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The Music Room => General Classical Music Discussion => Topic started by: Cato on December 11, 2007, 12:29:07 PM

Title: The Worst First!
Post by: Cato on December 11, 2007, 12:29:07 PM
Yes, in Germany you always eat the Wurst first!   8)

But we are talking about SYMPHONIES now!

Since the forum loves lists and rankings, how about your opinions on the Worst First Symphony by a composer?

Dvorak's Bells of Zlonice?  (Anybody?  Anybody?)

Khachaturian?  (Can you even find a recording of it?)

Copland?   :o

How many people have I just outraged with these suggestions?   0:)
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: karlhenning on December 11, 2007, 12:30:57 PM
Since the forum loves lists and rankings, how about your opinions on the Worst First Symphony by a composer?

Elgar
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: BachQ on December 11, 2007, 12:32:43 PM
Elgar
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: 71 dB on December 11, 2007, 12:34:09 PM
Elgar

Elgar's first symphony is perhaps the most matured and sophisticated first symphony ever. Elgar was very experienced and skilfull composer at the time he wrote it. In fact I think Elgar's first is the best first symphony ever!

 :)
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: EmpNapoleon on December 11, 2007, 12:34:51 PM
Elgar
Elgar

Thirded.  Some composers can't handle pressure.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: BachQ on December 11, 2007, 12:36:59 PM
Complete BS. Elgar's first symphony is perhaps the most matured and sophisticated first symphony ever. Clearly too sophisticated for you.

We do concede, however, that Elgar 1 generates some fabulous vibrational fields ........
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: karlhenning on December 11, 2007, 12:37:54 PM
Dvorak's Bells of Zlonice?  (Anybody?  Anybody?)

Khachaturian?  (Can you even find a recording of it?)

Copland?   :o

I need to revisit the Dvořák, but I remember liking it very well;  I don't think it's a serious contender for Worst First.

Never heard the Khachaturian, cannot comment.

The Copland would be the Symphony for Organ and Orchestra, yes?  I've been meaning to investigate that one.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: greg on December 11, 2007, 12:39:11 PM
surprisingly, i can't think of a first symphony that's actually bad..... i guess that's cuz i haven't listened to Rachmaninov's or Elgar's 1st yet......
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: 71 dB on December 11, 2007, 12:40:06 PM
Good night!
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: MN Dave on December 11, 2007, 12:41:34 PM
Now you've done it.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: greg on December 11, 2007, 12:42:31 PM
i think we have given him some unpleasant vibrational fields.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: karlhenning on December 11, 2007, 12:43:23 PM
i think we have given him some unpleasant vibrational fields.

He's just not sophisticated enough to handle good vibrational fields, poor sod.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: EmpNapoleon on December 11, 2007, 12:51:55 PM
Thirded. 

I feel bad.  I know my opinion hardly matters, but perhaps if only two mentioned Elgar's 1st, he wouldn't have gotten that upset.  Come back 71!
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: karlhenning on December 11, 2007, 12:53:38 PM
I feel bad.  I know my opinion hardly matters, but perhaps if only two mentioned Elgar's 1st, he wouldn't have gotten that upset.

Don't fret; he'd flown off the handle before your post appeared.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Gustav on December 11, 2007, 12:55:49 PM
Yes, in Germany you always eat the Wurst first!   8)

But we are talking about SYMPHONIES now!

Since the forum loves lists and rankings, how about your opinions on the Worst First Symphony by a composer?

Dvorak's Bells of Zlonice?  (Anybody?  Anybody?)

How many people have I just outraged with these suggestions?   0:)

 :o
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Wanderer on December 11, 2007, 01:06:22 PM
I can't think of a truly horrible First Symphony at the moment. I strongly believe, though, that Elgar's First Symphony doesn't belong in this thread.  8)
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: m_gigena on December 11, 2007, 01:14:22 PM
Elgar's first symphony is perhaps the most matured and sophisticated first symphony ever.

Why?
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: MN Dave on December 11, 2007, 01:16:02 PM
Why?

He cannot answer you where he is now.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: jochanaan on December 11, 2007, 01:21:57 PM
The least satisfactory First I know is Gounod's.  It's pleasant enough--but against such formidable contenders for good Firsts as Beethoven, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich and even Bizet, it's simply not in the running.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: karlhenning on December 11, 2007, 01:22:47 PM
I must say that I remain in entire ignorance of Gounod's First . . . .
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: m_gigena on December 11, 2007, 01:23:56 PM
I must say that I remain in entire ignorance of Gounod's First . . . .

Now you also know there's at least a second.






EDIT: That being said, I'll check Amazon.com to order Debussy's second rhapsody for clarinet.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Valentino on December 11, 2007, 01:25:50 PM
Mozart.  8)
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: karlhenning on December 11, 2007, 01:26:46 PM
Now you also know there's at least a second.

Yikes, and five recordings of each available at Arkivmusic.com!


Quote from: Manuel
EDIT: That being said, I'll check Amazon.com to order Debussy's second rhapsody for clarinet.

That is a lovely, lovely piece.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: karlhenning on December 11, 2007, 01:27:14 PM
Mozart.  8)

Aw, give an 11-year-old a break!  8)
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: BachQ on December 11, 2007, 01:27:37 PM
Mozart.  8)

Mozart Sym 1 is cute .......
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: jochanaan on December 11, 2007, 01:28:15 PM
I must say that I remain in entire ignorance of Gounod's First . . . .
You're not missing anything of substance. :-\
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: BachQ on December 11, 2007, 01:28:49 PM
Aw, give an 11-year-old a break!  8)

He was 8
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: karlhenning on December 11, 2007, 01:29:37 PM
Woops.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: edward on December 11, 2007, 01:31:19 PM
I don't know any truly awful first symphonies by significant composers, but Ives' and Carter's first symphonies are certainly unrepresentative of their mature style.

I confess to finding Scriabin's first symphony a total bore, so I'll nominate it.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Wanderer on December 11, 2007, 01:40:57 PM
I confess to finding Scriabin's first symphony a total bore, so I'll nominate it.

And yet, that first movement is so lovely. He ought to have stopped there, perhaps...  ;D

And does anyone truly like Rachmaninov's First?
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: karlhenning on December 11, 2007, 01:42:39 PM
And does anyone truly like Rachmaninov's First?

I should give that a listen . . . .
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: greg on December 11, 2007, 01:43:34 PM
I must say that I remain in entire ignorance of Gounod's First . . . .
somehow that seems like a blessing
(me too)
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: BachQ on December 11, 2007, 01:43:53 PM
And does anyone truly like Rachmaninov's First?

Of course!
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Wanderer on December 11, 2007, 01:44:09 PM
I should give that a listen . . . .

It's truly tragic... in multiple ways.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Morigan on December 11, 2007, 01:45:12 PM
Rachmaninov's first was a total flop (but, as we all know, that happened at the premiere of many, many good works)

Personally, I can't sit through the finale of Dvorak's first. I get too annoyed.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: BachQ on December 11, 2007, 01:45:35 PM
It's truly tragic... in multiple ways.

And it's in D Minor ......
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Wanderer on December 11, 2007, 01:46:52 PM
And it's in D Minor ......

That's the least of its tragedies.  :)
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Cato on December 11, 2007, 01:52:18 PM
The Rach is always awesome, even when he's awry: the First is repetitious and is full of preening adolescent Todesangst mixed with 20-something tragedy.

But I don't mind!    0:)

And should we wonder about C.M. von Weber, Mendelssohn, and Wagner in this topic?
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: jochanaan on December 11, 2007, 01:55:40 PM
...And does anyone truly like Rachmaninov's First?
YES!!  It's intense and atmospheric, and the ending is a great musical tragic catharsis, almost on a Mahlerian level.
And should we wonder about C.M. von Weber, Mendelssohn, and Wagner in this topic?
I've heard them all, and none of them are at all in the running for "wurst." ;) Weber's is theatrical and dramatic in the best senses; Mendelssohn's is lots of fun and beautifully crafted, like all his other music; and Wagner's, while by no means his best work, has some real substance.  (Always IMHO.)
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: EmpNapoleon on December 11, 2007, 01:56:21 PM
And should we wonder about C.M. von Weber, Mendelssohn, and Wagner in this topic?

No.  Well, you can.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Cato on December 11, 2007, 02:50:23 PM
YES!!  It's intense and atmospheric, and the ending is a great musical tragic catharsis, almost on a Mahlerian level.I've heard them all, and none of them are at all in the running for "wurst." ;) Weber's is theatrical and dramatic in the best senses; Mendelssohn's is lots of fun and beautifully crafted, like all his other music; and Wagner's, while by no means his best work, has some real substance.  (Always IMHO.)

I recall them for not being memorable, and was particularly disappointed with von Weber.  But that was over 40 years ago!   :o

Maybe I will give them another chance before another 40 years zip by!
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Joe Barron on December 11, 2007, 03:07:38 PM
I don't know any truly awful first symphonies by significant composers, but Ives' and Carter's first symphonies are certainly unrepresentative of their mature style.

I'm going to surpise everyone and nominate Carter.  The fact that ithe Syomphony NO. 1 doesn't reflect his mature style isn't really the problem. Ives's first isn't mature, either, and neither is Stravinsky's, but both of them are very vibrant and show their composers to be young men of great promise  and creativity. I've often called the Ives First the best sypmphony written by an American before — well, before Ives. I don't think Carter's First quite falls into that category. It's pleasant enough, as you say, and it's not bad, but it doesn't announce an exciting new talent. The piece that does is the Piano Sonata, written only a few years later.

Karl, you'll like the Copland Organ Symphony. The composer found his voice early. It more modernist than the later stuff, but unmistakably Copland.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Don on December 11, 2007, 03:13:01 PM
Of the 1st symphonies I'm familiar with, Hanson's get my nod.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: jochanaan on December 11, 2007, 04:53:02 PM
Of the 1st symphonies I'm familiar with, Hanson's get my nod.
Interesting; I'm not familiar with that one.  If that's true, he sure redeemed himself with his 2nd. ;D
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: karlhenning on December 11, 2007, 05:39:58 PM
That's the least of its tragedies.  :)

Glazunov being one of its greatest  ;D
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: 12tone. on December 11, 2007, 07:55:23 PM
What about Bax's first?  Last I remember, it was hard to get through.

I found Dvorak's first a bit of a bore myself too.

Nieslen's first?  Hmm....

RVW's first?  That's the Sea Symphony no?  Yeah, boring.



YAWWWwwwnnnnn....

(http://www.sonomaarts.com/images/Corrick1.jpg)







Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: techniquest on December 12, 2007, 12:03:02 AM
Quote
Khachaturian?  (Can you even find a recording of it?)
As far as I know there have been 3 recordings of the 1st - 2 conducted by Tjeknavorian, the latter being part of his cycle of Khachaturian music for ASV, and one ancient one conducted by Alexander Gauk which I have on vinyl on the MK label but which has been transferred (still in mono) to CD - possibly 'Russian Disc'. In any event, this isn't a bad job for young composer who only started to read music at age 19; not as good as No.2 but far better than No.3.
Much as I hate to say it, I would agree that RVW's Sea Symphony is probably his worst (I too find it boring).
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: 71 dB on December 12, 2007, 01:22:46 AM
Beethoven's first is the worst I know.

RVW's first symphony was a big pleasant surprise to me. I heard it yesterday. I really liked it!  :)
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Symphonien on December 12, 2007, 02:35:20 AM
Beethoven's first is the worst I know.

Surely not! I actually enjoy his 1st much more than I do his 2nd.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: 71 dB on December 12, 2007, 02:51:19 AM
Surely not! I actually enjoy his 1st much more than I do his 2nd.

His 2nd symphony can't be nominated because it is the 2nd.  ;D
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: 71 dB on December 12, 2007, 03:14:27 AM
Beethoven's first is the worst I know.

I just listened to Rachmaninov's first symphony and I think it's even worse than Beethoven's. :P
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: karlhenning on December 12, 2007, 04:34:49 AM
Much as I hate to say it, I would agree that RVW's Sea Symphony is probably his worst (I too find it boring).

Well, the least good of the Vaughan Williams cycle is one thing; perhaps I might agree with that slice of the remark.  Boring?  I don't think so.  It's one of a handful of Whitman settings which I find does the poet something like justice.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Cato on December 12, 2007, 04:40:28 AM
I just listened to Rachmaninov's first symphony and I think it's even worse than Beethoven's. :P

Wow!  I was practically positive Beethoven's would never be mentioned here!  I do believe most people would agree, as mentioned above, that a rather startling new talent is proclaimed, even with just that opening chord.

To be sure, the first two Beethoven symphonies are still shedding talcum from all the powdered wigs, but raw, unpowdered living is much in evidence!

See my earlier comments on the Rachmaninov First Symphony.  Of course, after its premiere, a reviewer called it the best symphony on the 10 plagues of Egypt written by the best student in Hell's Conservatory!   >:D   What an endorsement of greatness!   :D

I have hesitated to nominate, or offer for your consideration, Firsts from composers such as Raff, Glazunov, the Bach Street Boys, et al. since their futures were not destined to be at the top.   :o

Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: karlhenning on December 12, 2007, 04:42:39 AM
Wow!  I was practically positive Beethoven's would never be mentioned here!

Consider the source of the remark; 'nuff said.

Beethoven's is a particularly strong initial symphony, and of a refreshingly specific character, much more so (necessarily) than the Mozart juvenilia, e.g.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: 71 dB on December 12, 2007, 04:48:01 AM
Wow!  I was practically positive Beethoven's would never be mentioned here!  

Well, imagine my amazement Elgar's was mentioned here!  :o
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: karlhenning on December 12, 2007, 04:48:12 AM
Quote
I just listened to Rachmaninov's first symphony and I think it's even worse than Beethoven's.

Quote
Complete BS. Clearly too sophisticated for you.[/size]
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: karlhenning on December 12, 2007, 04:50:56 AM
Well, imagine my amazement Elgar's was mentioned here!

That amazement is simply a product of your inflated opinion of a work which most sober listeners find (a) mixed and (b) not among the composer's finest achievements.

The simple fact is, Poju, that given the question, when I considered First Symphonies to which I have listened over the past year, Elgar's was readily the weakest of them, the least entirely accomplished symphony: the "worst first."

It's only on Planet Poju that this becomes "anti-Elgarian."
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: val on December 12, 2007, 05:00:24 AM
I think that it is interesting that so many composers wrote remarkable first Symphonies. Sometimes, better than their ulterior works.

Since I cannot imagine what is the worst first Symphony, I will mention all the very good first Symphonies:

Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Bruckner, Borodin, Tchaikovsky, Sibelius, Dvorak, Nielsen, Elgar, Prokofiev, Shostakovitch.

Wait, I think I found "my worst" first Symphony. Charles Ives. 
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: 71 dB on December 12, 2007, 05:00:38 AM
That amazement is simply a product of your inflated opinion of a work which most sober listeners find (a) mixed and (b) not among the composer's finest achievements.

The simple fact is, Poju, that given the question, when I considered First Symphonies to which I have listened over the past year, Elgar's was readily the weakest of them, the least entirely accomplished symphony: the "worst first."

It's only on Planet Poju that this becomes "anti-Elgarian."

Inflated opinion? Elgar's symphonies have given me superior musical pleasure for 10 years! There is nothing inflated about that.

It would be so nice to be like other and be a Mahlerian or whatever... ...but I can't help it I find Elgar superior and I have to suffer from that this way!
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: BachQ on December 12, 2007, 05:01:46 AM
Beethoven's first is the worst I know.

Actually, 71dB, with the exception of the Pastoral, ALL of Beethoven's Symphonies are very poorly orchestrated.  What a mess.  LvB should not have ventured past the string quartet genre.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: karlhenning on December 12, 2007, 05:02:56 AM
Inflated opinion? Elgar's symphonies have given me superior musical pleasure for 10 years! There is nothing inflated about that.

