|UserReviews 10Approval 96%Album Ratings 508Objectivity 82%Last Active 07-02-12 1:09 pmJoined 07-02-12Forum Posts 0Review Comments 198
A metalhead with a preference for romantic symphonists, what a fucking
Although far from a genius, there's something strangely appealing about Respighi's
tone poems, particularly his "Roman" trilogy. Or maybe it's just me.
A sort of modern Dvorak, Janacek achieved an interesting mixture between 20th
century treatments of harmony and his native Czech melodies.
An often undervalued Swedish symphonist with a flair for the somber (like any
It's like being on the worst drugs or something.
|21||Ralph Vaughan Williams|
A bit kitsch-y, sure, maybe the orchestrations are a bit sketchy, whatever, it's very
good stuff, and he was a very creative. His chamber music is up there with the best
Liszt could be a dick, but his music was mighty cool, and boy could he play piano.
He's also the only programmatic composer (Wagner aside obviously) whose music
I feel actually fits the chosen program.
Fucking Yngwie Malmsteen and shit.
A french dude whose music has some big cojones. The closest you're gonna get to
an interesting impressionist, even though he wasn't really an impressionist. Which
sort of explains it I guess.
He did everything and he did it all quite well, but my personal favorites are his
early ballets. The sweaty, sexual rhythms and the pagan vibe just fucking kill it.
The only minimalist composer that really says much of anything to me. In the midst
of all its modernity and ultra-cool urbanism his music actually manages to feel
human, without treading into sketchy "holy minimalist" territory (a movement that
I'm honestly still sort of making up my mind about, but that's a different matter).
It's like listening to fucking Godzilla or something.
A late bloomer of the early romantic generation. Though some technical flaws are
present because of his late development (particularly in the orchestration) his
attitude and creativity more than make up for it.
This dude reminds of Motorhead: all his symphonies are based upon the same
basic idea that occasionally gets a little tweak; but it's such a good idea, and he
does it so well that, really, who gives a shit?
Unlike 99% of his followers, Schoenberg understood that atonality had to preserve
the structural intelligence and dramatic sensibilities that had made the music of the
classical and romantic periods great in order to last as anything more than a
novelty. Because of this he was not only a revolutionary, but a true composer, and
one of the greats.
Are you intimidated? You better be.
His contemporaries ripped on him for being too "traditional," focusing on the
surface issue that his music wasn't programmatic and ignoring the panache with
which he was thrusting the Beethovenian tradition into new territory.
In my opinion the greatest of the Eastern European composers, he seamlessly
melted the regional influences into his music while still being innovative and
intelligent in his style and form.
|8||Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart|
No, he's not number 1, but he's still pretty fucking awesome. As much as one would
love to hate him, it's hard not to be in awe of his genius, and of how consistently
this genius is evident in his work, no matter what genre he attempts.
A compulsive writer and an obsessive perfectionist, he tends to sound stiff to
modern ears, thanks mostly to performers who tend to play him as if they had a
stick up their ass. When correctly interpreted the music reveals itself as exuberant
and full of life, aside from technically magnificent. Besides he pretty much invented
the way we still conceive of every genre, form the string quartet, to the mass all
the way to the symphony (of which he wrote a shit-ton).
The symphony never really recovered from the stamp of this madman, and it
would take half a century before Wagner and Liszt even began to catch up to his
innovations in harmony and orchestration, not to mention his lustful, wild and
A brilliant composer who creates a marvellous bridge between the classical style
and the romantic era. His mastery of the violin is unparalleled.
The archetypal tragic romantic genius, Schubert reminds one of Keats, both in spirit
and in fate. The last four years of his life gather more brilliance than most
composers' lifetimes, and there is no question in my mind that he is the single
greatest composer of chamber music ever.
