Author Topic: Unpopular Opinions  (Read 299232 times)

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Offline Florestan

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2680 on: October 26, 2020, 08:21:12 AM »
Present-day people also find it harder to relate strong emotions and mental images to the music of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven et al because it is more distant from our time in all respects—aesthetically, socially, politically, hermeneutically.

I suppose you exclude yourself from "present-day people" because afaik, and please correct me if I'm wrong, your soulmate composer is Mozart and you have extensive knowledge of Beethoven's piano sonatas including their aesthetic and hermeneutical aspects.


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Offline Brian

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2681 on: October 26, 2020, 10:54:05 AM »
I suppose you exclude yourself from "present-day people"
Why do you suppose that? Just because it is harder for present-day people, doesn't mean it's impossible. Just because it's rarer, doesn't mean it's non-existent, either.  :)

Offline Jo498

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2682 on: October 26, 2020, 11:12:02 AM »
Oh, also worth adding that the increasing difficulty of getting today's listeners into 300+ year old music is a big part of why the HIP movement is so ADD-sounding sometimes with the huge contrasts and wild tempos. Imho.
This could be the case. However, many people were quite fond of Vivaldi in sleek and straightforward Musici/Marriner style for about 30-40  years ca. 1950s-80s and German Lutheran cantors did Schütz with their choirs in the early 20th century. Even Brahms was familiar with Schütz, Palestrina was sung (and "imitated") all over the 19th century. Simillarly with the British choral traditions, I'd think. And there is Gregorian chant... Admittedly for such devotional/liturgical different appreciation criteria might be applied by most listeners.
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Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2683 on: October 28, 2020, 12:14:23 PM »
Oh, also worth adding that the increasing difficulty of getting today's listeners into 300+ year old music is a big part of why the HIP movement is so ADD-sounding sometimes with the huge contrasts and wild tempos. Imho. Even outside of HIP, we have the example of Manfred Honeck adding new dissonance to Beethoven's Third Symphony explicitly to replicate for us today the shock people must have felt back then at dissonances which now sound totally normal!

The paradox of the HIP movement is that it seeks to make music sound really new by making it sound really old.

I don't think it's just a matter of chronology. Some of this 300+ year old music actually sounds quite modern if you don't soften its edges. Whereas someone like LvB is already so familiar that he can't really shock us anymore.
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Offline Florestan

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2684 on: October 29, 2020, 02:16:35 AM »
The paradox of the HIP movement is that it seeks to make music sound really new by making it sound really old.

I don't think it's just a matter of chronology. Some of this 300+ year old music actually sounds quite modern if you don't soften its edges. Whereas someone like LvB is already so familiar that he can't really shock us anymore.

Why should good music always be about novelty and shock?
“Especially as far as I am concerned, romanticism is not the bloodless intellectual commitment to a program, but the expression of my most profound mind and soul.” --- Sergei Bortkiewicz (1877-1952)

Offline Jo498

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2685 on: October 29, 2020, 02:34:46 AM »
Actually, there are claims both from musicologists and naive listeners that HIP is making  the old music sound modern by assimilating it to modern music.
Richard Taruskin claimed that some of the earlier HIP (and it seems partly more true of Proto-HIP like Marriner) play Bach like neoclassical Stravinsky was supposed to be played, i.e. metronomically, fast, "dry" and lean. Whereas Furtwängler oder Casals played Bach similarly to the way they played Brahms. (It's not quite true, I don't have a good example for Bach, but e.g. Furtwängler's recording of Haydn's symphony #88 is in no way as wayward and "romantic" as some of his Beethoven or Brahms). Sure, this was never true of someone like Harnoncourt or Savall and is not true anymore of many of the more recent ones like Jacobs, Minkowski etc. who use exaggerated rubato etc.
And I have heard older listeners who grew up with I musici etc. in the 60s claim that the more recent HIPsters (like Giardino Armonico) made Vivaldi or Mozart sound like "rock music" (obviously this is also an exaggeration but it seems a serious personal impression).
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline Brian

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2686 on: October 29, 2020, 06:21:56 AM »
Why should good music always be about novelty and shock?
He didn't say that.

