If you could only choose a selection of music to have for the rest of your life on a desert island, what would it be?
Chances are, you’ve probably been asked this question as a casual conversation starter. At the first classical music discussion at Quail Ridge Books & Music, this was the first question posed at the start of the “Desert Island Recordings” segment.
While Quail Ridge Books & Music has had discussion groups dedicated to classical music in the past, until recently, these groups had been disbanded.
Samantha Flynn, the Classical Music Specialist, restarted this discussion group Saturday. The group met inside the bookstore at 10 a.m. in a cozy circle of armchairs. The group was small, but full of enthusiasm about classical music. Casual conversation and introductions ensued before the discussion began.
“The point of this is to get people together to talk about anything related to classical music,” Flynn said.
Flynn explained that this could range from political issues to concert halls and the future of the arts. Flynn said she was “anxious to get people together to talk about great music.”
Though the specified topic for the meeting was “Desert Island Recordings,” the group first started off by talking about music they had brought with them.
One woman brought in some LPs: one by Toscanini, one called “The Royal Family of Opera,” and a live recording from Carnegie hall entitled “Concert of the Century.” The others sat in awe of the artists and the stories she told behind the covers of the LPs. Bill Robinson, a composer in the Triangle area, even brought his own CDs to share with the group.
The discussion went on to the various advantages of listening to music in different mediums. The group members said they enjoyed that LPs include much bigger packets and provide more room for graphics and lyrics. They also discussed how people today listen to music differently. One member, a photographer, pointed out that producers know their audience, and thus format their music to that style.
The group also brought up just how many people multitask while listening to music instead of just sitting and listening to it. People wear headphones just about all the time; but do you ever sit in a room and play your music aloud, really experiencing it?
That’s what these people live for. They talked about when teachers in high school played songs that brought them to tears.
One member, a young woman who works for WCPE, a North Carolina based classical music station, emphasized the importance of sound in concert halls. The group agreed with her that they would pay more for better acoustics. The conversation diverted to how many times the acoustics of Carnegie Hall have been redone.
After discussing various aspects of classical music, Flynn asked the group about their “Desert Island Recordings.” Many were unable to decide on just a few. One woman said she would need a big shelf and a big island, making the group laugh.
Out of the few who did decide, there were titles such as “Symphonie Fantastique” by Gustav Mahler, and “Sacred Treasures” by Choral Masterworks from Russia.
“I am exposed to nuances I had never thought about and they make me appreciate classical music so much more,” Flynn said.
If you missed this Saturday’s event but are eager to join in on the discussion, the group will meet again May 10 at the same time and place. All are welcome for open discussion about classical music and its aspects.