Author Topic: Ten (or so) well-known works you don't enjoy that much  (Read 6542 times)

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Offline Symphonic Addict

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Ten (or so) well-known works you don't enjoy that much
« on: July 20, 2021, 03:40:14 PM »
List some works you should like or should like more but you simply don't like considerably. It's not about questioning the greatness of the pieces, but how you react to them.

Mine are these:

Bach: Choral preludes for organ
Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra
Debussy: Préludes and other of his piano music
Dvorak: Wind Serenade
Rachmaninov: Vespers
Prokofiev: Lieutenante Kije Suite
Schumann: Symphony No. 1
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 14
Sibelius: Pohjola's Daughter, Pelleas et Melisande
Give us something else; give us something new; for Heaven's sake give us something bad, so long as we feel we are alive and active and not just passive admirers of tradition!

Carl Nielsen

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Ten (or so) well-known works you don't enjoy that much
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2021, 03:59:41 PM »
LvB "Emperor" Concerto
Grieg Pf Cto
Delibes Coppélia
Bizet L'Arlésienne Suites
JSB Orchestral Suite No. 4 in D, BWV 1069
Copland The Red Pony Suite
Orff Carmina Burana

Insert three Delius pieces
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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Offline Brian

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Re: Ten (or so) well-known works you don't enjoy that much
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2021, 04:33:13 PM »
I can already tell this thread is going to be upsetting  ;D ;D

Bach - the really long big sacred pieces
Beethoven - Piano Concerto No. 3*
Beethoven - Violin Concerto*
Granados - Goyescas
Mahler - Symphony No. 5 (except the adagietto)
Mozart - Requiem
Orff - Carmina Burana
Ravel - Valses nobles et sentimentales
Schumann - Piano Concerto
Second Viennese School

*this might be a problem of performances, 90% of which nowadays think the first movement should be andante

Also I wouldn't say I dislike them or something, but only sometimes can I enjoy the piano concertos and first symphony of Brahms.
Schubert's Fifth Symphony appears to be a lot of people's favorite from 1-6, but it's my second-to-least favorite behind 1. I'd go (modern numbering) 8, 6, 3, 4, 7, 2, 5, 1

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Ten (or so) well-known works you don't enjoy that much
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2021, 06:17:11 PM »
Second Viennese School

Hmmm...no love for Schoenberg’s early works? Not even Verklärte Nacht? :-\
"Humility is society's greatest misconception."

Offline JBS

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Re: Ten (or so) well-known works you don't enjoy that much
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2021, 06:44:10 PM »
Orff Carmina Burana
Bach Brandenburg Concertos
Vivaldi Four Seasons
Brahms Symphonies
Strauss Salome
Almost anything that can be "Darmstadt School"

The first four are victims of burnout syndrome: I've heard them so many times in my life I rarely want to hear them again.

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Offline Wanderer

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Re: Ten (or so) well-known works you don't enjoy that much
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2021, 08:09:51 PM »
Orff Carmina Burana

I re-appreciated this often maligned work when I became acquainted with Stravinsky’s Les noces. It made abundantly clear where many of Carmina Burana’s orchestral effects came from. 😎

Offline Jo498

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Re: Ten (or so) well-known works you don't enjoy that much
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2021, 10:45:57 PM »
The general style of Carmina burana is a popularized way of Les noces. But whereas Carmina Burana is innocent fun once in a while, I cannot get into that Russian shouting match with only pianos/percussion. But Les noces is probably not well known or popular enough.


Mozart: Requiem
an uneven mixed bag (completely understandable from the history) and the best movement, the Introitus, is 1/3 Handel, 1/3 Michael Haydn. The Kyrie is good but also a bit generic and often turned into a "choral polyphony etude" to be sung as fast as possible (like "And he shall purify), then its downhill with a few good pieces between rather generic stuff (there are dozens of Bach cantatas or Handel anthems that are IMO better than the bulk of the Requiem).

Haydn: Military symphony
not bad but very overrated because of the superficial effects and for me the least interesting of the symphonies since 82

Beethoven: Pastoral symphony
I still love the first movement but the brook is already a bit boring and the finale is also too long and uneventful

Schubert: 5th symphony
a charming but played to death predictable Mozart-Haydn pastiche, I can enjoy it once in a blue moon but prefer all the other early symphonies.
(For the last three pieces named, it is not a strong dislike but rather a large discrepancy to common opinion as they are among the best-loved of these composers)

Tchaikovsky: Rococo variations, one of the few pieces of this list I actively dislike and would avoid. I could not stand the violin concerto for years but the Repin/Gergiev live recording redeemed it to some extent.

