1 EAGLETON NOTES: Music

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Monday, 16 November 2020

Music

Long ago I was once asked, in the days of Blog memes (remember them?), what the most recent CD was that I had bought. I said that I had at the same time just just purchased the complete piano sonatas of Mozart and Meat Loaf and Bonnie Tyler's 'Bat out of Hell'. The point being that my tastes in music are pretty catholic.

I suppose that I am like most people who love music in that I play 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 - emotional times (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) .

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. In recent years there is a huge amount of music by female composers being 'discovered' and played.

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 Apple Music program tells me that I have 17,651 tracks available. That's a lot of CDs. However after constantly playing such music for the last 50 plus years I sometimes find that I'm a bit bored with some composers. 

Alleluia!  Never before has so much new 'classical' music become available and never before has it become so easy to explore it and listen to it. I listen to various BBC Radio 3 programmes which constantly bring new works and 'new' composers to my attention.

I was thinking yesterday though just how my (our?) listening habits have changed: 
  • 78rpm records
  • 33 rpm records
  • cassettes
  • CDs
  • iPods
  • Music streaming services
I haven't played a CD for ages and my music is always available to me via Apple Music and the various gadgets available to stream it, whether I'm walking in the Castle Grounds or working in the Polycarb or sitting writing this post.

How do you listen to your music now and have you  abandoned your 'old' physical storage and gone digital? 

46 comments:

  1. We're still CDs and radio. I also have my 33rpm LPs (although the turntable is in the loft). Don't do streaming at all or anything mobile (there is always something playing in my head which I can't turn off). New stuff heard by chance on radio. Son plays piano - not so long ago he eventually managed a piece by Ginastera which gave us something new to think about.

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    1. Tasker, my LPs have gone (to Oxfam Music a few years ago) but my CDs are my backup and contain some music not available on Apple Music.I'v just been exploring Ginastra and will listen to some in the morning.

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  2. I still have a huge collection of CDs which have been mostly neglected of late, but I have started to play them recently. It started with listening to the Glenn Gould and Angela Hewitt treatments of the Goldberg Variations (Hewitt wins this contest) and has recently morphed into a bit of a Beethoven fest. i have my eye on a couple of operas next, especially La Fille du Régiment, where Pavarotti hits those high Cs like no other before or since. Before I retired I was a project manager for a construction company and it was when travelling from one site to another that I mostly listened to music. Not the ideal venue I know, but it was great company on a long drive.

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    1. David, Gould made his name with his rendition of the Goldberg Variations I seem to recall. I don't know Angel Hewitt but I shall explore her interpretation. Thank you. I like music in the car too on my journeys through Scotland although I have to hit mute whenever I come up to a traffic hazard situation because I don't like the danger of being being distracted.

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  3. Since my hearing deteriorated I no longer enjoy listening to music. Even with my new bluetooth hearing loop, as I cannot distinguish low frequency sounds, all my old favourites no longer sound the same.
    We still have our collection of CDs, though, and P often plays them in the evening, or takes them to play in the car on his occasional long (half hour!) drive up to Ramsey.

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    1. JayCee, I feel for you. I would be devastated without my music.

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  4. I would venture that your taste in music, based on the examples you gave, are definitely eclectic but not demonstrably catholic.

    And another thing: When you spoke of playing music I thought you meant playing music. Reading further, I discovered you meant listening to music, something quite different in my opinion (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

    I think producers of music (the.composers and the performers) are due the accolades, not the consumers, no matter how many tracks they may have accumulated.

    Rant over.

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    1. Firstly, Bob, the dictionary definition of 'catholic is "adjective, including a wide variety of things; all-embracing as in 'her tastes are pretty catholic'". Eclectic is defined as "adjective, deriving ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources. 'universities offering an eclectic mix of courses'". I think my tastes are catholic and probably eclectic as well.

      It is commonly accepted use of English in this country to say that I was playing a CD although I certainly listen to the result of that playing. I would be interested to know what you do with a CD (seriously).

      I fail in any way to see what accolade may have accrued to me because I have a lot of music stored and in what way that might have detracted from the composers and performers. I would take the view that it was a compliment to them.

      Now that you have, hopefully, had at least two cups of coffee you might take a slightly less belligerent tone. Has something upset you recently by any chance?

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  5. P.S. - I haven’t had my morning coffee yet. Could you tell?

