Discussion:
A Consensus Question
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JohnGavin
2018-07-31 12:40:55 UTC
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If you’re so inclined, give an opinion on the following:

Lesser known works of music generally deserve their obscurity.

Decades ago I would have strongly challenged this theory (which I heard from a highly accomplished virtuoso). Now I’ve moved closer to it - somewhat. Since many here listen to a wide range of music, your opinions will be interesting.
drh8h
2018-07-31 12:47:50 UTC
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Post by JohnGavin
Lesser known works of music generally deserve their obscurity.
Decades ago I would have strongly challenged this theory (which I heard from a highly accomplished virtuoso). Now I’ve moved closer to it - somewhat. Since many here listen to a wide range of music, your opinions will be interesting.
A tough but good question. I don't consider myself qualified to answer, but I will make one observation: in my lifetime, I cannot recall any previously "unknown piece" by an acknowledged major composer being found that was really of much interest except to scholars and completists. Could there be a completely "unknown" genius out there whose work has never been discovered? Maybe. There might be intelligent life circling a nearby star. But not much chance, and we probably won't ever know it.

So, I am with you on this.

DH
Bozo
2018-07-31 14:44:03 UTC
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I likewise am not qualified to answer, but wonder to what extent past marquee appeal and the economics of the music business has dictated, and continues to insure, " obscure " works become even more obscure as time passes. Are the Liszt PC's heard ,whereas Stavenhagen's are not, for qualitative reasons or name recognition ? Are there qualitative reasons the Medtner pianos sonatas are not heard with the frequency of Rachmaninoff's and Prokofieff's ?

Recently listened first time at YT to Anton Rubinstein's 2nd Symphony, "The Oceans ", 73 minutes but seemed longer, for me more perspiration than inspiration , deserving of its obscurity , but the work has some adherents, its length one issue at least ? His Violin Concerto at YT, also my first hearing , for me as interesting as Bruch's "Scottish Fantasy " , Bruch benefitting from the popularity of his 1st VC and the Fantasy's briefness relative to the Rubinstein VC ?
drh8h
2018-07-31 17:09:38 UTC
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Post by Bozo
I likewise am not qualified to answer, but wonder to what extent past marquee appeal and the economics of the music business has dictated, and continues to insure, " obscure " works become even more obscure as time passes. Are the Liszt PC's heard ,whereas Stavenhagen's are not, for qualitative reasons or name recognition ? Are there qualitative reasons the Medtner pianos sonatas are not heard with the frequency of Rachmaninoff's and Prokofieff's ?
Recently listened first time at YT to Anton Rubinstein's 2nd Symphony, "The Oceans ", 73 minutes but seemed longer, for me more perspiration than inspiration , deserving of its obscurity , but the work has some adherents, its length one issue at least ? His Violin Concerto at YT, also my first hearing , for me as interesting as Bruch's "Scottish Fantasy " , Bruch benefitting from the popularity of his 1st VC and the Fantasy's briefness relative to the Rubinstein VC ?
I had no idea the Rubinstein symphony was so long. No wonder Bernard Shaw detested it.
Bozo
2018-07-31 19:50:16 UTC
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Post by drh8h
I had no idea the Rubinstein symphony was so long. No wonder Bernard Shaw detested it.
The original 1850's was apparently 4 movs. ; Rubinstein added a total of 3 more movs. later , by 1880 ; the Naxos cd I heard at YT was the expanded version :

http://americansymphony.org/symphony-no-2-in-c-major-op-42-ocean/

Based on them longer version I heard , the shorter would probably seem about as long.I dont know which Shaw heard, probably the longer ?
drh8h
2018-07-31 21:04:00 UTC
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Post by Bozo
Post by drh8h
I had no idea the Rubinstein symphony was so long. No wonder Bernard Shaw detested it.
http://americansymphony.org/symphony-no-2-in-c-major-op-42-ocean/
Based on them longer version I heard , the shorter would probably seem about as long.I dont know which Shaw heard, probably the longer ?
After Shaw reached about the fifth year of his life as full-time critic, one notices the references to napping become frequent. I suspect he got some needed shut eye during this one, so he probably wasn't sure or cared which version he somewhat heard. We have to remember how long concerts were then.

