The other day, during a conversation with a friend, I mentioned that I hated Mozart. Hate, hate, hate Mozart, especially his operas. There is an etude written in d-minor that I enjoy, but I can never remember which one it is, and I don't want to wade through his entire body of work to find it. Other than that, Mozart is not for me. Today, though, as I was trying to nap, I remembered that I really liked his Requiem. I've even been known to darken the entry arches of a Catholic cathedral at least twice to hear it performed on All Souls' Day. So what's up with that? Come to find out that the reason I like it is because it isn't reallyMozart's work. He set up the requiem with the introduction, but the bulk of the work was written by Eybler and Süssmayr. Mystery solved. I can go back to hating Mozart.
The funny thing is, this has suddenly become the norm for my listening tastes. Last week I was dozing on the couch, listening to Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition and Night on Bald Mountain. I performed them both in college, and I really like them, or at least parts of both of them (the final passages of Night on Bald Mountain stick in my head as particularly nice). When I woke up after my nap, I started reading the liner notes to my CD, and realized the reason I like Mussorgsky's music so much is because it isn't really written by him. Ravel did the orchestration of Pictures at an Exhibition that I know the best (Mussorgsky wrote it for piano), and that makes sense, because I really like Ravel. And Rimsky-Korsakov completed--and completely changed--Night on Bald Mountain. The ending that I like? Pure Rimsky-Korsakov.
So, I guess the thing I like is famous music ghost-written by other famous musicians. At least it helps put me to sleep in the afternoon.