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Thread: Will Atonal Compositions Last Centuries like Past Works?

  1. #106
    Senior Member Bwv 1080's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenOC View Post
    Actually it doesn't. Not even close. Most people would realize this doesn't require further discussion, so I'll just leave it at that.

    Does Carter’s music not exhibit craftsmanship, artistry and skill? Why wouldnt the term apply to, say, His Piano Concerto (which of course as called a the first great American masterpiece by Stravinsky?

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  3. #107
    Senior Member DaveM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bwv 1080 View Post
    The context being the supposedly outdated concept of a masterpiece, a ‘a creation that has been given much critical praise, especially one that is considered the greatest work of a person's career or to a work of outstanding creativity, skill, profundity, or workmanship. ’. The point, clearer to more reflective would-be keyboard warriors, is that the word has as much meaning within the genre of modernist music as it does in regards to Beethoven’s works. Sorry to disappoint, but was not trying to bait a urination match of Beethoven vs Ferneyhough.
    I see this as a contrivance: Since the modernists, to this point, pale in comparison to a Beethoven in the discussion of masterpieces, dismiss the prevailing concept of a masterpiece and separate modernist music from the music that came before when determining what is a masterpiece.

    IMO, the concept of a masterpiece hasn’t changed. If one is going to declare composers such as Carter, Boulez, Wolpe and Ferneyhough as having created ‘modernist music’ masterpieces, there should be some accompanying support. Perhaps I can see this as possible with Carter and Boulez, but Wolpe and Ferneyhough?

    Finally, mentioning Beethoven in this context is guaranteed to bring a response, urination related or otherwise.
    Last edited by DaveM; Sep-10-2019 at 03:52.

  4. #108
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    Atonal? No clue! Maybe future music lovers will get something out of it, and maybe atonal music will evolve into something different.

  5. #109
    Senior Member Enthusiast's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveM View Post
    I see this as a contrivance: Since the modernists, to this point, pale in comparison to a Beethoven in the discussion of masterpieces, dismiss the prevailing concept of a masterpiece and separate modernist music from the music that came before when determining what is a masterpiece.

    IMO, the concept of a masterpiece hasn’t changed. If one is going to declare composers such as Carter, Boulez, Wolpe and Ferneyhough as having created ‘modernist music’ masterpieces, there should be some accompanying support. Perhaps I can see this as possible with Carter and Boulez, but Wolpe and Ferneyhough?

    Finally, mentioning Beethoven in this context is guaranteed to bring a response, urination related or otherwise.
    Personally, I don't have a problem with calling some (quite a few) works by Carter and Boulez masterpieces. In fact I'm surprised to see that some are shocked by the idea. It may be a subjective matter (in which case there are just different opinions about the matter and we can't go further than that) or it may be just a matter of fitting the definition of masterpiece. Ferneyhough may be too contemporary for the world (or us) to arrive at a conclusive opinion. I don't know how Carter's and Boulez's masterpieces compare in "greatness" with Beethoven's (a composer who I love so much that I have a great many versions of many of his works) but would personally be more likely to go to a concert that programmes a major Carter or Boulez work than I would yet another Beethoven 5. Indeed the presence of Beethoven 5 on a concert programme would put me off unless the conductor was really someone special. And, actually, I would be surprised to learn that programming a Beethoven symphony is a good way of attracting experienced listeners to buy a concert ticket.
    Last edited by Enthusiast; Sep-10-2019 at 11:19.

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  7. #110
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    I don't consider anything a masterpiece that hasn't or doesn't meet a minimum threshold of "broad appeal" over time. That by itself eliminates atonal music. Atonal music hasn't yet, and probably never will, attain any sort of broad appeal. That leaves it for devotees to decide what their "masterpieces" are—but the word (as I use it) loses its meaning by that point. In a similar vein, there are plenty of devotees who consider various pieces by Salieri and JC Bach to be "masterpieces". But so what?

    But I acknowledge that my definition is not the dictionary definition: "Anything done or made with extraordinary skill; a capital performance; a chef-d'oeuvre; a supreme achievement."

    But without the proviso of "broad appeal over time", any piece of mediocrity can be somebody's "masterpiece". Now I've got to go to work and earn another 2 cents.
    Last edited by vtpoet; Sep-10-2019 at 14:49.

  8. #111
    Senior Member Bwv 1080's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vtpoet View Post
    I don't consider anything a masterpiece that hasn't or doesn't meet a minimum threshold of "broad appeal" over time. That by itself eliminates atonal music. Atonal music hasn't yet, and probably never will, attain any sort of broad appeal. That leaves it for devotees to decide what their "masterpieces" are—but the word (as I use it) loses its meaning by that point. In a similar vein, there are plenty of devotees who consider various pieces by Salieri and JC Bach to be "masterpieces". But so what?

