I had always had a fascination with classical music. Some of my very first moments and memories were shrouded in the sounds of classical music. Even when before I was born, my mother used to play Mozart to me, hoping I would develop a sophisticated liking to it. Apparently it worked so much, I am still to this day shrouded under its mystical veil and have this very blog here about my homage and appreciation for it.
In my very first blog post on December 10th of last year, I talked about the very uniquness of my musicial choices and the basis for this blog:
I am a mere eighteen years old, but there is something very odd about my musical tastes.
That is very true among some sense. I have yet to meet anyone of my age, eighteen years old who seeks to appreciate and consider classical music as their primary musical genre of choice. The only ones who I can think about are those gifted individuals who are in some prestigious music school but for a regular university student in the State of California, I am one out of a million. It is a humling yet simple figure.
Take this into consideration, whenever I am at a classical music concert, the audience is usually in their late 30’s to 70’s, no 20 year olds nor any 18 year olds. I am amongst older people than me, “old timers” and being a young fellow, I am young. Ergo the young timer.
It has been said many times again that I overuse my fondness for the use of Rachmaninoff and his music especially his 2nd Piano Concerto in my posts. For that, I am
Today I am going to be talking about Rachmaninoff’s Fourth Piano Concerto exclusively the Second Movement, Largo in C Major. I didn’t really connect with the first and the third movement, but something with the second movement, spoke of value and understanding to me.
Take a listen.
The piece starts off with a reflective passage that almost reminds me of the music of Robert Schumann. The theme is introduced with the piano, later played by the orchestra. The theme varies onto counterpoint revealing the original theme mixing forms and textures. Pure emotion is expressed by Rachmaninoff in the quiet contemplative nature of something mystical. The music does get somewhat angry in the middle with loud fortes and crescendos but then softens to reticent. I get a sorrowful reverberation that moans whilst telling a sorrowful yet strong story. The theme really embodies inner struggle on a primarily minor feel but with a light and high-spirited mood. Very nostalgic and disconsolate in a good way. The piece continues glorifying all things musical and virtuosic, but the piece ends fading away into complete darkness. A longing memory fading away in the recesses of the mind, peace and longing for a place that will never ever come back. It all lays in the nostalgic memory of the holder. In Rachmaninoff’s case, his home, Russia.
If it isn’t the biggest problem that I have, is my problem with the contemporaries. Now since this is a music blog, contemporaries are more or less about music and some about society dribble dabble which transcends through many different styles of music and culture.
Since culture is essential to the collective identities of every single person alive, it is ambiguous to say that all of contemporary music is an anomaly which reflects modern culture. Whether the culture is a collective national or a personal orgin, there are many inconsistencies with the so called music reflecting the cultures of the day. I as say often in my other posts about the importance of individualism, music is reflected more onto the collective cultures than personal of origin. Time does move always forward and never stops for nothing. It is us that causes our minds to stop and go as we please.
Whilst as time goes on and on, people yet to understand from what musicially, comes before them. I’ve heard many people express their disgust for contemporaries of today and frankly, I have quite the same opinion. I don’t have a problem with the industry nor the many cogs and gears that run it, it’s the collective ignorance of today’s music listeners. I love to point out to my various colleagues about the music of the past, but they always seem to turn a blind eye. When I explain to them that music was way more organized and popular in a sense where everyone got along, they go along as well.
Music today is heavily political to only swoon the masses to do accomplish their hidden agenda. Don’t believe me? There is a bias and stigma against all types of music, especially Classical.
Most people get their morals from a variety of places: Religion, Spirituality, Philosophy, Ethics. What doesn’t really surprise me is that most approach morality through music. Music in itself is its own language that anyone can understand, but only the select few can have the ability to speak and create it. This of course only applies to the greats of those before our time. But can we extract morality from music itself? The answer is yes.
Each person’s interpretation of the world is in itself the most contrasting and unique facet of humanity. Without the inspiring ideas derived from those who were lucky to get their ideas into the mainstream, this world would cease to exist. In my interpretation as a musician, both ideas of the mind and of sound are equal to each other. To understand the many wise words of the enlightened requires us the person to be trained into understanding the means of linguistics and syntax. Learning to speak, read and write are all things mandated when we are in school. It is second nature to all of us, to me writing this and for you the reader, reading this.
Understanding ideas of the sound are a bit trickier to understand. Those of us with the ability to hear are given no apparent rule to follow to. Since we cannot teach how to hear, we can also assume that it is impossible to learn how we listen to things such as musician. For classically trained musicians, we are taught indirectly how to listen for certain patterns and notes. We can infer a pattern of symbolism in repeating passages in order to assume a meaning or idea, but doing so limits what our minds can do when absorbing music. This is why this is so hard to understand this concept. There is a distinguishing boundary between the realms of the mind and the feel but in musical morality, ideas perceived in mind correlate with moods formed with the heart. We as humans are amazing enough to decipher the moods of certain pieces of music without having to process it mentally. A majority of people think naturally that music written in minor is sad and mournful. I personally think that minor is the most beautiful mode of music. In encompasses such feelings of introspection, contemplation, nostalgia, and realism. It allows me to derive a morality that cannot be formed into mere words for someone to understand because in the end, not every single person is alike in nature and we are all different in our own ways.
As I was waking up today, I heard the song, “Bohemian Rhapsody” by the band Queen playing over an interlude when the local news were cutting to commercial. I thought to myself for a second, I’ve never heard this song in its full form before and I wanted to hear this song from beginning to the end.
Contemplating and carefully examining this song, I felt a sudden connection to an older piece of music to which both pieces share, indirectly and directly. That piece of music from which I am comparing Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody is Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. The most obvious observation of the two is that they both share the word “Rhapsody”. Both pieces of music have scattered patterns, different sections, and sporadic rhythms and counter melodies which seem to weave in and out to reach musical balance. Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody changes keys and meter a couple of times implementing a sporadic feel. Also a change in mood from the contemplative beginning to the very melancholy mid section to the equal strophic end, incorporates all the aspects of what classical rhapsodies do when they change textures.
Rhapsody in Blue does the exactly the same thing. Maybe you can’t hear an omitted sound because of the sheer range of the orchestra, but the piano speaks in episodes when it solos. The section of music before the introduction of the theme also has that rich spontaneous feel that all rhapsodies share.
Here is another video I found that sums my points up. It is the same name of this post.
I swear, I just found this video right now without knowing of its existence.
I’m somewhat back again, my schoolwork has been getting up with me.
In the last week, many good things have been happening to me, especially on a day that was supposed to bring bad luck, Friday the 13th. Yes according to modern folklore and the many superstitious around this world, Friday the 13th is the most feared day in all of the calendar. In my case, it was one of my most luckiest (if you happen to believe in luck). In fact on this very unlucky day, I had the chance to become acquainted with one of my heroes, Musician heroes, that is. That person is none other than the virtuosic genius pianista, Valentina Lisitsa.
Valentina Lisitsa in my opinion is THE best pianist of our time. Her sheer ability, technique, and emotion is what makes her standout amongst the other virtuosos. She can turn any piece of music, whether it would be a Chopin or Rachmaninoff piece, into something unheard by our generation. Her angelic textures and her exquisite technique will melt any heart that dare witnesses her prowess at the piano. I first heard Valentina’s music seven years ago, when I was 12 years old. It was within her music that I started to develop my own repertoire. I can say that because of her, I have understood the complexity of piano playing, in and out. I have nothing more to say, let the music speak for itself:
Val, you truly are the Queen of Rachmaninoff.