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http://classicalmusiccritic.wordpress.com/

Some worthwhile observations on the good old "Who is the greatest?" question!
An excerpt
Assumption Seven: A greatest composer must appeal to both the wealthy elitists and the undereducated descendants of peasants. A greatest composer's music will therefore show up both in movie or cartoon soundtracks and at white tie galas. Commercially successful and academic authors alike will write frequently about his music. Salesmen will promise that recordings of his music will make your fetus smarter.
(This is the newly begun blog of my friend Sarah Denes, a classical trombonist, Gubaidulina specialist and Ph.D. student in music at Duke. She is interested in writing classical criticism that is useful to non-academics.)
 

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All right- I'm a little late to this party... but there are questions that pop into my head-

1) The author of that piece showed pretty decent skill with the wrecking ball. What could we expect of this person behind the controls of an erector-crane, though?

2) Is the author at least as interested in dialogue as she evidently is in monologue?

One telling quote: "... people just want an excuse to wax rhapsodic." Leads to an pretty obvious syllogism-
1) People want an excuse to wax rhapsodic. 2) Author of blog belongs to the known subset, "people;" therefore...

Hey, I belong to the subset "people," too. I also recognize that I didn't pile up over 3000 posts here without a fairly strong desire for self-expression. But at least when I express myself here, readers have a full and equal opportunity to respond to my musings.
 

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She cracked the code faster and more haphazardly than Dan Brown.
...very funny though.
It also saves me having to change my avatar (I like to make sure I'm still part of the "scene").
 
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Some valid points, undermined by the invalid.

For example, she sets out 10 assumptions, but doesn't analyse them. Does that mean not one has any merit?
She has, of course, made her own false assumptions, not least that the only people asking the question in the first place are classical fans, who would, of course, rule out The Beatles in a conversation about the greatest classical composer.

Her best point is,
I do not believe that we should always conflate the caliber of a composer with his influence, which is very much a function of time, geography, and politics.
but this is immediately followed by

It is time for the public to recognize
when she has not been talking about 'the public' but a subset of people who have made the 10 assumptions.

In all of the threads on this subject I've joined on TC, no serious contributor has made all 10 assumptions, and those who have made even one of them is willing to have that assumption tested. She does not allow for the testing of even the first, which she leads us to infer is false, but which, on closer inspection, is a false inference.
 

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The observations on biases towards Germanic composers and against women composers are really spot on.
Ah, but what if that is no bias, but simply putting the praise where it belongs? :)
 
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The main conclusions of the blog referred to in the OP would seem to be:

"I have a secret to tell you, one to which I am especially privy as a musical scholar. There are hundreds of truly wonderful composers out there, from Hildegaard von Bingen in the 11th century to Sofia Gubaidulina today. While I would not argue with anyone who calls Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart some of the most influential composers in Western music history, I must insist that there are other composers of equal caliber.... My maverick opinion, for what it's worth, is that no one should pretend certainty about who the greatest composer is. There isn't one."

My main comments on this blog are:

1. A very minor one first: Hilgegard von Bingen lived between 1098-1179 so therefore she was primarily a 12th C composer, not 11th C. Also this composer's name is mis-spelled (there is no double aa in Hildegard).

2. We are not informed by the author who are the other composers she considers to be of "equal caliber" to Bach, Beethoven, Mozart. This is major omission but probably a deliberate one made in the hope that no-one would notice so that she could avoid any sceptical or derisory comments about her selection of co-equals to the said three.

3. The fact that she considers that there are other composers of "equal caliber" to Bach, Beethoven, Mozart implies that she believes it is possible to calibrate composers. This implies that it is possible to arrive at a rank order of composers, but this would appear to contradict the central thesis of the blog that it is not possible to make any objective qualitative assessment of the relative merits of classical composers. We therefore finish up with a nonsense.

I do not find the blog to be enlightening in any way as it is very familiar territory dressed up as new.
 

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Right now, as I am listening to Schubert's piano sonatas, it seems to me particularly mean-spirited of the author to want to take away the well-deserved glory from Schubert and others of the same musical tradition, simply because they are of a "wrong" sex and nationality.
 
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This reminds me somewhat of the claim made by a feminist musicologist some years back that Beethoven is only highly regarded out of habit. Seems he was "anointed" by the male power structure in Vienna at the time and we've become accustomed to it... :eek:
 

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You know that there is a composing competition for female composers only? Truely, there is. Now imagine what larum would be risen if there would be competition where females would be forbidden to participate. It couldn't be. And yet there is a competition which i can't enter, because I'm not female! And people think it's alright. What is this? Male composers are the discriminated ones!

Or wait... maybe it's just accepted so the female composers have any chances to win some competition, little when there are male artists participating?

Yes, I understand now.
 

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This reminds me somewhat of the claim made by a feminist musicologist some years back that Beethoven is only highly regarded out of habit. Seems he was "anointed" by the male power structure in Vienna at the time and we've become accustomed to it... :eek:
Those feminist musicologists who attempt to reduce everything to the "battle of the sexes", are more of a shame to the womenfolk than anything else. They are ridiculous.
 
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