Reversing an opinion is rare. Admitting to it even rarer. Thick toned memories of Don Carlos and Un Ballo in Maschera leak under door like marsh gas and I never see myself liking Verdi. Yes, he’s great and I haven’t listened hard enough. But I’m not exactly cast in stone.
Liszt. I hate music that’s showy for showiness’ sake. Things like Tartini’s The Devil’s Trill, and that’s how I saw Liszt for decades. Then, subconsciously brave, I bought Années de Pèlerinage (Italie) - a cheapo from Naxos to be safe - and suffered apostasy. Oh yes there’s virtuoso solo piano there but it’s a tour of Italy as varied as the country itself and it hangs together.
Rock Around The Clock. It emerged during my RAF national service (1955 – 57) as I was digesting my conversion to posh music. I hated its wilful noisiness, its meaningless words. On my first ski-ing holiday in Italy in 1978 they cleared a space in the bar and two athletic young people went to town with that roaring out of the juke-box. I saw the point.
Schubert songs. Very foolishly I allowed myself to be exposed to the trite English translations. Hearing them sung in German effected an instant and complete conversion. An Die Musik still makes me cry.
The Beatles. I simply ignored them but the movie, A Hard Day’s Night, got good reviews. I found them entertaining if simplistic. Sergeant Pepper (and especially the line “meeting a man from the motor-trade”) raised the bar a bit. But they could have learned from Paul Simon.
Dvorak. Have you heard any of the symphonies other than The New World? Boreeng. Luckily he wrote the cello concerto and, a later discovery, the twelfth string quartet known as the American