My good friend had her sophomore clarinet recital yesterday and I went to support her. Before, during and after the recital it became apparent to me: I don’t get classical music.
I'm not very cultured and have really only been to punk shows, so I pretty much stuck out like a sore thumb. First off, it was at UNM campus, so I got there and asked the lady working the door how much it was to get into the "show." With a little bit of attitude she said, “The recital is free.”
Oh. A recital is not the same as a show. Got it.
Next, I figured out that at classical music recitals there are strict regulations about clapping. My friend would play a song and then I would start to clap only to get dirty looks from the people around me.
“I thought the song was over, aren’t we supposed to clap?” I asked the person sitting next to me.
"Wait until the piece is over," they said. "You’re not supposed to clap between movements."
“Cool,” I said. “What’s a ‘movement?’”
Apparently in classical music a song is called a “piece” and often a “piece” can be made up of several “movements.” Classical music people expect you to know this. My bad.
Some of the songs, er, pieces were like 20 minutes long. They were great, but I guess pop music has ruined me. When I think of a song, I usually think about two minutes and 30 seconds.
For the last song my friend had her opera singing colleague come out and they did a sweet duet, only the opera chick was singing in German or Italian or Pig Latin for all I know. I didn’t understand a word of it, but it sounded pretty.
When the recital was over and my friend was taking her final bow I started chanting “One more song! One more song!”
Apparently they frown on this at “recitals.”
I followed the crowd backstage and waited in line to talk my friend. Everyone else brought her huge bouquets of flowers. Oops. I was just going to buy her t-shirt (of course, there are no t-shirts at recitals either) and ask her to sign my face. I thought about running outside and trying to gather up a bouquet from flowers I could scrounge there on campus, but I’m sure they frown on dandelion bouquets at classical recitals too.
All in all, my friend sounded really good and I will come whenever she plays because she is really good. She was super sweet to me and thanked me for coming, even though I forgot my bouquet, so she is awesome. In general, though, I think classical music people are kind of snobbish. They are kind of like indie kids in that way. That's all I'm saying.
I looked up the top five classical composers and Beethoven was usually number one. But let’s be honest: Beethoven is cool, but did he ever sell out a stadium? Did he ever sue Napster? Have a baby with Pete Wentz? I don’t think so. And I’m pretty sure he never dated Katy Perry, designed a clothing line or got endorsed by Pepsi. He’s never had a platinum record, done a collaboration with Akon or had a song on Grey’s Anatomy.
Getting culture is hard, let me tell you.