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Too much numerous, expansive and varied listening?

1629 Views 36 Replies 21 Participants Last post by  Phil loves classical
I have been wondering sometimes whether or not I got greater kicks from classical music when I concentrated more on fewer composers and works.

Those days even just one work, like the Sibelius 4th, could be life changing. Nowadays when I listen to it, I am not as thrilled by the dissonances because Mahler is full of such chord progressions. Just to give you one example. (I need to consciously change my mental state to get into the receptive Sibelius 4th mood.)

So it is harder and harder to gain the mental state of the ”innocent, open minded listener, tabula rasa.”

It is also harder to tune up for a certain composer. And composers require their own mindsets! You cannot listen to everything the same way.

In a way, greater ignorance was bliss!

Has anyone had similar experiences?

Could there be something gained from a more limited but concentrated listening? Or is wide, numerous and expansive listening a value in itself, not worth questioning?
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Experience inevitably seems to make people jaded eventually to where they no longer get the same thrill out of whatever they were interested in. I'm someone who gets burned out very easily with anything I'm interested in, and that's why I've picked up such a variety of interests in my lifetime. Even when it comes to music I've switched between genres liberally: classical, jazz, pop, rock, metal, prog, folk, etc. Even if I narrow it to classical I've tried to explore all the major composers and era to a significant extent so I've never gotten stuck in one sound/style.

My recommendation for people anytime they speak of getting jaded/cynical with anything is to switch it up. So you say you're not thrilled with Sibelius because you listen to him and hear too much Mahler; well, why not listen to something completely different, like music from much earlier or much later? Come back to Sibelius when Mahler is less fresh/present in your mind. So much of our tastes are going to be governed by not just our general experience with music/art, but also by the temporality of our experience; meaning that listening to someone like Sibelius just after Mahler is likely going to produce a different effect than listening to him after, say, Josquin or Carter.

There is definitely some truth to the "ignorance is bliss" aphorism, as when you're new to something everything is new, fresh, even magical in its own way. People often wish they could go back and experience X art for the first time, as there's simply nothing as powerful as one's first experience, and that sentiment holds not just with individual works but even to entire mediums/genres. I think it's a rare person who can spend their entire lives immersed in one thing and not go through periods where that thing loses some of its magic; but the only way I've ever found to deal with that is simply take regular breaks from it and come back later.

You speak wise words, like always!

How wonderful it was to start listening to baroque music on solo guitar, and some renaissance music, like Palestrina and Josquin, after my Mahler period. The contrast indeed brought something meaningful and an extra level of enchantment into the listening.

I will have to start bringing rotation a bit more consciously into my listening. For sure. It might be the best thing we can do!
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Sometimes life is so weird! I have been living in the classical world for some time now — after releasing my latest prog album. Today for the first time ever since I haven’t felt like listening to any classical. So I put on play one Siberian Khatru — and damn I am feeling it again! ☺

Nursery Crime playing…

Rotation is the key!!!
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