    But I acknowledge that my definition is not the dictionary definition: "Anything done or made with extraordinary skill; a capital performance; a chef-d'oeuvre; a supreme achievement."

    But without the proviso of "broad appeal over time", any piece of mediocrity can be somebody's "masterpiece". Now I've got to go to work and earn another 2 cents.
    Beethoven's op 133 lacks 'broad appeal over time' while Pachabel's Canon has it in spades - so no, your personal definition does not work

  9. #112
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bwv 1080 View Post
    Beethoven's op 133 lacks 'broad appeal over time' while Pachabel's Canon has it in spades - so no, your personal definition does not work
    In fairness to the poster the 'broad appeal over time' appeared to be a necessary, but not necessarily, sufficient condition to obtain the criteria of masterpiece. Additionally, 'broad appeal' is rather vague. Classical music is listened to regularly by about 3% of the population and of that 3% there are probably quite a few people who never really venture beyond the 'classical FM' type stuff. So it's quite clear that this does not mean a majority of people enjoy the music and I hardly need to check any stats to know that Beethoven's op. 133 has obtained a much wider audience than anything Carter ever wrote.

  10. #113
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bwv 1080 View Post
    Beethoven's op 133 lacks 'broad appeal over time' while Pachabel's Canon has it in spades - so no, your personal definition does not work
    My personal definition of a Masterpiece works just fine. It actually aligns well with what are "generally" considered masterpieces. And in fairness to Pachelbel, there's an argument to be made, and a good one, that his canon is indeed a masterpiece. It may be like a third grade primer compared to Carter, but sure as heck nobody walks down the isle to the tune of Carter. Beethoven's Op. 133 may or may not meet the same criteria. It's a great work of art, but is it a masterpiece? I'm not so sure. That may be open to debate.

    And speaking of which, has anyone recorded the recently discovered piano transcription (by Beethoven) of op. 133?

  11. #114
    Senior Member Bwv 1080's Avatar
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    has lasted 1.16 centuries, hard to see how anyone cant like this, other than a pathological atonaphobe


  12. #115
    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vtpoet View Post
    And speaking of which, has anyone recorded the recently discovered piano transcription (by Beethoven) of op. 133?
    The 4-hand transcription of the Grosse Fuge, published as Op. 134, has always been known and is available in several recordings. What was discovered a few years ago was an authentic 1826 Beethoven manuscript of the work long thought lost.


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  14. #116
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bwv 1080 View Post
    has lasted 1.16 centuries, hard to see how anyone cant like this, other than a pathological atonaphobe
    1.) If you can't see why anyone might not like this piece, maybe the problem lies with you? Calling anyone a "pathological" atonaphobe who doesn't agree with your taste in music simply makes you sound resentful that the broader public isn't validating your personal preferences.
    2.) Arguably lesser pieces of music have lasted far longer than 1.16 centuries. So what?

  15. #117
    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bwv 1080 View Post
    has lasted 1.16 centuries, hard to see how anyone cant like this, other than a pathological atonaphobe...
    The Beatles have lasted 0.57 centuries and, I'm sure, handily reach a far broader set of people than the unfortunate Herr Webern. So how do we sort this out?


  16. #118
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenOC View Post
    The 4-hand transcription of the Grosse Fuge, published as Op. 134, has always been known and is available in several recordings. What was discovered a few years ago was an authentic 1826 Beethoven manuscript of the work long thought lost.
    Thanks for the correction. I was under the incorrect impression that Halm's was the version we had used until now. Love your avatar. Always have had a soft spot for M Haydn.

  17. #119
    Senior Member Bwv 1080's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vtpoet View Post
    1.) If you can't see why anyone might not like this piece, maybe the problem lies with you? Calling anyone a "pathological" atonaphobe who doesn't agree with your taste in music simply makes you sound resentful that the broader public isn't validating your personal preferences.
    Atonaphobia is a treatable condition. While we are not yet advanced far enough as a society to recognize the benefits of involuntary commitments to re-education camps, a regime of extensive Freudian psychotherapy, regular Desoxyn injections and repeated listening to Gruppen can help overcome this crippling neurosis.

  18. #120
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bwv 1080 View Post
    Elliott Carter wrote masterpieces, as did a host of other modernist composers. Maybe the term does not apply to AG composers like Cage, but if the term works for Beethoven, it works for Carter, Boulez, Wolpe, Ferneyhough etc
    It does? Haa ha aaaa.... What is Ferneyhough's "masterpiece"? Are they gonna use the disco version of it in the next season of "Judge Judy" as the theme?

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