If music be the food of love

Taste is an individual thing. This is hardly a shocking statement as it’s pretty much self-evident. What does come as a bit of a shock to me is that there are people out there who don’t appear to have realised this.

Like many people, I enjoy classical music (and for the purists, I hasten to add that I am speaking generically, not just about style of music characterised by Mozart, Haydn and the like). Unlike many people, though, I present a show every fortnight on FMR (Fine Music Radio 101.3). It’s a community radio station that specialises in jazz and classical music and most of the staff, including me, are volunteers. We donate our spare time to keep the station running smoothly, because we like music (and in many cases, the sound of our own voices).

I had a rather irksome conversation recently with a listener who phoned in to berate me about the piece of music I was playing at the time (it was the piano trio in E flat by Schubert, in case you’re curious):

“Studio. Good morning.”
“What’s this rubbish you’re playing?”
“Excuse me?”
“Are you deaf? I said, what’s this rubbish you’re playing?”
“Ma’am, I can understand that you may not like the piece, but isn’t it rather harsh to dismiss it as rubbish?”
“I studied music, so I know what’s good and what’s bad. This is RUBBISH!”
“I see. Well, thank you for that in-depth critique. I’ll be sure to… Hello? Hello?”

It boggles the mind that someone can think there are absolutes in musical taste. There may be consensus of opinion in a group of people about ‘good’ or ‘bad’ music, but opinion is not fact. After all, this is a world where Marilyn Manson and Vanessa Mae are both successful.

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