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  6. When I am on my own, I get bouts of listening to music - preferably stuff I know so well I can sing and dance along. I love classical music, too, and was raised on my Dad's favourites Händel, Haydn and Bach as well as my Mum's favourites Mozart and Vivaldi. (Having said that, my Dad also loved Bill Hailey, Glenn Miller and the ELO, while my Mum was more given to ABBA. Both loved The Beatles.)
    With O.K., we often have a favourite song that sticks with us over a period of several weeks before we discover something else we both like. His approach to music is a bit different from mine, since he is part of the village band. We do not always like a song for the same reason, but there are only a few songs or artists that I like and he does not, or the other way round.
    We both own medium-sized stacks of CDs. All my old vinyl records are at my sister's, since I no longer own a record player, or tape deck for that matter. Much of my listening happens online; O.K. often buys music in iTunes while I have never purchased any music online.

    As you say, a lot depends on the mood and occasion.

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    1. Meike, in my experience even when two people have similar musical tastes they rarely actually want to listen to the same thing at the same time and much of the time it is a compromise. You and O.K. sound fortunate. I, too, am fortunate because I live on my own so don't have to think about what anyone else wants to listen to. I rather envy O.K. in that he makes music as well as listens to it.

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  7. I have few ways of listening to music except via radio and YouTube so that's it for me. I have no record collection anymore and no music through my phone and dont like ear phones, I like to listen to the natural noises outside and hear a car or train when it's coming. I don't even know what streaming means.

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    1. Rachel, I am like you in that respect - when I am outdoors I do not want or need any other sound than birdsong and other natural noises. I would feel very insecure if during my walks or when I'm out running I would not be able to hear cars or anything else going on around me.

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    2. Rachel, one of the advantages of iPods is that you can still hear the birds and the bees. Cars and trains are not something I am ever likely to meet in the Stornoway Woods even if I couldn't hear them. I love walking with my music. Walking in town with earphones would, in any case, be a no no for me too.

      When you listen to music on YouTube you are listening on a streaming service.

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    3. I wouldn't want music in my head when walking nor anything in my ears. Streaming always sounds like it is something just happening with the word "now" attached to it, like it is new. I see, so streaming can describe what I would call a recording. Thank you.

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  8. I usually listen to my music loud, in the car and on my own. It is generally stored on my phone. I don't own any CD's. X

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    1. Jules, you are one of the - probably the most - modern of my readers. For me the big advantage of having all my music on my phone is that when I am in hospital I always have all my music with me at a time when I need it most.

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  9. I sometimes listen to CD's in my car (Clint) but the amount of music I listen to now is neglible compared with the listening habit I had in my late teens. Have you ever mastered a musical instrument yourself Graham? For some reason I picture you playing a concertina. It's never too late.

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    1. YP, my Mum and her Mum and my Godfather (but not my Dad) were all proficient pianists and it was just assumed that I would follow in their footsteps (or handsteps) but I proved to be a dismal failure in that I knew I would never be able to play to a level that would satisfy me. So I have, instead, made a 'career' of listening to music instead.

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  10. Interesting post. I haven't played a CD for years and vinyl??? I listen to most of my music on youtube.

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    1. Red it's interesting that you listen to most of your music on YouTube. Vinyl seems so long ago and far away.

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  11. My grandparents had the old brown-papered 78s and growing up our record player had the different speed settings but it's only Mr. P who's embraced the digital in this household. My dog ears mean I can't/won't wear headphones so it's still CD's for me. Presently there are 6 CD's (my choices) sitting in the player in the living room as we speak, (a heavenly B&O!!), but quite often I prefer silence, especially out-of-doors, these days. I have recently been listening to some classical on the laptop while I'm ironing or sewing - it started as a result of Orchestras putting concerts and playlists online for free during plague-times. One of my best friends has a passion for vinyl (and fellow B&O aficionado with vintage players) and many artists are now releasing vinyl alongside CD's. It's becoming fashionable again.

    I don't mind Góreki but my Classical taste is on the Baroque end of the spectrum. I did a big cull of the CD collection earlier this year and played everything to see if it still deserved space in the cupboard and a lot failed the test. The 80s was when my musical taste was cemented and I get an occasional shock when I realise some of my favourite music is over 30-years old - I've entered musical fuddy-duddy territory!!

