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Thread: Who is the biggest “one hit wonder” of classical music?

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    Senior Member apricissimus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heck148 View Post
    Sorry, that list is garbage, assembled by some musical ignorante.

    Berlioz? Holst?? Barber??? "one-hit wonders"?? No way....somebody's musical knowledge is seriously deficient....
    Well, I mean, literally any name you can come up with, someone on the forum is going to point out that they wrote some really great quartets, or marches, or sarabandes for lute octet or whatever. Maybe his depth of musical knowledge is not up to yours, but I think that's sort of beside the point. Taking just Holst for examples, there's no denying that his Planets is far, far more popular than anything else he wrote. That puts him in the one-hit-wonder category, whether you think he also wrote some other good stuff.

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    Senior Member elgars ghost's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by norman bates View Post
    Astral Weeks is generally and widely (and rightly so in my opinion) considered one of the best rock albums of all time, and Moondance has been performed by many popular musicians like Michael Bublè or Bobby McFerrin. And Gloria too is a quite famous tune.
    I was referring to Van's performance in the singles charts, NB. Irrespective of many times it's been covered, Moondance wasn't a single, and Gloria - a b-side - was by Them, not Him. I agree that Van wasn't as good an example as Greenbaum - my bad.
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    Senior Member DaddyGeorge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heck148 View Post
    No, actually Fucik wrote some very fine works...many marches - Attila, Triglav, Florentiner,
    Semper Avanti; concert waltzes, and some pretty substantial overtures - Marinarella, Miremare, etc...
    Fucik, to me, is sort of a combination of Dvorak and J.P. Sousa, with maybe a little Joh. Strauss thrown in...(much ballsier than Strauss, tho)
    I don't dispute that Fučík wrote other pieces, and I don't evaluate their quality. All the composers mentioned here have written more works and they certainly have their fans.

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    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    Some people consider Pietro Mascagni a “one-hit wonder” with Cavalleria Rusticana, but the other opera I’ve heard of his, L’amico Fritz, is definitely just as good IMO.
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    Some people seem to take the idea of a "one-hit wonder" as being a value judgement, but that isn't necessarily the case. A composer could have created many fine works while only having one or two that they are widely recognized for.
    Last edited by MaxKellerman; May-27-2020 at 23:59.

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    Senior Member MrMeatScience's Avatar
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    I agree that the notion of a "one-hit wonder" has absolutely nothing to do with quality and only to do with recognition by the general public (which in our case I suppose is the layman classical listener? Probably few of us here would qualify).

    One glaring omission (unless I overlooked it somehow) from the names given so far: Humperdinck? I think Hänsel und Gretel is the only work of his that ever gets played.

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    Quote Originally Posted by apricissimus;1844281..
    Taking just Holst for examples, there's no denying that his Planets is far, far more popular than anything else he wrote. That puts him in the one-hit-wonder category, whether you think he also wrote some other good stuff.
    Horsedung....Holst would be considered a very fine composer if he had never written the "Planets"...his works for wind ensemble are classics, widely known and performed, the Eb Suite, esp, is a true masterpiece...calling Holst a "one hit wonder" says far more about the poster's ignorance than it does about the composer's creative output...
    Last edited by Heck148; May-28-2020 at 00:22.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaddyGeorge View Post
    I don't dispute that Fučík wrote other pieces, and I don't evaluate their quality. All the composers mentioned here have written more works and they certainly have their fans.
    The term "one hit wonder" unfortunately says more about the nominating poster than it does the composer in question....I mean we've got Berlioz, Barber, Holst, Bizet named as one hit wonders !!??
    Are these posters living in some sort of music-proof, hermetically sealed bubble??

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    Quote Originally Posted by MrMeatScience View Post
    One glaring omission (unless I overlooked it somehow) from the names given so far: Humperdinck? I think Hänsel und Gretel is the only work of his that ever gets played.
    Right, Humperdinck could certainly qualify, same with Weinberger...
    The flaw comes when a composer is named, the listener only knows one work, but that composer has written many other prominent works that are performed and recorded with some frequency....I mean...Berlioz?? Barber?? Holst?? Bizet?? one hit wonders?? They are a far, far cry from Humperdinck and Weinberger....

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    I third Hansel und Gretel (and would retire the award with that -- which is a one-hit masterpiece. Unless you include the concert ending to the prelude to Die Meistersinger -- which any of us could have composed).

    Also, to whoever mentioned Delibes: the ballets (or at least the suites) Coppelia and Sylvia.

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    Senior Member consuono's Avatar
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    How about Vincent D'Indy and his Symphony on a French Mountain Air. That's the only work of his that I know of/have heard.
    Last edited by consuono; May-28-2020 at 02:23.

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    Senior Member Art Rock's Avatar
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    It's not about whether anyone here has only listened to one work only of a composer. That's not the definition of a hit.
    I treat my music like I treat my pets. It’s something to own, care about and curate with attention to detail. From a blog by hjr.

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    Senior Member Tristan's Avatar
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    Honestly, I kinda feel like this thread is pointless because no one can agree on what a "hit" is, what it means to have just one, or what a "wonder" is for that matter.

    Some are taking it as a value judgment: one-hit wonder means everything other than the hit sucks. Others seem to be oddly taking it to mean that a composer only composed one work or at least that a composer has only a single work that's even known by anyone (which seems far too narrow a definition. Very few composers would fit this definition, if any. It's likely that any composer has composed more than one work and that someone knows about works other than the hit). So then what does it mean?

    In popular music, a one-hit wonder can be better defined because of music charts that quantify popularity. A one-hit wonder is a band or artist that has only had one charting song (i.e. a "hit"). So what's the classical equivalent of a "hit"? It's possible that this concept borrowed from popular music just doesn't transfer well to classical.
    Last edited by Tristan; May-28-2020 at 06:23.
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    Senior Member Rogerx's Avatar
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    Art Rock


    It's not about whether anyone here has only listened to one work only of a composer. That's not the definition of a hit.
    Amen...................................
    “Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.” ― Mark Twain

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    Senior Member consuono's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Art Rock View Post
    It's not about whether anyone here has only listened to one work only of a composer. That's not the definition of a hit.
    Well it is a matter of that if that's the only work by a composer that gets played.
    Last edited by consuono; May-28-2020 at 06:27.

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