Jack Kelso wrote:Schumann is ... heads and shoulders above Brahms in original rhythmic expression and harmonic/melodic invention.
Yet with Brahms, even some of his best-known orchestral works (1st mvt, First Piano Concerto, "Double Concerto, 1st mvt) there is that artificial "straining too hard" to over-compensate for frequently inferior inspiration---and the form becomes wobbly due often to overuse of synthetic material.
Jack Kelso wrote:
Gee---it took you guys quite a while to let my comments on the Brahms concerti sink in.
I enjoy listening to them occasionally (and I've known them both by heart for decades), but no real emotion emanates from them to ME. They are sonically impressive behemoths and I do feel a certain struggle within the music, yet a certain artifice comes through---imagined or perceived. It's just not Mozart, Beethoven or Schumann.
I can't put my finger on it exactly----they just remain emotionally distant and a bit "over the top". Now the Violin Concerto is another matter!
, the 2nd Piano Concerto has its great moments, too.
Jack, your posts are troubling on at least four levels.
First, you are internally inconsistent. On the one hand, you argue that the very fabric of Brahms's music is flawed, suffering from wobbly, strained architecture, artificial treatment, and deeply inferior inspiration. On the other hand, only a few posts later, you backpedal, declaring instead that you merely relate better to Schumann because Brahms is emotionally distant to you personally
. While there is no issue with your latter admission, your former (eariler) declaration strikes at the very core of the composer and his music.
Second, nobody would more violently disagree with your premise that Brahms's inspirations were so frequently inferior as to produce substandard, artificial, wobbly music than Robert and Clara Schumann ...... The Schumanns went out on a limb to declare that Brahms was a musical Messiah onto whose shoulders the future of music relied. I doubt if Clara Schumann would dedicate a large chunk of her life to performing Brahms's music if it were intrinsically woven of inferior inspiration and suffered from wobbliness and artifice. Recall that Robert Schuman described Brahms in 1853 as a "Young Eagle ... a Mighty Niagara ... a true Apostle" who had "sprung forth, fully armed, like Athena from the head of Zeus, a young man over whose cradle graces and heroes had stood watch ....." Recall that Robert Schumann pleaded with Breitkoph and Hartel to publish the young Brahms's works. Recall that Clara Schumann took careful notes in her diaries as to how she and Robert virtually worshiped Johannes Brahms as an artist.
Third, no artist wielded greater quality control than Brahms. For you to suggest that 50% of Brahms's concerto output (you malign his 1st piano concerto and his double concerto) was intrinsically and obviously substandard (deriving from inferior inspiration and yielding synthetic, artificial, wobbly results) cannot withstand scrutiny. So not only was Brahms a failure as a composer; he was also a failure at quality control, allowing 50% of his shoddy concerto oeuvre to be published.
Fourth, the context of your first post shows that you are dead serious about the accusations you level against Brahms. The context being: while Val was praising Brahms’s variation technique, you slam 50% of Brahms’s concerto output. And you slam not only the music, but the composer himself, suggesting that he falls victim to "frequent inferior inspiration," "artificial," "synthetic" technique leading to "over-compensation" and "wobbliness." Of course, you cannot conceal your true motive; namely, to show that "Schumann is ... heads and shoulders above Brahms in original rhythmic expression and harmonic/melodic invention."
Robert and Clara Schumann would find your evaluations and conclusions about Brahms to be wholly repugnant, and they would strenuously disagree with your anti-Brahms posts on this thread.