renown

This week, on ABC Classic, they have been featuring the works of Luigi Boccherini because it’s his birthday on Saturday. When I heard this, I thought, “Imagine being dead for over 200 years, and people are still celebrating your birthday…”

Well, of course, you wouldn’t know that people are celebrating your birthday if you’re dead, but you might have descendants, and I wonder how they would feel. And what if they have no interest in whatever you’re famous for?

Back in 2020, ABC Classic spent the whole year celebrating the life of Ludwig van Beethoven because it was his (theoretical) 250th birthday — 250 years since he was born. To be fair, he was a particularly prolific composer, so it’s kind of understandable that they wanted to stretch the celebrations over a whole year so that they could still play other music in between all the Beethoven.

Anyway, as I drove home from work, listening to the radio presenter talk about how it’s Boccherini’s birthday, I started thinking about how someone gets to this level of renown — how do you get so famous that people will continue to celebrate your birthday for generations to come? Is this what it really means to be a “legend”, or how you know this or that is a “classic”?

But I guess no one really thinks that far into the future when they’re writing an opera or composing a symphony or whatever. More likely they’re thinking of their present audience. Resonate with your present audience first, and there’s a chance your work could resonate through the years ahead.

And then I started thinking about us common folk, who don’t aspire to be legends. A similar principle still applies, doesn’t it? Do good by the people around you (your audience of sorts), and be well-received and well-remembered by them, even if only fleetingly. Is it ok to try less or do less just because your audience is smaller or their memories are more fickle?

a short post for an epic piece

The Star Wars Main Title, composed by John Williams, is one of my favourite pieces of music. I think it’s one of those truly epic music scores that you don’t need to be a fan of the films to appreciate. And this is coming from someone who has only watched two or three of the films (I know I’ve seen at least two, but can’t remember if I’ve seen a third one (probably not)).

If you ever get the chance to hear it played live in concert by a full orchestra, I highly recommend you take that opportunity.

I often get the song stuck in my head when I’m at work, and I think it makes an excellent soundtrack for a productive day.

That is really all I wanted to say. The music speaks for itself.

merry Monday

Well, as merry as a Monday can be, I suppose.

Today I had this joyful piece playing over and over in my head:

I find it quite merry and jolly, despite how fast and frantic it sounds. It quite matched the tempo of my Monday morning, anyway. One can be busy and in good spirits!

I’m quite chuffed that I now get classical music stuck in my head instead of run-of-the-mill pop songs. It’s certainly less irritating.

I’m also chuffed that I recognised this as something composed by Mozart. I guess they must play it on the radio quite a bit, but Mozart has composed so much that I thought my chances of hearing any singular piece enough times to recognise it as Mozart was quite slim.

Anyway, I think this Rondo Alla Turca has probably been used in TV and movies and whatnot, so maybe it might sound at least vaguely familiar to a lot of people, even if you aren’t a regular classical music fan.

sunsets

Lately I’ve been getting Sunsets by Powderfinger stuck in my head. I don’t think I’ve heard it anywhere anytime recently, so I’m not sure how it randomly got in my head, but there it is.

This song was released back in 2003, and I do remember liking the song back then, but I think part of that was the music video, which was an animation rather than actual people. It was really cool, and I liked watching cartoons a lot back then (still do, really). Many years later, as it turns out, I still really like the song itself.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the MV on Youtube, but here is the original audio:

I found the MV on Vimeo, but the audio quality doesn’t seem as good (?) The little description thing says the video is based on a Chinese myth about a warrior named Hou Yi, and ten suns.

Anyway, perhaps it’s just a fitting song for the end of the year, and that’s why it has resurfaced from the depths of my memory. Or maybe I heard it somewhere recently but didn’t consciously register it at the time. Either way, I’m glad this song has revisited me, and I’m happy to be sharing some Australian music on my blog.

Jupiter

I think it’s too hot this week to even think about writing, so instead I’m just going to share this:

It’s Jupiter, composed by Gustav Holst. It’s part of an entire suite titled The Planets, which is amazingly magical, but I think many people consider this the highlight.

I never get sick of hearing this on the radio (and they do seem to play it a lot, and for good reason).

Enjoy, relax, stay cool.

Saint-Saëns

Before I started listening to classical music on the radio, I’d never heard of Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns. I think most people probably don’t know who he was, which is a shame, considering he was a very remarkable composer and musician. I mean, most people know who Beethoven and Mozart were, even if they don’t like or don’t listen to classical music.

I was actually going to publish this post last week, but when I was doing some reading about him, I learnt that his birthday is actually today, so I thought that today would be better. I also learnt that he was a bit of an over-achiever, and was performing concerts by the time he was ten years old. He was also a genius of sight-reading music, and could play the most complicated pieces at first sight (something I could only dream of doing).

Saint-Saëns apparently started composing music around the age of six, but I think his best work (that I have heard so far) was one he completed in his early fifties. Saint-Saëns’ Symphony No. 3 — also known as the “Organ Symphony” — is also one of my favourite pieces of classical music, and almost always catches my attention when it’s played on the radio (provided I’m not too absorbed in some task).

I actually never thought the sound of the organ was particularly pleasant, but I think this symphony would not be as good any other way. Perhaps the problem was that I’d only ever heard the organ on its own, not together with and amongst other instruments.

To me, the Organ Symphony sounds majestic, regal and uplifting, and is something I never get sick of hearing. The first few times I heard it, I thought it sounded like something from a movie — maybe Lord of the Rings or something epic like that. But there’s a certain part of the symphony that’s very distinct, and I realised it is actually used in Babe, that delightful movie about a pig who becomes a sheepdog (or sheep-pig), which you might consider epic in its own way.

If you have time, I think it’s worth a listen. If nothing else, it makes for excellent background music.