DH
Herman
2018-07-31 18:25:08 UTC
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Post by Bozo
Are the Liszt PC's heard ,whereas Stavenhagen's are not, for qualitative reasons or name recognition ?
The Liszt piano concertos have by and large disappeared from concert programs, too, as far as I can tell.
JohnGavin
2018-07-31 19:56:11 UTC
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If televised live concerts on YouTube are an indicator, both Liszt PCs are doing just fine. Argerich, Trifanov, Wang, Zimerman and many others can be seen from 2000 - the present time.
drh8h
2018-07-31 21:21:03 UTC
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Post by Bozo
I likewise am not qualified to answer, but wonder to what extent past marquee appeal and the economics of the music business has dictated, and continues to insure, " obscure " works become even more obscure as time passes. Are the Liszt PC's heard ,whereas Stavenhagen's are not, for qualitative reasons or name recognition ? Are there qualitative reasons the Medtner pianos sonatas are not heard with the frequency of Rachmaninoff's and Prokofieff's ?
Recently listened first time at YT to Anton Rubinstein's 2nd Symphony, "The Oceans ", 73 minutes but seemed longer, for me more perspiration than inspiration , deserving of its obscurity , but the work has some adherents, its length one issue at least ? His Violin Concerto at YT, also my first hearing , for me as interesting as Bruch's "Scottish Fantasy " , Bruch benefitting from the popularity of his 1st VC and the Fantasy's briefness relative to the Rubinstein VC ?
I think the comparison of Rachmaninov (however one spells him) and Medtner might have a clue. I contend that even the greatest and most profound composers have a certain talent for creating "ear worms." One or two hearings of their best and their most popular works--not always the same of course, and something about them sticks to your ribs, to mix up metaphors. I don't care if it is the Monteverdi's Orfeo, B Minor Mass, WTC, "Haydn" Quartets, Op. 111, La Mer, "Classical" Symphony, Wozzeck, Rubinstein's Melody or Danse Macabre. And it keeps you coming back. That's where Rachmaninov and Medtner come in. I have heard the latter's music, mostly in his own recordings and while it has good qualities, nothing sticks to the mind. I suspect this is true whether you hear it one or fifteen times. I bet almost everyone had the opposite experience with the Rach 3. Something brought them back. And it keeps bringing us back. Whereas the others, however well made, just leave a vague feeling of something being missing.

DH
JohnGavin
2018-07-31 21:39:01 UTC
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. That's where Rachmaninov and Medtner come in. I have heard the latter's music, mostly in his own recordings and while it has good qualities, nothing sticks to the mind. I suspect this is true whether you hear it one or fifteen times. I bet almost everyone had the opposite experience with the Rach 3. Something brought them back. And it keeps bringing us back. Whereas the others, however well made, just leave a vague feeling of something being missing.

DH

My own experience is different. True, Medtner doesn’t have the immediate appeal of Rachmaninov’s music, Medtner’s music slowly grows on the listener with repeated hearings, at least for me. In fact, I must confess, I became a sort of Medtner fanatic about 20 years ago. I came to feel that he was as great a composer as Rachmaninov. I wasn’t surprised to read that Rachmaninov said that there were 2 musicians that he would travel anywhere to hear in concert - Chaliapin and Medtner.
drh8h
2018-07-31 21:52:50 UTC
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Post by drh8h
. That's where Rachmaninov and Medtner come in. I have heard the latter's music, mostly in his own recordings and while it has good qualities, nothing sticks to the mind. I suspect this is true whether you hear it one or fifteen times. I bet almost everyone had the opposite experience with the Rach 3. Something brought them back. And it keeps bringing us back. Whereas the others, however well made, just leave a vague feeling of something being missing.
DH
My own experience is different. True, Medtner doesn’t have the immediate appeal of Rachmaninov’s music, Medtner’s music slowly grows on the listener with repeated hearings, at least for me. In fact, I must confess, I became a sort of Medtner fanatic about 20 years ago. I came to feel that he was as great a composer as Rachmaninov. I wasn’t surprised to read that Rachmaninov said that there were 2 musicians that he would travel anywhere to hear in concert - Chaliapin and Medtner.
You may be right, but with all of the music in the world and the short time we are in it, music that grows on one will always be left to niche audiences who find something special in it. Casals claimed that very quality for Roentgen, Moor and Tovey. Sixty+ years later and despite his advocacy, when do you ever hear their music unless deliberately seeking out an obscure recording? Not a reflection of quality; there is so much competing for our time and attention.

