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Thread: Bruckner Symphonies...What am I missing?

  1. #106
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    i agree, you could listen to the Scherzo in most of this works, and find them quite interesting. But, isn't that a stupid/foolish/ignorant thing to do? Bruckner didn't intend to write just one movement, did he? And the people who are familiar with his music knows that his themes are closely related and often re-appears somewhere else in the symphony, much in the tradition of Beethoven.
    So, take the 8th for instance, let's say you just want to listen to the scherzo, because it's the shortest part of the symphony (for people who have the attention span of a teenager, the other movements are usually not very "interesting", too long). It's a nice scherzo, but what does it mean? German Michael? still makes no sense, it really doesn't, especially with the not so impressive opening theme, and the constant repetition. Well, you would've understood this movement better, had you kept on listening to the adagio and Finale, where you notice that the opening theme in the scherzo is in fact the same exact thing in the next two movements, and it shows up at the glorious coda too, of course, you wouldn't know this little insight if you skipped tracks and just listen to the "easier" movement.
    If you are one of those people with short attention spans, or just can't sit through a rather long symphony, then Bruckner is not for you, you should instead try some of Strauss II's charming polkas (assuming that the waltzes are too long and tedious).

  2. #107
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chi_town/Philly View Post
    @ Dr. Sherm: as you can see, there are those who
    @ Gustav: I think the point was that both Brahms and Bruckner owe something to Bruckner's Austrian predecessor, Schubert, as well as Brahms's German predecessor, Beethoven.
    You might be right, but it always shocks me whenever i see Bruckner and Brahms together, i have been somewhat traumatized after upon seeing this:


  3. #108
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    I'm unfamiliar with the mechanics of this forum. My previous post was intended to be directed at those at the beginning of the thread who found Bruckner to be intimidating.

    Well...if this is the sort of thing I can expect here, you can have it.
    Last edited by Krummhorn; Jan-30-2008 at 00:45.

  4. #109
    Assistant Administrator Chi_townPhilly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kreutzer View Post
    Well...if this is the sort of thing I can expect here, you can have it.
    Please... have a look around, and I think that you'll agree with me that this sort of disagreeable sarcasm is actually pretty uncommon around these parts.

    Pace RicardoTheTexan, I think that the most common entreé into Wagner is through the bleeding chunks (i.e.: prominent opera excerpts and orchestral passages), followed by progressively greater exposures, until the point in time when one is willing to take on a complete opera. In the first half of the previous century, Mahler was ofttimes programmed by movement rather than by complete symphony. I'd never thought to approach Bruckner that way, but I wouldn't think to sneer at the idea.

    Gustav... I know that you have it in you to avoid becoming to Bruckner what Rod Corkin is to Handel. Try to play nice.
    Last edited by Chi_townPhilly; Jan-28-2008 at 20:58. Reason: typo/spelling

  5. #110
    Senior Member BuddhaBandit's Avatar
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    And really, there truly is no "right" way to listen to music. Clearly Bruckner, Mahler, and Wagner intended their symphonies/operas to be heard as whole units, but I'm sure they also wanted people to enjoy listening to their music. So, if someone wants to listen to just Bruckner's Scherzos, and really loves them, then all the more power to them. Listen how you want to listen.
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  6. #111
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chi_town/Philly View Post
    Please... have a look around, and I think that you'll agree
    Gustav... I know that you have it in you to avoid becoming to Bruckner what Rod Corkin is to Handel. Try to play nice.
    I find it absolutely insulting that you compare me to that nut job Rod Corkin. [...] He pretty much goes from forum to forum spreading non-sense after non-sense and provoking others to criticize him for his own stupidity. How am I him? I demand an apology.
    When I criticize, i have good reasons to. I don't just say: "hey, dudes, Bruckner is the greatest, and everybody sucks, if you can't appreciate Bruckner, then you suck too!" That's what Corkin does, he did the exact same thing on GMG, and got his *** handed to him by M Forever.
    Last edited by Daniel; Jan-29-2008 at 23:49. Reason: Language!