Ah yes, welcome to another conversation with Poju which chases its tail.

Take a deep breath, Poju.  Musical greatness is not simply a matter of Poju liking it a lot.

Got it?  Good.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: BachQ on December 12, 2007, 05:04:06 AM
Musical greatness is not simply a matter of Poju liking it a lot.

It is on Planet Poju .........
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: 71 dB on December 12, 2007, 05:04:55 AM
Actually, 71dB, with the exception of the Pastoral, ALL of Beethoven's Symphonies are very poorly orchestrated.  What a mess.  LvB should not have ventured past the string quartet genre.

Don't misshandle my words! They are not VERY POORLY orchestrated, just mediocre.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: BachQ on December 12, 2007, 05:06:24 AM
Don't misshandle my words! They are not VERY POORLY orchestrated, just mediocre.

In comparison to Elgar, they are VERY POORLY orchestrated ........ No?
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: 71 dB on December 12, 2007, 05:06:38 AM
Musical greatness is not simply a matter of Poju liking it a lot.

Got it?  Good.

It's not what Karl Henning likes either! Got it?  Good.

Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: karlhenning on December 12, 2007, 05:08:46 AM
They are not VERY POORLY orchestrated, just mediocre.

Go right ahead, and dig into that hole, Poju.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: karlhenning on December 12, 2007, 05:10:21 AM
It's not what Karl Henning likes either!

The significant difference being, Poju, that I do not call anyone else a non-freethinking imbecile for no better reason than that his musical tastes differ to mine.

That we leave to small minds such as yours.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: 71 dB on December 12, 2007, 05:10:30 AM
Go right ahead, and dig into that hole, Poju.

You keep doing that whatever I say. I HATE you!

God heavens you make me furious. I just want to talk about classical music, maybe meet other Elgarians and so on.... ...I don't want this, I don't want to be hostile. I want to be friendly and I want other people be friendly too
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Cato on December 12, 2007, 05:23:30 AM
You keep doing that whatever I say. I HATE you!

God heavens you make me furious. I just want to talk about classical music, maybe meet other Elgarians and so on.... ...I don't want this, I don't want to be hostile. I want to be friendly and I want other people be friendly too

This has to be ironically satiric, right?

If not:

Try: www.elgar.org
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: karlhenning on December 12, 2007, 05:24:30 AM
I haven't heard the Skryabin First, and maybe it's as bad as all that.

Haven't yet listened to "Rocky I" . . . but I hear so much of merit in II and III, that it would really surprise me, when I do actually listen to the First, if I find that it belongs at the bottom of the 'first heap'.

Speaking of first symphonies which are nothing like a composer's mature voice . . . there's the Stravinsky Symphony in E-Flat, of course.  Not anything like 'the worst first', though.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Grazioso on December 12, 2007, 05:25:21 AM
I've been embarked on a listening project to hear the complete symphony cycles of as many composers as possible (it's my favorite genre), and I have to say that Elgar's 1st is one I just haven't been able to listen to all the way through despite a few tries.

I know it's fashionable around here to mock Elgar, and I'm not doing that since I genuinely enjoy some of his works, but that symphony just hasn't done for me yet.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: BachQ on December 12, 2007, 05:26:03 AM
Try: www.elgar.org

Ahhhhh!  ......... Home Sweet Home ........
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: BachQ on December 12, 2007, 05:27:31 AM
and I have to say that Elgar's 1st is one I just haven't been able to listen to all the way through despite a few tries.

I know it's fashionable around here to mock Elgar, and I'm not doing that since I genuinely enjoy some of his works, but that symphony just hasn't done for me yet.

Testify, brother ......... Keep hope alive! ..........
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: karlhenning on December 12, 2007, 05:29:36 AM
You keep doing that whatever I say. I HATE you!

God heavens you make me furious. I just want to talk about classical music, maybe meet other Elgarians and so on.... ...I don't want this, I don't want to be hostile. I want to be friendly and I want other people be friendly too

Well, I don't hate you, Poju.  Roughly half of what you say is next door to nonsense, but I do not find that any occasion for hatred.  For instance, you take the fact that I do not have an especially high opinion of the Elgar First as "anti-Elgarian."  That is unadulterated piffle, Poju.

I'll let you in on a secret, Poju.  If it were true that you do not want to be hostile, you won't be.

If people not having a high opinion of the Elgar First is going to enrage you, you must prepare yourself for frequent enragement.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: 71 dB on December 12, 2007, 05:31:55 AM
I've been embarked on a listening project to hear the complete symphony cycles of as many composers as possible (it's my favorite genre), and I have to say that Elgar's 1st is one I just haven't been able to listen to all the way through despite a few tries.

I know it's fashionable around here to mock Elgar, and I'm not doing that since I genuinely enjoy some of his works, but that symphony just hasn't done for me yet.

I can't understand why people don't enjoy this fantastic symphony!  ???

Well, we all have our tastes...
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: BachQ on December 12, 2007, 05:32:18 AM
Try: www.elgar.org

There's also PlanetPoju.com ............
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Mark G. Simon on December 12, 2007, 05:32:31 AM

Dvorak's Bells of Zlonice?  (Anybody?  Anybody?)

Khachaturian?  (Can you even find a recording of it?)

Copland?   :o

How many people have I just outraged with these suggestions?   0:)

Dvorak's 1st is indeed a horror story. Easily the worst first symphony by a great symphonist.

Elgar's 1st is pretty darn good. I like the 2nd better, but the first ain't chopped liver.

I haven't heard Copland's 1st -- ie, the Organ Symphony shorn of its solo instrument -- but the Organ Symphony itself is really a terrific score, and I feel confident that Copland was capable of incorporating all the solo part into the orchestra without harming the work's aesthetic impact.

Also in regard to bad first symphonies, I think we can also add Stravinsky's Symphony in E flat to the list of stinkers. It's pretty good for a student work, and a respectable effort for a no-name hack, but for a composer of Stravinsky's stature it's surely an embarrassment.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: 71 dB on December 12, 2007, 05:33:22 AM
Try: www.elgar.org

I visit there often but they don't have a discussion board so I can't communicate with anyone.  :(
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Mark G. Simon on December 12, 2007, 05:34:29 AM
Now you also know there's at least a second.






EDIT: That being said, I'll check Amazon.com to order Debussy's second rhapsody for clarinet.

Let me know when you find it! I'd love to hear it.  :)
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: 71 dB on December 12, 2007, 05:36:40 AM
Elgar's 1st is pretty darn good. I like the 2nd better, but the first ain't chopped liver.

Finally support! Thanks Mark G. Simon!  :)

Those who understand Elgar know the 2nd is even better than the first.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: 71 dB on December 12, 2007, 05:38:59 AM
If people not having a high opinion of the Elgar First is going to enrage you, you must prepare yourself for frequent enragement.

I have tried 10 years to improve Elgar's esteem on this planet and seeing I have gained nothing is most frustrating. I feel I live for nothing.

Anyway, I know I am right about Elgar so I keep trying...
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: springrite on December 12, 2007, 05:39:43 AM
Well, we all have our tastes...

I can't believe this. This must be a first. I wonder if it is original or copy and paste...
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: BachQ on December 12, 2007, 05:43:46 AM
Finally support! Thanks Mark G. Simon!  :)

(http://madsenworld.dk/anigif/hearts/bar6_ani.gif)
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: karlhenning on December 12, 2007, 05:48:49 AM
Those who understand Elgar know the 2nd is even better than the first.

There, you see? I understand Elgar, too.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: karlhenning on December 12, 2007, 05:49:40 AM
Anyway, I know I am right about Elgar so I keep trying...

No, no, in many ways, you are profoundly mistaken about Elgar.  You don't "know" what you think you "know."
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Kullervo on December 12, 2007, 05:52:44 AM
Has anyone even heard Haydn's First? It is tempting to dismiss it as something only a completist would seek out, but I haven't heard it.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: karlhenning on December 12, 2007, 05:53:26 AM
Has anyone even heard Haydn's First? It is tempting to dismiss it as something only a completist would seek out, but I haven't heard it.

Gurn has, certainly.

I've got it at home, but I haven't acted yet on the curiosity . . . .
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: 71 dB on December 12, 2007, 05:56:19 AM
No, no, in many ways, you are profoundly mistaken about Elgar.  You don't "know" what you think you "know."

Who are you to say what I know? Elgar is my favorite composer! It means I have spend a lot of time and effort to understand him and his music. Just because I don't repeat the general mantras of music does not mean I don't understand or know anything.

There are things I really know next to nothing (e.g. hunting). Have you seen me writing on hunting forums?
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: ChamberNut on December 12, 2007, 05:58:38 AM
What about Schubert's First Symphony?  I haven't heard it, but am curious as to what others think about it.  I only have his 8th and 9th.

I like Dvorak's 1st Symphony. It's not getting a lot of love on here.  I'll agree it's nowhere near the quality of Symphonies 6-9.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: 71 dB on December 12, 2007, 06:00:32 AM
Has anyone even heard Haydn's First? It is tempting to dismiss it as something only a completist would seek out, but I haven't heard it.

Haydn's early symphonies are nice.  :)
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: springrite on December 12, 2007, 06:01:06 AM
What about Schubert's First Symphony?  I haven't heard it, but am curious as to what others think about it.  I only have his 8th and 9th.
The Schubert 1st is actually surprisingly good, with a couple of possibly unconcious semi figure quotations of Beethoven. Not as good as the 8 and 9 or the little c, but a good symphony overall, not just for a first effort.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: BachQ on December 12, 2007, 06:02:45 AM
Has anyone even heard Haydn's First? It is tempting to dismiss it as something only a completist would seek out, but I haven't heard it.

IIRC, DavidW was/is very fond of Haydn's First ........
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Mark G. Simon on December 12, 2007, 06:05:04 AM
I think Carter's First Symphony is a real yawn. It doesn't seem to have much character even compared to other Carter scores from the same period. It's probably significant that, although he has used the word "symphony" and "sinfonia" in his later scores, he has never appended the number 2 to any of them.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: karlhenning on December 12, 2007, 06:05:55 AM
Who are you to say what I know?

Partly because of your ready exhibitionism.

All of us have had occasion to see how so much of what you "know" (vibrational fields, e.g.) is absolute piffle. Poju.

Quote
Elgar is my favorite composer!

Oh, now there's a bulletin!  Extra points for ever so much value added to the forum with that announcement, Poju.

Quote
It means I have spend a lot of time and effort to understand him and his music.

Right, so the failure in your knowledge and understanding is not for lack of trying, granted.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: karlhenning on December 12, 2007, 06:07:05 AM
I think Carter's First Symphony is a real yawn.

I'll happily take your word there;  that's not one I'm beating any path to listen to . . . .

Has anyone heard Rimsky-Korsakov's First?
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: BachQ on December 12, 2007, 06:10:52 AM

Quote
Elgar is my favorite composer!

Oh, now there's a bulletin!  Extra points for ever so much value added to the forum with that announcement, Poju.


I must make a note of that ((searching for notepad)) ......... Fresh, new revelations of this calibre are always welcome, Poju .........
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: 71 dB on December 12, 2007, 06:37:29 AM
All of us have had occasion to see how so much of what you "know" (vibrational fields, e.g.) is absolute piffle. Poju.

Damn! I am a free-thinker so I have my own theories. That doesn't mean I don't know things. It means I have brains to come up with theories. Every theory in the world, every advance in understanding has needed a person like me.

Right, so the failure in your knowledge and understanding is not for lack of trying, granted.

What failure? Are you an Elgar specialist capable of judging me?
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: MN Dave on December 12, 2007, 06:42:14 AM
Damn! I am a free-thinker so I have my own theories. That doesn't mean I don't know things. It means I have brains to come up with theories. Every theory in the world, every advance in understanding has needed a person like me.

What failure? Are you an Elgar specialist capable of judging me?

Give it up, dude. :)
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Thom on December 12, 2007, 06:50:22 AM
Of course it is only a matter of taste, not of absolute truth, and therefore a thread like this is so amusing and at the same time not something to be taken so seriously. I do think that Elgars 2 symphonies are glorious works, his 2nd even more so than his first. They give me much pleasure over and over again.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: 71 dB on December 12, 2007, 07:03:29 AM
I do think that Elgars 2 symphonies are glorious works, his 2nd even more so than his first. They give me much pleasure over and over again.

It's always nice to hear some people enjoy the same things I do.   0:)
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: m_gigena on December 12, 2007, 07:35:15 AM
I don't want to be hostile. I want to be friendly and I want other people be friendly too

Quote from: 71
Who are you to say what I know? Elgar is my favorite composer! It means I have spend a lot of time and effort to understand him and his music. Just because I don't repeat the general mantras of music does not mean I don't understand or know anything.

Then, would you answer my previous question?

Quote from: Manuel
Why?
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Cato on December 12, 2007, 07:36:55 AM
I'll happily take your word there;  that's not one I'm beating any path to listen to . . . .

Has anyone heard Rimsky-Korsakov's First?

Yes, and it is actually better than his Third Symphony!

The Second ("Antar") is the best of the three.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: karlhenning on December 12, 2007, 07:40:06 AM
Yes, and it is actually better than his Third Symphony!

The Second ("Antar") is the best of the three.

I don't remember having heard the Third; Antar is good!
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Cato on December 12, 2007, 07:59:24 AM
I don't remember having heard the Third; Antar is good!

I have the complete symphonies with Neeme Jarvi conducting on DGG, and was excited about hearing the Third Symphony when I ordered the set, since I had never heard it, and then was very disappointed that it was not even close to "Antar"!

The First is okay: as I recall it is the product of his late teens/early 20's, and Balakirev helped him with revising it.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: karlhenning on December 12, 2007, 08:03:27 AM
I have the complete symphonies with Neeme Jarvi conducting on DGG, and was excited about hearing the Third Symphony when I ordered the set, since I had never heard it, and then was very disappointed that it was not even close to "Antar"!

Ah, but wait!  Perhaps the fault is not Nikolai Andreyevich's, but Järvi's!
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: 71 dB on December 12, 2007, 08:30:57 AM
Then, would you answer my previous question?

Sorry, can you explain what exactly you want to know.  ???
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: m_gigena on December 12, 2007, 08:46:12 AM
Sorry, can you explain what exactly you want to know.  ???

You are excused.

Quote from: 71 dB on December 11, 2007, 05:34:09 PM
Elgar's first symphony is perhaps the most matured and sophisticated first symphony ever.


(http://trexic.files.wordpress.com/2007/09/arrow-up.jpg)
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: karlhenning on December 12, 2007, 08:47:47 AM
Sharp uptick in shovel futures.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: 71 dB on December 12, 2007, 08:56:25 AM
You are excused.

Quote from: 71 dB on December 11, 2007, 05:34:09 PM
Elgar's first symphony is perhaps the most matured and sophisticated first symphony ever.


Because Elgar was so talented! He created his own style combining the best part of masters before him. This style is sophisticated, multidimensional and brilliantly orchestrated. Richter introduced the music by saying to the orchestra: "Gentlemen, let us now rehearse the greatest symphony of modern times, written by the greatest modern composer - and not only this country."
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: karlhenning on December 12, 2007, 09:08:02 AM
Because Elgar was so talented!

Bzzzzt! Thank you for playing!

Many of the composers of first symhonies were also, so talented!
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: karlhenning on December 12, 2007, 09:08:40 AM
Quote from: boilerplate
He created his own style combining the best part of masters before him. This style is sophisticated, multidimensional and brilliantly orchestrated.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: BachQ on December 12, 2007, 09:12:13 AM
Because Elgar's ... style is sophisticated, multidimensional

I'm disappointed ......... You forgot to mention vibrational fields ..........