Party-poopers and fat people everywhere hate him because his music is so
beautiful they think it's made in directly in mockery of them. What escapes his
detractors is the subtlety of his architecture, the brilliance of his restraint, the
valiant innovations of his form. Though he is best known as a symphonist, the peak
of his powers is displayed in his impeccable single orchestral statements, such as
Finlandia, Tapiola, Pohjola's Daughter, the Violin Concerto and the spectral,
majestic monster that is his seventh symphony. He was the future, but no one
|2||Johann Sebastian Bach|
|1||Ludwig Van Beethoven|
|I've bee thinking about starting to review classical music here on Sputnik, but I'm never sure whether I should review pieces or recordings. Oh well.|
|I just did a paganini one dude. There are some classical fans on here and it would be great to read a review if you did one. Nice list too.|
|and dont u like Handel ?|
|I really dug your Paganini review, even though his caprices are not my cup of tea (instrumental études in general tend to turn me off). Maybe later tonight I'll have a drink and pound out a review, I'd be cool to get a couple of people reviewing classical on here somewhat regularly. And no, I don't really like Handel, though I haven't listened to enough. As far as baroque my favorites thus far (aside from Bach) are Biber and Schutz, but I haven't listened to them enough for them to be on the list.|
|sounds like you know far more about it than me there's still quite a lot of famous composers i havent explored |
|Great selections arranged in questionable order ;]|
|Haha, I'd love to know where you disagree. My order is probably very messed up, my taste is usually questionable in contemporary music, I can't imagine how it must be with this stuff.|
|Have you read Boulez's essay "Schoenberg is Dead"? It is a polemic against Schoenberg's apparent waste of the serial technique. It is brash and ridiculous, but there are some interesting points there.|
|not the biggest classical queef, but no chopin?|
|nobuo uematsu, chopin, i like that one avant-garde guy cant remember his name|
|liledman, that sounds like a supremely interesting read, I'll look for it. I'm a big Schoenberg fan but I generally dismiss the whole serialism thing as a negative episode;it didn't really go anywhere interesting and yet it somehow made it taboo to keep composing tonal music. I'll definitely look that up.|
And no Chortles, no Chopin. My girlfriend loves him (and Tchaikovsky who is also not on this list), but I find their music a bit banal. Maybe because she overplays it? I don't know.
|thread is over my head now lol|
|it's okay, i was just wondering|
|Well this got more responses than I ever even had the right to expect, who knows, maybe a thriving community of Sputnik classical fans may flourish one day. It would certainly be an interesting sight.|
|I like classical music quite a bit actually I just never really explored beyond what I'm already familiar with|
|don't listen to much anymore, but i used to quite a bit. once i have less on my plate i will definitely get back into it though|
|my ex was a violinist and she got me into loads of stuff but since her i havent explored much any more|
|I grew up with classical loving parents, but I sort of turned a blind eye to it as soon as I discovered metal and have only come back to it in the last two years or so. I've still got a ton of stuff to explore. There's just so much history, and what with dozens of recordings for each piece it can get pretty daunting. I've found out it to be the most consistently rewarding genre of music to explore.|
|I think one only has to look at the works of Berg to realise that taboos somewhat enforced by Schoenberg himself became relaxed in the midst of great compositional prowess. Serialism is itself nothing more than a method, and looking at the disparate styles and approaches practiced by Schoenberg, Berg and Webern, not even including any of the others, many intriguing things can come from such a method. I think the general feeling of the early twentieth-century was that of a battle ground; tonal composers forbade the non-tonal, non-tonal forbade the tonal. Except most experimented with both.|
Are you not a fan of the sound of serial composition? Or just philosophically opposed to the idea?
