A couple of nights ago, K and I were listening to WHRB on the way home. The symphony sounded very familiar -- clearly, it was something I own in my library. I immediately identified it as Mozart. Then a moment later I realized it sounded too Romantic for Mozart. "I'm such an idiot," I said, "it's Beethoven's Fifth Symphony." But the final movement arrived, and it wasn't the familiar final movement of Beethoven's Fifth. I admitted my mistake, but still thought it was Beethoven; clearly, though, it wasn't the fifth, sixth, seventh, or ninth symphonies. Upon closer listening, though, I determined that it was too woodwindy to be Beethoven. "Duh," I exclaimed, slapping myself on the forehead, "it's Mendelssohn's Italian Symphony. I am a disgrace to musicians everywhere!" The melodies certainly were Mendelssohn-esque, and they sounded very familiar. Who else could it be?! And how could I possibly think it was Beethoven or Mozart?!? When the voice on the radio announced that we had just heard Mozart's final and 41st symphony, I could do nothing but hang my head in shame.
This morning I was listening to WGBH. The piece on the radio was clearly, without a doubt, a Mozart piano concerto, one I had probably never heard before. So, again, I was floored when the piece was announced as a Haydn piano concerto.
These are mistakes I would not have made 10 or more years ago, when I regularly listened to classical music. (Regularly being defined in terms of hours per day.) Nowadays I'm just as likely to be listening to rock or salsa or some other genre than classical, and almost exclusively as background music. I simply don't have the time to sit for hours on end listening critically to music. I am going to have to rectify that situation.