Mussorgsky, Please

I flew back from Salt Lake City on Saturday, and I spent the trip to Minneapolis seated next to a three year old boy. I was a little worried that it would be a noisy and fractious trip back, but I was very wrong.

After getting seated and belted in, my small travelling companion asked his dad,  “I would like to hear Mussorgsky, please”.  Dad found Pictures at an Exhibition  on the airplane audio player, and the boy affixed his headphones, sat back, and listened.  After a bit of that, he said  “Now I would like to hear Tchaikovsky”.  That recording was on a personal audio player, and he happily listened to that for a while. He then watched about 90 minutes of Puppy Pals, a cartoon involving two pugs who have lovely adventures.  The boy wasn’t wiggly at all.

I wasn’t too surprised about this, as I saw that the dad was reading Thucydides The History of the  Peloponnesian War.  The child got a little impatient as we were getting ready to land in Minneapolis, but he handled it well as he and his dad played tic tac toe until we were at the gate. Oh, that all children were so well managed and well behaved.

When did music become important to you? What music do you remember from your childhood? How have your musical tastes changed over the years?

53 thoughts on “Mussorgsky, Please”

  1. That’s a great story, Renee. I could write a book about your questions. I’ll just say now that my mom used music as a way of achieving calmness, and she preferred syrupy pop music to that end. Her favorite singers were Billy Eckstine and Vaughn Monroe (obscure names to most people today). My dad tolerated her tastes, although he always teased her about “Vomit Monroe.”

    I mostly ignored music as a child. Then one day a song played on our family radio, a thrilling song that shattered my casual dismissal of music. The song was a recording by Pete Seeger and the Weavers of a Zulu melody from the 1920s. The official name is Mbube, although I knew it as Wimoweh. I was never indifferent to music after hearing it that day in 1951.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. i did have rusty on orchestraland and manners can be fun on the stack of records that i played as i bounced on the couch like a trsmpoline or rode my rocking horse but mostly i listened to musicals, my fair lady, oklahoma, and the like,

    my memories go back to age two but music memories start at 3

    my grandson responds to music like a drug. he will be screaming bloody murder and not respond to food or t
    it’s or teething rings but if you plug in jason mraz he calms down and smiles like an angel.
    i’m breaking him with bob dylan, miles davis and eva cassidy. music is magic for sure

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Last night I heard from my sister. After having struggled for weeks, she has given up on using WordPress, meaning she can’t post here. She asked me to say goodbye and to send her best wishes to all you Baboons.


        1. If I try to access the trail on Chrome, it won’t let me in. If I use plain Google, it will. I don’t quite understand why.


        2. I still don’t understand. I thought Chrome was a browser and Google was a search engine.

          However, since I have no trouble getting on the trail, I guess I don’t have to understand.


    1. My guess is, she’ll be back. Or perhaps that’s just wishful thinking on my part? Although CB was a somewhat sporadic contributor to the trail, she always had interesting things to say. I hope she’ll peek in from time to time.

      Do you know how her fight with city hall is going? Did they resolve the boat she doesn’t own at her dock situation?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Important from day one – early music memories:
    – falling asleep as mom played an ease Chopin Prelude
    – singing some movie song (The Trolley Song?) for relatives as mom accompanied
    – listening to local radio kids program (Handy Andy) playing “Three Little Fishies”
    – dancing around the living room (this is on film)
    – showing Mom the songs and finger plays we learned in Kindergarten

    Back later for other question. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Always important. Tom Dooley by The Kingston Trio is the first song I can with certainty remember hearing. There was a cubby hole in my bedroom adjoining the kitchen. I was barely able to fit my five-years-old frame into it and from there, through the wall, heard the song on Mom’s radio. The next memorable song is Come A Little Bit Closer by Jay And The Americans. It was the first song played on my new transistor radio as I sat upon the fire hydrant across the street. Since then, I have incorporated music into my side jobs. I filled my computer with thousands of songs and burned CDs from my library. I would make a guess at what music my client might like and after getting permission to play something, got to work. After completion of the job, I would give the CD to the customer as a sort of calling card.

      Liked by 4 people

  5. 1. In the womb or soon after, I believe.
    2. Endless records of classic American folk tunes. Also Broadway soundtracks, Dave Brubeck, Rachmaninoff and other piano concertos, Dixieland, Flamenco music, and my sister’s early rock and roll records (think “Meet the Beatles” and other discs from the mid-60s to early 70s.
    3. I didn’t get into jazz until high school, but I was hooked for life once I transitioned from Chicago and Blood, Sweat, and Tears “jazz-rock” to bebop and big bands like Buddy Rich, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, etc. Grew to love classical music in college and I’ve always been a fan of top-level concert band/wind ensemble music,

    Chris in O-town

    Liked by 5 people

  6. Hi–

    Dad always had music on down in the barn. Polkas if he could find them on the one AM station that played them… maybe out of Fairbault or something? I sure never cared to find out who it was…

    I remember AM radios in the basement and listening to ‘Knock Three times’ by Tony Orlando and Dawn.
    Music is huge in my life.
    Pretty much I do theater so I can listen to music all day long. And if I can use the full sound system in the theater, all the better!

