Important composers not considered "great" today ...

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arepo
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Re: Important composers not considered "great" today ...

Post by arepo » Wed Jan 04, 2012 11:14 pm

On the opera end I feel compelled to add:
Montemezzi (L'amore dei tre re) and Boito (Mefistofele & Nerone)

CharmNewton
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Re: Important composers not considered "great" today ...

Post by CharmNewton » Thu Jan 05, 2012 1:16 am

John F wrote:
CharmNewton wrote:
John F wrote:
CharmNewton wrote:Audiences have found these composers great
Johann Strauss II? John Philip Sousa? Obviously their music appeals to people, but that's not the same thing as their being great composers, or audiences believing they are. Where would one find evidence that they do?
Why is the appeal of music not evidence of its greatness?
If it were, then the mewling of Lady Gaga would rate as greater than the Eroica Symphony and all other classical music. I say it's not. If you really feel that it is, are you willing to take that view to its logical "Roll over Beethoven" conclusion?
Glad to know you've listened to Lady Gaga. :)

Millions enjoying the music of Strauss or Sousa is at-face evidence of its importance, if one needs quantification. And how many millions over the years have had the pleasure of playing this music while learning an instrument in band classes? Isn't that another facet of the word importance. It isn't just a critic saying that a composer influenced a group of others (who then get criticized by another critic for being derivative).

John

lennygoran
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Re: Important composers not considered "great" today ...

Post by lennygoran » Thu Jan 05, 2012 8:24 am

(Glad to know you've listened to Lady Gaga.)

Well I do too-still the important thing is when do I get to kiss her like bloomberg did new years eve! Len on the run

John F
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Re: Important composers not considered "great" today ...

Post by John F » Thu Jan 05, 2012 10:55 am

CharmNewton wrote:Millions enjoying the music of Strauss or Sousa is at-face evidence of its importance, if one needs quantification.
It is not. It's only evidence of popularity. Popularity per se, or "quantification" if you like, does not equate to importance. And you haven't really answered my question, just shrugged it off, so I'll repeat it:

If "the appeal of music [were] evidence of its greatness," then the mewling of Lady Gaga would rate as greater than the Eroica Symphony and all other classical music. I say it's not. If you really feel that it is, are you willing to take that view to its logical "Roll over Beethoven" conclusion?
"Greatness," where you started, is a subjective judgment, so you can say that a Lady Gaga track is greater than the Eroica Symphony and nobody could prove you wrong. But would you say it, and mean it? If not, then you yourself would be rejecting mere "quantification," or popularity, as a measure of greatness. Where do you stand on this?

Now you've shifted the ground to "importance," a different and far more serious matter, and even further removed from mere popularity. Not one person in a hundred thousand even knows the name of the inventor of the transistor or the discoverer of penicillin, you can hardly get less popular than that, yet they are among the most important human beings who ever lived.

If you'd like to make a case for the relevance of popularity to importance, fine, that would be interesting. But just saying it's so doesn't make it so.
John Francis

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Re: Important composers not considered "great" today ...

Post by Chalkperson » Thu Jan 05, 2012 3:52 pm

lennygoran wrote:(Glad to know you've listened to Lady Gaga.)

Well I do too-still the important thing is when do I get to kiss her like bloomberg did new years eve! Len on the run
Why? your wife is a million times better looking... :wink:
Sent via Twitter by @chalkperson

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Re: Important composers not considered "great" today ...

Post by lennygoran » Fri Jan 06, 2012 9:15 pm

(Why? your wife is a million times better looking... )

Yes that's true-for that matter so is Bloomberg's girl friend... still. Len (grin)

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Re: Important composers not considered "great" today ...

Post by lennygoran » Fri Jan 06, 2012 9:39 pm

( Lady Gaga.)

Talk about Gaga a store around your neck of the woods in soho really made us go gaga yesterday!

http://nymag.com/listings/stores/Sicis/

4 floors of mosaic tile like we've never seen. Len

Seán
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Re: Important composers not considered "great" today ...

Post by Seán » Sat Jan 07, 2012 7:58 am

lennygoran wrote:(Glad to know you've listened to Lady Gaga.)

