Author Topic: "Drinking the Kool-Aid"  (Read 10260 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 44401
  • Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?
    • Henningmusick
  • Location: Boston, Mass.
  • Currently Listening to:
    Shostakovich, Frescobaldi, Stravinsky, JS Bach, Liszt, Chopin, Haydn, Henning
Re: "Drinking the Kool-Aid"
« Reply #100 on: August 26, 2017, 03:43:25 PM »

[snip]

... but then, isn't a lot of Bernstein overrated?

Many major artists have incontinent enthusiasts, but I don't think we should equate the attachment of these, as general overrating. The motto of a local investment firm goes: Consistently good; not occasionally great. I think most reasonable and musical ears consider Lenny consistently good, frequently great; and even when he takes startling chances, he can surprise you by winning the throw.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline SurprisedByBeauty

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 939
  • Back. Hello!
    • Surprised by Beauty
  • Currently Listening to:
    anything from Monteverdi to Widmann and well beyond in either direction and everything in the middle!
Re: "Drinking the Kool-Aid"
« Reply #101 on: August 26, 2017, 04:41:34 PM »
Many major artists have incontinent enthusiasts, but I don't think we should equate the attachment of these, as general overrating. The motto of a local investment firm goes: Consistently good; not occasionally great. I think most reasonable and musical ears consider Lenny consistently good, frequently great; and even when he takes startling chances, he can surprise you by winning the throw.

That sounds about right... but he's probably overrated as a composer, right? Who quipped so wonderfully: "Bernstein can do anything he doesn't put his mind to" - on how whenever he tried hard, it became cringe (not gringe)-worthy to the highest degree...

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 44401
  • Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?
    • Henningmusick
  • Location: Boston, Mass.
  • Currently Listening to:
    Shostakovich, Frescobaldi, Stravinsky, JS Bach, Liszt, Chopin, Haydn, Henning
Re: "Drinking the Kool-Aid"
« Reply #102 on: August 26, 2017, 06:32:43 PM »
That sounds about right... but he's probably overrated as a composer, right?

That may be. West Side Story was so signal a popular success, his name enjoys marquee status. I think very well of Age of Anxiety, and the Serenade; but, I also remember (as if it were yesterday) the degree of surprise I felt, that they are as good as they are. To this day, I've not listened to the Mass, nor to Candide (apart from the effervescent Overture) ... because, I suppose, I don't want them to drive the curve down 8)  The dances from On the Town, and the Prelude, Fugue and Riffs, I find all right, but unexceptional. At times, he is a sensitive musical chameleon; at his best, he transcends that. So ... whenever I read a critique which speaks of his genius as a composer, I do feel that Lenny--fond of him though I am--is being oversold.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Ken B

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 2575
  • The Age of the Wanker is upon us
    • kenBlogic
  • Location: Michigan
  • Currently Listening to:
    Canoes not battleships.
Re: "Drinking the Kool-Aid"
« Reply #103 on: August 26, 2017, 06:50:26 PM »
I tried for three decades (in the case of Debussy). Finally hearing La Mer live at a concert in Mannheim (Dutoit conducting the O National de France) provided the breakthough moment. It's been love ever since  8)

Sarge

Beaten into submission.  ;)

TD
The Heifetz Piatigorsky Concerts.
Give a man a fire and he is warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he is warm for life.

Offline SurprisedByBeauty

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 939
  • Back. Hello!
    • Surprised by Beauty
  • Currently Listening to:
    anything from Monteverdi to Widmann and well beyond in either direction and everything in the middle!
Re: "Drinking the Kool-Aid"
« Reply #104 on: August 26, 2017, 11:00:45 PM »
. To this day, I've not listened to the Mass, nor to Candide (apart from the effervescent Overture) ... because, I suppose, I don't want them to drive the curve down 8)

I find the Meass to be one of his worst -- but Candide arguably his very best [not counting West Side Story, since that's a different beast altogether] work. I wouldn't have any trepidations about exploring that.  :)

