V.com weekend vote: What was your father's favorite music?

June 18, 2022, 10:35 PM · The music of our parents tends to make a big impression on us as children, since it often serves as our introduction to all music.

old gramophone and radio

So since today is Father's Day, I wanted to ask in the vote: what was your father's favorite music, when you were growing up? Did it become your favorite music? Or did you go in a different direction? Is there music that particularly reminds you of your father?

It's hard for me to pin down what kind of music my father liked best - his ample collection of LPs included a nice compilation of classical records, but it also included a lot of musicals (Mame, the Sound of Music, Camelot), a bit of jazz (Dave Brubeck), a few crooners (Johnny Mathis).

Dad was the one who got us an eight-track tape player (anyone remember those?), and on that we listened many times to a recording he brought home: the soundtrack to the original "Star Wars."

When I joined the youth orchestra, it was Dad who took me to the record store several times a year and bought me LPs of the music that we were playing - that's how I came to know Dvorak Symphony No. 8, Beethoven 7, Capriccio Español, the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto and many other works. Thank you, Dad!

In the car, he always had the dial on the classical station, KVOD ("Voice of Denver"!).

What kind of music did your father listen to, and how did it affect you? Please participate in the vote and then tell us about it in the comments. And...Happy Father's day!

Thanks to Diana Skinner for this Weekend Vote idea. If you have an idea for the Weekend Vote, please e-mail me. I welcome your ideas!

More Father's Day Stories:

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June 19, 2022 at 03:56 AM · During the depression (late 1930s), my dad (one of five children) lived with his parents in the upper apartment of an up-down duplex. The couple that lived downstairs had an expensive gadget -- a record-player and several records. When they were not home, Dad was allowed to go downstairs and listen to records (shellacs). He recalls that they had a recording of the Bach Double. When I was growing up my folks had innumerable vinyl records, including Gilbert & Sullivan shows, folk music, and a LOT of renaissance and baroque music. But by the time I was old enough to really pay any attention, Dad basically only listened to solo piano music -- mostly Chopin, usually Horowitz, Rubinstein, or Lipatti. Sometimes Scarlatti. Rarely Mozart or Beethoven.

June 19, 2022 at 04:31 AM · When I was growing up, on Christmas morning my dad would always get out the record of the Robert Shaw Chorale singing Christmas music. I honestly believe I looked forward to that almost as much as the presents.

June 19, 2022 at 05:45 AM · My father’s favorite composer was Schubert, and he had a set of the complete Schubert symphonies which he loved to listen to. He also liked Beethoven, particularly the seventh symphony, and some Broadway musicals of the time including My Fair Lady.

I never knew my father‘s father, but his letters make frequent mention of trips up to Indianapolis (he lived just south of there in Franklin) to hear the Indianapolis Symphony, including one concert with Jascha Heifetz.

June 19, 2022 at 09:22 AM · None. None at all. I've never once seen my father voluntarily listen to any kind of music in the 39 years I've been alive. He even goes out of his way to try to avoid hearing music in public, regardless of genre. The classical and jazz I listened to, and the punk rock my sister listened to, were equally noise to him. For me, playing music was my biggest act of rebellion.

June 19, 2022 at 11:28 AM · Before I had even started school, I remember Dad playing recordings of Beethoven 5, Brahms 2, and Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty. These were just a few of the scores that delighted me during my earliest years. I was 7 y/o when I first heard Tchaikovsky 6 ("Pathétique"). I will never forget how the abrupt fortissimo chord that opens the first movement development section grabbed my attention. That wasn't all. The whole score got to me.

By age 7, I had formed my own Saturday routine, during the cold, gray stretches between November and March, of sitting in the living room and listening, on my own, to one classical album after another for several hours. At this age, too, I started elementary piano lessons but didn't get beyond basics, because the violin muse grabbed me. The violin music I was hearing on recordings and radio definitely rubbed off on me.

Broadway and Big Band are two of the other categories listed in the vote. Dad liked these, too, and so did I.

June 19, 2022 at 02:03 PM · I remember my father practicing the Brahms violin concerto. His father gave me my first violin for my 4th birthday. We had very few recordings (all 78rpm) and they were all of Heifetz playing violin concertos. He had a regular evening string quartet (probably weekly) when I was growing up in NYC and he got a new one going when I was 12 and we had moved to the Maryland countryside. When I was 14 and an actual community orchestra of about 40 musicians got going we both actually became a "charter" members the evening after my first cello lesson. I continued to play in it through my high school years and he continued in it 2 years longer, until his death at 48.

