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Classical music - what makes you listen?

gillymor 04 Sep 18 - 08:28 AM
Stilly River Sage 04 Sep 18 - 11:27 AM
robomatic 06 Sep 18 - 11:43 PM
Helen 07 Sep 18 - 03:59 AM
gillymor 07 Sep 18 - 09:51 AM
Steve Shaw 07 Sep 18 - 10:15 AM
Manitas_at_home 07 Sep 18 - 10:21 AM
Donuel 07 Sep 18 - 02:43 PM
Donuel 07 Sep 18 - 03:09 PM
Steve Shaw 07 Sep 18 - 08:52 PM
Helen 08 Sep 18 - 01:37 AM
Donuel 08 Sep 18 - 11:47 AM
Donuel 08 Sep 18 - 12:03 PM
Donuel 08 Sep 18 - 05:32 PM
robomatic 08 Sep 18 - 07:13 PM
Donuel 08 Sep 18 - 07:29 PM
Steve Shaw 09 Sep 18 - 06:28 AM
GUEST,Tunesmith 09 Sep 18 - 07:23 AM
Will Fly 09 Sep 18 - 12:15 PM
Helen 09 Sep 18 - 03:44 PM
Steve Shaw 09 Sep 18 - 07:32 PM
Donuel 12 Sep 18 - 04:35 PM
GUEST,Tunesmith 12 Sep 18 - 04:48 PM
Donuel 13 Sep 18 - 12:51 PM
GUEST,Tunesmith 13 Sep 18 - 01:03 PM
GUEST,Gillymor 13 Sep 18 - 01:05 PM
GUEST,Tunesmith 13 Sep 18 - 01:16 PM
gillymor 13 Sep 18 - 01:27 PM
GUEST,Tunesmith 13 Sep 18 - 01:35 PM
Will Fly 13 Sep 18 - 04:02 PM
GUEST,Tunesmith 13 Sep 18 - 04:19 PM
Will Fly 13 Sep 18 - 04:34 PM
gillymor 13 Sep 18 - 04:34 PM
Helen 13 Sep 18 - 04:38 PM
gillymor 13 Sep 18 - 04:48 PM
Helen 13 Sep 18 - 05:08 PM
Steve Shaw 13 Sep 18 - 07:57 PM
GUEST,keberoxu 13 Sep 18 - 09:13 PM
Helen 13 Sep 18 - 09:13 PM
Steve Shaw 13 Sep 18 - 09:28 PM
Joe Offer 13 Sep 18 - 09:55 PM
gillymor 14 Sep 18 - 08:23 AM
gillymor 14 Sep 18 - 08:26 AM
Steve Shaw 14 Sep 18 - 09:44 AM
gillymor 14 Sep 18 - 10:20 AM
Steve Shaw 14 Sep 18 - 11:16 AM
Helen 14 Sep 18 - 05:08 PM
Steve Shaw 14 Sep 18 - 08:33 PM
Helen 14 Sep 18 - 08:37 PM
GUEST,IvanB 14 Sep 18 - 09:41 PM
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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: gillymor
Date: 04 Sep 18 - 08:28 AM

I'm getting the same server error message, Helen. It must not be available here.
Strongly agree about Debussey,C-F Jack. My favorites include Dances Sacred et Profane, Clair de Lune, Nocturnes and Afternoon of a Fawn to name a few (plus The Girl w/ Flaxen Hair).


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 04 Sep 18 - 11:27 AM

Thank you for bringing this back to the top, Helen! Such a pleasure to read stories from Don Firth and remarks from long-gone mudcatters - I'll trace this to come back and read the entire thing later.

A dozen years ago when I was first getting started selling on eBay I would find things at garage sales to list. I scored a huge purchase at a church sale held in my neighborhood; a 30-gallon plastic storage bin filled with CDs and a handwritten note on top stating "All classical music." I looked at it and considered digging through when the woman running it approached. "I'll never sell that. $20 and it's yours." I didn't have the change, so I paid for what I had and raced off to a nearby convenience store to get cash. I told her I'd buy it just as someone else was approaching the bin, and it took two of us to carry it to my truck.

At home I stacked all 300+ disc cases on my dining room table and proceeded to sort them more or less alphabetically and realized I was probably looking at a teaching tool, left as the remainder of someone's estate; in the mix were multiple versions of several major works that could have been compared in class (i.e., Bernstein versus Toscanini versus Solti versus Von Karajan on Beethoven's fifth symphony). I had a university class that did that and it was remarkable to hear the differences.

