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As I've explained before, I tend to hear music in two different ways - aurally and emotionally. Piano music I can appreciate aurally includes most of what I've heard of Chopin, Lizst, Mozart, Rachmaninov, Rubenstein, etc.

Piano music I can appreciate emotionally includes most of what I've heard of Schumann, Brahms and Beethoven - with Schumann being far and away the leader.

The difference is that my mind wanders easily when I'm listening to the first group - I can think of a lot of other things as the music becomes more and more background music to me. The second group holds my attention. With Schumann, in particular, my mind is totally engaged.

I don't say any of this with pretensions of greater understanding of music than anyone else has. This is just a personal reaction. You can't argue it, because the impressions are personal and honest. People with more experience can explain why they think Chopin and Lizst are so great and I won't argue with it. That still doesn't change the fact that most of what I hear from them seems like "note-spinning" and I usually tune out.
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