Your Favourite Composers' Biggest Duds

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

Moderators: Lance, Corlyss_D

Ken
Posts: 2511
Joined: Thu May 04, 2006 6:17 am
Location: Düsseldorf, Nordrhein-Westfalen

Your Favourite Composers' Biggest Duds

Post by Ken » Mon Sep 28, 2009 12:48 pm

(In your humble opinion...)

Certain discussions in recent threads in this great forum of ours have left me thinking about the soft spots in the oeuvres of the greatest composers. Despite the adulation for particular composers that many of us exercise here in the (usually convivial and completely objective) CMG, we can't deny that our favourite composers weren't without their weaknesses. So, considering there haven't been nearly enough controversial discussions in this forum over the last few weeks, I thought I'd start a thread in which we could duke it out over these matters (in the most sportsmanlike of manners, of course).

Which compositions by your favourite composer(s) do you find irksome or boring? Where do you think your favourite tone poets failed when they could have gone further? Did your favourite composers sell out and write sub-par compositions to appease the masses/a patron? Are there any pieces that you downright can't stand?

I'll weigh in on three of my favourites. I have a hard time picking on Schumann, but I will admit to not being too enthralled by the early Abegg Variations (Op. 1), as well as the Drei Klaviersonaten für die Jugend (Op. 118), which don't strike me as especially creative (especially considering the other wonderful youth-related pieces that he released in the preceding years). Of his works for larger forces, the Requiem (Op. 148) seems a bit contrived, but has its highlights. I'd love to hear his contemporaneous Das Glück von Edenhall (Op. 143) for solo vocalist, chorus, and orchestra, but a recording is nearly impossible to snag.

Of Brahms's output, as I mentioned in the thread devoted to them, the orchestral Serenades don't especially turn me on. The Second Serenade I find to be a little tedious (though, as one poster accurately mentioned in the thread, Brahms obviously thought the opposite). I don't doubt its greatness and can understand why many people enjoy the Op. 16, but I feel as though it so greatly pales in comparison to his other early works as to make it anomalously uninteresting. And considering how wonderful most of his Lieder are, I find Brahms's Deutsche Volkslieder to be somewhat of a disappointment. Many of them are interesting cultural studies, many are fun character sketches, but few are actually memorable.

Borodin, who is likely the only composer whose entire (available) output I know, is remarkable for the quality of his few compositions, especially considering he was essentially a composer in his spare time. I don't take a particular exception to any of his highly-atmospheric and dramatic works, though I feel as though he could have been a little more exploratory in the (now incomplete) String Sextet, which is a touch too close to his Mendelssohnian model, thank-you-very-much.

So, in the name of humility, please admit the flaws that you see in your favourite composers' literature. And let's keep the discussion clean, ladies and gentlemen; no shots below the belt. ;)

(P.S.: I intentionally use the word 'duds' in the topic sentence to be provocative and to attract visits to this thread. I don't believe that the works we discuss need necessarily be complete flops!)
Last edited by Ken on Mon Sep 28, 2009 12:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Du sollst schlechte Compositionen weder spielen, noch, wenn du nicht dazu gezwungen bist, sie anhören.

diegobueno
Winds Specialist
Posts: 2422
Joined: Thu Apr 07, 2005 2:26 pm
Contact:

Re: Your Favourite Composers' Biggest Duds

Post by diegobueno » Mon Sep 28, 2009 12:52 pm

Threni.

Jared
CMG's Chief Resident Newbie
Posts: 3157
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2009 3:50 pm
Location: Hereford Cathedral

Re: Your Favourite Composers' Biggest Duds

Post by Jared » Mon Sep 28, 2009 1:14 pm

I have to admit, I'm very reluctant to get involved in this thread, for the following simple reasons:

a) Anything I pronounce as a personal dud, will be followed by a string of cat-calls telling me that it will grow on me in time!
b) If I pronounce something as a dud this soon into my CM listening career, it will probably grow on me in time, anyway.
c) If I like a composer, then I have a tendency to like nearly all of their work.. if I don't like a composer, then its because I'm struggling to get a handle on anything they've composed... :?

so with that in mind, I shall be wary in the extreme... but I will just say (as I've said before) that although I love Mozart, I have to confess to finding some of his Wind Serenades & Divertimenti extremely hard going... not because I dislike them, but I find them very hard to concentrate on and appreciate... half an hour can float by, and the CD switch off, without any active listening on my part... :(

or maybe, that's just the point of them... :oops:

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

Re: Your Favourite Composers' Biggest Duds

Post by Corlyss_D » Mon Sep 28, 2009 1:22 pm

Magic Flute - inside jokes don't make good operas. Aside from the music, the only reason it's popular is nobody except Masons gets it.
Corlyss
Contessa d'EM, a carbon-based life form

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26866
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Re: Your Favourite Composers' Biggest Duds

Post by jbuck919 » Mon Sep 28, 2009 1:28 pm

For quite a number of composers, if you first eliminate works that are of relatively little interest because the composer had not reached his own level of compositional maturity (such as a huge portion of the output of Mozart); then eliminate all those that are intentionally at a less than exalted level (such as Wellington's Victory, or Bach's Coffee and Peasant Cantatas); then eliminate a very few well known anomalies that will probably never be explained (such as La Clemenza di Tito), you are pretty much left with the empty set. The old boys knew what they were doing.

