Mainstream music of interest to classical listeners

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burnitdown
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Mainstream music of interest to classical listeners

Post by burnitdown » Mon Dec 11, 2006 2:49 pm

As a disclaimer: I'm not fond of popular culture. There are a few exceptions. I wanted to list a few known ones because not only are these fun for classical listeners in a mainstream world, BUT they are good vectors to introduce intelligent normal listeners to classical.

Dead Can Dance/Lisa Gerard
VNV Nation
Kraftwerk
Wolfsheim
Brian Eno/Robert Fripp
Biosphere
King Crimson
Yes
Camel

I'm sure there are others, but notice this is far less than 1% of popular music. Is our culture in decline? ;)

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Re: Mainstream music of interest to classical listeners

Post by Ralph » Mon Dec 11, 2006 3:04 pm

burnitdown wrote:As a disclaimer: I'm not fond of popular culture. There are a few exceptions. I wanted to list a few known ones because not only are these fun for classical listeners in a mainstream world, BUT they are good vectors to introduce intelligent normal listeners to classical.

Dead Can Dance/Lisa Gerard
VNV Nation
Kraftwerk
Wolfsheim
Brian Eno/Robert Fripp
Biosphere
King Crimson
Yes
Camel

I'm sure there are others, but notice this is far less than 1% of popular music. Is our culture in decline? ;)
*****

Nope but the performers above sure don't elevate it! :)
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Re: Mainstream music of interest to classical listeners

Post by Corlyss_D » Mon Dec 11, 2006 3:33 pm

burnitdown wrote:Dead Can Dance/Lisa Gerard
Steve! You're the second person here I've heard mention them. I love them to distraction. Toward the Within and Aion are my favorite albums.
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Post by Barry » Mon Dec 11, 2006 3:39 pm

For me, it was a combination of The Beatles music with classical arrangements, early Genesis (when Peter Gabriel was singing and Phil Collins stayed behind the drums, Yes, ELO and Pink Floyd.
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Re: Mainstream music of interest to classical listeners

Post by jbuck919 » Mon Dec 11, 2006 3:47 pm

burnitdown wrote:Camel
I'd walk a mile. :roll:

I had to go to college before I realized that there are other people in the world who care nothing or almost nothing for popular forms of music. I remember one night discussing with some fellow music majors where to go for the weekend evening. I expected the usual club/party talk, which of course still prevails among young people. Someone said, "Is there going to be noise there?" An epiphany for me.

If I wanted to introduce a very young person to classical music, I would take advantage of this season. The numerous productions of Nutcracker are beyond classic for this purpose. Amahl and The Night Visitors should have any kid riveted to the set. The problem is that they don't broadcast Nutcracker in a convenient way anymore, and the last production of Amahl with Teresa Stratos is in such bad shape on tape that they might as well junk it.

In one of my last years teaching in Maryland, I made my one and only overnight field trip, with my beloved Academic Team. It was an all-expenses-paid invitational to, don't laugh, South Carolina, and I sacrificed my Christmas vacation to do it. One evening, there was a Met broadcast of Marriage of Figaro. (The Met always does that opera the greatest justice.) I thought, "Let me get my students up here and we can watch this together. Then I thought, "No, it is hopeless, let them have their evening fun." In the morning, I found out that they had, in fact, congregated in one of the rooms and watched together Le Nozze di Figaro. And liked it.

(The same morning, the paper published the top ten numbers of the 20th century according to ASCAP and that other organization I can never remember. So, over breakfast, to warm them up, I quizzed them. My top student thought of "Yesterday," which was number three on one of the lists. After much prompting regarding a song that nobody knows is copyrighted and is sung several million times every day, they finally got The Birthday Song, but nothing I could do in the way of a hint would evoke from them the top show tune of all time, "Over the Rainbow," from The Wizard of Oz, by Harold Arlen.)

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

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Post by jack stowaway » Mon Dec 11, 2006 4:39 pm

Not to give your post a weight or meaning that was obviously not intended, but the subject itself touches on a particular hobby horse of mine....

I suspect that when people say 'popular culture' they often mean 'mass culture'. Because the attribution of value to cultural products based on 'popularity' is surely a misnomer. What composer of serious music, for example, would not wish his or her works to be popular? Certainly, Mozart was overjoyed with the popularity of 'Figaro' and wrote with excited approval the fact he overhead people whistling its tunes in the street.

