Author Topic: Unpopular Opinions  (Read 281422 times)

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Offline amw

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2060 on: June 26, 2017, 09:46:21 AM »
I tend to view Beethoven as a kind of ending for the Classical period. Several of his more chromatic works I tend to think are even more closely linked to what was going on in the latter half of the 18th century than they are to the music of Brahms, Liszt, Chopin, Wagner or any other composer whose music epitomises the later stylistic features in composition in the 19th century.
Beethoven is 100% a Classical composer in our modern division of the styles (confusingly, Beethoven, Mozart and Haydn were considered "romantics" in their time compared to the "classics" like CPE Bach, and Bach himself was considered a "romantic" in his own time as opposed to the "classicism" of his father JS... "baroque" was still an insult!)

He was completely unsympathetic to the new stylistic developments of about 1800 spearheaded by Rossini and Weber, decrying the empty melody-and-accompaniment textures and special orchestral effects (which he stole himself for Fidelio but never mind), believing the open-ended forms to be confusing, and considering the chromaticism to sap all pleasure in the music. Although he had a creative crisis at or about 1816 and wrote some works experimenting with Romantic ideas of cyclical form and dispensing with traditional layouts—An die ferne Geliebte, the piano sonata Op. 101 and the cello sonatas Op. 102—his later works, from the invigorating final fugue of Op. 102/2 and the Hammerklavier in particular, are more of a retrenchment in the Classical ideals of Mozart and Haydn combined with the compositional rigour of JS Bach and Handel, whom he revered. His late works were misunderstood not because they were too Romantic, but because they were too backward-looking: fugues, minuets, Bachian adagios played very slowly, all of the dissonances resulting from contrapuntal clashes instead of chromatic alterations for expressive effect. In Beethoven's time counterpoint was taught first and harmony later—around 1800 this was reversed, harmony being taught first and therefore being more instrumental in shaping the musical styles of the next generation, which were largely harmony-based. This change may have actually been instrumental in creating Romanticism.

Offline Mahlerian

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2061 on: June 26, 2017, 10:12:41 AM »
Medieval music is as good as the music of any other period. Granted, technically was not as developed as the music from later periods... but, in spirit, is equally profound... if not more... I'll take it any time over the too much hyped late romanticism!  :)

Ranking eras or styles seems pointless to me.  Of course Medieval music can be more profound than Late Romantic music.  It all depends on what one's looking for and what exemplars of each are chosen.

Incidentally, hi, I don't think we've had any discussions lately.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2017, 10:15:20 AM by Mahlerian »
"l do not consider my music as atonal, but rather as non-tonal. I feel the unity of all keys. Atonal music by modern composers admits of no key at all, no feeling of any definite center." - Arnold Schoenberg

Parsifal

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2062 on: June 26, 2017, 10:24:03 AM »
Beethoven is 100% a Classical composer in our modern division of the styles ...

I also find that thinking of Beethoven as the ultimate classicist has more resonance than thinking of him as being in the vanguard of romanticism. The expansion of the musical language that he made was not associated with the increasing chromaticism of romantic harmony, but the use of contrapuntal and functional harmonic dissonance with ever more severity.

I imagine a time traveling Mozart hearing romantic music and thinking, "have they lost their minds?" but hearing late Beethoven and thinking, "how does he think he will get away with that?"

Offline amw

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2063 on: June 26, 2017, 10:39:03 AM »
I believe Haydn's only problem with the Eroica Symphony was that it was too loud. Otherwise, he was—apocryphally—fully supportive and thought that was the future of music, and it was time for him to step aside. His respect for the opera composers who prefigured Rossini and Weber, however (e.g. Paisiello, Cimarosa) seemed to be minimal.

bwv 1080

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2064 on: June 26, 2017, 10:57:25 AM »
Medieval music is as good as the music of any other period. Granted, technically was not as developed as the music from later periods... but, in spirit, is equally profound... if not more... I'll take it any time over the too much hyped late romanticism!  :)

The rhythmic complexity of the Ars Subtilior was not exceeded until the 20th century

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2065 on: June 26, 2017, 11:05:45 AM »
Beethoven is 100% a Classical composer in our modern division of the styles (confusingly, Beethoven, Mozart and Haydn were considered "romantics" in their time compared to the "classics" like CPE Bach, and Bach himself was considered a "romantic" in his own time as opposed to the "classicism" of his father JS... "baroque" was still an insult!)

He was completely unsympathetic to the new stylistic developments of about 1800 spearheaded by Rossini and Weber, decrying the empty melody-and-accompaniment textures and special orchestral effects (which he stole himself for Fidelio but never mind), believing the open-ended forms to be confusing, and considering the chromaticism to sap all pleasure in the music. Although he had a creative crisis at or about 1816 and wrote some works experimenting with Romantic ideas of cyclical form and dispensing with traditional layouts—An die ferne Geliebte, the piano sonata Op. 101 and the cello sonatas Op. 102—his later works, from the invigorating final fugue of Op. 102/2 and the Hammerklavier in particular, are more of a retrenchment in the Classical ideals of Mozart and Haydn combined with the compositional rigour of JS Bach and Handel, whom he revered. His late works were misunderstood not because they were too Romantic, but because they were too backward-looking: fugues, minuets, Bachian adagios played very slowly, all of the dissonances resulting from contrapuntal clashes instead of chromatic alterations for expressive effect. In Beethoven's time counterpoint was taught first and harmony later—around 1800 this was reversed, harmony being taught first and therefore being more instrumental in shaping the musical styles of the next generation, which were largely harmony-based. This change may have actually been instrumental in creating Romanticism.