EDIT: Just so you know - it is a subtle thing - in English, "novelty" generally has a negative connotation; it usually refers to a new thing that, once it becomes an old thing, is not interesting any more. So like, putting edible gold on food or having the orchestra members scream in the middle of the music might be a "novelty." :)

Offline Florestan

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2687 on: October 29, 2020, 08:25:27 AM »
He didn't say that.

I know. My question was rhetorical but I positioned it clumsily as a reply to ATA's post.

Quote
EDIT: Just so you know - it is a subtle thing - in English, "novelty" generally has a negative connotation; it usually refers to a new thing that, once it becomes an old thing, is not interesting any more. So like, putting edible gold on food or having the orchestra members scream in the middle of the music might be a "novelty." :)

I see. Thanks for the info, good to know in the future. I really thought that "novelty" can be applied to anything new, good or bad alike,
“Especially as far as I am concerned, romanticism is not the bloodless intellectual commitment to a program, but the expression of my most profound mind and soul.” --- Sergei Bortkiewicz (1877-1952)

Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2688 on: October 29, 2020, 08:44:10 AM »

I see. Thanks for the info, good to know in the future. I really thought that "novelty" can be applied to anything new, good or bad alike,

Actually, I agree with you. It could go either way. Example: in patent law, "novelty" is a necessary element in granting a patent:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novelty_(patent)
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Offline Madiel

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2689 on: October 30, 2020, 04:20:25 AM »
Also agreed. Whether or not "novelty" has a negative connotation depends a lot on context. And usage might well vary in different parts of the English-speaking world.

I'm sure all languages are crazy. I'm currently acutely aware of some of the craziness of my own language, partly because of a podcast I listen to on the history of English which is up to the part where we completely and utterly ruined spelling even more than we had in previous centuries. The Great Vowel Shift has a lot to answer for there.
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Offline Jo498

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2690 on: October 30, 2020, 07:14:05 AM »
Yes, before the changes the sound of English was much closer to low german or dutch in many ways (and much closer to the way it was spelled). My frequently stated unpopular opinion is that English and French are very badly suited as linguae francae but unfortunately have been the most important ones in the last 200 years. Both for their nightmarish spelling/pronunciation, English also for the huge vocab drawing from so many sources (it has often three words when German has one, e.g. sky, heaven, celestial) and French also for being generally insufferable ;)
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2691 on: October 30, 2020, 07:28:48 AM »
Yes, before the changes the sound of English was much closer to low german or dutch in many ways (and much closer to the way it was spelled). My frequently stated unpopular opinion is that English and French are very badly suited as linguae francae but unfortunately have been the most important ones in the last 200 years. Both for their nightmarish spelling/pronunciation, English also for the huge vocab drawing from so many sources (it has often three words when German has one, e.g. sky, heaven, celestial) and French also for being generally insufferable ;)

The spelling/pronunciation thing though is really the only difficult thing about English. Compared to any other European language, the grammar is very easy (no cases, no genders, very few irregular plurals, very simple verb conjugations, only one way to say "you").

It's true there are an awful lot of words, but you don't need most of them for everyday communication.
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Offline Florestan

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2692 on: October 30, 2020, 07:54:03 AM »
English and French are very badly suited as linguae francae but unfortunately have been the most important ones in the last 200 years.

I agree with that.

Quote
Both for their nightmarish spelling/pronunciation,

And with that.

Quote
English also for the huge vocab drawing from so many sources (it has often three words when German has one, e.g. sky, heaven, celestial) and French also for being generally insufferable ;)

I disagree with that.

Celestial is not the same as sky or heaven, if only because it's an adjective while the latter are nouns. It's not even synonymous with heavenly because you can't say "This is celestial music" instead of "This is heavenly music" --- the nuances are different.

French is more melodious than English to my ears.
“Especially as far as I am concerned, romanticism is not the bloodless intellectual commitment to a program, but the expression of my most profound mind and soul.” --- Sergei Bortkiewicz (1877-1952)

Offline Florestan

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2693 on: October 30, 2020, 07:54:36 AM »
The spelling/pronunciation thing though is really the only difficult thing about English. Compared to any other European language, the grammar is very easy (no cases, no genders, very few irregular plurals, very simple verb conjugations, only one way to say "you").

