Posted inI Know But

I Know, But: “The Four Seasons”

Here’s a reason to hate “The Four Seasons”: I last heard “Spring”—unbidden—as I passed through east London’s Walthamstow Bus Station during a routine commute home. Realizing that piping classical music into its stations was a cost-effective means to deter young people from hanging around, Transport for London started playing Vivaldi, Mozart, and Beethoven in 2006. Since […]

Posted inI Know But

I Know, But: “Boléro”

If you remember the 1980s, you remember Ravel’s “Boléro.” Although the work became a fixture on orchestral programs shortly after its premiere in 1928, the ’80s was arguably the decade of peak “Boléro” saturation, bookended by the soundtrack for the 1979 Dudley Moore comedy, “10,” and Frank Zappa’s 1991 album, “The Best Band You Never […]

Posted inI Know But

I Know, But: The “1812 Overture”

When Tolstoy began working on what would become War and Peace, his 1869 opus that moves fluidly between historical novel and philosophical treatise, he initially had a completely different story in mind. Rather than craft a constellation of parallel and intersecting histories between 1805 and 1820 (with a particular focus on Napoleon’s 1812 invasion of […]