    Great story of the kid on the airplane! Kudos to his parents!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Here’s a brief history of my main musical interests. Some items are categories. Some are performers I loved whose work doesn’t fit with labels (like Bob Dylan). The list is in order. I grew up enjoying the original rock artists, then fell in love with folk. My college years were a giant binge session of listening to classical music.

    1950s rock (Elvis, Buddy Holly)
    1960s and 1970s rock (CSN&Y)
    Bob Dylan
    Bonnie Raitt
    Experimental folk guitar (John Fahey)
    Classic jazz (1920s and 1930s)
    Laurie Anderson, Jane Siberry

    I continue to enjoy all of these, but my radio stays on folk music now.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. My parents had 33’s and 45’s and always had a couple of record players. I had a little one in my room that played these little 45’s. I vividly remember The Naughty Lady of Shady Lane. I could never figure out what she did that was naughty.

    My dad was always singing something, usually just a couple of lines from popular songs from the 40’s. We had 33’s by the Platters, Pearl Bailey, Marty Robins, and then my momgot a set of classical records from Readers Digest. Excerpts, of course, but I listened to them a lot.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. You ever hear about Pearl Bailey and the 1985 Amtrack wreck? Pearl and her husband were in an Amtrack train that hit a truck on the tracks and derailed. 52 people were injured, none badly. Everyone stayed calm because Pearl walked through the wreckage with a bullhorn, dressed in a nightgown and robe. “Things are gonna be okay,” she told shook-up passengers, “this is Pearl, honey.” Of course, she didn’t have to say her last name.

      Liked by 3 people

  9. Nice story, Renee. It’s always such a pleasure when you see a child interacting with an adult in a mutually respectful way. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have been able to identify either of those composers at that age. Strauss, maybe; Tchaikovsky, perhaps, but Mussorgsky, no way.

    I grew up on an eclectic array of popular music. Mom’s family was very musical, they all loved singing, so a lot of my early exposure was to popular, usually pretty sentimental, Irish tunes. After we moved to Denmark, her favorites became more and more sentimental. Brendan O’Dowda and the Clancy Brothers were huge favorites.

    Dad loved singing, too, though he didn’t have a great voice, but he sang with great gusto and enthusiasm. He taught us a lot of old Danish children’s songs. To this day I remember the words and tunes to a lot of them. When I ask Hans if he remembers these old songs, he usually says no. I pity him for not having experienced the joy and humor of these old songs.

    My earliest exposure to American music came through my uncle Børge who loved Nat King Cole, and Dean Martin; I must have been about nine or ten at the time. Soon Harry Belafonte, Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald joined my favorites, along with Mahalia Jackson. A Danish band, Papa Bue’s Viking Jazz Band became very popular around 1957-58, they were great proponents of Dixieland jazz.

    My earliest exposure to so-called classical music were the pieces I was learning to play on the piano: Für Elise, An Der Schönen Blauen Donau, Radetzky March, Chopin’s Nocturnes and Etudes – I showed no mercy, I slaughtered them all.

    As you can tell, I could go on and on about music, but let’s just leave it at this: My taste in music is wide ranging and eclectic, and I like it like that.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Thanks, BiR.It didn’t even occur to me to look on YouTube for them. Everybody Loves Saturday Night was one of their first big hits. I saw them once in concert together with Freya, one of my high school friends who I’m still in concert. This brought tears to my eyes.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Who I’m still in contact with. I hate this new feature of whatever program it is that presumes to finish my sentences for me.


  10. We mainly listened to Top 40 radio stations when I was young, but we all sang in the guitar group at church every Sunday. I remember my older sisters buying Seals & Crofts albums and I loved that music.

    My dad had a couple odd albums that we thought were hilarious. Cowboy songs, yodeling, “The Old Rugged Cross” juxtaposed with drinking songs like “Whiskey, Rye Whiskey — Whiskey I Cry, if I don’t get a rye whiskey I surely will die.” Fun stuff.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I grew up hearing a lot of classical (incl. Opera & Broadway) on the radio, but didn’t necessarily know the composers till college. I know a lot of pop music from watching all those TV Variety Specials in the 50s and 60s. Loved the choral stuff I was exposed to in h.s. & college. Liked the usual early rock and folk in teens, and branched out in my 20s to include some R&B and the exper. guitar mentioned by Steve…

    Then TLGMS (The Late, Great Morning Show) filled in the gaps.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I sometimes use music as a practical joke. I have an app that allows playing a jukebox from my cell phone. I can see what is in the queue. It is with fiendish delight that I’ll anonomously play Slim Whitman Indian Love Call or Sugar Sugar by The Arvhies in the middle of a rap set.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks, Caroline. I’m not in the market for dishes (or anything else), but I was curious to see what dishes your children were interested in having. Mere curiosity.

      Liked by 2 people

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