I’ve a confession to make. I’m experiencing some classical music fatigue. It’s an interesting situation because I don’t love the music any less but I’m growing tired of the well worn path. It’s a position I never thought I’d find myself in as I used to be confused when I observed it in my elders.
For instance, in the article I wrote about Christmas I failed to mention The Nutcracker because having listened to it for about 35 years and written about it at least a dozen times, it’s not on my radar anymore.
Gavriil Popov's Symphony No. 1
It was an oversight on my part but I’ve got to admit that I’m just not interested in The Nutcracker these days. Even nutcracker jokes fail to amuse my jaundiced disposition.
However, for those who hold Tchaikovsky’s ballet near and dear, I’d have to say the recording conducted by Vladimir Ashkenazy with The Royal Philharmonic is worthwhile.
There is a temptation here to hold those who aren’t experiencing traditional classical music fatigue in contempt. I’ve seen this on more than one occasion. I’ve personally been targeted a few times by those who were further along the classical journey than I. I’ve never been called an idiot in person, but online? Oh, yes.
Here’s a good example of the phenomenon. In a classical music Facebook group someone asked about favorite Shostakovich symphonies. There were a lot of comments for the seventh and then a smattering of 11, 13, etc. However, almost nobody said Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 or Symphony No. 10.
Those two symphonies are clearly the most popular symphonies Shostakovich wrote, but no one claimed them as a favorite. At first I thought this was a simple case of pretension but, in light of my recent funk, I believe these souls were telling the truth. “Shosty 5 and 10” weren’t on their radar anymore.
Since inventing disorders is allowed in our culture, I’m going to invent Traditional Classical Music Fatigue. TCMF.
What’s the prescription for TCMF? I’m working on a playlist but for now I’d say music by the likes of Gavriil Popov, Evgeny Golubev, Mieczysław Weinberg, Aleksei Nikolaev, Boris Tishchenko, Avet Terterian, Sergei Slonimsky, Alexey Machavariani, and Andrei Eshpai can help alleviate TCMF.
Those are all Soviet Era composers. Not to make light of the topic, but nobody understands fatigue like a Soviet. Side effects may include a five-year stint in The Gulag and a propensity for doublethink.
The other option is to go full chamber and start drinking the from a fresh spring of sonatas, trios, quintets, and the like. Side effects may include making a statement, developing the statement, then returning to the original statement and considering the matter resolved.