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Messages - cmargir

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Metal / Re: Audiences hate modern classical music
« on: September 30, 2010, 01:27:29 PM »
There was a shift in the concert going etiquette around this time that explains in part why those riots and scandals occurred. As conductors and musicians tried to instill the idea amongst the audience that a concert was supposed to be a near religious experience where silence and reverence were the norm, that had the side effect of empowering hecklers and give them the center stage. It's obvious that someone voicing his discontent and thus breaking the 'sacred' silence reigning amongst the audience will have more effect than he would have had back in Beethoven's, Monteverdi's or Mozart's time, when concerts were almost more of a social happening than a musical one. People just didn't take music seriously enough to get worked out with it, because otherwise I can definitely see people rioting over excessively complex and hard to grasp works like the Beethoven's Great Fugue (especially when you consider how cacophonous those might have sounded at their premiere, musicianship has improved tremendously since the 1800s).

The inevitable result of this focus on dissonance/atonality, etc. in modern classical is to portray EVERYTHING in a grotesque, skewed, and "Oh, woe is life" way.  It seems fundamentally sick music in a way that metal isn't.
Again, I really don't hear it. Where's the grotesque in this? How is it skewed, sick, and how does it reflect a negative outlook on the world?

Metal doesn't compose pieces referencing one's sexual impotence and homosexual tendencies.  Yes, I'm arguing twelve-tone/atonality/serialism, etc, is inevitably linked to a materialistic Freudian/Marxist sickness, or at least really seems to be picked up upon by those types (Adorno).
bit ironic again here, but Schoenberg is using almost exactly the same vocabulary when he's refering to the state of tonality in his time:

From Ross' The Rest is Noise.

Metal / Re: Audiences hate modern classical music
« on: September 22, 2010, 01:01:32 PM »
Twelve-tone is purely theoretical and an abstraction.
late-romantic very chromatic music gave way to free atonal music which then gave way to serialism. In order to make music that sounded even more unstable than the one from the previous generation, free atonality had to appear, which was then understood to be a "primitive" version of what's called serialism today. Serialism is just an extension on free atonality which is just tonal music with tons of chromaticism.

How can you say that serialism is a "purely theoretical" development then? There's actual, real world reasons why serialism was created, I'm not sure how else to say it. I mean, it's just as natural as the progression from monophony to free polyphony to strict counterpoint, a progression which did take many hundred years to happen, mind you (and unlike the chromaticism/dissonance analogue that you've used, the one I'm making here is a very good one, that's where the practice of retrograding & inverting tone rows comes from).

The idea that the tonal system could ever possibly be "exhausted" is ludicrous, and assumes technique as being the keystone of music.
Schoenberg was the very person who once said "There is still much good music that can be written in C major". The second Viennese school didn't choose their path because they felt that tonal music had exhausted its potential, they did so because they felt they could create interesting music that way.

When you create music that is entirely dissonant, but attempts to play itself off as being as expressive of every emotion as tonal music was, I call it contrived.
First, I would like to note that atonal music isn't necessarily that dissonant. Take Webern's symphony for instance, the first movement is as soft, pure and subdued as music gets. And yes, I do claim that atonal music is as expressive as anything tonal, if in a somewhat different fashion at times. I can hear Berg run through the whole gamut of emotion in his Lyric Suite for instance: from joviality to eerie stillness through spells of earth-shattering intensity and moments of great melancholy. It's all there, although it's not as solidly grounded as in the music of the romantics, this instability and the ambiguity being one of the hallmark of their sound after all.

Metal / Re: Audiences hate modern classical music
« on: September 20, 2010, 05:41:55 AM »
I don't hear it. It's a natural progression from the music of the late romantics, I'm not sure why and how the sublime would suddenly turn into exhibitionism. Remember that we're not talking about Boulez-style modernism here, never did the second Viennese school turn their back on the past, and never did they forget the fact that there's someone that has to listen to the pieces in question here. They've claimed over and over again that the techniques used toward of the creation of their works are irrelevent insofar as musical appreciation goes, and I'm inclined to agree. The music just speaks for itself.

As far as the "everything in it sounds the same" part of your post, well this is slightly ridiculous. Lyric Suite? Built from a selection of interrelated and progressively more contrasting movements, it's as differentiated as it gets.

Metal / Re: Audiences hate modern classical music
« on: September 19, 2010, 08:04:17 PM »
curious here, what 'atonal' works have you heard?

Schoenberg's drive toward firstly, free atonal music, and secondly, serialism can be easily understood in the context of the time. At the turn of the 20th century, chromaticism was already starting to run rampant, the works of Wagner, Scriabin, Bruckner and Mahler becoming increasingly more difficult to pinpoint in any particular key. The problem that was presented to composers of Schoenberg's generation was as such: say I want to build on the works of my teachers, but that I don't want to sound derivative all the same. What can I do now?