DH
JohnGavin
2018-07-31 22:13:41 UTC
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You may be right, but with all of the music in the world and the short time we are in it, music that grows on one will always be left to niche audiences who find something special in it. Casals claimed that very quality for Roentgen, Moor and Tovey. Sixty+ years later and despite his advocacy, when do you ever hear their music unless deliberately seeking out an obscure recording? Not a reflection of quality; there is so much competing for our time and attention.

DH

True - I think another consideration is that some repertoire is so time consuming to learn and maintain that many or most concert performers are unwilling to devote the time. Add to that the thumbs down by their managers. Case in point - the least complex of the 14 Medtner Piano Sonatas, the Reminicenza, is the one that gets by far the most recordings and performances by big name pianists. And of course certain composers are more frequently performed in their native countries.
Frank Berger
2018-07-31 22:22:30 UTC
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Post by drh8h
You may be right, but with all of the music in the world and the short time we are in it, music that grows on one will always be left to niche audiences who find something special in it. Casals claimed that very quality for Roentgen, Moor and Tovey. Sixty+ years later and despite his advocacy, when do you ever hear their music unless deliberately seeking out an obscure recording? Not a reflection of quality; there is so much competing for our time and attention.
DH
True - I think another consideration is that some repertoire is so time consuming to learn and maintain that many or most concert performers are unwilling to devote the time. Add to that the thumbs down by their managers. Case in point - the least complex of the 14 Medtner Piano Sonatas, the Reminicenza, is the one that gets by far the most recordings and performances by big name pianists. And of course certain composers are more frequently performed in their native countries.
I think some of you are continuing to ignore the conceptual difference
between what is marketable (i.e. appeals to a mass market so that it
pays someone to invest in performing or recording) and what has some
sort of innate quality that either appeals to a knowledgeable cultured
few or takes time to learn to appreciate.
drh8h
2018-08-01 03:44:49 UTC
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Post by Frank Berger
Post by drh8h
You may be right, but with all of the music in the world and the short time we are in it, music that grows on one will always be left to niche audiences who find something special in it. Casals claimed that very quality for Roentgen, Moor and Tovey. Sixty+ years later and despite his advocacy, when do you ever hear their music unless deliberately seeking out an obscure recording? Not a reflection of quality; there is so much competing for our time and attention.
DH
True - I think another consideration is that some repertoire is so time consuming to learn and maintain that many or most concert performers are unwilling to devote the time. Add to that the thumbs down by their managers. Case in point - the least complex of the 14 Medtner Piano Sonatas, the Reminicenza, is the one that gets by far the most recordings and performances by big name pianists. And of course certain composers are more frequently performed in their native countries.
I think some of you are continuing to ignore the conceptual difference
between what is marketable (i.e. appeals to a mass market so that it
pays someone to invest in performing or recording) and what has some
sort of innate quality that either appeals to a knowledgeable cultured
few or takes time to learn to appreciate.
It's usually the medium. If somehow Beethoven's Fifth had been a string quartet and Op. 135 a symphony, I think the quartet would be the piece for specialists and the symphony would be getting played in commercials.

DH
Herman
2018-08-01 06:29:35 UTC
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Post by drh8h
It's usually the medium. If somehow Beethoven's Fifth had been a string quartet and Op. 135 a symphony, I think the quartet would be the piece for specialists and the symphony would be getting played in commercials.
DH
But by the time Beethoven was composing it didn't work that way. He didn't have a tune in his head and thought Can I market this as a symphony or as a string quartet. Op. 135 was conceived as a string quartet. It wouldn't have worked as a symphony. That's why the string orchestra version of 131 is such a tasteless venture.
drh8h
2018-08-01 16:37:33 UTC
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Post by Herman
Post by drh8h
It's usually the medium. If somehow Beethoven's Fifth had been a string quartet and Op. 135 a symphony, I think the quartet would be the piece for specialists and the symphony would be getting played in commercials.
DH
But by the time Beethoven was composing it didn't work that way. He didn't have a tune in his head and thought Can I market this as a symphony or as a string quartet. Op. 135 was conceived as a string quartet. It wouldn't have worked as a symphony. That's why the string orchestra version of 131 is such a tasteless venture.
Of course neither would have been exactly the same piece if they had been conceived for different forces. But many of the same musical ideas could have been used. I can imagine an orchestral reworking of the last movement of Op. 135 or a string quartet take on the 2nd movement of the Fifth. Even movement one. An orchestral version of the opening of Op. 95 would have much the same effect as the Fifth.

