What kind of classical music is the highest level?

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
Jose
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 9:45 am
Location: Asuncion, Paraguay
Contact:

What kind of classical music is the highest level?

Post by Jose » Wed Mar 12, 2008 5:37 pm

Some say the opera. Others, symphony. And so on. I do not know very much about music theory, but I prefer concerti. What do you think about all this?
JOSE M. TALAVERA
Website Manager
STELLA CLASSICAL MUSIC
http://starletgroup.com
Your website to learn news, listen to concerts, listen to radios, read articles, all about classical music

Werner
CMG's Elder Statesman
Posts: 4223
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2005 9:23 pm
Location: Irvington, NY

Post by Werner » Wed Mar 12, 2008 6:27 pm

If you prefer concerti, then there is a lot of wonderful music for you to enjoy. Others may prefer opera, symphonies, or chamber music. The best in any of these reach supreme levels, so my suggestion would be to enjoy the concerto literature to your pleasure, and occasionally see what else there is - you may find that as you listen, there are other great things - not instead of what you prefer, but in addition.
Werner Isler

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

Post by Barry » Wed Mar 12, 2008 6:53 pm

Werner is right. There is no right answer to this question. I think back in Beethoven's day, quartets and symphonies may have been held in higher esteem than other instrumental formats, but that's not really the case now.

People who have a fondness for vocal music will say opera or lieder. I prefer orchestral music and go with symphonies. And I actually like relatively few concertos. I'd rather hear a good tone poem or overture than a concerto most of the time. Although there are a few exceptions like the Beethoven Emperor and Brahms D-Minor concertos, which are two of my favorite pieces.

A lot of people have a preference for chamber music.
"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

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

Post by piston » Wed Mar 12, 2008 7:10 pm

I wouldn't call any particular form the highest form of music but the concerto is certainly an engaging form. Some instruments like the flute tend to be overwhelmed by orchestral music unless they are highlighted as the solo instrument in a concerto. I think the same reality applies to the cello and even to the piano. The guitar, seldom if ever included in an orchestra, can become a marvelous instrument in a concerto.

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 » Wed Mar 12, 2008 8:48 pm

Ranking genres says much more about those who do it than about the art form itself. Music is to be enjoyed, loved, not catalogued in a hierarchy of value.

Welcome to our board!!!!
Image

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

Albert Einstein

Jose
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 9:45 am
Location: Asuncion, Paraguay
Contact:

Post by Jose » Wed Mar 12, 2008 10:02 pm

I agree with Barry more or less. There might not be ONE absolute kind of music that is better than ALL the rest. 8) I appreciate a Brahms' quartet, and chamber music in general. But I think that an orchestral work is superior, even if I love the melody and harmony of the former. I might like a soprano's voice accompanied by a violin and viola; but I wouldn't compare that with an opera, for instance. I don't know if I make myself clear. I think that many factors are included in the greatness of one genre of music. Another issue: what about ballet, for example, where music and dance (and even painting, etc) go together? :shock:
JOSE M. TALAVERA
Website Manager
STELLA CLASSICAL MUSIC
http://starletgroup.com
Your website to learn news, listen to concerts, listen to radios, read articles, all about classical music

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

Post by piston » Wed Mar 12, 2008 10:12 pm

I love melodies probably as much as the opera. However, it is apparent that the genre (of a single singer accompanied by the piano) is no longer as popular as it used to be. So could we say that the "highest" form of music is relative to cultural periods? Some composers, at least in France, used to devote much of their time and energy to composing melodies. Why aren't they as popular today as they were a century ago? Perhaps a similar fate awaits the opera....

Chalkperson
Disposable Income Specialist
Posts: 17647
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 1:19 pm
Location: New York City
Contact:

Post by Chalkperson » Thu Mar 13, 2008 12:16 am

Why would you want to limit it to any one genre, there is great music in every genre and I personally listen to everything from the 12th Century to the 21st, the only thing I don't like is Operetta, variety is the spice of life, as they say...
Sent via Twitter by @chalkperson

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

Post by Jack Kelso » Thu Mar 13, 2008 4:52 am

When you hear concerti at the highest inspirational and spiritual level (Bach Brandenburg No. 5, Mozart Clarinet Concerto, Schumann Piano Concerto, etc.) symphonies hold no advantages, but they can rise to the same heights.

