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  1. BrahmsWasAGreatMelodist's Avatar
    Just FYI, I often get my TC feed from my friends' most recent posts under "my activity". Blog posts show up there.
    Updated Jan-11-2022 at 09:28 by BrahmsWasAGreatMelodist
  2. science's Avatar
    Poop I didn't know people would see this. Sorry people.
    Updated Jan-11-2022 at 09:10 by science
  3. science's Avatar
    Just saving something:

    Quote Originally Posted by science View Post
    Given that people -- even the most knowledgeable people who share basically the same culture and have deep expertise -- disagree about art, what exactly does this mean? I can imagine two models:

    In the objectivist model, the art has certain qualities which every sentient being ought to respond to in exactly the same way. It's just an objective truth that X is beautiful, Y is not, and that Z is more beautiful than X. Everyone capable of verifying it will reach the same conclusion, the way that everyone capable of any given empirical or mathematical claim will reach the same conclusion. Only one conclusion is possible because we are dealing with objective facts, and to reach the wrong conclusion is to be in error, possibly to be a dunce.

    In the subjectivist model, sure, work X has some objective (you can say "inherent") qualities, as does work Y and work Z, but subjects A and B and C might have legitimately different responses to those qualities.

    The subjectivist model doesn't mean that every response is equally legitimate, since subject D might not even be aware of some of the qualities of work X. But the difference between the two models is that objectivist one claims that all subjects aware of the qualities in the art ought to have the same response, while the subjectivist model says that their responses can legitimately differ.

    After all, the subjectivist must point out, it's probably impossible and certainly rare to find two people who are highly knowledgeable about a field of art and have exactly the same opinions about how good each work in it is and why. When they find that they disagree, how do they establish who is correct? In mathematical questions, they can check each other's proofs; in empirical questions, they can check each other's instruments and data, but what do they check in aesthetic questions? Is there a supreme soul with the perfect answers to which the rest of us ought aspire? Or is human nature legitimately variable from person to person?
  4. Sid James's Avatar
    You know this scene from "High Fidelity?" "He offended me with his terrible taste."
  5. science's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by science View Post
    Hello friends - I wonder if any of you have a recording of these works that you recommend? Or if some particular recording is famous, etc.?

    (Sorry if this is the wrong forum. I couldn't tell which forum this thread would belong in.)
    That is the earliest me-thread that I have found.

    Quote Originally Posted by science View Post
    This thread was a bad idea; maybe the mods can delete it?

    Sorry for the trouble! I promise to be good from now on...
    This is the earliest one I can remember starting.

    Quote Originally Posted by science View Post
    I go through phases. I've been in an "individual recordings" phase for a year or two. Might be getting back into big sets though... (I'm coveting Schiff's Schubert sonata set...)
    This is the earliest me-post that I have found.
    Updated Jul-04-2018 at 15:49 by science
  6. science's Avatar
    So here we go again! 'Tis May 15, 2018 (for some reason I started to type 1998 - shows where my head's at) and these are the numbers for all the composers whose music accounts for at least half a percent of my listening (followed in parentheses by the delta from the last tally, when known):

    Beethoven: 7.75% (-.56%)

    Bach, JS: 5.19% (-.13%)

    Mozart: 4.17% (-.01%)

    Brahms: 2.91% (-.06%)
    Schubert: 2.65% (-.09%)
    Mahler: 2.58% (+.16%)
    Haydn: 2.49% (+.01%)
    Wagner: 2.24% (+.11%)

    Chopin: 1.56% (-.06%)

    Shostakovich: 1.28% (+.04%)
    Schumann: 1.20% (+.03%)
    Monteverdi: 1.13% (+.11%)
    Schoenberg: 1.06% (-.16%)
    Prokofiev: 1.00% (-.11%)

    Tchaikovsky: .98% (-.06%)
    Handel: .97% (-.15%)
    Dvorak: .92%
    Bartok: .85%
    Bruckner: .84%

    Sibelius: .76%
    Faure: .71%

    Vivaldi: .69%
    Debussy: .68%
    Rachmaninoff: .67%
    Ravel: .67%
    Mendelssohn: .65%
    Stravinsky: .63%

    Liszt: .59%
    Verdi: .52%

    Ok! So now the big 3 come to 17.11% of my listening - roughly the same as before....

    The 14 composers in the >1% club, from which two members have been expelled, now account for 37% of my listening.

