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Astonishing Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto


Stephen  Fine
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5 minutes ago, PhilipKT said:

I was talking about the performers, not the composers.

Regarding the stir to which you refer, It is fascinating to think about the conservatives who wrote great music of lasting value, such as Handel, Haydn Mozart, Bach, Mahler And the forward thinkers, Beethoven Wagner, Berlioz and so on. Genius need not be a member of either camp.

I can't imagine either Bach or Mahler being regarded as traditionalists in their own times. Surely Bach was the most radical and shocking figure imaginable? All those damned sharps and flats ....

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8 minutes ago, Stephen Fine said:

On the contrary, the great composers often caused a stir during the times in which they lived.  There has always been an "expected style" and great performers have always pushed against the boundaries in various ways whether it's Mozart, Beethoven, or Tchaikovsky.

From our vantage point, it's much easier to see how they are "within" the style of their peers, while from the perspective of an old fuddy-duddy of the time, it was wild and outrageous.

I have no idea what you're trying to say here.  Classical music was most certainly not always a "thing."  What even is "classical music" as you're using it here?  Music before what we call the Romantic era was much more utilitarian in philosophy.

How are songs from 2000, 1900, 1800, 1700, 1600 1500, 1400, 1300, 1200... different from each other?

Isn't a song written today much more similar to Schubert or Dowland than a symphony or string quartet written today is similar to a symphony or string quartet written in 1800?

The rise of the violin has been traced convincingly alongside the rise of the sopranos in Italy.  I think I've read both Kristi Brown-Montesano and Susan McClary on the topic.

LaRue is a famous source to give you a sense of the scope of what "Classical" music was trash and has fallen by the wayside.  He catalogues over 13,000 symphonies just in the 18th Century.  Really gives you sense of the separation of wheat and chaff. 

Oh, no argument there, we remember a whole lot of bad composers because they were historically significant, but we don’t remember countless, literally countless composers who were deemed worthwhile in their day, who are not even survived by their name.

I was trying to find a quote about Haydn, in which the writer claimed,” We begin to allow Haydn to be ranked with names such as…”Followed by 4 or 5 names I have never heard of. The only name I remember is Cannabich, Which sticks in my mind because of its alliterative relationship, Ha ha ha.

And no, I had never heard of him. Or Jommeli, or Ordonez, or Gassmann. I HAVE heard of Wagenseil, so points for that, at least.

We remember the great, and we remember the famous, and we also remember that there is frequently a vast chasm between the two.

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37 minutes ago, martin swan said:

I can't imagine either Bach or Mahler being regarded as traditionalists in their own times. Surely Bach was the most radical and shocking figure imaginable? All those damned sharps and flats ....

Oh not at all. Bach didn’t create any new forms. What he did was say the last word on existing forms, so much so that nothing more could be said. He discovered the passacaglia form and said,”hmm, I shall write a passacaglia.” And he wrote one. And when he was finished, so was the Passacaglia, because Bach had done all that could be done.

from “Men of Music:”

”It has been said that Bach invented no musical form. This is true only if “invented” is interpreted literally for he borrowed nothing that he did not transmute beyond recognition.To take the most striking case who would credit the invention of the passacaglia to anybody but Bach. True, Frescobaldi and Buxtehude had written fine Passacaglias. Bach used the form only once, but in this Passacaglia he is as different from them as they are different from the nameless Juan Diego who “invented” the Spanish folk rhythm they borrowed. This grave and measured dance, certainly one of the most superbly conceived creations in all music, affords the unique example of a composer using a form once, exploiting it to the utmost, and then abandoning it.”

Mahler Was also a musical conservative in the sense that he didn’t invent anything. He used huge orchestras, But his musical language is not anything that would’ve shocked Beethoven.

edit: On the other hand, sometimes the music the parishioners heard in church took them aback a bit, but when he died, he was remembered more as an organist then as a composer. I think Telemann wrote an obituary that focused on his playing ability rather than honest compositional skills. In that sense, I think Bach the Composer was mostly neglected. Speaking of Bach’s cantatas, Einstein wrote,” they were not appreciated, they were not even heard, they were simply used up.”

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While we can never go back in toto to the composer's day, much less into his/her head, there are imaginative leaps one can make to close the gap.  One thing I find helpful for Beethoven, for example, is to remember that a huge amount of his composition was based on the piano.  Not that he necessarily needed it to hear what he was writing for other instruments, but much of his life was spent at keyboards in salons where you had to be assertive, and tickle their fancy of intelligent listeners by going just beyond what they were expecting.  Creating the same effect today entails knowing what would have been their expectation-- of Beethoven, his predecessors, or his more conventional peers.  Only then, when appropriate, one can emphasize the slight oddities to see what new things he was bringing to the party. 