By the time my ex came in with the kids they looked at this huge haul on the table and he remarked "it's eBay time!" and I told them no way - this was a windfall for me. These were DGG, Telarch, Columbia, Nonesuch, Angel, Sony Classical, London, EMI. . . the approach was classical and where choral works were involved, secular pieces. I calculated that at market prices of $10 to $15 each I had about $3000 worth of music, and I kept it. He and the kids looked through the stacks and each claimed things they wanted to own or to copy for themselves, and there were duplicates of things I already owned that they happily kept. (I managed to raise teenagers who liked Gilbert and Sullivan operettas!)

In this day and age of streaming music, when my local classical station plays only one movement of a symphony and moves on to a portion of something else, I still tend to listen to the CDs, loading five at a time in the changer according to mood. Sometimes playing works straight through, or if it is short selections on each disk, scrambling them.

I have remarked to the kids that perhaps that late scholar is resting more easily in his or her urn on the mantle, knowing that the collection is appreciated.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: robomatic
Date: 06 Sep 18 - 11:43 PM

Folk influence is heavy in Brahms' Hungarian Dances. And I love all the rest of Brahms.
I was raised on Mozart, probably spent a lot of the 9 natal months with him, too.
When I hear the term 'classical' I lump in the romantics as well, which for me is the Slavs (Tchaikovsky, Borodin, Gliere, just look up the poem/ song "Russian Composers" by Ira Gershwin), Dvorak, Smetana, Enesco (Romanian really), and one of my faves, the Armenian Khachaturian, who has Alaska relatives.

And while he's usually left out of the ranks of the great, I always make it a point to bring up Nikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov who gave us so many memorable vignettes and orchestrated many works by others, and orchestration counts fully as much as composing in my book.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Helen
Date: 07 Sep 18 - 03:59 AM

I think I'll probably revive this thread a lot more before I fall off my own particular twig. It's one of my favourites, partly because I expected to be shot down in flames for daring to start a thread about classical music and then was pleasantly surprised by all the wonderful contributions. LOL

I am not sure if I mentioned Elena Kats-Chernin in this thread. I'll have to re-read it all again.

Once heard, never forgotten:

Eliza's Aria by Elena Kats-Chernin

Helen


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: gillymor
Date: 07 Sep 18 - 09:51 AM

One of the loveliest pieces of newer music I've heard in a while-

Concertino Bianco by George Pelecis, the 3rd movement is especially fun.

I was able to open that link, Helen. Interesting piece, at the outset I thought the voice was an oboe.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 07 Sep 18 - 10:15 AM

Over the years I've been persuaded to try again with composers I thought I didn't like. Three such were Stravinsky, Bernstein and Sibelius, all of whom I now revere. I've struggled with Brahms and I still think his first three symphonies are, well, worthy...The fourth is, to me, perfectly formed, and a couple more would have been good. The St Anthony Chorale variations are lovely too, but that's as far as it goes for me with his symphonic and concerto music. His solo piano, on the other hand, is a very fine body of work. I'm an aficionado of Robert Schumann's piano music too, though not of his symphonies. There's an inner warmth and something personal in his music that I can't get from Chopin at all. Much of Debussy eludes me, though I love almost everything about Ravel's music. When it comes to Russian, I agree that Rimsky is a dark horse in a good way. I love Borodin but Mussorgsky leaves me cold. But for me Tchaikovsky towers above them all. It's silly to have aversions, and all this is down to personal taste, but I can't bear anything at all by Copland, and Wagner is boycotted in our house.

I know how influential and pivotal Haydn was, but I once heard him described as a cheerful tunesmith, which, to me, he is, when put alongside Mozart. I'm not there with Handel yet but I'm learning. Ultimately, It's the Big Three for me every time, Bach, Mozart and, especially, Beethoven.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 07 Sep 18 - 10:21 AM

I tried looking for Eliza's Aria on Google Muisc. Several version do replace the voice with an oboe. Helen's link was to the version by the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. I may be exploring some of their other recordings...


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Donuel
Date: 07 Sep 18 - 02:43 PM

Helen I give you eternal thanks for creating this thread. Bobby McFerrin as a cello was delightful.
To all who have contributed with care concern and links 'praise be upon you'. While reading, the mere mention of certain pieces came back with such a torrent of beauty that I swooned and was exausted toward the end.