Saint Saens: Organ symphony
gimmicky and just not very interesting to me

Strauss: Heldenleben
interminable, trite and boring

Shostakovich: 7th symphony
interminable, trite and boring


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: Ten (or so) well-known works you don't enjoy that much
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2021, 04:45:12 AM »
Wow, Jo and I really agree on a lot. The Rococo Variations are extremely boring, one of the worst pieces by any major composer to me. And I forgot Ein Heldenleben but I listened for the first time ever earlier this year and on first listen, absolutely hated it. I do think the finale of the Beethoven Pastoral should be about 10% faster than is commonly done. There is a slightly faster tempo which, if you get it correctly in your head, sounds lively but has a lyrical, sung quality as if the melody is a folk song for voices.

I love the Organ Symphony but I do know from hearing it (and from talking to organists) that the organ part is extremely simple and can be played by any adequate student. The fact that recordings all compete to use the greatest organists on the planet (coming soon there's one with Thierry Escaich!!) is total overkill and a waste of talent when they could be doing organ concertos/symphonies by Widor, Copland, Poulenc, etc.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2021, 04:49:03 AM by Brian »

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Ten (or so) well-known works you don't enjoy that much
« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2021, 05:16:23 AM »
Bach St. Matthew Passion
Berlioz Scène aux champs (I love the other movements of the SF)
Stravinsky The Firebird
Verdi Don Carlos
Beethoven Fidelio
the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Ten (or so) well-known works you don't enjoy that much
« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2021, 05:23:04 AM »
I can already tell this thread is going to be upsetting  ;D ;D

Yeah...I'm loading my bazooka  ;)

Sarge
the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Ten (or so) well-known works you don't enjoy that much
« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2021, 06:15:58 AM »
Yeah...I'm loading my bazooka  ;)

Sarge

As I knew you would! ;D
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Ten (or so) well-known works you don't enjoy that much
« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2021, 06:44:12 AM »
I’m going over ten --- in no particular order:

Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake and The Nutcracker --- both of these works just bore me to tears, but I do like The Sleeping Beauty quite a bit
Ravel: Bolero
Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 --- I would die a happy man if I never hear this symphony again
Prokofiev: Romeo & Juliet --- it’s not a bad work of course, but I just find it overlong and mind-numbingly boring as the ballet progresses
Strauss: Ein Heldenleben --- my least favorite of the tone poems and incredibly difficult to get through without yawning
Elgar: Symphony No. 1 in A♭ major, Op. 55 and all of the Pomp & Circumstance Marches
Satie: Trois Gymnopédies
Schumann: All of the symphonies
Glass: Einstein on the Beach or really anything I’ve heard from him --- overrated, Minimalistic junk
Pärt: Für Alina --- Zzzz...
Reich: Music for 18 Musicians --- Dear God make it stop!!!

Okay, I think that’s enough for now. ;D
"Humility is society's greatest misconception."

Offline JBS

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Re: Ten (or so) well-known works you don't enjoy that much
« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2021, 06:48:41 AM »
I re-appreciated this often maligned work when I became acquainted with Stravinsky’s Les noces. It made abundantly clear where many of Carmina Burana’s orchestral effects came from. 😎

My problem is not with the work itself. My problem is that I've heard it so many times it now bores me to death. Even the on-stage orgasm can't save it.

Hollywood Beach Broadwalk

Offline Brian

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Re: Ten (or so) well-known works you don't enjoy that much
« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2021, 07:40:52 AM »
Prokofiev: Romeo & Juliet --- it’s not a bad work of course, but I just find it overlong and mind-numbingly boring as the ballet progresses
The problem with every single adaptation of R&J (Berlioz too) (well...and Shakespeare!) is that the ending is an anticlimax. All the fun stuff happens in the middle, and then at the end you just have a bunch of people being asleep and drinking poisons.

Offline foxandpeng

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Re: Ten (or so) well-known works you don't enjoy that much
« Reply #14 on: July 21, 2021, 11:00:36 AM »
Piano Concertos
Solo Piano Music
Chopin
Liszt
Piano Etudes

You get the general idea, until you get to ten well-known piano-based/piano-forward works.

There are obviously exceptions, but even considering its almost limitless versatility, I have less love for the piano than for other instruments.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2021, 11:03:41 AM by foxandpeng »

Offline JBS

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Re: Ten (or so) well-known works you don't enjoy that much
« Reply #15 on: July 21, 2021, 11:25:09 AM »
The problem with every single adaptation of R&J (Berlioz too) (well...and Shakespeare!) is that the ending is an anticlimax. All the fun stuff happens in the middle, and then at the end you just have a bunch of people being asleep and drinking poisons.

And the depressing fact that the climax consists of a 17 year old and a 14 year old killing themselves. (At least in the Shakespearean version: their ages are mentioned in the play's early scenes.)

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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Ten (or so) well-known works you don't enjoy that much
« Reply #16 on: July 21, 2021, 12:56:11 PM »
My problem is not with the work itself. My problem is that I've heard it so many times it now bores me to death. Even the on-stage orgasm can't save it.