A lot of LvB's music, for example, places accents on the second beat of the bar, and plays with semi-tones rocking back and forth.  He does this in symphonies, piano concertos, and quartets.  But if we're to make it come alive, we have to go past what is in our record collection and remember that he was the dude who would have tried out all of this on the piano, among friends, colleagues, and competitors.   How did he grab their attention?  And how did he keep it?

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2 hours ago, PhilipKT said:

they were not appreciated, they were not even heard, they were simply used up.”

He chose to not be more widely known as a composer by not writing operas.  Not composing for fame makes the compositions more interesting.  More interesting to ponder and no doubt to listen to.

Regarding the cantatas, I went through a spell of a couple years where I went to youtube and punched in BWV in the search box followed by a random number between 1 and 200.  I recommend it highly.

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1 hour ago, martin swan said:

The Well Tempered Klavier ?

Even today it's a tough listen - to me it still belongs in a different universe, and to contemporary ears it must have been quite painful ...

I think it is glorious. But admittedly, I cannot hear with 18th century ears because I am not a product of the 18th century.

However, I might have approached the modernities of the 18th century the same way I have approached those of the 20th century, that is I can appreciate them without liking them, And be willing to listen multiple times. With the result, for instance, that I still dislike the Bartok quartets(and boy did I try)but I love most Bartok.

I did recently hear A wonderfully played arrangement of a bach flute sonata played by flute and trombone that sounded extremely modern, but was no less glorious for all that.

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4 minutes ago, Bill Merkel said:

He chose to not be more widely known as a composer by not writing operas.  Not composing for fame makes the compositions more interesting.  More interesting to ponder and no doubt to listen to.

Regarding the cantatas, I went through a spell of a couple years where I went to youtube and punched in BWV followed by a random number between 1 and 200.  I recommend it highly.

I do the same thing with the Haydn symphonies and piano sonatas, I just punched in a random number and listen. I have yet to hear one that I wouldn’t be happy to hear again.

Regarding Operas, that was a focus of one of my music history classes, and the fact is that almost nobody in Germany wrote Opera. It just wasn’t a thing. However, in many ways his cantatas are analogous to Opera, so it’s clear that he could have written Opera if he had so chosen, and today they would be glorious as music, if not as operas, much the same can be said for Handel.

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39 minutes ago, Ernee said:

A lot of LvB's music, for example, places accents on the second beat of the bar

Are you describing syncopations?  Mozart owned that.  If you hear "buh BUH BUH BUH" tied across bar lines it's for sure Mozart.  Something else unique to Mozart is a particular melodic cadence that sounds like variations from that song My Grandfather's Clock...  That one has always been kind of a puzzle to me.

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No-- not that sort of syncopation.  More of a dislocation of the line.  The closing statement of the first movement of Op 74 is one example.    The last time around is in bar 246.  It is also an example of LvB's messing with semitones to adjust your sense of the pulse-- the a-flat and the g in this case.

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8 minutes ago, PhilipKT said:

Regarding Operas, that was a focus of one of my music history classes, and the fact is that almost nobody in Germany wrote Opera. It just wasn’t a thing. 

It might just be nobody remembered wrote German Baroque operas :)  I don't know for sure.  I have heard the quote where Bach explains why he didn't write them.  The gist of it is he considered them shallow.  It was dominated by Italians though

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1 hour ago, Bill Merkel said:

It might just be nobody remembered wrote German Baroque operas :)  I don't know for sure.  I have heard the quote where Bach explains why he didn't write them.  The gist of it is he considered them shallow.  It was dominated by Italians though

There’s a quote of JS Bach regarding his apparent opinion of the operas of Hasse: “come Friedmann, Shall we go to Dresden and hear the pretty tunes?”

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16 hours ago, PhilipKT said:

Another interesting question is how much “Pop music” is lasting. The nature of society today, and such that it is extremely easy to be famous, but it is no more easy to be enduring than it was 100 years ago.

I can think of many pop or rock pieces that I considered classics, that will survive and be considered true masterpieces, but taken as a percentage of the whole, that group is so small as to be statistically zero. But I am pretty sure the same thing can be said about classical music. That which survives is rare.

