I've never understood this idea that "clockwork" music (a very subjective judgement any way) is easier to write or less inspired than "unpredictable" music. Bach and Mozart are the composers usually accused of writing "clockwork" music. But if we look at the compositions of theirs that don't run like clockwork (and there are many, not least Bach's Fantasias and Mozart's Capriccios), they're always the ones that were written with least effort, in the shortest space of time. They're widely recognized as little more than written down improvisations. Or look at Bach's cantatas: most of them were written in a hurry without enthusiasm, and are among the quirkiest, most unpredictable and least "clockwork" of his works.
Bach published none of his cantatas or fantasias. On the other hand, the works Bach did publish (and therefore which he probably worked hardest on, and considered inspired) are the most "clockwork": the Goldberg Variations, Art of Fugue, keyboard Partitas, etc. Of course, some composers were different. With Beethoven and Brahms, the compositions they worked hardest on tend to be roughest round the edges (the Hammerklavier Sonata, Brahms's Symphony No. 1, etc.). But the point is it's wrong to think: "This composition sounds perfect. It must be a piece of hackwork." The evidence points the other way.
What makes a piece of music sound "perfect" any way? I think it's caused by a particular harmonic style that was prevalent 18th-century, more than by composers being lazy.
Last edited by Webernite; Mar-21-2012 at 22:24.
Not too fond of pretension in music, especially when the prentension is bigger than the musical skills, as with Berlioz for example. Despite everything, Liszt ís in general flashy, and as a result not my favorite either. Too much of late-romanticism can become boring too. And everything involving a castrato I avoid.
Wagner's operas are just too short.
Please let someone note that I'm ironic.
Thank god, if no one had responded, I would have added that his operas were so short because Wagner was just a modest man.
Mainly his notes.