I have rather ecclectic musical tastes. I was raised by a father that pretty much hated Rock music (he considers Simon & Garfunkel to be ‘Hardcore’), if not most forms of modern music. Thus my sister and I were pretty much not allowed to listen to a lot of things as children. Scratch that, I wasn’t allowed because my sister was a perrenial goody-goody with an A++ average at school. My grades were middling at best and thus I was stuck with a copy of Danny Kaye singing the tales of Hands Christian Andersen and the soundtrack to Walt Disney’s The Song Of The South. The closest I ever got to getting good old American Rock & Or Roll was for my 8th birthday, when my mother and father ‘lovingly’ gave me a copy of The Village People’s Go West album.
My father was raised on Classical Music and thus I was as well. In fact at least one Saturday a month I was taken to the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City to attend a young people’s concert. One traumatizing performance featured Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” acted out by the world’s most terrifying puppets. One would think that after taking a screaming child home via Taxi Cab after that that a parent would stop with the concerts, but not my dad. Still, despite the it was in spite of things like this that I still developed a deep love of Classical Music. I count Mozart, Beethoven, Bizet and Mussorgsky as some of my favorite composers. By the age of 13 my Dad had let up a bit, realizing as long as he gave me a weekly allowance I’d prety much buy whatever I wanted. I listened to a lot of BAD 80’s music as a result of this which was, fortuneatly, balanced by some good stuff most of which was the Rolling Stones and The Monkees. Then at 15 years old I was sent to Boarding School.
It was there that my musical horizons really expanded. I developed a deep love of The Beatles and The Who and got my first exposure to some punk rock. I listened to The Greatful Dead and Black Sabbath. So many people were responsible for opening my musical horizons and I owe them ALL a great deal of thanks. It is because of this exposure to so many forms of music in such a short span of time, a mere 3 years, that I realized that I can listen and appreciate a vast array of music. Most importantly, I learnedthat Music is somethin that truly transcends the trappings of all language. Music is one of the truest ways to get your thoughts and feelings across, it is the perfect blend of idea and emotion. Mere human language cannot match the depth of music.
I speak neither Italian nor German nor French (despite my parents most insisstent effortsbut that is a whole other story for another post) yet I have a great love of opera. I avoid most modern Pop music because the emotion on 99% of it comes off as disingenuine. I listen to a ot of Japanese rock and punk music because the emotion comes across as very raw. I still listen to some rap, though a lot more of the old school material because the swagger of Run D.M.C. (as an example) isn’t tryng to convince you they’re the baddest, you know from the first rhyme that they are!
Music is the ultimate language. It is realest expression of emotion on the planet. Even those who sit and play it know this. Look at the depth of emotion on Yo-Yo Ma’s face as he plays the cello. I can see the joy on Andre Rieu’s face as plays a waltz. I have witnessed the power of Luciano Pavarotti’s emotion live and in person and very few things have moved me in such a way. When someone tells me they don’t listen to music, I immeadiately mark them as someone not to be trusted, because they lack emotion and without emotion what the hell is the point of living?
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