Author Topic: Exploring New Music vs. Sticking to Preferences  (Read 3311 times)

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Online vandermolen

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Re: Exploring New Music vs. Sticking to Preferences
« Reply #20 on: June 07, 2020, 07:43:02 AM »
I've given this some more thought. It is unusual (possibly unprecedented) for me to go to bed at night thinking about a GMG Forum thread, but it was true in this case (your fault Andrei 😀).
As I mentioned in my earlier thread I have an older brother, who was seven when I was born. We were, and are, very close. He was, unlike his younger brother (me), a child prodigy - a genius. He could, and I'm sure this is true, draw a map of the world when he was tiny, maybe 2 and play chess, certainly he featured in national newspapers. He even had to have a special child psychiatrist to look after him - Dr Emmanuel Miller, father of the late playwright, director, comedian etc Johnathan Miller.  All this was before I was born. Much as I loved my dad, he never took anything very seriously, so I tended to gravitate to my brother with any worries, problems etc. My brother was/is the great Bruckner fan, so I grew up in the shadow of my brother and Bruckner. Luckily for me I saw my brother more as a father figure and (honestly) never recall being jealous of him and was, along with my parents, very proud of his achievements (First class degree from Cambridge etc). I do, however, recall him being envious of me when, as a 15 year old, when my brother was abroad, I attended, with a friend, what turned out to be a legendary performance of Jascha Horenstein conducting Bruckner's 8th Symphony at the Proms (subsequently released on a BBC CD). All I remember of the concert (which was in 1970) was a member of the audience asking my friend to stop sniffing. So, what's this got to do with anything here? Well, I think that it was important for me to find my own 'special composer' who wasn't Bruckner, to establish some kind of separate musical identity from my far cleverer older brother - which was, I think, where Vaughan Williams came to my rescue. I was quite obsessed with Vaughan Williams in those days and maybe the above, to some extent, explains why. He remains a very special composer to me but I think that, in my case, the reason why goes beyond the purely musical to some kind of existential consideration. Hope this makes some sense! Maybe it also, to some, extent explains why I felt, and still do feel, the need to discover 'neglected composers'. This thread has made me consider the psychological motivation behind my musical choices.  :)
« Last Edit: June 07, 2020, 07:46:29 AM by vandermolen »
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Offline Florestan

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Re: Exploring New Music vs. Sticking to Preferences
« Reply #21 on: June 07, 2020, 07:46:46 AM »
I've given this some more thought. It is unusual (possibly unprecedented) for me to go to bed at night thinking about a GMG Forum thread, but it was true in this case (your fault Andrei 😀).

Well, I'm glad I piqued your interest twice in a month (first with the porn ladies and now with this).  ;)

Quote
As I mentioned in my earlier thread I have an older brother, who was seven when I was born. We were, and are ,very close. He was, unlike his younger brother (me), a child prodigy - a genius. He could, and I'm sure this is true, draw a map of the world when he was tiny, maybe 2 and play chess, certainly he featured in national newspapers. He even had to have a special child psychiatrist to look after him - Dr Emmanuel Miller, father of the late playwright, director, comedian etc Johnathan Miller.  All this was before I was born. Much as I loved my dad, he never took anything very seriously, so I tended to gravitate to my brother with any worries, problems etc. My brother was/is the great Bruckner fan, so I grew up in the shadow of my brother and Bruckner. Luckily for me I saw my brother more as a father figure and (honestly) never recall being jealous of him and was, along with my parents, very proud of his achievements (First class degree from Cambridge etc). I do, however, recall him being envious of me when, as a 15 year old, when my brother was abroad, I attended, with a friend, what turned out to be a legendary performance of Jascha Horenstein conducting Bruckner's 8th Symphony at the Proms (subsequently released on a BBC CD). All I remember of the concert (which was in 1970) was a member of the audience asking my friend to stop sniffing. So, what's this got to do with anything here? Well, I think that it was important for me to find my own 'special composer' who wasn't Bruckner, to establish some kind of separate musical identity from my far cleverer older brother - which was, I think, where Vaughan Williams came to my rescue. I was quite obsessed with Vaughan Williams in those days and maybe the above, to some extent, explains why. He remains a very special composer to me but I think that, in my case, the reason why goes beyond the purely musical to some kind of existential consideration. Hope this makes some sense! Maybe it also, to some, extent explains why I felt and still do feel the need to discover 'neglected composers'. This thread has made me consider the psychological motivation behind my musical choices.  :)

Most interesting, thanks for sharing.

