Author Topic: Alma Deutscher: A 21st-Century Mozart?  (Read 7031 times)

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Offline Cato

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Alma Deutscher: A 21st-Century Mozart?
« on: October 05, 2013, 04:00:34 AM »
From the Wall Street Journal:
Quote
Before she was 2, Alma Deutscher was singing with perfect pitch. At three, she'd moved on to the violin. Now, at 8, she has her own CD of works she composed, drawing, apparently unwanted, comparisons to Mozart...

... the wunderkind... doesn't like being called "Little Miss Mozart" because "for one thing I'm not little, I'm a very big girl, and for another thing I don't want to write what he wrote. It would be boring if I did the same thing!"

...Alma, who lives in Surrey, England, says the melodies "pour into her head" while she's swinging or skipping rope. Then she plays them for her father, Guy Deutscher, a linguist and amateur flutist, who records them.

She says she gets her inspiration from an imaginary country called Transylvanian. "I made up my own land with its own language and there are beautiful composers there, named Antonin Yellowsink and Ashy and Shell and Flara," she says....


 



See:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304176904579111624086464800.html



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Offline Cato

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Re: Alma Deutscher: A 21st-Century Mozart?
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2013, 04:04:30 AM »
And I don't know about you, but I am really intrigued about the music of Antonin Yellowsink!   ;)
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Offline ChamberNut

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Re: Alma Deutscher: A 21st-Century Mozart?
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2013, 04:09:42 AM »
Just in:  A new novel by Robert Newman chronicling the conspiracy theory surrounding Alma Deutscher.

Available free of charge!  ;D
Location:  Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Offline Rinaldo

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Re: Alma Deutscher: A 21st-Century Mozart?
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2013, 04:33:03 AM »
No identity .. about as fascinating as a clone or savant player .. perhaps a great short term feeling for some folks but you aren't left with any kind of lasting epiphanies or real substance.

I wonder if this was the reaction to Mozart.

Not saying she's on that path, obviously. Cute kid, though. Let's see where she ends up when they stop shielding her from the Second Viennese School >:D

Offline Cato

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Re: Alma Deutscher: A 21st-Century Mozart?
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2013, 04:36:37 AM »
Just in:  A new novel by Robert Newman chronicling the conspiracy theory surrounding Alma Deutscher.

Available free of charge!  ;D

Sounds like an all-around fave!

No identity .. about as fascinating as a clone or savant player .. perhaps a great short term feeling for some folks but you aren't left with any kind of lasting epiphanies or real substance.

So you have heard her pieces on this CD?  Of whom would she be a clone musically?

I wonder if this was the reaction to Mozart.

Not saying she's on that path, obviously. Cute kid, though. Let's see where she ends up when they stop shielding her from the Second Viennese School >:D

That is precisely what I am wondering!  To paraphrase a movie line: "If she only knew the POWER of Schoenberg!!!"
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Offline Brian

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Re: Alma Deutscher: A 21st-Century Mozart?
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2013, 05:58:01 AM »
I listened to the clips .. and I said she is about as fascinating as a clone or savant player. It is derivative of earlier music and is a culmination and mimick of what she has heard in her brief lifespan. Bottomline, is she has no identity (how can she really at this age) .. and sounds incredibly dated. They shouldn't have put this out for public listening .. they are jumping the gun & trying to cash in early on her potential .. she has to grow, learn more and develop into her own being.

Dude, she's EIGHT. Imagine what a few years at a conservatory will do.

Also, sound clip #2 contains some harmonies that Mozart wouldn't have dared attempt...

Offline jochanaan

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Re: Alma Deutscher: A 21st-Century Mozart?
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2013, 04:36:13 PM »
Comparisons to Mozart are inevitable, given her age, talent and the style of this movement: Quartet movement in A major.  It will be interesting to watch, or rather hear, her artistic development.  I can only pray that her father/mentor has more wisdom than Mozart's and Beethoven's fathers did.
Imagination + discipline = creativity

Offline Cato

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Re: Alma Deutscher: A 21st-Century Mozart?
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2013, 03:34:32 AM »
Comparisons to Mozart are inevitable, given her age, talent and the style of this movement: Quartet movement in A major.  It will be interesting to watch, or rather hear, her artistic development.  I can only pray that her father/mentor has more wisdom than Mozart's and Beethoven's fathers did.

Amen!  So many child prodigies end up burned out, or no better than other talented people whose abilities developed more slowly over time.

