I don't know what it is exactly about me. But there are certain pieces of music that effect me in a way that many grown men may not want to admit to.
I grew up with a lot of varied musical influences. My mother studied and played classical piano. She also played the organ for our Church on occasion. So there was a lot of Chopin, Brahms, Mozart, and Bach always in the background growing up - but also a lot of country, jazz, and popular music as well. Elvis, Johnny, Frank, Dean, Bing, and Sammy, were also heard a lot in my house. So I learned to appreciate many different musical genres and styles. I can honestly say that I love most music. However there are one or two forms of "music" I simply just don't get and probably never will. But I digress.
The fact that I grew up with so many musical influences is likely the reason I decided to pursue music myself. I studied classical trumpet for over 20 years and I played in a variety of orchestras and bands - Classical, Jazz, Stage, and Blues. I also did my fair share of "rock band" work - Chicago, BTO, Billy Joel, Elton John, and the like. I even sang in a few of these bands. And I've been known to belt out a few show tunes on stage as well.
But it is Classical and Instrumental music that I find myself going back to over and over again. And not just composers that lived in the 1500s through the 1800s, like; Beethoven, Bach, Hayden, Chopin, and Mozart, but 20th Century composers too - Samuel Barber, George Gershwin, and John Williams.
This music effects me. Certain pieces and movements can literally give me goosebumps and in some cases bring me bring me to tears. I have no idea how or why this happens. Believe it or not, The End Title from The Empire Strikes Back composed by (IMHO one of the greatest modern day composers) John Williams always brings me to tears. Again, I have no idea why. It just happens.
Now what does all of this have to do with Christmas you ask? Well, Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker Suite has this effect on me. Not just one or two songs from the ballet but almost the entire suite! Every year I make it a point to see The Nutcracker. The Boston Ballet does a wonderful performance every year - as does the Festival Ballet in Providence. As the Overture begins chills begin to run up and down my arms and a lump starts to form in my throat.
I began writing this entry while listening to The Nutcracker on my mp3 player and even now it has the exact same effect on me as I would get sitting in the theater watching a live performance. Weird.
Well, it's late and I am off to bed. After sitting here rambling on about The Nutcracker, I wonder if I will dream about a giant Mouse King.