Classical music lovers discussion

Your inspiration

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message 1: by Florita (last edited Feb 12, 2008 04:57AM) (new)

Florita (ms_rita) | 220 comments Mod
Does classical music inspire you? In what ways? Does it help you to write or create the right mood for reading?
Which composers and pieces of music do you find sublime?
Do certain composers or pieces remind you of certain authors or books? For example, Alain Fournier's Le Grand Meaulnes is always associated for me with Debussy. It has a similar 'feel'.

(This topic was originally in the group's introductory blurb but I have changed that in an attempt to better reflect our inclusive nature!)

message 2: by [deleted user] (last edited Feb 12, 2008 02:28PM) (new)

Music inspires me to write music. =D

It's also seems to afford a great deal of meaning and purpose to life.

As regards writing: no, it's usually the other way around, and although I do try to make some of my (very modest) poetry 'musical', it's nothing compared to Gerard Manley Hopkins.

message 3: by Karey (last edited Feb 12, 2008 07:31PM) (new)

Karey (kareyshane) There are many classical music pieces that I find truly sublime. The first that come to mind are, Offenbach's, Les Contes d'Hoffmann, which I find sweet yet poignant.

And every time I hear Dvorak's Symphony no. 9 in D Major, I stop dead in my tracks. When I learned long ago that Goin' Home, was set to the melody line, and having sung it, I knew right then and there that when the time came, I wanted to have it sung at my funeral!

I also truly enjoy Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings. I have an album that features many performing artists interpretation of this piece, so I can listen to it for over an hour in pure bliss.

The other piece I find mesmerizing is Benjamin Britten's Requiem Mass in B minor. I had the pleasure of hearing my twin sister perform it in the Boston Symphony Hall with the Boston Symphony Chorus under the direction of John Oliver, and Seiji Ozawa who conducted the Boston Symphony. It was so touching that I couldn't stop the tears.

message 4: by Florita (last edited Feb 13, 2008 11:26AM) (new)

Florita (ms_rita) | 220 comments Mod
Lovely to see you commenting here, KSR!

I said this somewhere else (repeating myself already - tsk) but do you know Agnus Dei, Barber's choral arrangement of the Adagio? To me it is even more beautiful and moving - really sublime. One of our members - James - sang in a performance of it quite recently, I believe.

It may have been mentioned on the recommended recordings topic we had here that got lost in the workings somewhere.

I will see if I can find a youtube video or something of Agnus Dei.

I must admit I barely know Dvorak apart from the New World Symphony and Offenbach even less - apart from the Galop from Orpheus in the Underworld, of course. ;) I must look them up.

I'm still taken by the wonders of the internet sometimes. Once I would have had to wait until I could go to a good record shop and ask nicely if I could hear some of the music or composer I was interested in. And if I wanted to find out more I'd have to order a book from the local library!

message 5: by Karey (new)

Karey (kareyshane) Thank you for bringing Agnus Dei to my attention, Rita! I hadn't heard of it. I'm going to hop over to YouTube right now to have a look-see, so no need to trouble yourself. So kind of you to offer!

I remember those days of having to "sample" music in a record shop. Things sure have changed!

Thanks for letting me know about this group. I'm enjoying it already. By the way, my husband and I are going to be in Edinburgh at the end of March / early April. Any ideas what the weather is like at that time of year?

message 6: by Florita (last edited Feb 13, 2008 03:15PM) (new)

Florita (ms_rita) | 220 comments Mod
Well, the weather all over the British Isles is changeable to say the least but I suggest you take a warm coat! It might be hot and sunny. It might be very cold and windy.

Did you find a vid on youtube?

message 7: by John (new)

John | 4 comments
Thanks, Rita, for telling me about this group and inviting me to join it.

I love all kinds of music...with the exception of certain misogynous rap songs. (See my post on Stop Violence Against Women.)

Classical music has a special place in my heart.

There are countless musical works that really inspire me...I'd like to mention three.

Beethoven's Sixth Symphony (Pastoral) I love to listen to this with my eyes closed. In the opening movement I see shades of green, shimmering blue lakes, and majestic trees. The storm movement is stirring, and the powerful closing movement speaks of hope and peace and triumph.

Pines of Rome. The building climax (kind of like Bolero) at the end I think is genius!

Rhapsody in Blue. Tin Pan Ally meets the concert hall. Gershwin had already conquered the world of popular music. This piece proved that he could write more complex, "serious" works as well. The opening clarinet passage is classic. And what a uniquely "American" feel this work has.


message 8: by Carrie (new)

Carrie (carrieking) | 7 comments Hello Everyone!

How I am enjoying your latest comments!

I, like John love all kinds of music and all kinds of music help me to write. At this moment I am listening to Gabriel Faure's Pavane, I have just lstened to Sir Edward Elgar's Chanson de Matin and they both make me want to scribble on...there's not much that doesn't !

