Is There a Great Composer You Plain Just Don't Like
I have been listening to classical music since I was a teenager, about 40 years. My specialty is in the Romantic and Classic eras, but I try to expose myself to all kinds of Classical.
I know what I am about to say is tantamount to blasphemy on these forums, but I just don't like Johann Sebastian Bach. There, I said it. Outside of the Toccata and Fugue in D minor I can honestly say there is one piece of his that doesn't either put me to sleep or make me nervous or give me a headache, or all three of the above.
I know, I know. I've studied enough to know that Bach is one of the greatest of all the gods in the Classical spectrum. I know how extremely influential he was. I know most Classical fans adore him. I have given him chance after chance. I feel that there must be something in me that is somehow deficient to not appreciate his genius.
I am not looking for anyone to contradict my views, I fear they are set in concrete. I was wondering if anyone else has a virulent dislike to one of the acknowledged geniuses of Classical composition?
I am still very new to the forums and I was wondering what you think!
Last edited by Ilych; Feb-22-2010 at 22:59.
I can't think of any great composers that I have never at any time been keen on. In my case, I have rather lost interest to varying extents in several of them. Top of the list would be Wagner, Mahler, Bruckner.
Brahms is beginning to pall somewhat too. In the latter case, the more adulation I have recently seen about him expressed on this Board the less keen I become. For similar reasons I have rather gone off Ravel (brings back quite dreadful memories), and Sibelius is heading in the same direction.
Funny you bring up Wagner. I went through a major phase where I adored just about all of his operas, particularly the Ring. Now I find so much of his music just plain overblown. I don't dislike him, but my youthful ardor has cooled somewhat! I still like Wagner more than Mark Twain who once quipped that Wagner's music "isn't as bad as it sounds."
What a dangerous thread. Let's see how the free flow of ideas is impeded by those who simply cannot stand to see their favorite composers receive negative criticsm.
Mozart - Boring. I don't blindly buy into his greatness. I know we are all expected to worship him, and he was certainly a competant musician, but his end product, for me, are like stale cream puffs.
Mahler - Beginning to like him less and less. Symphonies 1,2 and 6 are great. Everything else I can do without.
Tchaikovsky - Really a hit and miss composer. I like a lot of his stuff, but can't stand a lot of it either. Over-rated as a symphonist, in my opinion.
Dvorak - Also over-rated as a symphonist. Just my opinion.
I could go on and on, but for the sake of my sanity, I will stop here. And before anyone attacks me, consider the great composers YOU don't like and ask yourself whether or not YOU deserve to be attacked for YOUR selections.
Funny you bring up Wagner. I went through a major phase where I adored just about all of his operas, particularly the Ring. Now I find so much of his music just plain overblown. I don't dislike him, but my youthful ardor has cooled somewhat!
My CD collection is brimming with the works of all the second half 19th C great composers, as I went from one to another in often considerable enthusiasm. With limited exceptions, most of all that very heavily romanticised music is no longer of much interest to me.
Rather I have gone back to my teenager "roots" (which I sadly left some 11 years ago) of liking most of all the classical/early romantic composers. In the process I have been discovering lots of good material from composers who used to be mainly just names to me (e.g. Stamitz, Kraus, Myslivecek, Vanhal, Cimarosa, Rosetti, Dittersdorf).
To me that was the "golden age" age of classical music, and it's all been downhill since, after the virtually coincident deaths of Beethoven and Schubert. I say this partly to stir up a few other souls. Let's see what happens.
Never been that big of a fan of Handel, Haydn or Tchaikovsky. I mean they all have works I enjoy, but overall I'm not usually interested in listening to them. Cannot stand Johann Strauss II, though I don't know that he's considered "great".
Bruckner. In general I'm fan of "over-blown" music, but he? Mahler is damn expressive and great with what he did in symphonic genre, but Bruckner sounds like pastiche (sometimes even like parody) of truely romantic music.
He sounds so empty and wanna-be romantic to me. And his person. I expect my favourite composers to be romantic heroes, not boring, bald geezers.
I second the OP's expression of his dislike for Bach.
As well as that, I still hate Mahler. I give him chance after chance after chance, but his music always strikes me as vapid and pointless
Also, in line with opinions about composers who fall out of favour and seem hit and miss, then I absolutely have to mention Rachmaninov. I used to love his music. Now, I can't even remember the last time I listened to it. It's just boring now; I feel other composers expressed everything he wanted to but in much better ways.
For those who dislike Bach's music, have you tried a HIP recording of some of the Bach favourites? Me think HIP do far greater justice to Bach's work (Baroque in general, too). And if you have, and still dislike Bach, well ignore what I have just wrote.
My, we are putting our shortcomings on display, aren't we?
Nearly all the 'big names' have written something redeeming, even if most of their ouevre strikes you personally as disagreeable (hateful? wow. I'd reserve description that for transient commercial pop). Even composers whose works I make no further effort to hear; Tchaikovsky, for instance, still have a few offerings whose greatness I'll concede.