Mozart for the masses

In the words of a lyrical genius, “Classical music is tight, yo.”

Despite the recommendation from Kanye West, classical music really is tight. And yet for some reason, it has a bad rap.

“Classical music is the kind we keep thinking will turn into a tune,” Frank McKinney said.

To many, classical music is something the esoteric echelon of the very wealthy and educated dress in furs and pay huge amounts of money to see.

Many of the people associated with mainstream music have close ties to classical music. Rock star Pat Benatar was accepted to Julliard to study opera, Alicia Keys and Beyoncé were classically trained and Billy Joel now writes instrumental classical music.

In other fields of work, Thomas Jefferson and Albert Einstein both played the violin, Harry Truman played the piano and Alan Greenspan studied clarinet at Julliard for more than a year.

Jerry Springer and Richard Nixon have both been subjects of operas, and video games such as “Resident Evil,” where you have to learn to play Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” before you can open a trap door, use classical music in their soundtracks.

What would the movies you love be like without the classical music scores or the classically-trained orchestra and composer? “Star Wars” wouldn’t be “Star Wars” without Darth Vader’s theme song. We wouldn’t be able to have that suspenseful moment or the jubilant, happy ending without classical music.

Other movies take famous compositions and include them in their movie scenes, like Mozart in the “Shawshank Redemption” with Tim Robbins, “The Barber of Seville” in “Bugs Bunny,” and the “Brandenberg Concerto” in “Cruel Intentions,” “Hannibal,” “Die Hard” and “Slaughterhouse Five.”

In my opinion, there doesn’t need to be some huge schism of music that is automatically liked and others that are written off. You don’t have to be a connoisseur to enjoy the “Flower Duet” from Lakme or Dvorak’s “New World Symphony,” you just need to have ears and an open mind.

“Classical music is not boring, it’s not stiff, and it’s not for the elite. It’s done by people like me who love any other kind of music,” violinist Julian Rachlin said.

tsheffield@unews.com

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