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Author Topic: Duds of Genius  (Read 8442 times)

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Offline Velimir

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Duds of Genius
« on: April 27, 2010, 11:23:29 AM »
Listening to Prokofiev's 2nd Symphony, it struck me that this is the sort of brilliant, but eccentric and ultimately unsuccessful piece that only a composer of genius could write. Isolated parts make a strong impression, but as a whole it just doesn't hold together.

I'm tempted to think that Schoenberg's serial technique is the kind of misstep only a genius could make. While I like certain products of it (like the Op. 31 Variations), on the whole I think he made a wrong turn when he went this way.

My early impression of Bach's Musical Offering is that it too could fall into this "dud of genius" category. I need to get to know it better, though.

Your candidates for "duds of genius"?
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Scarpia

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Re: Duds of Genius
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2010, 11:25:51 AM »

Der Ring des Nibelungen  (hides under table).


Franco

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Re: Duds of Genius
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2010, 11:29:34 AM »
Der Ring des Nibelungen  (hides under table).

LOL

But as a piece of such inspiration, it really ought to be referred to as a Dud of Phenomenal Proportions.

I say that, but I must admit to enjoying the Met Rheingold DVD I watched recently.  However, it took me a week to get all the way through it.

:)

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Duds of Genius
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2010, 11:35:33 AM »
Der Ring des Nibelungen  (hides under table).

         SCARPIA


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Offline Lethevich

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Re: Duds of Genius
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2010, 11:41:17 AM »
A lot of Tchaikovsky's orchestral music is fit for this category. It's all great, and much of it has many moments of decided imperfection (not the "intentional jagged edge" kind, but simply awkward bits that could be improved upon). The 1812 overture and 2nd piano concerto's slow movement are them are some of the more commented-on examples of this.
Peanut butter, flour and sugar do not make cookies. They make FIRE.

Scarpia

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Re: Duds of Genius
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2010, 11:43:37 AM »

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Duds of Genius
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2010, 11:47:40 AM »
the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

DavidW

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Re: Duds of Genius
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2010, 11:49:16 AM »
Beethoven-- Wellington's Victory it's just kind of dumb.


Bulldog

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Re: Duds of Genius
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2010, 12:36:24 PM »

My early impression of Bach's Musical Offering is that it too could fall into this "dud of genius" category. I need to get to know it better, though.

Yes, you do.  That way you'll get out of the "dud of listening" category. :D

DavidW

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Re: Duds of Genius
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2010, 12:42:03 PM »
I got used to the Musical Offering and even appreciate it now, but would still take any part of the WTC over it any day of the week.  It is not my favorite piece, but it's no Wellington's Victory either! :D

Online Brian

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Re: Duds of Genius
« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2010, 12:45:53 PM »
A lot of Tchaikovsky's orchestral music is fit for this category. It's all great, and much of it has many moments of decided imperfection (not the "intentional jagged edge" kind, but simply awkward bits that could be improved upon). The 1812 overture and 2nd piano concerto's slow movement are them are some of the more commented-on examples of this.

Hey, the Second Concerto's slow movement is a great one (though the thirty-second cut everyone takes near the end is rather more justifiable than cuts usually are...)!

Offline Superhorn

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Re: Duds of Genius
« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2010, 12:50:40 PM »
  Sorry, but I couldn't disagree more with you about the Prokofiev 2nd symphony.
 It may be a tough nut to crack for some, but I consider it to be a masterpiece of the highest rank, and one of Prokofiev's most brilliant and original works.
  I first got to know it way back in the LP era from an old Melodiya recording with Rozhdestvensky and the Moscow Radio symphony, and I became a fan of this weird but compelling symphony.

Bulldog

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Re: Duds of Genius
« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2010, 12:51:15 PM »
I got used to the Musical Offering and even appreciate it now, but would still take any part of the WTC over it any day of the week. 

I can understand that.  There are some board members I'm now used to.

Offline some guy

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Re: Duds of Genius
« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2010, 08:20:28 PM »
Sorry, but I couldn't disagree more with you about the Prokofiev 2nd symphony.
Agreed! Prokofiev's second is perfectly well made. Hangs together fine. The first movement is all of a piece, for one, with no isolated bits at all. The second movement hangs together like any theme and variations does. It's lyrical enough to be a good contrast to the relentless first, and it has enough wild bits to keep it clear that this symphony as a whole is all of a piece.

