Listening experiment

Not really an experiment so much as a controlled experience. I noticed, or thought I noticed, that iTunes was focusing on certain CDs to the exclusion of others. So I created a smart playlist for classical/orchestral music which excluded anything that had been played since June 1 of this past year.

I was right. There were a couple thousand tracks, some of which I had not heard since 2007 or even earlier.

That’s what I’ve been listening to for the past week, and I’ve got three and a half days of solid music still to go.

At the moment, I’m hearing Bach’s Keyboard Concerto #2 (Murray Perahia on the pianoforte) as if for the first time. It’s gorgeous, of course.

In a scan of the contents of this playlist, I notice that iTunes tends to shun the first CD of any 2-CD opera set. I’ve been hearing the ends of operas, but not their beginnings. Actually, I haven’t been hearing most opera, and some other thorny 20th-century stuff, at all, since at school I had been listening to a “culled” classical playlist that excluded stuff that I thought might drive other people crazy. But since my clerk’s been abolished, I listen to whatever I damned well please, and everyone else can just catch up.

As Charles Ives once said, as he beat a concertgoer over the head with his program, for protesting the “modern” music being played, “Stop being such a God-damned sissy! Why can’t you stand up before fine strong music like this and use your ears like a man?” (The music in question was that of Carl Ruggles, which is still tough going even today.)

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