And no, I don't think Busch, Klemperer, Furtwangler, Toscanini, Mitropoulos, Previn, Dohnanyi, etc. were tasteless performing quartets or movements with full complements.
Andy Evans
2018-07-31 21:55:35 UTC
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This seems to me one of those fabricated statements which have so many exceptions and which are so subjective anyway that there doesn't seem much point in making the statement in the first place. A foot dangling exercise for wet evenings....
Frank Berger
2018-07-31 22:02:14 UTC
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Post by drh8h
. That's where Rachmaninov and Medtner come in. I have heard the latter's music, mostly in his own recordings and while it has good qualities, nothing sticks to the mind. I suspect this is true whether you hear it one or fifteen times. I bet almost everyone had the opposite experience with the Rach 3. Something brought them back. And it keeps bringing us back. Whereas the others, however well made, just leave a vague feeling of something being missing.
DH
My own experience is different. True, Medtner doesn’t have the immediate appeal of Rachmaninov’s music,
Simply not having the "immediate appeal" (tunes you can hum?) is
enough to relegate Medtner to have less popular appeal than Rachmaninov.
Popular appeal and innate quality are different things.


Medtner’s music slowly grows on the listener with repeated hearings,
at least for me. In fact, I must confess, I became a sort of Medtner
fanatic about 20 years ago. I came to feel that he was as great a
composer as Rachmaninov. I wasn’t surprised to read that Rachmaninov
said that there were 2 musicians that he would travel anywhere to hear
in concert - Chaliapin and Medtner.
drh8h
2018-07-31 22:13:05 UTC
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Post by Frank Berger
Post by drh8h
. That's where Rachmaninov and Medtner come in. I have heard the latter's music, mostly in his own recordings and while it has good qualities, nothing sticks to the mind. I suspect this is true whether you hear it one or fifteen times. I bet almost everyone had the opposite experience with the Rach 3. Something brought them back. And it keeps bringing us back. Whereas the others, however well made, just leave a vague feeling of something being missing.
DH
My own experience is different. True, Medtner doesn’t have the immediate appeal of Rachmaninov’s music,
Simply not having the "immediate appeal" (tunes you can hum?) is
enough to relegate Medtner to have less popular appeal than Rachmaninov.
Popular appeal and innate quality are different things.
Medtner’s music slowly grows on the listener with repeated hearings,
at least for me. In fact, I must confess, I became a sort of Medtner
fanatic about 20 years ago. I came to feel that he was as great a
composer as Rachmaninov. I wasn’t surprised to read that Rachmaninov
said that there were 2 musicians that he would travel anywhere to hear
in concert - Chaliapin and Medtner.
Some composers have it and some don't. Schoenberg survives because he had it long enough to write "Transfigured Night" and "Pelleas and Melisande." Stravinsky had it until he started wanting to be Schoenberg. Saint-Saens had it even though a good part of his music is tawdry, however well made. But Machaut, Dowland and Bach had it too. Sweet mystery of life!
Herman
2018-08-01 06:35:26 UTC
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Post by drh8h
I don't care if it is the Monteverdi's Orfeo, B Minor Mass, WTC, "Haydn" Quartets, Op. 111, La Mer, "Classical" Symphony, Wozzeck, Rubinstein's Melody or Danse Macabre. And it keeps you coming back. That's where Rachmaninov and Medtner come in. I have heard the latter's music, mostly in his own recordings and while it has good qualities, nothing sticks to the mind.
Really if you think Beethoven is a well-known composer because he wrote Op. 111 you haven't been paying attention. Beethoven's fame rests on the symphonies, his piano concertos, the Moonlight and the Pathetique. The vast majority of record buyers or concert goers wouldn't last a minute of those late piano sonatas.