Well I do too-still the important thing is when do I get to kiss her like bloomberg did new years eve! Len on the run
Ugh....[puke] Ahem, sorry.
Seán

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

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Re: Important composers not considered "great" today ...

Post by lennygoran » Sat Jan 07, 2012 8:22 am

(Ugh....[puke] Ahem, sorry.

Do you think if bloomberg runs for president that kiss could come back to haunt him! Len (grin)

CharmNewton
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Re: Important composers not considered "great" today ...

Post by CharmNewton » Sat Jan 07, 2012 2:50 pm

John F wrote:
CharmNewton wrote:Millions enjoying the music of Strauss or Sousa is at-face evidence of its importance, if one needs quantification.
It is not. It's only evidence of popularity. Popularity per se, or "quantification" if you like, does not equate to importance. And you haven't really answered my question, just shrugged it off, so I'll repeat it:

If "the appeal of music [were] evidence of its greatness," then the mewling of Lady Gaga would rate as greater than the Eroica Symphony and all other classical music. I say it's not. If you really feel that it is, are you willing to take that view to its logical "Roll over Beethoven" conclusion?
"Greatness," where you started, is a subjective judgment, so you can say that a Lady Gaga track is greater than the Eroica Symphony and nobody could prove you wrong. But would you say it, and mean it? If not, then you yourself would be rejecting mere "quantification," or popularity, as a measure of greatness. Where do you stand on this?
Popularity is one measure of a work's or artist's greatness or importance. Why do you take the judgement of the audience out of the discussion? They vote (as classical music lovers do) with their money and their time, which they could have used in other ways than seeing or purchasing the work of an artist.

You once posted traveling hundreds of miles to see concerts conducted by Yuri Temirkanov. I don't find it unreasonable to infer that you found him a great conductor and made the extra effort to see him and your actions spoke louder to me than a critic's words.

I don't believe the success of Lady Gaga or other popular performers in any way diminishes classical music. I'm sure many contemporary composers would like to reach audiences of that scale. Perhaps they should emulate her tenacity and try.

John
John

John F
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Re: Important composers not considered "great" today ...

Post by John F » Sat Jan 07, 2012 4:30 pm

CharmNewton wrote:
John F wrote:
CharmNewton wrote:Millions enjoying the music of Strauss or Sousa is at-face evidence of its importance, if one needs quantification.
It is not. It's only evidence of popularity. Popularity per se, or "quantification" if you like, does not equate to importance. And you haven't really answered my question, just shrugged it off, so I'll repeat it. If "the appeal of music [were] evidence of its greatness," then the mewling of Lady Gaga would rate as greater than the Eroica Symphony and all other classical music. I say it's not. If you really feel that it is, are you willing to take that view to its logical "Roll over Beethoven" conclusion?

"Greatness," where you started, is a subjective judgment, so you can say that a Lady Gaga track is greater than the Eroica Symphony and nobody could prove you wrong. But would you say it, and mean it? If not, then you yourself would be rejecting mere "quantification," or popularity, as a measure of greatness. Where do you stand on this?
Popularity is one measure of a work's or artist's greatness or importance. Why do you take the judgement of the audience out of the discussion? They vote (as classical music lovers do) with their money and their time, which they could have used in other ways than seeing or purchasing the work of an artist.
You're still evading my question, so I'll put it another way. A quantitative measure of Lady Gaga's popularity is that in the three years since her first recording was released, her albums have sold 37 million copies, and singles of her songs an additional 45 million copies. Is this a measure of her artistic greatness or importance? How would you compare her greatness or her importance (which are not the same) with that of Herbert von Karajan, probably the best-selling classical musician of all time with estimated sales of 200 million recordings across his 50 years as a recording artist? Lady Gaga's average of 27 million copies a year makes Karajan's average of 4 million look puny. Is Lady Gaga seven times as important or seven times as great as Karajan?
CharmNewton wrote:You once posted traveling hundreds of miles to see concerts conducted by Yuri Temirkanov. I don't find it unreasonable to infer that you found him a great conductor and made the extra effort to see him and your actions spoke louder to me than a critic's words.
You need not infer anything, since I'm here and can speak for myself. Yuri Temirkanov is one of the few conductors active today who makes music in a way I respond to viscerally. That makes him special for me. But I don't use the word "great" lightly, and I don't say that Temirkanov is a great musician.

By the way, his concerts with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra were not well attended. My friends and I were at some Sunday afternoon concerts in which the hall was little more than half full. The audience voted against him with their money and their time, the orchestra got into financial difficulty, and Temirkanov's contract was not renewed. His successor Marin Alsop has been far more popular with the BSO's audience, and this has paid off with higher box office receipts and larger contributions from supporters. Does this make Marin Alsop a greater conductor than Yuri Temirkanov? Clearly she is more important to the orchestra's bottom line, but does that make her a more important musician, period?

I repeat: there is no logical correlation between popularity and either artistic importance or artistic greatness. I've shown this to be true. If you're going to repeat that there is, please show me the logic.
CharmNewton wrote:I don't believe the success of Lady Gaga or other popular performers in any way diminishes classical music.
That amounts to saying that popularity is not a measure after all. At last!
CharmNewton wrote:I'm sure many contemporary composers would like to reach audiences of that scale. Perhaps they should emulate her tenacity and try.
Tenacity doesn't cut it, or just trying - style does, and not just musical style. The musical content of her first hit, "Just Dance," is vanishingly small and the words are incoherent, the song is about being drunk (http://www.metrolyrics.com/just-dance-l ... -gaga.html) - but it sold 5 million copies. Here it is:



This is popularity. Is this greatness? Is this importance? Come on now.
John Francis

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Re: Important composers not considered "great" today ...

Post by rogch » Sun Jan 08, 2012 3:58 pm

lennygoran wrote:>Shame on you! <

Okay I take it back--Sousa is more important and much better than ligetti and Schoenberg too! Regards, Len :)
You are kidding, right? I mean, i like Johann Strauss, but better than Schönberg? No way. I have not heard too much Sousa, it is possible that i can like his music too. But i have hardly heard anyone calling him better than Schönberg. And i doubt very much if Strauss or Soussa have written anything as good as Ligeti's first string quartet just to name one piece.
Roger Christensen

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Re: Important composers not considered "great" today ...

Post by lennygoran » Sun Jan 08, 2012 4:13 pm

>Ligeti's first string quartet just to name one piece<

Darn it I only have his second string quartet. In another thread we've been discussing his Grand Macabre where I had an absolutely dreadful opera experience. Many years ago I had another absolutely awful opera experience at the Met--Schoenberg's Erwartung--an opera with no redeeming traits whatsoever imo. I'm not big on atonal music but Schoenberg's more tonal works are okay with me. I'm gonna put this second ligeti quartet on right now--oh, oh, this is a very tough start--horrid screeching type noise--well I'll try to listen to as much as I can stand. Regards, Len:(

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Re: Important composers not considered "great" today ...

Post by lennygoran » Sun Jan 08, 2012 5:08 pm

>oh, oh, this is a very tough start--horrid screeching type noise--well I'll try to listen to as much as I can stand. <

Well I've listened--the most I can say is this is almost tolerable but as far as it being music it's definitely not for me--I think I can see why:

Wiki says this of ligeti:

"On his journey to Vienna, he left most of his Hungarian compositions in Budapest, some of which are now lost; he only took what he considered to be his most important compositions. He later explained, "I considered my old music of no interest. I believed in twelve-tone music!"[6]

A few weeks after arriving in Vienna, he left for Cologne. There he met several key avant-garde figures and learned more contemporary musical styles and methods.[7] These included the composers Karlheinz Stockhausen and Gottfried Michael Koenig, both then working on groundbreaking electronic music. "

Nope this guy with his bee buzzing sounds and lack of melody is definitely not for me. I don't believe music like this will ever capture a really large audience and may explain why classical music is in trouble at this time. Regards, Len :(

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Re: Important composers not considered "great" today ...

