I have a big birthday coming up in about six months, and it occurred to me that on my birthday week, I could celebrate by programming a special show of classical music. The first idea was to program “anything I want.” But that would be pointless. Every single week, I program whatever I want. What can I do that’s different?
Right now, I have a great idea: I will program music I WOULD NEVER normally program. If you look at my reasons, you’ll see that such a show could be a delight for everyone else, because my betes noirs run against common taste. Here’s my list so far, of classical music I would never program, and why:
- Pachelbel’s canon. I’m sick of it, in all its forms, and I greatly prefer Pachelbel’s OTHER compositions, such as his fugue on a repeated note. (I hope I can find a good recording of the canon.)
- Sibelius’s 2nd Symphony: This is a fine work. I’ve just heard it too many times. Well, I can enjoy it one more time, I suppose.
- Beethoven’s Sixth symphony: I mean, really. Leave it to Disney.
- Telemann, almost anything. I used to like Telemann until I studied some of his music. He wanders from key to key like Bach does, but while Bach seems to know where he’s going, Telemann seems not to care. Since I’m now aware of what he’s doing, I don’t respect him anymore, even when he sounds nice.
- Chopin’s Revolutionary Etude: (Sorry, I just think it’s more boring than it is exciting.
- Liszt’s Second Hungarian Rhapsody. (Victor Borge had a routine where he played the two opening phrases, and then stopped, saying “Too rough.”).
- Beethoven’s Grosse Fugue. I apply Victor Borge’s “too rough” comment even more strongly to the Grosse Fugue. No! I don’t want to program it, not even on this “don’t want” program. Do you like it? It’s yours.
- The Bach Chaconne from the second French Violin Suite, arranged by Busoni for piano. A retched, retched excess. And I mean retch, not wretch. Or a masterpiece, if you will, suitable for every ham-fisted piano virtuos.
- Schubert’s Wanderer Fantasia. One of Schubert’s great classics, they say, although, for some reason, I find it to be a rare failure of Schubert’s extraordinary sense of taste.
- Schoenberg’s Verklaerte Nacht, ruined when it is played by an entire string orchestra. It’s a superb piece of CHAMBER music, for gosh sakes. I hope I can find a good orchestral recording.
- The first Brahms Piano Quartet, arranged by Schoenberg (aha!) for orchestra. Another superb piece of CHAMBER music, ruined by a great excess of brilliant orchestration.
- Anything conducted by Seiji Ozawa.
If I have time left over, I might conclude with Mozart’s Eine Kleine NachtWhatever. You know what I mean.
If you’ve listened to my programs, you may have a sense of my taste in Classical Music. If you have suggestions for my special program, please email them to me at email@example.com. Thanks! — Tobias