June 19, 2022 at 02:22 PM · My dad was a huge fan of Frank Sinatra. When dad was in high school, he lived in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey. His best friend lived next door to Sinatra. When dad would walk over to his friend's house on his way to school, he'd see Sinatra in his driveway with a bucket and a garden hose. Sometimes, more often than not, girls would go over to his house at night, take chalk and write, "I love you, Frankie!" on his garage door. So, Sinatra would go out in the mornings and wash it off. Dad and his buddy got to know Frank Sinatra on a casual, neighborly basis - two high school kids talking with a popular young singer. Once or twice they would ride the ferry across the river to New York City with Sinatra, but that was about it.

My mother never believed these stories.

Years later, I wrote to Sinatra and reminded him of who my dad was. For their 30th wedding anniversary. Sinatra sent them a photo and a personal message. He was a stand up guy.

Mom had the photo framed.

June 19, 2022 at 03:49 PM · None. I cannot recall my father listening to music of any kind...ever. He had a heart of stone and I think he avoided music for fear it would melt it. My Mother enjoyed country western music sung by old stars like Patsy Cline and Hank Williams. She also liked Nat King Cole, Tony Bennett, Perry Como and the "crooners" of the day. Thank God for her or I may never have discovered my love for music.

June 19, 2022 at 04:44 PM · I think my dad loved Mitch Miller the best. I would listen with him and learned a lot of the old west folk music (if you could call it that) in that manner, for which I am grateful. When I was in my preteens, I was given a diary and at the front it had a lot of stuff to fill in, including your favorite band. I wrote "Mitch Miller" because I didn't know any other. When I got into my teens I would read that and marvel at how innocent I was in those years.

June 19, 2022 at 06:17 PM · My Dad loved music- pretty much all types! He was a big opera fan and knew most of the great arias in original languages, hung out in jazz clubs in the late 40s and recorded a lot of musicians on a wire recorder, loved the great singers, the big bands, Mitch Miller, the Clancy Bros, and most anything from New Orleans. When rock got popular, he liked a lot of it. He was a very early Janis Joplin fan. He listened to and loved almost all classical music. We always had a great 'home made' stereo system in the house that he'd upgrade continuously. I carried on a good tradition with my kids- we listened to Jupiter every Sunday morning while cooking a big breakfast. When I asked him to teach me how to whistle, he said just pick any piece by Bach and practice it until you got good. Last music I listened to with him was Also Sprach, too loud, while driving too fast in a 911. Good times!

June 19, 2022 at 08:44 PM · I cannot describe my parents either as music lovers or knowledgeable about music, thought I think they liked what they liked well enough. My father played the banjo a bit, and liked music that seemed to him to be funny. They neither of them liked church music, and made a point of attending 'said' services without choir, organ, hymns. There were a few records and a gramophone at home and I think my sister was first to notice that I pressed my ear close to the speaker, and had learnt to operate it independently. I remember particularly a 45EP of excerpts from 'The Sleeping Beauty': Eugene Ormandy and (of course) the Philadelphia Orchestra. This to me was the sound of music in essence, and I wanted it to always be with me. They were supportive (and probably very tolerant) of my singing everything from 'Carousel', 'The Sound of Music', 'My Fair Lady' and a long etcetera. They started me on the violin, the instrument I chose, at 9 years of age, took me to concerts and set up a pocket-money subsidy to double my savings to buy LPs. I am very grateful for all they did, and have always said that there is something very nice about not being forced into music.

June 19, 2022 at 08:48 PM · When I was growing up, dad's favourite composer was Mozart, followed by Haydn (so of course, to start with, they were mine too).

Laurie, if it had been Berlioz, Liszt, or Tchaikovsky, i.e., Romantic, or Bach or Handel, i.e., Baroque, should I have voted Classical or Something else?

June 20, 2022 at 12:22 AM · @John, I presume that the label "classical" encompasses the romantic, baroque, and other periods of what is sometimes (albeit somewhat pretentiously) called "serious" music. I think "Something else" is a catch-all category for stuff like "World Music."

