I Don't Remember If I Asked This Before:

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dulcinea
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I Don't Remember If I Asked This Before:

Post by dulcinea » Fri Jun 23, 2017 3:30 pm

why did Ives, Ravel and Sibelius lose their inspiration?
I myself, after drawing constantly since approximately my third year, lost my will to draw in 1969, at the age of fourteen--a kind of growing pain, I suspect. I still had ideas, but when I tried to put them down they didn't come out right (Ives said something similar to his wife). Finally, in 1983 I did something seriously radical: I quit striving for the realism of Durer and Reni, and instead went into full stylization, mixing CD Gibson with Beardsley, Hirschfeld and Peter Max. I WAS FREE! THANK GOD ALMIGHTY, I WAS FREE AT LAST!
I cannot but wonder what CI, MR and JS might have accomplished if they had tried for a similar change.
Let every thing that has breath praise the Lord! Alleluya!

Beckmesser
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Re: I Don't Remember If I Asked This Before:

Post by Beckmesser » Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:15 pm

In the case of Ravel, I have heard the possible explanation that he suffered from dementia.

Not sure whether it is true.

Click here

and

Click here.

Sibelius, I believe, was an alcoholic although I don't know why that would necessarily inhibit his creativity.

Ives had a day job--selling insurance.

jbuck919
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Re: I Don't Remember If I Asked This Before:

Post by jbuck919 » Fri Jun 23, 2017 7:21 pm

Funny but Ravel would have been on my short list for dulcinea's other thread about composers she would have liked to meet. Someone who led a quiet and possibly non-existent private life. My kind of guy. :)
Last edited by jbuck919 on Sat Jun 24, 2017 8:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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John F
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Re: I Don't Remember If I Asked This Before:

Post by John F » Sat Jun 24, 2017 5:13 am

As Beckmesser said, Ravel didn't "lose his inspiration," he lost the ability to compose following an injury to the head. See the Wikipedia article about him for details. As for Sibelius and Ives, it's a mystery, as it was to the composers themselves; nothing to say about it.

The greater mistery by far is where their and other composers' inspiration came from. It hardly seems possible that a human being could produce the musical masterpieces of the last five centuries. That some of them burned out or, like Verdi, chose to retire years before they died shouldn't be the least surprising, or need any special explanation beyond what their biographies provide.
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maestrob
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Re: I Don't Remember If I Asked This Before:

Post by maestrob » Sat Jun 24, 2017 10:35 am

One might also ask why did Rossini stop composing operas in mid-life when he was fabulously wealthy and successful. Imagine the masterpieces we have missed......

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Re: I Don't Remember If I Asked This Before:

Post by John F » Sat Jun 24, 2017 11:25 am

Rossini's retirement isn't that hard to understand. He was said to be very lazy, putting things off until the last minute, reusing arias and overtures and whole operas into new ones (cf. "Le Comte Ory"), even composing while lying in bed. A story has it that he dropped a piece he was working on, and instead of getting out of bed to pick it up, started over. When he did get the dropped music, he turned that into a completely different piece. Having become, as maestrob says, "fabulously wealthy," it's hardly surprising that he retired to a life of ease.
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Re: I Don't Remember If I Asked This Before:

Post by Lance » Sat Jun 24, 2017 11:45 am

I've heard it stated somewhere that Sibelius had a problem with alcohol, which apparently greatly affected his ability to compose. Another composer who seemed to lose inspiration from the style of music so associated with him is Aaron Copland. I read somewhere that he admitted he was having problems in continuing to write music after a certain point. When one thinks of composers such as Schubert, Liszt, Chopin, Beethoven and others ... and the output they produced, it's really quite staggering.
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lennygoran
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Re: I Don't Remember If I Asked This Before:

Post by lennygoran » Sun Jun 25, 2017 5:18 am

maestrob wrote:
Sat Jun 24, 2017 10:35 am
One might also ask why did Rossini stop composing operas in mid-life when he was fabulously wealthy and successful. Imagine the masterpieces we have missed......
Brian still imagine all the great food he ate! Regards, Len [fleeing]

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Re: I Don't Remember If I Asked This Before:

Post by diegobueno » Sun Jun 25, 2017 10:30 am

Ives was composing and running his insurance agency at the same period in his life, and he retired from both activities at about the same time. I think there was a health issue (he was a diabetic), but really he just burned himself out.