There is much joy to be found in war horses and show pieces but there innumerable small jems and musical ideas to be found in obscure places from dusty closets to paintings. I'll explain later.

Gilly you posted some of the same pieces I would have high lighted.
Kendal, you have ken-densed wisdom.

One of my contentions is that many classical works should be perfored with much more exaggeration than notation allows. On the other end of the musical spectrum simplicity can be more simplified.

As a teenager I discovered hundreds of mini works by Haydn that he had to create for a King of average talent. The King played something called a baritone but the Hayden pieces can be enhanced by any instruments like this

bbl


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Donuel
Date: 07 Sep 18 - 03:09 PM

How I got hooked.
In grade school I got a record. The last song on the record was this


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 07 Sep 18 - 08:52 PM

I forgot to mention Manuel de Falla, one of the greatest Spanish composers. He didn't rate himself and didn't write enough music!


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Helen
Date: 08 Sep 18 - 01:37 AM

Steve,

I bought a $10 set of 4 CD's of Handel's works. I often play some of it while I am painting my pictures. It's very good for focusing the brain and for losing my conscious self in the artistic process. Time just flies by and it can be some of the best times of my life - listening to beautiful music while creating something visual.

I'll go through the Handel CD's and list the works I especially like.

I'm listening now to Concerto Grosso in B flat maj.

Xerxes: Largo is very slow and stately.

Organ Concerto in D Minor, Op. 7/4 is beautiful. The Adagio movement almost makes me want to cry and then near the end of that movement it transforms into a such a powerful statement before the happy, bright Allegro movement starts.

The $10 sets may not be the world's best performances - although I think they sound ok - but it is a cheap way to investigate different composers to find the ones I like.

I suppose that early in this thread I would have mentioned J.S. Bach's St Matthew's Passion - the version by Thijs Van Leer with the female singer. Whenever I hear that piece I am transported back in time to when I was a poor, starving student with only a tiny transistor radio to listen to, hearing that beautiful piece for the first time. I was transfixed, like a fly in amber. I could not have moved even if I had wanted to, not until that music had finished. And then, although I went out and bought the vinyl record as soon as I could afford it, I had no record player so I didn't hear it again until many years later, so I had to carry it in my mind until I could hear it again, and when I did hear it I was just as transfixed as the first time.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Donuel
Date: 08 Sep 18 - 11:47 AM

Steve I thought you meant this one by Seans
I got to sit in with the Moscow Philharmonic for its practice and performence. There is nothing like being on stage with the deep pedal low C going through you chest.

In a good orchestra The 3 corned hat simply plays itself.

For the last couple years I have only been playing by ear and practicing folk and slow jazz.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Donuel
Date: 08 Sep 18 - 12:03 PM

I always liked the Adagio by Rachmaninov #2 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNRxHyZDU-Q
I never cared for the Barry Manilow version


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Donuel
Date: 08 Sep 18 - 05:32 PM

I turned Fantasia and fugue in G minor for organ JSBach up to 11 in the car as I drove through the grocery parking lot today. As a kid I found humming that tune helped me wake up from general anesthesia while I was still pre verbal.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tg50ozbZcqM


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: robomatic
Date: 08 Sep 18 - 07:13 PM

BTW, Brahms' 2 Piano Concertos are Symphonies.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Donuel
Date: 08 Sep 18 - 07:29 PM

I often think about the conductor who always wanted an expansive WOMB sound from the orchestra when playing Brahms. He would "say this is not Beethoven, it is BRAAAHHMS".


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 09 Sep 18 - 06:28 AM

Point taken, robomatic. The violin concerto is even worse, what with its interminable slow passage at the start of the second moment that lasts for five years before the fiddle kicks in...


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 09 Sep 18 - 07:23 AM

The big problem with not being able to appreciate classical music is too much exposure to simple music that doesn't challenge the senses at all.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Will Fly
Date: 09 Sep 18 - 12:15 PM

I think my first experience of "classical" music was probably at my grandparent's house when I was about 7 or 8 years old. They had a wind-up gramophone and a stack of 78rpm records, bought mainly in the 1930s and 1940s. They varied amazingly - from "Lohengrin" to Spike Jones, with vocal performances by Peter Dawson and Ann Ziegler & Webster Booth and others. I suppose this variety arose from my father and aunt buying Spike Jones records in their teens, and my grandad buying "light classics". When I was 12, I took viola lessons and joined the Middle School Orchestra, which was a fantastic experience.