As for Schoenberg's serial technique, you have GOT to be kidding. I've said this before on another board. Apparently it's time to say it here, too. No one in 2010 should have any trouble with serialism. No one. Not that anyone has to like all serial pieces. I don't like all of them, any more than I like all tonal pieces or all turntable music. But come on. Let's get caught up a bit here. 2010. (I wonder how many people in 1910 were still having trouble with Beethoven. Or how many in 1810 were still having trouble with Bach.) And it's not the radicalness of the music that's at issue here. That's too easy. (And too lame.) And too much ignoring of obvious and palpable realities--like the fact that so many composers have felt it important to use the technique, like the fact that so many listeners have somehow managed to enjoy the sensual beauties of a lot of splendid music.

Enough already.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2010, 11:22:35 PM by some guy »

Offline snyprrr

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Re: Duds of Genius
« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2010, 10:04:07 PM »
Shosty 4! :P
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Offline snyprrr

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Re: Duds of Genius
« Reply #15 on: April 27, 2010, 10:09:27 PM »

As for Schoenberg's serial technique, you have GOT to be kidding. I've said this before on another board. Apparently it's time to say it hear, too. No one in 2010 should have any trouble with serialism. No one. Not that anyone has to like all serial pieces. I don't like all of them, any more than I like all tonal pieces or all turntable music. But come on. Let's get caught up a bit here. 2010. (I wonder how many people in 1910 were still having trouble with Beethoven. Or how many in 1810 were still having trouble with Bach.) And it's not the radicalness of the music that's at issue here. That's too easy. (And too lame.) And too much ignoring of obvious and palpable realities--like the fact that so many composers have felt it important to use the technique, like the fact that so many listeners have somehow managed to enjoy the sensual beauties of a lot of splendid music.

Enough already.

Oh, I want to stir up the hornet's nest here, haha! Serialismo is Universal, but Schonberg's a Dud!

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Offline snyprrr

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« Reply #16 on: April 27, 2010, 10:12:04 PM »
Late Xenakis (though, I forced myself to convert!,...for the children :'()
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Offline snyprrr

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Re: Duds of Genius
« Reply #17 on: April 27, 2010, 10:26:53 PM »
Listening to Prokofiev's 2nd Symphony, it struck me that this is the sort of brilliant, but eccentric and ultimately unsuccessful piece that only a composer of genius could write. Isolated parts make a strong impression, but as a whole it just doesn't hold together.

Agreed! Prokofiev's second is perfectly well made. Hangs together fine. The first movement is all of a piece, for one, with no isolated bits at all. The second movement hangs together like any theme and variations does. It's lyrical enough to be a good contrast to the relentless first, and it has enough wild bits to keep it clear that this symphony on the whole is all of a piece.

I just heard this for the first time the other week (Gergiev). This was the one I thought was going to sound like Varese-meets-Szymanowski ("a work of steel"), and, though I thought the machine music was just not as avant brutale as I'd hoped, the variations almost in parts reminds me of Xenakis. As a work without context I find it extremely strong, so, I'm curious that it apparently has a duddish reputation amoungst Prokofiev's works (though, I would have had a more decisively brutal depiction of machine music (where's the percussion overload?)). As a fan of the darker side of Russia's composers, I would have thought that the Classical Symphony would be the considered dud, no?
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Offline Velimir

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Re: Duds of Genius
« Reply #18 on: April 27, 2010, 10:28:24 PM »
As for Schoenberg's serial technique, you have GOT to be kidding. I've said this before on another board. Apparently it's time to say it hear, too. No one in 2010 should have any trouble with serialism.

I don't have any trouble with serialism, and I don't see why the current date (2010) is relevant to this. Rather, I don't like the serial pieces Schoenberg wrote nearly as much as I like the late Romantic and free atonal pieces that he wrote earlier. I'll take Pierrot Lunaire, Verklärte Nacht, and the Five Orchestral Pieces over the Piano Concerto, Violin Concerto, or Begleitmusik zu einer Lichtspielszene any day. He was a great composer, but the serial period does not reflect him at his best. End of story.

And thanks for the counter-arguments re: Prokofiev's 2nd Symphony. I will listen to it again with your thoughts in mind. 
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Offline snyprrr

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Re: Duds of Genius
« Reply #19 on: April 27, 2010, 10:31:12 PM »
John Cage ;D.

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