Same with Mozart. Mozart is his operas, his last three symphonies, some concerts and galant serenades. Most people wouldn't even know he wrote string quartets. And I'm not talking about people who don't care for classical music, but the vast majority of the audience, who used to buy Karajan LPs and now the current equivalent of safe repertoire, safe performers.
JohnGavin
2018-08-01 07:43:56 UTC
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Really if you think Beethoven is a well-known composer because he wrote Op. 111 you haven't been paying attention. Beethoven's fame rests on the symphonies, his piano concertos, the Moonlight and the Pathetique. The vast majority of record buyers or concert goers wouldn't last a minute of those late piano sonatas.


This brings up the idea of trends in music. 20 years ago this was true - but lately op. 111 and the last Schubert Piano Sonata in B Flat have been so talked up and hyped as holy icons that they are talked about as much as Lang Lang these days. Remember when the movie “Amadeus” came out? Mozart was elevated to God-like stature after that. I liked to tell people that instead, he was an uneven genius. Listen to his 15 sets of piano variations for proof. There are plenty of people who will buy records because they think they had better like something they’ve heard about.
Herman
2018-08-01 09:23:15 UTC
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Post by JohnGavin
This brings up the idea of trends in music. 20 years ago this was true - but lately op. 111 and the last Schubert Piano Sonata in B Flat have been so talked up and hyped as holy icons that they are talked about as much as Lang Lang these days.
Talked about by whom?

I checked LangLang's discography and there is obviously no Schubert (boring harmony spinning) - or Beethoven 111 (how many trills does he need?) there.
JohnGavin
2018-08-01 14:21:34 UTC
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I checked LangLang's discography and there is obviously no Schubert (boring harmony spinning)


There is - see “Lang Lang at Carnegie Hall’
Herman
2018-08-01 09:26:41 UTC
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Post by JohnGavin
There are plenty of people who will buy records because they think they had better like something they’ve heard about.
Unfortunately the aspirational pull of classical music listening or reading Finnegans Wake is pretty much dead.
g***@gmail.com
2018-08-01 17:16:44 UTC
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Post by Herman
Post by JohnGavin
There are plenty of people who will buy records because they think they had better like something they’ve heard about.
Unfortunately the aspirational pull of classical music listening or reading Finnegans Wake is pretty much dead.
http://www.classicalnotes.net/classics3/grossefuge.html
- But the publishing executive noted that while [serious writers'] novels have a devoted readership, they are often bought by others more out of a sense of obligation than to be read.
https://books.google.com/books?id=CGV-sHezvSgC&pg=PA2292&dq=%22But+the+publishing+executive+noted+that+while+their+novels+have+a+devoted+readership,+they+are+often+bought+by+others+more+out+of+a+sense+of+obligation+than+to+be+read.%22&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjVscPRqMzcAhVmilQKHVoUDp8Q6AEIKTAA#v=onepage&q=%22But%20the%20publishing%20executive%20noted%20that%20while%20their%20novels%20have%20a%20devoted%20readership%2C%20they%20are%20often%20bought%20by%20others%20more%20out%20of%20a%20sense%20of%20obligation%20than%20to%20be%20read.%22&f=false
When it come to "Finnegan's Wake" in particular:

- ...It has baffled generations of ordinary readers, even those who admire and enjoy Joyce’s earlier writing. As a result, it has gained a reputation as a book more written about than read, the ultimate in modernist incomprehensibility.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2015/apr/28/finnegans-wake-james-joyce-modern-interpretations
Bozo
2018-08-01 13:45:13 UTC
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There are plenty of people who will buy records because they think they had better like something they’ve >heard about.
For example , we have youngsters playing LvB Op.110 and 111 and D.960 in competitions.
drh8h
2018-08-01 16:55:53 UTC
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Post by Herman
Post by drh8h
I don't care if it is the Monteverdi's Orfeo, B Minor Mass, WTC, "Haydn" Quartets, Op. 111, La Mer, "Classical" Symphony, Wozzeck, Rubinstein's Melody or Danse Macabre. And it keeps you coming back. That's where Rachmaninov and Medtner come in. I have heard the latter's music, mostly in his own recordings and while it has good qualities, nothing sticks to the mind.
Really if you think Beethoven is a well-known composer because he wrote Op. 111 you haven't been paying attention. Beethoven's fame rests on the symphonies, his piano concertos, the Moonlight and the Pathetique. The vast majority of record buyers or concert goers wouldn't last a minute of those late piano sonatas.
Same with Mozart. Mozart is his operas, his last three symphonies, some concerts and galant serenades. Most people wouldn't even know he wrote string quartets. And I'm not talking about people who don't care for classical music, but the vast majority of the audience, who used to buy Karajan LPs and now the current equivalent of safe repertoire, safe performers.
I am not saying that. My point is that whether the listener is only occasional or more sophisticated, the elements of music that go to that strange desire to actually listen to something again, find it interesting or boring, are not very different. The more experienced listener will have a much wider appreciation of nuance and complexity. Remember those Haydn Society records that snootily proclaimed on the cover, "For the Mature Listener?" But in the end it comes down to some combination of notes that exert an appeal that makes one want to delve in and listen again. I'm am not a musician and never been trained, but I have had this experience hundreds of times. Other things, no matter how much I am told they are good, never do it for me.