Many routine baroque concerti (by Corelli, Locatelli, Telemann, Vivaldi, etc.) do offer nice melodic fare but also often a bland sameness that can turn off all but true fans.

18th- and 19th-century solo concerti must by definition make certain concessions to the soloist (e.g., cadenzas), but the symphony is not thusly limited---and therefore potentially can reach a higher plane of passion, drama and philosophical expression.

Of course, the so-called "sonata-allegro" form is the backbone of the classical/romantic symphony---and keeps it from rambling in all directions. Yet this (minor) restriction is necessary to help in the formation and development of ideas, which composers utilize in the creation of well-rounded masterworks.

The creation of the symphonic poem (tone-poem) was an attempt to free the symphony from adhering to the classical form and imbuing it with extra-musical or programatic content. Liszt, Smetana, Franck, Tschaikowsky and R. Strauss all wrote powerfully convincing works in this form---but the form wasn't to everyone's taste. Too much freedom can stifle deeper expression---and lead to the slackening off of inner tension.

Chamber music generally follows the same form as the symphony. There are outstanding quartets by Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Schumann and others---including fine examples by Smetana, Brahms and Dvorak....especially when the piano is included. Chamber music can win in intimacy over the symphony.

Naturally, in opera and other vocal music other criteria are used. Art-song is the chamber music of the human voice.

All forms are necessary to a well-rounded universe of expression.

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

val
Posts: 1039
Joined: Sat Oct 29, 2005 5:46 am
Location: Lisbon

Re: What kind of classical music is the highest level?

Post by val » Thu Mar 13, 2008 5:07 am

Jose

Some say the opera. Others, symphony. And so on. I do not know very much about music theory, but I prefer concerti. What do you think about all this?
I think that it is impossible to establish that a kind of music is superior to another. I prefer chamber music, but that is just a matter of individual taste.

How could we say that Schumann's Kreisleriana is superior or inferior to Brahms Clarinet Quintet or Bruckner's 8th Symphony?
Or that Dufay Mass Ecce Ancila Domine has more or less quality than Bach's 4th Partita for harpsichord, Schubert's Winterreise, Enescu's Oedipe or Bartok's Violin Concerto?

Each kind of music has so extraordinary and beautiful masterpieces that a competition between them seems absurd.

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

Re: What kind of classical music is the highest level?

Post by Jack Kelso » Thu Mar 13, 2008 5:17 am

val wrote:
Jose

Some say the opera. Others, symphony. And so on. I do not know very much about music theory, but I prefer concerti. What do you think about all this?
I think that it is impossible to establish that a kind of music is superior to another. I prefer chamber music, but that is just a matter of individual taste.

How could we say that Schumann's Kreisleriana is superior or inferior to Brahms Clarinet Quintet or Bruckner's 8th Symphony?
Or that Dufay Mass Ecce Ancila Domine has more or less quality than Bach's 4th Partita for harpsichord, Schubert's Winterreise, Enescu's Oedipe or Bartok's Violin Concerto?

Each kind of music has so extraordinary and beautiful masterpieces that a competition between them seems absurd.
You're right, Val. One can only say that some forms allow more freedom or others more drama or dynamics or another form more poetry. But since those attributes are all necessary to expression, one must regard them essentially as equals.

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

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26850
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Post by jbuck919 » Thu Mar 13, 2008 5:31 am

Mozart and others of his era devoted equal talent and artistry to most if not all genres, but Mozart though opera his highest calling. Beethoven only wrote one opera but he correctly considered it on a par with his other music. Take your pick. I know of no other composers to match them in quite this way. But as others have posted, a thing of beauty is a joy forever. Take your pick.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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

Post by Jack Kelso » Thu Mar 13, 2008 5:54 am

jbuck919 wrote:Mozart and others of his era devoted equal talent and artistry to most if not all genres, but Mozart though opera his highest calling. Beethoven only wrote one opera but he correctly considered it on a par with his other music. Take your pick. I know of no other composers to match them in quite this way. But as others have posted, a thing of beauty is a joy forever. Take your pick.
Beethoven was a natural symphonist. Most musicologists would avoid placing "Fidelio" on a plane equal to the finest of his symphonies.