It is true that much of what is produced, in any age, is froth and ephemera, the penny ballads of the eighteenth century, for example, or the products of Grub Street But, I'm equally certain that, in one hundred years time, 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow' (to take just one instance of something designed for mass appeal) will have acquired the cultural lustre of a Schubert lied, if it hasn't already. And who is to say that the same possibility may not also await the finer products of, say, Lennon and McCartney or Bob Dylan?

I am not arguing with the idea that a basic distinction exists between art products or that there may be a qualitative difference between categories, but simply to observe that whatever such line may exist is much more elastic and arbitrary than many people suppose.

To my mind, popular culture encompasses everything from punk rock to light opera. It includes jazz, Broadway, folk and rap in music as well as the great bulk of film and television --an incredible trove of riches for which people all over the globe display an insatiable appetite. In fact, the appeal of its mass culture is almost entirely responsible for America's cultural pre-eminence throughout the world.

But your definition of 'popular' may be much narrower than mine. Many people use the term disparagingly simply to designate something they dislike.

Brendan

Post by Brendan » Mon Dec 11, 2006 5:07 pm

Never could stand pop, so the music I listened to before classical was stuff like The Birthday Party, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Mazzy Star, Einsturzende Neubauten etc. I doubt such music is considered a gateway to classical by anyone else, though.

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Re: Mainstream music of interest to classical listeners

Post by burnitdown » Mon Dec 11, 2006 5:28 pm

Corlyss_D wrote:Toward the Within and Aion are my favorite albums.
Wow! Good call, I think, as far as DCD goes. I also like Gerard's solo works, and she has since done a number of movie soundtracks. Mainly I like the non-distracted atmosphere and meditative consciousness offered by DCD.

You might enjoy Burzum Hlidskjalf although there are no such pleasant voices, or rather, no voices at all. Very little else captures the mood.

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Post by BWV 1080 » Mon Dec 11, 2006 5:38 pm

All you need to know about contemporary music you can get from Mike Patton, either through Mr. Bungle, Fantomas or his collaboration with John Zorn.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Patton
Patton was asked to front INXS, following Michael Hutchence's suicide. Sardonically, he said he'd join if he could wear a noose around his neck on stage.

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Post by miranda » Mon Dec 11, 2006 6:24 pm

Brendan wrote:Never could stand pop, so the music I listened to before classical was stuff like The Birthday Party, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Mazzy Star, Einsturzende Neubauten etc. I doubt such music is considered a gateway to classical by anyone else, though.
Fantastic bands, except for Mazzy Star. I still love listening to the Birthday Party, and Einsturzende Neubaten are amazing live.

The Serpent's Egg is my favorite Dead Can Dance album. Lisa Gerrard was touring in the U.S. not long ago, but alas, I missed her.
Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.

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Re: Mainstream music of interest to classical listeners

Post by Ken » Mon Dec 11, 2006 6:55 pm

burnitdown wrote:Kraftwerk
Monsieur, you are my hero! Kraftwerk is one of my favourite non-classical musical acts. I am absolutely smitten by Ralf, Florian, Wolfgang and Karl and had a chance to see them (sans Wolfgang and Karl, of course) in Montreal in 2004.

I'm so glad to see that there is someone else out there who also appreciates both classical music and Kraftwerk (and possibly the interrelation between the two -- Ralf and Florian are both classically-trained).

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

Brendan

Post by Brendan » Mon Dec 11, 2006 7:05 pm

miranda wrote:Fantastic bands, except for Mazzy Star. I still love listening to the Birthday Party, and Einsturzende Neubaten are amazing live.
Mazzy Star grew on me over the years, particularly So Tonight That I Might See. The other albums are warm-up or wind-down from there. The Birthday Party remain the all-time best live band that I've ever seen - and the Banshees and EN are brilliant on stage. The recorded works really don't give much of a hint of the intensity of The Birthday Party live - and they are some of the most intense albums recorded. Get the Prayers on Fire DVD or the latest release live album (from a tape Henry Rollins dug up) for a taste.

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Post by miranda » Tue Dec 12, 2006 9:11 am

You saw the Birthday Party live, Brendan? Lucky you! They disbanded while I was still a child, unfortunately....but I do have the Prayers on Fire dvd, and love it. Nick Cave has a new band now, called Grinderman, who I really hope goes on tour in the U.S. Their latest song (the name of which I can't post here), sounds like he's returning a bit to the old Birthday Party sound...I don't think they have an album out yet, but that will probably change.