    The following fourteen (Tchaikovsky, Handel, Dvorak, Bartok, Bruckner, Sibelius, Faure, Vivaldi, Debussy, Rachmaninoff, Ravel, Mendelssohn, Stravinsky Liszt) account for a combined 10.6%.

    The following fourteen (Verdi, Biber [!], Janacek, Strauss, Britten, Puccini, Albeniz, RVW, Kodaly, Saint-Saens, Enescu [!], Berlioz, Ives, and Boccherini) account for 5.62%.

    And one more set of 14 (Byrd, Messiaen, Ligeti, Nono, Carter, Berg, Martinu, Josquin, Elgar, Purcell, Zelenka, Hildegard, Grieg, Donizetti) account for 3.83%.

    Enough of that! This time I tallied 146 composers, whose works combined to account for 67.82% of my listening.

    The Olympians in general are falling hard. The big gainer was Mahler, followed closely by Verdi and Monteverdi. But the drop in Beethoven alone is more than enough to compensate for the gains of all the composers whose gains are recorded.

    For the most part, the rank has been consistent. Mahler passed Haydn, Schumann passed Schoenberg, and... to get to the point, Monteverdi passed a bunch. But I am surprised that Monteverdi gained because I had to delete some corrupt files that were an album of Monteverdi madrigals, or that number would be even higher.
    Updated May-14-2018 at 19:21 by science
  7. science's Avatar
    Another one from ArtMusic's unfortunately classic thread:

    Perhaps because I consider myself outside of the disagreement, I recall having seen plenty of everything, not just on this board but elsewhere.

    Contemporary classical music and the people who like it have been mocked (the actual point of this thread itself is to do that, ArtMusic having correctly perceived that he could use his enjoyment of this girl's music to needle people who hate that this kind of music is still composed).

    On the other hand, insufficiently radical classical music and the people who like it have been mocked.

    People who don't like contemporary music have been mocked.

    In the past, liking or not liking minimalism has been mocked.

    Liking or not liking baroque music has been mocked.

    Liking or not liking period performance has been mocked.

    Liking or not liking musicals has been mocked.

    Liking or not liking "light music" has been mocked.

    Liking or not liking any or all of the various sorts of crossover music has been mocked.

    In short, I do not think that anyone can like or not like anything in the realm of classical music without suffering scorn. This cycle of scorn is part of who we are. (I cannot choose, because of some peculiar flaw in my personality, but to identify with the scorned in every case. For me, therefore, it isn't a cycle, but an unending barrage of hate.)

    I don't say that all of us participate in it - those who I consider the best of us don't. I have some people in mind, but it'd be better not to name them! But many, perhaps most, of us do engage in it freely and enthusiastically, and it is an element that saturates our culture.

    To the people who don't like Babbitt and Cage and Merzbow, and think that music like that shouldn't be made, and think that people who make and like it are pretentious snobs: I like Babbitt and Cage and Merzbow.

    To the people who like Babbitt and Cage and Merzbow, and think that people who don't like it are cowards, comfort-seekers, whatever: I don't like Babbitt and Cage and Merzbow.

    To the people who don't like Whitacre and Higdon and Einaudi, and think that music like that shouldn't be made, and think that people who make and like it are cowards, comfort-seekers, parasites, whatever: I like Whitacre and Higdon and Einaudi.

    To the people who like Whitacre and Higdon and Einaudi, and think that people who don't like them are pretentious snobs or whatever: I don't like Whitacre and Higdon and Einaudi.

    To the people who like Babbitt and Cage and Merzbow and Whitacre and Higdon and Einaudi, and think there's something wrong with people who don't like them: I don't like them. And to those who don't like any of that and think there's something wrong with anyone who does: I like them.

    It might be logically irrational, but that is where my heart is. I do of course have actual preferences (for the modernists in all cases, usually indifferent to the anti-modernists), but my strongest preference by far is to be excluded from this cycle, even though in so doing I find myself the victim of all of them. This is my meta-snobbery, and I enjoy my rage.

    There is of course one exception to my principles: I haven't seen not liking Renaissance music get mocked, except by me, and always of course in cleverly subtle ways to avoid the wrath of the mods! Have I been mocked for liking Renaissance music? Not that I know of. But it will happen! It must! The circle must not be unbroken!
    This is irrelevant, it's just for me:
    Updated Dec-15-2015 at 02:44 by science
  8. science's Avatar
    Another one from a thread bumped by "Eddie if you call me you can call me Al."

    Quote Originally Posted by science View Post
    Culturally, it seems to me that classical music is still widely recognized as the most elite music, followed by jazz. The next rank down is the older pop, stuff from the 60s or earlier, rock or blues or R&B or country or whatever. As long as it's old.

