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Long term Gramophone reader, now ex

Discussion in 'classical' started by JOHN VAN BAVEL, Mar 1, 2017.

  1. Jim Audiomisc

    Jim Audiomisc pfm Member

    When discussing such things we also need to keep in mind that a lot of what was written in past centuries was also "tripe" - formulaic, clumsy, unoriginal, etc. However most of that has long gone to landfill and we have no idea it exists. What we tend to call 'classical' now from past eras is what has survived.

    Sadly, along with that some good music has almost surely also been lost.

    Recently I've been capturing and watching some old films from the "Talking Pictures TV" station. Many of them I've never seen before, some I'd not even heard of. Many are pretty silly or shallow, but can still be interesting. e.g. when they feature various kinds of music which is now regarded as 'old fashioned'.

    The station also has a series of 'shorts' which feature old silent films showing various places, etc, around the UK and elsewhere. The music coupled to these seems to be from the era between music-hall and the pre-WW2. Usually things I've never heard. As is also the case for some 'musical' shorts featuring bands and performers I'd never before encountered.

    Shame that TPTV isn't in the Radio Times. They seem to prefer to cover USA-based 'film' channels, etc. :-/
  2. Jim Audiomisc

    Jim Audiomisc pfm Member

    IIRC *Mozart* wrote a score to let people do that. :)
  3. Richard C.

    Richard C. pfm Member

    Perhaps, Tony, you (mercifully!) have misunderstood me. My reference to the First School was precisely because I do not like Mozart. Unquestionably, his Giovani, Requiem and the Flute are masterworks but I have little regard for the rest of his stuff. If someone is looking for "formulaic", then look no further than WAM - he contributed almost nothing to musical development during his time.

    As demonstration of the validity of that view, compare the content of the many quartets of Haydn - almost as many as Bocherini - with those of Beethoven, his unappreciative pupil. Haydn's works represent the culmination of Classical development; Beethoven boldy ushers in the Romantic period with his first quartet almost being a corollary of Haydn's last but by the time he got to No15, things had moved light years ahead. On the other hand, Mozart's writing progressed hardly at all, either within itself or relative to the outside musical world, no doubt because of the waning of his childhood prodigiousness. His chamber works and concerti were little more than pastiche and Tafel Musik.. So, in effect, I partly am disagreeing with Jim Audiomisc's contention that the tripe of yore has been weeded out by the criticism of time; some of it is has survived, is alive and well and to be found in the oeurvres of our Wolfy. :eek: So, as far as I'm concerned, you may be as anti Mozart as you like!

    This morning Radio 3 broadcast Rhapsody in Blue. Surely, this, along with An American in Paris serves to demonstrate that modern music does not have to be iconoclastic, atonal and thoroughly unpleasant. Gershwin was a helluva lot cleverer than the talentless charlatans who have followed him; his music will endure because of it. Thus no doubt proving Jim's point!
  4. gingermrkettle

    gingermrkettle Deep vein trombonist

    Interestingly, Gershwin was a good friend of Schoenberg. Both rated each other's music very highly.
  5. alanbeeb

    alanbeeb pfm Member

    Modern Music? composed 90 years ago?

    There is plenty of music by living composers that is not atonal, iconoclastic nor unpleasant. Anyway, atonal can be effective, in small doses.
  6. Music freak

    Music freak pfm Member

    A testing example of where classical music got itself into a mess is to go to a computer record buying site that allows various short 'music samples'. Then go by auditioning through a long list of the 20 th Century material samples , on offer.

    At the end of such exercise, ( over many hours) I will be surprised if one is not staggered by the enormous amounts of pretentious dross that 'wanting to be noticed' composers created in homage : post - the commencement of the 2nd Viennese School.
    The thought of lyricism mixed in with dissonance - and finally forming compositional coherences is usually nowhere suggested / hinted /or found in the vast majority of cases. And yes, I formed that opinion even though I am not frightened to listen to material ,thought by some - demanding or challenging . I:E: I even do ....have numerous versions of like Berg's Lulu & Wozzeck -which I respect - on my shelves!! )
    To me, any musical piece wanting to be taken seriously must have a 'structure' that finally jells. Invariably instead, seeking further horizons of musical discovery - usually have meaningless gestures of "toot, whistle, plunk & boom followed possibly by instrumental squeals and shrieks " thrown at us, the listeners - Showing up how desperate the creator of a Work to convince how profound , the composition is supposed to be.
    A good example: Just take a look at the Naxos catalogue at the moment and the massive 'heap' of U.S.A compositions on CD' - too many, sounding as if they were composed to impress the narrow ideas of one or two mythical Music University professors. Also I can equally think it comes from composers too afraid to express real human feelings and emotions in Music. They then tend to also hang some hilariously pretentious 'academic' titles on the musical piece -represented.
    I have got to the point of thinking "Why bother, wasting time : listening to this rubbish ?"
  7. camverton

    camverton pfm Member

    Wow! There's a lot of anger about new music.

    Strange really; it's not as though anyone is forced to listen to it, there being plenty of choice for all tastes.

    It is quite reasonable to form criteria of what constitutes music that one likes, but somewhat unreasonable to condemn anything that doesn't conform to be tripe, rubbish, and written by charlatans.

    Fortunately not everyone is so "conservative", and concert promoters and record labels have the vision to look beyond the tried and tested. It is inevitable that much of the new will fall by the wayside, but much will survive to be appreciated by a more enlightened generation.