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    1. Pipistrello, when my wife and I married we had a B & O system. which came North with us in 1975 until, eventually, the system stopped working for some reason. The speakers are still in use but not by me. I'm always interested in what makes us prefer a particular era in Classical music which is so often the case. I play very little before the Baroque era. Indeed most of my listening these days is well over 30 years old. I haven't yet had the courage (or the inclination) to cull my CDs.

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    2. Oh, a pity it stopped. I daresay there weren't any technicians handy. The Danes knew how to build for technological longevity, and there's quite a following for the vintage B&O, working or not ... I'm a firm believer that our taste in the popular musical department works like imprinting and there's an impressionable period in our early life where an unshakeable foundation is laid (read, stubborness!)

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  12. In the early evenings I light the fire, pour a couple of glasses of wine, and before heading off to cook supper we often listen to French accordion music. A Dutch woman turned up a couple of evenings ago when we were doing exactly this and she became quite overcome with emotion. She said it was 'just perfect'.

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    1. Cro, I, too, enjoy French accordion music as well, it has to be said, Scottish accordion and fiddle music.

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    2. Cro, there's something about accordion music that can make tears spring from nowhere. It has to be a primitive siren call for something!

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  13. I used to enjoy many different styles of music, but the last few years (apart from the odd CD in the car) my life has been fairly devoid of musical notes. My son and grand-daughter stream all their music.

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    1. Margaret, I would be really upset to have to live without music was there some reason that you stopped listening or did it just happen?

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  14. I, too, have a catholic taste in music.

    I still have LPs, cassettes and CDs...a large, and varied collection actually...but rarely do I, these days, crank up my stereo! I no longer have a tape deck...but I do have a couple of cassette players hidden around the place somewhere!

    I love music.

    A few months ago I watched a terrific doco about Garth Brooks...it was streaming on Netflix...I think it was Netflix...one of them. It is worth watching, in my opinion.

    Music causes many emotions...with me it does, anyway.

    Take good care, Graham. :)

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    1. Lee, I am not surprised by your catholic musical interests. I shall try and find the Garth Brooks documentary.

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  15. I listen mainly to music on radio and CDs these days. Everything old is new again - my vinyl records are being handed over to a 19 yr old who can't believe how lucky he is to get this small collection from the past.
    Alphie

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    1. Alphie, what you say is so true: everything old becomes new again in one way and another. It's certainly true vinyl is very 'in' these days.

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  16. https://decider.com/2020/08/14/garth-brooks-the-road-im-on-netflix-review/


    The Garth Brooks doco is streaming on Netflix, Graham. I really enjoyed it. I think you would, too.

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  17. You sound like me, I tend to listen to whatever takes my fancy at the time. I also have a big box full of records that are rather fun to listen to. I think you could say my music tastes range from medieval through to scottish bagpipes, to rock, pop, retro and vintage. I'm weird that way I guess.

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    1. Amy, I don't think that's weird although I'm not into medieval music. I think a wide musical interest is a very good thing.

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  18. 1. Radio / CD
    2. Satellite radio (while driving)
    3. Record player / cabinet gramophone (at home)
    4. Music channels on YouTube (also contains 5 hour broadcasts of the Shipping Forecast!)
    5. Playing classical piano (learninga new Rachmaninoff piece now!) in my living room

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    1. As for types of music, my faves are

      1. Baroque
      2. Lounge Jazz / 1940s jazz / Billie Holiday
      3. 1940s music
      4. 1980s heavy metal
      5. Celtic music / ceilidh music / bagpipe music
      6. Classical piano (which I love to play, but almost never listen to)

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    2. Marcheline, you never cease to amaze me.

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  19. Thank you for introducing me to Simeon ten Holt.
    I have been listening to his Aforisme 2 (YouTube) played by Marnix van de Poll.
    I purchased Glass's autobiography earlier in the year and I must return to it.
    There's a very good papaerback biography of Gould written by a Canadian lady.
    Too often I rely on the wireless for music, Radio 3 and Classic FM. My jazz vinyl and CDs are neglected.

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    1. Thanks for your comment, John. I'm glad that you found StH. His music is unusual. It would be good to learn more about Philip Glass but my reading list is so long I'm not sure that I'll be starting on the second quarter until my mobility is such that I can no longer do physical so many things. Oddly years ago I did listen to his biography - or a summary of it on the radio. My Godfather was very much an admirer (and a pianist) and told me a lot as well as pointing out his humming on some recordings. I recall him only through his recordings because he stopped playing 'live' when I was still a child. If I'm at home in the morning then I'd be upset if Essential Classics was no more.

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