A Composer's artistry and popularity. Then and Now

Your 'hot spot' for all classical music subjects. Non-classical music subjects are to be posted in the Corner Pub.

Moderators: Lance, Corlyss_D

Post Reply
ginosec
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun Feb 11, 2007 10:41 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

A Composer's artistry and popularity. Then and Now

Post by ginosec » Tue Oct 23, 2007 9:18 pm

I don't know much about the subject, but I assume like many renouned artists, some of the composers who are loved and respected today were not respected as much as they deserved during their own time.

I was wondering if there are many famous composers who are valued today whose music was obscure in their own lifetime, or perhaps the other way around: composers who were celebrated in their day but history has all but forgotten.

Also, I wonder, are there any famous or important composers who we know of through history, but have no surviving music (due to damage, loss, cencorship etc)?

Barry
Posts: 10228
Joined: Fri Apr 02, 2004 3:50 pm

Post by Barry » Tue Oct 23, 2007 9:31 pm

Bach may not have been totally obscure during his lifetime, but he was not held in anywhere near the kind of esteem he is today. In fact, Handel was the baroque period composer who was most revered in his day. I don't think it was uncommon in Beethoven's day to think of Handel as one of the two greatest composers ever, along with Mozart. He's still considered one of the greats, but has perhaps dropped from the very top tier where Beethoven, Mozart and Bach reside.

I think Weber was considered a rival as a top composer to Beethoven at one point when they were still relatively young. He isn't obscure today, but he's hardly thought of as one of the greats either at this point.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

Ralph
Dittersdorf Specialist & CMG NY Host
Posts: 20996
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 6:54 am
Location: Paradise on Earth, New York, NY

Post by Ralph » Tue Oct 23, 2007 9:50 pm

Kalliwoda is a fine example. In the early to mid nineteenth century his works were frequently performed and, in fact, his Fifth Symphony was played at the premier concert of the New York Philharmonic's ancestor orchestra. Today it's very rare to hear his music live although there are some fine recordings.

In his day Dittersdorf was deeply respected but isn't performed often today and, unfortunately, is often the butt of jokes and slights by CMG's non-cognoscenti. :)

Salieri, too, is not performed often today, a loss bbecause many of his works are truly excellent.
Image

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

Albert Einstein

Jack Kelso
Posts: 3004
Joined: Sun Jun 12, 2005 11:52 pm
Location: Mannheim, Germany

Post by Jack Kelso » Wed Oct 24, 2007 12:40 am

Ralph wrote:Kalliwoda is a fine example. In the early to mid nineteenth century his works were frequently performed and, in fact, his Fifth Symphony was played at the premier concert of the New York Philharmonic's ancestor orchestra. Today it's very rare to hear his music live although there are some fine recordings.

In his day Dittersdorf was deeply respected but isn't performed often today and, unfortunately, is often the butt of jokes and slights by CMG's non-cognoscenti. :)

Salieri, too, is not performed often today, a loss bbecause many of his works are truly excellent.
Kalliwoda himself is largely to blame for his current fate. His First Symphony is a masterpiece, but gradually thereafter his music almost dissolves into popular superficiality. There is no inner growth.

On the other hand, it is difficult to comprehend Joachim Raff's fate. He has symphonies (11), chamber works, operas, four overtures based on Shakespeare and piano works that have scarcely been performed since his death in 1882. And there is much to recommend in his music.

Raff, like other major 19th-century symphonists, was concerned about the "Beethoven Problem"---how does one proceed after "him"?

He rejected the Berlioz-Liszt-Smetana idea of program symphonies/tone poems (although he respected them and their works greatly!) and decided on taking a middle-road---combining mildly suggestive program titles with the Beethovenian classical symphonic form and orchestration.

This "middle road" didn't bring him into conflict with Bruckner or Brahms, Liszt or Wagner, but didn't win him any great supporters either.

Later in life, Raff found his symphonies especially extremely popular, his chamber works performed everywhere. But his hiring of a woman (Clara Schumann) as teacher in the Frankfurt Conservatory where he was director met with much resistence from "macho" circles. He held highly religious and democratic views---and perhaps offended certain critics, who attempted to ruin him. When Raff passed away at 60 in 1882, Brahms heard that a group of musicians wished to erect a statue in Raff's honor. "Well then," he remarked to friends, "they better hurry---before everyone forgets who he was!".