Nope.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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http://www.karlhenning.com/
[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 Florestan

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Re: Ten (or so) well-known works you don't enjoy that much
« Reply #17 on: July 21, 2021, 10:57:10 PM »
Any symphony by Bruckner, except 1 and 4.

Anything by Wagner.

Brahms' First Symphony.

Beethoven's odd-numbered symphonies, except 1.
"Beauty must appeal to the senses, must provide us with immediate enjoyment, must impress us or insinuate itself into us without any effort on our part."
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Offline Jo498

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Re: Ten (or so) well-known works you don't enjoy that much
« Reply #18 on: July 21, 2021, 11:50:28 PM »
Wow, Jo and I really agree on a lot. The Rococo Variations are extremely boring, one of the worst pieces by any major composer to me. And I forgot Ein Heldenleben but I listened for the first time ever earlier this year and on first listen, absolutely hated it. I do think the finale of the Beethoven Pastoral should be about 10% faster than is commonly done. There is a slightly faster tempo which, if you get it correctly in your head, sounds lively but has a lyrical, sung quality as if the melody is a folk song for voices.
I think the main reason for the ubiquity of the Rococo is the dearth of good concertante cello works (and maybe the LP playing times that made it an ideal filler).
As for the Pastoral, I also think that all movements except dance + storm are often played a bit too slow. I still think that it is one of the most successful "mildly programmatic" pieces and it's Beethoven in his prime, so it is still good. I just almost never feel like listening to it.
Like with Mozart's Requiem it's more that I am puzzled at the praise and extreme popularity. Despite its borrowing from Handel and Michael Haydn the Introitus does add a personal touch and there are a few hints of this also in later pieces (I love the Confutatis that is used in that famous scene in "Amadeus").
But the Kyrie is often treated as the second coming (at least of Bach, if not Christ) when it is in fact a fairly generic piece (like "And he shall purify" and countless others). And so on.

Quote
I love the Organ Symphony but I do know from hearing it (and from talking to organists) that the organ part is extremely simple and can be played by any adequate student. The fact that recordings all compete to use the greatest organists on the planet (coming soon there's one with Thierry Escaich!!) is total overkill and a waste of talent when they could be doing organ concertos/symphonies by Widor, Copland, Poulenc, etc.
I am generally not too fond of organ mixed with large orchestra (Handel or Bach BWV 146 is o.k.) and neither of organ and piano occurring in non-concertante orchestral works. More often than not it appears gimmicky to me. (I have heard but do not know well some of the other pieces you mention.)
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 amw

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Re: Ten (or so) well-known works you don't enjoy that much
« Reply #19 on: July 22, 2021, 12:16:27 AM »
Wagner - Tristan und Isolde. Everything in it is very well done, but it makes me feel like the composer is trying to blatantly and shamelessly manipulate me, and my brain naturally rejects this. It feels like a bizarre form of "re-education": You Are Feeling Longing Now. You Must Feel Sexual Arousal For The Next 37 Bars. The Dominant Seventh Pedal Will Continue Until Emotional Response Improves.

Mozart - String Quartet in B-flat major, KV458. The only Mozart piece I know of that actively annoys me (apart from some of the more overplayed numbers from the London sketchbook).

Beethoven - Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125. The first three movements are boring, and even feel like the composer was bored; that he was still trying to write in his "middle period" style but had run out of ideas. Things pick up when the singers enter.

Chopin - Polonaise in A-flat major, Op. 53 ("Heroic" or "Carpal Tunnel Syndrome"). I am actually not alone in this, the rest of my family members also hate this piece. I think it may just be Chopin's style not doing well in pieces of an unambiguously triumphant cast; it feels crude and violent when it's probably not supposed to. (I love its counterpart, the Polonaise in F-sharp minor Op. 44, which has almost the same exact structure, but in which the crudeness and violence are completely intentional.)

Shostakovich - Symphony No. 10 in E minor, Op. 93. I guess it's not terrible, but people regularly point to this as the composer's greatest work while apart from the scherzo (which is indeed very fun) the rest of it feels like a slog. In live performances I find myself half asleep up until the tam-tam crash in the last movement, which signals "almost time to go home".

I have actually listened to all of the Strauss tone poems with the assistance of my university library's Strauss Complete Edition scores, and nevertheless remember none of them, so I suppose Heldenleben may be terrible or maybe just unmemorable but it didn't stand out as particularly either one compared to his other works. (The only one I remember is Till Eulenspiegel and that's because we had to analyse it in a high school music theory class.)

I don't mind the Mozart Requiem, though it's not his best work by any means. But honestly in general, for most of everyone else's choices (even the pieces I love), I can definitely understand why someone would hate them. No real WTF moments in this thread from that perspective.