Mozart was the only composer in history with the Midas touch in all forms, although Berlioz, Richard Strauss and Leos Janacek contributed masterpieces in the operatic as well as in the symphonic genres with roughly equal ability.

My German opera guide considers both "Fidelio" and Schumann's "Genoveva" as containing great music but neither possessing "operatic" music of the highest order. I have experienced both in wonderful "live" performances and agree with this assessment.

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

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26850
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Post by jbuck919 » Thu Mar 13, 2008 8:36 am

Jack Kelso wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:Mozart and others of his era devoted equal talent and artistry to most if not all genres, but Mozart though opera his highest calling. Beethoven only wrote one opera but he correctly considered it on a par with his other music. Take your pick. I know of no other composers to match them in quite this way. But as others have posted, a thing of beauty is a joy forever. Take your pick.
Beethoven was a natural symphonist. Most musicologists would avoid placing "Fidelio" on a plane equal to the finest of his symphonies.

Mozart was the only composer in history with the Midas touch in all forms, although Berlioz, Richard Strauss and Leos Janacek contributed masterpieces in the operatic as well as in the symphonic genres with roughly equal ability.

My German opera guide considers both "Fidelio" and Schumann's "Genoveva" as containing great music but neither possessing "operatic" music of the highest order. I have experienced both in wonderful "live" performances and agree with this assessment.

Tschüß!
Jack
Strictly speaking, neither wrote a great oratorio that was not a Mass--that was left to Haydn.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

Jose
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 9:45 am
Location: Asuncion, Paraguay
Contact:

Post by Jose » Thu Mar 13, 2008 8:50 am

Jack Kelso wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:Mozart and others of his era devoted equal talent and artistry to most if not all genres, but Mozart though opera his highest calling. Beethoven only wrote one opera but he correctly considered it on a par with his other music. Take your pick. I know of no other composers to match them in quite this way. But as others have posted, a thing of beauty is a joy forever. Take your pick.
Beethoven was a natural symphonist. Most musicologists would avoid placing "Fidelio" on a plane equal to the finest of his symphonies.

Mozart was the only composer in history with the Midas touch in all forms, although Berlioz, Richard Strauss and Leos Janacek contributed masterpieces in the operatic as well as in the symphonic genres with roughly equal ability.

My German opera guide considers both "Fidelio" and Schumann's "Genoveva" as containing great music but neither possessing "operatic" music of the highest order. I have experienced both in wonderful "live" performances and agree with this assessment.

Tschüß!
Jack
In your last paragraph you say: "...containing great music... highest order...etc" If your German opera guide tells you that, they consider that there is great, and certain order... Where there is great there must be greater and greatest, or not?
JOSE M. TALAVERA
Website Manager
STELLA CLASSICAL MUSIC
http://starletgroup.com
Your website to learn news, listen to concerts, listen to radios, read articles, all about classical music

slofstra
Posts: 8901
Joined: Mon Jan 08, 2007 2:23 pm
Location: Waterloo, ON, Canada
Contact:

Post by slofstra » Thu Mar 13, 2008 9:25 am

Opera is the greatest because the composer must have command of so much, voice, orchestra, songs, choruses, and so on.
But that requirement in itself limits the potential of the form - making opera a compromise - not at its prime in either orchestral or voice.
So one would have to say orchestral, because no opera contains music like 'Pictures at an Exhibition' or the 'Planets'.
On the other hand, if we continue in this direction, we'd have to settle on the piano sonata as the purest, most unbounded expression of music. What could exceed a Beethoven or Schumann sonata for economy of expression and the liberty of the musical soul.
Unless it was lieder, just the human voice, with a piano for accompaniment.
We seem to have missed the piano concerto, difficult to master, and there are only a handful of great ones.
But what about the violin sonata, not limited to single notes, try to do a glissando on the piano, or bend a note.
But perhaps opera is the greatest, after all ...