  7. #112
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    i demand an apology for being mislead on how to listen to music as a begginer too.. what a w****r

  8. #113
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    People people ... lets get back ON Topic here. However one chooses to listen to music is his/her own choice. If someone is trying to become acquainted with a particular composers music and feels that they can only do that one movement at a time, they need not be chastised for that ... at least they are giving it a try, which is far greater than not listening at all to a particular composer.

    When replying to another's post, kindly state your positions or opinion on the matter - it is not polite to riducule another's opinion and only leads to bad feelings.
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  9. #114
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    To all involved people: Calm down and let us sum it up in one word: Peace. All right?

    Thanks.

  10. #115
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    Quote Originally Posted by Krummhorn View Post
    People people ... lets get back ON Topic here. However one chooses to listen to music is his/her own choice. If someone is trying to become acquainted with a particular composers music and feels that they can only do that one movement at a time, they need not be chastised for that.
    Of course not, if someONE is doing that for him/herself, but if someone is trying to convince other "beginners" to do the same, then it's not okay. Because this is a terrible advice that doesn't work for Bruckner's music, and really doesn't work for classical music in general

    Quote Originally Posted by Krummhorn View Post
    People people ... lets get back ON Topic here. However one at least they are giving it a try, which is far greater than not listening at all to a particular composer.
    well, it's good to try, isn't it? Sometimes you see some middle school students coming up to you say that they want to learn calculus, but, they don't even know anything about Functions and Algebra... Some beginners are like that too, they think that they can just "listen" to some music, but they don't realize they have to put up a lot of efforts and plus have a lot of listening experience in order to appreciate certain kinds of music. In other words, they are not ready. Why make a middle schooler take Calculus when he is not ready? why make a beginner listen to Bruckner? when he/she should be better acquainted with his predecessors: Bach, Mozart, Beethoven etc... The outcome will only be one, he/she doesn't understands it, and put the music aside, too much is going on, the little mind can't handle it, "what does this mean?" "why is that?" etc....

  11. #116
    Senior Member BuddhaBandit's Avatar
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    Gustav, that argument doesn't hold. Music is an art, i.e. it is emotional. A "beginner" might enjoy Schoenberg more than Handel, even though, according to a traditional view, Handel should come first. However, one's knowledge of Baroque music or Handel does not influence the emotional impact of Schoenberg.

    In cumulative areas like the maths and sciences, one cannot appreciate an advanced topic without understanding the basic topics. An advanced topic, like calculus, is derived from basic topics like algebra and geometry. However, the emotional impact of Schoenberg is not derived from the emotional impact of Handel. This is the syllogism- apples and oranges, or, if you will, pianos and clarinets
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  12. #117
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    Quote Originally Posted by BuddhaBandit View Post
    Gustav, that argument doesn't hold. Music is an art, i.e. it is emotional. A "beginner" might enjoy Schoenberg more than Handel, even though, according to a traditional view, Handel should come first. However, one's knowledge of Baroque music or Handel does not influence the emotional impact of Schoenberg.
    No, it's not "emotional" whatever you mean by that. "Music is an art" indeed, music is, but, the act of listening is a discipline, much like any other disciplines. You need solid experience, practice, patience to be good at it. What i am saying with that analogy is that Bruckner's music requires a disciplined listener. You can use your "emotional" argument, and it might work for Tchaikovsky or Chopin, but it doesn't apply for ALL of the composers. Different composers have distinctly different styles, they write their music differently, they have different aesthetic tastes, etc....

    I don't know who this "beginner" is, but I certainly won't enjoy Schoenberg if i don't understand the intricacies of his musical language. Some "beginners" might be impressed by the musical "effects" of Schoenberg's music, but they really aren't hearing the essence of what Schoenberg wrote. Just the superficial "Cool" "Nice" notes. That's why they probably like only a very narrow portion of Schoenberg's oeuvre.

    This is the reason i don't like people to listen to a small portion of a larger piece, consider it my pet-peeve if you will. If you are going to listen, take it seriously, listen to it over and over multiple times. There are a lot of nuances in music that elude people, especially when they are trying to only listen to what they want to hear.

  13. #118
    Senior Member BuddhaBandit's Avatar
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    But, again, it depends on the level of listening. As a pianist, I look for both the emotional impact and the nuances, subtleties, etc. I listen to Bruckner's symphonies for their development, their motifs that reappear constantly, and their wonderful rhythms, not to mention many more aspects. This is how I would listen to any composition, long or short.

    However, one of my very good friends listens only to Mahler's slow movements. I could, of course, march up to him and tell him that he is missing the other three movements, and admonish him for not understanding the brilliance, say, in the reappearing themes of the Titan. However, he does not want to listen to a complete symphony, because he does not enjoy a complete symphony.

    Really, it boils down to a few questions:

    1. Is music entertainment? Certainly.
    2. Can one enjoy it on a non-technical level? Of course.
    3. Will it enhance the "listening experience" to understand the complexities of a full piece? It absolutely will, but only if the listener wants to hear the complexities.

    Note: The first time I heard Schoenberg I knew nothing about atonality or the chromatic method; however, I was immediately drawn to his works.

    But, again, suum cuique. I'm a populist when it come to classical music, Gustav is an educator. Both reasonable methods with their individual merits.
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  14. #119
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    So, to summarise, everyone who wishes to drink wine should be a wine taster.
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  15. #120
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    Quote Originally Posted by BuddhaBandit View Post
    But, again, it depends on the level of listening. As a pianist, I look for both the emotional impact and the nuances, subtleties, etc. I listen to Bruckner's symphonies for their development, their motifs that reappear constantly, and their wonderful rhythms, not to mention many more aspects. This is how I would listen to any composition, long or short.
    Indeed, i guess sometimes i expect too much from others. There are people who listens to CM for relaxation, some for the nice melodies, and some just don't have the patience to sit through 80 minutes of German orchestral music. That's fine, I also enjoy "light" music, the Strauss brothers in particular are one of my favorites. But, whenever i have a CD of symphonic music, i would always take it seriously, because these are monuments. Just as like you would look at the Pantheon in awe, or be totally absorbed by the majesty of the Great wall of China. They represent the culmination of the artist's life long achievements. Take Mahler for example, his music screams of his inner world, his personal tragedies. In other words, they reflect the composer in one way or the other, some times it's not very clear, and sometimes it's indeed very ambivalent. Take Bruckner for instance, he was by no means a happy man, he was weird little fellow who grew up in rural Austria but decided to earn a living in the sophisticated capital of Vienna. He was weird, had some strange traits, e.g. the number counting, and the fascination with corpse. He didn't fit in, and was very much disappointed by his experiences in Vienna. He would write a symphony with great sophistication and ended up being totally rejected by the public because it was too "long" or too "difficult" to play, or no "tunes" and things of those nature. Yet, he always knew his own greatness, of course, he had doubts about himself, he often let others to temper with his masterpieces, but he also kept the original for "later times". His failures to find a wife, (had rather unrealistic expectations in that regard) only made things worse and he was consequently celibate for the rest of his life. All these troubles, or "tragedies" propelled him to write great music. His musical "architecture" are the most unique among the late romantic composers, and himself being such an "academic" composer, knew the importance of academic discipline. He himself said that the you can't build an impressive building without a solid foundation. So, as listeners, you also need good foundations, good discipline to better appreciate and study his works.

    Quote Originally Posted by BuddhaBandit View Post
    However, one of my very good friends listens only to Mahler's slow movements. I could, of course, march up to him and tell him that he is missing the other three movements, and admonish him for not understanding the brilliance, say, in the reappearing themes of the Titan. However, he does not want to listen to a complete symphony, because he does not enjoy a complete symphony.
    He is missing alot, but that's okay. eventually, he might or might not understand your advice. Let's say he does, it will only make his Mahler experience so much better, and make it so much more fulfilling for him. Of course, we all know that there are some people out there who would rather simmer in their own juice of ignorance than to take sound advice from others, but that's okay, like i said before, it's their loss.

    Quote Originally Posted by BuddhaBandit View Post
    Note: The first time I heard Schoenberg I knew nothing about atonality or the chromatic method; however, I was immediately drawn to his works.
    But, do you know now? That's complete understandable, some composers' music are so striking, it grabs you right away. That's also when you should invest more time in it. Classical music is also about learning, you are fascinated by Schoenberg, and you can read about him, about his life, style, why did he choose to write music in this way, etc...
    Last edited by Gustav; Jan-31-2008 at 09:14.

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