View Poll Results: Do you believe in greatness in music?

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  • Yes.

    108 84.38%
  • No.

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Thread: Do you believe in greatness in music?

  1. #1966
    Senior Member fluteman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    Yes, artistic values change.



    The reasons why art is remembered or forgotten - or rediscovered - are surely complex and would make an interesting study. But predictions are perilous. People are still admiring the art of ancient civilizations, and even of prehistoric man. Can values change enough to make this impossible, as long as humans are still human?



    The alternative to this view is that art goes out of fashion not because it is no longer perceived as embodying positive or meaningful aesthetic values but because different eras assess different qualities of expression - what art seems to be saying - as more or less relevant to their own world. Josquin Desprez was considered an extraordinary composer in Christian Europe 500 years ago, and he is still considered one in my heathen home in Oregon despite the radical difference between my world view and cultural milieu and what I presume to have been his. Does he mean as much to me as Wagner? No, his cultural values, an important aspect of his music's expressive content, are more remote from mine. Yet I still perceive his creative power and the beauty of his musical structures. When a friend of mine was fairly new to classical music and was working on Renaissance music, he liked to call Josquin "the Beethoven of the Renaissance." In some manner and degree, he knew what he was hearing.



    Why do so many people respond so positively to, and even love, the music and other arts of foreign cultures, sometimes more than the arts of their own societies and times? I find the traditional classical music of India to have some qualities unequaled by Western music, and the visual arts of ancient China and Japan to be unmatched by most Western art in its refined sense of beauty. I could name other examples.

    Why - can of worms alert - do most classical music lovers, including many with considerable knowledge and experience, seem more persuaded of the aesthetic values of music written two centuries ago in foreign countries than by those they perceive in the music of contemporary composers from their own country?

    I know the "modernists" will find a way to rationalize this. I simply offer it as possibly relevant to the notion that changing cultural values must inevitably lead to the extinction of artistic values. Some of those seem to have at least nine lives.

    Meow!



    Don't worry. You're good whether I agree with you or not.
    Great. I grew up listening, studying and playing nothing but classical music until I was 21. But there was never any distinction made be's tween modernism and "common practice" -- a term I never heard in any of my music classes, theory or history, under I joined internet classical music forums, maybe because it's a relatively new one. I feel in love with Stravinsky's music when I was four and saw Disney's Fantasia. I fell in love with Bartok's music when I started on the piano at seven with Bartok's Mikrokosmos. I never saw any profound divide between them and Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms.

    I still don't. It's true that the 20th century brought two major sudden jolts -- the technological revolution and cultural globalization -- and Boulez, Stockhausen, Feldman, Reich, Glass, etc., and artists in various other media, created jolts that evoked those phenomena. I how their art is viewed in the long term depends a lot on the long term impact of those 20th century events on our culture and our aesthetic values. That might not begin to become clear until the 22nd century, which I will not live to see.

    So who cares? Why is modern art, or even individualism 'dangerous'? Why all this gut-wrenching anxiety, and even abandonment of empiricism and a demand for a return to dubious rationalism, or even outright authoritarianism, for gawd sakes, to save Bach, Mozart and Beethoven? It seems to reflect a deep fear and loss of confidence in our society and its central institutions.

    It all seems hysterical and unnecessary to me.

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  3. #1967
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fluteman View Post
    Great. I grew up listening, studying and playing nothing but classical music until I was 21. But there was never any distinction made be's tween modernism and "common practice" -- a term I never heard in any of my music classes, theory or history, under I joined internet classical music forums, maybe because it's a relatively new one. I feel in love with Stravinsky's music when I was four and saw Disney's Fantasia. I fell in love with Bartok's music when I started on the piano at seven with Bartok's Mikrokosmos. I never saw any profound divide between them and Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms.

    I still don't. It's true that the 20th century brought two major sudden jolts -- the technological revolution and cultural globalization -- and Boulez, Stockhausen, Feldman, Reich, Glass, etc., and artists in various other media, created jolts that evoked those phenomena. I how their art is viewed in the long term depends a lot on the long term impact of those 20th century events on our culture and our aesthetic values. That might not begin to become clear until the 22nd century, which I will not live to see.

    So who cares? Why is modern art, or even individualism 'dangerous'? Why all this gut-wrenching anxiety, and even abandonment of empiricism and a demand for a return to dubious rationalism, or even outright authoritarianism, for gawd sakes, to save Bach, Mozart and Beethoven? It seems to reflect a deep fear and loss of confidence in our society and its central institutions.

