Author Topic: The Worst First!  (Read 25619 times)

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Offline André

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Re: The Worst First!
« Reply #300 on: October 25, 2017, 12:34:58 PM »
I've never been too fond of the first symphonies of Shostakovich and Prokofiev, despite being great admirers of both composers.


I’ve never taken to Shostakovich’s 1st either, but I love Prokofiev’s !

There’s no doubt in my mind that Dvorak’s 1st is pure, unadulterated dreck. It has its defenders of course. They're the same that send pics of their pet to the Ugliest Dog contests  :P.

I have to give it to the man, though: he deserves a prize for the most amazing learning curve in the history of music!


Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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The Worst First!
« Reply #301 on: October 25, 2017, 01:20:26 PM »
The Worst First is a symphony none of us has heard, nor will ever hear 8)

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Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: The Worst First!
« Reply #302 on: October 25, 2017, 01:21:10 PM »
There’s no doubt in my mind that Dvorak’s 1st is pure, unadulterated dreck.

 ;D :D ;D  ...I love the dreck, especially the first movement.

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Offline SymphonicAddict

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Re: The Worst First!
« Reply #303 on: October 26, 2017, 05:36:26 PM »
I've never been too fond of the first symphonies of Shostakovich and Prokofiev, despite being great admirers of both composers.

I agree with the Shostakovich's. In fact, his symphonies 1-3 don't get much attention from me. But I disagree about the Prokofiev's. It's so amusing and joyful.

I'd say the first symphony by Vincent d'Indy (Symphonie Italienne). It's too weak. Sadly, a few works of this composer appeals me.

Offline Ken B

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Re: The Worst First!
« Reply #304 on: March 28, 2018, 01:28:47 PM »
Schnittke. Pick a number: Schnittke.
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ComposerOfAvantGarde

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Re: The Worst First!
« Reply #305 on: March 28, 2018, 03:24:54 PM »
Schnittke. Pick a number: Schnittke.

What? Schnittke's symphonic oeuvre is a downhill journey after the first. ;D

Offline amw

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Re: The Worst First!
« Reply #306 on: March 28, 2018, 04:36:10 PM »
Generally a safe bet that any withdrawn first symphony is not going to be that great, eg Bruckner's "No. 00" or Szymanowski's First etc.

ComposerOfAvantGarde

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Re: The Worst First!
« Reply #307 on: March 28, 2018, 05:07:18 PM »
Generally a safe bet that any withdrawn first symphony is not going to be that great, eg Bruckner's "No. 00" or Szymanowski's First etc.

Yes but safe bets are not fun.

I'm picking Brahms 1.

Offline Ken B

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Re: The Worst First!
« Reply #308 on: March 28, 2018, 05:25:33 PM »
What? Schnittke's symphonic oeuvre is a downhill journey after the first. ;D
It is. But worst 2nd, Schnittke; worst 3rd, Schnittke; etc.
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Offline amw

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Re: The Worst First!
« Reply #309 on: March 28, 2018, 05:31:52 PM »
Schnittke's 2nd can't be worse than Britten's (Spring Symphony) >.>

Offline Alberich

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Re: The Worst First!
« Reply #310 on: March 29, 2018, 06:18:48 AM »
Read only the first 10 pages or so but have to confess I'm surprised that Vaughan Williams's Sea Symphony gets so much dislike. It was the first VW work I heard (seems logical to start from the first symphony, no?) and I loved it.

Walton's 1st is good but not IMO on a par with Belshazzar's Feast or some of his film scores.

I cannot mention Mozart's 1st as a contender for this thread because, weak as it is, it was composed by a child.

Has anyone mentioned or heard Richard Strauss's First? Although it was written by a teenager so it's not much fairer to mention it than Mozart's, whether or not it is a good work.

Although I like it nowadays much more, I would still think Robert Schumann's first symphony is a strong contender for the answer to the thread's question. There is much in it that shows potential but also a large dose of sheer boredom.
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Offline Biffo

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Re: The Worst First!
« Reply #311 on: March 29, 2018, 06:39:19 AM »
I don't think Dvorak's first qualifies as the worst ever first, just as Dvorak's weakest. I know from previous discussions elsewhere that many people like it but I don't. Playing the long exposition repeat in the 1st movement - necessary for some, it seems  - only makes it worse.