(NOTE TO ROB: Is there a way to make letters vibrate?)
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: m_gigena on December 12, 2007, 09:13:28 AM
Because Elgar was so talented! He created his own style combining the best part of masters before him. This style is sophisticated, multidimensional and brilliantly orchestrated. Richter introduced the music by saying to the orchestra: "Gentlemen, let us now rehearse the greatest symphony of modern times, written by the greatest modern composer - and not only this country."

Convincing enough. I'm wearing my Elgar cap now.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: karlhenning on December 12, 2007, 10:27:09 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41ZumrYG74L._AA280_.jpg)
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: BachQ on December 12, 2007, 11:31:19 AM
I'm wearing my Elgar cap now.

(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v614/LOTGK/Thought%20Screen/thought_screen_helmet.jpg)
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Mark G. Simon on December 12, 2007, 12:05:29 PM
This constant schoolyard-style bullying of 71dB is exceedingly childish and mean-sprited. I would have thought you'd outgrown this behavior when you turned 15. But no, now that you don't have Pinkharp to kick around you've got to find someone else.

Children!

71 dB: If you really want to increase appreciation for Elgar's music, you would do best to stop talking about it. I think Elgar will do quite well on his own merits.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Bonehelm on December 12, 2007, 12:13:14 PM
This constant schoolyard-style bullying of 71dB is exceedingly childish and mean-sprited. I would have thought you'd outgrown this behavior when you turned 15. But no, now that you don't have Pinkharp to kick around you've got to find someone else.

Children!

71 dB: If you really want to increase appreciation for Elgar's music, you would do best to stop talking about it. I think Elgar will do quite well on his own merits.

Have you got an idea when he started all this vibrational madness? It was all the way from the old forum. Read every single post he made in the past, and tell us WHO is the more childish one. It's not only 1 or 2 members that are "making fun" of him. It's almost EVERYONE who has a brain...that CLEARLY shows that the problem is not on our side, but on HIS side.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: MN Dave on December 12, 2007, 12:14:37 PM
It's almost EVERYONE who has a brain...

Bite me.  ;D
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: PSmith08 on December 12, 2007, 12:27:35 PM
Because Elgar was so talented! He created his own style combining the best part of masters before him. This style is sophisticated, multidimensional and brilliantly orchestrated. Richter introduced the music by saying to the orchestra: "Gentlemen, let us now rehearse the greatest symphony of modern times, written by the greatest modern composer - and not only this country."

I'll bite. Fair enough, but the same thing could be said of Gustav Mahler's 1st or Anton Webern's Symphony, op. 20 (which I'll count as his first). I had problems with "sophistication" as a justification for anything when Eric was still around, and my issues have not diminished. I'll ignore that, then. There are plenty of multidimensional (whatever that means, again) and brilliantly orchestrated works that aren't all that great. I, for example, cannot stand Richard Strauss' Alpensinfonie. Indeed, it is the only CD that I have ever given away out of disgust. It seems to me that you're defending Elgar's first on shaky grounds.

Before you start, though: I'm not suggesting that your apparent non-conformity with the musical establishment (though I wasn't aware that Elgar was an outsider artist) is a problem. I just want some better justification.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: karlhenning on December 12, 2007, 12:31:01 PM
Well, I don't think that the Skryabin First could be the 'worst first,' because Skryabin was so talented! He created his own style combining the best part of masters before him. This style is sophisticated, multidimensional and brilliantly orchestrated.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Don on December 12, 2007, 12:31:56 PM
Have you got an idea when he started all this vibrational madness? It was all the way from the old forum. Read every single post he made in the past, and tell us WHO is the more childish one.

Okay, maybe you're less childish than 71dB, but some of you are still acting like children (and mean ones too).
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: BachQ on December 12, 2007, 12:41:58 PM
The style Rachmaninov wielded in his First Symphony was highly sophisticated, highly multidimensional, and brilliantly orchestrated.  And it generates some kickass vibe fields ........
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Peregrine on December 12, 2007, 12:44:07 PM
Okay, maybe you're less childish than 71dB, but some of you are still acting like children (and mean ones too).

Yep. Henning and that prat in the hoodie.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: BachQ on December 12, 2007, 12:46:07 PM
Did I mention that Rach 1 is extremely multidimensional? 


(I mean ...... EXTREMELY ....... multidimensional .........)
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: karlhenning on December 12, 2007, 12:56:50 PM
(I mean ...... EXTREMELY ....... multidimensional .........)

All right, I'll ask:

How many dimensions?
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Montpellier on December 12, 2007, 12:57:14 PM
My worst would probably be Vaughan Williams' 1st.  I don't know because I haven't listened to more than a few minutes before dozing off.   I don't know if a vibrator would keep me awake but I'll bear this vibrational stuff in mind when listening to certain symphonies.  
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: karlhenning on December 12, 2007, 01:01:39 PM
Has anyone heard the Mennin or Schuman First?
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Guido on December 12, 2007, 01:11:05 PM
I'm going to surpise everyone and nominate Carter.  The fact that ithe Syomphony NO. 1 doesn't reflect his mature style isn't really the problem. Ives's first isn't mature, either, and neither is Stravinsky's, but both of them are very vibrant and show their composers to be young men of great promise  and creativity. I've often called the Ives First the best sypmphony written by an American before — well, before Ives. I don't think Carter's First quite falls into that category. It's pleasant enough, as you say, and it's not bad, but it doesn't announce an exciting new talent. The piece that does is the Piano Sonata, written only a few years later.

Karl, you'll like the Copland Organ Symphony. The composer found his voice early. It more modernist than the later stuff, but unmistakably Copland.

Agreed - Ives' first is an extraordinary student piece even if it doesn't quite have the superlative mastery of his later music. It was already highly experimental for American music at the time, with its shifting keysignatures and Dvorakian luminescence. I love it.

Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: BachQ on December 12, 2007, 01:21:31 PM
All right, I'll ask:

How many dimensions?

The number of dimensions varies measure-by-measure, depending on the instrumentation matrix ........
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: karlhenning on December 12, 2007, 01:28:56 PM
The number of dimensions varies measure-by-measure, depending on the instrumentation matrix ........

So what is the mean? The average?  And what is the differential between the mean and the average?
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: jochanaan on December 12, 2007, 02:54:46 PM
So what is the mean? The average?  And what is the differential between the mean and the average?
In my experience, average people can be pretty mean. ;D

I've got the Scriabin symphonic cycle, including Ecstasy and Prometheus, by Eliahu Inbal and the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra.  The First is not bad, but Scriabin had definitely not found his voice; it lacks the originality and power of the later orchestral music.

Remember, we're talking in relative terms here.  There's formidable competition for the "best" slot, as there is for the "worst."  And just because I find, say, Scriabin's and Gounod's Firsts less satisfying than, say, Mahler's or Sibelius', doesn't mean they're "bad."  The Mahler and Sibelius Firsts are masterworks; it's no fault of Gounod and Scriabin that they didn't rise to those heights with their first efforts.  Or even their second efforts. ;D (I don't know Gounod's Second, so maybe you should take that last with a grain of salt.  But my sense is that Gounod should have stuck to wind ensembles for his symphonic efforts. ;))

71 dB, I think I said this once, but it needs saying again: I find Elgar's First to be a serious, substantial, well-crafted composition.  It just doesn't resonate within me the way some of the other masterworks I've mentioned do.  Apparently a lot of people feel the same way.  These are not "anti-Elgar" statements by any reasonable standard.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: greg on December 12, 2007, 03:10:27 PM
I think Carter's First Symphony is a real yawn. It doesn't seem to have much character even compared to other Carter scores from the same period. It's probably significant that, although he has used the word "symphony" and "sinfonia" in his later scores, he has never appended the number 2 to any of them.
THANK YOU!!!!

i finally found my own reply to this thread; I hated that symphony A LOT, and thankfully forgot about it.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: greg on December 12, 2007, 03:13:59 PM
There are things I really know next to nothing (e.g. hunting). Have you seen me writing on hunting forums?
wow, you don't know how to hunt even though you live in Finland?  :o

that's almost as strange as me only having gone to the beach once in years given where i live....
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: greg on December 12, 2007, 03:17:12 PM
Well, I don't think that the Skryabin First could be the 'worst first,' because Skryabin was so talented! He created his own style combining the best part of masters before him. This style is sophisticated, multidimensional and brilliantly orchestrated.
what does everything think about this symphony?

in my opinion, perfectly average, 5/10 average, couldn't get more average at all.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: JoshLilly on December 12, 2007, 03:36:51 PM
Anybody here ever heard Furtwängler's #1? I won't lie: I couldn't finish it.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: greg on December 12, 2007, 03:50:57 PM
i'm considering listening to Elgar's 1st in about a half an hour.....

(and, sometime, a real recording of the 2nd since i've only listened to the MIDI and judging it from only MIDI isn't so cool...)

hopefully i like it, though it seems to be unlikely given what i've heard from Elgar.....

(even if i didn't, i'd have to relisten to the Carter 1st to compare before i could say it was the worst first i've heard)
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Montpellier on December 12, 2007, 04:08:47 PM
I thought Elgar's 1st more difficult than the 2nd and one that I have to be in the right mood for.  I've always respected him as a brilliant composer and orchestrator - one of those who compose orchestrally.  His command of orchestral tutti is beyond any criticism I could give. 

I can't claim the same luck (if luck it is) with Scriabin's 1st.  It's a debate to argue with myself, but I don't think his compositional skills were up to his spiritual aspirations at that point.     
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: greg on December 12, 2007, 04:12:30 PM

I can't claim the same luck (if luck it is) with Scriabin's 1st.  It's a debate to argue with myself, but I don;t think his compositional skills were up to his spiritual aspirations at that point.     
well, at least it turned out to be good practice for what came later  0:)
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Montpellier on December 12, 2007, 04:13:27 PM
That's true!
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Mark G. Simon on December 12, 2007, 05:13:02 PM
Have you got an idea when he started all this vibrational madness? It was all the way from the old forum. Read every single post he made in the past, and tell us WHO is the more childish one. It's not only 1 or 2 members that are "making fun" of him. It's almost EVERYONE who has a brain...that CLEARLY shows that the problem is not on our side, but on HIS side.

71 dB's behavior is of no relevance. Yes he says stupid things. We all know that. That doesn't need to be pointed out repeatedly.

None of that justifies the reprehensible behavior I've seen from people who really ought to know better. Threads get derailed and turn into taunting sessions. I just get sick of reading this crap.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: greg on December 12, 2007, 05:22:58 PM
just finished Elgar's 1st.

honestly, i'm pretty impressed (with an exception to most of the finale).
the best Elgar i've heard, and by that i mean the only Elgar i can say i truly liked after first hearing.
i give it 7/10.

i like it, but in a way it seems too simplistic. Except i wouldn't know how to explain this because my explanation would contradict my other observations....
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: 12tone. on December 12, 2007, 05:47:43 PM
just finished Elgar's 1st.

honestly, i'm pretty impressed (with an exception to most of the finale).
the best Elgar i've heard, and by that i mean the only Elgar i can say i truly liked after first hearing.
i give it 7/10.

i like it, but in a way it seems too simplistic. Except i wouldn't know how to explain this because my explanation would contradict my other observations....

ROTF!!111 You had the LP going backwards!  Play it going forwards

OLOLOL!!!1#
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Sergeant Rock on December 12, 2007, 06:57:01 PM
Definitely, MOST definitely, not Elgar's! A pox on those who claim that  ;)  It was enormously popular world-wide when it was first published and was admired by the great conductors of the time. I do not think they were wrong. Of no bearing on its worth, I'll say anyway that it's one of my favorite symphonies and has been for forty years. It's probably not a better symphony than the Second but it certainly pulls on my heartstrings with a firmer grasp.

I'm not sure who to nominate. Of the composers already mentioned often, I happen to love the Ives and Rach Firsts and can listen to the Dvorak with pleasure...occasionally. Scriabin's First?...never thrilled me. I'm going to listen to Golovanov's version tomorrow; if anyone can convince me that Scriabin isn't the worst, he can. If I dip into the second and third tiers, Stanford comes to mind. He'd qualify for worst Second through Seventh too  ;D  Just kidding...but he is a bit of a bore symphonically speaking. Thank god Elgar came along to rescue the British symphony.

Sarge
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: val on December 13, 2007, 12:40:55 AM
I insist: Charles Ives First Symphony. It is a work that reminds me of Dvorak (but drunk).

It's like the First Quartet. The music is nice, sometimes, but without real personality.

Very far from that splendid masterpiece, the 4th Symphony.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Cato on December 13, 2007, 04:56:46 AM
Concerning Rimsky-Korsakov's First vs. Third Symphonies.

With my wife gone last night I was able to revisit both of these.   8)

The First has a good deal of energy, with the opening movement giving you an impression for a while that you might have a Russian Beethoven here!  While not all the themes are overtly "Russian," the music has a drive that sustains one's interest.

To be sure, according to the notes, Rimsky revised the work heavily in later years: the original version charmed the Nationalists, but apparently had abrupt transitions and other awkward moments in the polyphony. Rimsky in fact simplified the symphony, with the purpose that an amateur or student orchestra would be able to play it. 

Karl Henning wondered if, in the Third Symphony, the conductor Jarvi might not be at fault for a lackluster reading.

After listening to it again, I think just the opposite: Jarvi and the Gothenburg orchestra do everything they can to squeeze something compelling from the notes.  The opening movement offers a little drama, and a little mystery now and then, which one hopes will be built up.  But no: the scherzo has a tippy-toeing moto perpetuo of little interest, the slow movement is just slow and repetitious, and the finale has a fairly nice theme which the composer does not do much with.

Although I think I will be a little less harsh, ultimately I just do not find the Third Symphony very compelling.  Truly disappointing.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: karlhenning on December 13, 2007, 05:06:39 AM
Anybody here ever heard Furtwängler's #1? I won't lie: I couldn't finish it.

I won't lie:  I can't even approach it :-)
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: springrite on December 13, 2007, 05:08:21 AM
I won't lie:  I can't even approach it :-)

You should have warned me before i plunged into getting the second to see if it is any better.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: karlhenning on December 13, 2007, 05:28:10 AM
Definitely, MOST definitely, not Elgar's! A pox on those who claim that  ;)  It was enormously popular world-wide when it was first published and was admired by the great conductors of the time. I do not think they were wrong.

Sure, Sarge.  It may be worth while repeating a remark that I have made several times.  In citing Elgar's First as a response to the OP, I was not claiming that it is abysmally bad. Of first symphonies to which I have listened over the past year, the Elgar stood out in my ears as the least entirely accomplished:  the 'Worst First'.

That's all I'll say at present.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: BachQ on December 13, 2007, 06:07:49 AM
That's all I'll say at present.

I don't blame you.


71 dB, I think I said this once, but it needs saying again ***  These are not "anti-Elgar" tatements by any reasonable standard.

Why bother?  71dB will turn any thread into an Elgar thread.  If you don't believe me, I can show you several Bruckner and Mahler threads that had to be locked because they were hijacked by 71dB.  His anti-Bruckner, anti-Mahler, anti-Shostakovich, anti-Beethoven ravings are among the most amusing reads to be found anywhere on the Internet ...... which is why I'm conflicted as to whether to ignore him, or urge him to continue with his blather.  This is entertainment, pure and simple. And, with his ongoing, incessant Dog and Poju Show, he constantly digs himself deeper into his hole of alienation by diminishing the intellects and aesthetics of those who disagree with him.

Which is why I don't take him seriously; and, as an unfortunate consequence, I am disinclined to consider Elgar's alleged "greatness" seriously.  Let's face it: 71dB and Elgar have been inextricably "bundled" together ....... and the more 71dB tries to elevate Elgar by diminishing other composers (including Beethoven, Shostakovich, Bruckner, Mahler, Brahms), the more repugnant many of us find this bundled Poju/Elgar entity ....... a pervasive entity which enjoys infecting any thread that will allow it ........