Also, have you explored much of the twentieth-century, particular non-tonal composers?
|Ye where's the Part|
|De classical requires quite a bit of patience|
|Well I'll admit that I'm not particularly partial to the sound, but as much as I try it simply doesn't resonate with me (except for Schoenberg and some Berg pieces like Wozzeck). I think that by so obliquely exposing and advocating a method Schoenberg sort of condemned music to excess intellectualism. I don't know why but to me the advent of serialism coincides with the period in which most music lost its sense of the epic, the glorious and the tragic. Which is perhaps only natural I guess, seeing as that cold, brainy, cynicism was the trademark of most vanguardist art, along with the sort of calculated experimentalism that just turns me way off. I think Faulkner put it a lot better than I ever could, "the only thing worth writing about is the human heart." Maybe I'm old fashioned, but to me that comes first in art. Classical music is precisely so beautiful because it marries man's vast structural intelligence to his most profound emotions (yeah, I just stole my ideas from Nietzsche, whatever). To me, a dimension of that was lost with serialism, maybe not because of it but simply because of a bad usage of it.|
As far as the rest of the 20th century I've had positive experiences with Varèse (who I now realize I should have included) with Ligeti, with SOME Crumb (I've hated his vocal stuff), Messiaen and Preisner. So yeah, I like drama, haha. I've had my ups and downs with minimalism, but for the most part it leaves me cold, exempting Reich and maybe John Adams (if he can be called a minimalist).
As far as why Pärt isn't on here, I've honestly yet to make up my mind about him, along with Gorecki and Taverner. Sometimes their music will seem like the most beautiful there is, the true continuation to the classical tradition, and then sometimes it seems just fucking bland and banal. So yeah, I'm still figuring them out.
|Schoenberg and even more so Berg were both heavily indebted to the romantic tradition, I mean just listen to Wozzeck or Lulu. The excess of sturm und drang is no longer there, but after living through two world wars and being displaced as a Viennese jew from his homeland, and also seeing many of his friends and fellow composers die around him, I don't think Schoenberg was far from tragedy. Erecting a new method with which to treat pitch material does not automatically make the music cold or any more cerebral than any of the other greats that had come before. Surely Bach, Beethoven, Brahms and others could be accused of being brainy and intellectualising composition more than Schoenberg. In fact, Schoenberg railed against this common attack in an essay he wrote: "Heart and Brain in Music". I suggest you check that out, it's not purely about serialism.|
Another little nugget of gold in Schoenberg's writings is this:
"But, at the same time, already I did not call it a 'system' but a 'method', and considered it as a tool of composition, but not as a theory. And therefore I concluded my explanation with the sentence: 'You use the row and compose as you had done it previously.' That means: 'Use the same kind of form or expression, the same themes, melodies, sounds, rhythms as you used before.'"
If you are not particularly smitten by the sound of non-tonal or serial works then generally the idea of the composition can get in the way. I recently wrote an essay for my aesthetics class on the serial ideas of Schoenberg vs. Boulez, and I was surprised at how negatively I ended up thinking of Boulez's approach, but it is mostly because I do not enjoy his pieces of integral serialism anywhere near as much as Schoenberg's serialist pieces.
|I have a question for you though, about mind and heart, and more importantly, sound: If composers basically before Wagner would not use any combination of notes outside of the preexisting moulds to create their harmony, therefore placing an intellectual rule/'good taste' above the sensuous quality of sound itself, then who is the more intellectual; the composer working within the confines of tonality or the composer who seeks to justify new sounds through a new method? |
When you consider the serial method to be a way of justifying non-tonal music (which it basically was), providing structural integrity and unity to the new sound worlds, the argument becomes very interesting.
One last thing: I am not one of those who need "heart" or "emotion" in music in a certain sense, because it is quite obvious that a lot of lazy tonal music (pop or otherwise) these days superficially points to this emotion by using particular cliches hand picked from the supermarket aisle of tonal tradition. For me, the emotion is in the performance. The real beauty, and the truly engrossing and forever rewarding part of music for me is the sound itself, and the not baggage that it carries. Call me cynical, cold, cerebral, or whatever, but I love sound first and foremost ;)
Sorry for the long response, but thinking about this stuff is why I get up in the morning.
