A Musical Misanthrope Christmas Carol Part 2 – A Ghost From The Past
The truth of the matter is, I got into classical music to appear smarter than other people. I wanted to be an elitist. I wanted to have something that separated me from the common folk.
That was my initial motivation. But then as I listened to Brahms’ Alto Rhapsody for the first time, my heart grew 5 times larger and I realized the power this art could have on even a moron like me.
I knew nothing about classical music. But it spoke to me, and told me to keep searching. Keep listening. I went to the library. I went to used book stores. And I met Charles Lunde.
Charles did more to shape my view of classical music than any professor could have ever done. He was THE person you bought classical music recordings from. I became fast friends with him when he was already in his late 60’s.
I would tell him what I had just listened to, what moved me. And he would offer suggestions. And he never judged. He was a master of matching customers with music that spoke to them.
And the music spoke to me. I remember hearing the Beethoven 7th second movement for the first time. And the Shostakovich 10th – moody first movement rolling into that violent second movement. This was music that was inspired and written without pretense.
And classical music neutralized my pretense.
Unfortunately, since many people who say they listen to classical music but don’t really listen to it, act like pretentious douchebags. Because if they did listen and understand, they wouldn’t act that way.
I became less a misanthrope and more an advocate.
I believe it was after listening to the Mahler 2nd, I made it my mission to introduce everyone I knew to this life altering music. I would work with Charles to try and match recordings for friends and family. And some of it stuck. Not everyone was ready for Bruckner, but the Chopin was generally appreciated.
And for a period of 15 years things changed. I changed careers, taking me out of my almost daily check in with Charles. Weekly turned into monthly. New recordings were becoming scarce as technology changed, offering a new generation music for free.
My visits became less frequent. And one day, a friend had told me Charles had a stroke and was in a nursing home. Soon after he passed away.
Music became less exciting for me. I roamed aimlessly through the chain music stores that would soon shutter their doors. And for a period, I listened to nothing.
Music was played in the background. And yet, there was a lot of noise. A lot of noise on TV and radio.
But perhaps the most obnoxious noise was being written, read and not heard. On blogs, posts and tweets. Our attention span has become maxed out at 3.2 seconds.
This is where we are today. So where can I, along with classical music go into the future? Will the ghost of Charles accompany and guide me to the answer, or will he rest in peace along with his knowledge for eternity?