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Sic Semper Tyrannis

Monday, March 12, 2007

Rach On!

I am a fan of classical music. In fact, I listen to little pop music whether modern or old. I have listened to classical music since I was young and the introduction was – The Star Wars soundtrack and the soundtrack to Rocky bordered on the classical.

While working at home (at my computer whether its monkey business or serious) I listen to WCPE via internet stream. Of course, during mid-day I listen to Rush via KFI (a LA radio station) again by internet stream.

Well, when Rush is over I switch back to WCPE (while I have no problem with Dr. Laura it gets old clueless people calling her and Dr. Laura giving sensible if frankly given advice, remember these people need the brutal truth and they are not hoping for the truth anyway...). Well just about five minutes ago Rachmoninoff's third piano concerto in D minor started up. Its a long one, three movements (as are most concertos) spanning about 45 minutes or so. I have recordings of his #s 1, 2, 3, and 4. However, it was the #3 that motivated me to purchase the set and it is the #3 I find myself listening to most of the time.

A problem with modern classical music (anything written in the last 100 years) is it is often slow and ponderous. Massive string sections that quite frankly makes one feel like they are in an elevator (however, elevator music is often pop tunes arranged for strings). While the #3 contains such sections there is much fire to this piece. The first movement is not a bore and the third is speaker & amp wrecker. The middle movement fits the stereotype but in this case we expect that. (the middle movement of concertos can be expected to be slow) and so I have little problem.

The third movement is the main fire of this work. As I said above it is very capable of doing serious damage to stereo equipment. In fact, the third movement seems like it is a concerto in itself. The first 1/3 of the piece is up-tempo, the middle 1/3 slow, and the last third up-tempo again.

I was listening to the third the other weekend at Indianhead and the third movement inspired myself to ski tighter to the fall line despite the fact the run was powder, crud, and bumps.

Still, Rachmaninoff's third piano concerto is something I would probably hesitate to start first time classical music listeners off with. I would start off with some good old Vivaldi concertos many of which move very quickly, are short, and light. Of course, as I mentioned earlier the Star Wars soundtracks are classical and most people I know respond very positively to that music.

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