I think there's little doubt that a good deal of "pop music" will endure. The best stuff from the early and mid 1960's still sounds fresh, relevant and exciting fifty-odd years later. Why wouldn't this continue? 

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1 hour ago, Bodacious Cowboy said:

Why wouldn't this continue?

Dilution with new music and money.

For example, many of the big band compositions and performances from the early 20th century are magnificent, but who listens to or pays for big bands anymore?

Recorded music from the 20th century and early 21st century was curated and promoted by record companies. That model has essentially disappeared. Now "new" music has to compete with an ever-growing body of older music, and the curators and promoters are no longer the middle link between artists and consumers. Few emerging artists are able to earn a living while building an audience, but the big winners are the tech companies who are now the direct link between the artists and the consumer.

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6 minutes ago, GeorgeH said:

Dilution with new music and money.

For example, many of the big band compositions and performances from the early 20th century are magnificent, but who listens to or pays for big bands anymore?

Recorded music from the 20th century and early 21st century was curated and promoted by record companies. That model has essentially disappeared. Now "new" music has to compete with an ever-growing body of older music, and the curators and promoters are no longer the middle link between artists and consumers. Few emerging artists are able to earn a living while building an audience, but the big winners are the tech companies who are now the direct link between the artists and the consumer.

Good points, but that wasn't what I meant. My fault for not being clear.

What I mean is that if pop music from the 1960's, 70's 80's etc can be appreciated and enjoyed today (and I'm excluding the nostalgia element here), then I see no reason why it won't continue to have enduring appeal.

 

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3 hours ago, Bodacious Cowboy said:

I think there's little doubt that a good deal of "pop music" will endure. The best stuff from the early and mid 1960's still sounds fresh, relevant and exciting fifty-odd years later. Why wouldn't this continue? 

Well think of the stuff you still enjoy from the 60s. What percentage of the whole is that? And over time that percentage shrinks, just as it has with even the music of the greatest composers.

However, I certainly agree with your comment because you just repeated my point.

 

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39 minutes ago, Ernee said:

Sturgeon's Law is a useful thing to remember as far as that goes.

Sturgeon was generous. I think it’s more like 99.9% is crap. It’s impossible to calculate even approximate percentages, but, before the advent of recorded music, think about the vast amount of music written for every conceivable occasion, and how little was worth being heard a second time. Haydn wrote approximately 2500 separate movements in his long life, and HE is an all-time genius, and yet what remains of his output? And Telemann, the most prolific of all time, an acknowledged master, and how much of his stuff remains on the shelf? And those are two of the famous AND truly great. 
The art rock of the 60s-70s contains some true classics, but nowadays, the stuff is cranked out without thought, designed to make some money and then be forgotten.

This is very far afield from the original topic, but remains within the theme of musical integrity, so is worth sharing.

 

 

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4 minutes ago, Carl Stross said:

And this is the original :

 

And his take on modern art is not too shabby either :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANA8SI_KvqI&list=PLZfo8zSnmaPtRNdAyQQ-JuPMT47Mi43Mz

 

It is very refreshing to hear someone say conclusively that music is objectively good or bad. I also believe that is very true, and I am annoyed by people who insist that it is only a matter of opinion, and a composer is only as good or as bad as the listener thinks, which is demonstrably untrue.

I remember, in a biography of Mozart, a reference to another opera composer named “Ringhini”(?) about whom someone said,”I do not like his music.”

And I wanted to scream through the years,” because it’s BAD.” 

For some reason, Jackie Dupre recorded a sonata by Edmund Rubbra, Which I cannot fathom, because it’s BAD. 
Music is strong enough to endure the overt admission that much of it is bad. Not just “not to my taste” but “bad”

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Music is completely subjective.

To think that music is objectively "good" or "bad" is simply a display of a narrow closed mind. It is to ignore history which has repeatedly shown that art and music that was regarded as "bad" by its contemporaries was later regarded as genius-level "good" by later generations. It is also to ignore the cultural context of art and music where brilliant art and music in one culture can neither be understood nor appreciated as "good" in a different cultural context.

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27 minutes ago, PhilipKT said:

For some reason, Jackie Dupre recorded a sonata by Edmund Rubbra, Which I cannot fathom, because it’s BAD. 
Music is strong enough to endure the overt admission that much of it is bad. Not just “not to my taste” but “bad”

I really don't want to get involved in this debate again but I recently heard that sonata in Raphael Wallfisch's recording and was pleasantly surprised. 

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