Author Topic: How do we get composers out of obscurity?  (Read 4230 times)

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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: How do we get composers out of obscurity?
« Reply #20 on: December 30, 2017, 07:11:48 PM »
You've missed my point. So let me be blunt. What you said is basically, "I didn't like Marx, therefore, Marx should rest in obscurity." If you don't see the problem with that, it is pointless to discuss anything with you.

Look, Neal. I’m joking around when I say just because I don’t like Marx he should rest in obscurity. Obviously, my opinion, and yours and everyone else’s, doesn’t matter as there’s many Marx recordings available. We don’t dictate what will or will not be recorded. I understand this and so should anyone else.
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Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: How do we get composers out of obscurity?
« Reply #21 on: December 30, 2017, 07:18:13 PM »
Look, Neal. I’m joking around when I say just because I don’t like Marx he should rest in obscurity. Obviously, my opinion, and yours and everyone else’s, doesn’t matter as there’s many Marx recordings available. We don’t dictate what will or will not be recorded. I understand this and so should anyone else.
It doesn't read that way at all.
My view is some composers are better left in obscurity. Maestro’s initial post about Chailly pointing out Joseph Marx’s neglect is a classic example of composers that should remain unknown. I don’t mean to sound harsh, but I’ve heard several of Marx’s works and wasn’t impressed. Another point I would like to make is if there are recordings available (w/ top-notch performances to boot), then we shouldn’t be feel the incessant need to point out the neglect of this or that composer. There are works from major composers that are just as unknown as Shebalin. Nobody can control these kinds of things, so it’s best not to worry about the whys and be thankful for what is actually available for us to hear.
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Offline Ken B

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Re: How do we get composers out of obscurity?
« Reply #22 on: December 30, 2017, 07:19:04 PM »
Look, Neal. I’m joking around when I say just because I don’t like Marx he should rest in obscurity. Obviously, my opinion, and yours and everyone else’s, doesn’t matter as there’s many Marx recordings available. We don’t dictate what will or will not be recorded. I understand this and so should anyone else.

Jibbers John your avatar has changed three times since I replied to your post here!

I don’t think you need to apologize for saying “Marx gets enough attention thank you, there's other great music I think deserves more attention “ because mutatis mutandis his boosters saying *exactly* the same thing: “The standard repertoire gets enough attention thank you, there's other great music I think deserves more attention, Marx's.”

CORRECTION: 4 times!
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: How do we get composers out of obscurity?
« Reply #23 on: December 30, 2017, 07:22:06 PM »
It doesn't read that way at all.

Well, as I said, I probably was being too harsh on Marx. I didn’t mean to make it sound like he doesn’t deserve his ‘time in the sun’ so to speak. It’s obvious there are plenty of people that like his music and several labels recorded his music, so I’m just going to leave it at that.
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Offline Jo498

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Re: How do we get composers out of obscurity?
« Reply #24 on: December 31, 2017, 02:06:23 AM »
There is no comparison with visual art. Visual art is usually comparably cheap to produce and store and there have been enough people with too much money on their hands to push prices of a lot of art so it is often an investment, not mere sponsoring.
Whereas classical music, especially orchestral and opera is very espensive because it needs a fairly large number of decently (or sometimes well) paid professionals to be performed at all.

Until very recently (roughly until the wide availability of comparably cheap records) the repertoire was much smaller, partly because the public did not have already 10 recordings of Beethoven's 3rd on their shelves and were happy to hear it in the concert hall every other season or so. If someone was really into certain music he had to play it himself in four-hand-arrangements etc.

Just think how much stuff that was on the brink of the mainstream in the 50s/60s, like Mahler, also some Nielsen and Bruckner, Berlioz (e.g. the large vocal works) or also a lot of Haydn, early Mozart, Baroque, Pre-Baroque has become standard repertoire. Things that were more restricted to local music cultures (e.g. Elgar to Britain, Glasunov to Russia and Bruckner to Austria/Germany) have become popular internationally. The repertoire has been massively expanded in the last 50 years, not only on discs.

There are many people for whom this is more than enough variety. They don't need and don't care for Hausegger, Stanford or whatever worthy but mostly forgotten composer

One can also thank generous sponsors (not the least German public radio) for helping to produce and to pay for many of these recordings of obscure music. But there are not enough billionaire sponsors and not enough paying customers who want to hear Marx frequently in concert.
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Online k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: How do we get composers out of obscurity?
« Reply #25 on: December 31, 2017, 04:38:30 AM »
So, people, what can we actually DO, rather than just saying words, to push composers' cases for being better appreciated by people?

Thank you.
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Re: How do we get composers out of obscurity?
« Reply #26 on: December 31, 2017, 04:44:13 AM »
My view is some composers are better left in obscurity.

Speaking as an active, living composer, one of whose challenges is (in effect) competing with the dead . . . I agree with this statement.  But we probably need to lift the work up out from obscurity, and examine it, before that call can reasonably be made.

And then, of course, the eternal axiom One man’s meat is another man’s poison will apply.

For example, before Nielsen’s music became better known, there would have been no lack of voices saying, Leave him in obscurity, that is where he belongs.

(I see that the great Dane’s name has already come up, but I shall let the post stand.)
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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Re: How do we get composers out of obscurity?
« Reply #27 on: December 31, 2017, 04:46:05 AM »
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

Online Cato

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Re: How do we get composers out of obscurity?
« Reply #28 on: December 31, 2017, 04:53:33 AM »
Speaking of works which should be known better...


<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/n-95rYkIbmE" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/n-95rYkIbmE</a>
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: How do we get composers out of obscurity?
« Reply #29 on: December 31, 2017, 06:36:20 AM »
Speaking as an active, living composer, one of whose challenges is (in effect) competing with the dead . . . I agree with this statement.  But we probably need to lift the work up out from obscurity, and examine it, before that call can reasonably be made.

And then, of course, the eternal axiom One man’s meat is another man’s poison will apply.

For example, before Nielsen’s music became better known, there would have been no lack of voices saying, Leave him in obscurity, that is where he belongs.

(I see that the great Dane’s name has already come up, but I shall let the post stand.)

Well, as I reiterated and clarified, I was being too rough on what I said about Marx. I’m thankful for conductors who have had the opportunities to champion lesser-known composers’ music. Of course, whether we actually like the music is of another matter entirely. ;) Thank goodness someone saved Nielsen! That’s all I can really say.
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: How do we get composers out of obscurity?
« Reply #30 on: December 31, 2017, 06:43:09 AM »
Speaking of works which should be known better...


<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/n-95rYkIbmE" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/n-95rYkIbmE</a>

This piece should be on every professional wind ensemble’s repertoire list and should be vigorously promoted (i. e. performed and recorded as much as possible). Whether Karl knew it or not, he had a hit on his hands with this piece.
“It must be beautiful, or it wouldn't be worth the effort.” - Bohuslav Martinů

Offline arpeggio

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Re: How do we get composers out of obscurity?
« Reply #31 on: December 31, 2017, 12:10:23 PM »
I will have to check out this Joseph Marx guy to see if he is as bad as some claim.

In my experience for every composer I have run into who should be obscure I have run into at least ten obscure composers who should not be.

Follow-up: I am listening to his Piano Concerto.  It may not be a masterpiece like Grieg's but sounds OK to my ears.  Of course if it was composed in 1870 instead of 1920.  Maybe if he had migrated to Hollywood like Korngold.

I hate to bring this up but maybe his politics are in question.  He did remain in Austria during the Nazi regime.  Does anyone know if he was a Nazi sympathizer?  I know of several composers whose reputations have been tarnished by their pro-Fascist leanings like Casella.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2017, 12:35:20 PM by arpeggio »

Offline San Antone

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Re: How do we get composers out of obscurity?
« Reply #32 on: December 31, 2017, 01:08:49 PM »
I will have to check out this Joseph Marx guy to see if he is as bad as some claim.

In my experience for every composer I have run into who should be obscure I have run into at least ten obscure composers who should not be.

Follow-up: I am listening to his Piano Concerto.  It may not be a masterpiece like Grieg's but sounds OK to my ears.  Of course if it was composed in 1870 instead of 1920.  Maybe if he had migrated to Hollywood like Korngold.

I hate to bring this up but maybe his politics are in question.  He did remain in Austria during the Nazi regime.  Does anyone know if he was a Nazi sympathizer?  I know of several composers whose reputations have been tarnished by their pro-Fascist leanings like Casella.

Here's some biographical information which might imply that he was Jewish but remained in Vienna:

Quote
During World War II, Marx —stripped of all of his pre­vi­ous titles and posi­tions includ­ing his job as a critic for Aus­trian newspa­pers that had been taken over by Nazi Germany in 1938— remained in Vienna, where he took the one post that remained avai­l­able to a famous com­poser such as himself, lec­tur­ing on the »rescue of musical culture from deca­dence« as he described it.

This, and the fact that Marx neither emigrated, nor stren­u­ously protested the Nazi regime, paved the way for the heralds of the New Mod­ernists to besmirch his rep­u­ta­tion as a cham­pion of tonal music in the cultural-polit­ical conflict after his death in 1964. This was a relief to the prophets of the new moder­nity, and they allowed Marx's works to sink increas­ingly into obs­cu­rity during the course of the 1960s. Marx came to be viewed in con­crete polit­ical terms, and was often labeled a »Nazi func­tion­ary«. Confu­sion with the com­poser Karl Marx (1897-1985), who during World War II worked in Joseph's home­town of Graz and com­posed a number of polit­ically ser­vice­able works, brought further shame to Joseph Marx in the years fol­low­ing his death.

According to this website Joseph Marx was highly repsected figure in Vienna by many conductors, composers and musicians but because of his skepticism concerning modern music (of the time, i.e. 12-tone music; he coined the term atonal) the post war generation declared his music undesirable.

Quote
When one con­sid­ers the nearly lim­it­less esteem in which col­leagues from all over the world held his music, his rep­u­ta­tion as an acknowl­edged author­ity, and his human char­ac­ter­is­tics, one must ask why the works of such a brilliant com­poser do not belong to the mainstays of the concert repertoire. The reasons for this have nothing to do with the quality of his music, but instead are found in his home­land. Parts of the Third Vien­nese School resented Marx's influ­ence as high priest of tonal­ity, and after his death they pun­ished him mer­ci­lessly by demo­nizing his works as »reac­tion­ary music« and by placing a thor­oughgo­ing taboo on his works.

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Re: How do we get composers out of obscurity?
« Reply #33 on: December 31, 2017, 01:18:39 PM »
Here's some biographical information which might imply that he was Jewish but remained in Vienna:

According to this website  (he coined the term atonal)


 :o

He goes to the top of my must-listen list!
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Offline arpeggio

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Re: How do we get composers out of obscurity?
« Reply #34 on: December 31, 2017, 01:32:29 PM »
Here's some biographical information which might imply that he was Jewish but remained in Vienna:

According to this website Joseph Marx was highly repsected figure in Vienna by many conductors, composers and musicians but because of his skepticism concerning modern music (of the time, i.e. 12-tone music; he coined the term atonal) the post war generation declared his music undesirable.

Thanks for your response. 

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Re: How do we get composers out of obscurity?
« Reply #35 on: December 31, 2017, 02:01:52 PM »

 :o

He goes to the top of my must-listen list!

From the Joseph Marx website listed above on charges of anti-Semitism:

Quote
In spite of his close friend­ship with count­less Jewish com­posers such as Herbert Zipper, Erich Zeisl, Marcel Rubin, Franz Schreker and Erich Wolfgang Korngold, efforts were often made to color Joseph Marx as an anti-Semite. These efforts were finally halted when Marx's corre­spon­dence revealed a trove of letters received from his many Jewish friends and stu­dents, many of whom he per­son­ally rescued from deporta­tion. Yet in the face of further defama­tion campaigns (one of which resulted in the renam­ing of the Joseph Marx Prize of the Province of Styria), his rep­u­ta­tion was almost irrepara­bly damaged and his music was lumped together with the com­po­si­tional style of the arch con­ser­va­tives who shared his gen­er­a­tion. A major­ity of his once-beloved works —like those of his fellow tonal com­posers— thus dis­ap­peared from the concert halls. In a certain way Marx's death is emblem­atic of the downfall of a gen­er­a­tion of com­posers who stood in the way of the new era's devel­op­ment of musical moder­nity.

And so Austria ulti­mately pro­fessed the New Music as well, and simulta­ne­ously rejected one of its for­merly »dis­play-qual­ity« com­posers. As a result, in the music history books pub­lished in the years and decades after his death, Marx was por­trayed as a some­what influ­en­tial, but ulti­mately arch-con­ser­va­tive music ped­a­gogue whose chief success was presum­ably in the com­po­si­tion of songs. The Joseph Marx Society, founded in April 2006, seeks to remind the world of Marx's musical ver­sa­til­ity and importance, and to bring Marx's forgotten (and in some cases, undis­cov­ered) works back to the concert halls and CD market.

(My emphasis above)

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Offline Ken B

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Re: How do we get composers out of obscurity?
« Reply #36 on: December 31, 2017, 02:12:14 PM »
From the Joseph Marx website listed above on charges of anti-Semitism:

(My emphasis above)

Thanks Cato.
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Offline Maestro267

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Re: How do we get composers out of obscurity?
« Reply #37 on: December 31, 2017, 02:16:34 PM »
The whole "Some should be left in obscurity" view is ridiculously ignorant. You're denying the rest of us the right to make an informed choice. You need to personalise that opinion to you, while allowing for the fact that other people may enjoy their music.

Offline San Antone

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Re: How do we get composers out of obscurity?
« Reply #38 on: December 31, 2017, 02:21:28 PM »
The whole "Some should be left in obscurity" view is ridiculously ignorant. You're denying the rest of us the right to make an informed choice. You need to personalise that opinion to you, while allowing for the fact that other people may enjoy their music.

In the case of Joseph Marx, of whose piano concerto Claudio Arrau (among many others) spoke very highly, the disregard seems unjustified.  But the proof is in the pudding and there are enough recordings for people to make their own judgments.  For myself his style is not to my taste but that does not speak to the inherent quality of his skill as a composer - which appears to be high.

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Re: How do we get composers out of obscurity?
« Reply #39 on: December 31, 2017, 02:37:27 PM »
The whole "Some should be left in obscurity" view is ridiculously ignorant. You're denying the rest of us the right to make an informed choice. You need to personalise that opinion to you, while allowing for the fact that other people may enjoy their music.

I have denied you nothing, Maestro. You’re free to buy a Marx recording just as you are an Erdmann recording. The music is available regardless of what anyone here (or elsewhere) has said.
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