The mode of listening that Brahms condemned Bruckner for fostering — wallowing without thought in a bath of sonority and emotion — is how audiences today largely listen to Bruckner symphonies, Bach fugues, Wagnerian opera, and Brahms.

— Jan Swafford, Johannes Brahms: A Biography

I feel seen, and not in a good way!

I’ve always been aware that I don’t “get” classical music on its own terms, and that’s my loss. I’m aware that there are all sorts of subtle nuances that my coarse understanding is incapable of detecting. Like many simpletons, I just know what I like, even if I have no idea what the composer was trying to communicate, or how a composition would have been understood in context. I imagine it’s like trying to follow a conversation in a foreign language, having to rely entirely on tone and body language to have the slightest sense of what’s going on. Well, life is full of trade-offs and opportunity costs, and that just happens to be one of mine.