"Good music is that which penetrates the ear with facility and quits the memory with difficulty." Sir Thomas Beecham. Never have seen it put better by a master of language. It's as true for Perotin or Wolf (two really specialist tastes) as it is for Ravel's Bolero.

Addendum: I'm don't think we can slander people for listening to Karajan either. I have virtually all his orchestral, as opposed to opera, recordings. Love or hate, many of his later recordings don't seem to me to have the elements that would attract a naive listener, even in standard works. In fact, I really think they would be put off. He was at times far too refined for the hoI polloi.
Frank Berger
2018-08-01 17:24:03 UTC
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Post by drh8h
Post by Herman
Post by drh8h
I don't care if it is the Monteverdi's Orfeo, B Minor Mass, WTC, "Haydn" Quartets, Op. 111, La Mer, "Classical" Symphony, Wozzeck, Rubinstein's Melody or Danse Macabre. And it keeps you coming back. That's where Rachmaninov and Medtner come in. I have heard the latter's music, mostly in his own recordings and while it has good qualities, nothing sticks to the mind.
Really if you think Beethoven is a well-known composer because he wrote Op. 111 you haven't been paying attention. Beethoven's fame rests on the symphonies, his piano concertos, the Moonlight and the Pathetique. The vast majority of record buyers or concert goers wouldn't last a minute of those late piano sonatas.
Same with Mozart. Mozart is his operas, his last three symphonies, some concerts and galant serenades. Most people wouldn't even know he wrote string quartets. And I'm not talking about people who don't care for classical music, but the vast majority of the audience, who used to buy Karajan LPs and now the current equivalent of safe repertoire, safe performers.
I am not saying that. My point is that whether the listener is only occasional or more sophisticated, the elements of music that go to that strange desire to actually listen to something again, find it interesting or boring, are not very different. The more experienced listener will have a much wider appreciation of nuance and complexity. Remember those Haydn Society records that snootily proclaimed on the cover, "For the Mature Listener?" But in the end it comes down to some combination of notes that exert an appeal that makes one want to delve in and listen again. I'm am not a musician and never been trained, but I have had this experience hundreds of times. Other things, no matter how much I am told they are good, never do it for me.
"Good music is that which penetrates the ear with facility and quits the memory with difficulty." Sir Thomas Beecham. Never have seen it put better by a master of language. It's as true for Perotin or Wolf (two really specialist tastes) as it is for Ravel's Bolero.
Addendum: I'm don't think we can slander people for listening to Karajan either. I have virtually all his orchestral, as opposed to opera, recordings. Love or hate, many of his later recordings don't seem to me to have the elements that would attract a naive listener, even in standard works. In fact, I really think they would be put off. He was at times far too refined for the hoI polloi.
Beecham believed that to be "good" music had to have a hook? Amazing.
drh8h
2018-08-01 17:45:49 UTC
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Post by Frank Berger
Post by drh8h
Post by Herman
Post by drh8h
I don't care if it is the Monteverdi's Orfeo, B Minor Mass, WTC, "Haydn" Quartets, Op. 111, La Mer, "Classical" Symphony, Wozzeck, Rubinstein's Melody or Danse Macabre. And it keeps you coming back. That's where Rachmaninov and Medtner come in. I have heard the latter's music, mostly in his own recordings and while it has good qualities, nothing sticks to the mind.
Really if you think Beethoven is a well-known composer because he wrote Op. 111 you haven't been paying attention. Beethoven's fame rests on the symphonies, his piano concertos, the Moonlight and the Pathetique. The vast majority of record buyers or concert goers wouldn't last a minute of those late piano sonatas.
Same with Mozart. Mozart is his operas, his last three symphonies, some concerts and galant serenades. Most people wouldn't even know he wrote string quartets. And I'm not talking about people who don't care for classical music, but the vast majority of the audience, who used to buy Karajan LPs and now the current equivalent of safe repertoire, safe performers.
I am not saying that. My point is that whether the listener is only occasional or more sophisticated, the elements of music that go to that strange desire to actually listen to something again, find it interesting or boring, are not very different. The more experienced listener will have a much wider appreciation of nuance and complexity. Remember those Haydn Society records that snootily proclaimed on the cover, "For the Mature Listener?" But in the end it comes down to some combination of notes that exert an appeal that makes one want to delve in and listen again. I'm am not a musician and never been trained, but I have had this experience hundreds of times. Other things, no matter how much I am told they are good, never do it for me.
"Good music is that which penetrates the ear with facility and quits the memory with difficulty." Sir Thomas Beecham. Never have seen it put better by a master of language. It's as true for Perotin or Wolf (two really specialist tastes) as it is for Ravel's Bolero.
Addendum: I'm don't think we can slander people for listening to Karajan either. I have virtually all his orchestral, as opposed to opera, recordings. Love or hate, many of his later recordings don't seem to me to have the elements that would attract a naive listener, even in standard works. In fact, I really think they would be put off. He was at times far too refined for the hoI polloi.
Beecham believed that to be "good" music had to have a hook? Amazing.
In that same talk I believe he praises the songs of Wolf, not exactly music with "hooks." A "hook" for a serious musician could be much more profound than one for the occasional concert goer who gets excited by every fast passage or noisy climax. His remark I think does explain somewhat his distaste for "Protestant Counterpoint." Was it he or RVW who conducted a famous Bach piece and afterwards exclaimed, "Maybe St. Matthew's Passion, but not mine!"
Bozo
2018-08-01 21:23:50 UTC
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Post by Frank Berger
Beecham believed that to be "good" music had to have a hook? Amazing.
He was speaking from experience.

