Author Topic: The Worst First!  (Read 71309 times)

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Offline Biffo

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Re: The Worst First!
« Reply #340 on: September 03, 2018, 01:30:58 AM »
As pointed out above the 'Study' symphony in F minor was Bruckner's first completed symphony and it is sometimes called No '00'. It was followed by the D minor symphony. Next Bruckner wrote the C minor symphony now known as No 1. It received a hostile reception when performed and Bruckner returned to the D minor symphony and revised it; he then put it aside and started another symphony in C minor, now known as No 2. Thirty years later Bruckner revised No 1 and looked at the D minor Symphony and gave the name No 0; it wasn't performed in Bruckner's lifetime.

No 1 in C minor is the first Bruckner symphony I ever heard (Jochum/Berlin PO) and I think it is a fine work.

Offline André

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Re: The Worst First!
« Reply #341 on: September 03, 2018, 03:35:37 AM »
As pointed out above the 'Study' symphony in F minor was Bruckner's first completed symphony and it is sometimes called No '00'. It was followed by the D minor symphony. Next Bruckner wrote the C minor symphony now known as No 1. It received a hostile reception when performed and Bruckner returned to the D minor symphony and revised it; he then put it aside and started another symphony in C minor, now known as No 2. Thirty years later Bruckner revised No 1 and looked at the D minor Symphony and gave the name No 0; it wasn't performed in Bruckner's lifetime.

No 1 in C minor is the first Bruckner symphony I ever heard (Jochum/Berlin PO) and I think it is a fine work.

+ 1. The scherzo is one of Bruckner’s very best and the explosive beginning of the finale is a knockout moment. It always reminds me of Helgoland in its fiery grandeur - although the latter was composed at the tail end of Bruckner’s career.

Offline Cato

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Re: The Worst First!
« Reply #342 on: September 03, 2018, 03:58:06 AM »
As pointed out above the 'Study' symphony in F minor was Bruckner's first completed symphony and it is sometimes called No '00'. It was followed by the D minor symphony. Next Bruckner wrote the C minor symphony now known as No 1. It received a hostile reception when performed and Bruckner returned to the D minor symphony and revised it; he then put it aside and started another symphony in C minor, now known as No 2. Thirty years later Bruckner revised No 1 and looked at the D minor Symphony and gave the name No 0; it wasn't performed in Bruckner's lifetime.

No 1 in C minor is the first Bruckner symphony I ever heard (Jochum/Berlin PO) and I think it is a fine work.


+ 1. The scherzo is one of Bruckner’s very best and the explosive beginning of the finale is a knockout moment. It always reminds me of Helgoland in its fiery grandeur - although the latter was composed at the tail end of Bruckner’s career.

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Offline Mahlerian

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Re: The Worst First!
« Reply #343 on: September 03, 2018, 04:21:40 AM »
As pointed out above the 'Study' symphony in F minor was Bruckner's first completed symphony and it is sometimes called No '00'. It was followed by the D minor symphony. Next Bruckner wrote the C minor symphony now known as No 1. It received a hostile reception when performed and Bruckner returned to the D minor symphony and revised it; he then put it aside and started another symphony in C minor, now known as No 2. Thirty years later Bruckner revised No 1 and looked at the D minor Symphony and gave the name No 0; it wasn't performed in Bruckner's lifetime.

No 1 in C minor is the first Bruckner symphony I ever heard (Jochum/Berlin PO) and I think it is a fine work.

Recent scholarship puts the D minor after the C minor, which is one reason why I think the "No. 0" thing that people use is misleading at best.  "No. 00," of course, makes no sense whatsoever, but it's the only symphony Bruckner wrote in F minor, so it's easy to refer to it by that, unfortunately, he wrote a few others in D minor...
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Offline OrchestralNut

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Re: The Worst First!
« Reply #344 on: April 07, 2021, 08:59:28 AM »
Resurrecting this old thread just to say that I really don't think Dvořák's is as bad as what a lot of people make it out to be.

I seem to especially like that 3rd movement Allegretto.

DavidW

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Re: The Worst First!
« Reply #345 on: April 07, 2021, 09:54:06 AM »
None of the major composer's first symphonies are bad.  Clearly for some of them they hadn't found their voice yet.  So while not as great as their masterpieces, they are still interesting for demonstrating the evolution of their style.

Offline MusicTurner

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Re: The Worst First!
« Reply #346 on: April 07, 2021, 09:56:43 AM »
Resurrecting this old thread just to say that I really don't think Dvořák's is as bad as what a lot of people make it out to be.

I seem to especially like that 3rd movement Allegretto.

Hearing the Kosler recording made the work more interesting to me recently.

Offline Brian

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Re: The Worst First!
« Reply #347 on: April 09, 2021, 12:34:50 PM »
Prokofiev's first may be a trifle, but it is not bad by any means. That's what he meant.

I saw Brahms 1st mentioned. That seems too silly to reply to. Clearly just a provocation. I also saw Schumann 1. Except, IIRC, Schumann 4 was written before Schumann 1. I like both a lot.

Shostakovich 1st. I'm sure it's bad, I've never heard it. I've never gotten it on an individual disc and the notes of every Shostakovich cycle I have warn me off it. Must be really bad. :)

If we ever nominate a thread for worst last symphony, I nominate Nielsen.
Nielsen has a good case for worst last and best first. (Though my own personal "Best First" rankings would probably go Berlioz, Walton, Prokofiev, Schumann, Nielsen.)

