Drugs, Sex, and…Classical Music?

I'm not going to go into too much detail here about why this topic interests me.  That would take way too much space and you would most certainly not come back to read much more from me I'm sure.  "Rambling" would be putting it lightly.  Anyway, I'll just say that classical music has been a huge part of my life since I was 6 years old and sat down in front of my first grand piano.  I love it.  Always have, always will.  

For me, there is no question that classical music is completely relevant and exciting even hundreds of years after some of it was written.  Having studied extensively the history and theory behind much of the classical music repertoire, I understand that my interest is inherently biased, but I also feel strongly that even without a musical background, anyone can find a similar interest and love of classical music.  And if that means you have to read "Fifty Shades of Grey" to do it, so be it. 

I've never read it, but supposedly, the book's namesake Christian Grey has an interest (Among other things…) in classical music.  In one particular scene, as explained in this WQXR article, "Grey turns on his car stereo and proceeds to inform his love interest, Anastasia, about his 'eclectic' taste in music--'everything from Thomas Tallis to the Kings of Leon'.  Grey says the Tallis is 'very esoteric, I know, but it's also magical'." 

Even though reading that little excerpt makes me throw up in my mouth a little (hey, we all have different tastes in men and their pick-up lines), I will say that it is pretty impressive that a "mommy porn" novel can make a medieval choral motet break through the top 10 on the music charts some 450 years later and inspire a whole soundtrack full of classical music.  I'll certainly applaud for that.

There's no question that the guiding force behind the newfound popularity of pieces like Tallis' Spem in Alium is, plain and simple, sex.  The same thing that guides so much of pop culture today is creating a renaissance for musical forms from the past.  There are countless other examples of movies finding new ways to create a link between classical music and sex (here's a good starter list, if you're interested).  And you may be shocked to learn that this link between the racy promiscuous behavior and the bland penguin-attired orchestral musicians isn't just dreamed up by hollywood executives.  It's real.

According to Amazon's new series "Mozart in the Jungle" (based on the memoir of oboist Blair Tindall by the same name), the inner workings of classical music are just as outlandish as what you'd expect from the green room at a Rolling Stones concert.  Perhaps Mr. Grey wasn't so out of line after all.

So my question to you is does the sexualization of classical music make it more appealing to you?  More relatable?  Is classical music more interesting if there is drama and scandal attached to it?  What words, feelings, emotions, do you associate with classical music?  Is "kinky" one of them?

This is a safe space y'all.  Feel free to comment anonymously if that makes you more comfortable.  Either way, let 'er rip.


(images via here, here, and here)

1 comment:

  1. Anyone who can write a 40 voice motet as glorious as Spem is a sexy genius. And if it takes raunchy girly-porn to make it relevant today, then by all means. Get after it, Mr. Tallis: Mr. Grey and soccer moms everywhere need you.


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