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How Could These composers (in 1600) Be So Good?


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I'm just an old windbag. Maybe I should take up a wind instrument.

The only comments I'll put on this thread regarding an explanation for "cerebral and academic" are below.

I cringe at the thought of any serious time spent studying, documenting, and archiving events like these:

Score tells performer (violinist in this case) to "pluck" (can't use traditional scoring elements like piz. or some such as that would never be "edgy") the "C" on the stopped "A string" and think about flowers. The score then proceeds to tell the performer to do the same thing again only this time to think about "Magma."

To the academic, the argument is in the process, what it really sounds like is irrelevant.

Then, there is the "jazz composition" professor that after some circuitous route of "rule" declarations sums up by saying, "well, you just gotta "feel it"--.

Or, more recently, within the last 20 years: composing an hour long "passacaglia," based on a very boring ground with the worst attempt at melodic variation --for full symphonic orchestra no less, and receiving accolades for same from the academic music community. Granted, a score with full analysis made it into the text books at the best universities. I guess Tenure has its privileges.


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haha Ecrivain,

I like your example! It certainly does seem more like an academic gimmic than language influencing meaninful musical expression. On the other hand, I wouldn't mind it if the music were good. I guess, my point, in the end is the same as yours: music ought to be judged on its performance--that is, how an audience perceives it. I certainly award bonus points for artifice, and I respect anything intelligent, but beauty is the most important quality, no?

Here is the all-important question: How do you feel about Schoenberg and his students?

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whatever about the listerner, from a players point of view (and I presume a lot us us here play)

I think different genres and idioms can stir different resonances from the soul:

We've been playing through some early Concerti Grossi from the period in question,

and thoroughly enjoy it, the counterpoint, the contrasts, the sweet thirds and sixths.

Then we put up the parts of a Brahms sextet, and wow, do people and instrumetns

respond differently to that.

Shotaskovitch quartets touch raw nerves and have a chilling power.

To be honest, my technique isn't up to Bartok or beyond, but I would love to try.

the same with contemporary works, I have no doubt, if they are accessible to average players.

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  • 1 month later...

Vivaldi's 4 Seasons is a testament to "transparent" writing.

 It can be performed in an infinite variety of styles and

sound as fresh as though written yesterday.  Brahms is an

example of "complete" composing.  You start playing and the

music flies off the page.  No need for interpretation.

 All the work has been done.  Just play and enjoy.

 The second symphony gives me goosebumps whether I am playing

or listening and I feel as though I am in the presence of pure


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