Sibelius did have a drinking problem, which he tried from time to time to control, with only limited success, but his problem was mostly that he became more and more self-critical. He was worshiped by musicians in England and America, so that the anticipation for his 8th symphony put intense pressures on him to come up with something really really fabulously great. At one point he got confident enough about the symphony that he sent a movement out to a copyist. But after that, who knows. Some time around 1945 he had a huge bonfire at Ainola and threw a large laundry basket full of manuscripts into the fire.

Copland developed dementia in his later years. He described the decision to stop composing as "it was like a spigot had been turned off". He was increasingly in demand as a conductor of his own works, and that's what occupied him in the later years.
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Re: I Don't Remember If I Asked This Before:

Post by RebLem » Sun Jun 25, 2017 11:13 pm

diegobueno wrote:
Sun Jun 25, 2017 10:30 am
Copland developed dementia in his later years. He described the decision to stop composing as "it was like a spigot had been turned off". He was increasingly in demand as a conductor of his own works, and that's what occupied him in the later years.
I have a hypothesis about this. I think Copland really had an identity crisis. He was a Communist and most of his music exemplified the aesthetic ideals of socialism realism. Soviet composers had it imposed on them, and many chafed under its stifling influence. Copland seems to have gloried in it. But as time went on, he must have become more and more disillusioned with this source of inspiration and perhaps he just lost a major driving force in his life.
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John F
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Re: I Don't Remember If I Asked This Before:

Post by John F » Mon Jun 26, 2017 1:30 am

The problem with that theory is that Copland's early music was hard modernism, the opposite of "socialist realism," or American nationalism as his most popular works are normally characterized. And his Americana phase was instigated by commissions for ballet scores on American subjects with no relevance to Communism or any other politics for that matter.

Both Copland and Stravinsky turned to 12-tone music at the end of their careers. Maybe they didn't want to be thought behind the times. I'm sure Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic were dismayed when Copland's commissioned piece for the opening of Philharmonic Hall, "Connotations," turned out to be the opposite of "Fanfare for the Common Man." Since both of them had already changed their style radically, Stravinsky more than once, doing so again was perhaps easier than we might suppose. Stravinsky's 12-tone scores, notably "Agon," still sound like Stravinsky; I'm less sure of Copland's.
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jbuck919
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Re: I Don't Remember If I Asked This Before:

Post by jbuck919 » Mon Jun 26, 2017 5:45 am

lennygoran wrote:
Sun Jun 25, 2017 5:18 am
maestrob wrote:
Sat Jun 24, 2017 10:35 am
One might also ask why did Rossini stop composing operas in mid-life when he was fabulously wealthy and successful. Imagine the masterpieces we have missed......
Brian still imagine all the great food he ate! Regards, Len [fleeing]

Image
It is said that Rossini cried twice in his adult life: once when his father died, and again when he was on a boating party and a chicken stuffed with truffles fell overboard.

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

diegobueno
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Re: I Don't Remember If I Asked This Before:

Post by diegobueno » Mon Jun 26, 2017 8:32 am

RebLem wrote:
Sun Jun 25, 2017 11:13 pm
I have a hypothesis about this. I think Copland really had an identity crisis. He was a Communist and most of his music exemplified the aesthetic ideals of socialism realism. Soviet composers had it imposed on them, and many chafed under its stifling influence. Copland seems to have gloried in it. But as time went on, he must have become more and more disillusioned with this source of inspiration and perhaps he just lost a major driving force in his life.
According to Vivian Perlis Copland became disillusioned with communism already in the 1930s, after a worker's chorus tried to sing his song "Into the Streets May First" and pronounced it unsingable. He was a "pinko" as they used to say, but not a full-fledged card-carrying communist, like Marc Blitzstein for instance.

But later in his life he developed Alzheimer's. I heard conductor Carl St. Clair tell how during his apprenticeship with Leonard Bernstein, it fell to him to drive Copland home after a concert. Copland insisted that he take him to an address in Manhattan that he hadn't lived in for decades, and became indignant when St. Clair tried to tell him that he had a house in Westchester County and that's where he was going to take him.
Black lives matter.

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