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 44401
  • Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?
    • Henningmusick
  • Location: Boston, Mass.
  • Currently Listening to:
    Shostakovich, Frescobaldi, Stravinsky, JS Bach, Liszt, Chopin, Haydn, Henning
Re: "Drinking the Kool-Aid"
« Reply #105 on: August 27, 2017, 04:46:45 AM »
I find the Meass to be one of his worst -- but Candide arguably his very best [not counting West Side Story, since that's a different beast altogether] work. I wouldn't have any trepidations about exploring that.  :)

Very good.  Let me substitute the Chichester Psalms, not because I think it likely to be bad, but because (and germane to this thread) I am skeptical that it will match the praise I have heard on its behalf.


When I have heard the odd movement from the Mass by chance . . . I have considered my caution justified   0:)
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline SurprisedByBeauty

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 939
  • Back. Hello!
    • Surprised by Beauty
  • Currently Listening to:
    anything from Monteverdi to Widmann and well beyond in either direction and everything in the middle!
Re: "Drinking the Kool-Aid"
« Reply #106 on: August 31, 2017, 04:53:07 AM »
Very good.  Let me substitute the Chichester Psalms, not because I think it likely to be bad, but because (and germane to this thread) I am skeptical that it will match the praise I have heard on its behalf.

I think it's an overrated work, but I don't suppose I could make as good an argument as with the Mass that it's outright bad. So I think you're right on.

Offline SurprisedByBeauty

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 939
  • Back. Hello!
    • Surprised by Beauty
  • Currently Listening to:
    anything from Monteverdi to Widmann and well beyond in either direction and everything in the middle!
Re: "Drinking the Kool-Aid"
« Reply #107 on: September 01, 2017, 10:59:54 AM »
Very good.  Let me substitute the Chichester Psalms, not because I think it likely to be bad, but because (and germane to this thread) I am skeptical that it will match the praise I have heard on its behalf.


When I have heard the odd movement from the Mass by chance . . . I have considered my caution justified   0:)

I think it's an overrated work, but I don't suppose I could make as good an argument as with the Mass that it's outright bad. So I think you're right on.

Actually, my inebriated wife just insisted that they are "awesome" and she sang them. So I'll give them Psalms the benefit of the doubt. [We're listening to Candide (the version w/German comedian Loriot), which is why it came up.]

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 44401
  • Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?
    • Henningmusick
  • Location: Boston, Mass.
  • Currently Listening to:
    Shostakovich, Frescobaldi, Stravinsky, JS Bach, Liszt, Chopin, Haydn, Henning
Re: "Drinking the Kool-Aid"
« Reply #108 on: September 01, 2017, 11:00:27 AM »
What's her opinion when not in her cups?  8)
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Brian

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 19716
    • Brian's blog
Re: "Drinking the Kool-Aid"
« Reply #109 on: September 02, 2017, 07:27:31 AM »
but then, isn't a lot of Bernstein overrated? Important/exciting then... but wouldn't be that special if the same performance was conducted by, say, Juraj Valcuha.
Take this one to Unpopular Opinions  >:( >:(

Offline SurprisedByBeauty

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 939
  • Back. Hello!
    • Surprised by Beauty
  • Currently Listening to:
    anything from Monteverdi to Widmann and well beyond in either direction and everything in the middle!

Offline Scion7

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1999
  • "A vér az élet."
  • Location: Borgó Pass
Re: "Drinking the Kool-Aid"
« Reply #111 on: September 03, 2017, 06:18:09 AM »
I think most reasonable and musical ears consider Lenny consistently good, frequently great;

Um, no.
Just an example - his Beethoven series. Ugh.
On the other hand,  he was the best conductor of Schuman.
Your barricades lie broken ... your enemies lord.

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 44401
  • Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?
    • Henningmusick
  • Location: Boston, Mass.
  • Currently Listening to:
    Shostakovich, Frescobaldi, Stravinsky, JS Bach, Liszt, Chopin, Haydn, Henning
Re: "Drinking the Kool-Aid"
« Reply #112 on: September 03, 2017, 11:38:21 AM »
Um, no.
Just an example - his Beethoven series. Ugh.

