I do reply to Steve Schwartz:
>>I have a different approach. Every thing we communicate shows us, our
>>character, our beliefs, our wishes, our hopes. Why shouldnt it be
>>different with music?
>It may even be true, as my brother-in-law would say. The problem is,
>how does one go about deciding what the moral of the music is?
Just for the record: I didnt write that music has a moral, I wrote that
music shows composerspersonality, even if they want to hide it.
>what I've seen from those who believe this, not just Robert, and its
>variants (like homosexuality is in the music of homosexual composers)
>is that it seems to be a "one-way" function. In other words, because
>we have formed an opinion of the character of the composer or because
>we know certain facts about a composer's life, the music "must" show
>this, despite the (I believe) fundamentally abstract nature of music.
Oh, you commit a logical mistake: you cannot prove that it is just in
the eyes of the beholder (or here: listener) what he or she sees. The
beholders (or listeners) cannot prove the opposite. No side wins here.
(By the way, I do not believe that homosexuality is in the music of
>My question has always been, "If you knew nothing of the composer's life,
>would you be able to discern his character from the music alone?" I've
>never seen anybody do this.
Oh, read some liner notes in CDs about medieval composers about whose
lives we know nothing. Their music is taken as a hint to their personality.
And why not?
>I may dislike the music of the bel canto school (and, boy, do I dislike
>it), but I have no idea of the character of the composers who wrote it.
>Furthermore, the music interests me so little, I'm probably not going
>to go to the trouble of researching their lives.
Now, you said above that the people who believe that, lets say, Wagner
was arrogant, only hear arrogance in his music because they know about
his life or simply dislike him. Now you admitted disliking bel canto
composers. Now maybe you have no idea of their character because you
dislike them. Just using your own logic.
>Similarly, I find Strauss's music at its best both gorgeous and humane.
>He wrote lousy pieces. Schubert and Bach wrote lousy pieces. But,
>again, it makes no sense to me to judge a composer by his worst.
I didnt do this. I judged Strausss music in general and I judged Strausss
personality by his actions (or better his inaction in the Third Reich).