WITNESS: This thread has now been turned into an Elgar thread ........ Gee, what a shocker .........


Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: MN Dave on December 13, 2007, 06:11:11 AM
I don't blame you.

Why bother?  71dB will turn any thread into an Elgar thread.  If you don't believe me, I can show you several Bruckner and Mahler threads that had to be locked because they were hijacked by 71dB.  His anti-Bruckner, anti-Mahler, anti-Shostakovich, anti-Beethoven ravings are among the most amusing reads to be found anywhere on the Internet ...... which is why I'm conflicted as to whether to ignore him, or urge him to continue with his blather.  This is entertainment, pure and simple. And, with his ongoing, incessant Dog and Poju Show, he constantly digs himself deeper into his hole of alienation by diminishing the intellects and aesthetics of those who disagree with him.

Which is why I don't take him seriously; and, as an unfortunate consequence, I am disinclined to consider Elgar's alleged "greatness" seriously.  Let's face it: 71dB and Elgar have been inextricably "bundled" together ....... and the more 71dB tries to elevate Elgar by diminishing other composers (including Beethoven, Shostakovich, Bruckner, Mahler, Brahms), the more repugnant many of us find this bundled Poju/Elgar entity ....... a pervasive entity which enjoys infecting any thread that will allow it ........

WITNESS: This thread has now been turned into an Elgar thread ........ Gee, what a shocker .........




It doesn't turn into an Elgar thread if you don't let it. Just don't respond to Elgar comments in non-Elgarian threads. Simple.

And that's all I have to say about that.  ;D
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: karlhenning on December 13, 2007, 06:13:41 AM
What do you consider the 'worst first,' Dave?
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: MN Dave on December 13, 2007, 06:15:04 AM
What do you consider the 'worst first,' Dave?

I don't know from firsts.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: BachQ on December 13, 2007, 06:15:51 AM
Dave, if you let me speak for you, I have a composer in mind ........
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: MN Dave on December 13, 2007, 06:17:20 AM
Dave, if you let me speak for you, I have a composer in mind ........

Noooo!!!  ;D
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: karlhenning on December 13, 2007, 06:19:42 AM
If once the Dark Path you tread . . . .  ;D
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Mark G. Simon on December 13, 2007, 06:32:32 AM
Which is why I don't take him seriously; and, as an unfortunate consequence, I am disinclined to consider Elgar's alleged "greatness" seriously.  Let's face it: 71dB and Elgar have been inextricably "bundled" together .......

Only in your shallow mind. It should be the most basic thing to keep in mind that these foolish people who are fixated on certain composers are separate entities from the composers themselves. 71 dB is not Elgar. Pink Harp is not Debussy. Let them say what they will, ignore them and their comments will not derail threads.

But you're not going to do any such thing, are you? Because deep down you enjoy bullying people like 71 dB. You enjoy pursuing them like a pack of wild dogs after an errant sheep. This abhorrent behavior is your own responsibility.

Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Wanderer on December 13, 2007, 06:33:30 AM
Anybody here ever heard Furtwängler's #1? I won't lie: I couldn't finish it.

So far, the worthiest contender for the title.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Don on December 13, 2007, 06:44:18 AM
Only in your shallow mind. It should be the most basic thing to keep in mind that these foolish people who are fixated on certain composers are separate entities from the composers themselves. 71 dB is not Elgar. Pink Harp is not Debussy. Let them say what they will, ignore them and their comments will not derail threads.


Good to see that Mark made the above comments.  Linking Elgar with the extremist rantings of 71dB makes no sense to me. 
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Cato on December 13, 2007, 06:54:51 AM
Concerning Furtwaengler's First:

So far, the worthiest contender for the title.

Speaking of conductor/composers: has anyone experienced Leonard Bernstein's First Symphony

Or    :o   (dare I type this name?) Leif Segerstam's?   :o

This afternoon I will have an opportunity to listen to the Schubert First and will report on that!
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Kullervo on December 13, 2007, 06:55:53 AM
Or    :o   (dare I type this name?) Leif Segerstam's?   :o

I doubt most listeners have heard any of his 100+ symphonies (I think he's beat Haydn now).
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: karlhenning on December 13, 2007, 07:01:20 AM
Speaking of conductor/composers: has anyone experienced Leonard Bernstein's First Symphony

No;  we listened to bits of The Age of Anxiety (no. 2) in a class once . . . .
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: greg on December 13, 2007, 07:18:46 AM
No;  we listened to bits of The Age of Anxiety (no. 2) in a class once . . . .
i heard that one a long time ago, it's actually a pretty good symphony
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: 71 dB on December 13, 2007, 07:23:44 AM
I never intented to turn this thread into an Elgar thread. I came here almost accidentally and saw two persons claiming Elgar's first is the worst. Of course I defend Elgar against such claims. (Thanks Sarge for support!). I'm also sorry people think what I say is stupid. I don't feel that way myself.

Scriabin's first was mentioned. Well, I have all of his 3 symphonies and I agree #1 & #2 are weaker than #3 which I like.

@ Anacho:
Elgar's 2nd is more difficult and sophisticated than the first.

@ G...R...E...G...:
I'm glad you were impressed with Elgar's first symphony. It's true the finale isn't the strongest Elgar but still very good in my opinion. The 2nd symphony has a fantastic finale. Keep listening! I'm sure Elgar will grow on you.  :)
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: greg on December 13, 2007, 07:26:12 AM

Scriabin's first was mentioned. Well, I have all of his 3 symphonies and I agree #1 & #2 are weaker than #3 which I like.

wait, he wrote 5....... but sometimes they aren't called symphonies.  :P
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: 71 dB on December 13, 2007, 07:32:12 AM
wait, he wrote 5....... but sometimes they aren't called symphonies.  :P

Well, I have the 3 which ARE called symphonies...  :P
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: karlhenning on December 13, 2007, 07:36:31 AM
I never intented to turn this thread into an Elgar thread. I came here almost accidentally and saw two persons claiming Elgar's first is the worst. Of course I defend Elgar against such claims.

It is an entirely valid point of view, to consider Elgar's First the weakest of the lot.  Period.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: springrite on December 13, 2007, 07:38:05 AM
I try to ignore these posters:
- karlhenning
- D Minor
- Bonehelm

Gotta try harder...
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: JoshLilly on December 13, 2007, 07:38:32 AM
Of course I defend Elgar against such claims.

How can you defend against people's personal likes and dislikes? Just saying.
Anyway, suggestion: convince more people to listen to Fürtwangler's first, and I'm sure at least a couple of those naming Elgar's first as the worst would change their minds.
In other words, instead of a negative campaign ("Stop picking Elgar #1"), instead embark on a positive campaign: "Fürtwangler's #1 sucks more!"     ;D

In any case, Fürtwangler's #1 is probably not the absolute worst first symphony, in my opinion. It's just the one I think is the worst I've heard by composers whose name would probably be universally recognised here. And I'd like to point out further, some people actually like it. I don't know anyone in love with it, but probably someone out there thinks it's terrific. People heavy into Bruckner seem to find it at least moderately appealing, if a bit lengthy.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: greg on December 13, 2007, 07:39:18 AM
It is an entirely valid point of view, to consider Elgar's First the weakest of the lot.  Period.
i think it depends more on what you've heard before...... if all you've heard are the symphonies of Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Mahler, Brahms, etc., then yeah, by far it's going to be the worst.

but, if you get into more obscure composers, i'm sure there's worse out there....
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: karlhenning on December 13, 2007, 07:45:45 AM
i think it depends more on what you've heard before...... if all you've heard are the symphonies of Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Mahler, Brahms, etc., then yeah, by far it's going to be the worst.

And (to say again) there is much I like in the Elgar First;  but (and of course, my hearing of the piece may change at some point) it does not seem to me entirely successful as a symphony;  and I find it markedly less imaginative (and more hidebound) than (for instance) his concerti, or Falstaff.

I suppose I can find worse first symphonies than Elgar's.  But, why should I look for them, eh?  ;)
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: 71 dB on December 13, 2007, 07:48:41 AM
i think it depends more on what you've heard before...... if all you've heard are the symphonies of Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Mahler, Brahms, etc., then yeah, by far it's going to be the worst.

I haven't heard Prokofiev's symphonies yet but what I have heard from Shostakovich, Mahler and Brahms are inferior to Elgar in my opinion. That's my point. Elgar is not the worst or second worst. He's the best!

Elgar was able to write music that means the most for me. It is fair in my opinion for me to say he is the best. Mahler being the best does not make sense for me because I find the music inferior.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: greg on December 13, 2007, 07:49:50 AM
I suppose I can find worse first symphonies than Elgar's.  But, why should I look for them, eh?  ;)
good point  ;D
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Mark G. Simon on December 13, 2007, 09:26:29 AM
Speaking of conductor/composers: has anyone experienced Leonard Bernstein's First Symphony

I heard it at Tanglewood under the direction of Bernstein himself. It was the only live performance with Bernstein that I ever attended. The Jeremiah Symphony impressed me quite favorably.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Cato on December 13, 2007, 10:13:45 AM
Thanks for the Bernstein comments!

As for Leif Segerstam, according to Wikipedia, his symphonies now number 189!   :o

I remember sitting through a CD some years ago with one of his symphonies in the teens, 16 or 17, called "Thoughts at the Edge," and thinking it much ado about nothing, and also thinking that it had a certain amount of premeditated chaff which one could recycle.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: karlhenning on December 13, 2007, 10:46:22 AM
I heard it at Tanglewood under the direction of Bernstein himself. It was the only live performance with Bernstein that I ever attended. The Jeremiah Symphony impressed me quite favorably.

I never thought he was a bullfrog :-)
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Peregrine on December 13, 2007, 12:26:15 PM
Only in your shallow mind. It should be the most basic thing to keep in mind that these foolish people who are fixated on certain composers are separate entities from the composers themselves. 71 dB is not Elgar. Pink Harp is not Debussy. Let them say what they will, ignore them and their comments will not derail threads.

But you're not going to do any such thing, are you? Because deep down you enjoy bullying people like 71 dB. You enjoy pursuing them like a pack of wild dogs after an errant sheep. This abhorrent behavior is your own responsibility.



The best post thus far on this nonsense, you articulate my feelings entirely and save me the bother!
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: jochanaan on December 13, 2007, 03:56:21 PM
I haven't heard Prokofiev's symphonies yet but what I have heard from Shostakovich, Mahler and Brahms are inferior to Elgar in my opinion. That's my point. Elgar is not the worst or second worst. He's the best!

Elgar was able to write music that means the most for me. It is fair in my opinion for me to say he is the best. Mahler being the best does not make sense for me because I find the music inferior.
A friendly suggestion to help you in your quest to raise Elgar's esteem: When stating an opinion, be careful not to let it turn into dogma.  Opinions are fine.  But I cannot subscribe to dogmatic statements like the one of yours I've put in boldface.

You will find it much harder to convince people that Elgar is "the best" than that he's a worthy composer.  Because, after all, better minds than mine or even yours have failed to define "the best." ;D Yet Elgar's worthiness, based on such works as the Enigma Variations and the Cello Concerto, appears to be beyond question among music lovers with broad experience.

Now, let's get back to discussing inferior First (including only) Symphonies. :-[

P.S.  By some reckonings, Scriabin's Poem of Ecstasy and Prometheus are called Symphonies #4 and #5.

P.P.S.  Did Berlioz write a symphony before the Fantastique? :o
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Wendell_E on December 13, 2007, 07:10:48 PM
Speaking of conductor/composers: has anyone experienced Leonard Bernstein's First Symphony

I've got his DG recording of it, with the second.  I sorta like it, especially the second movement ("Profanation"), but then I'm generally all in favor of profanation, in any case.   ;D
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Nunc Dimittis on December 13, 2007, 08:20:35 PM
Of course there were some composers, such as Mennin and Pettersson, who were sagacious enough to avoid being ridiculed in this thread.  They withdrew their first symphonies.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: springrite on December 13, 2007, 08:47:39 PM
Thanks for the Bernstein comments!

As for Leif Segerstam, according to Wikipedia, his symphonies now number 189!   :o

I remember sitting through a CD some years ago with one of his symphonies in the teens, 16 or 17, called "Thoughts at the Edge," and thinking it much ado about nothing, and also thinking that it had a certain amount of premeditated chaff which one could recycle.

I have one of his symphonies and several of his "Monumental Thoughts". To be honest, not only were the "thoughts" not monumental, they all sounds like they were composed in 10 minutes or so, probably as fast as a copist couple put the notes on paper.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: RebLem on December 13, 2007, 09:54:08 PM
I haven't heard Prokofiev's symphonies yet but what I have heard from Shostakovich, Mahler and Brahms are inferior to Elgar in my opinion. That's my point. Elgar is not the worst or second worst. He's the best!
Elgar was able to write music that means the most for me. It is fair in my opinion for me to say he is the best. Mahler being the best does not make sense for me because I find the music inferior.

The statement I have put in boldface is absolutely shocking.  All three are truly great symphonies, especially the Brahms, which may well be the greatest Sym 1 ever written.  And you must hear Prokofiev's 1st.  It is pretty short, and will make you want to dance.  I recommend the Levine/CSO recording of Syms 1 & 5 as a starter, though I own about 10 of the 1st, and find value in at least 7 of them.

Now for my own nominee, which has yet to be mentioned.  And, it is a work I have heard described as a great work.  I know that Andre Previn, in particular, a conductor for whom I have great respect, loves it.  There are many works which others tell me are great, but which I just don't relate to.  About a third of Bartok is like that for me; but I accept as fact that most of these are my deficiencies, not the composers'.  But in the case of my nominee, I must say I cannot understand why anyone would like it at all.  I am speaking of the First Symphony of William Walton.

Don't misunderstand me.  I like many of Walton's works.  His Sym 2, recorded by George Szell, is a great work, as is Belshazzar's Feast, and many others.  I just don't see anything in the Sym 1, and cannot understand how anyone else possibly could.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: bwv 1080 on December 13, 2007, 09:59:26 PM
But in the case of my nominee, I must say I cannot understand why anyone would like it at all.  I am speaking of the First Symphony of William Walton.


wow, that's a great piece.  I love Walton's 1st.


For great composers the weakest first symphony, if no one has mentioned it yet, would likely be Mozart's which was a piece of juvenilia

Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: The new erato on December 13, 2007, 11:56:32 PM
The statement I have put in boldface is absolutely shocking.  All three are truly great symphonies, especially the Brahms, which may well be the greatest Sym 1 ever written. 

I truly and enthusiastically agrees. Even though I don't think Elgars 1st is a bad symphony (the introductory tune i mvt 1 is truly great); stating that Mahler, Shostakovich and Brahms wrote some of the worst 1st symphonies is taking 71dbs bullshitting to an entirely new level. I hope it reflects his ignorance rather than some more serious problem.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Montpellier on December 14, 2007, 04:11:06 AM
I am speaking of the First Symphony of William Walton.

Don't misunderstand me.  I like many of Walton's works.  His Sym 2, recorded by George Szell, is a great work, as is Belshazzar's Feast, and many others.  I just don't see anything in the Sym 1, and cannot understand how anyone else possibly could.
Aaarghh!  How could you say that?   

Well, secretly I've wondered about Walton's 1.  It's a grand noise - the first movement gets a lot out of almost nothing. the last movement lightens up a little.  The problem is the last movement was written a little after movements 1-3 were premiered and doesn't quite cohere.  As for the No Symphony 2.....this isn't the thread to compare but that's the one I didn't like.      
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: greg on December 14, 2007, 06:10:28 AM
ehhhhhh...... Walton's 1st is ok, putting it on this thread seems weird to me.  0:)
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Mark G. Simon on December 14, 2007, 06:27:05 AM
The first time I heard Walton's 1st symphony I was so floored, especially by the first movement, that I said "forget that Vaughan Williams guy. This is the British symphony par excellence!"