I played these records over and over again, whenever I got the choice, and that - combined with what I heard on our Ecko bakelite "wireless" set - probably started a lifelong passion for music of all styles which has stayed with me all my life.

As far as classical composers are concerned, I have a wide and varied taste - from early music to Steve Reich with everything in between. I have a particular liking for eastern European and Russian composers - Dvorak, Janaçek, Bartok, Moussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, etc. - but also a passion for French composers such as Satie, Debussy, Ravel and "Les Six" (Poulenc, Milhaud, etc.). Just recently I discovered the wonderful music of Portuguese composer and guitarra player Carlos Paredes, whome I read about in a book by blues and jazz guitarist Woody Mann.

It's a journey that never ends...


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Helen
Date: 09 Sep 18 - 03:44 PM

Will Fly, I can pinpoint my wide interest in music to the same sources: 78 rpm records and the radio, although I wasn't introduced to classical music until kindergarten. We had a wonderful teacher who organised the whole school into a "band" with xylophones, tambourines, castanets, and other bits and bobs, but we also were given a music appreciation lesson, maybe once a week, with the help of the ABC school radio programmes.

I used to say I like all kinds of music, except opera and country & western, but now I even have some faves in those genres. I'm not really fond of hip-hop and rap, though. I like a good melody.

Tunesmith said: "The big problem with not being able to appreciate classical music is too much exposure to simple music that doesn't challenge the senses at all."

I agree. It's one of the reasons why I like an electronic duo called Leftfield. I have all of their CD's and I have been playing them over and over since I bought the first CD called Leftism in about 1996. It's the complexity and the interwoven musical threads which keeps me interested, and I can still hear things that I haven't noticed before. I refer to their style as electro-percussion because they both started out as drummers. There is a strong African influence, too.

E.g. Leftfield's track Storm 3000 starts slow and builds and changes, through multiple expressions until the end.

Also, they rework their tracks and release new versions, building on the original and creating a new evolved version.

This isn't off-topic. I listen to Leftfield for the same reason I listen to some classical pieces. It challenges my musical brain.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 09 Sep 18 - 07:32 PM

Tunesmith said: "The big problem with not being able to appreciate classical music is too much exposure to simple music that doesn't challenge the senses at all."

Well this is complicated. First, a lot of "simple" music, such as a lot of pop music, is actually multi-layered and very well crafted. I've mentioned this before in other threads, but a few years ago I started to help our lovely local dance teacher (and friend of both of us, in case you get any ideas!) by editing pop songs to length for her dance routines with her young pupils (and for the bunch of ladies of a certain age which included Mrs Steve!). On my laptop I was cutting and splicing all manner of songs, from Rhihanna to Don McClean to Broadway musicals. Blending bits together to make everything seamless, often even joining two songs together. It meant that I had to do an awful lot of critical listening at the joins, playing short snatches over and over again...It drove me bonkers at times, but, the thing is, I got to appreciate just how skilfully put together most so-called pop music actually is. I did over 500 songs altogether, and, though I'm never going to buy any of the records I edited songs from, it cured me of dissing all pop music as simple rubbish...

And following on from that, the perception that classical music is somehow complicated and difficult is a notion that I refute. You have to remember that Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and all the rest had to make a living. A very few were lucky enough to make a living from the patronage of wealthy aristocrats, but the rest had to subsist on what they could make from subscription concerts or by earning a grand reputation. There were no CDs or other merchandise to sell to bolster your meagre earnings and you relied on people coming to your concerts, hearing your stuff and spreading the word. You don't manage that by being highbrow and exclusive. That's very much a 20th century phenomenon, intended to convey that only an elite minority could possibly "understand" classical music. Mozart took great delight in the fact that ordinary people were strolling around Vienna whistling the tunes from the Magic Flute.

Well I think that the "elite," who sit in concerts and opera houses in their posh togs, probably understand a lot less about classical music than many a working chap who sings in his local male voice choir, to pick out one example. In fact, they often fall asleep, quite likely as a result of the burgundy quaffed in the interval...