    It all seems hysterical and unnecessary to me.
    I don't see how this is a response to my post, or to me in any sense. If it's meant to be, you're attributing some pretty far-fetched motives and conclusions to me. Was it my brief mention of contemporary composers? OK, if we must, just how do Boulez, Stockhausen, Feldman, Reich, and Glass (some of whom are no longer contemporary anyway) "evoke the technological revolution and cultural globalization"? And how does the way their art is viewed in the long term "depend on the long term impact of those 20th century events on our culture and our aesthetic values"? Maybe I'm less aesthetically sensitive than I like to think I am, but I don't hear a representation of those things when I listen to the music of those composers. Is there a subtle causal connection and an encrypted message I don't get?

    As for "Why all this gut-wrenching anxiety, and even abandonment of empiricism and a demand for a return to dubious rationalism, or even outright authoritarianism, for gawd sakes, to save Bach, Mozart and Beethoven? It seems to reflect a deep fear and loss of confidence in our society and its central institutions" - I don't recognize any of that in anything I feel, believe, or want to do. My views as expressed here are profoundly empirical, based on observation of the processes of creating and perceiving art, and on the way art and its embodied values endure in the real world. I have no idea what "outright authoritarianism" you're referring to, and am unaware of any fearful efforts to "save" Bach, Mozart and Beethoven, who seem to have arranged very skilfully for their own perpetuation. As for a loss of confidence in our society and its institutions, there are surely days when anxiety for them seems quite justified. But for the survival of art and man's ability to appreciate it, we need have no fear whatsoever. Never before in history has so much art, in such variety, been available to us - art dating from the earliest stirrings of man's urge to embody what is beautiful and meaningful to him - and so never before has mankind had the opportunity to demonstrate his innate ability to perceive and celebrate the infinite variety of human artistic expression. Contrary to your view that old art simply disappears as societies change, it appears that the heritage of art becomes ever more precious as we discover the unimagined ways in which it can speak to us from strange spaces and out of the depths of time.
    Last edited by Woodduck; Apr-23-2021 at 07:22.

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  5. #1968
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    Quote Originally Posted by fluteman View Post
    Why is modern art, or even individualism 'dangerous'?
    because it's crap.

  6. #1969
    Senior Member Chilham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveM View Post
    Nice avatar. Looks strangely familiar. Were you by any chance visiting the U.S. on January 6th?
    Nope. I was invited to be in San Diego for New Years but that didn't work out for obvious reasons.

  7. #1970
    Senior Member Strange Magic's Avatar
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    Q: "Why is modern art, or even individualism 'dangerous'?"

    A: "because it's crap."

    I think we again are getting near the end of a thread. What a coda!
    Last edited by Strange Magic; Apr-23-2021 at 13:24.

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  9. #1971
    Senior Member fluteman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zhdanov View Post
    because it's crap.
    Poor Mr. Zhdanov. Your beloved music is intimately based on the nature and limitations of the human voice and traditional acoustic instruments and the ten fingers we have to play them. What did you think would happen when electrical motors and amplification and electronic programming came along and removed those limitations? What did you think would happen when instant global communication came along and gave everyone all music from everywhere in the world?

    Did you think the 19th century Italian bel canto opera tradition would continue as if nothing had happened? I am so sorry for you it hasn't turned out that way, Mr. Zhdanov. You demand we return to the old ways, but your supervisor, Mr. Stalin, is no longer here to crack a whip and force us to do so.

    Why not have faith in humanity and its music and look to brighter days ahead? People are still pretty much the same despite our new world. So no matter what happens to our music, somehow, some way, it will offer us something we can believe in. That is what music does for us.

  10. #1972
    Senior Member hammeredklavier's Avatar
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    It baffles me sometimes why people like DaveM and consuono, when it comes to matters like HIP, they stress the validity of "subjectivist way of seeing things", and but when it comes to glorifying their favorite artists, they stress the "objectivist way". (Sorry to pick on you, Mr. DaveM)

    Quote Originally Posted by hammeredklavier View Post
    There are some things in music that depend on subjective preferences, but we have to admit when we say we like "modern piano performances of old classical music" (ex. The Pires recordings of Mozart concertos and sonatas), we're essentially saying we like "their way of playing constantly at mezzo-piano in the bass to mimic the sonority of the fortepiano", and we like "their constant disregard for the composer's indication of articulation markings and slurs". —These things are hard, objective facts. Aren't they?