    Probably the next level down is the subcultures: world music, electronica (or whatever it's called now), musical theater, and so on. Fans of a subculture genre admire themselves much more than others admire them, but they are generally recognized to be above ordinary pop music. The key to identifying such a genre is that it has a passionate and self-congratulatory fan base, but no radio stations. If an artist from such a genre gets radio time, that artist's status becomes ambiguous.

    The stuff that dominates the major radio stations, regardless of genre, may be the most popular but is not as respected as those forms.

    Probably below them are things that obviously target pre-teens and early teens. I believe we've increasingly seen the "contemporary pop" music bifurcate into a market for them, and a distinct market for late-teens and young adults. The early teen stuff is currently lowest on the social scale: most people would lose a little respect for an adult who professed, without any sense of irony, to like it.

    Within the top level, most classical music fans are comfortable to enjoy their superiority over the other genres, but if you want to assert yourself within this group there are a few strategies. The main one is to champion modern music while showing either scorn for or boredom with the standard repertoire. In the not-too-recent past, insisting on period instruments and historically informed performance was also fairly common; that bled into an "early music" movement, which for some time had its own quasi-avant-garde status. Thse strategies amount to microcosms of the subcultures. There are other sub-cultures: the champions of Haydn, or Baroque opera, and so on. Those are smaller, not large enough to form a meaningful community, but they get a bit of extra respect compared to ordinary classical music fans. Minimalism sometimes seems large enough to have its own subculture.

    But IMO, the most successful strategy for maximing snob cachet is to appear above it all, demonstrating appreciation for a wide variety of musical forms from many cultures. You've got to be careful not to endorse any "pop" too enthusiastically, but you've got to coolly acknowledge its worth as well. You should have just a few eccentric opinions - say, that Madonna or Andrew Lloyd Webber are better than generally appreciated, and perhaps that Turkish court music deserves as much fame as the Indian classical traditions - but you have to be careful, because if your eccentricity outruns your apparent knowledge, then you lose a lot of status.

    This of course applies only to North America, the scene I know best. In Korea, the hierarchy would shake out differently, but I cannot decipher it very well.
  9. science's Avatar
    Big Al recently bumped a thread that had some posts of mine in it that I want to preserve here as well:

    Quote Originally Posted by science View Post
    I guess we all know very well that Boulez, Cage, Babbitt, Stockhausen, Oliveros (we can label them however you want; the semantics disinterest me) have been pillars of (some of) the musical establishment(s) for some time now. They may not often suffer brow-raising CD sales or dominate the "current listening" threads on classical music message boards (which would delegitimize them anyway), but they get tenures at the elite universities because (we) the elite know whom to respect and whom to scorn.

    I figure we can afford to be honest about this because to the true believers financial success remains suspicious.

    Among the great ironies and great strengths of capitalism are that it transforms radicals, would-be rebels into pillars of an establishment. This requires multiplying establishments, but where a market of any size exists that multiplication presents no problem.

    Therefore the competition for pity does not impress me. Just as (and because) there is evidently more than enough money for lots of different kinds of composers to do their thing, there is enough pity to distribute among them for not being more famous with the filthy masses who dare not to "get" their work.

    (There, I shudder to reflect, but for the grace of some god go I.)
    Quote Originally Posted by science View Post
    Ok, that was supposed to be sarcastic and even in a way funny, but seriously, though I enjoy (forgive me, I realize "enjoy" is supposed to be a bit taboo for such sublimity, but I cannot help it, at heart I'm still a fairly simple fool) contemporary music easily and genuinely, when I behold the arrogance of its advocates I am occasionally glad not to be considered among them.

    Their attitude may be ultimately defensive, it may be justified, it may be whatever, but it is bad rhetoric, bad strategy - it is, that is, if the goal really is to promote the music rather than to build up a sense that it cannot be enjoyed by the scum (I can afford to be honest here because I am not speaking for myself) who don't already "get" it.

    I am no less arrogant in my own way of course, but I'm glad not to be of that party, no matter what music I enjoy.

    Quote Originally Posted by science View Post
    That's a good point, and even if I could evade the way you've phrased it, I intended to cede more or less the same point with my final comment.

    I don't think I have a party, though. I'm not on the anti- side (I like the music), I'm not on the pro- side (it's ok with me if you don't, and I like other musics too). If I'm a partisan of anything, I'm a partisan of affecting (at least) humble tolerance of different tastes. I personally enjoy the diversity very much. I just wish we could be nicer to each other. That's no doubt foolish, but what the heck. I'm a fool, as I well know.

