Listening to Classical Music
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We aim to enhance our enjoyment of listening to classical music by finding out more about the lives of composers, the historical context in which they composed, musical instruments and how they are played, and the development of classical music forms. We undertake research before our meetings and share what we find as well as listening to music on CDs and other media.
The group met face-to-face on seven occasions over the course of the 2019-20 session, with an eighth and final meeting being a virtual meeting of sorts – each of us in our own home listening to the same selection of music. We continued to listen to podcasts about significant developments in music. Having started several years ago in the twelfth century, we reached the nineteenth century with the composers Chopin, Schumann, Schubert, Berlioz, Liszt and Tchaikovsky.
Our main topics were:
• what does the conductor do? (we concluded it’s not just waving your arms in the air)
• British music pre-and post 1900
• composers beginning with S
• wind instruments and music depicting weather (including wind)
• themes revisited (music by a composer using a theme written by someone else)
• film music (music used or adapted for a film or music composed for a specific film)
• Beethoven (things happening and music composed during his lifetime) – to celebrate the 250th anniversary of his birth
• music by a non-European composer (Europe including Russia).
Occasionally, we listened to a mystery piece – something that was identified only after we’d heard it and tried to identify it or at least tried to say something intelligent about it.
Some meetings were led by one member; for others, each member attending brought a contribution (music which we listened to and information about it). While our tastes differ, we enjoy listening to everything offered, and benefit from sharing views and interesting discussions.