I've seen EN live twice, and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds once (while Blixa was still in the band.) All those shows were unforgettable. I'd like to see The Dirty Three live. Actually, The Dirty Three might appeal to some of the listeners on here--they play a lot of beautiful violin instrumentals. And Rowland S. Howard is so great....too bad he'll probably never tour in the U.S., although I know he still plays in clubs in Australia now and then.
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Re: Mainstream music of interest to classical listeners

Post by burnitdown » Tue Dec 12, 2006 1:14 pm

keninottawa wrote:I'm so glad to see that there is someone else out there who also appreciates both classical music and Kraftwerk (and possibly the interrelation between the two -- Ralf and Florian are both classically-trained).
Who can't like a band that uses classical melodies and writes concept albums ("Radioactivity","The Man-Machine")? And dedicates a song to Franz Schubert by name?

I grew up with classical music, and always hoped mainstream music (whether it's "mass culture" or "popular culture" is a good question and I'm chewing on it) would reflect some of that beauty and artistic power. To me, people deserve something that great. Kraftwerk is one of the few that delivers.

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Post by Ken » Tue Dec 12, 2006 3:43 pm

I even heard hints of sonata form on their latest release, 'Tour de France Soundtracks' (2003). It's hard to notice between the deep bass rhythms and the vocoder, but once you've taken notice it's hard to ignore!
Du sollst schlechte Compositionen weder spielen, noch, wenn du nicht dazu gezwungen bist, sie anhören.

Brendan

Post by Brendan » Tue Dec 12, 2006 3:52 pm

miranda wrote:You saw the Birthday Party live, Brendan? Lucky you! They disbanded while I was still a child, unfortunately....but I do have the Prayers on Fire dvd, and love it. Nick Cave has a new band now, called Grinderman, who I really hope goes on tour in the U.S. Their latest song (the name of which I can't post here), sounds like he's returning a bit to the old Birthday Party sound...I don't think they have an album out yet, but that will probably change.

I've seen EN live twice, and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds once (while Blixa was still in the band.) All those shows were unforgettable. I'd like to see The Dirty Three live. Actually, The Dirty Three might appeal to some of the listeners on here--they play a lot of beautiful violin instrumentals. And Rowland S. Howard is so great....too bad he'll probably never tour in the U.S., although I know he still plays in clubs in Australia now and then.
Grew up on Birthday Party (first saw them when I was 16) then moved to London at about the same time they did, by chance. I've only seen EN live the once here in Oz, and the Banshees a number of times when in London. Was very disappointed with the last Bad Seeds tour/album, but were great with Blixa. Haven't seen Roland live now for awhile, but recall a These Immortal Souls and Crime gig or two fondly. Hadn't heard about Grinderman, so thanks very much for that tip.

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Post by burnitdown » Wed Dec 20, 2006 8:51 pm

keninottawa wrote:I even heard hints of sonata form on their latest release, 'Tour de France Soundtracks' (2003). It's hard to notice between the deep bass rhythms and the vocoder, but once you've taken notice it's hard to ignore!
Good point. It's a fairly amazing album with something rare for mainstream music: a healthy topic!

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Post by jbuck919 » Wed Dec 20, 2006 10:05 pm

Then there is the reverse case. Music associated with the "classical" cachet (at least by those new to it) that brings classical music into disrepute.

I watched the back-to-back Renee Fleming Christmas shows on PBS tonight because I thought it was something both my mother and I would enjoy, but it turned out that neither of us did. She did not like Fleming's voice (actually it is not my favorite voice either), and I couldn't deal with the programming.

The first show was at the Mormon Tabernacle and looked like something that might have been staged by Lawrence Welk if he were still alive. The second was from, of all places, the Cathedral of Mainz, and scared up every cliche in the book. I finally turned it off when they started in on Franck's ghastly Panis Angelicus, which like Schubert's Ave Maria (sung with the forced Latin words) is not a Christmas song at all, of course.

That rustling sound you just heard was 17 million people nodding in agreement that they're better off with popular forms of music if this is what classical is like.

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

burnitdown
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Post by burnitdown » Wed Dec 20, 2006 11:01 pm

jbuck919 wrote:That rustling sound you just heard was 17 million people nodding in agreement that they're better off with popular forms of music if this is what classical is like.
I agree. That and the disgusting habit of selling classical samplers like "Best Classical Music to Lull You to Sleep" is what wrecks it as a transition for many modern music listeners.

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