Amen.

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bwv 1080

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2066 on: June 26, 2017, 11:18:21 AM »
I tend to view Beethoven as a kind of ending for the Classical period. Several of his more chromatic works I tend to think are even more closely linked to what was going on in the latter half of the 18th century than they are to the music of Brahms, Liszt, Chopin, Wagner or any other composer whose music epitomises the later stylistic features in composition in the 19th century.

I agree, but not an unpopular opinion, although much of the confusion IMO stems from the overlap of Beethoven with the broader Romantic movement in the arts.  But musical romanticism really should be tied to the dissolution of the Sonata form and tonic-dominant polarity

 so by this Beethoven is classical and so is Schubert

Parsifal

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2067 on: June 26, 2017, 11:47:09 AM »
so by this Beethoven is classical and so is Schubert

No disagreement there, regarding the structure of the music.

Online Mandryka

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2068 on: June 26, 2017, 11:48:27 AM »
Beethoven is 100% a Classical composer in our modern division of the styles (confusingly, Beethoven, Mozart and Haydn were considered "romantics" in their time compared to the "classics" like CPE Bach, and Bach himself was considered a "romantic" in his own time as opposed to the "classicism" of his father JS... "baroque" was still an insult!)

He was completely unsympathetic to the new stylistic developments of about 1800 spearheaded by Rossini and Weber, decrying the empty melody-and-accompaniment textures and special orchestral effects (which he stole himself for Fidelio but never mind), believing the open-ended forms to be confusing, and considering the chromaticism to sap all pleasure in the music. Although he had a creative crisis at or about 1816 and wrote some works experimenting with Romantic ideas of cyclical form and dispensing with traditional layouts—An die ferne Geliebte, the piano sonata Op. 101 and the cello sonatas Op. 102—his later works, from the invigorating final fugue of Op. 102/2 and the Hammerklavier in particular, are more of a retrenchment in the Classical ideals of Mozart and Haydn combined with the compositional rigour of JS Bach and Handel, whom he revered. His late works were misunderstood not because they were too Romantic, but because they were too backward-looking: fugues, minuets, Bachian adagios played very slowly, all of the dissonances resulting from contrapuntal clashes instead of chromatic alterations for expressive effect. In Beethoven's time counterpoint was taught first and harmony later—around 1800 this was reversed, harmony being taught first and therefore being more instrumental in shaping the musical styles of the next generation, which were largely harmony-based. This change may have actually been instrumental in creating Romanticism.

I also find that thinking of Beethoven as the ultimate classicist has more resonance than thinking of him as being in the vanguard of romanticism. The expansion of the musical language that he made was not associated with the increasing chromaticism of romantic harmony, but the use of contrapuntal and functional harmonic dissonance with ever more severity.

I imagine a time traveling Mozart hearing romantic music and thinking, "have they lost their minds?" but hearing late Beethoven and thinking, "how does he think he will get away with that?"

It sounds like you're saying that the way the counterpoint works in Beethoven's later music, it's like Bach at his most backward looking (massive dissonances resulting from voices in fugues clashing) and before. There are plenty of fugues in Beethoven's earlier music, is it true that the harmonies in them are more constrained (more like Händel and Mozart than Bach perhaps) ? It sounds true, but I've never explored the question.

What I find really interesting is the idea that Beethoven looked back, way back, in the final period. It makes me think of something I've heard several times but never seen substantiated - that the Missa Solemnis is somehow (?) inspired by Palestrina.

And then we have op 135
« Last Edit: June 26, 2017, 12:18:01 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline Madiel

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2069 on: June 26, 2017, 11:49:46 AM »
You certainly have cultivated the typical discussion board psychosis to a tee. Wagner did not 'impose his views' on the music world. Maybe he would have wanted to, but he had no such power. He simply wrote his music (accompanied by some ill-considered tracts) and sent it out into the world. To the extent that subsequent composers were influenced by his work is on them, not Wagner.

He didn't simply send his music out into the world. He also wrote appalling racist hatchet jobs about composers he didn't like.

Some composers tried to avoid the politics of music, but Wagner was definitely not one of them.
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Offline Madiel

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2070 on: June 26, 2017, 11:53:57 AM »
As to Wagnerian literary works: I know one deliberately Wagnerian set of novels, The Gap by Stephen Donaldson. I like it a lot more than I like Wagner.
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Parsifal

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2071 on: June 26, 2017, 12:05:39 PM »
He didn't simply send his music out into the world. He also wrote appalling racist hatchet jobs about composers he didn't like.

