My father was passionate about classical music. As far as music goes, it was all he knew...all he ever cared about. He didn't have any formal musical training, and he didn't play an instrument. But somehow he discovered classical music as a child and it became a passion until he died in 2006. He collected thousands of record albums and CD's....all classical. I inherited his collection when he died....or it inherited me. I am its caretaker I suppose, for my sister and Mom, and my children. He traveled all over the country and Europe attending concerts. I don't think there was a major symphony orchestra or conductor he didn't see....except for Herbert von Karajan. (We had tickets to see him with the Berlin Philharmonic on their tour of the US in 1986, but he was ill and we had to settle for a replacement conductor...I believe it was James Levine).
My dad used to take me on the train from our suburban Chicago townhouse in Park Forest, IL to downtown Chicago on Saturdays to go to Discount Records on LaSalle St. I remember the first such occasion in 1968...holding his hand as we walked amongst the tall buildings....thumbing through every album in the classical section of the store looking for some great recording. Finally, he found it.
My parents gave me a small record player that many kids my age had in the late 1960's..early '70s period. And on that little player, I would play the records my dad gave me...all classical of course. It wasn't until 1978 that by accident, I heard a Beatles record, a moment that forever changed my musical horizon. It opened....or broke down...the door to other exciting possibilities. Soon I discovered Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Led Zeppelin, the Who, Willie Nelson, Dave Brubeck, Bill Evans, Pat Metheny, Brian Eno, Glen Miller, Charlie Parker, Nick Drake etc........But none of this other incredible music could surpass the music I loved first....classical. (and by the way, I remember how devastated my Dad was when he found out I was listening to "other" music.It took a long time for him to finally acknowledge that there was music in the world outside of the classical genre....which was weird, because he was a a young person when everything in music was changing...Elvis, Sinatra, Bill Haley....he didn't care about any of it or even pay any attention to it). I am lucky that I love MUSIC.....not just classical. BUT, I feel the depth, diversity, passion, and almost limitless repertoire of classical music makes it by far the most enriching and fulfilling of all.
It puzzles me...perplexes me....saddens me.. that classical music plays such a small role in our culture. And it's been this way since long before I was born. WHY? That's the bazillion dollar question. I have heard many people give explanations as to why this is so. I really don't even want to get into that topic right now. That's for another day.
My love of classical music led to me to begin studying the violin in 1973. I played all the way through college...and I still play to this day. I did not earn a degree in music. I am not a musical historian, a musicologist, nor a musical theorist. But I have a deep passion for classical music, and through this blog I hope to inspire others to discover the incredible joy it will bring anyone who takes time to open their ears and heart to its beauty and trans-formative power.