Eventually the merits of RVW's symphonic works reasserted themselves in my esteem, but that Walton 1st is still quite a symphony.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: karlhenning on December 14, 2007, 06:31:29 AM
I don't think I've yet heard the Walton First.  But I chanced on the Second on the radio one day, and loved it.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Sergeant Rock on December 14, 2007, 06:47:42 AM
I insist: Charles Ives First Symphony. It is a work that reminds me of Dvorak (but drunk).

And that's a bad thing?  ;D  I like your description actually, and it pretty much defines exactly the reason I love the symphony.

Sarge
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: 71 dB on December 14, 2007, 07:00:05 AM
P.S.  By some reckonings, Scriabin's Poem of Ecstasy and Prometheus are called Symphonies #4 and #5.

Ok, I have Poem of Ecstasy too.  :)
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Sergeant Rock on December 14, 2007, 07:06:31 AM
I truly and enthusiastically agrees. Even though I don't think Elgars 1st is a bad symphony (the introductory tune i mvt 1 is truly great); stating that Mahler, Shostakovich and Brahms wrote some of the worst 1st symphonies is taking 71dbs bullshitting to an entirely new level. I hope it reflects his ignorance rather than some more serious problem.

Actually he never said any such thing, Erato. In fact he's NEVER said those composers write bad music. He simply said he finds the Elgar First a better symphony. It's not any different than, for example, Karl saying he prefers the Shostakovich First to the Elgar...except Karl didn't say that: he claims Elgar's is the worst...at least the worst he's heard this year....which doesn't really answer the OP's original question but seemed more of a baiting tactic to lure dB into another trap...which he fell for hook, line and sinker ;D

Sarge
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Sergeant Rock on December 14, 2007, 07:12:59 AM
Don't misunderstand me.  I like many of Walton's works.  His Sym 2, recorded by George Szell, is a great work, as is Belshazzar's Feast, and many others.  I just don't see anything in the Sym 1, and cannot understand how anyone else possibly could.

 :o ??? :o

I do believe you are the first person I've ever known who's thought Walton's First, as a whole, to be a bad symphony. I cannot understand how you could possibly think that. My gasters are flabbered (to use a phrase coined by Mrs. Rock).

By the way, I completely agree about Szell, Cleveland, and the Walton Second. If there is any recording that can be considered definitive, this is it.

Sarge
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: 71 dB on December 14, 2007, 07:17:19 AM
Actually he never said any such thing, Erato. In fact he's NEVER said those composers write bad music. He simply said he finds the Elgar First a better symphony.

Sarge

You interpreted me correctly Sarge. Mahler, Shostakovich and Brahms didn't wrote bad symphonies. They wrote very good ones, just inferior to Elgar in my opinion. All of these 4 composers are great composers and do not belong to this thread, not even closely.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: The new erato on December 14, 2007, 07:30:49 AM
Actually he never said any such thing, Erato. In fact he's NEVER said those composers write bad music. He simply said he finds the Elgar First a better symphony. It's not any different than, for example, Karl saying he prefers the Shostakovich First to the Elgar...except Karl didn't say that: he claims Elgar's is the worst...at least the worst he's heard this year....which doesn't really answer the OP's original question but seemed more of a baiting tactic to lure dB into another trap...which he fell for hook, line and sinker ;D

Sarge
In which case I misunderstood a quote without reading the original post fully. However the Brahms first is one of the best 1sts ever, the Shostakovich is a surprisingly fine 1st by a youthful man, the Mahler 1st is a very decent tryout, and the Elgar 1 is a good 1st written by a mature composer. Very hard to compare between composers writing their 1sts at such different periods in their career.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: karlhenning on December 14, 2007, 08:41:17 AM
I am truly puzzled, Sarge, by your claim that my post "doesn't really answer the OP's original question":

Since the forum loves lists and rankings, how about your opinions on the Worst First Symphony by a composer?
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Cato on December 28, 2007, 03:05:05 PM
I had promised to give a review of Schubert's First Symphony, but life and Christmas intervened!

But now I can say that I have heard this work, and that it does not qualify for this category!  In the vast Catonian Archives lay the CD of this work performed by Roy Goodman and the Hanover Band, an unreconstructed group of musical purists!  As immense as my experience has been in classical music since the 1950's (!!!     :o    !!!) I had never heard the first 4 Schubert symphonies, and am now resolved to fill that gap!

Schubert is operating of course in the shadows of Beethoven and Mozart, mainly that of the former, but that would be expected.  In any case, there is enough orignality and interest to say it is a fine piece, if not in the same memorable category as his later symphonies from #5 onward. 

The opening movement has some piquantly dissonant sections which make one wonder at the audacity of the composer; the slow movement is somewhat repetitious, but has some charming woodwind dialogues (in fact, these are found throughout the work); the Scherzo is a galumphing peasant dance leading nicely into the Finale, where there is a flurry of intersecting lines of drama and ebullience.

So, no, not close to incompetence, not even close to mediocrity!
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Brian on December 28, 2007, 03:47:32 PM
I had promised to give a review of Schubert's First Symphony, but life and Christmas intervened!

But now I can say that I have heard this work, and that it does not qualify for this category!  In the vast Catonian Archives lay the CD of this work performed by Roy Goodman and the Hanover Band, an unreconstructed group of musical purists!  As immense as my experience has been in classical music since the 1950's (!!!     :o    !!!) I had never heard the first 4 Schubert symphonies, and am now resolved to fill that gap!

Schubert is operating of course in the shadows of Beethoven and Mozart, mainly that of the former, but that would be expected.  In any case, there is enough orignality and interest to say it is a fine piece, if not in the same memorable category as his later symphonies from #5 onward. 

The opening movement has some piquantly dissonant sections which make one wonder at the audacity of the composer; the slow movement is somewhat repetitious, but has some charming woodwind dialogues (in fact, these are found throughout the work); the Scherzo is a galumphing peasant dance leading nicely into the Finale, where there is a flurry of intersecting lines of drama and ebullience.

So, no, not close to incompetence, not even close to mediocrity!
I just adore Schubert's Second and Third  0:)
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Sydney Grew on December 28, 2007, 04:10:38 PM
the Shostakovich is a surprisingly fine 1st by a youthful man . . .

It is not so surprising when one realises that it was not really written by Shostacowitch at all. His initial effort was so profoundly incompetent and downright bad that his teacher Maximilian Shtaynberg (or Steinberg - there are various transliterations) kindly cleaned it up for him and made it at least presentable. What we hear now is something like 30 per cent Shostacowitch and 70 per cent Shtaynberg. Unfortunately Shostacowitch took all the credit, but as might be expected nothing he managed to produce subsequently rose to the standard of that first symphony. It was thought to be the work of a "brilliant young composer" but in actuality it was knocked into some sort of shape by a "clever mature man"!

For more information about this shameful affair please refer to Gerald Abraham's well-known book entitled Eight Soviet Composers.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: greg on December 28, 2007, 04:13:55 PM
It is not so surprising when one realises that it was not really written by Shostacowitch at all. His initial effort was so profoundly incompetent and downright bad that his teacher Maximilian Shtaynberg (or Steinberg - there are various transliterations) kindly cleaned it up for him and made it at least presentable. What we hear now is something like 30 per cent Shostacowitch and 70 per cent Shtaynberg. Unfortunately Shostacowitch took all the credit, but as might be expected nothing he managed to produce subsequently rose to the standard of that first symphony. It was thought to be the work of a "brilliant young composer" but in actuality it was knocked into some sort of shape by a "clever mature man"!

For more information about this shameful affair please refer to Gerald Abraham's well-known book entitled Eight Soviet Composers.

wow, seriously?  :o

at least he made some great music later on all by himself  ;D
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on December 28, 2007, 04:20:41 PM
I don't think you're unprejudiced, Mr Grew. Your title for the photo below is very revealing.

(http://i176.photobucket.com/albums/w164/sydgrew/sjostakovitj_ung.jpg)

http://s176.photobucket.com/albums/w164/sydgrew/?start=40

Jez
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Brewski on December 28, 2007, 04:21:37 PM
...but as might be expected nothing he managed to produce subsequently rose to the standard of that first symphony.

Erm, I respectfully--and completely--disagree, both with "as might be expected" and with the assessment of his later work.

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: greg on December 28, 2007, 04:23:53 PM
But we deem that Shostakovich has inferior vibrational fields...
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Cato on December 28, 2007, 05:03:17 PM
http://web.ukonline.co.uk/nso/Shosta1.htm

"In October 1924, he wrote to his girlfriend, Tanya, that he was so fed up with his family's poverty that he had taken an engagement as a cinema pianist. A month later he tells Tanya that he is writing a symphony saying that it is "quite bad, but I have to write it so that I can have done with the conservatory this year, since I'm sick of it and don't feel like writing a symphony now." By the beginning of January 1925 he had finished three movements. "In my view it's turned out very well, the most substantial of my works" adding "and it'll be performed badly since I won't be there to show them how it should go." At the same time, Shostakovich's sister, Maria, found employment as a dance teacher and he was able to give up a cinema job which had become ever more demanding and irksome although he still had the energy to sue the cinema owner for unpaid wages. Life continued to lurch between moments of blissful happiness and suicidal depression. "Doubts and problems, all this darkness suffocate me. From sheer misery I've started to compose the finale of the Symphony. It's turning out pretty gloomy - almost like Miaskovsky, who takes the cake when it comes to gloominess." A further letter to Tanya describes his "sweet ecstasy" whilst composing, often until the early hours of the morning, but outlining an attempt to hang himself yet not having the courage to kick away the chair. At last on the 26th April he had finished the symphony announcing that he was pleased with the result.

Although in his adult years Shostakovich wrote his orchestral music directly to manuscript, his First Symphony was in piano-score and the arduous task of writing out the score and orchestral parts made him ill again. A first performance was scheduled for the 12th of May, 1926, at the Leningrad Philharmonic Hall with the great Nicolai Malko in charge of the Leningrad Philharmonic - a prestigious debut that would have thrilled most student composers. Even so Shostakovich had doubts, regarding Malko as a good conductor yet afraid that he was incapable of presenting the symphony the way it should be, "Even the slightest deviation from my wishes is painfully unpleasant." After all this angst, it was an enormous boost to Shostakovich that the première received a triumphant reception.

... Shostakovich's contemporary, Lev Lebedinsky, portrayed the Symphony as "An alarm, a forecast of the terrible future." Some years later he expanded on this statement: "As a true democrat, he [Shostakovich] deeply detested the communist system, which continually threatened his very life. In his first major work, his First Symphony, he already challenged the forces of evil. I was the first to note that the timpani in the last movement sound like a depiction of an execution on a scaffold. When I remarked to Shostakovich, 'You were the first to declare war against Stalin,' he did not deny it. Already, from his early years, Shostakovich understood what was going on in our country and what was to come."

(My emphasis above)

No mention of Prof. Steinberg in this analysis.

I would assume the Maximilian Steinberg mentioned by Mr. Grew earlier is the son-in-law of Rimsky-Korsakov?
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: m_gigena on December 28, 2007, 05:29:24 PM
His initial effort was so profoundly incompetent and downright bad that his teacher Maximilian Shtaynberg (or Steinberg - there are various transliterations) kindly cleaned it up for him and made it at least presentable. What we hear now is something like 30 per cent Shostacowitch and 70 per cent Shtaynberg. Unfortunately Shostacowitch took all the credit, but as might be expected nothing he managed to produce subsequently rose to the standard of that first symphony.

Hey! I remember you from Talk Classical, you appeared there as Egregious Professor (http://www.talkclassical.com/1860-russians-2.html#post17130)

Quote from: Egregious Professor
You cannot go wrong with Alexander Scryabine; any of his wonderful symphonies or piano sonatas for instance. The Poem of Ecstasy! Is not the title enough to capture any one's interest!

Another great Russian was Rachmannineff. It will at once be clear from a first hearing that his symphonies and concertos are a hundred times better than those of Shostacowitch.

Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: btpaul674 on December 28, 2007, 05:43:24 PM
What about Bax's first?  Last I remember, it was hard to get through.



I love Bax's first.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on December 28, 2007, 05:57:40 PM
Anyone mentioned Vaughan Williams? What a horrid work that is, the Sea Symphony, I thought it would never end.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: 71 dB on December 28, 2007, 07:01:13 PM
Anyone mentioned Vaughan Williams? What a horrid work that is, the Sea Symphony, I thought it would never end.

I disagree. I heard the work some time ago and I was pleasantly surprised!
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Kullervo on December 28, 2007, 07:12:17 PM
Erm, I respectfully--and completely--disagree, both with "as might be expected" and with the assessment of his later work.

--Bruce

Bruce, there's no need for respect where respect is trampled.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: jochanaan on December 28, 2007, 08:27:22 PM
I disagree. I heard the work some time ago and I was pleasantly surprised!
For once I agree with you unreservedly.  This is one fine choral symphony.  It sprawls a bit--but that might be said of many other masterpieces.  (I highly recommend the old Adrian Boult/London Philharmonic recording.  Boult really had a way with English music. 8))
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Sydney Grew on December 28, 2007, 09:29:03 PM
Wagner's, while by no means his best work, has some real substance.

The principal problem with the 1832 symphony of the German man Wagner is that it shows no feeling for form whatever. We believe that that is the secret reason why he turned thereafter to writing operas of the "continuous recitative" type, in which this deficiency of his talent would be less noticeable.

In that respect - the sense of musical balance - he was at the opposite pole to the older Mozart; but even the latter's first symphony did not manage much did it.

Some listeners of course do not care about musical structure; but to a good many its absence is painful. Richard Strauss was another one in the Wagner mould; he wrote - what is it? - four meandering symphonies, the first of which he did not dare even to publish, and he became much more successful once he turned to opera with its dramatic scenes and loud voices.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Brian on December 28, 2007, 09:41:19 PM
Richard Strauss was another one in the Wagner mould; he wrote - what is it? - four meandering symphonies, the first of which he did not dare even to publish, and he became much more successful once he turned to opera with its dramatic scenes and loud voices.
Have you heard it, by the way? I actually do not mind it at all; the first movement's first subject has an interesting little jolt to it and I remember the finale being rousing ... though it has been a full two years since I have heard the piece  :P
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on December 29, 2007, 01:27:10 AM
I love Bax's first.

So do I. That second, funereal movement is one of his greatest.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: karlhenning on December 29, 2007, 07:30:39 PM
http://web.ukonline.co.uk/nso/Shosta1.htm

"In October 1924, he wrote to his girlfriend, Tanya, that he was so fed up with his family's poverty that he had taken an engagement as a cinema pianist. A month later he tells Tanya that he is writing a symphony saying that it is "quite bad, but I have to write it so that I can have done with the conservatory this year, since I'm sick of it and don't feel like writing a symphony now." By the beginning of January 1925 he had finished three movements. "In my view it's turned out very well, the most substantial of my works" adding "and it'll be performed badly since I won't be there to show them how it should go." At the same time, Shostakovich's sister, Maria, found employment as a dance teacher and he was able to give up a cinema job which had become ever more demanding and irksome although he still had the energy to sue the cinema owner for unpaid wages. Life continued to lurch between moments of blissful happiness and suicidal depression. "Doubts and problems, all this darkness suffocate me. From sheer misery I've started to compose the finale of the Symphony. It's turning out pretty gloomy - almost like Miaskovsky, who takes the cake when it comes to gloominess." A further letter to Tanya describes his "sweet ecstasy" whilst composing, often until the early hours of the morning, but outlining an attempt to hang himself yet not having the courage to kick away the chair. At last on the 26th April he had finished the symphony announcing that he was pleased with the result.