Offline Cato

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Re: The Worst First!
« Reply #312 on: March 29, 2018, 07:46:39 AM »
Have ELEVEN years gone by, since I posed this question?!

Some early answers:

Elgar

Elgar

Thirded.  Some composers can't handle pressure.

The least satisfactory First I know is Gounod's.  It's pleasant enough--but against such formidable contenders for good Firsts as Beethoven, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich and even Bizet, it's simply not in the running.

We now have a home for Gounod under the Composer topic.

I just listened to Rachmaninov's first symphony and I think it's even worse than Beethoven's. :P

Wow!  The Rach and Beethoven First Symphonies are all-around faves!


Read only the first 10 pages or so but have to confess I'm surprised that Vaughan Williams's Sea Symphony gets so much dislike. It was the first VW work I heard (seems logical to start from the first symphony, no?) and I loved it.


That dislike was surprising!
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: The Worst First!
« Reply #313 on: March 29, 2018, 07:53:44 AM »
Yes, in Germany you always eat the Wurst first!   8)

But we are talking about SYMPHONIES now!

Since the forum loves lists and rankings, how about your opinions on the Worst First Symphony by a composer?

Dvorak's Bells of Zlonice?  (Anybody?  Anybody?)

Khachaturian?  (Can you even find a recording of it?)

Copland?   :o

How many people have I just outraged with these suggestions?   0:)

I really like the Khachaturian and Copland's Organ Symphony.
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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: The Worst First!
« Reply #314 on: March 29, 2018, 08:52:34 AM »
I don't think Dvorak's first qualifies as the worst ever first, just as Dvorak's weakest.

Exactly.
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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: The Worst First!
« Reply #315 on: March 29, 2018, 08:54:23 AM »
Have ELEVEN years gone by, since I posed this question?!

Some early answers:

Elgar

Oh, I must have been . . . reacting to certain circs  8)

No, I do not at all believe that the Elgar qualifies.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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Offline NikF

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Re: The Worst First!
« Reply #316 on: March 29, 2018, 09:32:09 AM »
I'm not voting for Prokofiev's first, however, to my (relatively uneducated) ear it has often sounded something of a catch-all; less of a nod and perhaps more of an appeasement of what came before. That's not to say I haven't enjoyed fine, lively performances (especially in a concert setting) where it has almost served as an aperitif for what follows on the programme.
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Re: The Worst First!
« Reply #317 on: March 29, 2018, 09:57:43 AM »
Prokofiev's first may be a trifle, but it is not bad by any means. That's what he meant.

I saw Brahms 1st mentioned. That seems too silly to reply to. Clearly just a provocation. I also saw Schumann 1. Except, IIRC, Schumann 4 was written before Schumann 1. I like both a lot.

Shostakovich 1st. I'm sure it's bad, I've never heard it. I've never gotten it on an individual disc and the notes of every Shostakovich cycle I have warn me off it. Must be really bad. :)

If we ever nominate a thread for worst last symphony, I nominate Nielsen.

Offline Mahlerian

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Re: The Worst First!
« Reply #318 on: March 29, 2018, 10:17:09 AM »
I also saw Schumann 1. Except, IIRC, Schumann 4 was written before Schumann 1. I like both a lot.

The original version of Schumann's Fourth was written after the First but before the Second or Third.  There was an abandoned G minor symphony, though, that predates any of the others and isn't nearly as distinctive.  He only completed two movements of it.

Shostakovich 1st. I'm sure it's bad, I've never heard it. I've never gotten it on an individual disc and the notes of every Shostakovich cycle I have warn me off it. Must be really bad. :)

I think the first two movements of the symphony are actually quite fine, especially for a student work, but the latter two are weaker.
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Offline DaveF

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Re: The Worst First!
« Reply #319 on: March 29, 2018, 01:44:27 PM »
If we ever nominate a thread for worst last symphony, I nominate Nielsen.

Go on, start one - that opinion will provoke lots of interesting discussion!

For a rather poor "first", Tippett's symphony "no.0" in B flat, which was broadcast on the BBC recently and is I believe going to be included in Brabbins' ongoing cycle, sounded very tentative, unmemorable and confused, as well as being totally un-Tippettlike,
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