Composers with the worst popular images?

Locked
BWV 1080
Posts: 4451
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2005 10:05 pm

Composers with the worst popular images?

Post by BWV 1080 » Tue Aug 22, 2006 3:11 pm

Who has the most distorted popular reputation? The ones that really irritate you when people who do not know classical music relay them?

A few of mine:


- Gesualdo - OK, the guy was a murderer, we all make mistakes - why should it ruin our whole reputation?

- Schoenberg - the antichrist

- Chopin - cloying, precious sensitive romantic (small r)

- Mozart - his music will not enable your toddler get into Harvard and just because you listen to a few extracted movements on the $3.99 CD you bought with the flowers on it does not mean you know the composer.

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26455
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Re: Composers with the worst popular images?

Post by jbuck919 » Tue Aug 22, 2006 3:23 pm

BWV 1080 wrote:Who has the most distorted popular reputation? The ones that really irritate you when people who do not know classical music relay them?

A few of mine:


- Gesualdo - OK, the guy was a murderer, we all make mistakes - why should it ruin our whole reputation?

- Schoenberg - the antichrist

- Chopin - cloying, precious sensitive romantic (small r)

- Mozart - his music will not enable your toddler get into Harvard and just because you listen to a few extracted movements on the $3.99 CD you bought with the flowers on it does not mean you know the composer.
In the first place, people who do not know classical music do not recognize the names of Gesualdo or Schoenberg at all. If they have been through a sufficient course of studies, they might just light the bulb over their head if someone mentions Chopin or Mozart. (I am not being perverse here; the extent to which people these days know nothing at all cannot be exaggerated. I'm looking forward to informing my tenth graders within the next few weeks that George Washington was the first president of the United States.)

In the second place, I don't understand what you are striving for. If you mean which composers are the most unpleasant when we contemplate their personal lives, sit down and let's have a long chat, for one hardly knows where to begin. I might start with Tchaikovsky.

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

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 » Tue Aug 22, 2006 3:23 pm

Dittersdorf. Just on ths site alone the parade of ignorance and abuse is shocking.
Image

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

Albert Einstein

BWV 1080
Posts: 4451
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2005 10:05 pm

Re: Composers with the worst popular images?

Post by BWV 1080 » Tue Aug 22, 2006 3:31 pm

jbuck919 wrote:
In the second place, I don't understand what you are striving for. If you mean which composers are the most unpleasant when we contemplate their personal lives, sit down and let's have a long chat, for one hardly knows where to begin. I might start with Tchaikovsky.
What I am striving for is what composers have popular reputations that are furthest from reality and the most annoying to repeatedly hear from people

mourningstar
Posts: 233
Joined: Wed May 17, 2006 3:19 pm
Location: The Netherlands

Post by mourningstar » Tue Aug 22, 2006 3:36 pm

The mix up between Beethoven and Mozart. that's Shocking, I hear people swearing that Mozart made Fur elise, .. and stuff like that,. Mozart was deaf. etc.
"Desertion for the artist means abandoning the concrete."

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26455
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Re: Composers with the worst popular images?

Post by jbuck919 » Tue Aug 22, 2006 3:40 pm

BWV 1080 wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:
In the second place, I don't understand what you are striving for. If you mean which composers are the most unpleasant when we contemplate their personal lives, sit down and let's have a long chat, for one hardly knows where to begin. I might start with Tchaikovsky.
What I am striving for is what composers have popular reputations that are furthest from reality and the most annoying to repeatedly hear from people
Steve, I would love to know where you "repeatedly hear from people" about any composer at all. Let me know, and I'll move there within the next month even if it means God help me Texas.

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

paulb
Posts: 1078
Joined: Tue May 23, 2006 6:08 pm
Location: baton rouge

Re: Composers with the worst popular images?

Post by paulb » Tue Aug 22, 2006 4:06 pm

BWV 1080 wrote:Who has the most distorted popular reputation? The ones that really irritate you when people who do not know classical music relay them?

A few of mine:


- Gesualdo - OK, the guy was a murderer, we all make mistakes - why should it ruin our whole reputation?