Raff's style is fluidly melodic with a refined orchestral technique, original harmonies, a lively and varied rhythmic language and a cheerful disposition. There are also passages in the symphonies which could have withstood a little more care in revision (but that goes for some works by Weber, Schubert, Liszt and Dvorâk, too!). Yet they possess much charm and are a delight to get to know. In his own perhaps unique way, Raff is an important 19-century symphonist, as he fills a gap no one else could or did.

Tschüß!
Jack
"Schumann's our music-maker now." ---Robert Browning

Corlyss_D
Site Administrator
Posts: 27663
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 2:25 am
Location: The Great State of Utah
Contact:

Re: A Composer's artistry and popularity. Then and Now

Post by Corlyss_D » Wed Oct 24, 2007 1:31 am

ginosec wrote:I don't know much about the subject, but I assume like many renouned artists, some of the composers who are loved and respected today were not respected as much as they deserved during their own time.

I was wondering if there are many famous composers who are valued today whose music was obscure in their own lifetime, or perhaps the other way around: composers who were celebrated in their day but history has all but forgotten.

Also, I wonder, are there any famous or important composers who we know of through history, but have no surviving music (due to damage, loss, cencorship etc)?
If you consult Nicholas Slonimsky's Lexicon of Musical Invective, you will see that virtually every composer now revered was dismissed as a vulgar no-talent schlub in his own day. Sort of ruins my arguments about the unworthiness of Glass and Adams . . .

Monteverdi's operas L'Arianna and La finta pazza Licori have been lost.
Corlyss
Contessa d'EM, a carbon-based life form

Jack Kelso
Posts: 3004
Joined: Sun Jun 12, 2005 11:52 pm
Location: Mannheim, Germany

Re: A Composer's artistry and popularity. Then and Now

Post by Jack Kelso » Wed Oct 24, 2007 1:41 am

Corlyss_D wrote:If you consult Nicholas Slonimsky's Lexicon of Musical Invective, you will see that virtually every composer now revered was dismissed as a vulgar no-talent schlub in his own day.
Except for the over-the-top description of "no-talent schlub"---those who were not understood in their early careers, yes: Beethoven, Schumann, Wagner, Bruckner.

But what about Handel, Mendelssohn and Brahms?

Tschüß!
Jack
"Schumann's our music-maker now." ---Robert Browning

Corlyss_D
Site Administrator
Posts: 27663
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 2:25 am
Location: The Great State of Utah
Contact:

Re: A Composer's artistry and popularity. Then and Now

Post by Corlyss_D » Wed Oct 24, 2007 1:51 am

Jack Kelso wrote:
Corlyss_D wrote:If you consult Nicholas Slonimsky's Lexicon of Musical Invective, you will see that virtually every composer now revered was dismissed as a vulgar no-talent schlub in his own day.
Except for the over-the-top description of "no-talent schlub"---those who were not understood in their early careers, yes: Beethoven, Schumann, Wagner, Bruckner.

But what about Handel, Mendelssohn and Brahms?
I did say 'virutally.' There were some exceptions.
Corlyss
Contessa d'EM, a carbon-based life form

Jack Kelso
Posts: 3004
Joined: Sun Jun 12, 2005 11:52 pm
Location: Mannheim, Germany

Post by Jack Kelso » Thu Oct 25, 2007 2:28 am

In addition to my aforementioned post on Raff, there is quite a number of "forgotten" 19th-century masters...

Norbert Burgmüller, Robert Volkmann, Carl Reinecke, Karl Goldmark, Hermann Goetz, Anton Rubinstein....

...whose works need to be heard more often. Perhaps not ALL of their works, but definitely a good number of them.

Interestingly, I read in a music history book that the two most popular symphonies BY ANYONE at the turn of the 19th/20th century were Volkmann's 1st (in d minor) and Rubinstein's 2nd (The Ocean")! :shock:

Talk about forgotten masters.....

