The Serious Stuff?


Every now and then over the years we hear from Dave Glass and it’s always a delight. We knew each other north of Fratton Bridge in the mid-60s but now he’s across the great water in the frozen north country

He asked in a Comment below “Have you really tried to get into classical music, Dave? Maybe some surprises there!”

I think that’s right but they’re odd ones perhaps. I grew up with some 19th century romantic stuff at home and over the years I’ve heard a fair chunk of all those top Germans and Italians without caring much for it. I tend to prefer the 20th Century. Here are some random examples – maybe you have some suggestions to add to my listening pleasure

Tomorrow night on BBC4 (7pm) there’s a programme about Arvo Part (and Robert Wilson) who I like very much

I recall being astonished – not just surprised – the first time I heard Steve Reich (‘Music for 18 Musicians’). I have loads of his stuff

Equally Lauridsen ‘O Magnum Mysterium’ (Stephen Layton)

Quite a lot of 20th C English stuff like Vaughan Williams and European turn-of-century guys like Delius

I’ve liked ‘Medieval’ choral music for some time – the Tallis Scholars, the Sixteen and stuff like that – beautiful

But it’s all a bit random/arbitrary.


Author: pompeypop

University lecturer, longtime local musician and recently historian of popular music - especially in and around Portsmouth. My blog is entirely about that topic

7 thoughts on “The Serious Stuff?

  1. The following pieces are ones I get quite missionary-like about. They certainly ‘surprised’ me when I first heard them:-

    – Finzi’s Clarinet Concerto

    – Anything by Carl Nielsen, but especially his 4th Symphony (‘The Inextinguishable’)

    – Messiaen’s ‘Quartet for the End of Time’

    – Mahler’s Symphony nr 2

    – Barber’s ‘Nashville, Summer of 1915’

    – I’ve tried and tried with opera, but can’t really enjoy it – with the exception of Janacek’s ‘Jenufa’

  2. Some cracking good stuff there, I would also suggest some perhaps easier to take on board material such as Karl Jenkins ( a current favourite of mine ) Adiemius, and the 1st movement of his Palladio Suite. The late John Tavena’s material is worth checking out eg The Lamb, and Song for Athene. If you’re a muso, the harmonies are quite spine tingling.
    They’re not strictly classical but the classical influence is definitely there.
    Keep listening !!

  3. I’ve been thinking about being ‘surprised’.

    I recall the very first time I heard Dylan or the Doors. I also recall the first time I heard a live band playing – it was at St Alban’s Youth Club in 1963 – and I remember how surprising/exciting it was when I started to hear them as I walked along Copnor Road. There were also later occasions when I was ‘surprised’/blown over by coming halfway through a track on the radio, and having to wait until the presenter said what it was.

    But all of these things happened a long time ago. Is it still possible for someone in his mid-60s, who is familiar with most musical genres, to be ‘surprised.??

  4. I think that was the heart of my question really Dave – it’s much the same for me with painting, which I still do and still seek out at exhibitions. I suppose one of the key things about my fondness for sport is that you just never know, but with so much music, art etc it seems I do. But I still get a great deal of pleasure from it – Miles Davis or Robert Johnson (for example) still thrill me to the core …

    • Yes I love art. Not really that knowledgable on the subject but know what I like when I see it. Wish I could draw and paint but never mind. I saw an exhibition of Ronnie Woods and Bob Dylan’s work on Saturday at Brighton. I was surprised at Ronnie Woods art but not so much Bob Dylan. I talk to a lovely lady who owned the gallery. She was saying that Ronnie Wood is the gallery’s resident artist.

  5. Dave – there’s one little ‘surprise’ I’d like to tell you about. Last year I had to organise a module on film adaptations of literary texts. One of the works I chose to talk about was John Ford’s ‘Stagecoach’. I noticed an article on the film in a book on US cinema, and took some useful notes. Only as I put the book down did I see who the author of the piece was –
    Play Up Pompey Pop!!!!

  6. How extraordinary! Wonderful movie and Ford’s next one was the equally fabulous My Darling Clementine. What coming late to film studies did was ‘surprise’ me in the sense that I learned to see familiar things in new ways! Cheers Dave

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