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Oliver Mundy

Musical bugbears

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We often hear and tell of things that we love; but what of those (in music) that we hate?

My personal devil is ‘Carmina Burana’. I an rarely moved to disgust by any work of art (though often to despair), but the first half of this work (all I could endure) fairly horrified me; the deliberate mindlessness, the relentless excision of anything in the way of structure or development or progression, struck me as an act of self-mutilation on Orff's part that had something obscene about it. The fact that Orff's motifs and scoring are often genuinely powerful only sets the crown on the abomination; he sweeps his listeners off their feet, only to leave them lying helpless while he passes on as indifferent as the wind. It is almost like an act of rape — a violent, callous and ephemeral assault on people's feelings by one utterly unfeeling.

Is anyone else ever outraged by a piece of music in this way?

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I like the opening theme of Carmina Burana and one of the later ones - the rest of the work seems fairly inconclusive to me.

I seem to not mind great playing of not-so-great music, but I definitely don't like not-so-great playing of great (and not-so-great) music.

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Well, it's supposed to be vulgar and theatrical (i.e. overly expressed). It depicts the secular lives of the middle ages people. I think Orff did a good job, it was actually a stage work when it was premiered, but these days people just think that it is too serious to be accompanied by dance and background settings.

I like Richard Wagner's overtures, but I don't like his opera. It is so boring and the plots are very strange. I end up forgetting what the plot is because there is so much music. I can't stand Richard Strauss!

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A second vote against anything Strauss. Bad to listen to, even worse to have to play.

And let me add Vivaldi to that. His works are much too wimpy and predictable for me. My mind always wanders when listening to him.

Among individual works, I really don't like the Beethoven violin concerto. I've heard so many good comments about on the FB, but I can't stand it. The first movement is mind-numbingly long. I don't mind length if it's good, but it's not. The second movement puts salt on the wound of the first, and the third, while it's ok, repeats too many times and has only the one theme.

That's my list. Thanks for making this thread. Lets me vent on these. Feels good.

DM

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I really, really, really can't stand the polka from Schwanda the Bagpiper (I've even repressed who wrote it). Ever since I first had to play it in youth orchestra I can't stand the tune or the orchestration. It's so completely bland and uninteresting.

Thank you, I feel better now smile.gif

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Carmina Burana also bugs me, although I think that this is because of what I know of its origins. It was commissioned to accompany a light show at one of Hitler's Nuremberg rallies. I also associate it with an unlamented college conductor's bid to keep his job. It was his last program, and a little beyond the forces we had at the time, albeit with lots of flash for the gallery. We still hired another guy the next year.

Der Rosenkavalier has always made me a bit ill. The cruelty and cynicism are a bit over the top, and made far worse by masquerading as sentimentality and nostalgia. Give me Elektra, Eulenspiegel or Heldenleben any day. There, the cleverness is naked and shameless.

Also, there's a great deal of Prokofiev that makes me feel a little uneasy-- Romeo and Juliet, for example. Beautiful on the surface, but does a heart beat underneath? It seems to me that S.P. had internalized the ability to fake sincerity.

I once despised Scheherezade from having to work on it for a full season in youth orchestra. Twenty years later, it's part of our spring concert, so I'll find out if my fuse remains blown.

[This message has been edited by Stephen (edited 07-26-2000).]

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quote:

Originally posted by DigiMark:

Among individual works, I really don't like the Beethoven violin concerto. I've heard so many good comments about on the FB, but I can't stand it. The first movement is mind-numbingly long. I don't mind length if it's good, but it's not. The second movement puts salt on the wound of the first, and the third, while it's ok, repeats too many times and has only the one theme.

DM

Whose recordings have you heard? Curious.

Thanks.

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I am not particularly fond of late German Romantic composers in general, with the exceptions of operetta composers like Lehar, Stolz. Music of Wagner,Bruckner, Mahler and R. Strauss tend to make me somewhat uncomfortable. I seem to prefer certain understatement of French music.

I do like operetta composers, regardless of their nationalities, though. Music of Johann Strauss, Franz Lehar, Jacques Offenbach, Emmerich Kalman and Robert Stolz have always been close to my heart.

Toscha

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Jascha,

I didn't like Mahler when I was young either. Keep going back and trying those that you don't like now every few years. Mahler left a lot of great work to be enjoyed, as did Strauss, and Prokofiev. And Haydn, and Vivaldi. At least no one said the Handel Messiah - it gets better everytime I play it (several times a year).

I find Carmina Burana amusing, but I would never select it to play on my stereo at home.

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Digimark.....

Did you actually say you DISLIKE the Beethoven concerto?!? Of course everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, but COME ON!

[This message has been edited by Ludwig (edited 07-27-2000).]

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quote:

Originally posted by Ludwig:

Digimark.....

Did you actually say you DISLIKE the Beethoven concerto?!? Of course everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, but COME ON!

[This message has been edited by Ludwig (edited 07-27-2000).]

Glenn Gould also hated it. Of course, he was a little out there.

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