- Schoenberg - the antichrist

- Chopin - cloying, precious sensitive romantic (small r)

- Mozart - his music will not enable your toddler get into Harvard and just because you listen to a few extracted movements on the $3.99 CD you bought with the flowers on it does not mean you know the composer.
Strat with Gesualdo. Not sure who he is, really don't care. Take Antonio Salieri. Bartoli even recordeda cd called "The Salieri Album" :shock: Why? Even GMG brought his name up on a separate topic and a few members actually joined in :shock: They actually think they are finding long,lost forgotten gems :D Why bring up the ghosts? RIP

Schonberg as the antichrist,? new one for me. If anything Schonberg was inspired by heaven. A composer of supreme genius and eternal beauty.

Chopin as cloying. Had to look up the word, cloying: sickening or wearisome by being excessively pleasnt. That may have something to do with the fact I don't care much for Chopin, but more to do with the fact I do not care much for the entire romantic period. That period has never excited me, other tahn a handful of works.

Mozart, agree is the most misunderstood composer, and will remain so I've never placed Mozart in any group of classical composers. Spiritual son to Vivaldi and Bach, further taught by Haydn, who in turn inspired Haydn. I can never place Mozart within any classical epoch or rank as a 'favorite' in comparison. Mozart is some star that blazes brightly in a firmament all its own. I just got in Philips releases of Mozart's sacred works, a 10 and 13 cd set. Even before I heard these sets, Mozart was a composer separate from all others, but always closely connected with Bach.

What a perfect opportunity to bash and rant against that line you see sometimes, "Bach, Mozart, Beethoven the 3 greatest composers".
Lets get real, all 3 were very different and their output shows it. You may say 3 of "the most popular". But what significance does that have to the individual? Bach I like, but he is not a top favorite and many might not even rank Bach in their top 5.
Beethoven would most likely rank in most top 5, but still proves nothing but a popularity contest. Greatness has to do with how the individual hears the music, the group vote is only about popularity. The group cannot define greatness, only the effects felt by the individual determines if the music is graet to you. Or not great. Beethoven for me is great in a historical sense, but not in a contemporary meaning or significance. .

I guess I should start a topic on "stars ascending, stars descending"
Let me say that I feel Ravel is not yet fully recognized and have covered that issue over at gramophone, though few accepted any of my premises and beliefs. "We all know Ravel quite well, what is there to discover?" I've wasted time there and will not bore you here about Ravel's ascending star. Time will have her say.
Psalm 118:22 The Stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.
23 This is the Lord's doing , it is marvelous in our sight.

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

Post by Corlyss_D » Tue Aug 22, 2006 4:55 pm

I'm not sure any composer has a "popular image" like Brad Pitt or JaLo for it to be distorted. I've thought about it, and it seems to me that composers are a distinctly cognoscienti kinda thing. If you know what one is, you are most likely to have a pretty conventional image of him.
Corlyss
Contessa d'EM, a carbon-based life form

Joe Barron
Posts: 140
Joined: Thu Jul 27, 2006 3:26 pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Post by Joe Barron » Tue Aug 22, 2006 5:01 pm

Corlyss_D wrote:I'm not sure any composer has a "popular image" like Brad Pitt or JaLo for it to be distorted. I've thought about it, and it seems to me that composers are a distinctly cognoscienti kinda thing. If you know what one is, you are most likely to have a pretty conventional image of him.
In my view, the composer with the worst personal reputation has got to be Wagner. Whether that reputation is distorted or not is another matter. I would say it is not. The wonderful thing about Wagner is that he was a perfect reverse standard. You figure, no matter how badly any of your favorite composer behaves, he was always worse.

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26455
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Post by jbuck919 » Tue Aug 22, 2006 5:06 pm

Joe Barron wrote:
Corlyss_D wrote:I'm not sure any composer has a "popular image" like Brad Pitt or JaLo for it to be distorted. I've thought about it, and it seems to me that composers are a distinctly cognoscienti kinda thing. If you know what one is, you are most likely to have a pretty conventional image of him.
In my view, the composer with the worst personal reputation has got to be Wagner.
Yes, but everybody agrees to that. "Misunderstood" composers is still a different matter and I still don't quite get the point.