Post by rogch » Mon Jan 09, 2012 7:59 am

I like some of Ligeti's pieces, a few of them very much. But he is not among my absolute favourites. But since he was more or less dismissed in this thread i think some balance was needed. The second string quartet is obviously not meant just to be pleasant and relaxing. The names of the movements suggest something else. But classical music has often been like that, controversial when it was new and often the most experimental and ambitious music of its time. Ligety's first string quartet is called "Metamorphoses nochturnes" which indicates more accessible music. But it is not easy listnening. A very different work is the vocal work Lux Aeterna. It was even used as film music by Stanley Kubrick.

But Schönberg is among my absolute favourites. And i am more amazed with every new piece i discover. Too many of them are relatively seldom played. His diversity is staggering. His three concertos alone (for piano, violin and cello) are very different pieces. Then we have big choral works (Gurrelieder, Jacobsleiter), smaller vocal works (the unique Pierrot Lunaire, Erwartung, Ode to Napoleon Bonaparte) chamber music (string quartets plus the famous Verklarte Nacht), some unique orchestral works (orchestral variations and the underrated Pelleas und Mellisande). And there is a Schönberg "with a human face" (for people who normally don't like him), moving pieces like Fride auf Erden (peace on earth) and A Survivor from Warzaw. There is even a light-hearted Schönberg with charming chamber arrangements of some of Johann Strauss' music. Sometimes i think his historic importance as a modernist overshadows the wide range of music he wrote. And his theories are often more talked about than the music itself which is very unusual for any composer.
Roger Christensen

"Mozart is the most inaccessible of the great masters"
Artur Schnabel

lennygoran
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Re: Important composers not considered "great" today ...

Post by lennygoran » Mon Jan 09, 2012 8:44 am

>Gurrelieder<

We were at a performance of that at Carnegie Hall--they had to enlarge the front of the stage--it was a wonderful experience--that's the Schoenberg I like.

>the unique Pierrot Lunaire, Erwartung<

Two of the worse pieces of music I've ever had the ocassion to listen to! :)

>Verklarte Nacht<

A good one! Regards, Len [classical music novice]

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Re: Important composers not considered "great" today ...

Post by dulcinea » Fri Jan 13, 2012 3:10 pm

Many of the composers mentioned in this thread are authors of opera, a genre less popular today than the symphony and the concerto. If I were affiliated with a recording company I would encourage it to record the complete operas of such people as Cherubini; then the public would understand why the Wunderkind from Bonn admired LC so much. The choral music of Signore C is already quite well known; I wonder what surprises his operas have in store for future listeners.
Let every thing that has breath praise the Lord! Alleluya!

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Re: Important composers not considered "great" today ...

Post by John F » Fri Jan 13, 2012 4:03 pm

Cherubini's "Medea" is fairly often performed and was recorded by Maria Callas, and "Lodoiska" was revived at La Scala by Riccardo Muti. I see that the BBC broadcast of "Les deux journees" conducted by Sir Thomas Beecham is on CDs too. But Cherubini composed many operas, and I think they deserve to be heard. I think so because I've heard quite a few of them, issued on the "private" (pirate) MRF label in the '70s from Italian Radio broadcasts. None of these appear to have come out on CD.
John Francis

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Re: Important composers not considered "great" today ...

Post by lennygoran » Sat Jan 14, 2012 8:58 am

>I would encourage it to record the complete operas of such people as Cherubini<

We saw his most famous opera Medea up at Glimmerglass this summer--a great exciting Medea and one of the most effective opera experiences I've had in a long time! Regards, Len

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Re: Important composers not considered "great" today ...

Post by rogch » Tue Jan 17, 2012 8:47 am

Cherubini was very respected by both Bethoven, Brahms and Schumann. And he wrote more than operas. When i hear some of his choral works or string qartets i wonder why he does not get more attention. There are exeptions though, i read a nice article about him in the BBC Music Magazine. Before that i thought he was just another Italian opera composer.
Roger Christensen

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Artur Schnabel

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Re: Important composers not considered "great" today ...

Post by John F » Tue Jan 17, 2012 9:53 am

If Cherubini had composed more symphonies, he would have had more to offer to 20th-century concert life. He composed only one - quite a good one, Toscanini used to program it, somewhat in the manner of Étienne Méhul but thematically and harmonically less striking, and decidedly retro for 1815.



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