The great thing, and also the challenge, with classical music is that it has many layers. A 40-minute piece of music with no words is something you never find in pop music. How to begin understanding these amazing compositions? You can always simply let the music wash over you, but if you’d like to dig deeper, here are some hints…
Begin by simply googling whatever piece you’re interested in! The first thing that comes up may be performances on YouTube. Never before in world history has so much music been available at no extra cost (beyond the technology and Internet connection). Many different recordings of standard classical works are on YouTube. You can even compare them and find your favourite!
Another resource is wikipedia, which will give you most of the information you’ll need. If you’re not clear on some of the terminology, click on the highlighted links for explanations. Most wikipedia articles have a section at the end called “External Links” which will lead you to relevant pages elsewhere on the net. Here is a classical music link I find useful: https://www.thewholenote.org. Happy learning and surfing!
About Charles Demuynck
Maestro Demuynck has been OCO’s Artistic Director, with some interruptions, since 1995. As well, he is the Music Director of Masterworks of Oakville Chorus and Orchestra, and St. Andrew’s Catholic Church in Oakville.
Charles Demuynck has guest conducted extensively in Europe and the U.S., and with the following Canadian orchestras: Orchestra London, Mississauga Symphony, Oshawa-Durham Symphony, Scarborough Philharmonic, Cathedral Bluffs Symphony, Etobicoke Philharmonic, Prince George Symphony, National Academy Orchestra, Royal Conservatory New Music Ensemble, Lethbridge Symphony, North York Concert Orchestra, Rose Orchestra of Brampton, and the Philharmonie des Jeunes d’Ottawa-Carleton. His previous posts include: Music Director of the Brampton Symphony Orchestra, and City Centre Musical Productions (Mississauga); Music Director, Stouffville United Church and Prophet Elias Greek Orthodox Church, Mississauga; Assistant Conductor of the Knoxville (TN) Symphony; Music Director, Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Orchestra (LA); Director of Orchestras at the University of Evansville (IN), and Conducting Apprentice of the Hartford Symphony.
A native of Dawson Creek, B.C., Charles Demuynck holds a doctorate in conducting from the Hartt School in Hartford, Conn. He also holds conducting degrees from the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore, and the University of Toronto. In addition, he is an active composer, and his works have been performed on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border. The OCO, Masterworks, Nathaniel Dett Chorale, Bach Elgar Choir (Hamilton), National Academy Orchestra, and Scarborough Philharmonic are among the groups that have performed his works.
A CD of Beethoven’s Symphony #8 and Brahms’ Piano Concerto #2 conducted by Charles Demuynck with pianist Gamet Ungar and the VARNA Philharmonic is available for purchase on iTunes.