Schoenberg's own solution was to expand on the more unstable sounding works that had been created before him, think the stormy Bruckner 9th symphony for example, by making the music sound even more restless and even more on the brink of falling apart. The way he decided to use in order to achieve this goal was to take this drive toward more and more chromatic music to its limit: toward music that you wouldn't be able to characterize with any particular key, because it would be in a state of perpetual movement between any of them, changing key so often that you wouldn't be able to ascribe any tonal center to it.

It's easy to see that this type of composition; free atonality, is a very taxing one for the composer. Without an overall governing principle, trying to build music that lacks a tonal center is an arduous task. Schoenberg also realized that more and more often his compositions were starting to use all the notes in the chromatic scale one after the other without any particular one repeating itself before all the other ones were used already. This was a particularly efficient way to create the type of unstable sounding music that he was looking for. When on top of that, you add his own propensity toward the technique of the variation, it's easy to see how the idea behind 12-tone music came to be. Music was to be built from building blocks constructed using all the notes of the chromatic scale without repetition. One would then use this 'series'or 'tone row' and do a whole lot of stuff to it with transpositions, inversions and retrogrades. This was a great discovery when you think about it, no longer did the composer need to focus on the tonal aspect of his work, he was thus free to explore every other aspects of composition!

In my mind, the Schoenberg way was a very valid way to go at this point in time (though it wasn't the only one). It gave rise to more than a few colossal works that helped to shape the soundscape of the 20th century as a whole, think Moses und Aron, the Lyric Suite (of huge inspiration for Bartok's own SQs) or the Webern Symphony.

On the apparent lack of beauty of atonal music (which I don't really feel myself, I consider that something like this has some of the most beautiful moments in the whole history of Western Classical music), I often get the feeling that most people's problem with it has more to do with other characteristics inherent to the music than with the lack of tonal centers. Schoenberg in particular, wasn't very prone to use repetition, he would present to you a theme just once, and he'd start working on it right away, making his music a bit hard to keep track of at times. Alban Berg wrote a very interesting article on the matter here.

Metal / Re: the term "classical music" did not exist until 1930s
« on: July 10, 2010, 08:53:06 PM »
Where do you disagree with him?

Metal / Re: More useful: what contemporary classical is great?
« on: April 23, 2010, 06:29:08 AM »
What do you mean by contemporary, 50s or 70s onward? I'm much more familiar with the earlier part of that century (filled to brim with excellent stuff IMHO), but I've found some more recent works to my liking too. Out of the A+ stuff, I'd have say the Ligeti piano études (compares very favorably with the great études from past eras) and maybe Carter's Night Fantasies (though I'm not sure that it'd be well liked around here) and some of Xenakis' chamber music works.  I don't have the time right now, but I'll try to upload some of this stuff later.

Metal / Re: Bruckner symphonic recordings and rare
« on: April 23, 2010, 06:07:56 AM »
don't miss the Swoboda sixth. It's unfortunate that they don't have the Andrae first anymore, because that one was very good too.

Metal / Re: Contemporary classical: dead or just stinky?
« on: April 18, 2010, 12:33:32 PM »
All semantic issues aside, the core of the argument here is that conservatories haven't produced any significant music over the last 100 years. 
Can't you at least appreciate the music of Béla Bartók? Think of the mid string quartets, why wouldn't those count as significant music in your mind?

if anyone hasn't heard them yet.
Bela Bartok - 6 String Quartets (Emerson String Quartet / DG / 1988, V0)

Metal / Re: Essential Brahms list
« on: January 25, 2010, 08:53:10 PM »
Brahms was exceptionally consistent throughout his whole life, I haven't really found anything of his that I wasn't particularly fond of, except for the third sonata perhaps. If I had to list my favorites among his works, it'd go something like this though:

Symphony No. 3, 4 (klemperer or furtwängler)
Violin Concerto (oistrakh)
Clarinet Trio, Quintet (amadeus quartet and co.)
Cello Sonatas (rostropovich/serkin)
Ballades, Op. 10 (gould)

I'm quite surprised and a little shocked that Ein deutches requiem hasn't been mentioned here yet.
Also known as the German Requiem.

Metal / Re: Prokofiev
« on: December 22, 2009, 10:15:00 PM »
I like Prokofiev. I just posted his 7th sonata in the piano thread, I'd recommend everyone to give it a try, it's a great work. For a different interpretation, much more intense but also a bit more uneven rhythmically and even a bit awkward a time, try Sokolov's account of the same work. In a way, I do prefer this one slightly over Pollini's, but at the same time I couldn't really do without having both.

