The summer after my Freshman Year I had the amazing opportunity of taking summer courses at Cambridge University. For the first time in my sheltered life, I was able to talk with people from all over the world about the most interesting topics. One conversation I was reminded of tonight when I attended UCF’s Symphony Under the Stars (unfortunately due to poor weather forecasts it was held inside), was with this student from Madrid, nicknamed Nacho. Nacho and I started talking about music and I had recently started listening to NPR and therefore Classical music. He lit up when I said this but soon realized that my knowledge on the topic was extremely limited. He said, “So…you just listen to it for the ambiance?”. At that moment I realized how much I desired to understand the pretty music that gave me vague feelings of happiness or sadness. I yearned to participate in the conversation that Nacho hoped to have with me.
Five years later, I hope to someday run into my Spanish Cambridge friend. In no way, am I claiming to be a connoisseur of “Classical” music but I have learned so much in the past few years. My boyfriend plays the violin beautifully and one of our first dates was the Scheherazade Symphony by Rimsky-Korsakov. He told me how and when the music corresponded with the 1001 Arabian Nights (click here for background) and described the scenes in a way that brought the music to life. I was actually able to hear the story through the music. For the next few months, I heard him practice the different pieces from Scheherazade over and over again for UCF’s upcoming performance and they became ingrained in the very fibers of my body. I could hum along to an entire movement.
This guidance from my boyfriend has continued for the past 2 plus years and I am able to recognize a myriad of pieces from the first note played. This may not be very impressive to somebody that has been surrounded by music their entire lives but I’m amazed. Now there is something about some pieces that speak to my heart and make my soul yearn to be more entwined with the music. I long to be able to feel my fingers making the notes I enjoy listening too and am so incredibly jealous of people that have that gift. Think about it…how many outlets in life can you pour your passions and emotions in such a beautiful and meaningful way? There are some pieces that literally make my knees go weak. In particular, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 Movement 2 and Prelude for Bach’s Cello Suite 1 have a special effect on me. What would it feel like to play those notes and make the music come to life myself? One day…I will have enough money to buy a cello and lessons.
There are numerous things I can continue to talk about on the topic of music but I will have to post another time. If you are interested in listening to a couple symphonies/ pieces check out the small list below. They are not the best the music world has to offer but they are great for an introduction and are a few of my favorites.
That was more than I expected to list but I kept thinking of ones I like. Listen to a piece a few times before deciding if you like it or not. Read about these pieces to add life and context. Hopefully I’ve imparted a fraction of the wisdom/insight that I’ve been fortunate enough to have in my life.