Oliver Solanet gleefully pushes hot buttons.
>Other than a burdensome touring schedule, why did Rachmaninov barely
>write a thing after leaving Russia? Because his muse, his homeland,
>was no longer present.
A little too metaphysical for me. A burdensome touring schedule isn't
nothing. People don't seem to realize that a composer -- or at least
most composers -- need both blocks of time and money to live on, two
usually incompatible requirements. Rachmaninoff had a family to support,
and he took that responsibility very seriously indeed. Furthermore, he
never could have been called prolific, even when he was in Russia.
>Why did Stravinsky write "Les Noces",
He wanted to, but he too no longer had the direct inspiration of Russia.
He wrote Les Noces in either France or Switzerland, I forget which.
Moreover, he wrote "Russian" works practically throughout his career.
>or Prokofiev "Alexandre Nevsky", or Shostakovich "Babi Yar" or "The
Why they wrote these works? I don't know. In the case of Nevsky and
Symphony No. 11, I strongly suspect commissions. Symphony No. 13 was
written because Shostakovich wanted to write it. At any rate, it was
certainly one of those pieces which landed him in the Soviet doghouse
yet again, and, what's more, he knew it would.
>BY GETTING RID OF THE OLD FARTS WHO PROGRAMME THE CONCERT SEASONS
>YEAR IN YEAR OUT!!!!
Except that a lot of young farts also do programming. I'm not sure
programming alone is the key -- and I say this as a fan of contemporary
and little-played music. Great art requires a great audience. I'm not
sure we have that in sufficient numbers to support the musicians who
would play it for us.
Certainly my concertgoing is limited by my budget, as is my CD-buying.
I think long and hard about dropping twenty-five bucks (US) on a ticket,
when I can often purchase four CDs for the same money.
>If you don't expose the audience to anything other than what they're
>used to listening to year in year out, you're never going to attract
>a new and younger audience!
Young or old, eventually the audience will become jaded, but -- on the
bright side -- they may die off before then. It's a kind of race: will
the brain die before the mind does? On the other hand, programming has
become so box-office oriented that people probably wouldn't be ready for
new music. I've heard brilliant, highly-educated people fumble for ways
even to talk about what they hear in concert halls. I have no answer
to any of this, except to state a preference that classical music, if
it does die, should die bravely rather than meekly.
>In all seriousness, I've never adhered to the dogmatic view that we
>should all prostrate to the mighty fathers of Bach, Beethoven, Brahms,
>& Mozart. But before anyone starts sending me hate mail for the previous
>statement, I should clarify... I have never questioned Bach's genius,
>and I happen to love Bach, so we'll leave that one alone. As for Beethoven
>and Brahms, I must admit I have very little tolerance for either of them.
>I find the Germans - especially Brahms - far too academic. Let's not
>forget that Brahms was above all a musicologist.
Really? He's known and admired far more as a composer. Actually, I've
heard these remarks before. In fact, I've made them. Fortunately, I'm
not the same person I was forty years ago. It took me a long time to
appreciate Mozart, Beethoven, and Brahms -- indeed, years of repetitive
listening to stuff that usually bored the snot out of me. So maybe all
that repetitive programming served a useful purpose. Even now, I can't
truthfully say I like everything these guys wrote, but then again I don't
care for some of Bach, to me the greatest composer of all.
>Brahms' penchant for analysis and theory bled far too much into his
>music for it to sound at all sincere. "Ooh, look, I can incorporate a
>Hemiola, an Augmentation, and Diminution in the same phrase!" Who cares,
>if it doest come out sounding genuine?!"
I think that's a good test. In fact, that was the test that opened up
Brahms to me. I heard his "Geistliches Lied" -- double canon at the
ninth with free bass. And yet, in one epiphanic moment, it sounded as
fresh as a Mendelssohnian Lied.
>As for Beethoven, my opinion is categoric and immutable. I think the
>man was a b**tard, and his music inevitably comes out sounding that way.
Same thing for Wagner and Mahler?
>You don't see people harping on Bach the way they do about Mozart, and
>was not Bach equally if not more of a genius?
I don't know. Can Superman beat up Captain Marvel? At a certain point,
qualitative comparisons are useless. But, like you, I don't quite
understand the show-bizzy fascination for Mozart, unless it's due to the
fact that a popular movie was made about a character with almost his
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