Oct 8, 2012

Take Help When. . .And Where You Can Get It!

Fifty Shades of Grey: the Classical Album, Music selected by author E L James

“Listening to music is an indispensable element in civil life, though it is often neglected. I am convinced that there is not only an aesthetic value in music: its intrinsic beauty is the source of an intense ethical value.”

This wonderful quote comes from Italian conducting legend Claudio Abaddo, a long time favorite and hero of mine. He penned it for the preface to a new Italian book on El Sistema – The Music That Changes Lives by Marina Loffi Randolin. I’ve previously extolled the incredible boost that El Sistema is giving to the preservation, care and feeding of classical music – not to mention the hundreds of thousands (by now millions?) of young people who are participating in this program. The birth and rise of El Sistema is truly ‘music to our ears’ here at The Discovery Orchestra.

But. . .once in a while, classical music gets some encouragement from an unexpected source. Take the wildly popular erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James. Replete with its classical music references – how long could it have been before we had. . .Fifty Shades of Grey The Classical Album? This CD on the Capitol Records label ( ‘Records’ – love that reference to the Pleistocene era of musical sound reproduction!) contains for your listening pleasure fifteen dynamite movements – including an operatic vocal duet, and even a 16th Century liturgical motet!

The author herself has written in the CD jacket “I am thrilled that the classical pieces that inspired me while I wrote the Fifty Shades Trilogy are being brought together in one collection for all the lovers of the books to enjoy.” As I said in my title, we need to be humble enough in this life to take help when and where we can get it. I am thrilled at the prospect that some unsuspecting reader of E L James novels might stumble onto classical music for the first time in this fashion. There is much to be said for accidentally discovering classical music – or accidentally discovering any new pleasure for that matter!

And speaking of discoveries – there was selection on this CD I had never encountered before! In fairness to me, the Keyboard Concerto in D Minor, BWV 974 by Johann Sebastian Bach is one of those arrangements of some other composer’s music that Bach fashioned – in this case, the Oboe Concerto in D Minor by his contemporary, Italian composer Alessandro Marcello. I did find my self thinking – “This music sounds more Italian than German!”

All the selections on the CD, barring the one above, were already in my ‘all-time, right up there favorites’ list. So I know that they represent a great source of honey with which to attract those readers who may be unaware of classical music that, with “its intrinsic beauty, is the source of an intense ethical value” – right along with its intrinsic sensual value – amplified, I am sure, by Fifty Shades of Grey!