RE: My music notes, Feb 4, 1998.

Joe Barrera (
Tue, 10 Feb 1998 16:24:36 -0800

[this thread re-FoRKed with Wayne's permission]

> -----Original Message-----
> From: I'm not a real doofus, but I play one at a national laboratory.
> Sent: Tuesday, February 10, 1998 2:20 PM
> To: Joe Barrera
> Cc:
> Subject: RE: My music notes, Feb 4, 1998.
> > I was a bit confused by your post -
> I'm trying to figure out how to patent that remarkable ability I have.
> > 1. Do you like or dislike Prokofiev?
> Like. Although I've only really listened seriously to Love For 3 Oranges
> Lieutenant Kije. Peter and the Wolf's okay, too, but the storyline draws
> the focus, for me.

Good, I was afraid you were saying you disliked Prokofiev. Lieutenant Kije
is probably my favorite piece of his. Very clean and very witty.

> > 2. Do you like or dislike Pachabel?
> Dislike. But to be fair, I've only heard 4 chords of his. I actually
> the Canon the first 97 times I heard it.

I don't remember far back enough in my life to remember the 97th time I
heard it. :-) (Actually that may well be true - my mom listened to classical
radio when I was a child, and if you figure that the average classical
station plays Pachabel's Canon twice a week during daytime hours, I'd only
be about a year old...)

> I used to like Elton John's Your
> Song, too. But I was far less critical when I was 17.

I started listening to All-Zappa, All-The-Time when I was 14, and ever since
then it was all over between me and pop music...

> My wife, on the other hand, doesn't care much for Prokofiev, Berg, or
other of
> the late 19th - early 20th century types.

But putting Prokofiev and Berg in the same category seems somewhat unfair.
Prokofiev is so damn accessible!

What really puzzles me is that the same people who claim to dislike
Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, etc., are the same people who like
movie soundtracks, not noticing that the harmonies, rhythms, and structure
of said soundtracks are all VERY twentieth-century. In fact, Spielberg would
probably be considered difficult listening to anyone in the 19th century or

> Baroque is probably the center of
> her bell curve. She, for example, tires of Beethoven's 9th after only one
> listening, if you can believe it. I could spend an entire day with it.
> then I'm that way with most of the music I really like.

If only his symphonies weren't so overplayed!

I was in heaven when I first bought Shostakovich's complete string quartets.
Hours and hours of perfect music. I highly recommend them.

> > Maybe I'm not getting it because I'm not familiar with what WTWP is?
> WTWP (Wall-To-Wall Pachelbel) Radio is another of Peter Shickele's (sp)
> fun at the music / radio business. It's all on the referenced album:

Schickele is pretty cool.

> I liked this album because it has lots of spoken parts, and I sometimes
spend my
> spare time making tapes of spliced-together sound bites, noises and stuff.
> Zappa's stuff was always good source material for such frivolity.

Zappa's Lumpy Gravy... not just source, but the finished product... (as
finished as it gets)

> I'd recommend
> checking it out from your local library (that's what I do), if possible,
> than rushing over to Amazon, though. Like Dread Zeppelin, the reggae Zep
> band with the Elvis impersonator, not all of PDQ's stuff stands up to
> listening.

> So, what do you like?

In the orchestral realm, almost anything EXCEPT:
1. Aimless featureless romantic pieces suggestive of landscapes written
by mediocre composers (I don't like Bax)
2. Heavy handed overly dramatic and gimmicky romantic composers (I
don't like Berlioz)
3. Pachabel's Canon :-) (Jeez, I just remembered that they used to play
it on Sesame Street, while a dandelion blossomed. Gag)

I really like Stravinsky (his cleaner, neo-classical stuff, e.g. Soldier's
Tale, Petrushka, etc.). I really like Shostakovich. I really like Schoenberg
and Webern (but not Berg as much). I love string quartets from composers
(e.g. Brahms) whose full orchestral stuff is a bit much.

- Joe