There are certain things that catch our ear, catch our eye, and then become the focus for why we like things.
What we love about:
The clarinet: its warm tone
Persichetti: Serenade No. 13, Op. 95: VI. Adagietto (Ricardo Morales and Theodore Schoen, clarinets)
Don Giovanni: the appearance of the Stone Guest and how Don G. gets his comeuppance
Violas: that they’re always there as support – you may not notice them in particular, but you’d notice their absence!
Die Zauberflöte: The Queen of Night’s Aria – no one does revenge better
Double basses: how they can switch from being the bass support of an orchestra to the soloist in jazz
Historical pianos: how imagination once reigned in piano design.
School choirs: their intensity and earnestness
Professional choirs: how they can make you re-hear that same music you sang in school and make you realize how immaturely you had approached it!
Sopranos: how they always demand, and get, your attention.
Concert halls: How the perfect ones are like sitting in a warm twilight, with the best music in the world surrounding you.
Wozzeck: When he loses the knife, and hence his whole reason, plus we love it when the moon comes up.
Berg: Wozzeck: Act III Scene 4: Das Messer? Wo ist das Messer? (Eberhard Waechter, Wozzeck; Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra ; Christoph von Dohnányi, cond.)
Books on musical instruments: that there’s more to instruments than just that you see on a concert stage
The trumpet: its commanding tone – sometimes of martial order and sometimes of a questioning commentary
Classical radio: when they play that new piece of music you’ve never heard from 200 years ago
Harpsichords: how there used to be real works of art inside
A Capella choirs: taking choir music to the popular realm and conquering it with humor
P.D.Q. Bach: doing something else with all that classical music you know and letting everyone else in on the joke
Madama Butterfly: imagining how the story would change if she used the knife on Pinkerton, that rat
Innovative staging: sometimes removing the original designs puts a different emphasis on the music
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