By Walter Scott
I am old and from a different generation – actually several generations back. As I look at the people – young and adult of today, I am saddened by the lack of a well rounded education. There is little or no American History and what little there is is warped beyond belief. If some event is offensive to someone, it is deleted from history. As our nation developed, it was not without mistakes and was certainly offensive to some.
However, that is only one facet in the poor education the more recent generations of students have received. Another more glaring failure is in music. Here in east Texas the mindset is “if it ain’t country, it ain’t music!” Schools are no longer teaching music appreciation. Classical music isn’t music to most people. Many popular songs were derived from music of the Masters. Do you know what I mean by the “Masters”? They are composers from the past – Tchaikovsky and Chopin (pronounced sho-pan) to name two. Let me give you some examples of some popular songs written using music from these classical composers:
“Tonight We Love” was from Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto in B flat minor.
“No Other Love” from Chopin’s Nocturn in E flat Major
“Till The End Of Time” from Chopin’s Polonaise in A flat Major
“I’m Always Chasing Rainbows” is from Chopin’s Fantaisie Impromptu.
These are but a few such popular music derived from classical music of the Masters. No, none are country music nor do I know of any song from the 1980s to today that used classical music as a base for popular music.
Please don’t get me wrong – I like all kinds of music, but mostly music from the 1950s when I was a teenager growing up. Even so, I had an appreciation for classical music. Later, in college (still in the 50s) I had a good friend who was an accomplished piano player. He even tried to teach me piano. One day he sat down and played the “Warsaw Concerto”. I had never heard of it before that moment. I was simply mesmerized by the power of the music. He played it for me many times after that.
Later, I became a disk jockey on our local radio station in New Mexico and later still program director. We tried to present all types of music from country to classical.
The college kids would call in requests which kept us running from the control board to the record library. This was in the days of 33 and 45 rpm records. We were a station of one person at a time playing the records, hunting up the requests in the library, and doing news breaks every hour or so.
The late 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s ushered in many musicals – Oklahoma, My Fair Lady, and many others came to the silver screen. Good music was everywhere – radio, TV, theaters.
I can’t sing, but I love music. My wife, Jacque, is the singer in our family and she is really good.Sadly, I don’t have that talent, but I’m a good listener.
There is nothing I or anyone else can (or will) do to make up for this loss of music – good music appreciation or the loss of what the old “Masters” have done for music. Hopefully, some day, the educators will wake up and bring music and history back into the schools. Fortunately band is still there and I applaud the kids performing in it. For now, us old timers of a past generation will have to rely on our memories of the Masters and the great music of the past.