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Thread: Will Atonal Compositions Last Centuries like Past Works?

  1. #16
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    Did you start this thread with the purpose of it being shut down?

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkW View Post
    The good ones, yes. The bad ones, no. Just like all other music.
    Thank you.

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  3. #17
    Senior Member Bwv 1080's Avatar
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    It would be a tragedy if there weren’t because there is some great music there, but most people are idiots so who knows?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mbhaub View Post
    Quick - name one, just one, atonal work that is in the standard orchestral repertoire.....can't do it, can you? That's because there are none. There are a few works that barely hang on but only because some conductors and orchestra feel an obligation to carry the torch for Schoenberg, Berg, Webern and their ilk. But audiences have made their preferences known both in terms of concerts and recordings. Sadly, concomitant with this is the narrowing of the repertoire in general. Summer festivals are practically indistinguishable from the regular season - it's the same old, tired, worn out tried-and-true Brahms, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Wagner...it's very discouraging. So like Kjetil said, atonal music is going to be known only to specialists.

    The reason is those "hooks". In my opinion, music must come from the heart - it must make an emotional connection to the listener. And the further music gets from folk songs, the harder it is for the average brain to understand, enjoy and love. Composers whose music makes a connection with the listener will always be around. It may disgust and anger atonal composers, but things like the Dvorak 9th, Tchaikovksy 5th, and Shostakovich 5th will always thrill and excite audiences. So will Sousa marches.
    Berg's Violin Concerto is probably pretty close, at the very least, to being 'in' the standard repertoire.

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    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BachIsBest View Post
    Berg's Violin Concerto is probably pretty close, at the very least, to being 'in' the standard repertoire.
    Yes, Berg's Violin Concerto is probably about as close as you're going to come. There may be a couple of others. If we can find them, I'll check my database to see how often they're performed by US orchestras each year. And then we can wait for the usual chorus: "Yes, but in Europe, people are lined up around the block to hear these, waving fistfuls of cash and bidding ticket prices through the roof..."
    Last edited by KenOC; Aug-31-2019 at 06:40.


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    Senior Member mikeh375's Avatar
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    My heart wants the answer to the OP to be yes, my head says no if I understand correctly that the implication of the question refers to a general public taste. The works will last in academic archives and have already gained a cult status because we are not talking about second rate composers, but I doubt that anyone uninitiated or of milder ears will ever make the effort to get to know them.

    One half of me (the pragmatist) asks reasonably "why should people bother?", the other half brings to mind Ives.
    Last edited by mikeh375; Aug-31-2019 at 06:59.

  10. #21
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bwv 1080 View Post
    It would be a tragedy if there weren’t because there is some great music there, but most people are idiots so who knows?
    Most oeople are idiots because they don't like unpleasant sounds that calls itself music? I would've thought that spoke of the general wisdom of the human race

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  12. #22
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Don't forget Karajan recorded the music of the second Vienese School and it became a bestseller. Just how much it sold because the name of the conductor was on the label and just how much it sold because of the music was another matter. I have the set and I must confess I do not play it very often. It does however contain some fabulous playing If you like that sort of thing. I also have the Berg violin concerto but again do not play very often as I tend to like music which is more pleasant sounding. I bought Wozzek the opera in a sale but haven't had the courage to listen to it yet. This sort of music will find its audience among aficionados but not among the general CM public, Who want music they can enjoy
    Last edited by DavidA; Aug-31-2019 at 07:14.

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    Senior Member mikeh375's Avatar
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    Yes, David's post reminds me that the music is archived digitally and will always be available. It also reminds me that the populous wont accept the demise of tonality's implications.
    Last edited by mikeh375; Aug-31-2019 at 09:19.

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    Senior Member MatthewWeflen's Avatar
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    I don't know how often things are played in concert halls. But for artistic merit and beauty, I'd put Schoenberg's "Verklärte Nacht" forward as a piece that should survive and be played.

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    Senior Member Art Rock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MatthewWeflen View Post
    I don't know how often things are played in concert halls. But for artistic merit and beauty, I'd put Schoenberg's "Verklärte Nacht" forward as a piece that should survive and be played.
    Yes, but it's not atonal now is it?
    Allüberall und ewig blauen licht die Fernen! Ewig ... ewig ...

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    Senior Member MatthewWeflen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Art Rock View Post
    Yes, but it's not atonal now is it?
    https://www.gramophone.co.uk/feature...C3%A4rte-nacht

    It seems to straddle the line?

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  19. #27
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    How long will the habit of some classical fans to divide music into tonal and atonal last? Is it that meaningful a distinction these days? I feel the distinction is only really useful for those fans who have pet peeves against some more modern music.

    Some of the music of the last 100 years will survive and much will merely lurk in the background with those who have a taste for tracking down "neglected masterpieces" digging them up occasionally. That is how it has been for the music of other periods so why not this? I doubt, though, that there will be many atonal warhorses.

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  21. #28
    Senior Member Bwv 1080's Avatar
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    Perhaps in the future atonaphobia will be recognized as a treatable psychiatric condition that can be treated with pharmaceuticals and re-education camps

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    Senior Member Larkenfield's Avatar
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    I believe it will be of continuing interest as an important part of 20th-century history, like Freud was to psychology, and Picasso was to Cubism, all revolutionary in nature. It does not have to be beautiful to be of interest or value in its new language, where each liberated tone can sound independent of each other. It expanded the entire vocabulary in all of music to express the deep unconscious and the darker side of human consciousness, or other unusual states of mind, including the abnormal, that couldn’t be fit into the 19th century model... I believe the problem that some listeners have with it is that as standalone works they often lack context, sound random or highly abstract. Pierrot Lunaire works because the music exists within the context of the character. Erwartung works because the music is like the background to a tale of terror on a woman’s forest walk through the night. But then, sometimes context doesn’t seem to matter at all, and yet I doubt that such works will have ever have great popular appeal even if it seems to be an indispensable part of 20th-century history. I would consider modern film scores unthinkable without the influence of the liberated vocabulary developed by Schoenberg and others, and the movies provide context where just about anything goes.



    Last edited by Larkenfield; Sep-01-2019 at 01:19.
    "That's all Folks!"

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  25. #30
    Senior Member chu42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MatthewWeflen View Post
    For the time, it was revolutionary but that was back when the extent of "anti-tonality" was Wagner and Strauss. I consider it very tonal. Every time it modulates, the key is very distinct, not atonal whatsoever.

    "Straddling the line" might be more like this:



    It still hints at keys but it gets less and less distinct, whereas serialism has no key whatsoever.
    Last edited by chu42; Aug-31-2019 at 16:51.

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