It's true there are an awful lot of words, but you don't need most of them for everyday communication.

Yes to all of the above.
“Especially as far as I am concerned, romanticism is not the bloodless intellectual commitment to a program, but the expression of my most profound mind and soul.” --- Sergei Bortkiewicz (1877-1952)

Offline Jo498

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2694 on: October 30, 2020, 08:37:01 AM »
Sure, celestrial is an adjective but in German French it would be only ciel/celeste and in German Himmel/himmlisch, so clearly with a common root, not three different sources (Norse, Anglosaxon, French/Latin). Or skin, hide, peal, there are tons of examples and the one above might not have been the best.
The English grammar is not that simple. It's true that there are not many irregular verbs or verbal forms like in most other languages but as far as actually used tenses go, German is even simpler (it lacks progressive and while it has all the other tenses, all but two are rarely used in colloquial speech although one would need passive knowledge of them for reading a newspaper). There are many advanced subtleties in English; it has been said that unlike French English becomes harder the more one advances (I never got sufficiently far in French to judge this myself.)
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline Florestan

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2695 on: October 30, 2020, 08:42:47 AM »
Sure, celestrial is an adjective but in German French it would be only ciel/celeste and in German Himmel/himmlisch, so clearly with a common root, not three different sources (Norse, Anglosaxon, French/Latin). Or skin, hide, peal, there are tons of examples and the one above might not have been the best.
The English grammar is not that simple. It's true that there are not many irregular verbs or verbal forms like in most other languages but as far as actually used tenses go, German is even simpler (it lacks progressive and while it has all the other tenses, all but two are rarely used in colloquial speech although one would need passive knowledge of them for reading a newspaper). There are many advanced subtleties in English; it has been said that unlike French English becomes harder the more one advances (I never got sufficiently far in French to judge this myself.)

You are the only person I've met until now who claims that German grammar is simpler than the English one, and you might very well remain the one and only.  :D
“Especially as far as I am concerned, romanticism is not the bloodless intellectual commitment to a program, but the expression of my most profound mind and soul.” --- Sergei Bortkiewicz (1877-1952)

Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2696 on: October 30, 2020, 08:53:49 AM »
French is more melodious than English to my ears.

This really depends on dialect or accent. Few things are more melodious than certain Irish or Scottish accents.

You are the only person I've met until now who claims that German grammar is simpler than the English one, and you might very well remain the one and only.  :D

Ain't it the truth. Germanic speakers (not just Germans but Dutch, Swedes etc.) have told me English is very easy for them to learn, because it's basically simplified German, though with a ton of Romance vocabulary thrown into the mix.

German has the great advantage of deriving almost its entire basic word stock from its ancestral Germanic roots, which makes it easy to figure out the meaning of words you've never seen before. Example: Waffenstillstand = "weapons standing still" = "armistice," a word that has to be explained to English speakers ("Mom, what does 'armistice' mean?"). However, its grammar is needlessly complex.
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Offline Florestan

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2697 on: October 30, 2020, 08:59:12 AM »
This really depends on dialect or accent. Few things are more melodious than certain Irish or Scottish accents.

I said that to my ears French is more melodious than English. Irish or Scottish are not English though, right?  ;)

And among those few things there is French.  ;D


“Especially as far as I am concerned, romanticism is not the bloodless intellectual commitment to a program, but the expression of my most profound mind and soul.” --- Sergei Bortkiewicz (1877-1952)

Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2698 on: October 30, 2020, 09:23:02 AM »
Irish or Scottish are not English though, right?  ;)

They are English speakers (most of the time, anyway).
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Offline Florestan

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2699 on: October 30, 2020, 09:29:19 AM »
They are English speakers (most of the time, anyway).

I was referring to the languages. Irish is not in the same family as English; Scottish is, but it's a language of its own, not an English dialect.
“Especially as far as I am concerned, romanticism is not the bloodless intellectual commitment to a program, but the expression of my most profound mind and soul.” --- Sergei Bortkiewicz (1877-1952)