June 20, 2022 at 12:55 AM · John, I'll await Laurie's official response, but I always assume "classical music" encompasses the Baroque, Romantic, and Contemporary eras, while "classical period" is more specific to Mozart and Haydn. (In other words, I'm in agreement with Paul!)

June 20, 2022 at 05:13 AM · Yes there is the generic “classical” which encompasses it all, and that is what I meant in this case.

June 20, 2022 at 10:16 AM · Despite his not having completed high school and a general disdain for all things educational, he, following the tradition of his father, had a love of opera. Light to grand, he loved it.

Growing up I had the weekend ritual of listening to Milton Cross host the Metropolitan Opera broadcasts. My father controlled the radio so, we listened to classical music.

I love orchestral music, largely classical. Influenced both by my father's choices and Warner Brothers Cartoons. I'm not a classical snob because I follow Duke Ellington's admonition: "If it sounds good, it is good!"

June 20, 2022 at 02:11 PM · My father had a large LP collection, mainly classical.

Curiously he was not very versed in music genres or historical periods. He loved Beethoven, Bach, Liszt, Vivaldi, but despised Mozart and absolutely ignored any English composer.

Not necessarily his favorite piece, but one that he loved, became my absolute favorite: Les Preludes, by Liszt.

In his youth he learned to play a little violin, but never got far. Maybe this inspired me to learn the same instrument.

June 20, 2022 at 02:40 PM · Beethoven, he read somewhere that he was the best so why listen to anyone else?

June 20, 2022 at 04:31 PM · My Dad loved Chet Atkins. I think he liked a little bit of most different types of music, but went out of his way to acquire Atkins recordings.

He wasn't big on jazz, but I did finally turn him on to Django Reinhardt. He was always supportive of my musical interest and the older I get the more I appreciate him.

June 20, 2022 at 07:46 PM · My Dad's tastes in (mostly classical) music were wide-ranging. He liked Romantic symphonies. But when I was quite little, and we lived in Bavaria, he used to listen the Bach cantatas broadcast by Bavarian radio every Sunday, and to tape them on his enormous tape recorder. He once told me that when I was learning to talk, I pointed at the radio and said, 'cantata'. Bach is certainly one of my favourites, including the cantatas as well as his violin music.

June 21, 2022 at 12:41 PM · As a stupid college student, I was too smart to appreciate my Dad's Johnny Cash and Hank Williams records. I had already passed through classic rock and gone classical. But a decade later, I started collecting much old country, Johnny and Hank plus Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson, Carter Family, Loretta Lynn, etc. The world that produced such authentic honest true music no longer exists, taken over by electricity and posing and urbanization and internet.

I just keep going backwards, now I most adore the 17th century music of Europe, and I'm starting to explore the 16th century. For relief, I still put on some old Eric Clapton or Led Zeppelin, but the better feelings come from Johnny and Hank and Willie and Emmylou.

Funny how my Dad hardly even listens to music at all anymore. I'm ready to quit my job so I can better learn violin and gamba while my hands still work.

June 22, 2022 at 02:40 PM · I really don't know what my father's favorite music was as it was always my mother who chose music - always classical. My father listened. My mother made the choices. As far as music was concerned, my father's favorite joke was that he played the comb until he lost his hair. Oh well.

June 24, 2022 at 04:51 AM · My father purchased a number of classical orchestra early LP's. Some gems from that collection, that I remember, were Fritz Reiner/Chicago SO, Bartok concerto for orchestra and Strauss Zarathustra, Rite of spring conducted by Stravinsky, Oistrakh's early recording of the Khachaturian concerto, Beethoven S-9 with Ormandy. As an amateur pianist with more ambition than skill, I remember him struggling with the opening of the Grieg concerto.

June 24, 2022 at 01:04 PM · My dad was a concert pianist, and he abhored any music which was not "classical". In his performances he had a special interest in Shostakovich (hence my given name...) but Beethoven, Rach, Chopin, Bach-Busoni, and Liszt were his favorites. I have a photo of him playing Liszt on Liszt's piano in the Liszthaus in Weimar.

Although he had an extensive LP collection and a sophisticated Revox turntable, especially in later life he didn't really listen that much to music, with the exception of Horowitz's recordings.

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