Lately I’ve been feeling so much more sophisticated than I have any right to be. For years we’ve intended to attend a performance of the symphony because that seemed like something sophisticated people do. We always managed to find an excuse not to go. The cost of the tickets was usually the main reason that we stayed home instead of entering that new world of sophistication. But the symphony has had a special low cost series of concerts intended to lure new fans into the concert hall. There went our excuse.
It’s not that I don’t like classical music. It’s just that I don’t really understand what I’m hearing when I do listen. I don’t know one composer from another. I don’t know the various eras represented by the music. Who came first, Bach or Beethoven? Where does Mozart fit in the long scheme of things? I am intimidated by all the music I don’t know. So to avoid the embarrassment of my educational lapse I stay away from anywhere where a discussion of the Romantic period or the decline of the clavichord might break out and suck me into the black hole of my ignorance.
But now I have discovered that my ignorance of all things classical is really no handicap. I’ve found that if I just sit back and let the full force of the live orchestra’s sound wash over me I can lose myself in the music and enjoy it the way the composer, whoever he may be, intended. There is really nothing sophisticated about it. The music is the same whether you are formally dressed in a tuxedo or wearing your faded blue jeans.
Now that I’ve put aside my fears of the symphonic experience nothing will keep me away from the concert hall. Except maybe those high ticket prices.