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

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

Post by lmpower » Tue Aug 22, 2006 5:36 pm

extent to which people these days know nothing at all cannot be exaggerated.

Amen to that, jbuck. One of my favorite subjects is the breathtaking ignorance which prevails. Is Schoenberg the antichrist because he converted to Christianity and back to Judaism again? I never would have thought of that. At the mention of Carlo Gesualdo my mind always goes back to my witnessing Aldous Huxley's notorious lecture on Gesualdo in Plummer Park, West Hollywood. He was psychologically traumatized by murdering his wife, and it shows in his music. It was more dissonant than anything for centuries. I agree that Wagner has the most negative image, though Debussy seems like a more obnoxious person to me. Oh, by the way, jbuck, Alexander Pope said "a little learning is a dangerous thing." Aldous Huxley's comment on that was "if that's true, how many of us are out of danger?" That really impressed me coming from one of the most learned men who ever lived. Aldous Huxley was the most impressive man I ever met just as Elizabeth Schwarzkopf was the most impressive woman I have met in my life.

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

Post by Ken » Tue Aug 22, 2006 5:47 pm

I think Amadeus might've had a hand in blemishing Salieri's image.
Du sollst schlechte Compositionen weder spielen, noch, wenn du nicht dazu gezwungen bist, sie anhören.

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26455
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Post by jbuck919 » Tue Aug 22, 2006 5:47 pm

I am unaware of anyone who has characterized Schoenberg, surely one of the great composers of the last 100 years, as the "antichrist." This only adds to my puzzlement about this thread.

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

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

Post by lmpower » Tue Aug 22, 2006 6:02 pm

Jbuck I was also puzzled when I saw that designation unless it refers to Schoenberg converting back and forth between Judaism and Christianity. It's so silly I never would have thought it.

ch1525
Posts: 991
Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2005 3:53 pm
Location: New Orleans
Contact:

Post by ch1525 » Tue Aug 22, 2006 6:05 pm

mourningstar wrote:The mix up between Beethoven and Mozart. that's Shocking, I hear people swearing that Mozart made Fur elise, .. and stuff like that,. Mozart was deaf. etc.
In a similar vain, I was at a Chinese restaurant one time and I overheard a guy at a table nearby say, "You know, John [sic] Sebastian Bach was a devout Catholic and he wrote the cantata The Messiah" at which point I almost choked on my food with laughter. Some people sure can get things wrong as they try to make themselves sound smarter! :D

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26455
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Post by jbuck919 » Tue Aug 22, 2006 6:05 pm

lmpower wrote:Jbuck I was also puzzled when I saw that designation unless it refers to Schoenberg converting back and forth between Judaism and Christianity. It's so silly I never would have thought it.
Schoenberg himself, who had no religion excecpt in the cultural sense, would have found it silly.

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

paulb
Posts: 1078
Joined: Tue May 23, 2006 6:08 pm
Location: baton rouge

Post by paulb » Tue Aug 22, 2006 6:08 pm

keninottawa wrote:I think Amadeus might've had a hand in blemishing Salieri's image.
John cannot understand the purpose to this topic. Salieri would never have been remembered had his name been associated with Mozart. Salieri would have been long forgotten had not the public at that time placed such an importance on Salieri.
This contest of popularity between alieri and Mozart strengthens my belief that the general public with its popular opinion know little about true greatness. The public is always 100 yrs behind the realiaztion as to whats great or not. And that public is fearful to give up any of its ingrained beliefs. Like some neurosis, we hang on to old sentiments, not willing to venture into new experiences. It is the individual that makes these strides into new territory, leaving the group to mingle and wallow in old stale sensibilities.
Genius is always far ahead of the majority's cognition.
Psalm 118:22 The Stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.
23 This is the Lord's doing , it is marvelous in our sight.

paulb
Posts: 1078
Joined: Tue May 23, 2006 6:08 pm
Location: baton rouge

Post by paulb » Tue Aug 22, 2006 6:16 pm

jbuck919 wrote:
lmpower wrote:Jbuck I was also puzzled when I saw that designation unless it refers to Schoenberg converting back and forth between Judaism and Christianity. It's so silly I never would have thought it.
Schoenberg himself, who had no religion excecpt in the cultural sense, would have found it silly.
I think what this anti-christ reference is all about concerns the gerneral public's initial reaction to some of schonberg's new bold and daring compositional techniques. Reactions which extended far beyond a reasobale and practical time span.
There is one guy over at amazon spouting off that Schonberg is "THE Anti-christ...PERIOD!".
It will take some time yet before Schonberg's genius is fully appreciated, if ever in a general public sense. As we know the general classicphile though a bit above the general public, still "grazes amonst the herds"
Psalm 118:22 The Stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.
23 This is the Lord's doing , it is marvelous in our sight.

