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On Thursday each week my column appears in the Euro Weekly News. My opinion is just that, an opinion. Feel free to put your oar in but in a constructive way if you please. Thanks so much. - Michael

22 September 2011 @ 00:12

How do you define classical or ‘good music’? Why bother? Far better than me have tried and failed. The best explanation I ever heard was, “If you like it, it is good music. If you don’t like it, it’s bad music.”

As a small child I remember the kitchen table being pushed aside and mother grabbing me by both tiny hands. The radio presenter had just announced Over the Waves; the waltz by the Mexican composer, Juventino Rosas. Mother would waltz me around the kitchen, much to my embarrassment, but I liked the music. 
As a teenager I was vacuumed up by rock an’ roll; my sister’s best friend dated, and had a child, by Paul McCartney. My brother managed a band at the Cavern in Liverpool. I became friends with legends. I paid a return visit last week and found it much as it was. A child of the times I also adored country (and western) music; Johnny Cash, Hank Snow and Hank Williams being favourites.
Unlike my contemporaries I never defined the music that was important to me. I knew what I liked and I adored the music of Wagner and the Strauss family as much as I liked Louisiana’s Cajun music. My first opera was Johann Strauss’s Die Fledermaus (The Bat). I was hooked. In this one delightful performance there were glamour, a wonderful story, vivacity, great music; beautiful ladies, roguish guys, humour, drama, pathos, and most of all, originality.
Life takes many twists and turns for those who are not professional musicians and so music of all kinds was to me no more than life’s theatre scenery.
For lovers of classical music; orchestral, chamber, dance, opera and ballet, there was precious little choice until Classic FM started in summer, 1992. At the time BBC 2 had just one hour of good music on Friday night. There was BBC Radio 3 but it was so ponderous you really had to be the most pretentious of twits (or steeped in the classical genre) to understand it.
I was on my own but I bought records, and then CDs and DVDs, as I explored my more discerning tastes. Fate was kind to me; I rented a Victorian mansion (annexe actually) a short stroll from Liverpool’s celebrated Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. In like a shot I was soon absorbed by this wonderful venue. There I was privileged to meet many gifted musicians, included Vasily Petrenko, the orchestra’s present conductor. I collected photographs and autographs, and built my library – and my understanding. I was in love. I have collected many photographs and well wishing autographs including those of Nicola Benedetti, Carl Davies and Rolando Villazon.
I sacrificed all when I moved to Spain’s Costa Blanca: The nearest orchestra and opera opportunities were in over-priced Alicante and Valencia. I consoled myself by getting involved with the Jalon Valley’s Palma Concerts. They hosted the best of aspiring classical talent; again it was a privilege to become their friends.
My dream has always been to host Schubertiad evenings or weekends; soirees’ where lovers of good music can socialise and share their passion and knowledge of good music. I have now moved to the Costa del Sol; the awesomely beautiful Mijas Pueblo. Here, surely, there is fertile soil to bring together lovers of good music. Surely we can arrange soirées. Will my dream come true? Only you can answer that question.

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