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26850
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Post by jbuck919 » Thu Mar 13, 2008 11:25 am

While we're at it, unlike Mozart Beethoven anticipated two forms that were further exploited in the later 19th century and also wrote their first masterpiece: The song cycle, and the character piece (the late sets of bagatelles).

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

Wallingford
Posts: 4528
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2003 3:31 pm
Location: Brush, Colorado

Post by Wallingford » Thu Mar 13, 2008 12:53 pm

WHich form is the highest? What a question to ask.

Myself, if your taste in the classics extends only as far as Leroy Anderson or Eric Coates, with a nice smattering of Mozart's or Schubert's German Dances, I personally won't hold it against you.

Concertos have always been a neutral area for me. Symphonies?? Why, the vast majority of contributors to this form seem merely convinced their own belly button is more interesting to gaze at than mine.
If I could tell my mom and dad
That the things we never had
Never mattered we were always ok
Getting ready for Christmas day
--Paul Simon

slofstra
Posts: 8901
Joined: Mon Jan 08, 2007 2:23 pm
Location: Waterloo, ON, Canada
Contact:

Post by slofstra » Thu Mar 13, 2008 1:09 pm

Why, the vast majority of contributors to this form seem merely convinced their own belly button is more interesting to gaze at than mine.
I have no idea what this means, nor do I want you to explain. :lol:

Brendan

Post by Brendan » Thu Mar 13, 2008 4:05 pm

The mass, religious oratorio, chant or cantata is the highest form: to induce a religious experience in the listener (on a regular basis!) is superior to a nice melody to tap one's foot to or a costume melodrama set to music, IMHO. And I like opera and folk dances!

Seán
Posts: 5333
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2007 3:46 pm
Location: Dublin, Ireland

Re: What kind of classical music is the highest level?

Post by Seán » Thu Mar 13, 2008 5:56 pm

Jose wrote:Some say the opera. Others, symphony. And so on. I do not know very much about music theory, but I prefer concerti. What do you think about all this?
Interesting question! I would suggest that symphonic music is certainly of a high order, perhaps the highest. When I say that I am thinking in particular of the music of Beethoven, Schubert, Mahler, Bruckner, etc. For now what concerns me most is that which gives me the greatest pleasure and that is symphonic muisc and Beethoven's concerti, in particular, his Emperor Concerto.
Seán

"To appreciate the greatness of the Masters is to keep faith in the greatness of humanity." - Wilhelm Furtwängler

Teresa B
Posts: 3057
Joined: Thu May 26, 2005 11:04 am
Location: Tampa, Florida

Post by Teresa B » Thu Mar 13, 2008 7:05 pm

Ralph wrote:Ranking genres says much more about those who do it than about the art form itself. Music is to be enjoyed, loved, not catalogued in a hierarchy of value.

Welcome to our board!!!!
:cry: Dittersdorf to Ralph: Hast thou forsaken me?*

Teresa

*Considering the Great D to be a genre in his own right... :)
"We're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad." ~ The Cheshire Cat

Author of the novel "Creating Will"

Wallingford
Posts: 4528
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2003 3:31 pm
Location: Brush, Colorado

Post by Wallingford » Fri Mar 14, 2008 12:38 am

slofstra wrote:
Why, the vast majority of contributors to this form seem merely convinced their own belly button is more interesting to gaze at than mine.
I have no idea what this means, nor do I want you to explain. :lol:
It's a term I've adopted, and for which I have to thank our dear Corlyss, in my recent thread on the music of Saint-Saens....it's a perfect term for describing the more presumptuous composers, and particularly in countering Jack's as-yet-unclarified stance on why (supposedly) superficial or innocuous composers deserve such a thread:

If one thinks of 19th century Germanic music as the be-all, end-all of the Romantic era, then Saint-Saens, indeed all French composers until Debussy, suffer from their gift for melody and exoticism devoid of the tiresome navel-gazing and brooding self-absorption so characteristic of much 19th century Germanic bombast . . . er . . . music. But thankfully one can have it all today.--Corlyss
If I could tell my mom and dad
That the things we never had
Never mattered we were always ok
Getting ready for Christmas day
--Paul Simon

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

Post by Jack Kelso » Fri Mar 14, 2008 1:12 am

jbuck919 wrote:
Jack Kelso wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:Mozart and others of his era devoted equal talent and artistry to most if not all genres, but Mozart though opera his highest calling. Beethoven only wrote one opera but he correctly considered it on a par with his other music. Take your pick. I know of no other composers to match them in quite this way. But as others have posted, a thing of beauty is a joy forever. Take your pick.
Beethoven was a natural symphonist. Most musicologists would avoid placing "Fidelio" on a plane equal to the finest of his symphonies.

