I like classical music. My favourite piece is Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, but as that’s about war, it didn’t seem right as one of my selection of ‘seven songs that sum me up’. When we were kids, we grew up listening to classical music. Dad had a CD collection of ‘the Great Masters’ or some such thing. I remember that Morning Mood by Grieg always made me think of the Ugly Duckling. We must have had a cassette tape of that story with that song on it. I swear that song is the Ugly Duckling song. I really liked that song, but made the mistake of using it as my alarm for a while. I learned to hate it. It’s been so long since then though, I think I like it again.
When I was 14 we started going to the annual Symphony Under The Stars concerts. They were held in the Auckland Domain, and they were free. They’d have celebrities MCing the night, and the Auckland Symphony Orchestra would play, and there would be guest artists and singers. Most of the pieces were classical, but there’d be a few singalongs too. It was just like how you’d imagine the Last Night of the Proms, but with glow sticks and fireworks instead of British flags. And yes, they even played Rule Britannia and Jerusalem. But before that, they always played Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, and when the time came for the cannons, they used real cannons, and they were fucking loud, and they were AWESOME.
We went to that concert every year from 1994 to 2008. That first year, I took my boyfriend. Then I took a different boyfriend. Then I took my husband. Then I took my son, who wasn’t scared of the fireworks or the cannons at all, and then I took my baby daughter (she wasn’t bothered by the noise either. Both my babies were pretty bomb proof). Then they stopped having them. That was a sad year. We did eventually find an actual Last Night of the Proms evening to take its place, but we’ve been a bit hit and miss with that. I do love it though. Even the operatic pieces and the classical music. And the singalongs.
So since I thought that the 1812 wasn’t suitable for this line up (I’m currently doing ‘seven songs that describe me’) I tried to come up with another piece that would work. And I landed on Grieg’s The Hall of the Mountain King. It’s a fantasy piece (which you probably guessed from the name) which is cool, because I’m surrounded by fantasy nerds in this house. And as you know, I wrote a fantasy novel for my kids. The first time I heard this song I could never have imagined that I’d write a fantasy novel… One of our teachers played it in class and asked us to write something inspired by the music. You must agree, it’s a cool piece of music to do that to.
So there you go. Classical music with a touch of fantasy.