And what of Jay Greenberg, now 21 years old?

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/XkKi60kMu2A" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/XkKi60kMu2A</a>
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Offline mszczuj

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Re: Alma Deutscher: A 21st-Century Mozart?
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2013, 10:17:05 PM »
I can only pray that her father/mentor has more wisdom than Mozart's and Beethoven's fathers did.

I'm really non convnced that I would prefer Mozart's and Beethoven's fathers had more wisdom. It would be not my world without music of their children.

Offline CRCulver

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Re: Alma Deutscher: A 21st-Century Mozart?
« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2013, 01:46:07 AM »
I’ve long known Guy Deutscher as a publicity whore. That he is now pimping his own daughter is revolting.

Offline amw

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Re: Alma Deutscher: A 21st-Century Mozart?
« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2013, 02:18:29 AM »
Heh, I remember when I used to make up imaginary composers from imaginary countries, and jot down the titles and incipits of their pieces on random scraps of music paper.

Actually, I still do that. Maybe that's not a good sign. XD

(In fairness, I've never come up with anything as creative as "Antonin Yellowsink". No wonder I didn't get a WSJ article.)

Offline Cato

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Re: Alma Deutscher: A 21st-Century Mozart? Now Age 15
« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2020, 03:37:34 PM »
Nearly seven years ago  ???   :o  I started this topic with an article from The Wall Street Journal about 8-year old Wunderkind Alma Deutscher.

On Saturday the same newspaper carried a follow-up interview with the 15-year old Alma Deutscher by journalist Barton Swaim, who gives his interview with the young musician the title "A Girl Makes Music Without Irony or Ugliness," which to me sounds like he wants to start a brawling brouhaha about The Emancipation of the Dissonance...and he does!


Quote



Something terrible happened to classical music during the 20th century, and especially after 1945. You may be called a reactionary or a nostalgist if you acknowledge this fact aloud, but every concertgoer knows it. Many individual composers continued writing works of enduring value, but the great preponderance of classical music written over the past 75 years is deliberately opaque and aggressively ugly.

The causes are many and complex: the abiding influence of atonal music from earlier in the century, the obsession with originality and shock value, the gradual transformation of classical music into a faux-scientific academic discipline. But the overall incoherence is undeniable. Every fan of classical music knows the feeling of seeing a contemporary composer on the program and inwardly despairing.

Some recent composers have resisted the tendency to equate serious with dissonant or difficult—Arvo Pärt in Estonia, the late Dominick Argento in America. But none have done so in quite the guileless manner of English composer Alma Deutscher. She writes music that people want to hear: orchestral and chamber works that ordinary listeners—those who aren’t invested in the “serious” music industry—actually like....

...That she has studied the old masters is plainly true. You will know it if you’re passably familiar with classical music from the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries and listen to Miss Deutscher’s orchestral works without knowing who wrote them. Her music doesn’t “sound like” any one composer but bears the marks of many—Mendelssohn and Mozart, for sure, but also Bach, Georges Bizet and Richard Strauss.

That, for the cultural elite of Europe and North America, is the problem. Nobody wants to go on record criticizing a child, but Miss Deutscher is not embraced by the music world’s influencers. Their usually off-the-record complaint has two parts. First, that is she is one more child prodigy of the kind we see come and go all the time—exploited by the music industry and a public eager for emotionally shallow works of imitation art....

...The second, more serious criticism of Miss Deutscher is that as a composer she is a mere savant—capable of producing ersatz versions of the canonical works of Western music but in no way saying anything new or original or interesting.

The first thing to say about this is that she is 15. Mozart’s and Mendelssohn’s compositions from their childhood years don’t compare favorably with their mature works. But Miss Deutscher’s urbane critics don’t fault her for a lack of technical sophistication. They dislike her music for the same reason audiences love it. They object to its traditional tonality, its straightforward emotional appeal, its refusal to acknowledge the repugnance of human life.

Miss Deutscher is keenly aware of this criticism, and at Carnegie Hall she addressed it straightforwardly. Before the evening’s final work, she spoke from the stage. “Now, I’ve always wanted to write beautiful music,” she told the audience, “music that comes out of the heart and speaks directly to the heart. But some people have told me that nowadays, melodies and beautiful harmonies are no longer acceptable in serious classical music, because, in the 21st century, music must reflect the ugliness of the modern world.” You could hear people in the audience laughing with her. The rubes! “Well,” she went on, “in this waltz, instead of trying to make my music artificially ugly in order to reflect the modern world, I went in exactly the opposite direction.”

