Author Topic: Exploring New Music vs. Sticking to Preferences  (Read 3309 times)

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Offline 71 dB

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Re: Exploring New Music vs. Sticking to Preferences
« Reply #40 on: June 08, 2020, 11:48:59 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 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, in equal proportion.

I noticed yesterday I have a Naxos disc of Yevhen Stankovych's Symphonies 1, 2 & 4 in my collection. I can barely remember buying it, but I don't have a clue why I have bought it and I have zero recollection of the music.

 ;D  :-X  ???
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Re: Exploring New Music vs. Sticking to Preferences
« Reply #41 on: June 08, 2020, 12:18:25 PM »
I noticed yesterday I have a Naxos disc of Yevhen Stankovych's Symphonies 1, 2 & 4 in my collection. I can barely remember buying it, but I don't have a clue why I have bought it and I have zero recollection of the music.

 ;D  :-X  ???

Well, listen to it, and you'll find out.

This is why I keep a journal of listening. Just recently I was thinking, "which Respighi piece did I like?" I looked it up and now I know.

There are some CDs I cull, then I think, "why did I get rid of that, it was so good," then I buy it again and discover, "oh, that's why I got rid of it." A journal can help with that too. :)

Offline 71 dB

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Re: Exploring New Music vs. Sticking to Preferences
« Reply #42 on: June 08, 2020, 12:51:41 PM »
Well, listen to it, and you'll find out.

My problem is I have dozens of CDs I'd want to revisit and I can't decide which one of them is next so I sit in the silence.  ::)
Spatial distortion is a serious problem deteriorating headphone listening.
Crossfeeders reduce spatial distortion and make the sound more natural
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Offline SimonNZ

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Re: Exploring New Music vs. Sticking to Preferences
« Reply #43 on: June 08, 2020, 04:06:39 PM »
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.  :)

Can I ask - I hope its okay to ask - how did your brother's early genius affect his later life?

Offline Daverz

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Re: Exploring New Music vs. Sticking to Preferences
« Reply #44 on: June 08, 2020, 05:20:19 PM »
I like to discover new composers and works, and I like to discover new things about familiar composers and works.

Offline kyjo

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Re: Exploring New Music vs. Sticking to Preferences
« Reply #45 on: June 08, 2020, 06:20:19 PM »
I like to discover new composers and works, and I like to discover new things about familiar composers and works.

+1
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Offline Overtones

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Re: Exploring New Music vs. Sticking to Preferences
« Reply #46 on: June 09, 2020, 01:02:02 AM »
My interest in discovering new composers is proportional to their proximity in time.
I have almost no interest in listening to lesser known composer from the Middle Ages, whereas I am totally open to new contemporary artists/niches (both in the classical and in the rock/electronica/etc domain).

I guess this has to do with the "Lindy effect"* or the equivalent simple thought that the passage of time is the most effective filter, so that if generations of scholars/historians/enthusiasts have defined a certain set of worthy artists and works, then the expected return of the time invested in discovering further ones is low. On the contrary, for periods closer to ours, such filter hasn't had enough time to operate, so it is less unlikely to find something valuable even off the beaten path.



* per Wiki: a theory that the future life expectancy of some non-perishable things like a technology or an idea is proportional to their current age, so that every additional period of survival implies a longer remaining life expectancy

Offline Florestan

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Re: Exploring New Music vs. Sticking to Preferences
« Reply #47 on: June 09, 2020, 05:03:27 AM »
the passage of time is the most effective filter, so that if generations of scholars/historians/enthusiasts have defined a certain set of worthy artists and works, then the expected return of the time invested in discovering further ones is low. On the contrary, for periods closer to ours, such filter hasn't had enough time to operate, so it is less unlikely to find something valuable even off the beaten path.

This theory makes a lot of sense but unfortunately my personal experience is that the closer a work is to our time, the higher the probability is that I don't like it. There are exceptions, of course, (one of them is our good GMG neighbour Karl Henning) but as a general rule of thumb it's valid. This is of course no value judgment of the music, only a reflection of my own taste.

It's not that I gave up exploration altogether, but I decided to limit myself to genres and eras that I've tried beforehand and loved. Thus, my main interest lies with Baroque, Classical and Romantic composers and genres: anything written between 1600 and 1900 might in principle be right up my alley, or at least won't bore the hell out of me or grate on my ears to the point of needing to turn it off rather quickly. Also, within Romanticism, chamber music, solo piano, Lieder and concertos are more likely to pique my interest than symphonies; an dthe much despised "drawing room music", especially solo piano or violin and piano, gives me much pleasure and enjoyment. Every now and then I try to like Medieval and Renaissance music but with few exceptions my enthusiasm fades rather quickly. As for post-1900 music, pretty much all my favorite composers or the ones new to me but whose music I like upon the first hearing were described, and are still regarded by some, as reactionaries or conservatives or populists. I have no use whatever for the 2nd Viennese School, the Darmstadt avant-garde and anything similar.

There was a time, not so long ago, when I condemned the musical canon as being too heavily Austro-German oriented and influenced. Now, while I still think it to be partially true, I can think of no un-canonical composer I've ever listened to whom I can hand-on-heart say deserves to be placed alongside the canonical ones, let alone supplant one of them. Most obscure composers are obscure for a reason and while I can, and do, derive much momentarily pleasure from listening to their music, half an hour after their music is over I have no memory whatsoever of it. In stark contradistinction, the music of canonical composers haunts me for days and weeks and even months. Not to mention that the latter stimulates my imagination and draws extra-musical associations (from literature, visual arts, or simply my personal experience of nature, love, or life) far more than the former. So bottom line, and to give concrete examples: Onslow's or Raff's or Spohr's piano trios are pleasant enough while they sound but no match for Mozart's or Beethoven's or Schubert's; Chaminade's and Moszkowski's piano music is charming and exquisite while it sounds, but can't compare to the long-lasting effect Chopin's have on me; and Herz's or Moscheles' or Field's piano concertos, which I like very much while they sound, can't, at the end of the day, hold a candle to Schumann's, Tchaikovsky's or Rachmaninoff's.

A thought about persevering in listening to music one didn't like on first hearing: my personal experience --- which I mention FWIW only, not because it is, or should be, commendable --- is that there is not a single work I like, or merely tolerate, now that I didn't even slightly like or merely tolerate back then when I first heard it. All my favorite composers and all other composers besides them whose music I like were love at first sight. It happened that a composer I dearly loved in the past fell out of my favor (Beethoven is the most illustrious instance: as a teenager he was my favorite, nowadays I rarely listen to his music, except some chamber and solo piano) --- but it never happened that a composer whose music bored me to death on first hearing ever made it to my list of favorites (eg, Bruckner's symphonies bore me to death today just as they did 30 years ago, except S1 and S4).

Plus, I'm currently living through the most difficult, stressful and nerve-racking phase of my life ever. I have enough grave problems of my own, the last thing I need or want is unfamiliar, difficult, grim, uncompromising music expressing the personal problems of the composers. I have always fully subscribed, but today more than ever, to Mozart's dictum that “Music, even in situations of the greatest horror, should never be painful to the ear but should flatter and charm it, and thereby always remain music.” This has become my litmus test, actually: if I can hum it long after it's over, I love it; if not, I might like it but never love it; I surely dislike what I can't hum along. (The music in my heart I bore,/Long after it was heard no more.) All composers whose music qualifies are my favorites in different degrees: top 3 I love everything; top 10 I love almost everything; all the rest I love at least one work. So I think there at least 50 composers on whose music only I could spend my whole remaining lifetime without any fear of ever getting bored.

Oh, and a word about listening to the same work in different recordings: I do that sometimes but I never do any A/B/C/D etc comparisons. Whatever performance I'm currently listening to, it's my current favorite.

"Visând, întrezărim prin doruri –
latente-n pulberi aurii –
păduri ce ar putea să fie
și niciodată nu vor fi."

--- Lucian Blaga

Online Jo498

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Re: Exploring New Music vs. Sticking to Preferences
« Reply #48 on: June 09, 2020, 05:32:48 AM »
There is also a historical reason why there were so many composers from the Austro-German-Hungaro-Bohemian region in the 18th and 19th century. There are also more forgotten, non-canonical ones of them, so one could expect a few great ones simply from overall numbers...
It was because of the extraordinary large number of smallish states with many extravagant counts/dukes/princes... who spent their largesse (or sold some of their peasant boys to fight in America) on music. (Haydn lost his first position with Count Morzin because the latter was simply too broke to keep him!) So everybody needed a Kapellmeister and while they had first imported them from Italy (that's why up to the mid 18th century or so, there are also many semi-obscure Italian composers), homegrown was cheaper. Additionally, there is the importance of church music in catholic and lutheran (but much less in reformed/calvinist regions like Netherlands and parts of Scandinavia and Scotland) and a comparably decent level of education (again driven partly by reformation and counter-reformation). Because of the devastating 30 years war this whole development was somewhat later in German/Central European states than in France and Italy.
This does of course not explain everything. I don't really know why Spain has so few (great) composers after the early Baroque.
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Offline Florestan

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Re: Exploring New Music vs. Sticking to Preferences
« Reply #49 on: June 09, 2020, 05:46:43 AM »
There is also a historical reason why there were so many composers from the Austro-German-Hungaro-Bohemian region in the 18th and 19th century. There are also more forgotten, non-canonical ones of them, so one could expect a few great ones simply from overall numbers...
It was because of the extraordinary large number of smallish states with many extravagant counts/dukes/princes... who spent their largesse (or sold some of their peasant boys to fight in America) on music. (Haydn lost his first position with Count Morzin because the latter was simply too broke to keep him!) So everybody needed a Kapellmeister and while they had first imported them from Italy (that's why up to the mid 18th century or so, there are also many semi-obscure Italian composers), homegrown was cheaper. Additionally, there is the importance of church music in catholic and lutheran (but much less in reformed/calvinist regions like Netherlands and parts of Scandinavia and Scotland) and a comparably decent level of education (again driven partly by reformation and counter-reformation). Because of the devastating 30 years war this whole development was somewhat later in German/Central European states than in France and Italy.
This does of course not explain everything. I don't really know why Spain has so few (great) composers after the early Baroque.

Some very good points here, to which I subscribe  --- and I think Leibniz was one of the first to make them; I've very recently read a quote of him (can't remember where) making this very point, that the myriads German states and statelets were a blessing for artists, especially musicians.

I think Spain had three great composers during Late Baroque (D. Scarlatti, Soler, the lesser known Blasco de Nebra) and a great Classical composer (Boccherini) --- admittedly, two of them were imported. Fernando Sor can count as a great Late Classical/Early Romantic composer within his niche (guitar music). Then the (apparently) spontaneous generation of Romantics like Albeniz and Granados. Then the modernism of de Falla. But yes, and with all due respect to our good friend ritter (Rafael), das land ohne Musik can apply much better to 19-th century Spain than to 19-th century England.
"Visând, întrezărim prin doruri –
latente-n pulberi aurii –
păduri ce ar putea să fie
și niciodată nu vor fi."

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Offline steve ridgway

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Re: Exploring New Music vs. Sticking to Preferences
« Reply #50 on: June 09, 2020, 06:06:11 AM »
I’d like to stop spending money on new music and stick to what I already have, but am struggling to manage it :-[.
"There is nothing new except what has been forgotten." - Marie Antoinette

Offline kyjo

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Re: Exploring New Music vs. Sticking to Preferences
« Reply #51 on: June 09, 2020, 08:05:26 AM »
There was a time, not so long ago, when I condemned the musical canon as being too heavily Austro-German oriented and influenced. Now, while I still think it to be partially true, I can think of no un-canonical composer I've ever listened to whom I can hand-on-heart say deserves to be placed alongside the canonical ones, let alone supplant one of them. Most obscure composers are obscure for a reason and while I can, and do, derive much momentarily pleasure from listening to their music, half an hour after their music is over I have no memory whatsoever of it. In stark contradistinction, the music of canonical composers haunts me for days and weeks and even months. Not to mention that the latter stimulates my imagination and draws extra-musical associations (from literature, visual arts, or simply my personal experience of nature, love, or life) far more than the former. So bottom line, and to give concrete examples: Onslow's or Raff's or Spohr's piano trios are pleasant enough while they sound but no match for Mozart's or Beethoven's or Schubert's; Chaminade's and Moszkowski's piano music is charming and exquisite while it sounds, but can't compare to the long-lasting effect Chopin's have on me; and Herz's or Moscheles' or Field's piano concertos, which I like very much while they sound, can't, at the end of the day, hold a candle to Schumann's, Tchaikovsky's or Rachmaninoff's.

For the most part, I agree with what you say regarding lesser-known composers of the early-mid 19th century vs. the acclaimed “masters” of the era. Because, IMO, most of the “undeservedly neglected” composers (in my view, anyway) come from the late-19th and 20th centuries. Before the late-19th century, there were many lesser-known figures who composed pleasant enough music, but it often lacks originality and memorability because it sometimes seems like they were trying too hard to emulate the “big names” of the era. But, beginning in the late-19th century and continuing well into the 20th, an extraordinary diversity of musical thought opened up, and composers both well-known and obscure today developed highly individual musical languages. Many of my favorite “unsung” composers, even if they wrote in a relatively “conservative” style for their day, forged idioms that are almost instantly recognizable (e.g. Arnold, Atterberg, Braga Santos, Casella, Lloyd). And, more importantly, many of them wrote music of staying emotional power and memorability (to me, anyway), that draws me back to their music time and again. :)
« Last Edit: June 09, 2020, 08:08:31 AM by kyjo »
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Offline Overtones

