Post by Mr. Mike
On Tue, 26 Jan 2021 13:07:00 -0800, Al Eisner
Post by Al Eisner
My standards were set by High Fidelity.
Speaking of the latter, I remember some issue(s) where reviewers
listed the composers they really liked and hated. Any idea
approximately when those were published?
No, but I remember the piece to which you refer. One reviewer expressed
his strong dislike for Bruckner, and doubled down on Sibelius in a
memorable phrase--"the harmonic *and* contrapuntal immobility". I'll
have to scroll through the archives to see whether I can find the article.
Here is the article
"The Critics Confess: My Ten Favorite Composers" appeared in the Sept.
1967 issue of HiFi/Stereo Review. Seven critics - George Jellinek,
William Flanagan, James Goodfriend, Igor Kipnis, David Hall, Paul
Kresh and Eric Salzman - gave their top ten favorites as follows:
Jellinek - Verdi, Mozart, Schubert, Beethoven, Dvorak, Smetana, Gluck,
Berlioz, Mendelssohn and Tartini.
Flanagan - Mozart, Stravinsky, Ravel, Mahler, Poulenc, Debussy,
Britten, Berg, Henze and Flanagan (!).
Goodfriend - Dufay, Biber, JS Bach, Schubert, Faure, Debussy, R.
Strauss, Satie, Nystroem, and Warlock.
Kipnis - CPE Bach, WF Bach, Boismortier, Fux, Purcell, Brahms, Chopin,
Mendelssohn, Ravel, and Rachmaninoff.
Hall - Monteverdi, Purcell, Moussorgky, Mahler, Sibelius, Nielsen,
Janacek, Bartok, Vaughan Williams, and Ives.
Kresh - Beethoven, Debussy, Stravinsky, Mozart, Sibelius, Gershwin,
Schubert, JS Bach, Walton, and Schoenberg.
Salzman - des Pres, Monteverdi, Chopin, Mahler, Debussy, Moussorgsky,
Stravinsky, Schoenberg, Ives, Varese.
To my mind, these are rather weird lists of "favorites"; they would be
weirder still if listed as the "greatest."
Here are the same critics with their "Ten Composers I Hate" (October
1967 HiFi/Stereo REview):
Flanagan - Bruckner, Franck, Sibelius, Messiaen, Schoenberg, Scriabin,
Reger, Wagner, Schubert and Sullivan.
Jellinek - Wagner the librettist, R. Strauss of Capriccio, the
Prokofiev of Semyon Kotko & War and Peace, the songs of Debussy, Falla
of the Harpsichord Concerto, Elgar, Ravel, much recent Stravinsky,
Hall - Lully, Telemann, Rimsky-Korsakov, Glazounov, Scriabin, Reger,
Puccini, Milhaud, Weill, and Messiaen.
Kipnis - Bellini, Bruckner, Charpentier, Gluck, Hindemith, Nielsen,
Quantz, Reger, Verdi, and Vivaldi.
Goodfriend - Verdi, Alkan, Tchaik., Puccini, Rachmaninoff, Falla,
Respighi, Hindemith, Khachaturian, Bach-Stokowski
Kresh - Mahler, Berlioz, Francaix, Meyerbeer, Bellini, Chaminade,
Cowell, Mancini, Romberg, Ketelby.
Salzman - Palestrina, Telemann, Franck, Reger, Faure, Messiaen, Orff,
Shostakovich, Walton [have only nine].
Jeff Lipscomb- Hide quoted text -
- Show quoted text -
Here are Flanagan's provocative assessments from "Ten Composers I
1. Anton Bruckner. That harmonic immobility, and those great, sighing
silences; religious humility seems to have resulted in the ultimate
2. Cesar Franck. The slippery, soupy chromatic sound derived from
improvisational organ practice of legato fingering (Franck was an
3. Jean Sibelius. The harmonic AND contrapuntal immobility here make
Bruckner's work seem to these ears positively animated by comparison.
4. Olivier Messiaen.Those godawful birdcalls, the opacity of texture,
the tedious rhythmic conceptions, the mumbling mysticism; the
slippery, soupy chromatic sound derived from improvisational organ
practice of legato fingering (Messiaen IS an organist).
5. Arnold Schoenberg. Unlike the compelling and beautiful work of his
famous disciples Berg and Webern, the larger part of his work is to me
6. Alexander Scriabin. More mysticism, even a "mystic chord," which in
turn results in a simplistic serial organizational technique that,
magically, does not prevent the music from SOUNDING improvisational.
Scriabin reminds me of Messiaen, although as far as I know, he was not
7. Max Reger. That absurdly complex, academic, sterile, neo-Baroque
8. Richard Wagner. Words fail me.
9. Franz Schubert. The "Supremely Lyric Gift" is, for me, so much
10. Sir Arthur Sullivan (and Sir William Gilbert). With genuine
respect for the bias of my good friend, colleague, self-confessed and
unrepentant Savoyard Paul Kresh - I am not, never have been, and never
will be amused.