This is going to be a super unpopular opinion but...I do think Brahms' First is at best "problematic." All that drama in the first movement, and then the movement ends happily and resolves itself into peace, followed by 15 minutes of peaceful calm and cheer, followed by a heroic finale completely out of proportion to the bucolic simplicity of the previous two movements. Of course, Mahler did the same thing in some of his symphonies, having super dramatic beginnings and endings with a whole lot of cheery pastoral fluff in between. It leaves me......well, not cold, I like all those pieces, but it does leave me with mixed feelings.

Offline Symphonic Addict

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Re: The Worst First!
« Reply #348 on: April 09, 2021, 07:55:10 PM »
Maybe not the worst first, but these could qualify to me:

Goossens
Schumann
Szymanowski
Halvorsen
Arensky
Taneyev
d'Indy Symphonie italienne
Reinecke
Bruckner 00
Harris
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!

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Online vandermolen

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Re: The Worst First!
« Reply #349 on: April 09, 2021, 09:41:37 PM »
I like the Khachaturian and Goossens 1st symphonies very much.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Wanderer

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Re: The Worst First!
« Reply #350 on: April 09, 2021, 09:51:44 PM »
This is going to be a super unpopular opinion but...I do think Brahms' First is at best "problematic." All that drama in the first movement, and then the movement ends happily and resolves itself into peace, followed by 15 minutes of peaceful calm and cheer, followed by a heroic finale completely out of proportion to the bucolic simplicity of the previous two movements. Of course, Mahler did the same thing in some of his symphonies, having super dramatic beginnings and endings with a whole lot of cheery pastoral fluff in between. It leaves me......well, not cold, I like all those pieces, but it does leave me with mixed feelings.

"...the movement ends happily and resolves itself into peace"?! Do those really sound like happy tympani and happy strings to you?* As I've always perceived this movement's ending, it's an uneasy, precarious respite from whatever nightmare/existential angst/inner or outer tragedy/struggle one might connect it with - at best.

*(that's rhetorical, no explanation asked or needed; )

Always interesting, fascinating even, to read about seemingly "incomprehensible" perceptions. That's the unfathomable power of music in action, able to convey different things to each one of us.  8)


Offline springrite

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Re: The Worst First!
« Reply #351 on: April 09, 2021, 09:58:01 PM »
Most of the really really bad firsts have been well-hidden.

New discoveries of Symphony #0, #00, etc. are not always a good thing.
Do what I must do, and let what must happen happen.

Offline Wanderer

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Re: The Worst First!
« Reply #352 on: April 09, 2021, 10:05:51 PM »
So far, the only symphony I've seen mentioned in this thread that could really bear the title The Worst with pride, is Furtwängler's. Time and again, one sees people call this or that work bombastic, when it's anything but, it usually being joyous, boisterous or celebratory. I think Furtwängler's First is the kind of bombastic that all other bombastic works strive to be. The world still awaits for the genius conductor and superlative orchestra who will perform this and persuade the world that it's a good piece of music.

Offline Wanderer

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Re: The Worst First!
« Reply #353 on: April 09, 2021, 10:06:16 PM »
Most of the really really bad firsts have been well-hidden.

So true.

Offline springrite

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Re: The Worst First!
« Reply #354 on: April 09, 2021, 10:07:06 PM »
So far, the only symphony I've seen mentioned in this thread that could really bear the title The Worst with pride, is Furtwängler's. Time and again, one sees people call this or that work bombastic, when it's anything but, it usually being joyous, boisterous or celebratory. I think Furtwängler's First is the kind of bombastic that all other bombastic works strive to be. The world still awaits for the genius conductor and superlative orchestra who will perform this and persuade the world that it's a good piece of music.
I love all three of them!
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Offline Wanderer

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Re: The Worst First!
« Reply #355 on: April 09, 2021, 10:18:52 PM »
I love all three of them!

Regarding his No. 1, I think it's the kind of "bad" that transcends the conventional, like the kind of trash-TV that ultimately reaches cult status, or those fascinatingly appalling botched restoration projects from Spain that make the news once in a while.

Offline Maestro267

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Re: The Worst First!
« Reply #356 on: April 09, 2021, 11:38:44 PM »
Honestly surprised to see Schumann 1 mentioned. Unless you're talking of an earlier symphony rather than the one that's come to us as the First, namely the "Spring" in B flat major.

Offline springrite

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Re: The Worst First!
« Reply #357 on: April 09, 2021, 11:42:11 PM »
Regarding his No. 1, I think it's the kind of "bad" that transcends the conventional, like the kind of trash-TV that ultimately reaches cult status, or those fascinatingly appalling botched restoration projects from Spain that make the news once in a while.
In other words, it is the Eiffel Tower!
Do what I must do, and let what must happen happen.

Offline OrchestralNut

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Re: The Worst First!
« Reply #358 on: April 10, 2021, 02:21:47 AM »
Maybe not the worst first, but these could qualify to me:

Taneyev


I really like Taneyev's first.  :-[ :-X


DavidW

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Re: The Worst First!
« Reply #359 on: April 10, 2021, 05:53:50 AM »
This is going to be a super unpopular opinion but...I do think Brahms' First is at best "problematic." All that drama in the first movement, and then the movement ends happily and resolves itself into peace, followed by 15 minutes of peaceful calm and cheer, followed by a heroic finale completely out of proportion to the bucolic simplicity of the previous two movements. Of course, Mahler did the same thing in some of his symphonies, having super dramatic beginnings and endings with a whole lot of cheery pastoral fluff in between. It leaves me......well, not cold, I like all those pieces, but it does leave me with mixed feelings.

This hot take is hilariously pretentious!  I obviously disagree, it is a masterpiece.  But not only that but your narrative description is just bizarre.  It is the kind of criticism I would have expected from a Wagnerian at the time. ;D