    Quote Originally Posted by science View Post
    Let's not pile on Chordalrock, though. We can talk to him (I guess) without talking down to him, especially if it's basically facts that we're talking about (who/what is "the establishment") rather than just tastes/opinions (let alone semantics).

    Quote Originally Posted by science View Post
    There used to be a few members here who really had this attitude, but I haven't seen them active for awhile. I think you're safe. You can relax now. You've become the oppressor, whether you realize it or not. You've got to let people not like the music you like.

    (Edit: Let me clarify this. One of the points of someguy's post, and your and PetrB's celebration of it, was to humiliate Chordalrock. I'm sure we all know this, but it needs to be said explicitly to make this all clear. More edit so you can discern what I really mean: Your collective hateful attitude towards people like him gives me a hateful attitude towards you. In my case it's not going to translate into hating the music, but in some other people's cases it will, and does. If that's not your goal, change your rhetoric. If it is your goal, well done all three.)

    I suppose I'm too defensive in a way in that I've been on the other side of the elitist attitudes a few times. But still, even if I am a bit sensitive because of those experiences, no matter what pride I have in whatever, I really hope I don't have (let alone express) that particular sort of attitude, in any way.

    Quote Originally Posted by science View Post
    This is a lovely post and a great example of solid argument. It refutes the "serialism" and "institution" arguments perfectly, and without projecting any haughtiness.

    However, we should also admit that the partisans of contemporary music reject many of the works here as too traditional. If Chordalrock starts listening only to "contemporary" works like West Side Story and Candide, Britten's War Requiem, Shostakovich's Viola Sonata, he's going to get no less scorn than hitherto. That is a little bit of what is implicit in the "I'm no big fan of the Pulitzer" statement.

    Quote Originally Posted by science View Post
    I wrote this and never posted it but now I reread it and decided to post it:

    Really, I know I'm not a starving composer trying to get more money or attention, but I think it's fine. We're exaggerating the suffering of contemporary music. Maybe not all of it meets "our" standards, but labels like Kairos and Tzadik exist, and DG has the 20/21 series, and Naxos does a lot of contemporary music, and so does ECM, and Nonesuch, and Hyperion etc. And most of those things get performed before they get recorded. Again I do realize that much of that music is ideologically impure - Whitacre springs to mind, or Tavener, or in other directions Lloyd Webber, Jenkins, all that world fusion stuff being explored by people like Yo-Yo Ma, and of course video game music and soundtracks, and this kind of list could go on and on - but it is new music. Anyway, no matter how much that kind of stuff disgusts the more elite ("discerning" etc.) listeners critics, at least they can take solace in the fact that such music isn't the only music getting made. At least some of the stuff that gets made does meet our considered approval, however reluctantly we grant it, and manages not to become too compromisingly popular. (I'm only half-teasing. Maybe two-thirds teasing. But I'm at least one-thirds serious. Maybe even half serious, with an effort.)

    Truthfully, things have probably never been much easier for new music. It's easy to point out that until about Mendelssohn's time people wanted to hear new music rather than old music. Even though that is true, it's also true that the absolute number of composers able to find an audience is higher today than it was then, just as there are hundreds of times more orchestras than there were then. Not to mention universities or various music festivals.

    (Granted many of those institutions have the misfortune of being incorrigibly bourgeois, or even worse, but perhaps the plutocrats are replacing the old aristocrats, so there's even some really good reason to hope we can get back to the way it was before 1848. Naturally, our plutocrats need to be educated in the use of elite culture to legitimize their rule, but that's what we're here for. Until they take our advice, of course, they remain merely really rich bourgeois. But as they get a bit more comfortable with their inherited stations, the prestige of the old aristocratic activities will increasingly appeal to them, and they will begin to consult us again.) (I'm half-teasing. Maybe two-thirds teasing, at the most.)

    It's also true that there's more old music than there used to be; if we're talking about relative importance (that old zero-sum game) then things really might be as bad as they've ever been for new composers, what with people not listening exclusively to them in a time when we're also rediscovering so much Baroque, Renaissance, and medieval music. And of course all those orchestras and music venues in all those tiny cities (like San Antonio and Nashville) have to try to balance all these things out financially.

