Whether for relaxing or appearing "smart" at a dinner party, classical music is where it's at.
by Ali Gordon
This morning I woke up with a migraine and promptly puked my guts out. It was awesome. Just kidding, it wasn’t awesome. It was absolutely horrible, and I still feel terrible. But there was only one thing I wanted as I crawled back into bed in my misery, alone in the house save for my dog.
I wanted to listen to some goddamn classical music.
I love classical music. There’s no point in harping on the importance of classical music because you’ve heard it all before: it paved the way for the tenants of popular music, it stimulates brain development, it’s used extensively as therapeutic means, and if not for Richard Wagner we wouldn’t have the stage “spectacular” theatre is so fond of now. Harold Bloom compares listening to classical music to reading a good book – an introspective experience that will not necessarily make us “better” people, but gives us the opportunity to know and hear ourselves better. But then again, he didn’t like Harry Potter, so what the hell does he know?
Karl Bohm (trust me, he's a BAMF) conducts movement I (Allegro con brio) of Mozart's Symphony 25. Can we say thrilling?
Or maybe you're feeling like you need to chill out a little? Don't worry, Mozart can hit you up with that, too.
Here's Mozart Piano Concerto #20. And let's not forget Ivan Klánský truly feeling that music! We're talking some serious Patti LaBelle "feeling" here, ladies and gentlemen.
Or maybe Richard Wagner is more your speed?
Isolde's "Liebestod" from Tristan und Isolde
And one without a dramatic soprano, if opera really isn't your speed.
Maybe you want something a little more contemporary. Okay, okay, I feel you. How does Ravel's Piano Concerto for the Left Hand sound?
P.S. Think this is cool? Let me make this even cooler: The piece was commissioned by Paul Wittgenstein, a brilliant concert pianist who had lost his right arm in the First World War. Ravel composed the entire piano part to be played with ONE HAND. Paul, at first put off by Ravel's "jazzier" harmonics and syncopation (this is 1929), grew to appreciate it and play it extensively. In the future, one-armed-badass Paul devised new techniques that allowed him to play chords previously regarded as impossible for a five-fingered pianist. Have we noticed that badassery is a common theme in classical music? Or, shall we say, a leitmotif? (Go ahead and take me out back and shoot me.)
One last one, the most contemporary of the bunch. I love this piece by Aaron Copland because it shows how classical music grew and evolved over the years, but still remains distinctly "classical." But, instead of the pompous, elitist nature associated with classical music, Copland wrote for the masses in what he called his "vernacular" style: a deliberately accessible style called "Populist." He once wrote, "The conviction grew inside me that the two things that seemed always to
have been separate in America – music and the life about me – must be
made to touch."And that's exactly what he did, ladies and gentlemen.
I hope this brings everyone some comfort on these grey, cold, wintry days. Some comfort, and some relief from weird morning throw-up sessions.