    It was ever thus. We are the enlightened generation that now listens to Beethoven's Grosse Fugue, Stravinksky's Rite and Berg's Lulu.

    Thank goodness for composers and artists who push the boundaries!
  8. Richard C.

    Richard C. pfm Member

    I reached that point many years ago!;)

    Matters that cannot be tested by some demonstrable method are unlikely satisfactorily to be resolved and so I shall retire from the fray. But as I do so, I wonder what legacy we might have inherited if the apogee of western musical culture had bloomed from a different culture.

    Would the pillar of the B minor Mass support so much (or even be remembered at all) if Bach had written it in quarter tones? Would the Heilige Dankgesang have its ethereal sublimity if Beethoven had employed polytonality? Could Tod und das Maedchen be endured if Schubert had written aleatorically? To what level of nonsense would the 1st Piano Quartet be reduced if Brahms had used tone clusters? What sort of headache would be induced by Elijah if Haydn had incorporated polyrythms? The questions are endless but there is a commonality of answers.

    I am very happy to remain "conservative", for I have heard Stockhausen and been spared madness.
  9. pianoman

    pianoman pfm Member

    Beethoven might well have employed polytonality had he been writing a century later...

    Your argument mentioning 20th century techniques applied to the baroque and classical period is ridiculous - like saying why didn't Velasquez paint like Pollock or Dante write like Beckett...Things grow and change, morph into new styles. What's the point of a modern composer writing like Brahms ?
  10. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Indeed. It is also worth noting that things like Stravinsky's Rite Of Spring, Berg's Wozzeck, Schoenberg's Verklarte Nacht, Verase's Ionisation, Reich's Octet, Cage's percussion or prepared piano pieces, Gorecki's Symphony 3 etc etc etc, all of which use some of the techniques cited above are now considered basic repertoire by many orchestras. These are no longer new works, they are part of the fabric of classical music as performed in the 21st century. Sure, some stuff, e.g. Stockhausen's monumental Hymnen in its original electronic form, Subotnik's Silver Apples Of The Moon etc reside somewhere else as really they can't be recreated, only replayed, but they still find new listeners and increasing respect as time moves forward.
  11. alanbeeb

    alanbeeb pfm Member

    I'm depressed that discussion of modern music cannot take place without the likes of Cage, Stockhausen, Reich being uppermost in the name dropping stakes.

    There are plenty of modern composers who don't follow in their path! And lots of recordings of their music.

    Would like to hear more mention of Dutilleux, Lutoslawski, Hillborg, MacMillan, Maxwell Davies, Turnage and plenty of others.
  12. camverton

    camverton pfm Member

    I was listening to McMillan's Three Dawn Rituals last night, lovely, music full of interest and a delight to open ears.

    You are absolutely right, Alan, modern music takes so many forms but the problem seems to be that once someone has been put off, they close their minds. That is their privilege of course, until they start criticising what they have not heard or understand. Then their opinion becomes worthless - to all but themselves.

    those of us not put off live in exciting times; much to explore, enjoy, puzzle over. You only have to go to late Shostakovich to hear how Schoenberg's influence results in music of great emotion and, yes, beauty.
  13. Music freak

    Music freak pfm Member

    One is not asking a modern composer to do so.
    A case in point : to disprove such a notion , is if one listens to the Violin Concerto of John Williams (Yes, the composer of Star Wars fame!) .
    Nowhere could one aurally twig a compositional style connection between the two above mentioned works...... while at the same time , accepting the fact : he certainly is expert at writing a lengthy & substantial 'rather tough nut sounding ' composition that finally - satisfyingly resolves itself.
  14. davidjt

    davidjt pfm Member

    I'd recommend the splendid live recording from Lugano 2008 of Pletnev's Fantasia Elvetica. First heard by accident, I thought it might be an early (happy!) piece by Shostakovich, unaware that Pletnev was a composer as well as pianist and conductor. Anyway it's the most recently composed piece I put on regularly and in two words, Great Fun!
  15. Buntobox

    Buntobox pfm Member

    Agreed. I'm not a fan of Rattle either. He's good but not, I think, as good as he's cracked up to be. When he was appointed to the Berlin Phil, I remember saying to my wife "what on Earth are they thinking?!"
    A few years ago I heard him on Radio 3 in a performance of Sibelius' 3rd with the Berliners in a live concert. It had had a surprising number of bum notes in it and sounded under-rehearsed. I reckoned Karajan would be turning in his grave.
  16. davidavdavid

    davidavdavid EARWAG

    Before any of you all go postal on my ___, I would recommend you visit the website of the American Record Guide http://www.americanrecordguide.com/ It is the oldest existing classical music review magazine in the United States. Been reading it for years now, and not a whole lot of fluff. They have neither the patience nor the room for that soft of stuff.

    They have at least one sample review online at any one time, and if you visit their CONTENTS link you can see for yourself the types of classical music they review.

    Hope this helps.

    PS, Dont' be too hard on Gramophone, They mean well.
  17. Buntobox

    Buntobox pfm Member

    While I was working for the Music Department at the BBC in Glasgow, I asked the then Head of Music why the Brahms or similar always followed the interval after the hideous modern piece had been played during the first half of the concert. He was quite straightforward about it: "If I programmed it the other way round the hall would empty during the break".
  18. gingermrkettle

    gingermrkettle Deep vein trombonist

    Yep. Proms 2000, they put the Beethoven 3rd piano concerto with Brendel in the first half and the UK premiere of Henze's 9th symphony (which is an astonishing work) in the second half. First half: behind the fountain. Second half: virtually on the rail.

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