New Thing #168: Mozart

MozartWhen I first started '365 New Things In 2013' and decided to do new music each week, I thought I'd be listening to a lot more classical music. By which I mean, I thought I'd be listening to some classical music. (Because "some" is more than "none".)

But here we are, almost halfway through the year, and this is the first time I've taken on classical music.

And even now, it's not like I sought it out.

So here's what happened.

I went to New York last week, somewhat unexpectedly. Then we drove straight to Vermont for an already-planned weekend away. While in New York, I figured I'd borrow a CD I'd never heard from my brother, listen to it on the drive from New York City to Vermont, and have my new music taken care of.

When I asked him for a CD he laughed at me, implying he wouldn't know where to start finding a CD that he probably hadn't handled in more than ten years. I insisted anything would do. He didn't think it was possible.

So instead of a four-hour car ride filled with new music, I fretted over where I was going to find new music.

Then we got to the house we were renting, and the shelves were lined with CDs. Problem solved.

Among the CDs was quite a bit of classical music, so I figured this would be my first opportunity to dive into that genre.

I picked Mozart, just because. And this is my biggest problem with classical - I feel like it is so tremendously expansive that I have no idea where to start. Mozart? Beethoven? Bach? Something else? (Or maybe it's not that expansive. It's just those three guys, right?)  Do you go in a chronological order? Do you have to do symphonies in numerical order? I just don't know what to do and it gets overwhelming.

So I picked this one off the shelf and hit 'play'.

It was very pleasant to listen to, and it seemed perfect for some nighttime listening at a home in woodsy Vermont. I could actually see it playing on an endless loop at my house, too - I definitely get the appeal of classical music as background music in your home.

But I know there's much more to the music - the art of it, the story behind it. I just don't know how to get that information.

The liner notes on this disc helped. I guess I should tell you what I listened to from Mozart - it was Symphony No. 41 in C major (does that matter? Probably not, but it says it on the album), which had 4 tracks (that probably didn't matter in Mozart's time, but it mattered to me), and then Divertimento, K. 136 (D Major. 3 tracks.). The liner notes suggested the divertimento (is that a type of a thing? It sounded like it was a category) wasn't really a divertimento, but people didn't really know what it was intended to be. The symphony, I guess, is more commonly known as 'Jupiter'.

I was a little disappointed to not recognize any of the music in either selection. That's always a pleasant surprise with classical music, when you see a title that makes no sense to you and then you hear some of the music and you're like, "I know that!"

What I did like, though, is making historical connections. Mozart lived from 1756-1791 (also now on the to-do list - finding out why Mozart died so young), and Bach was a big influence on him. I like reading that he was writing this music in 1772 (16 years old!), which is around the time of my favorite period in American history. It's easy to get caught up in what was happening in America at that time, but I like reminders that there was a whole world of history and things happening at the same time.

So I guess that's all I have to say for now on classical music. I hope that sometime in the next 26-plus editions of Music Monday there will be other ventures into classical music. If you have any suggestions on where I should go next or someplace I could start my classical adventure, put them in the comments. I'd love to know what I should be listening to.