Mozart was the only composer in history with the Midas touch in all forms, although Berlioz, Richard Strauss and Leos Janacek contributed masterpieces in the operatic as well as in the symphonic genres with roughly equal ability.

My German opera guide considers both "Fidelio" and Schumann's "Genoveva" as containing great music but neither possessing "operatic" music of the highest order. I have experienced both in wonderful "live" performances and agree with this assessment.

Tschüß!
Jack
Strictly speaking, neither wrote a great oratorio that was not a Mass--that was left to Haydn.
Do not forget Schumann's "Das Paradies und die Peri", "Der Rose Pilgerfahrt" and "Szenen aus Goethes 'Faust'".

These are "secular oratorios". They all contain some of his greatest music.

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

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

Post by Jack Kelso » Fri Mar 14, 2008 1:32 am

slofstra wrote:Opera is the greatest because the composer must have command of so much, voice, orchestra, songs, choruses, and so on.
But that requirement in itself limits the potential of the form - making opera a compromise - not at its prime in either orchestral or voice.
So one would have to say orchestral, because no opera contains music like 'Pictures at an Exhibition' or the 'Planets'.
On the other hand, if we continue in this direction, we'd have to settle on the piano sonata as the purest, most unbounded expression of music. What could exceed a Beethoven or Schumann sonata for economy of expression and the liberty of the musical soul.
Unless it was lieder, just the human voice, with a piano for accompaniment.
We seem to have missed the piano concerto, difficult to master, and there are only a handful of great ones.
But what about the violin sonata, not limited to single notes, try to do a glissando on the piano, or bend a note.
But perhaps opera is the greatest, after all ...
Agreed about the Beethoven and Schumann....but opera---"the greatest"?

What makes the symphony of Beethoven and his successors (Schubert, Schumann, Franck, Bruckner, Brahms, Tschaikowsky, Mahler, Nielsen, etc.) so fascinating is the power and intensity of the broad development of spiritually sublime material, which does not bend to the simple (but melodic) aria, chorus and dance numbers found in opera from pre-Rameau and Handel, up through Verdi---music (wonderful as it is) based primarily on simple emotions of love, anger, hate, jealousy, ambition, sadness, etc. The 19th-century symphony transcends this in a series of movements that catapult it into abstract realms, without the distraction of plot, staging and the spoken word.

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

lmpower
Posts: 877
Joined: Wed May 21, 2003 2:18 pm
Location: Twentynine Palms, California

Post by lmpower » Sat Mar 15, 2008 8:47 am

There are great works in every genre, and it is probably not wise to rank genres. So I will now rush in where angels fear to tread. I will omit some genres.
#1. Chamber music
#2. Symphonic music
#3. Opera
#4. Ballet

Chalkperson
Disposable Income Specialist
Posts: 17647
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 1:19 pm
Location: New York City
Contact:

Post by Chalkperson » Sat Mar 15, 2008 12:57 pm

lmpower wrote:There are great works in every genre, and it is probably not wise to rank genres. So I will now rush in where angels fear to tread. I will omit some genres.
#1. Chamber music
#2. Symphonic music
#3. Opera
#4. Ballet
So you only like Concerto's Piano or Instrumental and Early Music then...
Sent via Twitter by @chalkperson

nadej_baptiste
Posts: 194
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2007 9:41 pm
Location: Seattle
Contact:

Post by nadej_baptiste » Sat Mar 15, 2008 2:27 pm

There's no such thing as a higher level, for me. There is great music everywhere, in every form. It all depends on the composer.
--Kamila

slofstra
Posts: 8901
Joined: Mon Jan 08, 2007 2:23 pm
Location: Waterloo, ON, Canada
Contact:

