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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
hello,
I've noticed an interesting phenomena: that taste can depend on nationality. I can't decide whether this is a good or bad thing.
On the negative side is this: it limits one. If one hears one's own countries music exclusively, you loose something. Many countries contributed ( though the big four, Italy, France and Germany-Austria and Russia seem to have the largest share ), to the devopment of music. Often you see people from different countries only hearing their own composers, and you think; do they know what they're missing?
On the positive side, it is interesting to indentify with composers who speak your own language ( Nothing will convince me to like english classical song however ). By the way they write, you can almost hear the sounds of the language, as though, though you can't hear the words, you can understand what the instruments are saying easier.
From my own experience, The english musical tradition is strong in Canada. Canada is an essentially british culture with strong american influences. It essentially french in quebec, but quebec is very different from the rest of Canada. I know my french Canadian composition teacher has an entirely different musical tradition from mine; he speaks of Debussy as though he was the best composer in history! Canada has no national composer. I hate to be honest but; Canadian composers suck. They rate just behind Guatemala in popularity and quality stakes .
So most of Canada identifies strongly with the british compositional tradition. The most popular composers are still the "three germans" Bach, Mozart and Beethoven, but among the greats listed is also Tallis, Byrd,Holst, Dowland, Walton and especially the all pervasive "english four" Purcell, Elgar, Vaughan Williams and Britten. Those last four are shockingly common, so much so that at the local library there are around 50 Purcell, 30 Britten, 30 Vaughan Williams and 40 Elgar CDs, but only around 25 Beethoven, and then mainly his quartets not his symphonies. Also other british composers, Delius, Tippet, Bax, Brian all the way down to really obscure ones like Thomas Arne and Peter Warlock! The last two there are two CDs of each :rolleyes: .
This means I have a quite good idea of English music. English composers are quite common here. As are some early american composers, but no where near the volume of british composers.
Does this occur in other countries? It certainly seems some americans have heard quite a bit of their own, but not enough of others, music ( in another forum I read post titled: "Glass or Copland, which is the greatest composer of all time" :rolleyes: )
I've heard this form of Nationalism takes a sinister turn in some countries. For instance, the Vienna Philharmonic won't hire anyone who doesn't look "Austrian" ( i.e. isn't white ). Ever since I read that I've made sure not to buy any CDs by them :mad:
What are your thoughts?
godzilla


PS; a benefit of the local Elgar fanaticism is that I've heard fifteen different reccordings of the 'Cello concerto
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It is always interesting to find new composers. I've found several by accident or chance: I was writing something on Faust so when I found Boito's opera Mefistofele, I thought I'd have a listen; it's not something I'd normally do. It then turned out to be one of my favorite operas. I found Havergal Brian's gothic symphony when it- literally -hit me over the head :D . I was looking for CD on the bottom shelf when it fell the top shelf fell and hit me. I had never seen it so I tried it.
Also some peices I hated at first and liked later. Ravel's bolero I was so sick of that I didn't even hear it. But when I sat down again, I quite enjoyed it as a procession of instruments ( so many different kinds in that peice ). Stravinsky's rite of spring I hated the first two times I listened. I mean I hated it with a passion- I thought it was terrible. Then I was up late one night and I started thinking about a part in it and I got very nervous at being alone. The next day I thought; if a peice can frighten you simply by thinking about, surely it must have some power. After repeated listenings, I love it.
Getting back to nationalism, I think that national characteristics in a peice are interesting. One the things that makes a lot of Baroque opera similar is the dominance of Italian style in the period. The Italians had such a strangle hold on music that no individual characteristics were developed. Everything was Italian or Italian style. But then countries seperated out a bit. Sometimes it is hard to tell a German from an Italian baroque peice; but by the romantic era it's quite apparent. No one would confuse a Paganini violin peice with a Beethoven violin peice! And poor Beethoven, he was overshadowed quite a bit by Paganini in his lifetime :( .
Another mystey to me is the complete disappearance of good national composers in britain between around 1690 to 1890. It was handel or... a different peice by handel. Or the beggars opera.
So I think some nationalism is good for growth...
Also nationalism spawned interesting developments in easten europe. Hungary and the Czech areas produced signifigant musical bodies of music. We even got Greig out of the whole thing :D , though not much else from the rest of Norway. I used to think of him as the "Bon bon" Debussy called him, but I appreciate him more after hearing a sonata by him recently.
However, I still wish something sometimes; that I could get an as in depth view of other countries music as I can my own. What might I be missing?
godzilla
 
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