You don't like his?  What don't you like?
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Monsieur Croche

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1405
Re: "Drinking the Kool-Aid"
« Reply #113 on: September 03, 2017, 12:24:42 PM »
Very good.  Let me substitute the Chichester Psalms, not because I think it likely to be bad, but because (and germane to this thread) I am skeptical that it will match the praise I have heard on its behalf.

Kitchy-catchy pop musical theater ersatz 'serious classical' music in a relentless dance-y mixed metric of 7, sub-grouped 1,2/1,2/1,2,3 -- which holds relentless throughout the main piece, the slow section may even also be in the same meter, but augmented. 

It is,  'but of course,' pretty damned popular, and since it is so zip-nada, in my book, if you never heard it for several lifetimes you should hold no regrets.


Best regards.
~ I'm all for personal expression; it just has to express something to me. ~

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 44401
  • Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?
    • Henningmusick
  • Location: Boston, Mass.
  • Currently Listening to:
    Shostakovich, Frescobaldi, Stravinsky, JS Bach, Liszt, Chopin, Haydn, Henning
Re: "Drinking the Kool-Aid"
« Reply #114 on: September 03, 2017, 02:33:20 PM »
Kitchy-catchy pop musical theater ersatz 'serious classical' music in a relentless dance-y mixed metric of 7, sub-grouped 1,2/1,2/1,2,3 -- which holds relentless throughout the main piece, the slow section may even also be in the same meter, but augmented. 

It is,  'but of course,' pretty damned popular, and since it is so zip-nada, in my book, if you never heard it for several lifetimes you should hold no regrets.


Best regards.

Thanks!
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Turner

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1208
  • Location: Europe
Re: "Drinking the Kool-Aid"
« Reply #115 on: September 03, 2017, 08:37:01 PM »
Um, no.
Just an example - his Beethoven series. Ugh.
On the other hand,  he was the best conductor of Schuman.

I wasn´t impressed by the Beethoven/Bernstein DG set, but the earlier, more dramatic CBS-Sony set was more to my taste.
In Schuman, Lenny is better than say the Naxos series, in Schumann however I prefer Sawallisch to Lenny.

Overall, Bernstein did a lot of good stuff, especially in the CBS-sony years - some examples are Mahler, Verdi Requiem, Nielsen, Bartok, Haydn ...

Opinions vary ... but in general I don´t go that much for further mainstream recordings of standard works any more.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2017, 08:45:35 PM by Turner »

Offline aukhawk

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 568
  • Frankie
  • Location: England
  • Currently Listening to:
    Bach to Björk
Re: "Drinking the Kool-Aid"
« Reply #116 on: September 03, 2017, 11:35:16 PM »
There is the visual aspect to consider too.  Demonstrative arm-wavers (and their pianistic counterparts) really raise my hackles.  Fortunately I've only seen a very few video clips of Bernstein in action so can easily suppress that image, while enjoying his music-making.

Offline SurprisedByBeauty

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 939
  • Back. Hello!
    • Surprised by Beauty
  • Currently Listening to:
    anything from Monteverdi to Widmann and well beyond in either direction and everything in the middle!
Re: "Drinking the Kool-Aid"
« Reply #117 on: September 03, 2017, 11:37:15 PM »
There is the visual aspect to consider too.  Demonstrative arm-wavers (and their pianistic counterparts) really raise my hackles.  Fortunately I've only seen a very few video clips of Bernstein in action so can easily suppress that image, while enjoying his music-making.

That's one of my problems with Alsop, who's taken that page straight out of Bernstein's book...

Offline geralmar

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 25
  • Location: Michigan
Re: "Drinking the Kool-Aid"
« Reply #118 on: September 05, 2017, 09:44:21 AM »
I've always wondered if Stravinsky's compositions after 1913 would have become as popular if he hadn't been adopted as the "house composer" for Columbia Records (now Sony).

Buying Music From Amazon?
Please consider using these links. A small percentage of every sale using these links is passed on to GMG and helps keep this forum online.
Amazon US
Amazon Canada
Amazon UK