I suppose that I am like most people who love music in that I play the music to match my mood. By that I don't just mean happy music when I'm happy and sad music when I'm sad but more a music to match my emotion of the moment. So it may be Laura Brannigan at full volume (the advantage of living in a detached house) or Garth Brooks to remind me of driving along the Highway in the Californian sunshine or The Smashing Pumpkins when I think of Andy. Actually the latter are not really my scene but they were Andy's. However I'm more likely (especially on a Sunday morning) to play Grieg's piano music (Andy bought me his complete works) which is what I'm playing at the moment.
New songs are written constantly for pop and rock music and other modern genre.' 'Classical' music is, on the other hand, by its nature limited to an extent by historical output although there are modern composers to whom I can listen without being challenged too much. I'll give Stockhausen ("Just play as you feel") a miss thanks but Simeon ten Holt has produced fascinating piano music and there is always Nyman, Reich, Glass, Góreki, Pärt and Taverner to name but a few.
So what is the purpose of this posting? Well I have a pretty large collection of music of the major composers in the baroque to romantic eras and can be pretty confident of finding something to suit about any mood I may find myself in. My iTunes program which has much of my music on it (I use my CDs in Eagleton but my iPod in New Zealand) tells me that I have 13,716 tracks or 111 days continuous play available. However after constantly playing such music for the last 50 plus years I sometimes find that I'm a bit bored with some composers. Until recently that is. For a few years I have been getting an email each week from Presto Classical from whom I now usually buy my CDs whether in the UK or New Zealand. The newsletter contains an article each week on something happening in the music world. It's obviously designed to tempt the reader to buy something new; perhaps a newly recorded composer or a new artist bringing a fresh approach to the classics. It's excellent. Never, in the UK at least, has 'classical' music been more popular and more and more people are looking for something new. So many forgotten composers are being revisited and recorded. There is some dross amongst it. Most is pleasant and ordinary. But there are also absolute gems. I have been introduced to a whole new world of little known or little recorded composers. Long may it continue.