Sometimes You Need A Gateway Drug

Posted: 01/07/2011 in Introductions, Musings

“Classical Music” is often a very difficult world to break into.

For those who love it, conversations of Mahler and Stravinsky might seem lovely and commonplace, but, really, what in the world is a Mazurka or Polyphony or Klangfarbenmelodie. For the “un-initiated” only movement that might come to mind when you run into the classical KUAT is to tune the dial to something else.

Hold on one cotton-pickin’-minute! You aren’t completely ignorant!

You would easily recognize songs like Fur Elise, Canon in D or Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, its all that other random stuff that you don’t know what to do with. The strange thing is that these very familiar songs often end up becoming the bane of those who passionately enjoy this instrumental audio-sphere.

So why this universal love and disdain for these well known pieces? They are Gateway Drugs.

While so many people know these songs (and possibly own their very own copy of a $4.99 compilation of the 100 greatest Classical pieces), for music majors & enthusiasts there is a sadness and frustration with the thought that this $4.99 album would contain the créme de la créme of the classical genre. For example: the idea that someone would listen to Beethoven’s beloved “Moonlight Sonata” and never realize that it is only the first movement of a three part work, seems down right tragic.

So call me a pusher, but if you have enjoyed the bits of “Classical Music” you’ve heard before try the following on for size:

Debussy: A World Revealed In Two Footsteps

NPR has a fantastic series called What Makes it Great, where pianist and composer Rob Kapilow opens up the glorious anatomy of some of the most beautiful pieces ever composed. If you love the stark somber beauty of the 1st movement of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, listen to what Debussy does with this beautiful little prelude: 

Debussy: Footsteps in the Snow


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