Mr. Chasan replying to me:
>>...no one can tell Mr. Peters that he *doesn't* hear vanity in the
>>music. Ultimately, it's just too subjective.
>Well, no, I can tell Mr. Peters that he can no more hear vanity in
>the music than he can paint the air.
Okay, I can see my previous post was inadequate, but I was trying to be
brief. Of course anyone can tell anyone anything. If Mr. Peters's
intention was simply to broadcast his passionate dislike of Strauss and
Liszt, and Mr. Chasan's (among many others) to broadcast his righteous
indignation, then those things have been achieved, and I should shut up.
All I'm saying is that I don't think much communication has occurred.
If an individual claims to be able to paint the air, most people's first
reaction would be, "no you can't," but I contend that, "what on earth
do you mean by that?" is a more useful reply (assuming we do not suspect
the individual of being merely deranged).
I've never perceived vanity in music. So when Mr. Peters says he does,
I don't know what he means. I doubt he means what I would mean, were I
to make that claim (awkward phrasing, sorry). But I suspect he means
*something* (assuming he is not merely deranged) that is significant to
him. Quite possibly something that I would not describe in the same
way. But it's his perception, his description - the most you can say
is, "That doesn't make any sense to me - please explain so I can translate
it into something that does." If he is unable to make his meaning clear,
with good faith on both sides of the discussion, there's not much point
in continuing. But simply saying, "that's impossible!" doesn't go
anywhere - it just generates defensiveness.
Bear in mind, too, that composers are frequently described as aristocratic,
witty, cynical, bombastic, etc., as evidenced *by their music*. In
reviews, even here on the list, you often come across metaphorical or
extra-musical associations with personal significance for the reviewer
but not necessarily as much meaning for the rest of us. This list has
held prolonged debates about the meaning of music, emotional content,
Black Pearls, visual images and stories, and so forth.
Look, I don't really care about anyone liking or not liking Strauss or
Liszt, and I'm not trying to tell anyone what they should write. It
just seemed like the argument wasn't heading in the direction of common
ground, and that, in my opinion, is one of the more useful and laudable
goals of a list like this.