Anyway, on I get!

Ms Kingworth, you will adore Edinburgh, it is one of my favourite Cities in all the world!


message 9: by Dean (new)

Dean (banvard) I always feel like I’ve walked up and down a hill when I’ve listened to the Sorcerer's Apprentice. Good mental workout, I just love it. Also Libiamo ne' lieti calici, the Drinking song from La Traviata cheers me up no end.


message 10: by Matthew (new)

Matthew | 6 comments I think it was Enrico Caruso who said that picking a favorite opera was like trying to pick your favorite child. Extending that to classical pieces in general is only that much harder for me.

I am certainly moved to great transports of extasy every time I hear Smetana's The Moldau. Growing up, I was a huge fan of Bruch's 1st Violin Concerto. And anything by Chopin quickens my pulse.

My four year-old daughter prefers vocal music to instrumental so I've been concentrating on opera with her. The tenor-baritone duet from Bizet's The Pearl Fishers gives me goosebumps. Heavens! The more pieces I think of, the more I think of!

message 11: by Jeanne (last edited Feb 17, 2009 07:02PM) (new)

Jeanne (jeanne_voelker) | 61 comments Hello Matthew,

Au fond du temple saint? Oh yes!!
When I was raising my musician daughter, I found that even though she was an instrumentalist (violin and piano), she would rather watch an opera than sit and watch an orchestra play. Her first opera, at age 4, was Carmen. She adored it -- song, story, drama,good strong rhythms, the works! After that, we went season after season.

message 12: by Matthew (new)

Matthew | 6 comments Hi Jeanne,

My first opera was also at age four. Actually, I should say my first live operatic performance was at age four. My parents took me and my brother to the Tulsa Opera (closest such venue to the farmlands of southwest Missouri where I grew up) to see La Boheme. But, before that, I still have a memory or two of seeing Gounod's Faust on the little black-and-white TV set that sat on our kitchen table. I couldn't have been more than two-and-a-half.

My daughter is now four and I'm hoping to pass that torch down really soon.

message 13: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne (jeanne_voelker) | 61 comments Hi Matthew,

Ah yes, the Golden Age of television when we had only one station but could see symphony concerts and plays, Greek plays even, all in dramatic black and white. I remember my early astonishment at Elektra!

I have some tips for taking a young kid to the opera. First, it is good to tell her the story ahead of time and/or play the music at home and/or view the video at home and explain as needed. For a young child, familiarity breeds interest.

Second, I bought opera seats that were close up. They were expensive, but worth it because my child saw better what was happening on stage and was not distracted by the reat of the Opera House audience.

Third, it is wise to choose the stories carefully, especially at certain times. At 4 years old (and always) my daughter adored Carmen and whatever else was offered that season. The next year, she loved the whole season including Rigoletto, even though I had some qualms about taking her to it.

However, when she was six years old, I took her to see La Traviata. A 6-year-old understands more than a younger child and their empathy is much deeper. For her to watch the beautiful young woman, rejected by her lover's family and dying of consumption was too much. My poor child was very quiet and sad for 3 or 4 days. We had prepared by watching the video, but it didn't help. I think for her it wasn't 'real' on the video, but seemed all too real on stage with live singers/actors, not to mention the powerful orchestral score. And by then, she had been studying music for half of her life so she was extra sensitive to musical messages I think.

My other daughters saw Die Fledermaus as a first opera. They were a little older and it was great fun for them.


message 14: by John (new)

John | 4 comments Right now I am really enjoying Mozart’s Clarinet Conceto in A major (k. 622). Not only is it inspiring, it is very pleasant and cheerful. The mood and character of the first movement reminds me of the first movement of Beethoven’s 6th (pastoral) Symphony.


message 15: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne (jeanne_voelker) | 61 comments I really love the second movement of the Mozart clarinet concerto, especially when I can see/hear it 'live'. I read somewhere that listening to the clarinet concerto and particularly the second movement was the inspiration for Sinichi Suzuki to begin his (Suzuki) method of violin instruction for young children. He referred to it as the 'mother tongue' way of learning.

message 16: by Naseem (new)

Naseem | 4 comments Yes, classical music inspires me. I have it playing all of the time, and created a playlist of specific music to inspire scenes in my book THE CRYING TREE (Broadway Books, July, 2009).

The most important piece in that long list, however, was Aaron Copland's Appalachian Spring. In writing the book I had the specific goal of creating a final scene that captured the mood of the final notes in that beautiful and moving piece of music. In Copland's music I see and hear a day ending, there is melancholily there, but also hope coming out in the form of a star.