|atonal music can be extremely moving as well as heady and intellectual, just as tonal music can. tonal music is cool and i will always listen to it, but there is quite simply more that can be done outside of the limitations of tonality. which is not to say tonal music has lost its value, but there is so much more to be discovered as a listener when you can accept newer sounds. |
|sniper im surprised you dont dig old prog |
also 9 rules
|I'm glad you mentioned Wagner because it's through him that I think I can best illustrate my point of view on the subject. Chromaticism seen as an extension of the tonal idiom lead him to an incredibly vast range of both structural and dramatic (both for mind and heart as you put it)possibilities that I don't think anyone had ever even envisioned before. I think the music world was sort of turned upside down after him and completely misinterpreted what his operas, particularly "Tristan" meant to the history of music. Wagner was so magnificent because his language was so total, so all-encompassing.|
My problem with serialism is that though it certainly leads to more structural possibilities and different sonorities, it's expressivity tends towards the same direction, and at least to me that's absolutely vital, which is I believe were we differ. As I see it serialism did not grasp the real potential of what Wagner, and maybe Liszt, were trying to do, and instead sort of backed itself up into a dead end. There are exceptions of course, as I've said a bunch of times during this thread I love Schoenberg and I think that he most certainly had a broad vision, along with Berg, but you go into stuff like Babbitt, Boulez and Gould and you've just completely lost me.
To me music is the greatest of the arts because when it is at its best it is a showcase of man's immense capacity to create organically developing systems and self-contained structures (things that are at the heart of all our greatest intellectual achievements) and the profound depth of his emotional and perceptive range (at the heart of all our great poetic achievements, both within and outside of art). Most (not all) serialism as far as I see it is simply lacking a dimension, a dimension that I personally can't do without, and without which art seems quite pointless to me.
|And don't apologize for the long response, you seem like a very smart and knowledgeable guy and I'm flattered you'd want to discuss this stuff seriously with some Burzum fan, haha.|
|Editing fucked this one up....|
|Well another thing to consider is the difference in serialism practiced by Schoenberg, Berg and Webern – classical serialism – and that of the post-war composers Boulez, Stockhausen, Babbit, Goeyvaerts, etc: integral serialism. The sound worlds are entirely different, as are the compositional procedures (and ideas).|
You can definitely argue that serialism wound up at a dead end. For me it is the endpoint that Boulez and others took integral serialism to that really did it in. It is worth mentioning that integral serialism was only a brief window in time really, and afterwards there was a return en masse to pitch class sets, or "free atonality" as they called Schoenberg and co's pre-serial work.
On the mind issue, I just find it strange that there has been this obvious double standard in much criticism of composers when it comes to non-tonal vs. tonal; Bach is intellectual and a genius for it, but Schoenberg is intellectual and therefore cold. The real issue is the sounds, not the organisation of them.
If you have not heard any Morton Feldman before, I would like to get your opinion on this: http://youtu.be/eKBYWeOJUHw
He is definitely one of my favourites, along with Schoenberg and others, though he is the complete opposite in approach. He is intuitive, not systematic at all, and being a good friend of John Cage, he represents a very different mode of thinking about art. Questions of emotion, mind, heart, dissonance vs. consonance, and whatever else, take on a new dimension when considering music of this kind, i.e. music emancipated from tradition.
|"music emancipated from tradition"|
this is exactly why post-war art music is so exciting.
|Sure is Sniper. Gets the blood pumping.|
|Well I guess this is where I confess so to speak, haha, but I honestly believe there is a value in tradition. The way western music has evolved pretty much since the 12th century up until recently has always been expansion upon tradition, and it has slowly lead to new languages and new expressions that become more vast and more encompassing all the time.|
I can definitely see the brilliance in stuff like Feldman and Julius Eastman, particularly Eastman. There is of course and immense artistic merit to being "emancipated from tradition," and it raises all sorts of new discussions as far as the two dimensions of art we were talking about previously.
But that stuff can simply never resonate as much with me, for the same reason modern art in general tends to simply fail to get under my skin. Blame it on my being a European history major, or on my parents playing classical music all through my childhood, but I simply believe there is something very powerful in taking hold of a historical tradition and the going your own places with it. It's mighty fine starting all over again with every work of art, but the value of this transmission is enormous to me.
