometimes to hear how one single person copes with communicating through one instrument the orchestral scale and sweep of 100 individual players

    • danpeterson

      Thanks for the recommendations.

      There can hardly be too much of the Tannhäuser overture!