And as our favourite blogger signs off for his annual summer hols (he’ll be back next month) he reveals how, where rock is concerned, his mother will never be right.
Out of a music collection of well over 1,000 CDs, only a handful could be described as “classical.”
I don’t mind classical music. In fact, I quite like it and there are times, when I’m in a particular mood, I’ll listen to Classic FM or Radio Three in the car. But I’d rarely be able to identify what I was listening to for my knowledge of the genre is negligible.
I’m familiar with some Mozart, Strauss, Beethoven and Tchaikovsky and a little bit of Mendelsshon, would recognise Handel’s Messiah and confess to feeling quite emotional every time I hear Elgar’s Nimrod.
But I don’t know my Chopins from my Schuberts and even those famous composers I’ve mentioned whose music I’m ever so slightly familiar with, I wouldn’t have a clue if asked to say which Symphony was which.
When I was a kid, classical music was perceived to be the choice of the posh toffs and that horrible perception is still present today. Some claim the BBC’s extensive coverage of the Proms helps to bring classical music to the masses and I’m all for it shedding its elitist tag and becoming more populist.
Having said that, on the occasions I’ve been unfortunate to watch Last Night At The Proms and the puerile antics of the Henrys and Henriettas when Land Of Hope and Glory is played, all my early prejudices pour out again.
Rock music may be regarded by some as the antithesis of classical but I could not disagree more. Indeed, the two have, over the years, complemented each other and at times, brought out the best in each other.
Cozy Powell’s drum solos were memorable not just because of the power and skill of the late, lamented Rainbow skinsman but because they were always accompanied by fireworks and the sound of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture. The combination was magnificent.
I remember the Michael Schenker Group concerts would always start their live shows with Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries before Schenker himself crashed in with the opening riffs to Armed And Ready. Again, a quite stunning mix.
Then there were groups who enhanced their reputations by playing with orchestras. Deep Purple started the trend in the late 60’s largely because of keyboardist Jon Lord’s love of classical music and though he is no longer with them, DP are reviving the partnership this year.
Metallica and The Scorpions both released records with orchestras and surprisingly acclaim comfortably eclipsed cynicism.
Violins have featured on some outstanding rock songs. UFO’s Try Me is a notable example as is Guns N’ Roses’ November Rain while more recently, Elbow’s most well-known song On A Day Like This would have been deprived of much of its quality without the string quartet.
My Mum always told me that I’d grow out of rock music and into classical as I got older. Well, I’ll be quite happy if I gradually become more interested in the classical genre over the years but growing tired of rock?
Sorry Mum, that will never happen.