View Poll Results: Are 'The Warhorses' Your Warhorses?

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28. You may not vote on this poll
  • Yes, I have heard them to death

    3 10.71%
  • No, I don't or haven't heard them often

    4 14.29%
  • Sort of, Sort of not

    19 67.86%
  • Other

    2 7.14%
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Thread: Are 'The Warhorses' Your Warhorses?

  1. #1
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    Lightbulb Are 'The Warhorses' Your Warhorses?

    What I mean is, are the warhorses, those pieces that supposedly everyone knows and has heard to death, the pieces you know well enough or have heard often enough to be worthy of the label warhorse?

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    My experience of classical music is almost exclusively my own collection of recordings. I have never spent any significant amount of time listening to classical radio and I have not attended many classical concerts. The recordings I owned, or that my friends owned, or that I borrowed from the public library, or, in the past few years, that I have heard on the web are the only pieces I have ever heard.

    Some people say they have heard the warhorses so often that they can't stand to hear them any more, but I, to a great extent, don't know them well or have not even ever heard them. I've been listening to classical music since I was about 18 and I very quickly amassed a fairly sizeable collection of LPs that included 1-3 albums by almost all of the most famous composers and a whole slew of just about anything that could be called Neue Wiener Schule, Darmstadt Schule or avant garde. As a result, my experience of classical music is not necessarily the major works, but is actually just the chance discovery of whatever album just happened to end up in my collection.

    My experience is probably not so unusual. Do you know the warhorses well? Have you ever heard many of them? Do you have other works that you have heard far more often, that could be considered your own personal warhorses?

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    Senior Member Chipomarc's Avatar
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    If I have someone coming over to visit I always make sure to hid the Beethoven Symphony 5 cds and delete it from my Media Go and Google Play Music library.

    But I still enjoy putting the headphones on and giving it another go every so often.

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    Some I still love (e.g. Schubert 8, Dvorak 9, Ravel's Bolero, Smetana's Moldau), some I like less than in the past (e.g. Sibelius' Finlandia, Albinoni's Adagio, Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik), some I never liked (e.g. Beethoven 9).

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    Senior Member Ingélou's Avatar
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    When I was growing up, the TV didn't start until the afternoon, and on Saturday and Sunday mornings, most people played the 'wireless', where it was all 'warhorses': the 1812, Beethoven's Fifth, Ride of the Valkyries, the Planet Suite, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, Bolero, the Hungarian Rhapsody...

    Almost all of the young people that I knew weren't into classical music, so this was the only stuff we heard, and because it was popular, this was classical music for us, and we liked it.

    As we baby boomers grew up, TV and radio changed, and unless our tastes changed too, I imagine that the warhorses weren't heard much again. I got into folk music instead.

    Now that I'm interested in classical music, I don't often hear or play the Warhorses, but they are still deeply familiar to me, and when I do come across them, I love them still: because they are linked with my youth, they will never lose their appeal.
    My fiddle my joy.

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    Senior Member Adam Weber's Avatar
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    I'm nineteen, so the radio plays a microscopic role in my life. I control my own listening, taking care to search out new music at my leisure. I'm familiar with the "Warhorses" but not anywhere near sick of them. I've only just begun exploring Mozart's oeuvre. The process is very exciting, actually, and I'm glad I never got force-fed anything, or I might have run the other direction and never looked back. I took the road less traveled through Bartok, Schoenberg, etc, and now I'm back at Haydn, Mozart and so on. Meandering and just how I like it!
    Last edited by Adam Weber; Aug-05-2015 at 12:46.

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  13. #7
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    It's a personal thing. My warhorses will always be so. Many of these are established / accepted in the repertoire. But it's my preference and enjoyment that matter most.

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    I listen to music a lot more than wife, but she enjoys it and we met thru an on line dating forum called Classical Music Lovers Exchange. When we started attending Concerts together she responds much better to war horse laden programming than to more challenging, less audience friendly fare, so when I choose our concert series I look for the concerts with the most audience friendly fare. It is a small price to pay.

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    I believe I know the 'warhorses' quite well with the exception of some composers I've learned to appreciate later in life, such as Bruckner. Most of my early exposure to classical music came from the radio and then from live concerts (I've been fortunate to have lived in cities that had an excellent selection of live music). While the programming usually had a warhorse included there often was a piece I was unfamiliar with. This is how I got to know composers such as Rouse, Corigliano, Adams, Tower and so on. I still value the radio as a way of hearing unfamiliar works serendipitously, though streaming offers more control. I hope I never get so jaded to think that there is nothing more to be gained by listening to Beethoven's 7th again, however.

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    I embraced the digital revolution with a passion in spite of my age, so The Warhorses are seldom played. I still get a huge kick out of Beethoven's 5th symphony or his "Emperor" Concerto, Schubert's "Unfinished" and the like.

    There are however a couple of works I'll likely skip over for a good many years to come. They are Dvorak's 9th symphony and Beethoven's 3rd symphony. When I was a kid I bought albums with my lawn mowing allowance, and these two works were all I had for a long time. I became way too familiar with them to the point I barely enjoy them today. I want to hit the fast forward button.

    I may have a couple personal warhorses not in the main repertoire such as Enescu's Suite No. 3, “Villageoise" and Reinecke's Symphony No. 2. These are probably not something most people could hum if asked, but they sound as if they should be. They are so familiar and classic, but I won't tire of them if I can refrain from overplaying.

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    I'm pretty sure I've heard about everything that's really considered a "warhorse" but I also still enjoy all of them. My listening started with pop culture references, classical radio and greatest hits style CD's from Beethoven, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, etc. I have heard most of them thousands of times and am very familiar with them. I might not listen to them all the time, but I still enjoy hearing them. I'm a traditionalist for the most part I guess and not much into things that might be considered "avant garde" so I don't really tire of the big names and the big works. I'm always happy to hear Haydn, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Mahler, Bruckner, Dvorak, Chopin, Liszt, Schubert, Schumann, Tchaikovsky, Sibelius, Wagner, etc. I occasionally branch out and try new composers but most of my general listening is still dominated by the big names.

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    For whatever reason, for most the last month (barring a few minutes when it was replaced by "Cracklin' Rosie") I've had the Eroica spinning around in my head -- which, as earworms go, is not too bad. The interesting thing is, it has neither bothered me, nor diminished my appreciation for what is still an astonishing work.

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    What made me think of this was the recent thread Most overplayed classical music and my recollection of other similar threads from the past. As I read the posts, I realized that I had never heard or barely knew many of the pieces that were mentioned. I had heard pieces by 90% of the composers, but the pieces that were considered to be so popular that they had become curses were often not the ones I knew. Since my trip into classical music has been primarily self-directed, I had nothing to guide me to the famous works. I picked up albums willy-nilly: delete bins, an appealing cover, a famous composer's name, an instrument I liked the sound of, a work's title, a good price, etc. I never got into greatest hits or most loved compilation albums, so I missed out on the basic education, I guess.

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  27. #14
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    I listen to classical radio quite a bit, so I get familiar with some of the warhorses that way. However, it's usually different performances and spread out enough so that they do not get tiresome.

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    I voted no, which is probably accurate since I don't know for sure what the war horses are (assume operas not specific performances of).
    “The media’s the most powerful entity on Earth. They have the power to make the innocent look guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the mind of the masses.”
    --Malcolm X

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