I had thought of listing all the music I used to write THE CRYING TREE on my web site. Now that I see that others are moved in this way too, maybe I will.

message 17: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne (jeanne_voelker) | 61 comments Naseem,

I hope that you will post your list of music on your website or on goodreads. It would be fascinating to read 'The Crying Tree' with your playlist at hand. Please let us know when your book is available. I'm looking forward to reading it.


message 18: by Naseem (new)

Naseem | 4 comments Thanks Jeanne. I will try to make the time an list the songs on my web site, and here as well. For now, you can read about The Crying Tree at my red room site:
The book is coming out on July 7th.

message 19: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne (jeanne_voelker) | 61 comments Yes, I've been to see your red room page already. It's beautifully designed and informative. I have signed up for the red room newsletter.

message 20: by Jeanne (last edited Feb 17, 2009 11:22PM) (new)

Jeanne (jeanne_voelker) | 61 comments One year, long ago, I served as 'poetry teacher' in an elementary school in a low income neighborhood. I taught all grades 1-6. Sometimes I played classical music while the kids wrote their poems. It was fascinating to see how the music brought imaginative scenes to their writing. The kids from the low-income neighborhood were fabulous poets. They were kids who were on their own a lot and their senses were well developed. We all had a wonderful time with the poems.

message 21: by Naseem (last edited Feb 18, 2009 12:03PM) (new)

Naseem | 4 comments There is something magic in music. I think it has to do with vibration. On a metaphysical as well as physical level, we are all just vibrations, right? I think certain sounds harmonize to our frequency, making us feel calmer, more open and more creative. A wide variety of music does this for me. I recently discovered
You tell them a song, composer, or type of music you like, and they start playing an assortment that the computer thinks will match your taste. I, for example, inserted Yo Yo Ma -- and have been listening to a wonderful collection -- all for free.

message 22: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne (jeanne_voelker) | 61 comments Hi Naseem,

Thanks for the link. What a great resource!
I immediately tried a few key words there at, and I will try others.

Many years ago, my brother James gave me a tape he had made of abstract music. The 'music' was so nebulous that it wasn't really for listening -- it was more like wallpaper. Much to my surprise, when I played it, my attention to tasks increased dramatically and I was able to work well and efficiently. I have wondered if this music helped me by somehow soothing or cancelling the unquiet brain activity. There are times when this would be really useful.

message 23: by Susan (new)

Susan Hi Naseem, at the risk of sounding somewhat pushy, I invite you to visit my website, and listen to samples of my Baroque trumpet CD. Many people have told me that it is very relaxing.


Naseem wrote: "There is something magic in music. I think it has to do with vibration. On a metaphysical as well as physical level, we are all just vibrations, right? I think certain sounds harmonize to our frequ..."

message 24: by Naseem (new)

Naseem | 4 comments Susan wrote: "Hi Naseem, at the risk of sounding somewhat pushy, I invite you to visit my website, and listen to samples of my Baroque trumpet CD. Many people have told me that it is very rela..."
What a wonderful sound. Thank you so much for sharing this.

message 25: by Aehecatl (new)

Aehecatl | 2 comments yeah, the classical music inspire me!!!!!!!! When I´m writing I enjoy to listen the Haydn's "Symphony No. 94in G major (surprise)", or Chopin's "Nocturne Op. 9 No. 2 or Brahm's cello-piano "sonata No. 1 in E mino, Op. 38".

message 26: by [deleted user] (new)

Let me think....I have many things that inspire me but when I think of classical music I think of my favorite pieces but the thing that really inspires me to play all of the classical music by my favorite composers (such as Schubert, Chopin, Beethoven...etc) I have to think of all (3) the piano teachers that I believe are just amazing as my inspiration for without being taught by all of them I would definitely not know how to play the pieces that I totally enjoy and make me feel good despite the head concussion that I have now. :D My head concussion and I are off to piano lessons to learn about Schubert.

♫♪ Olivia ♪♫ I don't know as much about classical music as most of you obviously do, but I love listening to it, it's very relaxing. Music has helped with inspiration on all of the books I'm writing. I do not know how I would live without music.

message 28: by Marco (new)

Marco Ibarra (marcopolo) | 5 comments Hi guys. Is almost impossible to narrow my preferance to one composer. I like listening to Beethoven when I am drawing/painting. I think he still is the best "arquitect" ever. When I am working on my math problems, I play mozart. I don't listen to anything when I am writing but myself. I like listening to the piano works of Debussy when I am reading fiction, but Vivaldi when I am reading any non-fiction/facts reading. But, if I had to spend a year on an island, and I was alowed to bring the work of only one composer, I would bring Bach with me. Specifically his Brandenburg concertos and his orchestral suites to complement the formal, his piano works including the french and english suites along with his two-parts and three-parts inventions. Bach's polyphonic music gives you structure within inspiration, order within chaos, hope within sensitivity, and inmortality within human.

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