I have no music education at all, but, after fifty or more years of listening on the radio, buying records, going to concerts and doing all that Youtube stuff, I reckon I could hold down a conversation about classical music with anyone. I don't find the music at all difficult or complex (in fact, it all has a fairly simple structure). Don't let the elite fool you into thinking that you're not clever enough to understand it. The greatest music appeals on so many levels and it is of no consequence that you haven't got a degree in music. Buy yourself a box set of Beethoven symphonies, sit back and pum-pum your way through them all. Ludwig would love you for that!


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Donuel
Date: 12 Sep 18 - 04:35 PM

School, county, State, University and international orchestra was my music education. That is up until the 50th performance of Smetana's Bartered bride. Believe me nothing is more uninteresting and boring as the cello part. After 12 years or so I get bored and do something entirely different except I have been married to the same 'different' woman for 30 years.
I guess that's my way of cramming different lifetimes into one.

The detail and intricacy of classical music went into art technique and clinical therapies and anything else I try. Rarely does it succeed but it embellishes parts of life like the Mussorgsky and Copeland at our wedding. ;^/
Pearls of wisdom came from great conductors and have stayed with me.
What makes me listen is the sensuality of classical music.   
I am glad classical music introduced me to life instead of the other way round.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 12 Sep 18 - 04:48 PM

What makes me listen to classical music?
Well, who wouldn't want to listen to the greatest music ever written?


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Donuel
Date: 13 Sep 18 - 12:51 PM

Not so fast, if you base music on how it makes you feel more than by genre there is a lot of classical music that is not the greatest by a long hot.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 13 Sep 18 - 01:03 PM

So? Surely that applies to all genres, and so your statement is meaningless.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: GUEST,Gillymor
Date: 13 Sep 18 - 01:05 PM

Good point, Don. A large percentage of what is termed Classical music is unlistenable to all but some students and academics. Same is true of all genres, for every masterpiece that a Gershwin or a Kern turned out during "The Golden Age of Song" there were a few thousand long-forgotten stinkers, maybe tens of thousands.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 13 Sep 18 - 01:16 PM

There are some very strange - and daft - statements being made here.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: gillymor
Date: 13 Sep 18 - 01:27 PM

As daft,as say, promoting N. Sedaka as a some kind of musical genius? Out of respect for the OP that's my last word on this subject.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 13 Sep 18 - 01:35 PM

Please don't EVER use the word genius when talking about pop and rock musicians because that wouldn't make any sense.
Pleasant they may be. Entertaining they may be. Stimulating they may be BUT genius they ain't


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Will Fly
Date: 13 Sep 18 - 04:02 PM

The dictionary definition of genius is someone with exceptional ability in a particular activity.

You could say that some rock/popular compsers and musicians measured up in that respect. What about, say, Randy Newman, Richard Thompson, Leonard Cohen, George Gershwin...?

Just a thought...


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 13 Sep 18 - 04:19 PM

Will, the term becomes meaningless if we include the names you mentioned...including Gershwin.
OR...we will have to invent a new word to describe the talents of Bach and Beethoven...and Handel...and Liszt...and


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Will Fly
Date: 13 Sep 18 - 04:34 PM

I see your point, and I understand where you're coming from. I'm seeing Classical music and, say, Popular music as two separate genres - each with its own geniuses.

Gershwin is actually an interesting example, with a foot in both camps.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: gillymor
Date: 13 Sep 18 - 04:34 PM

I agree with most of your list, Will, but mine would also include Lennon and McCartney.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Helen
Date: 13 Sep 18 - 04:38 PM

This is the OP's opinion.

There is some amazing classical music, and there is some classical music that I have tried to listen to, given it my best shot, and it just doesn't do it for me. Some of that is the atonal, or anti-melody creations of musical academics, but some of it is the exact same musical piece or composer which someone else absolutely adores.

For example, I've never really related to most of Mozart's music, except that I love The Magic Flute opera. Play me just about any other Mozart piece and I'll just go, "Yeah, whatever!", but play me some Vivaldi or J.S. Bach and I am more likely to sit up and listen, and in some cases - hence the original posting - I am so transfixed that I am incapable of re-directing my brain, hands or feet into any other activity because I am totally focused on the music. I probably get watched now and then by my manager at work when I suddenly go dead still and forget to work because I am listening to a piece of music on the earphones.

Alternatively, as gillymor said, there are some other musical pieces outside of the classical genre which can also bring me to the same standstill. I can't possibly list them all but at the top of the list is Louis Armstrong, Billie Holliday, and a bunch of others in just about every musical genre you can name, including the electro-percussion duo I mentioned before, Leftfield.