Other fav quotes :

"Composers should write tunes that chauffeurs and errand boys can whistle. "

"A musicologist is a man who can read music but can't hear it. "
drh8h
2018-08-01 22:50:31 UTC
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Post by Bozo
Post by Frank Berger
Beecham believed that to be "good" music had to have a hook? Amazing.
He was speaking from experience.
"Composers should write tunes that chauffeurs and errand boys can whistle. "
"A musicologist is a man who can read music but can't hear it. "
Part of our problem here is we are confounding popular and profound. I consider Schubert's Unfinished to be about as profound as any piece on earth, but that did not stop it being popular.
Herman
2018-07-31 13:54:00 UTC
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Post by JohnGavin
Lesser known works of music generally deserve their obscurity.
Decades ago I would have strongly challenged this theory (which I heard from a highly accomplished virtuoso). Now I’ve moved closer to it - somewhat. Since many here listen to a wide range of music, your opinions will be interesting.
Lesser known by which audience?

well-known classical music would be Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn's Messiah, Mahler, Bach Passions and those keyboard pieces composed for Gould, Tchaikovsky and Dvorak and that's it.
JohnGavin
2018-07-31 14:12:10 UTC
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Lesser known by which audience?

well-known classical music would be Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn's Messiah, Mahler, Bach Passions and those keyboard pieces composed for Gould, Tchaikovsky and Dvorak and that's it.
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Thanks. I’ll have to check out Haydn’s Messiah - embarrassed
Herman
2018-07-31 14:14:46 UTC
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Post by Herman
Lesser known by which audience?
well-known classical music would be Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn's Messiah, Mahler, Bach Passions and those keyboard pieces composed for Gould, Tchaikovsky and Dvorak and that's it.
_————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-
Thanks. I’ll have to check out Haydn’s Messiah - embarrassed to admit I don’t know it.
Handel
Frank Berger
2018-07-31 14:22:15 UTC
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Post by JohnGavin
Lesser known works of music generally deserve their obscurity.
Decades ago I would have strongly challenged this theory (which I heard from a highly accomplished virtuoso). Now I’ve moved closer to it - somewhat. Since many here listen to a wide range of music, your opinions will be interesting.
The problem with the theory is the word "deserve." Does it imply the
existence of an inherent quality which is distinct from popularity? If
so, then it should not be surprising that some works which are
objectively good (as rated by experts) may not always be popular.
Ricardo Jimenez
2018-07-31 19:25:11 UTC
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On Tue, 31 Jul 2018 05:40:55 -0700 (PDT), JohnGavin
Post by JohnGavin
Lesser known works of music generally deserve their obscurity.
Decades ago I would have strongly challenged this theory (which I heard from a highly accomplished virtuoso). Now I’ve moved closer to it - somewhat. Since many here listen to a wide range of music, your opinions will be interesting.
The "generally" makes it hard to refute the theory. The two most
cited examples of composers whose music was obscure for a long time
after their deaths and then underwent a permanent revivial are Bach
and Mahler. Maybe the most interesting question is, who will be the
next such example?
weary flake
2018-07-31 21:34:55 UTC
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Post by JohnGavin