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

RebLem
Posts: 9095
Joined: Tue May 17, 2005 1:06 pm
Location: Albuquerque, NM, USA 87112, 2 blocks west of the Breaking Bad carwash.
Contact:

Re: Your Favourite Composers' Biggest Duds

Post by RebLem » Mon Sep 28, 2009 1:31 pm

Beethoven: no, not Wellington's Victory, which I think is really fun. But I have trouble relating to the Fantasia for Piano, Chorus and Orchestra, the Triple Concerto, and Christ on the Mount of Olives.

Addendum: Looking over Donaldpotato's subsequent reply, I do have to agree about the Dvorak American Flag Cantata. And that brought to mind another work composed for a patriotic occasion--this time, Japanese patriotism. For the celebration of the 2600th anniversary of the Japanese Empire in 1940, Richard Strauss wrote Japanese Festival Music, Op. 84, the full title of which is Festmusik zur Feier des 2600jährigen Bestehens des Kaiserreichs Japan für großes Orchester. The Japanese actually commissioned the German government to have someone write a piece for them, and Joseph Goebbels assigned the task to Strauss. The Japanese also commissioned other composers to write pieces, but the only one that is a worthy work is the one the Japanese rejected as an insult: Bejamin Britten's Sinfonia da Requiem.
Last edited by RebLem on Mon Sep 28, 2009 1:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

Donaldopato
Posts: 1900
Joined: Wed Jul 12, 2006 9:27 am
Location: Kansas City
Contact:

Re: Your Favourite Composers' Biggest Duds

Post by Donaldopato » Mon Sep 28, 2009 1:35 pm

Stravinsky "Requiem Canticles" Simply the driest music ever written
Shostakovich Symphony # 3 (with #2 right behind)
Dvorak "The American Flag" Cantata. Not worth finding a recording of this piece
Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. - Albert Einstein

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26866
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Re: Your Favourite Composers' Biggest Duds

Post by jbuck919 » Mon Sep 28, 2009 2:44 pm

Corlyss_D wrote:Magic Flute - inside jokes don't make good operas. Aside from the music, the only reason it's popular is nobody except Masons gets it.
Kindly confine your sweeping statements involving "only" and "nobody except" to the Pub. Besides, you're contradicting yourself. It can't be popular if "only" some specialized people get it. (And just how taxing is it to "get" the shallow and obvious symbolism, anyway? Sheesh!) :)

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

nut-job
Posts: 1717
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2009 6:06 pm

Re: Your Favourite Composers' Biggest Duds

Post by nut-job » Mon Sep 28, 2009 2:50 pm

Up until recently I would have said Brahms' double concerto, especially after hearing the lackluster Fisher/somebody performance on Pentatone. But recently I've listened to the Szeryng/Starker/Haitin recording and I "get it" now. So as of now, Brahms has no duds. :lol:

dulcinea
Posts: 3466
Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2005 5:39 pm
Location: tampa, fl

Re: Your Favourite Composers' Biggest Duds

Post by dulcinea » Mon Sep 28, 2009 2:51 pm

The PATRIE OVERTURE is not up to Bizet's own standards. It has no memorable tunes or memorable moments of emotion; 'tis pretty much nothing but a lot of BOOM-BOOM-BOOMING from beginning to end.
The BURLESKE of R Strauss is nothing but garish annoying noise with no worthwhile melodic content.
Unlike Stravinskii, I don't admire LA DONNA E' MOBILE; that tune is the most trivial and silly that Verdi ever regurgitated.
Let every thing that has breath praise the Lord! Alleluya!

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26866
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Re: Your Favourite Composers' Biggest Duds

Post by jbuck919 » Mon Sep 28, 2009 3:03 pm

Jared wrote:I have to admit, I'm very reluctant to get involved in this thread, for the following simple reasons:

a) Anything I pronounce as a personal dud, will be followed by a string of cat-calls telling me that it will grow on me in time!
b) If I pronounce something as a dud this soon into my CM listening career, it will probably grow on me in time, anyway.
c) If I like a composer, then I have a tendency to like nearly all of their work.. if I don't like a composer, then its because I'm struggling to get a handle on anything they've composed... :?

so with that in mind, I shall be wary in the extreme... but I will just say (as I've said before) that although I love Mozart, I have to confess to finding some of his Wind Serenades & Divertimenti extremely hard going... not because I dislike them, but I find them very hard to concentrate on and appreciate... half an hour can float by, and the CD switch off, without any active listening on my part... :(

or maybe, that's just the point of them... :oops:
I know exactly what you mean, Jared. I mean look, I couldn't even get away with calling Wellington's Victory a dud (an almost universal opinion) on the apparent grounds that duds can be fun. (As Bizet said about the Torreador Song in Carmen, "If they want merde, I'll give them merde.")