In the piece, “Siren Sounds Waltz*,” the music moves from the dissonant sounds of Vienna’s city center, with its noise and ambulance sirens, to a buoyant big-hearted waltz in which the “sirens” are made to sound like Homer’s rather than Vienna’s....

 

*

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/W0xMpLXQNvM" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/W0xMpLXQNvM</a>


The Violin Concerto and the Piano Concerto are available on YouTube. 

As a composer of sorts, whose music does not shy away from dissonance, I find Mr. Swaim's use of Alma Deutscher's music as a hammer to crack the Anvil of Arnold, Igor, and many others rather artificial.  I am reminded of a friend from high school, who was a gifted church organist at age 14, for whom music had peaked with Schumann and the French Romantics (e.g. Charles-Marie Widor, Alexandre Guilmant, etc.) and who rejected the later Romantics pushing the system into unknown and also more dissonant territory.  He refused to listen to Bruckner, Mahler, Schoenberg, Scriabin, and definitely refused to accept later composers (e.g. Hartmann, Ives, Prokofiev).

For some people, the following will always be preferable to e.g. Hartmann's Sixth Symphony


<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/eTumH8bhghA" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/eTumH8bhghA</a>


<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/g9Ku2e5U1j8" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/g9Ku2e5U1j8</a>



For the entire article:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-girl-makes-music-without-irony-or-ugliness-11584130360?mod=opinion_major_pos7&mod=videorelated
« Last Edit: March 16, 2020, 03:40:18 PM by Cato »
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Offline (: premont :)

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Re: Alma Deutscher: A 21st-Century Mozart?
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2020, 04:13:56 PM »
I have been rather impressed by her violin and piano playing, given her age:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-bIaJC_uvY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epshAHNiY9Q
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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Alma Deutscher: A 21st-Century Mozart?
« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2020, 04:19:51 PM »
I have been rather impressed by her violin and piano playing, given her age:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-bIaJC_uvY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epshAHNiY9Q

Indeed, I am not going to let the reactionary critic detract from appreciation of the youngster's talent.
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Offline relm1

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Re: Alma Deutscher: A 21st-Century Mozart?
« Reply #14 on: March 16, 2020, 04:33:36 PM »
Worth reading.  Much of her fame is due to her father's bizarre psycho obsessions and control.  Also, having gone to graduate school in composition, prodigies are not that rare. 

https://blogs.nmz.de/badblog/2019/12/11/dealing-with-guy-deutscher/
« Last Edit: March 16, 2020, 04:36:03 PM by relm1 »

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Alma Deutscher: A 21st-Century Mozart?
« Reply #15 on: March 16, 2020, 04:40:54 PM »
Worth reading.  Much of her fame is due to her father's bizarre psycho obsessions and control.  Also, having gone to graduate school in composition, prodigies are not that rare. 

https://blogs.nmz.de/badblog/2019/12/11/dealing-with-guy-deutscher/

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!
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[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

Offline Cato

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Re: Alma Deutscher: A 21st-Century Mozart?
« Reply #16 on: March 17, 2020, 04:42:52 AM »
Worth reading.  Much of her fame is due to her father's bizarre psycho obsessions and control.  Also, having gone to graduate school in composition, prodigies are not that rare. 

https://blogs.nmz.de/badblog/2019/12/11/dealing-with-guy-deutscher/


OY!  He sounds like a Mumser!  I do wonder about the young lady's home-life: that kind of wild personality, deliberately looking for a fight, would be unpleasant to experience daily. 

The section about must/muessen is also interesting, although Eggert's comments were also not quite correct:

From Moritz Eggert's reply:

Quote
So if I write “Am Ende muss Alma selber entscheiden“ it simply means “In the end the decision is up to Alma”. No German would read this as a “Befehl” (command), it is completely harmless and common use of German language.

But it is also "harmless" in English:  "In the end, Alma herself must/has to/needs to decide" would never be understood that an outside force is compelling Alma "to decide."   There is also the use of "must" as "probability," i.e. "He isn't at home, so he must be at the baseball game."  On the other hand, context is everything: "He's umpiring today, so he must be at the baseball game.  He can't go with us."

Anyway, who knows?  It is hard to tell from one incident


If Guy Deutscher translated
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

- Brian Aherne introducing Rosalind Russell in  My Sister Eileen (1942)