For the first 18 or 19 years of my life, I hadn’t a clue what classical music was except that it was old, stodgy and boring and I didn’t want any part of it. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Then I was forced to take Music Appreciation in college as a required course for my Elementary Education degree. I was given a specific tip: Sit near the front. Watch the record player. Memorize which pieces are on what color label. This turned out to be good advice. But somewhere along the way, I discovered I actually liked this music.
At first, it was Mozart. I listened to Eine Kleine Nachtmusik about 100 times in a row. I couldn’t hear it enough. And it wasn’t even one of the pieces we were learning about… it was the “flip side” of the album containing the piece we were learning. It’s true. I actually turned the album over to hear the other side.
Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons continues to be one of my very favorite pieces of all time. Actually, anything by Vivaldi sounds wonderful to me. Now I keep several classical CDs in the car — one of them is Vivaldi. My iPod / iPhone have a Classical playlist. Besides Mozart and Vivaldi, I now listen to Telemann, Handel, Bach, and “modern” classical — Aaron Copeland. (Appalachian Spring is so moving! If you have 25 minutes… give it a listen and imagine a stream starting as melting ice and growing in size to a raging river.)
I still won’t give Opera a second glance (or second listen) but my classical faves relax me immensely.