Having fortunately been exposed to the sound at a young age, I have always loved classical music. My friend Tim is a devotee and we attended many memorable concerts together.
But there have been many long “dry” periods when I turned to other sorts of music which I also love in a totally different way.
Each time I go back to classical, I ask myself how I can have deprived myself for such a long time.
It’s a good question.
There is the joy of re-discovery.
Except that the sounds have never been forgotten. They just need re-awakening and then I cannot get enough.
It has been decades since I went to a concert but now we have the great benefit of YouTube.
Some modern luxuries are truly a gift.
Classical music was always my inspiration because as I listened, images unfolded. When my father chose Tchaikovsky, I closed my eyes and saw myself dancing in the corps de ballet.
With Dvorak’s #9, I could see the sweeping plains of America. I pictured myself galloping on a horse there, in that vast and beautiful land.
Sometimes I just wanted to dance. Sometimes I did. Not that anyone would have recognised it as dance. I had abandoned ballet classes, bored because I didn’t want to learn all those elementary steps.
No, I wanted to be on my points!
A friend of my mother’s had encouraged her to enroll me in the classes, but I think Mum was relieved when I expressed no interest. I was severely asthmatic, so that was the excuse for my withdrawal.
My mother’s friend was ten or so years older than she. My brother and I called her Aunty May. She had met my mother in London during the War in which she had lost everything. That war made special friendships.
Aunty May had been well connected. I believe her life was quite a story, but I only know the tiniest bits. She never complained about her reduced circumstances and she seemed to take joy in many little things.
May took up work as a ladies companion, basically looking after elderly women, which she was obliged to do until she herself was quite old.
As a little girl, I found Aunty May fussy in the way that kids feel about older relatives. But I remember her once taking me to a park. It had been snowing and she showed me how animals make tracks. She bent down and made marks in the snow with her mitten. I can still see her smiling face as she did it.
We left England in 1956 and I only saw Aunty May once afterwards, many years later, but she wrote to me frequently and as I grew up I realised that she was a good friend. It was she who offered advice when I had my first experience with boys. She was the only person I thought I could ask.
When I got travel benefits from my airline job, I went to visit May in Edinburgh where she was living in one room of a shared residence.
She was still the same, still smiling and she seemed so pleased to see me. I think she had been concerned about my brother and I but maybe particularly me because I was younger and female. We were the children she didn’t have.
How I have wished I could have had a chance to get to know that lovely lady properly! She had so much to offer. So much that I needed.
This is perhaps why I often go for long periods without classical music. It is so passionate and it makes me terribly emotional.
Then I remember things that make me sad.
It doesn’t hurt to let it out once in a while but when you are by nature a melancholy person, you need to put the cap back on pretty fast.
13 thoughts on “Re-discovery”
Sad songs are the best. I love Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, that gets me every time. I’m glad you got to see your Aunty when you did. 🤗
There are so many that get me all choked up. When I am down I love to listen to Beethoven 6th. And his Pianos 3,4 and 5 in particular!
It’s always fascinated me how you can be in a room with others and here a piece of music that will go straight to your very soul, yet the others won’t bat an eyelid. Very strange.
Thank you, Carolyn, for your lovely memories if your friend.
PS. Sorry, “of” your friend!
Another lovely narrative wander. What a great story, set of associations and reminiscences.
It is so magical how a particular piece of music can evoke such strong emotions. Even individual instruments can have a profound effect. Some, such as percussion, cello, double bass, tuber, and others, can be felt in the stomach, or chest. My favourite is the bassoon.
and the contrabassoon can make your toes vibrate!
Goodness. I didn’t know how very complicated a bassoon is! I have lots of favourites, French horns, trumpet. Really love a big drum roll. And of course piano, violin. But I was never taught the first thing about music and I can’t even sing! Can make great tunes with my finger nails and bottle tops!
Think I may have said this before, but I really can’t imagine a life without music. I was raised with music so maybe this is the reason.
Totally agree with you. A classical piece, song, or a few bars of a tune can throw you back to a forgotten moment in your past – it’s uncanny.
What a lovely story about your Aunt May showing you how animal tracks were made.
My brother is very fond of classical music and he exposed me to it from a young age. When I hear it now, I always think of him (and long for him where he now lives in the UK). So, you’re right about how this music can awaken emotions when listening to it. And your Aunty May sounds like she was a dignified lady – thanks for sharing the beauty of your relationship.
It’s too bad your brother is so far away. Mine too. Aunty May was lovely. When she smiled which was often, she had a twinkle in her eyes. But she was terrified of birds. Our budgie used to fly around the house and she couldn’t be in the room with it.
That’s funny to read your comment now: We just had a little finch fly into our house through one of the sliding doors (it’s open because it’s hot today) … luckily it just did a little poo on one of our sofas and then left through the same door again 😉.
I remember so many women friends of my parents being called ‘Auntie’. Some had lost their husbands or fiances during the war, and had never married again. They were always so kind and affectionate to me when I was young.
I do not listen to a lot of Classical Music, but I have long been a fan of some of the more popular Operas. When I lived in London I managed to see many operatic productions, and they were always staged so grandly, it was an immersive experience.
Best wishes, Pete.