I wouldn't worry about the Mozart Divertimenti, many of which are earlier works, and which range all over the place in terms of quality (by Mozart standards, I mean). Besides, they were written as background music and not necessarily for rapt intent listening. The problem with deprioritizing a portion of a composer's output is that the rule of thumb, if there is one (and there often is), is different for each composer. With Mozart it would be roughly most of what he wrote with a K number lower than 350 (I am being generous). With Haydn it would be pretty much a genre distinction. With Beethoven, if it has an opus number it is a 90-95% sure bet. Bach is easy because almost all his weak work is organ music (which, alas, I happen to know) and therefore never comes to the attention of most listeners.

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

Imperfect Pitch
Posts: 652
Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2007 9:55 pm
Location: Brookline, MA

Re: Your Favourite Composers' Biggest Duds

Post by Imperfect Pitch » Mon Sep 28, 2009 3:07 pm


Beethoven's Violin Concerto, in the category of biggest dud that is generally well regarded.

Jared
CMG's Chief Resident Newbie
Posts: 3157
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2009 3:50 pm
Location: Hereford Cathedral

Re: Your Favourite Composers' Biggest Duds

Post by Jared » Mon Sep 28, 2009 4:29 pm

Imperfect Pitch wrote:
Beethoven's Violin Concerto, in the category of biggest dud that is generally well regarded.
you see, I find that statement utter extraordinary... although I don't find it quite as compelling as Brahms', I still think its a masterpiece... :?

Jared
CMG's Chief Resident Newbie
Posts: 3157
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2009 3:50 pm
Location: Hereford Cathedral

Re: Your Favourite Composers' Biggest Duds

Post by Jared » Mon Sep 28, 2009 4:32 pm

nut-job wrote:Up until recently I would have said Brahms' double concerto, especially after hearing the lackluster Fisher/somebody performance on Pentatone. But recently I've listened to the Szeryng/Starker/Haitin recording and I "get it" now. So as of now, Brahms has no duds. :lol:
n-j... have you had occasion to hear the recently released Repin/ Mork version?

Image

this really did it for me... 8)

THEHORN
Posts: 2567
Joined: Sat Jun 14, 2008 8:57 am

Re: Your Favourite Composers' Biggest Duds

Post by THEHORN » Mon Sep 28, 2009 4:32 pm

I know you're not supposed to say any bad about Saint Wolfgang , but as great as his mature operas are , the early ones, such as Lucio Silla (Lucio Silly ), Il Re Pastore etc, although they have their moments, are pretty tedious as far as I am concerned .
They show none of the vivid characterization and dramatic sweep of the mature operas which are so deservedly popular .
There are isolated arias which are appealing, but they're pretty much a collection of routine musical numbers and formaulaic recitatives .

Jared
CMG's Chief Resident Newbie
Posts: 3157
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2009 3:50 pm
Location: Hereford Cathedral

Re: Your Favourite Composers' Biggest Duds

Post by Jared » Mon Sep 28, 2009 4:36 pm

jbuck919 wrote:I know exactly what you mean, Jared. I mean look, I couldn't even get away with calling Wellington's Victory a dud (an almost universal opinion) on the apparent grounds that duds can be fun. (As Bizet said about the Torreador Song in Carmen, "If they want merde, I'll give them merde.")

I wouldn't worry about the Mozart Divertimenti, many of which are earlier works, and which range all over the place in terms of quality (by Mozart standards, I mean). Besides, they were written as background music and not necessarily for rapt intent listening. The problem with deprioritizing a portion of a composer's output is that the rule of thumb, if there is one (and there often is), is different for each composer. With Mozart it would be roughly most of what he wrote with a K number lower than 350 (I am being generous). With Haydn it would be pretty much a genre distinction. With Beethoven, if it has an opus number it is a 90-95% sure bet. Bach is easy because almost all his weak work is organ music (which, alas, I happen to know) and therefore never comes to the attention of most listeners.
Thanks for this... some useful info in here. I do tend to find that when responding to 'negative' threads (although I appreciate that Ken has set this one up with the best of intentions, for reasonable discussion), you are inevitably prone to criticising works which another forum member has a soft spot for (like Beethoven's VC! :lol: ) for no great reward.. :(

RebLem
Posts: 9095
Joined: Tue May 17, 2005 1:06 pm
Location: Albuquerque, NM, USA 87112, 2 blocks west of the Breaking Bad carwash.
Contact:

Re: Your Favourite Composers' Biggest Duds

Post by RebLem » Mon Sep 28, 2009 5:58 pm

jbuck wrote: I mean look, I couldn't even get away with calling Wellington's Victory a dud (an almost universal opinion) on the apparent grounds that duds can be fun.
A dud, John, is an unexploded bomb. The delightful thing about Wellington's Victory is that all the bombs explode!
jbuck wrote:I wouldn't worry about the Mozart Divertimenti, many of which are earlier works, and which range all over the place in terms of quality (by Mozart standards, I mean). Besides, they were written as background music and not necessarily for rapt intent listening. The problem with deprioritizing a portion of a composer's output is that the rule of thumb, if there is one (and there often is), is different for each composer. With Mozart it would be roughly most of what he wrote with a K number lower than 350 (I am being generous). With Haydn it would be pretty much a genre distinction. With Beethoven, if it has an opus number it is a 90-95% sure bet. Bach is easy because almost all his weak work is organ music (which, alas, I happen to know) and therefore never comes to the attention of most listeners.
A pretty hefty share of Mozart's Piano Sonatas have K numbers below 350. K. 333, in particular, is one of my two most favorite Mozart Piano Sonatas (along with K. 545).
Imperfect Pitch wrote:]Beethoven's Violin Concerto, in the category of biggest dud that is generally well regarded.
Shocking. It is true that its development is simpler than most Beethoven works, but I think that is true of violin concerti generally. As such, it represents a good introduction to Beethoven. Another work with lots of really catchy tunes is the Archduke Trio--that would be my second recommendation to someone learning about Beethoven.
jbuck wrote:
Corlyss wrote:Magic Flute - inside jokes don't make good operas. Aside from the music, the only reason it's popular is nobody except Masons gets it.
Kindly confine your sweeping statements involving "only" and "nobody except" to the Pub. Besides, you're contradicting yourself. It can't be popular if "only" some specialized people get it. (And just how taxing is it to "get" the shallow and obvious symbolism, anyway? Sheesh!) :)
Corlyss isn't the only one who feels that way. I remember Tony Randall, who was a great opera lover, being asked once if there was an opera which many others liked but which he didn't particularly. He said, "Yes, The Magic Flute." And, John, I think what Corlyss is saying is that while only Masons really understand it in a visceral way, they are such an influential group of people, and so concentrated on promoting their interests and their little world, that opera companies program it for their delectation frequently if they know what's good for them, but that non-Masons don't particularly relate to it. They may understand it intellectually, but reacting to it with any deeper understanding and feeling is beyond most non-Masons. I agree.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

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

Re: Your Favourite Composers' Biggest Duds

Post by piston » Mon Sep 28, 2009 6:09 pm

Apparently nobody is willing to commit a cultural sacrilege, so I will. Copland's Rodeo, Salon Mexico and, especially, Dansa Cubana, are "duds." One can only imagine what a real cowboy with Copland's composing skill would have written but Copland's Rodeo reminds me of them Bill Crystal movies......

Moral of this story: do not compose on what you're not familiar with, particularly if it's program music.
In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished—a word that for them has no sense—but abandoned....(Paul Valéry)

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26866
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Re: Your Favourite Composers' Biggest Duds

Post by jbuck919 » Mon Sep 28, 2009 6:26 pm

RebLem wrote: A pretty hefty share of Mozart's Piano Sonatas have K numbers below 350.
You'll pardon me if I consider that as tending to support my point.

And, John, I think what Corlyss is saying is that while only Masons really understand it in a visceral way, they are such an influential group of people, and so concentrated on promoting their interests and their little world, that opera companies program it for their delectation frequently if they know what's good for them, but that non-Masons don't particularly relate to it.
I keep a running list, and that is now officially the 17th most ridiculous thing I've ever heard in my life.

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

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

Re: Your Favourite Composers' Biggest Duds

Post by piston » Mon Sep 28, 2009 6:28 pm

Please tell me that I'm on your list. I love fame. :P
In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished—a word that for them has no sense—but abandoned....(Paul Valéry)

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

Re: Your Favourite Composers' Biggest Duds

Post by lmpower » Mon Sep 28, 2009 6:37 pm

Saying that only Masons can understand Zauberflote is like saying that you have to be Finnish to understand Sibelius. I think the allegory in Zauberflote relates to the universal human condition. Maybe I don't understand all of the symbolism in the opera, but I still find it quite meaningful.

Wallingford
Posts: 4534
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2003 3:31 pm
Location: Brush, Colorado

Re: Your Favourite Composers' Biggest Duds

Post by Wallingford » Mon Sep 28, 2009 6:44 pm

Getting back to Stravinsky:

There was a time when I revered him to the point of wanting to collect all his works. As of about six years ago I'd finally just about put the finishing touches on getting his late-period works. But alas and alack, I find that late-period Stravinsky just doesn't speak to me: there's just some big wall obscuring its appeal for me. I'll always admire him, but not at the elevated & unselective level as before.

Anyway, the records of Persephone, Threni, In Memoriam Dylan Thomas and all the rest just sit there on my shelves, gathering dust like the Harvard Classics. There merely for some superficial touch of prestige & nothing more. I should just take 'em to Goodwill or St. Vinnie's ('fact, I think I did just 3 weeks back).
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

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26866
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Re: Your Favourite Composers' Biggest Duds

Post by jbuck919 » Mon Sep 28, 2009 6:54 pm

lmpower wrote:Saying that only Masons can understand Zauberflote is like saying that you have to be Finnish to understand Sibelius. I think the allegory in Zauberflote relates to the universal human condition. Maybe I don't understand all of the symbolism in the opera, but I still find it quite meaningful.
I wish you had used any other simile. For a long time, I've been convinced that you DO have to be Finnish to understand Sibelius. :wink:

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

John F
Posts: 19970
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 4:41 am
Location: Brooklyn, NY

Re: Your Favourite Composers' Biggest Duds

Post by John F » Mon Sep 28, 2009 7:53 pm

Mozart's "La Clemenza di Tito." It's his last opera - "Magic Flute" was all but complete when he started work on "Tito"; he was writing it for Prague, with which he'd had a mutual love affair for years; he had made something extraordinary of the opera seria genre a decade earlier with "Idomeneo," and since then had composed the three extraordinary Da Ponte operas. He was not written out - the clarinet concerto was still to come, and as much of the Requiem as he could get onto paper before he died. There's every reason to expect "Tito" to be a crowning masterwork, then, but no. There's some great stuff in it, but let's face it, it's a dud. And all the timeworn rationalizations don't convincingly explain why it turned out that way.
John Francis

Heck148
Posts: 3515
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2003 11:53 pm
Location: New England

Re: Your Favourite Composers' Biggest Duds

Post by Heck148 » Mon Sep 28, 2009 8:06 pm

Rachmaninoff wrote a couple of pieces that are NOT duds!!
:lol: :lol:
Paganini Variations, Bohemian Caprice...... :D
:mrgreen:

Heck148
Posts: 3515
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2003 11:53 pm
Location: New England

Re: Your Favourite Composers' Biggest Duds

Post by Heck148 » Mon Sep 28, 2009 8:09 pm

piston wrote: Copland's Rodeo, Salon Mexico and, especially, Dansa Cubana, are "duds."
sorry. I find that as astounding as calling Beethoven VC a dud.

"El Salon Mexico" esp is a wonderful work...

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26866
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Re: Your Favourite Composers' Biggest Duds

Post by jbuck919 » Mon Sep 28, 2009 8:43 pm

Heck148 wrote:
piston wrote: Copland's Rodeo, Salon Mexico and, especially, Dansa Cubana, are "duds."
sorry. I find that as astounding as calling Beethoven VC a dud.
Whereas I would have thrown in Billy the Kid and Appalachian Spring for good measure.

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

nut-job
Posts: 1717
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2009 6:06 pm

Re: Your Favourite Composers' Biggest Duds

Post by nut-job » Mon Sep 28, 2009 9:49 pm

jbuck919 wrote:
RebLem wrote: A pretty hefty share of Mozart's Piano Sonatas have K numbers below 350. And, John, I think what Corlyss is saying is that while only Masons really understand it in a visceral way, they are such an influential group of people, and so concentrated on promoting their interests and their little world, that opera companies program it for their delectation frequently if they know what's good for them, but that non-Masons don't particularly relate to it.
I keep a running list, and that is now officially the 17th most ridiculous thing I've ever heard in my life.
The most absurd thing about the claim, for me, is that the popularity of the Magic Flute is somehow the result of the machinations of the all powerful Masons. A manifestation of the common delusion that music you don't like is not really like by anyone else, but foisted upon the public by some sort of conspiracy (i.e., the Mozart industry, the "elite" conservatory types, and now the Free Masons). There is truly nothing new under the sun.

Wallingford
Posts: 4534
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2003 3:31 pm
Location: Brush, Colorado

Re: Your Favourite Composers' Biggest Duds

Post by Wallingford » Mon Sep 28, 2009 10:10 pm

Debussy's La damoiselle elue eludes me.
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

Lance
Site Administrator
Posts: 17747
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 1:27 am
Location: Binghamton, New York
Contact:

Re: Your Favourite Composers' Biggest Duds

Post by Lance » Tue Sep 29, 2009 12:58 am

Ken, my eye immediately caught your reference to Schumann's Abegg Variations. I absolutely love this piece, and when I heard the pianist I mention play it, I had to go out and try to play it myself! The story—or rather the inspiration—behind the piece is about love, of course. I found the theme to this piece exhilarating. But, always a but, it takes a certain kind of pianist to convey this music. For me, that pianist is CLARA HASKIL. If you can ever get to hear her Philips recording of this, I implore you to do so.
Ken wrote:(In your humble opinion...) {snipped}

I'll weigh in on three of my favourites. I have a hard time picking on Schumann, but I will admit to not being too enthralled by the early Abegg Variations (Op. 1) {snipped}
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

Image

Ken
Posts: 2511
Joined: Thu May 04, 2006 6:17 am
Location: Düsseldorf, Nordrhein-Westfalen

Re: Your Favourite Composers' Biggest Duds

Post by Ken » Tue Sep 29, 2009 1:01 am

nut-job wrote:Up until recently I would have said Brahms' double concerto, especially after hearing the lackluster Fisher/somebody performance on Pentatone. But recently I've listened to the Szeryng/Starker/Haitin recording and I "get it" now. So as of now, Brahms has no duds. :lol:
The Fischer/Müller-Schott/Kreizberg performance on PentaTone is one of my faves. :(
Du sollst schlechte Compositionen weder spielen, noch, wenn du nicht dazu gezwungen bist, sie anhören.