Now I have to add RVW to Miaskovsky on my "to explore" list of composers.  :D
« Last Edit: June 07, 2020, 07:50:02 AM by Florestan »
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Offline Crudblud

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Re: Exploring New Music vs. Sticking to Preferences
« Reply #22 on: June 07, 2020, 08:06:32 AM »
I like to hear pieces I don't know, but I love to hear things I don't know in pieces I think I do know, so a combination of "new" things and deeper listening to "old" things is ideal. I use the scare quotes because I started my journey in the pre-war 20th century, largely thanks to the man shown in my avatar, whose influence underlies the stylistic breadth of music I've sought out over the past third-and-a-bit of my life (I am 30, and began listening to classical music seriously around the age of 18), and while I have certainly listened to many more recent works, a lot of my "new" pieces these days are hundreds of years old.

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Re: Exploring New Music vs. Sticking to Preferences
« Reply #23 on: June 07, 2020, 08:54:47 AM »
I bought too many CDs, including too much new music to digest in time for more than 10 years (ca. 2003-13). Before that (1987-early 2000s) I could somewhat keep up but even then there were pieces I had on disk, listened to a few times but never realls spent enough time with to digest them. In the last few years I cut back somewhat but usually in favor of music I had not known before and while I usually listened to most of what I bought, the point with digesting is still true. So I am pretty much saturated now and have in 2020 bought fewer CDs than in any other year since 30 years or so.
I also admit that I have been through some phases where I was very quick to buy music (often beyond the mainstream) "hyped up" on some internet forum. A lot of this was worthwhile listening to but not all had staying power. Overall, I think that the standard repertoire/mainstream is quite well founded and with what I have already I see usually marginal returns in getting more semi-obscure 18th-early 20th century music. I also acquired enough "early" and "modern" music that I am still not very familiar with that I have lots to digest before getting more.
And on top of this, there will usually be favorites (not a sharp top ten or so) that I listen to most anyway.
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Re: Exploring New Music vs. Sticking to Preferences
« Reply #24 on: June 07, 2020, 09:05:43 AM »
Personally, I don’t think anyone can ‘keep up’ when there are thousands of composers to listen to. It’ll take 20 lifetimes to actually keep with everything that has been released. Thankfully, my interest in classical music only spans the 20th Century and even then, I still feel I don’t have the full measure of the myriad of styles, movements, etc. that occurred within this century.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2020, 09:51:43 AM by Mirror Image »
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Offline 71 dB

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Re: Exploring New Music vs. Sticking to Preferences
« Reply #25 on: June 07, 2020, 10:48:15 AM »
This is a very good question and a very good theory. I think there's an interesting disconnect here between casual music lovers and those who enjoy music enough to join a discussion board. Vivaldi and Water Music and so on are easy to love because they have straightforward cheery tunes, and they work well on radio - also the pieces tend to be pretty short!

Nothing wrong with music like that. It's music from some of the most talented composers in music history and it has survived the test of time.

But for most of us, we can relate to more recent music better, simply because it's nearer in time to us. To really dig in to baroque music deeply, you have to learn all kinds of context about their culture and musical rules, and understand why say Biber was daring. Whereas we don't have to do as much learning for really recent history.

To me it was actually the other way around. Before getting into classical music I assumed my "modern" ears are incompatible with music hundreds of years old, but I was proven completely wrong. I am an atheist, but I enjoy baroque church music tremendously. Mankind has not "evolved" in art, only explored previously unknown ground. Sometimes we can have even more context for "old" things than what's happening right now if we don't yet fully understand new things.