Although in his adult years Shostakovich wrote his orchestral music directly to manuscript, his First Symphony was in piano-score and the arduous task of writing out the score and orchestral parts made him ill again. A first performance was scheduled for the 12th of May, 1926, at the Leningrad Philharmonic Hall with the great Nicolai Malko in charge of the Leningrad Philharmonic - a prestigious debut that would have thrilled most student composers. Even so Shostakovich had doubts, regarding Malko as a good conductor yet afraid that he was incapable of presenting the symphony the way it should be, "Even the slightest deviation from my wishes is painfully unpleasant." After all this angst, it was an enormous boost to Shostakovich that the première received a triumphant reception.

... Shostakovich's contemporary, Lev Lebedinsky, portrayed the Symphony as "An alarm, a forecast of the terrible future." Some years later he expanded on this statement: "As a true democrat, he [Shostakovich] deeply detested the communist system, which continually threatened his very life. In his first major work, his First Symphony, he already challenged the forces of evil. I was the first to note that the timpani in the last movement sound like a depiction of an execution on a scaffold. When I remarked to Shostakovich, 'You were the first to declare war against Stalin,' he did not deny it. Already, from his early years, Shostakovich understood what was going on in our country and what was to come."

(My emphasis above)

No mention of Prof. Steinberg in this analysis.

Thank you for setting the record straight, Cato.

I thought Syd an eccentric ere now. But now . . . .
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: karlhenning on December 29, 2007, 07:49:33 PM
Quote from: Elizabeth Wilson
Shostakovich conceived the idea of the First Symphony in July 1923.  Probably his early Scherzo Opus 7 was initially intended as its third movement.  The young composer noted, not without satisfaction, that he had provoked Steinberg's displeasure with this piece: 'What is this obsession with the Grotesque? The [Piano] Trio alreaday was in part Grotesque!' Steinberg's comments did not have much effect.  The young composer went on to to ridicule the traditional tenets of his teacher: 'The inviolable foundations of The Mighty Handful, the sacred traditions of Nikolai Andreevich [Rinsky-Korsakov] and other such pompous phrases.  Unfortunately, I can no longer indulge him with my music.'

[Shostakovich: A Life Remembered, p. 50 ]

That doesn't really sound like two 'collaborators', doesn't at all sound like a situation which will result in a piece which is 30% Shostakovich and 70% Steinberg.

Does it?
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on December 29, 2007, 08:19:06 PM
[Shostakovich: A Life Remembered, p. 50 ]

That doesn't really sound like two 'collaborators', doesn't at all sound like a situation which will result in a piece which is 30% Shostakovich and 70% Steinberg.

Does it?

Wouldn't fit that a composer of Shostakovich's caliber would even allow a work 70% someone else's out of the drawing room. Despite the early date.

Ego's bound to play some part... 8)


Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Pierre on January 01, 2008, 01:45:09 PM
It is not so surprising when one realises that it was not really written by Shostacowitch at all. His initial effort was so profoundly incompetent and downright bad that his teacher Maximilian Shtaynberg (or Steinberg - there are various transliterations) kindly cleaned it up for him and made it at least presentable. What we hear now is something like 30 per cent Shostacowitch and 70 per cent Shtaynberg. Unfortunately Shostacowitch took all the credit, but as might be expected nothing he managed to produce subsequently rose to the standard of that first symphony. It was thought to be the work of a "brilliant young composer" but in actuality it was knocked into some sort of shape by a "clever mature man"!

For more information about this shameful affair please refer to Gerald Abraham's well-known book entitled Eight Soviet Composers.


I've indeed checked what is published in Gerald Abraham's book, and was reminded of the significant context from which that British musicologist took the rather slender evidence for his claim - that Steinberg assisted Shostakovich in composing Symphony No. 1. His evidence is simply a statement Steinberg made at one of the various meetings held in 1936 when it was obligatory to denounce Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth, and indeed it seemed likely that the composer himself was soon to meet a sticky end:

"A number of speakers have referred to Shostakovich's First Symphony as one of his best works, but no one has reminded us that this Symphony was written in the Conservatoire class. The First Symphony, the highest possible expression of his talent, is the result of his study in the Conservatoire. I was very distressed by Shostakovich's published allegation that in the Conservatoire we only 'hindered him from composing'."

Gerald Abraham goes on to say: 'The fairly obvious inference is that Steinberg himself had had some hand in the polishing of the Symphony, that his relationship to it was (shall we say?) similar to Stanford's rumoured relationship to Hiawatha's Wedding Feast. That may be one reason why Shostakovich has never done anything as good as his Op. 10.' [end of extract]

I'll make two observations: a) Gerald Abraham has not a shred of evidence that Shostakovich was helped by Steinberg - he draws an inference which I think is quite incorrect. The context was that both the St Petersburg and Moscow Conservatoires had suffered some brutal handling during the years of the cultural revolution (in the late 1920s and early 1930s - roughly the period of the First Five-Year Plan), during which many distinguished professors had been sent away on 'leave of absence' or bluntly told to shut up, put up or get out while musically illiterate but politically orthodox people interfered with their organisation and how courses were run; any students who had any bourgeois background were kicked out, while musically illiterate students barely able to compose a competent tune but with working class backgrounds were recruited and allowed to best professors unable to explain the significance of a piece of music to the working class struggle. Steinberg himself confided to his diary that it was a time of ‘real bedlam, threatening the annihilation of professional art and the reduction of everything to complete dilettantism’. All this was brought to a halt in 1932 with the abolishment of the proletarian unions, but as Steinberg and his colleagues well knew, a lot of those who had been active in decimating the Conservatoires until then were still in positions of power and potentially waiting for their chance to attack the ‘bourgeois’ professors.

In short, Steinberg in 1936 clearly felt he was turning the tables on those who wished to suggest the professors at the (pre-Cultural Revolution) Conservatoires had a destructive influence on their students, pointing out that the very works Shostakovich was being attacked for were in reaction against what had been fostered in the Conservatoire. I don’t think even Steinberg would have claimed that he helped Shostakovich actually compose the Symphony, let alone Grew's mischievous ‘30 per cent Shostacowitch and 70 per cent Shtaynberg’ claim (nowhere to be found even in Abraham).

Observation b): Abraham’s claim that by 1943 (when his book was published) ‘Shostakovich has never done anything as good as his Op. 10’ is patently no more than a personal opinion – not a statement of fact – and almost certainly not one informed of remarkable things like Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 4 (suppressed at that time). Abraham had clearly encountered The Nose (another remarkable opera IMHO) but thought it ‘clever’ and ‘vulgar’ (though, by the way, Abraham was equally obtuse when it came to Britten’s talent, thinking Les illuminations ‘clever’, yet the equally sure-footed Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings ‘poetic’, presumably simply because it had a more recognizably pastoral vein more to Abraham’s taste).  To be charitable, Abraham was perhaps mindful of not offending the Soviets by praising a work – Lady Macbeth - which was still officially banned, but I suspect he probably also found this opera ‘vulger’.

Sorry to have gone on at some length here – I think this issue’s too important to drift off unchallenged, and I’ve only just come across Sydney Grew’s mischievous post. Whoever ‘Grew’ is should be ashamed of propagating a malicious lie and pretending it has the authority of Abraham.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on January 01, 2008, 01:51:35 PM
Sorry to have gone on at some length here – I think this issue’s too important to drift off unchallenged, and I’ve only just come across Sydney Grew’s mischievous post. Whoever ‘Grew’ is should be ashamed of propagating a malicious lie and pretending it has the authority of Abraham.

Don't apologise for an excellent piece of investigative journalism...
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: knight66 on January 01, 2008, 01:54:24 PM
Pierre, Thanks for the information.

Mike
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: greg on January 01, 2008, 02:15:10 PM
phew, i was starting to think the 1st wasn't really his. Thanks, Pierre.  :)
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Sydney Grew on January 01, 2008, 06:04:54 PM
Grew's mischievous ‘30 per cent Shostacowitch and 70 per cent Shtaynberg’ claim (nowhere to be found even in Abraham).

Of course the per-centage is not found in Abraham; it comes from our own two ears. There is nothing remotely mischievous about our own ears!

And if we disregard all the guff about "working-class struggle" what the rest of Member Pierre's message boils down to is a confirmation (by looking it up in the book) of what we originally wrote: namely that Abraham (one of our foremost authorities on Russian music remember) stated that Shtaynberg knocked the symphony into shape. And Abraham, who did not expire until 1988, never as far as we are aware retracted that statement. He was in a position to know and we should trust his authority.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: karlhenning on January 01, 2008, 06:05:52 PM
. . . let alone Grew's mischievous ‘30 per cent Shostacowitch and 70 per cent Shtaynberg’ claim (nowhere to be found even in Abraham).

No, that bizarre fantasy does not exist outside "Syd"'s feverish brain.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: karlhenning on January 01, 2008, 06:08:16 PM
. . . namely that Abraham (one of our foremost authorities on Russian music remember) stated that Shtaynberg knocked the symphony into shape.

It would have been to Abraham's credit to retract that unalloyed balderdash;  that he never did retract it, does not concern us.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: jochanaan on January 01, 2008, 09:47:55 PM
Of course the per-centage is not found in Abraham; it comes from our own two ears. There is nothing remotely mischievous about our own ears!
Have you not heard, perhaps, Shostakovich's Fourth?  Very imaginative and masterful, and much in the "vein" of the First.  Or the Tenth or the Fourteenth, great tragic masterworks?  Or the G minor Piano Quintet, the Opus 67 Piano Trio, or the Eighth Quartet?  These works and many, many others show that the First was no fluke. :D
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Sydney Grew on January 01, 2008, 11:37:30 PM
Have you not heard, perhaps, Shostakovich's Fourth?  Very imaginative and masterful, and much in the "vein" of the First.  Or the Tenth or the Fourteenth, great tragic masterworks?  Or the G minor Piano Quintet, the Opus 67 Piano Trio, or the Eighth Quartet?  These works and many, many others show that the First was no fluke.

The Member is fortunate to be able to find something in Shostacowitch's later works to amuse him; we on the other hand are obliged to confess that we find in them nothing either to hold our attention or to attract our admiration. As Gerald Abraham - a sound judge - once wrote, "Shostacowitch cannot write even a moderately good tune." We do not know what he thought of the Fourth, but he described the Third Symphony as "mob-oratorical and hysterical, deficient in musical logic." Musical logic - that is after all the great thing in composition is it not?

Anyway let us adhere to the subject of this thread, which is First symphonies; otherwise there is a great risk of the entire thread's being shuffled off to the coffee-bar department.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: knight66 on January 02, 2008, 07:13:53 AM
Of course the per-centage is not found in Abraham; it comes from our own two ears. There is nothing remotely mischievous about our own ears!

..........that Abraham (one of our foremost authorities on Russian music remember) stated that Shtaynberg knocked the symphony into shape. And Abraham, who did not expire until 1988, never as far as we are aware retracted that statement. He was in a position to know and we should trust his authority.


Your ears tell you that only 20% of the symphony was composed by Shostakovitch? Which bars belong to him? Can you even nail 50% of the specific bars as being by Maximilian Steinberg? You seem to have taken the merest hint and extrapolated it by using your ears, then you put it forward as having some kind of authority. Next we will be getting theory about 'Vibrational Fields'. There seems not to be much recorded music by Maximilian Steinberg, does that mean you are using manuscript analysis to get to understand his style and ability? What sources have you used to build up the knowedge that enables you to name so much of that symphony to be by Steinberg?

Knight

 
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: quintett op.57 on January 04, 2008, 11:18:44 AM
Has anyone even heard Haydn's First? It is tempting to dismiss it as something only a completist would seek out, but I haven't heard it.
From what I know, Haydn's 1st symphony is n°37, n°1 comes next.

I find Dvorak and Elgar's 1st are very find works
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: karlhenning on January 04, 2008, 11:47:42 AM
Elgar was fined £50 and jugged for 30 days without the option.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: JoshLilly on January 04, 2008, 12:06:54 PM
Which Haydn are you talking about?

With Joseph Haydn, I've listened to it, and have a recording. #1 is from 1759, and though the numbering of his symphonies is a chronological mess to some extent, it appears this really is his first. It's a 3-movement work, one that I really like. I would have bet money on a blind listen that it was by Leopold Mozart, or maybe Ignaz Holzbauer. Of all his 106 extant symphonies, there's not a one that I don't like at least a little. What a cornucopia!

I haven't yet finished a complete set of Michael Haydn symphonies (available on cpo), and as far as I know, have never even heard the first.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Haffner on January 04, 2008, 12:14:53 PM
Elgar




Not one of my favorites (one of my least in fact). But I actually fell asleep listening to Mozart's earliest (known) Symphonies, and both J. and M. Haydn's earliest known as well.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: BachQ on January 04, 2008, 12:46:01 PM



Not one of my favorites (one of my least in fact). But I actually fell asleep listening to Mozart's earliest (known) Symphonies, and both J. and M. Haydn's earliest known as well.


We forgive the 8-yr-old Wolfie for having failed to compose a jaw-dropping blockbuster symphony ........
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: jwinter on January 04, 2008, 01:33:11 PM

We forgive the 8-yr-old Wolfie for having failed to compose a jaw-dropping blockbuster symphony ........

Speak for yourself.  What an untalented little twerp. 
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Don on January 04, 2008, 01:44:52 PM
The Member is fortunate to be able to find something in Shostacowitch's later works to amuse him; we on the other hand are obliged to confess that we find in them nothing either to hold our attention or to attract our admiration. As Gerald Abraham - a sound judge - once wrote, "Shostacowitch cannot write even a moderately good tune." We do not know what he thought of the Fourth, but he described the Third Symphony as "mob-oratorical and hysterical, deficient in musical logic." Musical logic - that is after all the great thing in composition is it not?


Grew's views about Shostakovich remind me of the corkster regarding Bach and Mozart - extremist and unreasonable. 
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: JoshLilly on January 04, 2008, 01:49:28 PM
How can anyone's personal taste be unreasonable?
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Don on January 04, 2008, 01:53:29 PM
How can anyone's personal taste be unreasonable?

It can't.  But Grew and a few others trot out their personal taste as being grounded in good sense and musical insight.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: BachQ on January 04, 2008, 03:41:01 PM
What an untalented little twerp. 

No doubt.  Afterall, we were writing operas by age seven ........
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: karlhenning on January 04, 2008, 03:51:15 PM
How can anyone's personal taste be unreasonable?

Personal taste, is not a matter of unreasonable.

Imagining that the Shostakovich First is "70% Steinberg," is the high-pitched squeak of a loon.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Valentino on January 04, 2008, 04:33:45 PM
You guys just made my day. Now I can go to bed laughing.

Elgar! Elgar! Elgar! And Wolfgang, of course.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: BachQ on January 04, 2008, 04:34:29 PM
You guys just made my day. Now I can go to bed laughing.

Elgar! Elgar! Elgar! And Wolfgang, of course.

We aim to please .........
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Haffner on January 04, 2008, 05:34:43 PM

We forgive the 8-yr-old Wolfie for having failed to compose a jaw-dropping blockbuster symphony ........





You think  :D?
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: 71 dB on January 04, 2008, 08:52:15 PM
Beethoven's first is the worst first for me. I really find it extremely boring.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Kullervo on January 06, 2008, 05:03:41 PM
Which Haydn are you talking about?