    But in the end, it's still true that at the moment there are hundreds, probably even thousands of composers making a decent living around the world at the moment. Granted, just as composers had to do in the old days, these jomomos have to give some lessons (sadly, to proletarian students rather than to glorious aristocrats, but for now money has no stink). Despite these humiliations, their music is getting made, some of it is getting to be a bit more famous, and some of it is even recorded, and just occasionally some of it even achieves our approval. (I'm not kidding.)
  10. science's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by JACE
    Thanks for sharing that, science. It's personal and it's lovely.
    Thanks, Jace! I appreciate that.

    I put it here in case the mods don't let it into Area 51. I assume no one reads anything I put here!
  11. JACE's Avatar
    Thanks for sharing that, science. It's personal and it's lovely.
  12. science's Avatar
    I'm not sure where the appropriate place to put this is, but my few days "away" from talkclassical - I've been here, browsing, rolling my eyes, fighting a little of what I think of as the good fight, arousing the ire of at least one mod (fight the power!), but not posting - have been good for me. I intend to stay away more, because I don't like who I am on this site. Comments that in normal life would seem like harmless bravado, just someone trying to be stylishly provocative or whatever, really dig hard into my skin when I read them on this site. A lot of the comments are gossamer-veiled insults at someone I was 20 or 25 years ago, a naive but enthusiastic newcomer to "high culture," right out of the trailer park, creationism and all, who thought Ravi Zacharias and Henry Morris were great philosophers, fumbling my way through Kierkegaard, mispronouncing "Kant," enthusiastic about things like Yanni and John Diliberto's radio program and Karajan's 1961 recording of Mozart's Requiem, someone who didn't know Vivaldi or Tchaikovsky, let alone spectralism or the Darmstadt School, who avoided Mahler because I wanted to hear the music of the famous composers first... but I couldn't resist a symphony entitled "Resurrection!"

    What a long, strange trip it's been. Here I am two plus decades later, I spend my real life sitting around with my friends pontificating on Nietzsche and Cage and unreliable narrators, railing against religious essentiallsm and libertarianism and the lump of labor fallacy.... There is a world in which I'm nobody special, it's not like I've written any great books or anything, but I can sit in on almost any academic discussion - archaeology, physics, economics, psychology, architecture, pretty much anything - at the most prestigious institutions in the world and, at least, follow the discussion and ask intelligent questions.

    But no matter what at another level I am and will always be trailer park trash getting uppity.

    In real life, I was fortunate to have met without exception people of grace and dignity, who with generosity and compassion could introduce me to the best that they knew, Bach and Schoenberg and Crumb and Leonard Cohen, Kafka and Kundera, Schopenhauer and Wittgenstein, David Lynch and Ingmar Bergman. Some of them were just dudes fumbling their way along as I was, jumping headfirst into Plato or Voltaire or Occam or Jonathan Edwards or Heidegger or Hans Kung, hoping to swim their way out with some kind of romantic insight. Some were relatively ordinary people but good teachers, ready to explain the basic concepts of harmony or sonata form, trigonometry or chemistry. Others were world-class intellectuals who condescended (in the good sense) to help me swim a little bit of my way out of Origen, hesychasm, phenomenology, the "new perspective" on Paul... They talked me through so many misconceptions, rewired my brain; sometimes they just pointed to a particularly good book and said, "Read that." (Thus I first encountered Paul Krugman, Sherwin Nuland, David Quammen, Thomas Mann, Robert Hughes, Jane Jacobs, Leonardo Boff....)

    I had an unusually idyllic college experience, with professors who were willing to let me scrap the reading list and pursue my own questions, whose minds were so incisive that they could figure out where I was coming from and where I needed to go to get where I needed to be; classmates willing to listen with charity and raise interesting questions. My personal life was a train wreck, but intellectually and culturally it was delight upon delight, with little moments like the first time I turned that particular corner in the Met museum and saw the big blue square and the reality of modern art hit me, nothing Malraux had written could've prepared me for that great moment; or the first time I heard Thomas Hopko declare that the satisfaction theory of atonement is not in the Bible; or the time I heard Jaroslav Pelikan choke up describing a particular African creed he'd found (researching his book on creeds) that rendered the theological idea of incorruptibility as something like "and the jackals did not devour the body."

    That included classical musicians - professional musicians as well as amateurs - who were without exception generous, patient, and helpful. I was enthusiastic but clueless about classical music. I would sit down, put in that Mahler symphony, and wonder what in the heck I was supposed to be hearing. I loved a lot of the music, but I loved it "one moment at a time," not hearing things that other people talked about. Somehow it just didn't click for the longest time. People would explain things to me, but only occasionally something would get through my blockheaded incomprehension. I'm not a dufus in most areas of life (let's except cooking, dancing, singing, drawing...), but this one came slowly to me. I mean, I'd taken two semesters of high school music theory and I was transposing Eine kleine Nachtmusik for a high school marching band, and I couldn't even hear ternary form when I was told it was there and I thought I knew what I was supposed to be listening for! It was just one darn thing after another.