Auntie Lynn
Posts: 1123
Joined: Wed May 21, 2003 10:42 pm

Post by Auntie Lynn » Tue Aug 22, 2006 6:25 pm

Janacek - the grapevine has it that he just couldn't keep it zipped up...

Sorry...

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26455
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Post by jbuck919 » Tue Aug 22, 2006 6:34 pm

ch1525 wrote:
mourningstar wrote:The mix up between Beethoven and Mozart. that's Shocking, I hear people swearing that Mozart made Fur elise, .. and stuff like that,. Mozart was deaf. etc.
In a similar vain, I was at a Chinese restaurant one time and I overheard a guy at a table nearby say, "You know, John [sic] Sebastian Bach was a devout Catholic and he wrote the cantata The Messiah" at which point I almost choked on my food with laughter. Some people sure can get things wrong as they try to make themselves sound smarter! :D
Well, I'm not going to defend anyone who thinks Bach wrote Messiah, but he is widely (and wrongly) regarded in circles that style themselves "traditional Catholic" as a catholic manque.

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

BWV 1080
Posts: 4451
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2005 10:05 pm

Post by BWV 1080 » Tue Aug 22, 2006 7:06 pm

jbuck919 wrote:
ch1525 wrote:
mourningstar wrote:The mix up between Beethoven and Mozart. that's Shocking, I hear people swearing that Mozart made Fur elise, .. and stuff like that,. Mozart was deaf. etc.
In a similar vain, I was at a Chinese restaurant one time and I overheard a guy at a table nearby say, "You know, John [sic] Sebastian Bach was a devout Catholic and he wrote the cantata The Messiah" at which point I almost choked on my food with laughter. Some people sure can get things wrong as they try to make themselves sound smarter! :D
Well, I'm not going to defend anyone who thinks Bach wrote Messiah, but he is widely (and wrongly) regarded in circles that style themselves "traditional Catholic" as a catholic manque.
Sure, he has also been the hero of the Reformation, the closet pietist and the closet enlightenment rationalist

paulb
Posts: 1078
Joined: Tue May 23, 2006 6:08 pm
Location: baton rouge

Post by paulb » Tue Aug 22, 2006 7:51 pm

BWV 1080 wrote:
Sure, he has also been the hero of the Reformation, the closet pietist and the closet enlightenment rationalist


Pretty interesting insight. Bach as the uniter of opposites, showing that reason and faith do not necessarily have to be at odds with each other but more frequently are.
Psalm 118:22 The Stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.
23 This is the Lord's doing , it is marvelous in our sight.

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26455
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Post by jbuck919 » Tue Aug 22, 2006 8:00 pm

Auntie Lynn wrote:Janacek - the grapevine has it that he just couldn't keep it zipped up...

Sorry...
I doubt that the sex lives of composers have much place here. Bach, who fathered 20 chilrden between two wives with whom he was by all accounts entirely uxorious, also couldn't keep it in his pants, but it's not quite the same, is it?

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: 4525
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2003 3:31 pm
Location: Brush, Colorado

Post by Wallingford » Tue Aug 22, 2006 8:44 pm

Let's talk PACHELBEL.

The Canon's done probably more harm than good to his reputation: people who love the piece, and who ordinarily wouldn't go near classical music at all, end up being disappointed that Pachelbel wrote much more involving, sophisticated stuff which consititues the bulk of his output.

Those who abhor the Canon, put him down simply because they haven't sufficiently sampled his stuff.
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: 26455
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Post by jbuck919 » Tue Aug 22, 2006 8:46 pm

Wallingford wrote:Let's talk PACHELBEL.

