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Thread: Most Misunderstood Composers?

  1. #16
    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    Are Misunderstandings a result of an aversion to certain composers and their music that keep us from listening to their works and getting to know them? Or is anyone coming to this conclusion after time spent with the music? A case of "I've tried sufficiently but I still don't get it."
    “Music makes you feel feelings. Words make you think thoughts. But a song can make you feel a thought.”

    - Yip Harburg

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  3. #17
    Senior Member consuono's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrahmsWasAGreatMelodist View Post
    At the top of the list, misunderstood by even his most fervent admirers: Bach.
    My favorites are the "Bach was most likely a closet agnostic and humanist/really didn't want to compose all that religious music" folks. Umm...no. Everything Bach composed was "religious".
    Last edited by consuono; May-31-2020 at 19:20.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrahmsWasAGreatMelodist View Post
    At the top of the list, misunderstood by even his most fervent admirers: Bach.
    Which one?

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  6. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by larold View Post
    Ives is different, a nationalist that wrote both national and international music. The early 1900s is full of national music but he went way beyond nationalism. His avant-garde Piano Sonata No. 2 and Symphony No. 4 were written 1906 and 1910, were contemporary with Schoenberg's new music.
    Ives wrote his fourth symphony between 1910 and 1916, and kept revising it until 1925. He mostly wrote the concord sonata between 1912 and 1915, but kept working on it until 1919 (the first edition being published in 1919).
    Charles Ives was ahead of his time, but not that ahead of his time.

  7. #20
    Senior Member hammeredklavier's Avatar
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    an example of Liszt-Ravel connection:


    Last edited by hammeredklavier; Jun-01-2020 at 03:45.

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  9. #21
    Senior Member Ethereality's Avatar
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    That's a very intelligent post, but I'm pretty sure you didn't write it, you copypasted it from YouTube. Can't wait to read your other stuff!
    Last edited by Ethereality; Jun-01-2020 at 00:53.

  10. #22
    Senior Member consuono's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allerius View Post
    Perhaps Beethoven. Many people (some even here at TC) seem to think of him as someone who only does large scale, epic, fiery pieces, but I think that he's a much more complete composer than this. It's my opinion that his minor scale pieces such as bagatelles and songs for example can reveal a more relaxed, soft but also beautiful side of this multifaceted composer, and that some of his slow movements are amongst the most expressive created by any composer. I also think that Anton Schindler did a great disservice to the image of this great musician to posterity and that Beethoven wasn't a bad person at all as some people seem to think.
    I think Beethoven is still suffering from the deification stuff in the 19th and early 20th centuries. It sours a lot of people on him and his work.
    PS: Incidentally, the same might apply to Shakespeare. Nineteenth and early 20th century critics and teachers went a little overboard.
    Last edited by consuono; Jun-01-2020 at 01:05.

  11. #23
    Senior Member Enthusiast's Avatar
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    Expectations can cause blind spots when they are wrong. I think expecting Sibelius when turning to Nielsen can stop you from hearing Nielsen and those who turn to Brahms expecting a heavier Beethoven invariably fail to see or hear Brahms!

  12. #24
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    Palestrina: he didn’t only write music for masses and it can be enjoyable as many composers of the Common Practice period.

  13. #25
    Senior Member Fabulin's Avatar
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    Williams: he didn’t only write music for masses and it can be enjoyable as many composers of the Common Practice period.

  14. #26
    Senior Member hammeredklavier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allerius View Post
    Perhaps Beethoven.
    abrsm.png

    From what I have seen across various classical music websites, Beethoven is generally one of the more "understood" composers, even here at TC. For most classical music listeners, "Beethovenian depth" is the most ideal model all other composers are supposed to follow. "His late quartets and sonatas" is some kind of a biblical phrase to make people shut up if they ever dare to question his greatness. If you go through old threads at TC (dating from 2008~2018), or visit other sites, you'll realize there are far more people biased toward Beethoven, (usually they hate both Mozart, Haydn). For example, on reddit, they always go like this, (it's quite amazing sometimes, how they all say the same thing every time): "Mozart is superficially fluffy, Beethoven is majestically sublime, Chopin is deeply poetic, Tchaikovsky is emotionally profound. I like Mozart's requiem though."
    You even said yourself once, there had been lots of anti-Mozart threads here at TC. Yes, a "few" people (ex. tdc) have been "critical" about Beethoven a little. It's "nothing" compared to the way Mozart (and Wagner) have been treated.

    Quote Originally Posted by Machiavel View Post
    Dude get over it , we know you dislike him . Damn the Beethoven fanboy club always have to talk about beethoven in a mozart thread. I mean I never read about a matchup between those 2 that was not instigated by beethoven lovers. Whatever the thread is about, they always have to go back to Beethoven. Some here sounds like 15 years old with there Beethoven this and that over and over again in all the thread. Just go and see for yourself. Each time they speak about any other composers they always bring the but beethoven was better. In a way I pity them. And sadly the majority of them are kids
    A Thread for People who Don't Like Mozart
    Mozart vs. Modernism
    What to say to a Mozart hating ignoramus?
    Why do people dislike Mozart?
    Is Mozart slightly boring compared to Beethoven?
    O ye Mozart detractors, repent!

