Saturday, June 18, 2005

Griegs first piano concerto

if you're in the know you'll already know that the word first in the title is superfluous. He only wrote one. But how many of you were in the know? I am and have been for 35 years.

In 1969 I was much into bubblegum music. My favourite band at the time was The Lemon Pipers. Remember them? Green Tambourine, Rice is Nice, The Shoemaker of Leatherwear Square and such like. My second favourite band was The Loving Spoonful. I have CD's of both bands.

In what seemed, at the time, wilfull perversity, my stepfather (Misery Guts) decided that it wouldn't hurt me to hear some of the classics. Given that he seems, at this late date, to have always had a wooden ear, this was risible in the extreme but I had no choice. So we'd sit and jointly suffer, on Thursday evenings in 1969, a TV program that ran on ABC TV, presenting light classical music.

What goes around comes around. In mid 1970 I was hit, bigtime, with the classical music bug. If you've ever studied the subject you'll be more comfortable with hearing that I was actually struck with the romantic/post romantic music bug; I've never much cared for the music that is actually classified 'classical' let alone Baroque. It all sounds like a lot of effort expended for not much meaning. Of course, one could say the same about minimalist music such as that of Philip Glass and he's one of my favourites. *shrug*

So there I am, marooned in 1970, struck with the bug but not a lot of knowledge yet. I heard a piano concerto on the radio that I liked and I heard the name Edvard Grieg. So off I trotted to Clements Music in Collins Street Melbourne. The shop is long gone; it's now the International Language bookshop.

I fronted at the counter and asked the shop assistant for a copy of 'Griegs First Piano Concerto'. He stroked his beard a moment before annihilating me (as he thought). 'Grieg' he said, in his most patronising tone, 'only wrote one concerto!'. 'Ok', I said, 'give me a copy of that'.

Patronising bastard! So I didn't know that he only wrote one. I'd have quickly picked that up from reading the sleeve notes!

So I took that LP home and played it, loud and often. Misery Guts was not happy. 'Why' he asked, 'can't that boy listen to modern music?'.

You just can't please some people!

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