The Canon's done probably more harm than good to his reputation: people who love the piece, and who ordinarily wouldn't go near classical music at all, end up being disappointed that Pachelbel wrote much more involving, sophisticated stuff which consititues the bulk of his output.

Those who abhor the Canon, put him down simply because they haven't sufficiently sampled his stuff.
The Kanon might be his best piiece. He wasn't all that great, you know.

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

paulb
Posts: 1078
Joined: Tue May 23, 2006 6:08 pm
Location: baton rouge

Post by paulb » Tue Aug 22, 2006 8:55 pm

jbuck919 wrote:
Wallingford wrote:Let's talk PACHELBEL.

The Canon's done probably more harm than good to his reputation: people who love the piece, and who ordinarily wouldn't go near classical music at all, end up being disappointed that Pachelbel wrote much more involving, sophisticated stuff which consititues the bulk of his output.

Those who abhor the Canon, put him down simply because they haven't sufficiently sampled his stuff.
The Kanon might be his best piiece. He wasn't all that great, you know.
I think John's comment is justified.
But speaking of being limited by or lets say one work overshadowing his other major works would be Vivaldi's Four seasons. As interesting as that work is (much better than Pachelbel's Cannon), Vivaldi as we here know wrote some amazing works in concerto form. Vivaldi is overlooked in favor of Bach at times. I'm more favored towards Vivaldi at times. Besides extended concerto works, Vivaldi also wrote some interesting operas. 2 of which arrived last week.
Psalm 118:22 The Stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.
23 This is the Lord's doing , it is marvelous in our sight.

MahlerSnob
Posts: 113
Joined: Thu May 26, 2005 5:31 pm
Location: Boston, MA
Contact:

Post by MahlerSnob » Tue Aug 22, 2006 9:46 pm

I'd also put Wagner and Schoenberg in this group. Wagner's personal life and musical output are often mixed up for some reason. So what if the guy was a pre-Nazi, he was a brilliant composer.
As for Schoenberg, though you may all be unfamiliar with it, he does have a certain stigma attatched to his name. Particularly among symphony patrons who don't necessarily have any musical training. Perfect example was just a few months ago. I had the priviledge to perform to concerts with the Boston Symphony at Tanglewood in July. The first was Beethoven 9 and the second was Gurrelieder (a pre-serial Schoenberg cantata from about 1900). Both were conducted by Levine. Beethoven drew a crowd of around 15,000. The Gurrelieder concert got 5,000 people. Never mind that Gurrelieder is performed maybe once every 5 years worldwide. The last time the BSO performed it was with Ozawa in 1979. Just the man's name kept people away - never mind that the piece itself is essentialy Wagner.
-Nathan Lofton
Boston, MA

WWBD - What Would Bach Do?

anasazi
Posts: 603
Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2006 11:49 pm
Location: Sarasota Florida

Post by anasazi » Wed Aug 23, 2006 1:29 am

jbuck919 wrote:
Wallingford wrote:Let's talk PACHELBEL.

The Canon's done probably more harm than good to his reputation: people who love the piece, and who ordinarily wouldn't go near classical music at all, end up being disappointed that Pachelbel wrote much more involving, sophisticated stuff which consititues the bulk of his output.

Those who abhor the Canon, put him down simply because they haven't sufficiently sampled his stuff.
The Kanon might be his best piiece. He wasn't all that great, you know.
That's the funniest post I've seen in awhile.

Actually, I have even imagined the possibility that the Canon is some kind of musical hoax. It just nearly sounds like a 20th century conception, that I can't get the thought out of my head sometimes. Maybe it's a forgery!
"Take only pictures, leave only footprints" - John Muir.

keyla_c
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Aug 17, 2006 11:52 am
Location: Germany

Post by keyla_c » Wed Aug 23, 2006 8:17 am

my mother (I can't choose my relatives) told me that she really likes me playing prelude and fugue in c minor from beethoven
... and bach was deaf...

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 Aug 23, 2006 9:43 am

Auntie Lynn wrote:Janacek - the grapevine has it that he just couldn't keep it zipped up...

Sorry...
*****

So?
Image

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

Albert Einstein

Locked

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests