Author Topic: The Worst Last!  (Read 2217 times)

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Offline arpeggio

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Re: The Worst Last!
« Reply #20 on: March 30, 2018, 09:39:58 PM »
It is interesting how some react to various works, like the Dvorak Ninth.  His symphonies are playable for amateur orchestras.  I have performed the last three and for me the Ninth was the most fun to play.  Now does fun = best? I do not know.

Baron Scarpia

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Re: The Worst Last!
« Reply #21 on: March 30, 2018, 11:42:23 PM »
My favorite Dvorak is the 7th, but I don't think of the 9th as at all bad. Karajan's dark reading of the 9th recorded for EMI makes it a more interesting work, for me.

Offline starrynight

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Re: The Worst Last!
« Reply #22 on: March 31, 2018, 02:48:46 AM »
Among major composers/pieces, I think Schumann's "Rhenish" is a candidate. I find it very uneven with a good first movement, decent second and fascinating 4th (brassy "cathedral") movement but the 3rd and 5th are weak and the whole thing does not hang together very well for me.

I think the last movement rounds it off really well, as befits a romantic symphony, very joyous and for me a stunning climax.

As said in the other thread though the worst of something is probably something you haven't heard (or I would even say got destroyed by the composer).  And it will always be a matter of perspective, so the worst last for someone is probably from a composer someone likes a lot but is disappointed with their style at the end.  The numbering doesn't always give you the chronological order either.

The assumption in classical music (unlike in popular music often) is often that the later works will be by an even more accomplished and experienced composer.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2018, 02:50:30 AM by starrynight »

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: The Worst Last!
« Reply #23 on: March 31, 2018, 03:38:26 AM »
Much too fond of the Dvořák Ninth to entertain any disdain for it.  And, like the Sarge, the Nielsen Sixth and Prokofiev Seventh are great favorites.  Has me speculating that, had Shostakovich only written nine, his Ninth would be nominated here.
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Offline some guy

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Re: The Worst Last!
« Reply #24 on: March 31, 2018, 05:26:23 AM »
There is no way I can tell anyone which last symphony is the weakest.

Heck, in another forum there was a thread dedicated to those who though Beethoven's Ninth was his weakest  ???

For whatever it is worth my least favorite last symphony is William Schuman's Tenth.  I am a big Schuman fan and for me it was a major disappointment.  If there are any who think it is great, please jump in.
What if one is a big Schuman fan and also disappointed in this symphony? Can we jump in, too?

For me, the biggest problem with Schuman's tenth is that it sounds like a pastiche of Schuman's previous works.* Pastiche's are bad enough, but when it's a composer just copying himself.... ("Himself" because I simply cannot think of any females who have done this. There may be some, I just don't know them is all.)

I feel the same about Doyle's later Holmes stories, which he apparently was reluctant to do.

*I am going to go listen to the tenth, again, just by the way. If I'm wrong, I'll add another comment, admitting my mistake. Fair's fair.

Baron Scarpia

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Re: The Worst Last!
« Reply #25 on: March 31, 2018, 06:03:47 AM »
Much too fond of the Dvořák Ninth to entertain any disdain for it.  And, like the Sarge, the Nielsen Sixth and Prokofiev Seventh are great favorites.  Has me speculating that, had Shostakovich only written nine, his Ninth would be nominated here.

Gasp! I think to think of Shostakovich's ninth as a contender for his best (along with 10 and 15).

Offline Brian

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Re: The Worst Last!
« Reply #26 on: March 31, 2018, 06:05:15 AM »
Every Gadé symphony after the first is a let down.
Agreed.

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: The Worst Last!
« Reply #27 on: March 31, 2018, 06:31:58 AM »
For whatever it is worth my least favorite last symphony is William Schuman's Tenth.  I am a big Schuman fan and for me it was a major disappointment.  If there are any who think it is great, please jump in.

Can't argue with you but I think the Roy Harris Bicentennial Symphony (13 or 14, depending on who's doing the numbering) is even worse.

Sarge
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: The Worst Last!
« Reply #28 on: March 31, 2018, 06:58:40 AM »
Some people claim that Barber’s Symphony No. 2 (his last in the genre) is worse than his first. I don’t think it is, but there’s several people here who don’t enjoy it. I think it has it’s own charms, but is it a great work? No, I don’t think it is, but the slow movement is quite haunting.
“It must be beautiful, or it wouldn't be worth the effort.” - Bohuslav Martinů

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: The Worst Last!
« Reply #29 on: March 31, 2018, 06:59:50 AM »
I think I’ll nominate Lenny’s ’Kaddish' Symphony for one of the worst. Such dreck from an, otherwise, rather fun composer.
“It must be beautiful, or it wouldn't be worth the effort.” - Bohuslav Martinů

Offline Cato

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Re: The Worst Last!
« Reply #30 on: March 31, 2018, 07:03:50 AM »
Can't argue with you but I think the Roy Harris Bicentennial Symphony (13 or 14, depending on who's doing the numbering) is even worse.

Sarge

Amen!

14th, according to this blurb:

Quote
His works, which number over 200 in a variety of genres and media, are characterized by broad, often powerfully emotional musical gestures. In 1969, Roy Harris became a lecturer and teacher in the Department of Music at California State University, Los Angeles. In honor of the Martin Luther King Holiday the display features Roy Harris' Bicentennial Symphony, which is revered by John Malveaux as “the strongest musical statement on U.S. History, slavery, and race relations ever made by an American composer." The piece was commissioned by California State University, Los Angeles and debuted by the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C., on Abraham Lincoln's birthday in 1976 as part of the country's bicentennial celebration. The work was written for an orchestra with a large chorus. The chorus carries the larger part of the work with passages from the Preamble to the Constitution, the Gettysburg Address, and the Emancipation proclamation (Sic!) as well as original passages.

The line in bold type may be the problem! 

The only performance on YouTube is this one, apparently by an amateur orchestra playing in a park:

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qrvFtRPgIHs" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qrvFtRPgIHs</a>

 

I think I’ll nominate Lenny’s ’Kaddish' Symphony for one of the worst. Such dreck from an, otherwise, rather fun composer.

Amen again!  0:)
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Offline arpeggio

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Re: The Worst Last!
« Reply #31 on: March 31, 2018, 10:42:06 AM »
Can't argue with you but I think the Roy Harris Bicentennial Symphony (13 or 14, depending on who's doing the numbering) is even worse.

Sarge

I have the same feeling toward the later Harris Symphonies.  I was at the premier of the Bicentennial Symphony.  For me it was a dud and one of the extremely rare times that I booed.

Offline Jo498

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Re: The Worst Last!
« Reply #32 on: March 31, 2018, 11:56:23 AM »
Every Gadé symphony after the first is a let down.

I suppose you mean Niels Gade. They may be relative letdowns but not really huge drops in quality. As far as I recall the first is comparably fresh and original (although not really more than the Ossian Ouverture, his first major piece!) but then he kept composing very similar pieces that hardly reach the first symphony and lack the freshness but are not really different enough to be much weaker.
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Offline Ken B

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Re: The Worst Last!
« Reply #33 on: March 31, 2018, 05:01:30 PM »
I don’t know Harris 14. Schnittke is a reliable choice for worst symphony whatever the conditions. But I agree with Scarpia, the biggest drop in quality is Nielsen 6.
Give a man a fire and he is warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he is warm for life.

Offline (poco) Sforzando

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Re: The Worst Last!
« Reply #34 on: March 31, 2018, 05:11:09 PM »
Strange, I find Nielsen’s last symphony one of his best. :-\ Different strokes for different folks I suppose.

I agree with John. Nielsen 6 is by far my favorite, the most subtly organized and original. Love the small second movement, which could be Nielsen's version of Webern.
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Baron Scarpia

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Re: The Worst Last!
« Reply #35 on: March 31, 2018, 06:48:59 PM »
I’m genuinely surprised at the admiration for Nielsen 6. I could do with a reappraise.

Offline kyjo

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Re: The Worst Last!
« Reply #36 on: April 01, 2018, 07:26:06 PM »
Possibly, Atterberg's 9th symphony would be my candidate. Not necessarily that bad, just my least favorite of his.

As for the Nielsen's 6th symphony, I think it's not the worst one IMHO. Lately, I've appreciated much more its details and I find it highly rewarding (above all the 1st movement). In addition, there is a certain enigmatic atmosphere that makes it even more interesting (it's me, anyway).

Agree with you about the Atterberg 9th. It's an interesting work which strikes out in new directions, but it's hardly as successful as his previous symphonies. As for the Nielsen, it's not among my favorite of his symphonies, but I feel that I haven't given it enough attentive listening to fully uncover its secrets. Other possible candidates for me are Mendelssohn's 5th and Hanson's 7th. 
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Offline kyjo

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Re: The Worst Last!
« Reply #37 on: April 01, 2018, 07:29:34 PM »
I think No.9 is quite weak structurally, with little variety in the phrasing, everything being 4 and 8 bars long, and exceptionally clumsy reuse of material from earlier movements in later ones. And everything is stretched out much longer than it should be vs the concision he achieved in the previous two symphonies. Maybe No.1 is even weaker in technical aspects, but No.1 at least has a sense of energy and possibilities instead of just going through the motions. Nos.2, 3 and 4 are as fine as 5-8 imo, just a bit more long-winded.

I overall agree with you. The Dvorak 9th has great melodies of course, but structurally it can't match the ingenuity of the 7th and 8th symphonies in particular. I also find it doesn't contain as much emotional variety as the 7th and 8th.
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music" - Sergei Rachmaninoff

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: The Worst Last!
« Reply #38 on: April 01, 2018, 08:00:15 PM »
Any Philip Glass symphony, but especially the one he last finished. :)
“It must be beautiful, or it wouldn't be worth the effort.” - Bohuslav Martinů

Offline Brian

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Re: The Worst Last!
« Reply #39 on: April 02, 2018, 05:07:46 AM »
How about the latest symphony (#3....?)  of conductor Leif - "Will SOMEBODY keep music paper out of his hands?" - Segerstam ?    ???   ;)
You will get some considerable entertainment out of this new Hurwitz review of Segerstam's Symphony No. 289 "When the Cat Visited"!

 

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