Post by slofstra » Sat Mar 15, 2008 2:46 pm

Wallingford wrote:
slofstra wrote:
Why, the vast majority of contributors to this form seem merely convinced their own belly button is more interesting to gaze at than mine.
I have no idea what this means, nor do I want you to explain. :lol:
It's a term I've adopted, and for which I have to thank our dear Corlyss, in my recent thread on the music of Saint-Saens....it's a perfect term for describing the more presumptuous composers, and particularly in countering Jack's as-yet-unclarified stance on why (supposedly) superficial or innocuous composers deserve such a thread:

If one thinks of 19th century Germanic music as the be-all, end-all of the Romantic era, then Saint-Saens, indeed all French composers until Debussy, suffer from their gift for melody and exoticism devoid of the tiresome navel-gazing and brooding self-absorption so characteristic of much 19th century Germanic bombast . . . er . . . music. But thankfully one can have it all today.--Corlyss
I'm aware of the term, a metaphor for narcissim, but the idea of forum contributors gazing at your navel extends the metaphor a little too far. :)

slofstra
Posts: 8901
Joined: Mon Jan 08, 2007 2:23 pm
Location: Waterloo, ON, Canada
Contact:

Post by slofstra » Sat Mar 15, 2008 2:50 pm

Jack Kelso wrote:
slofstra wrote:Opera is the greatest because the composer must have command of so much, voice, orchestra, songs, choruses, and so on.
But that requirement in itself limits the potential of the form - making opera a compromise - not at its prime in either orchestral or voice.
So one would have to say orchestral, because no opera contains music like 'Pictures at an Exhibition' or the 'Planets'.
On the other hand, if we continue in this direction, we'd have to settle on the piano sonata as the purest, most unbounded expression of music. What could exceed a Beethoven or Schumann sonata for economy of expression and the liberty of the musical soul.
Unless it was lieder, just the human voice, with a piano for accompaniment.
We seem to have missed the piano concerto, difficult to master, and there are only a handful of great ones.
But what about the violin sonata, not limited to single notes, try to do a glissando on the piano, or bend a note.
But perhaps opera is the greatest, after all ...
Agreed about the Beethoven and Schumann....but opera---"the greatest"?

What makes the symphony of Beethoven and his successors (Schubert, Schumann, Franck, Bruckner, Brahms, Tschaikowsky, Mahler, Nielsen, etc.) so fascinating is the power and intensity of the broad development of spiritually sublime material, which does not bend to the simple (but melodic) aria, chorus and dance numbers found in opera from pre-Rameau and Handel, up through Verdi---music (wonderful as it is) based primarily on simple emotions of love, anger, hate, jealousy, ambition, sadness, etc. The 19th-century symphony transcends this in a series of movements that catapult it into abstract realms, without the distraction of plot, staging and the spoken word.

Tschüß!
Jack
I was trying to present a somewhat tongue-in-cheek argument for each genre as the greatest - in its own way. So, no I don't think opera is actually the greatest.

Wallingford
Posts: 4528
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2003 3:31 pm
Location: Brush, Colorado

Post by Wallingford » Sat Mar 15, 2008 5:37 pm

slofstra wrote:
Wallingford wrote:
slofstra wrote:
Why, the vast majority of contributors to this form seem merely convinced their own belly button is more interesting to gaze at than mine.
I have no idea what this means, nor do I want you to explain. :lol:
It's a term I've adopted, and for which I have to thank our dear Corlyss, in my recent thread on the music of Saint-Saens....it's a perfect term for describing the more presumptuous composers, and particularly in countering Jack's as-yet-unclarified stance on why (supposedly) superficial or innocuous composers deserve such a thread:

If one thinks of 19th century Germanic music as the be-all, end-all of the Romantic era, then Saint-Saens, indeed all French composers until Debussy, suffer from their gift for melody and exoticism devoid of the tiresome navel-gazing and brooding self-absorption so characteristic of much 19th century Germanic bombast . . . er . . . music. But thankfully one can have it all today.--Corlyss
I'm aware of the term, a metaphor for narcissim, but the idea of forum contributors gazing at your navel extends the metaphor a little too far. :)
Eh, the word here's form, not forum.
If I could tell my mom and dad
That the things we never had
Never mattered we were always ok
Getting ready for Christmas day
--Paul Simon

slofstra
Posts: 8901
Joined: Mon Jan 08, 2007 2:23 pm
Location: Waterloo, ON, Canada
Contact:

Post by slofstra » Sat Mar 15, 2008 6:43 pm

Wallingford wrote:
slofstra wrote:
Wallingford wrote:
slofstra wrote:
Why, the vast majority of contributors to this form seem merely convinced their own belly button is more interesting to gaze at than mine.
I have no idea what this means, nor do I want you to explain. :lol:
It's a term I've adopted, and for which I have to thank our dear Corlyss, in my recent thread on the music of Saint-Saens....it's a perfect term for describing the more presumptuous composers, and particularly in countering Jack's as-yet-unclarified stance on why (supposedly) superficial or innocuous composers deserve such a thread:

If one thinks of 19th century Germanic music as the be-all, end-all of the Romantic era, then Saint-Saens, indeed all French composers until Debussy, suffer from their gift for melody and exoticism devoid of the tiresome navel-gazing and brooding self-absorption so characteristic of much 19th century Germanic bombast . . . er . . . music. But thankfully one can have it all today.--Corlyss
I'm aware of the term, a metaphor for narcissim, but the idea of forum contributors gazing at your navel extends the metaphor a little too far. :)
Eh, the word here's form, not forum.
I stand corrected, how about this instead: the idea of contributors to the symphonic form gazing at your navel presents so disagreeable a tableau that I would not contemplate it for even a moment.

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

Post by Jack Kelso » Thu Mar 20, 2008 1:23 am

You're right. I wouldn't cotton to gazing at navals..... :)

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

Darryl
Posts: 140
Joined: Sat May 21, 2005 11:36 am
Location: Dallas, Texas

Post by Darryl » Thu Mar 20, 2008 4:15 pm

I find the liturgical forms exceptionally dreary, ascetic, religious, my least favorite. I too agreed with Barry's post on the previous page, but just then the Prokofiev concerti came to mind, which I love, and I've always had a hard time with his symphonies, save #3 (and #1). Hmmmm ...

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

Post by Jack Kelso » Fri Mar 21, 2008 1:09 am

Darryl wrote:I find the liturgical forms exceptionally dreary, ascetic, religious, my least favorite. I too agreed with Barry's post on the previous page, but just then the Prokofiev concerti came to mind, which I love, and I've always had a hard time with his symphonies, save #3 (and #1). Hmmmm ...
Really?---A hard time with Prokofiev's symphonies---even nos. 5 and 7? They are so lyrical and good spirited!

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

Darryl
Posts: 140
Joined: Sat May 21, 2005 11:36 am
Location: Dallas, Texas

Post by Darryl » Fri Mar 21, 2008 4:40 pm

Jack Kelso wrote:
Darryl wrote:I find the liturgical forms exceptionally dreary, ascetic, religious, my least favorite. I too agreed with Barry's post on the previous page, but just then the Prokofiev concerti came to mind, which I love, and I've always had a hard time with his symphonies, save #3 (and #1). Hmmmm ...
Really?---A hard time with Prokofiev's symphonies---even nos. 5 and 7? They are so lyrical and good spirited!

Jack
Hi Jack. Yes, I meant to say 5. Symphony 3 is actually one of the difficult for me. I was apparently still thinking about the concerti.

Guitarist
Posts: 1160
Joined: Sun Feb 03, 2008 10:22 pm
Location: Davis, CA

Post by Guitarist » Mon Mar 24, 2008 2:12 am

Bach fugues.

arglebargle
Posts: 228
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2007 11:16 pm
Location: Vancouver, Canada

Post by arglebargle » Wed Mar 26, 2008 12:48 am

The String Quartet is clearly "The Greatest": there's no muddling mass of instruments, everything counts, everything is heard. As in solo performance each player's efforts matter and may be witnessed - and yet they must work hard at playing together, exploring the depths of human emotion, the heights of human aspiration, a perfect example of community and refined, shared excellence.

Although yes, it's hard to argue with Bach's fugues for sheer awe-inspiring creative power...

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 15 guests