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  12. #1973
    Senior Member fluteman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hammeredklavier View Post
    It baffles me sometimes why people like DaveM and consuono, when it comes to matters like HIP, they stress the validity of "subjectivist way of seeing things", and but when it comes to glorifying their favorite artists, they stress the "objectivist way". (Sorry to pick on you, Mr. DaveM)
    They have difficulty accepting that their musical value systems ultimately are based on faith, not reason. When someone comes along and shows their Cartesian rationalist approach can be applied just as easily to HIP or 20th century atonal modernism (remember our dear departed Million rainbows), it drives them nuts.

  13. #1974
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    Quote Originally Posted by fluteman View Post
    Your beloved music is intimately based on the nature and limitations of the human voice and traditional acoustic instruments and the ten fingers we have to play them.
    you must have never heard a symphonic orchestra, its the sound of the universe, listen to Beethoven 9th symph at last, its not just 'ten fingers' and some voice.

    Quote Originally Posted by fluteman View Post
    Did you think the 19th century Italian bel canto opera tradition would continue as if nothing had happened?
    i listen to Wagner and Richard Strauss, i couldn't care less about bel canto.

    Quote Originally Posted by fluteman View Post
    Why not have faith in humanity and its music and look to brighter days ahead?
    because there are people like you.

  14. #1975
    Senior Member DaveM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hammeredklavier View Post
    It baffles me sometimes why people like DaveM and consuono, when it comes to matters like HIP, they stress the validity of "subjectivist way of seeing things", and but when it comes to glorifying their favorite artists, they stress the "objectivist way". (Sorry to pick on you, Mr. DaveM)
    You’re comparing apples and oranges. Who composed the music and how the music is played are two different things. Why you raise this question out-of-the-blue and name two of us baffles me unless you’re just trying to cause trouble. Maybe you haven’t noticed, but HIP recordings have never, overall, outsold non-HIP recordings. Not even close.
    Last edited by DaveM; Apr-23-2021 at 17:28.

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  16. #1976
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hammeredklavier View Post
    It baffles me sometimes why people like DaveM and consuono, when it comes to matters like HIP, they stress the validity of "subjectivist way of seeing things", and but when it comes to glorifying their favorite artists, they stress the "objectivist way". (Sorry to pick on you, Mr. DaveM)
    This is so loaded with fallacies it would take paragraphs to explain them. Is it really necessary to tell you - and any radical subjectivist clueless enough to "like" your post - that HIP is a collection of assumptions whose relationship to reality is necessarily partial? Or that the interpretation of any music by any performer is just that - an INTERPRETATION by a performer? Why would anyone, including someone who believes that that there is such a thing as relative excellence in art, extrapolate from that to accepting precise and rigid standards for musical performance, incuding that which brands itself HIP? "People like DaveM and consuono" (whatever that means) are not likely to be confused on this point.

    Be baffled no longer. Go sit in the corner till you figure this out.

    P. S. I have a burning aversion to "people who" use the expressions "people who..." and "people like..." We do better to address the particular statements of the particular people we're talking to, and avoid stuffing others into categories of our own making.
    Last edited by Woodduck; Apr-23-2021 at 17:36.

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  18. #1977
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fluteman View Post
    They have difficulty accepting that their musical value systems ultimately are based on faith, not reason. When someone comes along and shows their Cartesian rationalist approach can be applied just as easily to HIP or 20th century atonal modernism (remember our dear departed Million rainbows), it drives them nuts.
    Hmmm... I would be more inclined - if I were so inclined - to attribute "Cartesian rationalism" to those who cannot accept that art may vary in quality because they can't "prove" it by the methods of science. But I'm really not sure what Cartesian rationalism is. Are you?

  19. #1978
    Moderator Nereffid's Avatar
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    As we approach 2,000 posts on this thread, perhaps it's time to reflect on whether anything significantly new can be added, because at the moment a lot of what's being said is just people trying to diagnose each other's shortcomings.

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  21. #1979
    Senior Member DaveM's Avatar
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    ————————————————
    Last edited by DaveM; Apr-23-2021 at 18:07.

  22. #1980
    Senior Member Strange Magic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nereffid View Post
    As we approach 2,000 posts on this thread, perhaps it's time to reflect on whether anything significantly new can be added, because at the moment a lot of what's being said is just people trying to diagnose each other's shortcomings.
    I will happily affirm that, as far as I can see, nothing significantly or even insignificantly new can be added to the thread. My own position can be stated and defended on an ordinary postcard, as it is both absurdly simple and easily grasped. The vast bulk of the posts are tortured, convoluted, prolix attempts to refute a very long-established, almost quotidian observation--not even a thesis.

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