Lance
Site Administrator
Posts: 17747
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 1:27 am
Location: Binghamton, New York
Contact:

Re: Your Favourite Composers' Biggest Duds

Post by Lance » Tue Sep 29, 2009 1:04 am

You are not going to believe what I consider a "dud" (good choice of words, Ken!) amongst my most beloved composers.

Beethoven considered his Missa Solemnis, Op. 123 his magnum opus. For the life of me — and I have many recordings of the work and have also heard it in concert on a several of occasions — I find nothing in this piece memorable other than the texts. I would much prefer to hear Beethoven's Mass in C Major, Op. 86, or his oratorio Christ on the Mount of Olives, Op. 85.

Now, someone, please tell me what I may be missing in the work.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

Image

Ken
Posts: 2511
Joined: Thu May 04, 2006 6:17 am
Location: Düsseldorf, Nordrhein-Westfalen

Re: Your Favourite Composers' Biggest Duds

Post by Ken » Tue Sep 29, 2009 1:13 am

Lance wrote:Ken, my eye immediately caught your reference to Schumann's Abegg Variations. I absolutely love this piece, and when I heard the pianist I mention play it, I had to go out and try to play it myself! The story—or rather the inspiration—behind the piece is about love, of course. I found the theme to this piece exhilarating. But, always a but, it takes a certain kind of pianist to convey this music. For me, that pianist is CLARA HASKIL. If you can ever get to hear her Philips recording of this, I implore you to do so.
Ken wrote:(In your humble opinion...) {snipped}

I'll weigh in on three of my favourites. I have a hard time picking on Schumann, but I will admit to not being too enthralled by the early Abegg Variations (Op. 1) {snipped}
As always, Lance, I take your advice to heart. I will certainly look in new directions for the Abeggs, which I don't necessarily dislike, but which have never impressed me to the same degree as other very early compositions--Papillons, the Paganini Variations, Davidsbündlertänze, and so on.

The story of love that apparently acted as inspiration for the Abeggs is probably dubious, however. It is more likely that Schumann and Pauline von Abegg were never more than acquaintances, and that Schumann cleverly took advantage of her note-like last name to create the main theme 'A-(B-flat)-E-G-G'. He also wrote the work in relative haste to get his name out to Leipzig publishers in anticipation of greater success with, among others, his now forgotten early Piano Quartet.
Du sollst schlechte Compositionen weder spielen, noch, wenn du nicht dazu gezwungen bist, sie anhören.

Jared
CMG's Chief Resident Newbie
Posts: 3157
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2009 3:50 pm
Location: Hereford Cathedral

Re: Your Favourite Composers' Biggest Duds

Post by Jared » Tue Sep 29, 2009 2:51 am

Lance wrote: Beethoven considered his Missa Solemnis, Op. 123 his magnum opus.
it's my favourite choral work... 80 minutes of majestically breathtaking power, harmony and emotion... :( :(

I knew I shouldn't have visited this thread again... all my favourites are going to be unravelled by the CMG Aristocracy.. :(

Heck148
Posts: 3515
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2003 11:53 pm
Location: New England

Re: Your Favourite Composers' Biggest Duds

Post by Heck148 » Tue Sep 29, 2009 5:49 am

jbuck919 wrote:
Heck148 wrote:
piston wrote: Copland's Rodeo, Salon Mexico and, especially, Dansa Cubana, are "duds."
sorry. I find that as astounding as calling Beethoven VC a dud.
Whereas I would have thrown in Billy the Kid and Appalachian Spring for good measure.
Appalachian Spring, a dud?? :? :( :roll:
amazing...