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Re: Exploring New Music vs. Sticking to Preferences
« Reply #52 on: June 09, 2020, 09:04:23 AM »
I'd like to point out - if it weren't clear - that what I wrote about the Lindy effect in music has nothing to do with personal taste.
It's not that I am more open to new composers from recent times because I like contemporary music more than older music (in fact, my favourite music is from '800 - early '900); it is just that my degree of acceptance of the "canon" is higher if said canon has been settling for 4 centuries; it is lower if the canon has been settling for a couple of centuries; it is null if the canon is not even there yet...

Offline Florestan

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Re: Exploring New Music vs. Sticking to Preferences
« Reply #53 on: June 09, 2020, 09:19:26 AM »
I'd like to point out - if it weren't clear - that what I wrote about the Lindy effect in music has nothing to do with personal taste.
It's not that I am more open to new composers from recent times because I like contemporary music more than older music (in fact, my favourite music is from '800 - early '900); it is just that my degree of acceptance of the "canon" is higher if said canon has been settling for 4 centuries; it is lower if the canon has been settling for a couple of centuries; it is null if the canon is not even there yet...

With all due respect --- all of the above is exclusively about your personal taste. Or do you imply that there is an objective measure in the way you are assessing music of different eras?
"Visând, întrezărim prin doruri –
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și niciodată nu vor fi."

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Offline Overtones

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Re: Exploring New Music vs. Sticking to Preferences
« Reply #54 on: June 09, 2020, 10:11:04 AM »
With all due respect --- all of the above is exclusively about your personal taste. Or do you imply that there is an objective measure in the way you are assessing music of different eras?

I never said anything about my assessment of the music, I only mentioned the overall assessment of historians and scholars, that which has established in 200 years that Franz Schubert is a cornerstone of music history and that Dieter Unknownitz from the same period is not, and which has not had enough time yet to establish with a similar certainty whether some Georgian composer of the late XX century is a cornerstone or not.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2020, 10:12:44 AM by Overtones »

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Exploring New Music vs. Sticking to Preferences
« Reply #55 on: June 09, 2020, 10:16:45 AM »
I'd like to point out - if it weren't clear - that what I wrote about the Lindy effect in music has nothing to do with personal taste.
It's not that I am more open to new composers from recent times because I like contemporary music more than older music (in fact, my favourite music is from '800 - early '900); it is just that my degree of acceptance of the "canon" is higher if said canon has been settling for 4 centuries; it is lower if the canon has been settling for a couple of centuries; it is null if the canon is not even there yet...

Who's in the "canon" from c9? And how did s/he get there?
« Last Edit: June 09, 2020, 10:21:52 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Florestan

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Re: Exploring New Music vs. Sticking to Preferences
« Reply #56 on: June 09, 2020, 10:18:17 AM »
I never said anything about my assessment of the music, I only mentioned the overall assessment of historians and scholars, that which has established that Franz Schubert is a cornerstone of music history and that Dieter Unknownitz from the same period is not, and which has not had enough time yet to establish with a similar certainty whether some Georgian composer of the late XX century is a cornerstone or not.

Yes, indeed, you're right. Please excuse me if I came across like an annoying bastard --- it sometimes happens to me, but I am not one such, and I always regret coming across like one.  :-*
"Visând, întrezărim prin doruri –
latente-n pulberi aurii –
păduri ce ar putea să fie
și niciodată nu vor fi."

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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Exploring New Music vs. Sticking to Preferences
« Reply #57 on: June 09, 2020, 10:21:19 AM »
Yes, indeed, you're right. Please excuse me if I came across like an annoying bastard --- it sometimes happens to me, but I am not one such, and I always regret coming across like one.  :-*

I'm sorry but being annoying IS (=) coming across as annoying. Bastardness is another matter.
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Offline Overtones

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Re: Exploring New Music vs. Sticking to Preferences
« Reply #58 on: June 09, 2020, 10:22:14 AM »
Yes, indeed, you're right. Please excuse me if I came across like an annoying bastard --- it sometimes happens to me, but I am not one such, and I always regret coming across like one.  :-*

You didn't at all  :)

Offline Overtones

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Re: Exploring New Music vs. Sticking to Preferences
« Reply #59 on: June 09, 2020, 10:23:06 AM »
Who's in the "canon" from c9? And how did s/he get there?

C9?
I am not sure I get what you mean.