To discuss the concept of "genius" would take a very large thread, and it wouldn't be confined to a thread about classical music. Maybe we could start that thread, but all I would say is that MY loose definition of a genius (off the top of my head, without asking Google) is someone with amazing mental and creative capabilities, with the capacity to bring together seemingly unrelated ideas, concepts or elements which generates among other people a new understanding of the field of study. That Eureka moment. An idea which, once formulated, changes the way that the field of study is evaluated from that time forward.

Having watched the wonderful documentary series called Jazz - directed by Ken Burns I believe that a process of genius was used to create jazz (including the influence on popular music even up to today) which used the genius of a lot of different musicians coming from a lot of social and musical backgrounds. So, in my opinion, the genius was not just one or a few people, but the sum of the parts, i.e. synergy between a lot of people not just in one group, but scattered geographically and socially.

I think that the word "genius" is bandied about without really evaluating the person and their capabilities against a real definition of genius, but personally I think that if you get a Eureka moment from a piece of music and you experience that shift in your concept of the musical world from that moment on, then you personally have identified a "genius" in your world and that's a wonderful and amazing experience. Far be it for anyone else to underrate your experience by saying that they don't agree. If it was a Eureka moment for you, then no one else should be able to take that away from you. Someone else can have a different opinion, but they cannot tell you what you think or feel.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: gillymor
Date: 13 Sep 18 - 04:48 PM

Very well said, Helen, especially that last paragraph.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Helen
Date: 13 Sep 18 - 05:08 PM

And one more thought about discussing disagreements about definitions, or disagreements about anything in fact:

"If we’re to survive this post-truth world we seem to have found ourselves in, it’s time to stand up for evidence-based decision-making, critical thought, facts, rational discussion and transparent, open communication."
Joanne McCarthy


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 13 Sep 18 - 07:57 PM

I implore you to have another crack at Mozart, Helen. There's a whole world of profound beauty waiting for you. Get your headphones on and hit Youtube. Where to start? Try the Clarinet Quintet, or the Piano Concerto no 21, or the Sinfonia Concertante (the K364 one), or the Serenade for 13 Wind Instruments, or the C minor Mass, or the last four symphonies. The finale of the Jupiter Symphony is one of the most incredible pieces of music ever written. We only live once...


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: GUEST,keberoxu
Date: 13 Sep 18 - 09:13 PM

Helen, I second Steve Shaw,
and I particularly suggest the piano concerti of Mozart,
especially the later ones.
Early ones, Mozart was still a kid.

The later concerti come when Mozart is full-blown mature.
And it helps to listen to these piano concerti
and to think of them as instrumental dramas,
and to imagine what sort of story is being played out.

This is one thing that separates the piano concerti of Mozart
from the piano concertos composed by so many others
during the golden age of the piano.
Remember, pianos used to be big business, big moneymakers, and they supported financially a number of cultural developments in the Industrial Age which were more mercenary than musical.
It's why I have trouble with piano concertos in general;
one has this impression of cutthroat competition, and prize-winning,
and "war-horse" repertoire which, as the English say, puts bums in seats.

Not Mozart, bless him.
Mozart is an operatic composer par excellence, so drama and storytelling are natural for him.
And if some composers write songs without words,
then Mozart is capable of writing operas without words --
and the piano concerto is one way for him to do that.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Helen
Date: 13 Sep 18 - 09:13 PM

And then, Steve, there is that earworm which, once contracted will not die, no matter how many times or how hard I stomp on it - from Eine Kleine Nachtmusik .

LOL


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 13 Sep 18 - 09:28 PM

I have half a dozen earworms, Helen. I can switch freely from one to another, but I can't not have one at all! The piano concertos are a wonderful body of work and choosing favourites is very subjective. The one in G, K453 (forgotten what number it is), no 23 in A and the last one, no 27 in B flat, are all sublime. His two minor-key ones, no 20 in D minor K466 and the C minor one, no 24, K 491, are full of smoky drama and, at times, pathos. My very favourite is the one in C, K 467, of Elvira Madigan fame. It's the perfect work of art just as The Magic Flute is perfect. Go on, give them a whirl! If you want really nice performances, any by Murray Perahia will get you there. Or Mitsuko Uchida. Many more but I don't keep up!


