“Oh, Honestly! Sally!”
by Anton Wills-Eve
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Agree to Disagree.” <a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/agree-to-disagree/”>Agree to Disagree</a> “Oh, Honestly! Sally!”
“You what? You think pop music is better than Mozart, Beethoven, Bach and Brahms? Are you off your head, or what?” Sally was adamant. She shook her mop of chestnut curls and scowled at me.
” And just how many singles has Brahms had at number one in the charts? Eh? And how many millions did Beethoven make when he released his fifth symphony? Two dimes and a bit probably! It’s you who don’t know what you’re talking about.” I was getting very heated at this point because we were discussing which concert we should go to next weekend and she had chosen ‘Glastonbury’ and I had chosen the Festival Hall. But I quickly thought I had stuck a dagger right into her argument when I said,
” And who is the greatest soloist on show this weekend? Seriously Sal. Do you really think Mick Jagger, poncing around the stage, lips a quiver, is a musician in the same league as Stephen Hough, the greatest living concert pianist, giving us the sublime sounds of one of the world’s greatest pieces of music when he plays Brahms’ first piano concerto? For a start one’s music and the other’s a great entertainer who has a place on Olympus, granted, but in a slightly different category!”
We loved each other, believe it or not, but music was the great dividing point in our lives. For a start I did not think that Sally’s sounds of enjoyment were even music, and she in turn thought that mine were just a pose put on to impress people who assumed that as I was steeped in the history and knowledge of classical music and musicians then I must be some sort of upper class superman. Then she aimed her dart. Good aim too!
“When Hough played Brahms’ opus 15 at the Proms, he added four bars at the end because he thought it sounded better! Better than Brahms? Who did he think he was? The critics were up in arms.” I fell back, staggered.
“How the hell did you know about that? And don’t say you listened to it because I wouldn’t believe you! It wasn’t that nerd Gregory, was it? ” My blood, like my challenged passion, was up. I tried to continue with “All he knows about classical music is …”
“…Is completely irrelevant. I heard that prom, well saw a recording of it and the way he slammed his fist into the last bar was certainly not in the score. No, you have to accept the top performers in all branches of entertainment are those who make the audience sit up and take notice. Rubinstein, Horowizt, Gould, Arrau how many more do you want me to concede? I know all about the really great performers, but were they the greatest musicians? No they weren’t and that’s why I prefer pop and rock to your favourites. Mine never pretended to be better than they were, but yours only cared about what over educated music critics in upper class newspaper reviews thought of them!” It suddenly struck me that we were both talking unadulterated rubbish. So I tried to calm things down.
“Okay, Sal. We’ll toss for where we go this weekend. Heads it’s my music tails it’s your cacophony. Okay?” She nodded. I flipped a two pound coin high in the air, it landed heads up, and we were off to the Festival Hall. But as we made our way to the concert that weekend she did ask me one interesting question.
“What is your favourite piece of chamber music? Mine is Brahms’ opus eight, his first piano trio. Have you heard the Louvre recording by Istomin, Sterne and Rose? It must be on it’s own in that category surely?” I was stunned because I agreed. How on earth could I get my own back. Then I knew the only weapon I had.
“Yes, but looking at your type of noise, even I would have to agree that ELP were the greatest progressive rock band of all time. I mean Keith Emerson on keyboard alone was …..” she looked puzzled as she asked,