Joseph. Nobody cares about Michael.  >:D
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: 71 dB on January 06, 2008, 06:51:34 PM
Joseph. Nobody cares about Michael.  >:D

Michael Haydn isn't as great as Dittersdorf but he is ok, I enjoy his divertimentos.  0:)
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: jochanaan on January 08, 2008, 02:57:09 PM
Michael Haydn just missed being a truly great composer.  He had the same problem as Modest Mussorgsky--too fond of liquor.  (Mozart once did M. Haydn a favor by composing a quartet Haydn had been commissioned to write and giving it to him, thereby saving his job. :o)  I've read that Josef Haydn said more than once that his brother was better at church music than he was.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: jochanaan on January 08, 2008, 03:02:12 PM
The Member is fortunate to be able to find something in Shostacowitch's later works to amuse him; we on the other hand are obliged to confess that we find in them nothing either to hold our attention or to attract our admiration.
I can't argue with that.
Musical logic - that is after all the great thing in composition is it not?
Only one of them.  Evocation of emotions is the other great thing.  And in that, DSch is second to none and equal to many--at least, I find him so.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Haffner on January 10, 2008, 10:46:33 AM
Michael Haydn just missed being a truly great composer.  He had the same problem as Modest Mussorgsky--too fond of liquor.  (Mozart once did M. Haydn a favor by composing a quartet Haydn had been commissioned to write and giving it to him, thereby saving his job. :o)  I've read that Josef Haydn said more than once that his brother was better at church music than he was.




You are very close in regard to Mozart writing M. Haydn's stuff. But it was actually a pair of phenomenally brilliant string duos. Haydn had been too busy getting drunk to finish a set of six for the Archbishop, so Mozart did the last two. It's hard to believe the Archbishop didn't notice the difference, as those two String Duets are two of the finest works Mozart ever produced.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Valentino on January 22, 2008, 02:04:22 AM
Can you recommend recordings of these string duos, Haffner?
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: val on January 22, 2008, 02:28:50 AM
To me, the best version is the one with Vera Beths (violin) and Jürgen Kussmaul (viola), in a CD that also includes the version for Sextet of the Sinfonia Concertante K 364 (SONY).

By the way, regarding Michael Haydn although he had not the talent of Josef he was a good composer. And he influenced Mozart in special in his String Quintets.

To have an idea of Michael Haydn quality, people should listen to some of his string quintets, in special the Quintet in G major. There is a very good interpretation, by the Archibudelli (SONY).
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Valentino on January 22, 2008, 03:16:14 AM
Great, val. Thank you.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Haffner on January 23, 2008, 11:37:39 AM
V. , I can't reccomend this cd to you enough. It's got the best Divertimento in Eb I've ever heard with a really good recording and performance and just wait until you hear k 266!!!
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: snyprrr on January 12, 2009, 06:29:44 PM
sorry, couldn't help myself

ROGER SESSIONS SYM NO.1- it made me angry. i'm getting mad just thinking about it

LOU HARRISON symphony on G- not his first symphony, but the only sym i know "on" a note rather than "in" a key. however, it's 12tone,...look, i don't even want to
                                                     listen to it just to remind myself....but i know it makes me very mad, so i stay away.

also, CHARLES WUORINEN'S 1st string quartet makes me mad in the exact same way.


...find the happy place...find the....
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Dundonnell on January 12, 2009, 07:01:04 PM
sorry, couldn't help myself

ROGER SESSIONS SYM NO.1- it made me angry. i'm getting mad just thinking about it

LOU HARRISON symphony on G- not his first symphony, but the only sym i know "on" a note rather than "in" a key. however, it's 12tone,...look, i don't even want to
                                                     listen to it just to remind myself....but i know it makes me very mad, so i stay away.

also, CHARLES WUORINEN'S 1st string quartet makes me mad in the exact same way.


...find the happy place...find the....

What's wrong with Sessions' 1st Symphony ? It is a lot easier on the ear than his later, more complex symphonies :) Or is that what's wrong with it?

And, Lou Harrison's Symphony on G is, I believe, his first symphony. Harrison wrote four in total-the Symphony on G(1948-54), the 2nd 'Elegiac'(1942-75), the 3rd(1937-82) and the 4th 'Last Symphony'(1990-95).
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: snyprrr on January 12, 2009, 11:07:54 PM
i have enjoyed a lot of harrison, and his elegiac and 3rd, and piano concerto, and mass all seem to enjoy harrison's "classical" style. big meaty first movement of epic pacific sweep. i especially used to love the elegiac, coupled with hovaness on the cd. and i really like the mass...that's my favorite harrison sound.

i thought the sym on g was from the 60s, but....i ...i....i...i don't even want to listen to it to refresh my memory. i think it's just not what i wanted from this
composer.

i know, if i'm gonna say this stuff i should maybe listen to it again,....but i'm scurrred!!! however, the ruggles pieces on the same cri cd are MANDATORY!!!haha

i think the sessions reminded me of aspects of 1920s copland that i'm not to fond of. i think sessions' 2nd is a verrry noble work, and of course the classic 3rd sym NEEDS A MODERN RECORDING NOW!!!...YEEESH, WHAT'S UP MR. DAVIES? also, sessions' piano concerto. i think the 3rd sym and piano cto show mature (read, difficult) sessions in the best light. but yes, i do like everything else i've heard from him, though...i must say i worked on a lot of it, but i personally think that late honegger, pettersson, and sessions have a few things in common, sonically speaking.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Cleo Telerín on January 13, 2009, 07:57:23 AM
I think I don't dislike any 1st. Maybe Scriabin's, but just the finale.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Mark G. Simon on January 13, 2009, 12:03:13 PM
sorry, couldn't help myself

ROGER SESSIONS SYM NO.1- it made me angry. i'm getting mad just thinking about it

Not that I enjoy being made angry by music, but I think that if a piece of music affects you to the point that you become angry, it must have something special about it. I sometimes find that if I set out do figure out what it is about a piece of music that makes me angry, by the time I've come up with an answer I've decided I actually like it.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: greg on January 13, 2009, 12:48:40 PM
Not that I enjoy being made angry by music, but I think that if a piece of music affects you to the point that you become angry, it must have something special about it. I sometimes find that if I set out do figure out what it is about a piece of music that makes me angry, by the time I've come up with an answer I've decided I actually like it.
This has happened to me with some of my very favorite music.

Of course, there's exceptions, such as nearly anything with the "American" sound to it. It just makes me bored, disgusted, then angry.  ;D
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: ChamberNut on October 26, 2013, 04:52:33 AM
Yes, in Germany you always eat the Wurst first!   8)

But we are talking about SYMPHONIES now!

Since the forum loves lists and rankings, how about your opinions on the Worst First Symphony by a composer?

Dvorak's Bells of Zlonice?  (Anybody?  Anybody?)

Khachaturian?  (Can you even find a recording of it?)

Copland?   :o

How many people have I just outraged with these suggestions?   0:)

*Bump*  :D
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on October 26, 2013, 06:04:57 AM
A little (but only a little) embarrassed that I am unsure which came first, Copland's Dance Symphony or the Short Symphony. (Or is the Organ Symphony first?) I think them all good pieces, though.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Sergeant Rock on October 26, 2013, 06:10:11 AM
A little (but only a little) embarrassed that I am unsure which came first, Copland's Dance Symphony or the Short Symphony. (Or is the Organ Symphony first?) I think them all good pieces, though.

Karl, do you still think the Elgar is the worst First?

Sarge
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Brian on October 26, 2013, 06:12:24 AM
Karl, do you still think the Elgar is the worst First?

Sarge
This morning I read this thread all the way through and god, the Elgar-bashing stuff is completely embarrassing. That had to be a low point in GMG history. I'm glad everyone got over their collective lunacy and put a little Elgar back in their hearts.
Title: Re: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on October 26, 2013, 06:18:09 AM
Karl, do you still think the Elgar is the worst First?

Sarge

No! Apart from any other dynamic at the time, those were days when I largely failed to see the merits of the symphonies. I rejoice that the ears are "getting bigger" all the time.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Sergeant Rock on October 26, 2013, 06:20:02 AM
This morning I read this thread all the way through and god, the Elgar-bashing stuff is completely embarrassing. That had to be a low point in GMG history. I'm glad everyone got over their collective lunacy and put a little Elgar back in their hearts.

I never read these old threads without a certain amount of trepidation :D

Sarge
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: ChamberNut on October 26, 2013, 06:21:30 AM
This morning I read this thread all the way through and god, the Elgar-bashing stuff is completely embarrassing. That had to be a low point in GMG history. I'm glad everyone got over their collective lunacy and put a little Elgar back in their hearts.

Well said Brian.  The other day, I was looking through the 'Composer Discussion' forum.  The first three 'locked' threads that I found, happened to all be Elgar threads.  ;D
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on October 26, 2013, 06:22:56 AM
Maybe the worst Firsts were Schuman and Wuorinen, since the composers themselves withdrew them.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Sergeant Rock on October 26, 2013, 06:28:52 AM
*Bump*  :D

Your memory is better than mine, Nut!  8)

Although I still would like to think Cato doesn't really dislike the Dvorak but was merely using that as an example to get the thread started. Maybe Cato will chime in.

Sarge
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: ChamberNut on October 26, 2013, 07:00:00 AM
Your memory is better than mine, Nut!  8)

Although I still would like to think Cato doesn't really dislike the Dvorak but was merely using that as an example to get the thread started. Maybe Cato will chime in.

Sarge

I agree, Sarge.  I have a feeling Cato may not have been completely serious about this.  Either way, I'm fine with it.  :)
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Cato on October 26, 2013, 07:00:41 AM
Your memory is better than mine, Nut!  8)

Although I still would like to think Cato doesn't really dislike the Dvorak but was merely using that as an example to get the thread started. Maybe Cato will chime in.

Sarge

Wow!  Did I start this in 2007???!!!

And yes, I was just throwing out possibilities: certainly the Dvorak has its weak moments, but is not the worst symphony by any means.

And yes, the almost immediate dislike of the Elgar First was astonishing!  ???

I "googled" the phrase "worst first symphony" and found - besides our own topic - a wise guy named Thomas Wood who claimed Bruckner  :o  wrote the worst first symphony, and the worst second, third, etc...  Even the worst "0 and 00" symphony.

Rene Leibowitz
thought the same thing of Sibelius.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Brian on October 26, 2013, 07:24:26 AM
Rene Leibowitz[/b] thought the same thing of Sibelius.

A few years ago I had the pleasure of reading, and translating from the French (with a little help from my friends), Leibowitz's pamphlet, "Sibelius, the Worst Composer in the World." I need to upload that somewhere!
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Parsifal on October 26, 2013, 07:30:51 AM
Virgil Thompson's "Symphony on a Hymm Tune" has to be the worst thing I have ever heard labeled as a symphony.  I understand he wrote others, but for all I know they are worse.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Brian on October 26, 2013, 07:37:13 AM
Virgil Thompson's "Symphony on a Hymm Tune" has to be the worst thing I have ever heard labeled as a symphony.  I understand he wrote others, but for all I know they are worse.

Since you recently said similar things about Panufnik's Seventh (I think?) and I listened and thought, "meh, boring," I am going to load this on NML now, and probably think, "meh, boring."
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Brian on October 26, 2013, 07:45:52 AM
Virgil Thompson's "Symphony on a Hymm Tune" has to be the worst thing I have ever heard labeled as a symphony.  I understand he wrote others, but for all I know they are worse.

Okay yeah this piece is pretty annoying. It's one of very few works I've heard where you can't use what happened previously to explain or justify what happens next. So far the only thing I've remembered was a five-second snippet that sounded like "Blazing Saddles." That said, it's not actively offensive or anything.

EDIT: I spoke too soon! The second movement is kinda nice.
EDIT: Hey, "Blazing Saddles" came back in the scherzo!
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Sergeant Rock on October 26, 2013, 07:57:33 AM
It's so thoroughly American, simple and direct, in its tunes and rhythms, I almost feel obligated to like it  ;)  And I do. The use of hymns reminds me of Ives (without the dissonance and complexity) and Copland (without the genius). The "Jesus Loves Me" cracks me up...and makes me nostalgic.

"We all loved his music and rarely performed it." --Lenny

Sarge
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Brian on October 26, 2013, 08:01:24 AM
Yeah, now reaching the end, it's not that great and the first movement kind of stinks, but it's just some populist grubbing. And it makes me think of "Blazing Saddles." It's certainly no worse than the worst symphonies of, say, Bruch, Spohr, or A. Rubinstein.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Sergeant Rock on October 26, 2013, 08:13:20 AM
Okay yeah this piece is pretty annoying. It's one of very few works I've heard where you can't use what happened previously to explain or justify what happens next.

Forget the fact he called it a symphony, which implies a logical and dramatic progression, and think of the first movement as a series of dance pieces, variations on the hymn tune. That's how Thomson described it. Works for me.

Sarge
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Parsifal on October 26, 2013, 09:43:35 AM
Maybe the fact that I do not recognize any of the hymn tunes is interfering with my appreciation, but it struck me as very crudely naive, as though it was written as background music for a Bugs Bunny cartoon.  I listened to the Hansons/Eastman recording on Mercury (on the same disc as the interesting Sessions Black Maskers suite and a really bad piece by someone named McPhee, I think).
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Daverz on October 26, 2013, 03:03:21 PM
And it makes me think of "Blazing Saddles."

<wakes from a nap>  Er, whuh, Blazing Saddles?  I've got to hear this.  Is there a prominent part for bassoons?
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Brian on October 27, 2013, 05:43:40 AM
<wakes from a nap>  Er, whuh, Blazing Saddles?  I've got to hear this.  Is there a prominent part for bassoons?
Nah, it's just that the hymn tune that features in every movement bear a suspicious resemblance to the tune "He rode a blazing saddle." The tune also shows up in David Bedford's Symphony No. 1, which is even more fun (and shorter, also, iirc).
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: vandermolen on October 27, 2013, 10:39:21 AM
Yes, in Germany you always eat the Wurst first!   8)

But we are talking about SYMPHONIES now!

Since the forum loves lists and rankings, how about your opinions on the Worst First Symphony by a composer?

Dvorak's Bells of Zlonice?  (Anybody?  Anybody?)

Khachaturian?  (Can you even find a recording of it?)

Copland?   :o

How many people have I just outraged with these suggestions?   0:)


Oh, I really like the Khachaturian and the Copland too.

Personally I dislike Prokofiev's 'Classical Symphony' but it is generally much admired and very tuneful.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: kyjo on October 27, 2013, 10:56:01 AM
Mozart's 0:)
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: TheGSMoeller on October 27, 2013, 11:00:43 AM
Mozart's 0:)

You basically just told an 8 year old he's the worst. You bully.  :P  ;D
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Mirror Image on October 27, 2013, 11:01:30 AM
You basically just told an 8 year old he's the worst. You bully.  :P  ;D

 :P I just spilt my my drink after reading this!!!! LOL!
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: kyjo on October 27, 2013, 11:03:30 AM
You basically just told an 8 year old he's the worst. You bully.  :P  ;D

 :laugh:
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: TheGSMoeller on October 27, 2013, 11:16:39 AM
:P I just spilt my my drink after reading this!!!! LOL!

Sorry, I owe you a beverage.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Mirror Image on October 27, 2013, 11:37:51 AM
Sorry, I owe you a beverage.

:D Don't worry about it. The liquid came right up with no problems. :)
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Wanderer on October 27, 2013, 02:01:06 PM
Personally I dislike Prokofiev's 'Classical Symphony'

Me, too. I don't know why.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on October 27, 2013, 02:04:22 PM
We can still all be mates.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: amw on October 27, 2013, 02:07:03 PM
I've never liked Ravel's First Symphony. It's nearly as bad as Chopin's.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Wanderer on October 27, 2013, 02:11:08 PM
And yes, the almost immediate dislike of the Elgar First was astonishing!  ???

I still can't fathom what brought that about. I suspect mass hypnosis.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: ibanezmonster on October 27, 2013, 06:02:43 PM
I've never liked Ravel's First Symphony. It's nearly as bad as Chopin's.
Ravel's Fifth Symphony is great, though. Almost as great as Schoenberg's and Berlioz's Fifth.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Mirror Image on October 27, 2013, 06:12:06 PM
Ravel's Fifth Symphony is great, though. Almost as great as Schoenberg's and Berlioz's Fifth.