    There is a reason why the name "Beethoven" doesn't show up in this list:

    Quote Originally Posted by clavichorder View Post
    The hope of this thread is to spark more listening and exploration. Conversation comes after that, as it should be. So, I'm going to start an unranked, unordered list of the composers who I've seen stirring up the most controversy(based on their work as composers).

    Schoenberg
    Cage
    Shostakovich
    Mozart
    Wagner(though his humanity probably is more controversial than his music, probably enough is mentioned about the music itself both in favor and against)
    Brahms(it hasn't been active for a while, but a strong vocal minority sometimes surfaces disputing the emotional power of his music)
    Rachmaninoff
    Bruckner
    Mahler
    Glass
    Handel(I've seen plenty of volleys on him, almost surprisingly)
    Liszt
    Berlioz
    Richard Strauss(some of the discussion on him bares resemblance to that of Shostakovich)

    Controversies have all been sparked on these composers. Don't ask me to cite them, because I am unable to. Maybe you have a better list, and if so I would gladly see it, because mine isn't complete or uniform, and I know this.

    Some less controversial composers here? :

    Bach
    Bartok
    Chopin
    Tchaikovsky(Petrb was the only one I ever witnessed dropping bombs about him, and mostly we didn't bother to fight back)
    Debussy

    I'm really not sure about these though. What do you think?
    Last edited by hammeredklavier; Jun-01-2020 at 22:55.

  15. #27
    Senior Member Ethereality's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hammeredklavier View Post
    Polls like these however intrinsically have a popularity bias that curves downward. The most overrated composer in that picture is actually Wagner. Then Mozart is somewhere near the top, probably below Vivaldi.

    However if you want the most valid statistics, I've ran the numbers. The ratio of most 'critically acclaimed' to 'least acknowledged by Classical fans' are: (1) Haydn, (2) Nielsen, (3) Handel, and (4) Wagner. Nielsen fits this ratio immensely even though less popularly.

    Furthermore, one can figure if these 4 composers are actually 'misunderstood' in general, as 'misunderstood' can mean something different.
    Last edited by Ethereality; Jun-01-2020 at 21:00.

  16. #28
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    Perhaps Beethoven. Many people (some even here at TC) seem to think of him as someone who only does large scale, epic, fiery pieces, but I think that he's a much more complete composer than this. It's my opinion that his minor scale pieces such as bagatelles and songs for example can reveal a more relaxed, soft but also beautiful side of this multifaceted composer...

    That will be news to John Gardiner. His thesis is Beethoven was a revolutionary who sought to make people uncomfortable through his music, the reason he plays it the way he does.

    I don't believe that myself and tend to more enjoy his songs and early chamber music from the harmoniemusik tradition. I also think his big stuff can have charm and subtlety as well as power and mayhem, rather the way Sean Connery played James Bond compared to Timothy Dalton's stern and humorless way.
    Last edited by larold; Jun-01-2020 at 21:10.

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  18. #29
    Senior Member consuono's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hammeredklavier View Post
    abrsm.png

    From what I have seen across various classical music websites, Beethoven is generally one of the more "understood" composers, even here at TC. For most classical music listeners,"Beethovenian depth" is the most ideal model all other composers are supposed to follow. "His late quartets and sonatas" is some kind of a biblical phrase to make people shut up if they ever dare to question his greatness. If you go through old threads at TC (dating from 2008~2018), or visit other sites, you'll realize there are far more people biased toward Beethoven, (usually they hate both Mozart, Haydn). For example, on reddit, they always go like this, (it's quite amazing sometimes, how they all say the same thing every time): "Mozart is superficially fluffy, Beethoven is majestically sublime, Chopin is deeply poetic, Tchaikovsky is emotionally profound. I like Mozart's requiem though."
    ...
    I don't understand the insecurity that ignites "controversies" like this. My own conviction and tastes tell me that Bach was the "greatest" composer ever; i.e. I think his music is the most indispensable, the music that I could least live without. However if someone doesn't agree, that's fine; if someone says Bach is "overrated", I laugh it off as uninformed opinion. I don't feel the need to patrol threads to look for slighting remarks toward Bach and beat the offender into submission with a barrage of YT clips. I think Bach's work speaks for itself and it doesn't really need my constant defense...except when it comes to something like the lazy-minded "Bach's Passion music is antisemitic" nonsense.

    I haven't been on this forum long but these sorts of things seem to devolve into something like "who's the greatest quarterback, Brady or Montana?" I don't think of music as Beethoven vs Mozart or Bach vs Handel or Mozart vs Haydn like they're rock 'em-sock 'em robots. I love all the above, and it's a developmental continuum. Not one of those popped out of nowhere and started composing free of influences from all that had gone before.

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    Senior Member Prodromides's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JAS View Post
    Does anyone really ever understand another person? Do we ever really understand ourselves?
    Eh?

    Shoot loud ... louder ... I don't understand.


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