Ever get stuck in a rut that has you yearning for something new? Ever actually get around to trying something new? It’s pretty fun, don’t you think? Ever go to a movie that is totally different from what you normally watch? Perhaps you’ve gone to see a documentary instead of your usual comedy or action flick. Maybe you’ve tried a new author? Or you finally decided to try your hand at knitting after you’ve been crocheting for eight straight years making nothing but afghans! (Try it – you’ll like it!)
For my part, I love trying something new – sometimes simply for the sake of trying something new. A few weeks ago, I tried a new food: Pho. It was rather delicious, though it took me a few minutes to figure out how to eat it! Ha! I totally went off my friend’s recommendation, the text from whom I had to show to the lady at the counter. (Who said, “Oh yeah, that’s not on the menu, but it’s really good!”) It was Veggie Pho with Steamed Tofu. OK – normally not a tofu-eating person, but the whole point of trying something new to eat is to try something you don’t normally eat, right? It was quite tasty and a LOT of food, so it ended up being two meals – which I ordered again the next weekend! (Pho Asian Noodles on Lane Ave if you want to try it out!) Yesterday, I tried dim sum at a place in Toronto’s Chinatown. DELICIOUS! I don’t think I have to eat again for a couple of days – so much food, but oh so good!
Like a new food or movie, it’s also fun to try out new music which was my goal this past year when I picked up season tickets for the first time to our Columbus Symphony Orchestra. The tickets I initially bought were based solely on who was conducting, so I chose four concerts at which our music director, whom I’d not yet seen, was at the helm. That meant I ended up going to concerts where I was familiar with absolutely none of the music (e.g. the last two concerts!) Sure I ended up going to a couple others because I love Rossini, Mozart and Haydn, but even the night Beethoven’s 9th Symphony was performed I still heard something new in Handel’s choral piece, “Zadok the Priest.”
Every concert I attended exposed me to some new piece of music, or to a new composer whose music I didn’t yet know. Heck – a few exposed me to the music of composers I’d heard of, such as Berlioz or Brahms, but whose music (aside from Brahms’ lullaby) I’d never actually heard. Well – not knowingly, at least!
With each new piece of music, I added to my music collection and wow! Has my classical music library become a lot more respectable! Here are some of the things I’ve added since last September. Do you know these?
In the “Never heard of” category, I have:
* Jean-Féry Rebel – Les Éléments (Baroque-era – fantastic!)
*Mikhail Glinka – Overture to Ruslan and Lyudmila (Meh – it’s ok)
* Alban Berg – Violin Concerto #1 (Bit funky, but altogether quite nice. Much better live!)
** Carl Maria von Weber – Bassoon Concerto in F, Op 75 (Lovely!)
*** Carl Maria von Weber – Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, Opus 34, J-182 (Really liked this one)
In the “Sure I’ve heard of these composers, but didn’t know a thing about their music” category:
* Johannes Brahms – The German Requiem (Beautiful. Just beautiful.)
* Johannes Brahms – Hungarian Dances 1, 5, 6 (So that’s what these are called! Fun pieces you’re sure to recognize once you hear them)
* Hector Berlioz – Symphonie Fantastique (Was quite surprised at this one. A wonderful piece!)
* Igor Stravinsky – Rite of Spring (Ridiculously, I mean – ridiculously – funky, but it grows on you – especially with ice cream.)
In the “I should have branched out with these composers years ago!” category:
* Franz Shubert – Symphony #9 (“Great”) in C-Major (Love it!)
* Georg Friedrick Handel – Coronation Anthem #1, HWV 258 “Zadok the Priest” (Gorgeous!)
* Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky – Piano Concerto #1, in B-flat minor, Opus 23 (Still like the 3rd movement the best!)
If you have a free moment and would like to try something new in the world of classical music, may I recommend starting with some of the above musical works? Our CSO musicians are such wonderful ambassadors of music. Go and listen to them. Expose yourself to something new because even if you grew up playing the piano and even played clarinet through college, I guarantee you, you’ll still be pleasantly surprised! There’s so much music out there – try something new!
So what have you tried lately? 🙂
P.S. In case you’re wondering if the asterisks mean anything, they do!
* All works of music heard at CSO concerts this past season
** Recommended by a CSO musician (as well as anything else by Klaus Thunemann!)
*** Something I heard at a small ensemble performance by a few CSO musicians at the McConnell Arts Center in Worthington.