Monday, January 12, 2009

Classical Music to Start the Day

This morning I woke up gently, listening to The Afternoon of the Faun by Debussy. Quite a soothing piece to my ears. Classical music has always been special to me. As a child, I loved the evocative power in music, although I would not have used those words then, but I noticed how music could not just underscore but signal what was happening in a movie. Classic music was also used in cartoons. There was a transcendent energy in its ebb and flow. I actually took violin lessons for a while before I quit and moved on to other instruments.

As I got older, I noticed how many great pieces of music had themes drawn from mythology as their source of inspiration. If you were to make a list of all of them you would have quite a retrospective of the literature of the Greeks, Romans, Celts, Norse, Finnish, Russian, and others beating at the heart of our greatest symphonies, operas and ballets. For a person who really listens, symphonies contain references to every thing from the sounds of nature to the sounds of city life, from the dance of life to the mysteries of life after death, from ecstatic love to the magical adventures of the gods and goddesses. Classical music is timeless.

One beautiful fact is that although popular music forms like rap, hip hop, country, rock and talk radio dominate most of the airwaves, in every city around the country, there is always a little pocket of public radio that continues to broadcast classical music. The following is not the largest, but there is always enough of a base of listeners to support the continuation of this part of our culture. I am glad that this is so.

For me, having a cup of tea and listening to a little classical music is a gentle, reflective way to get my day started before I wash up and drive to work. If they don't happen to be playing a piece of music that I like, I will turn to NPR news or the community station that plays a variety of alternative news or the one that plays jazz, but the eternal energies of a good piece of classical music will always be my first choice. To me, it is important to have that transitional time between waking up and starting to go anywhere.