Also, "recent" music is so much more than just classical music. If I want something "recent", maybe I play Autechre or Katy Perry's new pop song whereas everything old is classified as classical music. Having "discovered" and explored contemporary classical music to some extent the last decade or so I do find it "fresh sounding" compared to older classical music but not particularly easier to get compared to say Biber. Do you understand what goes on inside the head of people on the street? I don't. So, why would I know what goes on inside the head of living composers? They are lucky if they know themselves in these confusing times! Modern times makes as dizzy! I'm quite sure baroque composers had much clearer head. No distractions like Netlix, Twitter and Facebook. Life was simple. Hard, but simple.
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Offline 71 dB

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Re: Exploring New Music vs. Sticking to Preferences
« Reply #26 on: June 07, 2020, 11:11:53 AM »
The most recent process of this nature concerned Carl Nielsen (thanks to GMG, to a great extent). I found his symphonies and the Clarinet Concerto interesting, but then listened to Springtime in Funen and the Hymnus Amoris, didn’t like what I heard at all, and now only very occasionally will listen to any of the works I initially appreciated.

I think Carl Nielsen is a very uneven composer and I accept that. I concentrate on his good stuff and almost ignore the rest. I think it would be silly to not listen to his Symphonies just because his String Quartets are weak.  :P It's like ignoring a great movie by a director who made some bad movies too.
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Re: Exploring New Music vs. Sticking to Preferences
« Reply #27 on: June 07, 2020, 11:23:35 AM »
I think Carl Nielsen is a very uneven composer and I accept that. I concentrate on his good stuff and almost ignore the rest. I think it would be silly to not listen to his Symphonies just because his String Quartets are weak.  :P It's like ignoring a great movie by a director who made some bad movies too.
You are absolutely right...But, strangely, after encountering the pieces I disliked, I also lost interest in the pieces I initially did enjoy (as I realised I didn’t really admire them that much). It’s as if I was expecting greater (for me) things from the composer after the promising start and, when these things did not materialise, he completely receded from my radar. Irrational, maybe, but I hardly think any of us is rational in his or her tastes and approach to music...
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Re: Exploring New Music vs. Sticking to Preferences
« Reply #28 on: June 07, 2020, 11:26:32 AM »
The Nielsen quartets are actually pretty good, I'd say (although not as important as the symphonies admittedly). But with the commendable (near) completism of some labels, virtually everything by uneven composers is dug out and recorded.
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Re: Exploring New Music vs. Sticking to Preferences
« Reply #29 on: June 07, 2020, 11:39:36 AM »
The Nielsen quartets are actually pretty good, I'd say (although not as important as the symphonies admittedly).
Will have to check those SQs out (somehow, the SQ medium tends to bring out the best in many composers).

Quote
But with the commendable (near) completism of some labels, virtually everything by uneven composers is dug out and recorded.
Of course, and there’s plenty of second- or third-tier stuff by the composers I focus on. But I’ve reached a point in which my tastes are relatively well established, and I don’t really expect that, let’s say for the sake of argument, Miaskovsky’s 25th Symphony—which I don’t know at all— is going to be a revelation to me, and change my lack of affinity for his idiom and the general cultural milieu he comes from. OTOH, I will be the first to recognise that, e.g., Wagner’s piano music is not exactly a treasure trove of masterpieces, but I feel closer to it.

« Last Edit: June 07, 2020, 12:19:37 PM by ritter »
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Re: Exploring New Music vs. Sticking to Preferences
« Reply #30 on: June 07, 2020, 11:40:08 AM »
The Nielsen quartets are actually pretty good, I'd say (although not as important as the symphonies admittedly). But with the commendable (near) completism of some labels, virtually everything by uneven composers is dug out and recorded.

Yes, Nielsen's chamber music is very good.  And although I rather like the Hymnus amoris, I don't fault anyone for considering it beneath the symphonies.  Sad to think of itg as a catalyst for overall neglect of (distaste for) the composer.
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Re: Exploring New Music vs. Sticking to Preferences
« Reply #31 on: June 07, 2020, 11:43:21 AM »
Yes, Nielsen's chamber music is very good.  And although I rather like the Hymnus amoris, I don't fault anyone for considering it beneath the symphonies.  Sad to think of itg as a catalyst for overall neglect of (distaste for) the composer.
Sad indeed  ;). But please let’s not derail this thread because of my stance vis-à-vis good old Carl’s music. I only used him as an example of what happens to me when exposed to “new” music as I grow older.

And good day to you, Karl!  :)
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Re: Exploring New Music vs. Sticking to Preferences
« Reply #32 on: June 07, 2020, 11:50:45 AM »
Cheers, Rafael! Then let's bring it back on topic:  I'll suggest that both in the literature overall, and in the work of composers I already know and admire, I like to balance refining my knowledge of what I already know with the joy of new discoveries, which indeed is how I veered toward the  Hymnus amoris at first. :)
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Re: Exploring New Music vs. Sticking to Preferences
« Reply #33 on: June 07, 2020, 11:54:16 AM »
You are absolutely right...But, strangely, after encountering the pieces I disliked, I also lost interest in the pieces I initially did enjoy (as I realised I didn’t really admire them that much). It’s as if I was expecting greater (for me) things from the composer after the promising start and, when these things did not materialise, he completely receded from my radar. Irrational, maybe, but I hardly think any of us is rational in his or her tastes and approach to music...

Well, encountering weak works of a composer can stop me exploring said composer further, but not stop appreciating works I appreciated previously. What can stop my appreciation is things such are changing/developping taste and discovery of "better" composers and works.
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Re: Exploring New Music vs. Sticking to Preferences
« Reply #34 on: June 07, 2020, 12:28:57 PM »
Beethoven will probably be my favorite composer ever as his music hasn’t begun to bore me in the slightest. Can’t say that for others, such as Shostakovich whom I loved when first getting into classical but whose work, with a few exceptions, leaves me flat now, sad to say.

That said, I’m up for any era or style. Sticking to one epoch is kind of weird to me.
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Re: Exploring New Music vs. Sticking to Preferences
« Reply #35 on: June 07, 2020, 01:27:17 PM »
That said, I’m up for any era or style. Sticking to one epoch is kind of weird to me.

I like and recognize that!
But it is difficult to transcend ones dislikes....

« Last Edit: June 07, 2020, 01:29:49 PM by pjme »

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Re: Exploring New Music vs. Sticking to Preferences
« Reply #36 on: June 08, 2020, 10:11:58 AM »
...it is difficult to transcend ones dislikes....
This is just generally true, for all people, whatever the topic.

It's a good thing to push back against, I think.

Two good things will come of it, I think. One, if one can overcome one's initial repulsion, one gains more music to like. Two, one can be more charitable towards things one still dislikes, and towards the people, what's more, who so wrong-headedly persist in liking that so obviously awful dreck. My favorite example of this in my own life is Howard Hanson. When I was first bowled over by the manifold delights of "modern" music, revelling in the glories of Bartók and Varèse and Cage, I also came up against people like Howard Hanson, who seemed to me to be the archetypal regressor. Some twenty or thirty years after first puking my guts out over the saccharine grossness of his second symphony, I was innocently driving around L.A. I was bored (freeways are boring) so I turned the radio on and was immediately attracted by what was playing. Nothing like the first time I heard Keith Rowe's Dial: Log-Rhythm,* also on the radio, but still, pleasant enough. Pleasant enough to pay close attention to listen for the announcer so that I could buy a copy of it for myself.

It was the symphony number six... of Howard Hanson.

Embarrassing. Doubly so. Embarrassing first for liking something by my first musical anti-christ. But then embarrassed even more that I had demonized Hanson. The second embarrassment was by far the more useful of the two. And I currently own more albums by Hanson than just the sixth symphony. (Plus I even found an added bonus by discovering music by Sten Hanson** as well, ha ha.)

*https://www.allmusic.com/album/dial-log-rhythm-mw0000330378 

The clips here are stupidly short, but this is the best I could find that offers samples of the whole album.

**https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ms3B37H_J7A

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Re: Exploring New Music vs. Sticking to Preferences
« Reply #37 on: June 08, 2020, 10:15:21 AM »
This is just generally true, for all people, whatever the topic.

It's a good thing to push back against, I think.

Two good things will come of it, I think. One, if one can overcome one's initial repulsion, one gains more music to like. Two, one can be more charitable towards things one still dislikes, and towards the people, what's more, who so wrong-headedly persist in liking that so obviously awful dreck. My favorite example of this in my own life is Howard Hanson. When I was first bowled over by the manifold delights of "modern" music, revelling in the glories of Bartók and Varèse and Cage, I also came up against people like Howard Hanson, who seemed to me to be the archetypal regressor. Some twenty or thirty years after first puking my guts out over the saccharine grossness of his second symphony, I was innocently driving around L.A. I was bored (freeways are boring) so I turned the radio on and was immediately attracted by what was playing. Nothing like the first time I heard Keith Rowe's Dial: Log-Rhythm,* also on the radio, but still, pleasant enough. Pleasant enough to pay close attention to listen for the announcer so that I could buy a copy of it for myself.

It was the symphony number six... of Howard Hanson.

Embarrassing. Doubly so. Embarrassing first for liking something by my first musical anti-christ. But then embarrassed even more that I had demonized Hanson. The second embarrassment was by far the more useful of the two. And I currently own more albums by Hanson than just the sixth symphony. (Plus I even found an added bonus by discovering music by Sten Hanson** as well, ha ha.)

*https://www.allmusic.com/album/dial-log-rhythm-mw0000330378 

The clips here are stupidly short, but this is the best I could find that offers samples of the whole album.

**https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ms3B37H_J7A

Good on ya, mate!
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His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Online vandermolen

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Re: Exploring New Music vs. Sticking to Preferences
« Reply #38 on: June 08, 2020, 10:59:49 AM »
This is just generally true, for all people, whatever the topic.

It's a good thing to push back against, I think.

Two good things will come of it, I think. One, if one can overcome one's initial repulsion, one gains more music to like. Two, one can be more charitable towards things one still dislikes, and towards the people, what's more, who so wrong-headedly persist in liking that so obviously awful dreck. My favorite example of this in my own life is Howard Hanson. When I was first bowled over by the manifold delights of "modern" music, revelling in the glories of Bartók and Varèse and Cage, I also came up against people like Howard Hanson, who seemed to me to be the archetypal regressor. Some twenty or thirty years after first puking my guts out over the saccharine grossness of his second symphony, I was innocently driving around L.A. I was bored (freeways are boring) so I turned the radio on and was immediately attracted by what was playing. Nothing like the first time I heard Keith Rowe's Dial: Log-Rhythm,* also on the radio, but still, pleasant enough. Pleasant enough to pay close attention to listen for the announcer so that I could buy a copy of it for myself.

It was the symphony number six... of Howard Hanson.

Embarrassing. Doubly so. Embarrassing first for liking something by my first musical anti-christ. But then embarrassed even more that I had demonized Hanson. The second embarrassment was by far the more useful of the two. And I currently own more albums by Hanson than just the sixth symphony. (Plus I even found an added bonus by discovering music by Sten Hanson** as well, ha ha.)

*https://www.allmusic.com/album/dial-log-rhythm-mw0000330378 

The clips here are stupidly short, but this is the best I could find that offers samples of the whole album.

**https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ms3B37H_J7A
That's a very interesting story I've always been a fan of Howard Hanson, although the 'Romantic Symphony' is not my favourite and I can understand why people reject his music as that of a kind of arch-conservative. Many times in my life I've made an initial negative assessment of someone on first meeting and later found out that I was completely wrong. I agree that such occasions can increase one's tolerance and understanding of other people.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2020, 11:09:32 AM by vandermolen »
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Re: Exploring New Music vs. Sticking to Preferences
« Reply #39 on: June 08, 2020, 11:05:39 AM »
When I had only 10 records I knew every piece by heart. Eventually the collection has grown the the point where, by the time I have time to revisit something, I have forgotten it and it seems new again. Except for core Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms and some favorite pieces by Haydn, Mahler, Stravinsky, etc, everything is a new discovery, especially if it is a recording I have not heard before. :)

Probably current listening, sparse as it is now, is "familiar", "seems new" and "is new" to me, in equal proportion.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2020, 12:16:21 PM by Baron Scarpia »