Don't forget about Schnittke's 10th! Man, what a symphony!!! :)
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: kyjo on October 27, 2013, 06:24:48 PM
Let's not forget Delius' incredible Symphony no. 9 Symphony of Sweet and Sorrowful Summer Songs! What mastery of the symphonic form Delius displays in this work! Such tight structure, gripping drama, etc..... ;D

Wow, my sense of humor is so bad :-[
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Mirror Image on October 27, 2013, 06:29:04 PM
Let's not forget Delius' incredible Symphony no. 9 Symphony of Sweet and Sorrowful Summer Songs! What mastery of the symphonic form Delius displays in this work! Such tight structure, gripping drama, etc..... ;D

Wow, my sense of humor is so bad :-[

For an example of bad humor, go to the Hiking thread and look at my post. ;) :D
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: kyjo on October 27, 2013, 06:31:46 PM
For an example of bad humor, go to the Hiking thread and look at my post. ;) :D

Noted. :D
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: TheGSMoeller on October 27, 2013, 06:37:54 PM
Is this exclusive to only music? Cause my first wife was the worst.  >:D
Title: Re: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on October 28, 2013, 03:03:25 AM
Is this exclusive to only music? Cause my first wife was the worst.  &gt;:D

Thanks for the chuckle this frosty Monday morning!
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: ibanezmonster on October 28, 2013, 06:28:36 PM
Is this exclusive to only music? Cause my first wife was the worst.  >:D
If we're going that route, then Final Fantasy 1 was terrible.

No, I don't have Aspergers...
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Wanderer on October 29, 2013, 12:12:50 AM
Is this exclusive to only music? Cause my first wife was the worst.  >:D

They always are.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Cato on October 29, 2013, 03:07:31 AM
Is this exclusive to only music? Cause my first wife was the worst.  >:D

Practice makes perfect!  Except... in this case lawyers make it expensive!
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: snyprrr on October 29, 2013, 09:43:32 AM
Roger Sessions

There are a lot of American Composers who have withdrawn their first.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: jochanaan on May 24, 2014, 06:38:09 PM
I've never liked Ravel's First Symphony. It's nearly as bad as Chopin's.
Ravel and Chopin were wise.  They avoided any serious (serial?) mention in this thread. ;D
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: kyjo on October 25, 2017, 12:22:31 PM
I've never been too fond of the first symphonies of Shostakovich and Prokofiev, despite being great admirers of both composers.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Brian on October 25, 2017, 12:29:55 PM
Nah, it's just that the hymn tune that features in every movement bear a suspicious resemblance to the tune "He rode a blazing saddle." The tune also shows up in David Bedford's Symphony No. 1, which is even more fun (and shorter, also, iirc).
When you read something you wrote 4 years ago and not only don't remember the piece of music, but don't remember even the composer's name.

Guess I know what I'm listening to now.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: André on October 25, 2017, 12:34:58 PM
I've never been too fond of the first symphonies of Shostakovich and Prokofiev, despite being great admirers of both composers.


I’ve never taken to Shostakovich’s 1st either, but I love Prokofiev’s !

There’s no doubt in my mind that Dvorak’s 1st is pure, unadulterated dreck. It has its defenders of course. They're the same that send pics of their pet to the Ugliest Dog contests  :P.

I have to give it to the man, though: he deserves a prize for the most amazing learning curve in the history of music!

Title: The Worst First!
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on October 25, 2017, 01:20:26 PM
The Worst First is a symphony none of us has heard, nor will ever hear 8)

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk

Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Sergeant Rock on October 25, 2017, 01:21:10 PM
There’s no doubt in my mind that Dvorak’s 1st is pure, unadulterated dreck.

 ;D :D ;D  ...I love the dreck, especially the first movement.

Sarge
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: SymphonicAddict on October 26, 2017, 05:36:26 PM
I've never been too fond of the first symphonies of Shostakovich and Prokofiev, despite being great admirers of both composers.

I agree with the Shostakovich's. In fact, his symphonies 1-3 don't get much attention from me. But I disagree about the Prokofiev's. It's so amusing and joyful.

I'd say the first symphony by Vincent d'Indy (Symphonie Italienne). It's too weak. Sadly, a few works of this composer appeals me.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Ken B on March 28, 2018, 01:28:47 PM
Schnittke. Pick a number: Schnittke.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on March 28, 2018, 03:24:54 PM
Schnittke. Pick a number: Schnittke.

What? Schnittke's symphonic oeuvre is a downhill journey after the first. ;D
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: amw on March 28, 2018, 04:36:10 PM
Generally a safe bet that any withdrawn first symphony is not going to be that great, eg Bruckner's "No. 00" or Szymanowski's First etc.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on March 28, 2018, 05:07:18 PM
Generally a safe bet that any withdrawn first symphony is not going to be that great, eg Bruckner's "No. 00" or Szymanowski's First etc.

Yes but safe bets are not fun.

I'm picking Brahms 1.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Ken B on March 28, 2018, 05:25:33 PM
What? Schnittke's symphonic oeuvre is a downhill journey after the first. ;D
It is. But worst 2nd, Schnittke; worst 3rd, Schnittke; etc.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: amw on March 28, 2018, 05:31:52 PM
Schnittke's 2nd can't be worse than Britten's (Spring Symphony) >.>
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on March 29, 2018, 06:18:48 AM
Read only the first 10 pages or so but have to confess I'm surprised that Vaughan Williams's Sea Symphony gets so much dislike. It was the first VW work I heard (seems logical to start from the first symphony, no?) and I loved it.

Walton's 1st is good but not IMO on a par with Belshazzar's Feast or some of his film scores.

I cannot mention Mozart's 1st as a contender for this thread because, weak as it is, it was composed by a child.

Has anyone mentioned or heard Richard Strauss's First? Although it was written by a teenager so it's not much fairer to mention it than Mozart's, whether or not it is a good work.

Although I like it nowadays much more, I would still think Robert Schumann's first symphony is a strong contender for the answer to the thread's question. There is much in it that shows potential but also a large dose of sheer boredom.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Biffo on March 29, 2018, 06:39:19 AM
I don't think Dvorak's first qualifies as the worst ever first, just as Dvorak's weakest. I know from previous discussions elsewhere that many people like it but I don't. Playing the long exposition repeat in the 1st movement - necessary for some, it seems  - only makes it worse.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Cato on March 29, 2018, 07:46:39 AM
Have ELEVEN years gone by, since I posed this question?!

Some early answers:

Elgar

Elgar

Thirded.  Some composers can't handle pressure.

The least satisfactory First I know is Gounod's.  It's pleasant enough--but against such formidable contenders for good Firsts as Beethoven, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich and even Bizet, it's simply not in the running.

We now have a home for Gounod under the Composer topic.

I just listened to Rachmaninov's first symphony and I think it's even worse than Beethoven's. :P

Wow!  The Rach and Beethoven First Symphonies are all-around faves!


Read only the first 10 pages or so but have to confess I'm surprised that Vaughan Williams's Sea Symphony gets so much dislike. It was the first VW work I heard (seems logical to start from the first symphony, no?) and I loved it.


That dislike was surprising!
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: vandermolen on March 29, 2018, 07:53:44 AM
Yes, in Germany you always eat the Wurst first!   8)

But we are talking about SYMPHONIES now!

Since the forum loves lists and rankings, how about your opinions on the Worst First Symphony by a composer?

Dvorak's Bells of Zlonice?  (Anybody?  Anybody?)

Khachaturian?  (Can you even find a recording of it?)

Copland?   :o

How many people have I just outraged with these suggestions?   0:)

I really like the Khachaturian and Copland's Organ Symphony.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 29, 2018, 08:52:34 AM
I don't think Dvorak's first qualifies as the worst ever first, just as Dvorak's weakest.

Exactly.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 29, 2018, 08:54:23 AM
Have ELEVEN years gone by, since I posed this question?!

Some early answers:

Elgar

Oh, I must have been . . . reacting to certain circs  8)

No, I do not at all believe that the Elgar qualifies.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: NikF on March 29, 2018, 09:32:09 AM
I'm not voting for Prokofiev's first, however, to my (relatively uneducated) ear it has often sounded something of a catch-all; less of a nod and perhaps more of an appeasement of what came before. That's not to say I haven't enjoyed fine, lively performances (especially in a concert setting) where it has almost served as an aperitif for what follows on the programme.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Baron Scarpia on March 29, 2018, 09:57:43 AM
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.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Mahlerian on March 29, 2018, 10:17:09 AM
I also saw Schumann 1. Except, IIRC, Schumann 4 was written before Schumann 1. I like both a lot.

The original version of Schumann's Fourth was written after the First but before the Second or Third.  There was an abandoned G minor symphony, though, that predates any of the others and isn't nearly as distinctive.  He only completed two movements of it.

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. :)

I think the first two movements of the symphony are actually quite fine, especially for a student work, but the latter two are weaker.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: DaveF on March 29, 2018, 01:44:27 PM
If we ever nominate a thread for worst last symphony, I nominate Nielsen.

Go on, start one - that opinion will provoke lots of interesting discussion!

For a rather poor "first", Tippett's symphony "no.0" in B flat, which was broadcast on the BBC recently and is I believe going to be included in Brabbins' ongoing cycle, sounded very tentative, unmemorable and confused, as well as being totally un-Tippettlike,
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Cato on July 27, 2018, 05:37:23 AM

There’s no doubt in my mind that Dvorak’s 1st is pure, unadulterated dreck. It has its defenders of course. They're the same that send pics of their pet to the Ugliest Dog contests  :P.


I don't think Dvorak's first qualifies as the worst ever first, just as Dvorak's weakest. I know from previous discussions elsewhere that many people like it but I don't. Playing the long exposition repeat in the 1st movement - necessary for some, it seems  - only makes it worse.

Exactly.

This morning I started to revisit the Dvorak Symphony #1 (i.e. I heard most of the first movement before needing to break off).  I had not heard it for many years until today: for some reason I was filled with a desire last week to revisit all the symphonies (I have the recommended-by-Sarge    8)   set by Witold Rowicki ).

I was struck by a resemblance now and then to the works of Jan Kalliwoda, which is understandable.  However, I have no idea whether Dvorak knew much or any of his predecessor's music.

Anyway, my previously low opinion of the work began to change: we shall see!  0:)

Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 27, 2018, 05:42:44 AM
For the record, I've never sent a picture of a pet anywhere.  Retract that calumny, André!  8)
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: André on July 27, 2018, 06:58:46 AM
For the record, I've never sent a picture of a pet anywhere.  Retract that calumny, André!  8)

I’m sure you have pet peeves, Karl. Esp. the orange mutt kind :laugh:
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: (: premont :) on July 27, 2018, 07:14:49 AM
The worst first?

Wouldn't that be Trump first?

I think I have heard this before.

Excuse for being off topic.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: vandermolen on July 31, 2018, 03:20:21 AM
Yes, in Germany you always eat the Wurst first!   8)

But we are talking about SYMPHONIES now!

Since the forum loves lists and rankings, how about your opinions on the Worst First Symphony by a composer?

Dvorak's Bells of Zlonice?  (Anybody?  Anybody?)

Khachaturian?  (Can you even find a recording of it?)

Copland?   :o

How many people have I just outraged with these suggestions?   0:)

Responding only eleven years late. I think that Khachaturian's First Symphony is excellent but you need to hear Tjeknavorian's LSO performance to hear it at its best.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Cato on July 31, 2018, 03:42:20 AM
Responding only eleven years late.

 ;)


Quote
I think that Khachaturian's First Symphony is excellent but you need to hear Tjeknavorian's LSO performance to hear it at its best.

Okay, I have found that performance via my classical music on-line service (called, oddly enough, Classical Music On-Line,  ;)   a Russian company), so I will give it a try!   0:)
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 31, 2018, 04:10:26 AM
Well, you knew there had to be a Melodiya recording of the Khachaturian First!
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Capeditiea on September 02, 2018, 05:08:32 AM
my first selection would be biased.
but Saint Saens First. ...well i dislike his symphonies in general and haven't come to terms with listening to his chamber works... it's just that i get far too frustrated trying to figure out who i am listening to.

but all in all subjectively i would say Sibelius' it really kinda was a let down.


That or Walton's (which is in my favourite key.)

For a while i would have said Brianps Gothic, but i revisited it and was amazed, (my answers subjectively will change, but it will always be Saint Saens for me.)

*insert rant about Saint Saens here, followed by a few dozen headbangs into the wall from presto rall. larghissimo shortly after a fermented pause falling over.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: TheGSMoeller on September 02, 2018, 05:41:12 AM
my first selection would be biased.
but Saint Saens First. ...

I wasn't even aware that Saint Saens composed a first symphony.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Capeditiea on September 02, 2018, 05:58:22 AM
he composed a few. let me check the number he had, *checks, he had three.  as well as a few non numbered symphonies
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: TheGSMoeller on September 02, 2018, 06:03:24 AM
he composed a few. let me check the number he had, *checks, he had three.  as well as a few non numbered symphonies

I know, I was being poorly sarcastic  8) 
I do like the Organ Symphony a little, but honestly can't remember last time I listened to it, or wanted to. Other than that the only time I listen to Saint Saens is when Aquarium from Carnival is being used in a movie or commercial. So not by choice.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Capeditiea on September 02, 2018, 06:11:52 AM
I know, I was being poorly sarcastic  8) 
I do like the Organ Symphony a little, but honestly can't remember last time I listened to it, or wanted to. Other than that the only time I listen to Saint Saens is when Aquarium from Carnival is being used in a movie or commercial. So not by choice.


*nods, i think his second was the first symphony i ended up turning off and switching to Joe Hisaishi's Princess Mononoke Symphonic Suite to recover from the madness. :O (that piece was my personal health potion if i hear horrid music. but now it is Marin Marais' Gall Bladder Operation. :D
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: TheGSMoeller on September 02, 2018, 06:16:15 AM


*nods, i think his second was the first symphony i ended up turning off and switching to Joe Hisaishi's Princess Mononoke Symphonic Suite to recover from the madness. :O (that piece was my personal health potion if i hear horrid music. but now it is Marin Marais' Gall Bladder Operation. :D

You had me at Joe Hisaishi.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Capeditiea on September 02, 2018, 06:30:48 AM
:D yay :D i have found someone with similar music tastes. *nods.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on September 02, 2018, 08:17:17 AM
I do like the Organ Symphony a little, but honestly can't remember last time I listened to it, or wanted to.

Curiously, we have heard the piece twice live in Symphony Hall.  We like it, but . . . it would be a funny world, if we all thought the same  8)
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Capeditiea on September 02, 2018, 08:46:00 AM
Curiously, we have heard the piece twice live in Symphony Hall.  We like it, but . . . it would be a funny world, if we all thought the same  8)

i agree with you there. :3 but it would be a scary world. :O

Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: vandermolen on September 02, 2018, 12:24:18 PM
Is Bruckner's First Symphony any good?
Never heard it.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Mahlerian on September 02, 2018, 12:26:54 PM
Is Bruckner's First Symphony any good?
Never heard it.

The first one he wrote (the F minor "Study Symphony") or the one he gave the number 1 to (the second one he wrote, in C minor)?

The F minor isn't all that distinctive, but the C minor does have some fine things in it.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Cato on September 02, 2018, 01:17:39 PM
Is Bruckner's First Symphony any good?
Never heard it.

Of course it is good!!! It's Bruckner!  8)


Symphony "0" (Die Nullte) is also worth your time!  Mahlerian is correct!
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: vandermolen on September 03, 2018, 12:42:01 AM
Thanks Mahlerian and Cato. I'd forgotten about Symphony No.0.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Biffo 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.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: André 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.
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Cato 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.

Two big AMENS!   0:)   0:)
Title: Re: The Worst First!
Post by: Mahlerian 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...