Jack
"Schumann's our music-maker now." ---Robert Browning

diegobueno
Winds Specialist
Posts: 2420
Joined: Thu Apr 07, 2005 2:26 pm
Contact:

Re: A Composer's artistry and popularity. Then and Now

Post by diegobueno » Thu Oct 25, 2007 7:53 am

Jack Kelso wrote:
Corlyss_D wrote:If you consult Nicholas Slonimsky's Lexicon of Musical Invective, you will see that virtually every composer now revered was dismissed as a vulgar no-talent schlub in his own day.
Except for the over-the-top description of "no-talent schlub"---those who were not understood in their early careers, yes: Beethoven, Schumann, Wagner, Bruckner.

But what about Handel, Mendelssohn and Brahms?

Tschüß!
Jack
The trouble with Slonimsky's book is that it gives a one-sided picture. It only prints those reviews at odds with the judgment of history. If one could see the whole picture, one would see that composers revered today were also revered in their lifetimes as well as reviled by some. The negative reviews are more fun to read, of course, especially since the 19th century critics weren't afraid to dish it out in such a flamboyant fashion.

diegobueno
Winds Specialist
Posts: 2420
Joined: Thu Apr 07, 2005 2:26 pm
Contact:

Post by diegobueno » Thu Oct 25, 2007 7:57 am

There's one composer that I can't recall reading where anybody had anything negative to say about during his lifetime -- Haydn.

johnQpublic
Posts: 1981
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 3:00 pm

Post by johnQpublic » Thu Oct 25, 2007 8:14 am

Ralph wrote: In his day Dittersdorf was deeply respected but isn't performed often today and, unfortunately, is often the butt of jokes and slights by CMG's non-cognoscenti.
Non-cognoscenti! What a cruel label I have been given. However, I will wear it like a badge of honor. :P
Last edited by johnQpublic on Thu Oct 25, 2007 9:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
Image

piston
Posts: 10767
Joined: Thu Jan 04, 2007 7:50 am

Post by piston » Thu Oct 25, 2007 8:55 am

From what I have consulted in the Musical Times, this interesting historical topic very much depends on both place and time. For example, if you had been part of the English audience in 1863, at the Crystal Palace and in various other English localities, monthly chronicles of musical events reveal that:
Handel, Haydn and Mendelssohn were most often played;
Mozart, Spohr, Meyerbeer, Rossini were frequently played;
Except for a few works, Beethoven was enjoyed by a smaller group of specialists (his chamber works were performed at a specific venue called the Beethoven rooms, on Harley street);
Numerous other composers who were also performed were not even named in the chronicle or, if they were, such as Mr. F. Howell's oratorio, The Captivity, they remain obscure artists today.
Overall, these 1863 chronicles suggest (1)that concerts were decentralized compared to the 20th century, with numerous events occurring in a variety of locations, and (2)that religious music, particularly vocal works, prevailed over secular works.

piston
Posts: 10767
Joined: Thu Jan 04, 2007 7:50 am

Post by piston » Thu Oct 25, 2007 9:29 am

In contrast to this multitude of musical events in England, I doubt that much was happening in Canada. Toronto established its "musical society" that very year, 1863. Classical music in Montreal was largely a church thing or largely dependent on whether a European composer resided in the province. References to Boston musical events appear in the Musical Times, including one massive concert reportedly attended by some 14,000 people, but I do not dispose of adequate information to comment on the musical scenes in Boston, NY and Philadelphia.

Corlyss_D
Site Administrator
Posts: 27663
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 2:25 am
Location: The Great State of Utah
Contact:

Post by Corlyss_D » Thu Oct 25, 2007 3:52 pm

diegobueno wrote:There's one composer that I can't recall reading where anybody had anything negative to say about during his lifetime -- Haydn.
One of the triumvirate of composers whom Robert Aubry Davis categorized as "the only genuinely nice guys among composers." The other two are Corelli and Dvorak. They appear to be remarkable, if not unique, for their widespread good reputations, both personal and musical, particularly for helping younger composers get started.
Corlyss
Contessa d'EM, a carbon-based life form

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Baidu [Spider] and 27 guests