    About ten years ago it began to click for me. (One reason was that I finally had the financial resources to make a more systematic, at-my-own-pace investigation. Just me, the books, the recordings.) I don't remember which work it was, something by Chopin, and suddenly I heard one particular motif repeated over and over, transformed by its different context.... About that time I happened to read some particular review of Kind of Blue that explained "modal jazz" and I listened to it again and was speechless with awe. (I'd actually misunderstood, but it was a better misunderstanding than my previous complete cluelessness.) I was able to remember things people had said about Beethoven's fifth and Mozart's fortieth symphonies, and suddenly I realized what they'd meant, and it was amazing. I started actually hearing development and enjoying it rather than just listening thinking "this must be the development" and wondering what was developing, and why and how. It's actually so simple, but it's a view of music that I didn't get for a long time, even though I'd sat through lectures where people would map out sonata form.... I began to be able to hear the different voices in a fugue, and follow them with appreciation and joy.

    And now it has opened up the world of music to me. Granted, I still listen to Korean traditional music thinking things like, "Is this the part with the fancy rhythm deal that guy was talking about?" And I find myself in the middle of a Sibelius symphony wondering what the heck is going on. (I suspect most people have that experience.) And I have to take for granted a lot of the stuff more knowledgeable people say about almost every aspect of music. There's a lot of music that I'm willing to accept that I will probably never hear the structure, it'll always be one darn thing after another, but what the heck because I like it anyway. But I hear more than I used to, I enjoy it all so much more than I used to - and I'd enjoyed it before!

    In my ideal world, we sit around sharing these things with one another, with sympathy rather than sarcasm when something is hard for someone, letting the naive be naive while they're naive, tolerating difference without judgement, helping rather than showing off or putting down. We're all just openminded people making our way through a world of delights, kids in a candy store rather than warriors in ideological battles between philistines and barbarians. All that battling, man, that's so 1967. Put a pink flamingo in your yard, sacrifice the bishop regardless of whether it's sound because it's just a game, clap along with all the people who innocently think the Radetzky March is the height of elegance, let the kids put 9-volt batteries on their tongues, listen the guy who can't read Latin but thinks he's figured out Aquinas once and for all, let the noise be noise and the silence be silence and if anyone wants to walk away from it because it doesn't fit in Mortimer Adler's world, let them walk away, and if someone's just pretending to enjoy it because they aspire to be as pretentious as I am, pretend not to notice. It's about the music, not about anyone's idea of how people should be.

    But that is not the board we have here, it never will be because fundamentally most of us don't actually care about each other, that's how it is and has to be on the internet. In my highly personal reactions against it I've become as much a part of the problem as anyone else, and more than most. Some of the people here are not people who I want to know, but much worse is that who I find myself being here is not who I am nor who I want to be. I'll stay around having fun a bit, but not as much as I used to, and most of all I'll try to keep a complete detachment from the storm and stress that to me is not only nonsense but an embarrassment (or worse) to each and every one of us. You all go on and fight amongst yourselves, as the saying goes, if that's your thing. For my own peace of mind but especially for my own self-regard, I need to stay out of it, and that's better for everyone else too.

    This is meant as a lengthy apology (in the modern English sense, not an apologia). Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. But whatever. Be excellent to each other.
  13. science's Avatar
    Here is a nice old one too:

    I'm sorry my response to your post was deleted; I don't think your post or my response to it violated any TOS but they were deleted along with the rest of the conversation. I assume I'm about to be punished for something or other....

    Anyway, I wanted to make sure you see my response, because I felt good about it.

    I absolutely intended the image of people getting hit with a bat to be be shocking - I intended it to reflect my feeling watching threads like that. Why should I be the only one getting my teeth kicked down my throat?

    I know that in that thread I personally wasn't initially the direct object of the condescension, but I've been there often enough. And heck, I'm at the top of the snob world. I have a degree in the humanities, I read "literature," I enjoy "film," I listen to classical music from chant to Schoenberg or Babbitt or Stockhausen or Ferneyhough or Glass or whoever the bogyeman du jour is, I eat and drink and smoke expensive fancy foreign stuff, and I genuinely enjoy it all. All I do is allow for people's right not to enjoy it, and I get crapped on. I can only imagine what it's like to be the person who genuinely wonders what the appeal of it is. Ask the wrong question - and CRACK! - as the old comic books described the experience of getting punched by a superhero. Probably a more violent metaphor would be more appropriate.