Some composers tried to avoid the politics of music, but Wagner was definitely not one of them.

Maybe he wanted to impose his views on the world, but he had no such power, fortunately. To the extent that his aesthetic prevailed, it was the music, not the vile texts, that did it.

Offline Madiel

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2072 on: June 26, 2017, 12:10:54 PM »
Maybe he wanted to impose his views on the world, but he had no such power, fortunately. To the extent that his aesthetic prevailed, it was the music, not the vile texts, that did it.

You're basically trying to argue that propaganda has no effect. Given the enduring popularity of generating propaganda, I'm sceptical.
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ComposerOfAvantGarde

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2073 on: June 26, 2017, 12:38:06 PM »
Medieval music is as good as the music of any other period. Granted, technically was not as developed as the music from later periods... but, in spirit, is equally profound... if not more... I'll take it any time over the too much hyped late romanticism!  :)
There's a lot of Late Romanticism that doesn't get any hype at all, relative to composers like Perotin and Hildegard of Bingen.

ComposerOfAvantGarde

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2074 on: June 26, 2017, 12:43:01 PM »
Beethoven is 100% a Classical composer in our modern division of the styles (confusingly, Beethoven, Mozart and Haydn were considered "romantics" in their time compared to the "classics" like CPE Bach, and Bach himself was considered a "romantic" in his own time as opposed to the "classicism" of his father JS... "baroque" was still an insult!)

He was completely unsympathetic to the new stylistic developments of about 1800 spearheaded by Rossini and Weber, decrying the empty melody-and-accompaniment textures and special orchestral effects (which he stole himself for Fidelio but never mind), believing the open-ended forms to be confusing, and considering the chromaticism to sap all pleasure in the music. Although he had a creative crisis at or about 1816 and wrote some works experimenting with Romantic ideas of cyclical form and dispensing with traditional layouts—An die ferne Geliebte, the piano sonata Op. 101 and the cello sonatas Op. 102—his later works, from the invigorating final fugue of Op. 102/2 and the Hammerklavier in particular, are more of a retrenchment in the Classical ideals of Mozart and Haydn combined with the compositional rigour of JS Bach and Handel, whom he revered. His late works were misunderstood not because they were too Romantic, but because they were too backward-looking: fugues, minuets, Bachian adagios played very slowly, all of the dissonances resulting from contrapuntal clashes instead of chromatic alterations for expressive effect. In Beethoven's time counterpoint was taught first and harmony later—around 1800 this was reversed, harmony being taught first and therefore being more instrumental in shaping the musical styles of the next generation, which were largely harmony-based. This change may have actually been instrumental in creating Romanticism.

Ha, yes, completely confirms my suspicions! Thank you for such an informative post. ;D

Offline aleazk

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2075 on: June 26, 2017, 05:35:45 PM »
It seems my opinion about late romanticism is quite unpopular... well, mission accomplished as per the thread premise  >:D

But, also, I  was just being  'provocative'... I love Brahms, particularly his late solo piano and chamber music... I find his symphonies and piano concertos a bit meh and dry, to be honest... I also like Mahler...

The composers I don't like are Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff... I admire the latter's skill, even his harmony is almost modernist sometimes... but I can't stand their exaggerated, to me, emotionality... tends to sound acted, fake, to me... emotions have to be natural, intrinsic, subtle, they just flow, like in Brahms' piano and clarinet sonatas... of course, others may perceive that the emotions in those composers are just fine... well, live and let live...

As for Wagner, I respect his place and importance in music history... I also like some of his music... but I don't really care about all the teutonic, norse, etc., stuff... also the dramas about gods, heroes... meh
« Last Edit: June 26, 2017, 05:44:40 PM by aleazk »

Offline aleazk

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2076 on: June 26, 2017, 05:42:25 PM »
The rhythmic complexity of the Ars Subtilior was not exceeded until the 20th century

I knew this was going to be mentioned... and... you are, of course, right... but you will agree that Ars Subtilior was a very particular movement at the very end of the middle ages... my comment was referring more to the standard repertoire in medieval music.

On the other hand, as everything in the middle ages, the theory behind the music was highly rationalized and systematic...

ComposerOfAvantGarde

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2077 on: June 26, 2017, 07:24:01 PM »

As for Wagner, I respect his place and importance in music history... I also like some of his music... but I don't really care about all the teutonic, norse, etc., stuff... also the dramas about gods, heroes... meh


They're not *about* gods and heroes :P

ComposerOfAvantGarde

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2078 on: June 26, 2017, 07:29:11 PM »
Aleazk you have mentioned your disdain for Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky, but you have never told me what you think of Schreker

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Parsifal

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2079 on: June 26, 2017, 09:43:58 PM »
You're basically trying to argue that propaganda has no effect. Given the enduring popularity of generating propaganda, I'm sceptical.

Propaganda is manipulative literature published by a government or institution to further its goals. Propaganda can be very effective. Wagner pamphlets do not meet the definition.