Metal / Re: Piano Music
« on: December 22, 2009, 10:06:37 PM »
I get what you're saying, but I'm not too sure what you want to discuss here. I'll just say that because most composers were also gifted pianists, many of their compositions were written in part for the piano first and then orchestrated. I definitely agree that piano music can be just as effective as string quartets, lieder or symphonies, that has a lot to do with the fact that it's much easier to write true polyphonic music for a keyboard instrument than for say a cello.

I'll profit of the opportunity to post one of my favorite disc:

Stravinsky - Petrushka / Prokofiev - Sonata for Piano No. 7 / Webern - Variations for Piano, Op. 27 / Boulez - Sonata for Piano No. 2 (Pollini / DG / 1972, 1978, V0)

A lot more modern than most of you are used to I think, but if anything, this is an excellent introduction to XXth century music. From the dazzling virtuosity and breadth of the Stravinsky, through the cold, brooding, mechanical universe of Prokofiev, to Webern's expressive austerity and to the final Boulez sonata, a self-avowed purely intellectual work that somehow manages to sound musical enough (to my ears at least, if you don't like it just skip it, I'd hate to see people missing out on the first three works because of it).

And anyone that doesn't believe in Liszt's composing abilities should give his sonata in B minor a try. I couldn't describe just how much I like this work, Argerich's recording of the work is excellent.

Metal / Re: Two lost Mozart pieces discovered
« on: August 12, 2009, 08:42:45 AM »
Maybe they were kvlt limited edition hand-numbered compositions only for close komrades!!!!!

Seriously though, I'm interested in hearing this. Guess it should be online somewhere by now (I'll post a link if so).
No you're not. They're works of juvenilia that had been known for a long time but that were attributed to his father instead. After studying the pieces, musicologists saw that they contained important 'mistakes' that a seasoned musician like his father would most likely not make, thus making it more likely that they were written by a very young Wolfgang.

commentary on the story
link to the original story with recordings of the two works if you're still interested.

Metal / Re: Evolution of the classical listening experience
« on: August 10, 2009, 09:52:58 PM »
Cool, we all agree that silence is the ideal state for religious contemplation. I ask you, what's left in classical music without this religious substance? Humanism. (The work of some romantics is highly religious in spite of its latter arrival in History, specially from those fully differentiated from the "classical" period; it's not surprising that Wagner's admirers noticed this state of affairs).
The intellectual and the unabashedly physical, emotional aspect. Call that humanism if you'd like, I call them unavoidable facets of the human experience.

High quality recordings never equate live performance.
Great studio recordings can lend a clarity to the music that's almost impossible to match live. Obviously you do end up losing some of the spontaneity and a part of the sheer excitement that comes with seeing the actual performance, but then the two aren't mutually exclusive. There's advantages and inconvenient to both the live and the not live, which is why I see no reason to avoid either.

Metal / Re: Hugo Wolf - Superior Lieder
« on: August 10, 2009, 09:36:43 PM »
To me this seems uncharacteristically insightful for late Romantic music.Thoughts?
Because composers like Bruckner, Wagner, Smetana, Janáček, Schoenberg and co. were all lacking in the insight department, obviously.

Knee-jerk reaction aside, I've got this wonderful recording of a recital of his lieder by Elisabeth Schwarzkopf with the late Wilhelm Furtwängler on accompaniment duty. His ability to capture the spirit of the text and to put it into music is just extraordinary. Here it is if anyone's interested:

Hugo Wolf - 22 Lieder (Schwarzkopf / Furtwängler / EMI Classics, 1953, v0)

Metal / Re: Evolution of the classical listening experience
« on: July 27, 2009, 07:57:41 PM »
Not all classical music is the same, something on which I am sure we agree. I find most to have some charms and I can accept the goals of much of it but I only reverently follow a small group that hasten my way to satiety.
That's what I've been trying to get through, not all classical music is meant to be followed reverently. I realise that I'm probably twisting your intent by saying this (i.e. you don't even make that claim to begin with, and by reverently, you most likely mean the ones that you prefer rather than the ones that you venerate, if I can express myself this crudely) but it's something that's important to understand, I think.

That's what bothers me most about attending performances, often the reaction of the crowd doesn't match what's happening on the stage, at all. People treat composers like Liszt or Beethoven with a reverence and a restraint that'd be far more appropriate to Bruckner or Bach, which goes to show that they just haven't understood anything about the music at all.

And I should probably add that you're touching something pretty interesting with your second paragraph. That's another thing that bothers me with classical music as a whole: people give too much importance to the context surrounding a work, often to the detriment of the actual musical content. Celibidache's made very clear in my mind that Bruckner's music has some affinities with the Buddhist conception of the world, his ultra slow and ponderous approach isn't my favourite (I like my Bruckner pretty muscular overall, I tend to find his destructive and heroic side very appealing), but his ways are nonetheless defendable and they've allowed me to learn something about the composer that you just can’t get from reading about the failures of his personal life.

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