    Even worse, a few years back I asked a question on behalf of my wife about the Vienna PO New Year's concert, and the comments I got made me so angry that I will never forgive the people who made them. If I hear that something terrible happened to those people, I will be glad.

    But it isn't only about people treating me or my wife like subhumans. It's also about the music. I really like this music, and I believe a lot of those scornful comments ... are intentionally intended to scare people away from the music. The anti-modern guys are less numerous or powerful here, but they're just as bad. The underlying message is, "Liking this music is a matter of being a superior person, and you are an inferior person, you will never be anything but an inferior person, so stay the hell away, where you belong, you worthless subhuman piece of crap." Nearly every post they make communicates that loud and clear, and many of their posts don't even bother to communicate anything else. That angers me. I love this music more than I love any person on this site, and I understand very well how people get turned off our music by our attitudes to them. A lot of times I wish I didn't like the same music that such people like. Well, but I do, I love it a lot, and I don't want them to turn people who don't have that love yet off. I won't stand by passively and watch it happen.

    I don't care whether other listeners are openminded. They can be as open or closed-minded as they please. All I care about is that we welcome people to this music, no matter where they're coming from.

    Except for the post you addressed to me, I don't remember see any of your posts in that thread; I went back to look for them but either I missed them or they've been deleted. I don't remember you having that kind of attitude, ever. You know better than I whether you have or not.

    So, no, I don't regret using disturbing imagery to express my feelings. I have strong feelings that require strong language. Those guys despise me and people like me, they think I'm human excrement, and I return their feelings in good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. They want to chase me and people like me away from their music. Well, I'd be more than happy to chase them away. I wish they'd take their attitudes somewhere else and let people have classical music who just want to enjoy the music without all the snobby posturing.
  14. science's Avatar
    Oh what a superior man, said Candide, still speaking softly, what a great genius this Pococurante must be! Nothing can please him.

    ....But, said Candide, isn't there pleasure in criticizing everything, in seeing faults where other people think they see beauties?
    Updated Jan-03-2015 at 04:47 by science
  15. science's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by science View Post
    Of course I am apologetic - I realize that almost no matter what albums I choose, someone is going to find a way to criticize them. So my defense mechanism is to be critical first. I'm going to continue to do that. My experience of online classical music discussion is that it is one huge contest, everyone looking for a way to put each other (and their music) down. The presence of mods forces us to be subtle about it, but it's not much different.

    One person says you don't listen to enough choral music, another that you don't listen to enough symphonies, or solo keyboard, or organ music, or opera, or Baroque opera, or HIP Baroque opera, or classical guitar, or classical lute... another says you don't listen to enough early music, another one says you don't listen to enough Baroque, others that you don't listen to enough Bach or Haydn or Mozart or Beethoven or Schubert or Schumann or Liszt or Wagner, another one says you don't know enough of the obscure romantics, another that you're too focused on romanticism, another says you don't listen to enough of the Second Vienna School, another says you don't listen to enough Scandinavians, or enough Russians, or enough Italians, or says you're stupid if Takemitsu is the only Japanese composer you know, another says you don't listen to enough music of the past 40 years, another says it's not enough of the past 10 years, another that you don't listen to enough of the really old recordings from the 1920s and 30s and 40s, another that you don't listen to enough new recordings, another that you don't listen to enough HIP recordings, another that you don't appreciate the Titans of Early Stereo, and if you please any of those people the others will double down in their criticisms, and of course it's got to be on vinyl, or at least lossless files, and through at four thousand dollar home stereo, and even then it's not enough unless you hear live music every night, following along with the score, critiquing the tempo selections and analyzing the harmonies, and others will criticize you if you don't know the biographies of the composers in detail and what they felt when they made the music, and others will criticize you if you take any of that into account, and I hate everyone, everyone, everyone. Really, I do. I'm not just saying that. Just thinking about this makes me want to get the nuclear suitcase and figure out how to put the universe out of our misery.