The necessity for serialism, and for modern music in general, is I guess simply a product of Europe's fall; Western music as it was championed by the composers I adore was quintessentially tied to European ideals and models, the moment those ideals were turned upon with disgust (around WWI I'd say) was the moment it was doomed to die. By the way, that idea is mostly taken from Milan Kundera, whose "Immortality" has some very nice reflections on art and war as the two things that defined Europe.
I guess the easiest thing would be to simply say the obvious, Feldman, Eastman don't really have need to be analyzed as part of a classical tradition, and they're brilliant in their own right. With serialism however, I just feel as if, particularly the post WWII serialists, did a disservice to the classical tradition and stuck it in a rut.
|And Base, the different textures are there, they're just not as evident as a lot of contemporary music, especially because the modern ear tends to dismiss all orchestral instruments as one big mess rather than a very large and intricate web of textures. You'll start to notice them after listening to this stuff for a while.|
|baseline is a just a troll.|
i will say i am somewhat put off by tightly regimented serialism. i attended a lecture given by a young composer a year or so ago, who was using integral serialism to control every single aspect of composition. he was using 7, 8, or 9-note sets selected by a random number generator to derive every aspect of his music, even using the relationships between consecutive pitches to determine notes to omit, just in an effort to give the music more textural space. i found it completely devoid of value. but the reason is not necessarily the musical content itself.
what i mean is that i find nothing wrong with using sets to organize pitch material or the formal structure of a piece. i highly regard the second viennese school. the problem is that there was an influx of serialists who came after these composers who were using the system more as a way to experiment with numbers than a way to compose meaningful music.
i think it's important to remember the expressionism movement and free atonality that composers like schoenberg were employing before serialism, because it highlights the distinction between him and the later composers, who were really more interested in the organizing principles of serialism than the MUSIC ITSELF. we could debate all day whether it matters when listening to a piece of music what the composer's interest was in working on it, but i think it is hard to argue that a composer like wuorinen even approaches the expressivity and poetry of berg or schoenberg. the systems are interesting, but total serialism reduces music (imo) to a 12-tone soup, completely meaningless, and completely unlike less strict serialism, which is simply a way to organize pitch material, not completely unlike the tonal system.
|but thankfully, serialism did not become the only method for musical composition in the second half of the 20th century, and we saw instead a musical landscape broken into thousands of tiny fractals, which to me is like a new renaissance in music. the avant-garde has it's share of issues (mostly it's propensity to produce composers interested only in innovating, and never in developing), but the variation and creativity of modern music is staggering. once your ear adjusts to the harmonic language of modern music, it is surprisingly easy to appreciate things in what once seemed completely cold and masturbatory. listen to elliott carter's string quartets or orchestral works by scelsi or penderecki and i think it is likely they will move you. |
|Baseline, listen to Kashiwa Daisuke's new album Re:|
It's his second masterpiece
|"the avant-garde has it's share of issues (mostly it's propensity to produce composers interested only in innovating, and never in developing)." This is largely what I have been trying to drive at, you put it a lot better than I ever could have, and I wholeheartedly agree with your distinction between two groups of serialists.|
|"The question that twelve-tone composition poses to the composer is not how musical meaning can be organised but rather how organisation can become meaningful." – Theodor Adorno|
If anybody is really interested in the ideas behind modern art music, you must read some of this man's work.
With tradition, I definitely see value in it, but I am excited also by the music that can emancipate itself from such a looming tradition. What makes Schoenberg so great is his engagement with tradition. By the time it gets to Boulez, Stockhausen and the others at Darmstadt though, the force of the evolution of musical material holds the music hostage. Sure some great things come from it, but some bad things also.
What is valuable in this apparent break from tradition, and essentially the dissembling of the tradition (really, the common practice period is the tradition, and what came after a wild episode of its own), is the freedom that it allows composers today.