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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

Classical Music Rocks - Ask the Bang Gang
23 September 2011 @ 15:48

It is futile to compare some music as being more favourable than others but there’s some I really don’t understand. I can’t get my head around rap, heavy metal or head-banging music, but, if it’s popular who am I to criticise it?  I do have my fantasies though, one of which is to host a heavy metal musical event at an outside arena.

I can picture it so well; 40,000 expectant heavy metal fans bursting with anticipation. I take centre stage and tell ‘em they’re in for the audio-orgasm of their lives. You can hear a pin drop as the curtain rises to reveal, in its entire glory one of the world’s great orchestras.
The conductor’s baton is raised as fast as jaws drop but without a moment’s hesitation the expectant heavy metal fans get what they crave for: That’s what I call heavy metal.
An orchestra can consist of as many as 95 very noisy musicians. Think on; the percussion section of the orchestra isn’t known as the bang gang for nothing. It is otherwise known as ‘the kitchen department’; this is for good reason.  It was difficult fantasying as to what would best blow the wax out of the ears of the horrified spectators. I settled on the fourth movement of Beethoven’s 7th symphony. I admit to being torn and I leave alternatives to your own imagination.
I was never into golf but when I once suggested I might give it a go I was warned off: “Don’t even think about it,” I was told: “It takes over your life.”
Much the same can be said of good music; especially orchestral, opera and ballet. Sure there’s stuff you don’t understand or simply don’t like. The same could be said of literature but does that mean you’re going to give up on reading, or stop listening to pop music, because there’s stories or tracks that don’t appeal to you? Pick an’ mix; you will love it.
What floats my boat, more than the music itself, are the artistes who make up the world of classical music. Believe me; the lives of the great composers would make our toes curl. Eat your heart out Silvio Berlusconi. Here is George Bizet’s take on opera. Bizet, remember, composed the world most popular opera: Carmen.
‘As a musician I tell you that if you were to suppress adultery, fanaticism, crime, evil, the supernatural, there would no longer be the means for writing one note.’
See what a sheltered life you have been leading, you rock chicks?  Richard Wagner really rocked. Claude Debussy and Franz Liszt, like many other great musicians, were skirt chasers of considerable merit, as was Giacomo Puccini. The great musicians could be rude, crude and downright offensive. It is difficult to imagine music more sublime than Mozart’s adagios (the slow movements) but what a foul-mouthed cad and irascible rogue he was. Few of the greats were modest and most were scathing about other musicians.
Were they more popular than today's musicians? You could say so. Upon departing this earth many of their funeral corteges brought great cities to a standstill. So did their music; when Offenbach, Emile Waldteufel, Meyerbeer, Rossini and Chopin and others, introduced a new composition, cities went wild and crowds rioted. The music sheets were frantically copied and passed around. Most (nice) homes had a piano at least, often other musical instruments too. People could not only talk music; they could play, sing and dance to it too.  
Their lives and their music; the times they lived in, were often far more exciting than ours. It is all part of the drama and the excitement of great music composed and performed by the most gifted musicians to ever stride the earth. It has endured for many hundreds of years.
As Elton John observed: ‘I regard all pop music as irrelevant in the sense that in 200 years people won’t be listening to what is being written and played today. I think they will be listening to Beethoven.’

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