    I really am apologetic about it all. If I could just humble myself enough not to be a target, and thereafter be allowed just to like what I like without facing unending criticism, I would eagerly do so. I'm sorry that my tastes and listening habits - no matter what they are - bother so many people, I'm sorry that I can't please everyone. I still hate everyone for having such ridiculous standards, but I'm genuinely sorry about my inevitable failure to live up to them.
    One of my finest moments!
  16. science's Avatar
    On the social dynamics of music appreciation in the contemporary Western world:

    We all know that, in the real world (as opposed to say, middle school, or, say, a marketing department trying to sell cigarettes), the coolest music isn't the most popular. We all know that the most elite music is classical music. No one can plausibly scorn someone for liking classical music: it's reverse snobbery at best. Every time one person say, "I like rap," and the other person says, "I like classical music," a cultural hierarchy has been established, and outside of some unusual (and not at all elite) places, the classical music fan is at the top of that hierarchy.

    We can see it with other things too. One guy says he likes Harlequin romances, the other says he likes James Joyce. We see who wins that exchange. If someone admits they don't like James Joyce, makes a joke about Finnegan's Wake, it's not an attack on James Joyce.

    One guy says he likes Thomas Kinkade, the other says he likes Jackson Pollock - we know who wins. The Kinkade fan's joke about Pollock doesn't change a thing, doesn't threaten the Pollock fan's status in any way.

    One guy says he likes Rick Warren, the other says he likes Saint Augustine. We see who wins. The Warren fan says that the Augustine reader is a snob, it doesn't hurt anyone outside of suburban Dallas.

    And the pattern repeats itself microcosmically within the communities. One guy says he likes James Joyce, the other says he likes J. M. G. Le Clézio, and in most contexts where the name "Le Clézio" is known, the latter guy is recognized as the winner of that situation. In the classical music equivalent, one guy says he likes Stravinsky, well, that's swell; the other guy says he likes Ferneyhough, and we know who won the discussion.

    Note that this doesn't mean that someone necessarily chooses to like Le Clézio or Ferneyhough (or Stravinsky or Joyce or Pollock or anything else) simply because of the status attached to them. That may or may not be the case, depending on the individual. But what it does mean is that we know how the hierarchy works.
  17. Figleaf's Avatar
    But Elvis DID have a great voice- has anyone really argued otherwise? Most of the haters make points like 'but he got really fat' or 'he died on the toilet' which don't really contribute much to our understanding of his artistry. Nat King Cole was a proper serious jazz musician before he became a crooner singing cheesy Christmas songs etc. You'd have to ask someone else about NKC and his jazz credentials, as I could write everything I know about jazz on the back of a matchbox and still have room to list my knowledge of Bach, Beethoven etc. Anyone who wants to know anything about Elvis though,feel free to ask
  18. Figleaf's Avatar
    You are right, of course. This forum is best enjoyed by those of us who have not invested too much of our self esteem in being CM connoisseurs, because there's always some bugger on here who knows 100x more (or thinks they do!) and isn't afraid to show it!

    Me, I had so much intellectual humiliation in my first term at university that I'm now immune. I can just sit here on the sidelines and chortle!
  19. science's Avatar
    A few months ago a guy obviously new to "classical" music showed up here enthusiastic about some new "violin concerto" that was supposedly a big hit in Italy. It was some poppy thing, catchy rhythm, some pretty melodies, nothing that would've surprised CPE Bach in a good way. It wasn't very good music except in the sense that Yanni is good music. But he dug it and he was enthusiastic and in his naive enthusiasm he wanted to share it with us. And he paid the price, of course. To be fair to us, several people here were obviously striving go be gentle as they explained their lack of enthusiasm. Quite a bit of the damning was with faint praise. But.... Well, much to my surprise, he actually came back a few months later to try again, but I'd guess he's done with us now. Us and our music. Once again, we did what we set out to do.

    Perhaps a parallel situation from the other side. Yesterday or so an old-timer here compared Gubaidulina's violin concerto (or something modern) to jackhammers on a construction site. I'm sure that's about as mean-spirited, albeit much less clever, than the kinds of things our naively enthusiastic enemy (so I say based on our reaction) from Italy heard. Perhaps the two situations really are similar, but I don't think so - and I say this as someone who enjoys the Gubaidulina much more than I could ever enjoy the Italian piece. I don't think any of us read the jackhammer line and felt like, "Oh, if that's how people feel, clearly I don't belong here. Jackhammers! I feel so scorned by this clever wit, I will abandon my interest in this music." For all I know the jackhammers line was even supposed to make us feel something like that, but of course I suspect as we all must in our dark hearts that it was essentially a defensive rather than an aggressive comment.
  20. Musicforawhile's Avatar
    Thank you for the book list, I am really interested in understanding more about counterpoint, harmony, form etc.
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