Shattering Shibboleths

OK, it’s a fair cop – I’ll come quietly.  As you have guessed, this post is purely a flimsy device to attempt to justify the title.  The title would make quite a good expletive in a callback to Fiddlesticks! but that is not the justification I will be using – no lazy journalism here (largely as a result of the absence of journalism, rather than any intrinsic lack of laziness).

Identity is a curious thing, the statements and beliefs we use to define ourselves and the groups to which we do, or do not, belong are more mutable than might be imagined.  Or, at least, mine are – but then I am willing to challenge them from time-to-time with a mind at least slightly ajar – and so by extension this must be true for everyone (I will admit this is stretching use of the principle of induction a very long way past its breaking point, but what can you do?).  Whilst my absolute detestation of the brussels sprout and all it stands for remains in tact (and largely unchallenged) and is a continuing source of tension between myself and the Belgians, two cornerstones of my musical faith have crumbled and fallen in the last few days.

The appearance of music by Sibelius on a concert programme or Radio 3 has previously been enough to ensure my non-attendance or re-tuning (delete as appropriate).  However, on Saturday night I did see and perhaps, more relevantly hear, the City of Cambridge Symphony Orchestra playing his First Symphony – obviously, I went to hear Tom Poster (an artist whose name, playing and apparently sunny disposition I very much admire) play Brahms First Piano Concerto but as I’d paid for the second half I figured I might as well stick around.  Imagine my horror to discover I actually enjoyed it and am now strongly considering going to upcoming performances of the Finn’s 2nd and 7th symphonies.  But, worse was to follow this lunchtime…

Along with my unreasoning hatred to Sibelius, I also nurture a festering dislike of Béla Bartók – well not so much the man (we’ve never met, and it’s probably a bit late now -much as he is himself) as his music.  I can probably trace this to an unfortunate encounter with the Miraculous Mandarin in Melbourne (yes, I do try and arrange my life to maximise its alliterative potential).

At today’s Cambridge University Lunchtime Concert, I found myself hugely enjoying his Contrasts – perhaps assisted by the stunning playing, but I suppose I would have grudgingly to admit that old Béla must have had something to do with it.

Whatever next?  If I start liking Ligeti, it will definitely be time to hie me to a nunnery (and to hell with the physical).

Feel free to continue the lunacy...

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