Lesser known works of music generally deserve their obscurity.
Decades ago I would have strongly challenged this theory (which I heard
from a highly accomplished virtuoso). Now I’ve moved closer to it -
somewhat. Since many here listen to a wide range of music, your
opinions will be interesting.
My suspicions have always been that music is dismissed for dumb reasons,
and we're supposed to accept the professor or critic's dismissal without
hearing it ourselves: this music is bad because it's in mono, or it's too
old, or it's too sentimental, or it's too dramatic, or it has too much
harmony, or other reputable critics said it's bad, or the composer is a
monarchist, or is ugly, the music is obsolete because it's not serial,
sold too few copies so must be suppressed, the composer's third cousin is
a composer residing in a country we're at war with, etc.
John Hood
2018-08-01 02:28:23 UTC
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I have an obsessive interest in string quartets, where the popular
repertoire seems to be like a 'Top 50' which most quartets aim to
perform or record - hence you can find 795 pairings of Debussy & Ravel
on Amazon UK. My opinion is that there are many obscure composer's
quartets that are wonderful but most likely exist on only one recording.

My conclusion is that the music industry mostly pushes the popular,
presumably because they think that's what will sell. That is why it is
an 'industry', as profit, not music is mostly always the focus.

It's a bit like politics, when push comes to shove, core principles are
abandoned in an attempt to stay in power!

JH
Post by JohnGavin
Lesser known works of music generally deserve their obscurity.
Decades ago I would have strongly challenged this theory (which I heard from a highly accomplished virtuoso). Now I’ve moved closer to it - somewhat. Since many here listen to a wide range of music, your opinions will be interesting.
drh8h
2018-08-01 03:41:53 UTC
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Post by John Hood
I have an obsessive interest in string quartets, where the popular
repertoire seems to be like a 'Top 50' which most quartets aim to
perform or record - hence you can find 795 pairings of Debussy & Ravel
on Amazon UK. My opinion is that there are many obscure composer's
quartets that are wonderful but most likely exist on only one recording.
My conclusion is that the music industry mostly pushes the popular,
presumably because they think that's what will sell. That is why it is
an 'industry', as profit, not music is mostly always the focus.
It's a bit like politics, when push comes to shove, core principles are
abandoned in an attempt to stay in power!
JH
Post by JohnGavin
Lesser known works of music generally deserve their obscurity.
Decades ago I would have strongly challenged this theory (which I heard from a highly accomplished virtuoso). Now I’ve moved closer to it - somewhat. Since many here listen to a wide range of music, your opinions will be interesting.
Yes, but "unknown" works--think that famously overplayed "Canon," can suddenly become popular. Look how Gregorian Chant of all things had a popularity boom. It must take a performer or a producer who can spot the potential to go if not go mainstream, find a niche. That it doesn't happen so often tells me the well is pretty dry.
Bozo
2018-08-01 13:48:29 UTC
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Post by John Hood
I have an obsessive interest in string quartets,
I'm not obsessive about sq's, but here is Anton Rubinstein's SQ # 2 I've been enjoying a couple times over recent days, Royal String Quartet Copehagen,Etc. label recording , you may enjoy ( he wrote 4 others I think, have not heard ) :


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