THEHORN
Posts: 2567
Joined: Sat Jun 14, 2008 8:57 am

Re: Your Favourite Composers' Biggest Duds

Post by THEHORN » Tue Sep 29, 2009 10:53 am

I recently listened to the Robert Craft recording with the Orchestra of St.Lukes of Persephone and several other works, and
I was rather taken by this rarely performed work, which shows a much gentler and more lyrical side of Stravinsky .
It took a few repeated hearings for me to really enjoy it, but I'm glad I took the time and effort .
The last live performance anywhere in the US I can recall is when Kurt Masur and the New York Philharmonic did it several years ago, before Maazel took over .
Try this work . The Craft recording is no doubt authoritative .

nut-job
Posts: 1717
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2009 6:06 pm

Re: Your Favourite Composers' Biggest Duds

Post by nut-job » Tue Sep 29, 2009 11:25 am

Ken wrote:
nut-job wrote:Up until recently I would have said Brahms' double concerto, especially after hearing the lackluster Fisher/somebody performance on Pentatone. But recently I've listened to the Szeryng/Starker/Haitin recording and I "get it" now. So as of now, Brahms has no duds. :lol:
The Fischer/Müller-Schott/Kreizberg performance on PentaTone is one of my faves. :(
Fischer was fine, I liked her performance in the violin concerto, but I can't bear Muller-Schott, one of those soloists that is so sensitive that he can't play a single, clear, unadorned note. Kreizberg, as far as I can tell, is the name of a company that makes metronomes. :lol:

Imperfect Pitch
Posts: 652
Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2007 9:55 pm
Location: Brookline, MA

Re: Your Favourite Composers' Biggest Duds

Post by Imperfect Pitch » Tue Sep 29, 2009 11:29 am

Jared wrote:I knew I shouldn't have visited this thread again... all my favourites are going to be unravelled by the CMG Aristocracy.. :(
Jared: One thing we can all agree on is that there is no unanimity around here (yes, that's paradoxical but you get my point). My comment about Beethoven's VC is heartfelt - it just hasn't clicked with me yet - but don't let that affect your enjoyment of it. Ditto for Missa Solemnis. Hey, if I can enjoy Glenn Gould's Mozart even though it makes everyone else physically ill, you can enjoy anything! By the way, I hope you weren't referring to me in your above comment because I am just a plebe around here.

Ken
Posts: 2511
Joined: Thu May 04, 2006 6:17 am
Location: Düsseldorf, Nordrhein-Westfalen

Re: Your Favourite Composers' Biggest Duds

Post by Ken » Tue Sep 29, 2009 11:31 am

nut-job wrote:...but I can't bear Muller-Schott, one of those soloists that is so sensitive that he can't play a single, clear, unadorned note.
:shock:

...Slowly backs away.
Du sollst schlechte Compositionen weder spielen, noch, wenn du nicht dazu gezwungen bist, sie anhören.

karlhenning
Composer-in-Residence
Posts: 9801
Joined: Wed Apr 20, 2005 11:12 am
Location: Boston, MA
Contact:

Re: Your Favourite Composers' Biggest Duds

Post by karlhenning » Tue Sep 29, 2009 11:40 am

And here I thought this thread was a fashion statement . . . oversized garments, and what not.

Cheers,
~Karl
Karl Henning, PhD
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston, Massachusetts
http://members.tripod.com/~Karl_P_Henning/
http://henningmusick.blogspot.com/
Published by Lux Nova Press
http://www.luxnova.com/

nut-job
Posts: 1717
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2009 6:06 pm

Re: Your Favourite Composers' Biggest Duds

Post by nut-job » Tue Sep 29, 2009 11:47 am

Ken wrote:
nut-job wrote:...but I can't bear Muller-Schott, one of those soloists that is so sensitive that he can't play a single, clear, unadorned note.
:shock:

...Slowly backs away.
I'm not kidding. Not every note has to be exquisitely expressive. Sometimes a B-flat is just a B-flat. Sometimes listening to Muller-Schott I find my self thinking, "can you just play the notes, I want to hear the melody now!" Starker knows what he's doing.

Ken
Posts: 2511
Joined: Thu May 04, 2006 6:17 am
Location: Düsseldorf, Nordrhein-Westfalen

Re: Your Favourite Composers' Biggest Duds

Post by Ken » Tue Sep 29, 2009 12:15 pm

karlhenning wrote:And here I thought this thread was a fashion statement . . . oversized garments, and what not.

Cheers,
~Karl
Bah-haha! I think Lully, Rameau, and Charpentier fans would handily win such a debate.

Image
Du sollst schlechte Compositionen weder spielen, noch, wenn du nicht dazu gezwungen bist, sie anhören.

Jared
CMG's Chief Resident Newbie
Posts: 3157
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2009 3:50 pm
Location: Hereford Cathedral

Re: Your Favourite Composers' Biggest Duds

Post by Jared » Tue Sep 29, 2009 12:16 pm

Imperfect Pitch wrote: By the way, I hope you weren't referring to me in your above comment because I am just a plebe around here.
no IP, I wasn't referring to you.. or anyone in particular tbh... I was just commenting on the way I can see a thread going... :roll:

I feel there is a certain inevitability in how, one by one, all my favourite pieces of CM will be ripped to shreds and denigrated by one eloquent forum member or another who has spent their entire life studying the particular composer in question's works, and come to the conclusion that the piece I love is somehow structurally inferior/ naive/ ripped off from Mozart etc etc... :?

doubting questions then arise in my mind, ultimately leaving me wondering whether it is indeed my own naivety which allows me to enjoy something quite so trite, fundementally flawed and effemeral, which cannot possibily be deeply loved by ANYONE who has any serious understanding of the genre... which in turn makes me feel guilty for liking it... and even though I may continue to do so, I will not admit to in public ever again... :(

you may say that I shouldn't take to heart, what others say about pieces I have learnt to love, but I do...

when I first started to actively listen to CM, I was woken up one morning by the introductory bars of Liszt's 'Les Preludes' on BBC Radio 3's breakfast programme. I was quite overjoyed, because I remember it as having been one of the few pieces as a youngster that engaged me in the genre... all that bombast and triumphalism... and have such fondness for it. I had at the time, just acquainted myself with *another* CM internet forum, where the piece was mercilessly ripped to shreds as being a joke. I felt quite small afterwards... :(

Imperfect Pitch
Posts: 652
Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2007 9:55 pm
Location: Brookline, MA

Re: Your Favourite Composers' Biggest Duds

Post by Imperfect Pitch » Tue Sep 29, 2009 12:17 pm

karlhenning wrote:And here I thought this thread was a fashion statement . . . oversized garments, and what not.
We are threading our nits, not the other way around.

Ken
Posts: 2511
Joined: Thu May 04, 2006 6:17 am
Location: Düsseldorf, Nordrhein-Westfalen

Re: Your Favourite Composers' Biggest Duds

Post by Ken » Tue Sep 29, 2009 12:19 pm

nut-job wrote:I'm not kidding. Not every note has to be exquisitely expressive. Sometimes a B-flat is just a B-flat. Sometimes listening to Muller-Schott I find my self thinking, "can you just play the notes, I want to hear the melody now!" Starker knows what he's doing.
I quite understand where you're coming from, but Müller-Schott's tone is too robust and pure, and his phrasing is too articulate and beautiful for me to argue against his performance. I don't think he goes quite as overboard with the solo part as does Rostropovich. But I agree with you about Starker--fantastic interpretation.
Du sollst schlechte Compositionen weder spielen, noch, wenn du nicht dazu gezwungen bist, sie anhören.

Lance
Site Administrator
Posts: 17747
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 1:27 am
Location: Binghamton, New York
Contact:

Re: Your Favourite Composers' Biggest Duds

Post by Lance » Tue Sep 29, 2009 1:28 pm

I am a Third Degree Master Mason now, but I still scratch my head at The Magic Flute!
Corlyss_D wrote:Magic Flute - inside jokes don't make good operas. Aside from the music, the only reason it's popular is nobody except Masons gets it.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

Image

Lance
Site Administrator
Posts: 17747
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 1:27 am
Location: Binghamton, New York
Contact:

Re: Your Favourite Composers' Biggest Duds

Post by Lance » Tue Sep 29, 2009 1:32 pm

I concur, completely. Beethoven's VC a "dud"? Well, that may have been stated just to start some dialogue. As for Copland's "El Salon Mexico," - I love it, too!
Heck148 wrote:
piston wrote: Copland's Rodeo, Salon Mexico and, especially, Dansa Cubana, are "duds."
sorry. I find that as astounding as calling Beethoven VC a dud.

"El Salon Mexico" esp is a wonderful work...
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

Image

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

Re: Your Favourite Composers' Biggest Duds

Post by lmpower » Tue Sep 29, 2009 3:19 pm

I agree with Lance that Beethoven's Missa Solemnis is not one of his very greatest works though the Benedictus is a sublime violin melody. Beethoven's real religious music was the late quartets. I have long been curious about La Clemenza Di Tito. How have I gone several decades as a Mozart lover and never heard that opera. I was always given to understand that it was a potboiler that interrupted his real mission to do Zauberflote and Requiem. However someone once posted an opinion praising it. I am almost curious enough to try and listen to it, but not curious enough to buy it.

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

Re: Your Favourite Composers' Biggest Duds

Post by Corlyss_D » Wed Sep 30, 2009 7:21 am

jbuck919 wrote: It can't be popular if "only" some specialized people get it.
Sure it can, the usual way: so many influential people extol Flute and the riff-raff don't want to let on they don't understand it, so they ape their betters. It's got very hummable tunes to sustain interest, but for all the sense the libretto makes, the singers might as well be singing the phone book.
Corlyss
Contessa d'EM, a carbon-based life form

John F
Posts: 19970
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 4:41 am
Location: Brooklyn, NY

Re: Your Favourite Composers' Biggest Duds

Post by John F » Wed Sep 30, 2009 7:48 am

What's so hard to understand about "The Magic Flute"? The story is quite coherent. If at first you're taken in (like the naïve Tamino) by the Queen of the Night's glamour to believe she's a heroine and a force for good, and Sarastro is evil incarnate, then (like Tamino) you'd need to, er, adjust that first impression in the light of what's actually happening. But this shouldn't be beyond the powers of a grown-up, or a reasonably savvy child.
John Francis

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 42 guests