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Sep 18 - 09:55 PM

I like classical music from the Romantic era. I like folk music just fine, but I have to listen to folk music to enjoy it. I can play classical music all day long and do other things.

But my wife likes Baroque, and only Baroque. It sounds like sawing to me, and I can take it in only little bits.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: gillymor
Date: 14 Sep 18 - 08:23 AM

It's true that some of J.S. Bach's stuff can sound like sawing-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWk2tYaA6A0

Here's a lovely piece from the Baroque era by Francois Couperin that is a bit less saw-like-

Mysterious Barricades- Christopher Parkening, guitar


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: gillymor
Date: 14 Sep 18 - 08:26 AM

Whoops, that Bach link didn't take, here it is again-

Minuet in G


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 14 Sep 18 - 09:44 AM

I think that Bach's crowning achievement was to pull baroque music out of a sort of mire, in which heaviness, thick textures and a formulaic approach to a sort of layered musical structure, with quite a heavy bass line, often seemed to be the order of the day, especially in pieces for larger ensembles. It isn't helped by some of the big-band performances we used to get, thankfully a phenomenon we seem to be evolving away from. Bach's incredible use of harmony was in contrast to, er, some less imaginative efforts by lesser lights of the era. After him there was nowhere else to go for baroque, which is where Haydn and Mozart come in. To me, they were the giants of the classical era, Haydn the worthy (in more senses than one) creator and Mozart taking the classical style to a pinnacle in music that I don't think has ever been eclipsed. Helen's not fully relating to Mozart rang a bell, in that a good mate of mine, a superb teacher of music and multi-instrumentalist, doesn't "get" Mozart either. He considers it to be light, tinkly and not demanding enough. Well light the candles, pour a glass, shut out the noise and put on the slow movement of Piano Concerto no 21. There's a singing tune going on, on first hearing sounding like all those things I've just said. But listen to what's going on "underneath." There's profound restlessness and disquiet, an emotional quiet storm going on. Then whack up the volume and put on the finale of the Jupiter Symphony, a tour de force, visionary and forward-looking, a complex yet thoroughly coherent masterpiece of driving force (I feel the same about the first movement of the Prague Symphony, my favourite). Beethoven sort of bestrode the classical and romantic periods but he's no revolutionary. True, his works broke all the rules about length, he knew how to "shock" via dynamic extremes and he ditched (almost) the elegance of minuets in favour of spiky scherzos, etc. But he returned again and again to the old forms, fugue and variation, paid explicit homage to Bach and Palestrina even in his late music and used only the forces of Haydn and Mozart. His very last string quartet, the last completed work, was homage to those two, deified!

Unenlightened and subjective opinion only. Shoot!


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: gillymor
Date: 14 Sep 18 - 10:20 AM

Excellent post, Steve. Much of Mozart's music makes me think of powdered wigs and silken knee breeches but some of those late symphonies were transcendent, particularly the Jupiter.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 14 Sep 18 - 11:16 AM

Try Mozart's late G Minor quintet. No wig powder in sight there, but plenty of angst, until he finds the sunlit uplands right at the end.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Helen
Date: 14 Sep 18 - 05:08 PM

Hi Joe,

I like some Baroque.

All right, Steve, I'll give the old Mozzie (the common Aussie term for a mosquito, in case you didn't know that) a go. Light and tinkly is probably about right for me, but maybe I've been listening to the wrong pieces. It will take me a while to listen to all of the pieces you have recommended but I'll do it with open ears and an open mind.

Congratulations everyone for totally IGNORING my mentions of Leftfield. Was this a concerted effort or a series of solo performances? LOL

Helen


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 14 Sep 18 - 08:33 PM

No worries, Helen (another Aussie term!) They're mozzies here too, and here in Cornwall it's peak mozzie-bite season right now. Two vicious bites on me poor legs kept me awake all last night. I know I've come on a bit thick and fast with Mozart, but that's just a reflection of my enthusiasm. It's no affectation, honest. There really are depths to plumb, and the effort is, no exaggeration, potentially life-changing!


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Helen
Date: 14 Sep 18 - 08:37 PM

Well Steve, I'll see whether it is the annoying Mozzie-bite experience or the life-changing experience. I'll let you know. As I said, it may take a while for the life-changing bit because sometimes it takes time for music to grow on me - like a fungus, I suppose. LOL


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: GUEST,IvanB
Date: 14 Sep 18 - 09:41 PM


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