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The more I've had this discussion (not just on here, but elsewhere), the more I've come to realize that the terms themselves are at least partially to blame for why and how people talk past each other. ...
Thank you for a well thought out and well written response to this debate. Several of us have pointed out (you, 4chamberedklavier, myself, and Sid to some extent) that we feel members are not arguing the same issues. There seems to be no movement towards agreement at least partially for that reason. Personally I believe both sides are generally correct in what they argue. I do believe greatness is subjective (and obviously so), but I believe there are reasons that certain composers and works are considered to stand above others. There are experts (and other knowledgeable people) who can assess works and give reasons that others can understand and appreciate. Those reasons are worth discussing, and those who argue strenuously that those reasons matter are correct.
 

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One person says I like this I don't like that. Leave me alone. It doesn't matter that much.

The other person says, well let's look at what's in the scores, let's see what the different devices do to our brain and try to figure out how that all works in all the different combinations from Art. Perhaps what we learn can be applied elsewhere.. As Goethe exclaimed (we’re told) on his death bed, “More light, more light!”.

Which one is the constructive course?, which one is an investment in our future well-being?, which one will promote through education the best music to be endure to the future?

It seems so clear to me, but other people approach many subjects as mere entertainment. Perhaps they’re weary from all the ‘schooling’ from every direction these days. 24 hour news and the whole Internet full of answers that are now so easy to look up, …you can teach yourself technical subjects if you're driven to do that.
I believe Strange Magic does not approach art as simplistically as you suggest. I assume he is happy to discuss details of art and would engage with others about aspects of a work. I also assume he would and has changed his opinion of the value of works based on reading, discussing, and thinking about them. The only difference is that ultimately, he views all art appreciation as subjective. Everyone in the world could believe that a Rembrandt is superior to the stick figure and still view all art as subjective.
 

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I’m confused by the ‘subjective (obviously so)’ as if that’s where it ends, particularly since your follow up would suggest that the evaluation of and statement of ‘greatness’ is not totally subjective.
I'll answer in two ways. First, if there are both subjective and objective components to an evaluation, the overall evaluation must be considered subjective. Only a completely objective analysis can be viewed as objective.

Second, I'll use an argument I made earlier in the subjective/objective thread. It's mathematical but hopefully still useful. There are many metrics or criteria with which people can evaluate music. For simplicity, let's imagine 3 - innovation, melody, and funkiness. Again, there are many more, and some may be considered more important, but my argument would be the same if we included all of them. To compare works and conclude one is better, one must essentially calculate a value we can use for comparison, perhaps called its Greatness, G (one could call it lots of things, but hopefully calling it Greatness will not be problematic). To calculate G we would use the equation (assumed linear for simplicity):

G = a*innovation + b*melody + c*funkiness (or G = a*I + b*M + c*F)

We would then evaluate the works based on innovation, melody, and funkiness. It's possible that someone could create an objective method for assessing innovation, but I doubt everyone would agree on its merit, and subjectivity starts to creep in. I'm pretty certain no one would argue that melody or funkiness could be assessed objectively. So we are left with subjective assessment of the values for I, M, and F. But let's assume that somehow everyone agrees perfectly on assessing those factors, and somehow, they develop what everyone also agrees is an objective valuation. The real problem is the weighting constants a, b, and c. These essentially determine how important are the individual factors in the overall evaluation. Is innovation twice as important as melody? Is funkiness remotely important? If one asks 10 people or even 10 experts, I think it's likely one would get 10 different answers especially if the number of factors were increased to be more inclusive.

Any evaluation of works will include subjectivity on which factors to include, subjectivity on how to evaluate those factors, and subjectivity on how to weight the factors. For example, I have said for a long time that Beethoven's 9th is my favorite work and the "greatest" work of music. But my friend, Monty, thinks Parliament's P-Funk is better. I would assess the innovation and melody (and other factors) for the 9th and Monty would do the same for P-Funk. Monty actually thinks the 9th scores very high on I and M but rather low on F. P-Funk scores modestly on I and M but very, very high on F. The difference is that my weighting factors are all roughly equal; whereas, Monty's are a = .001, b = .001, and c = .998 (i.e. it's all about funkiness). When he evaluates the works, P-Funk easily beats the 9th. It's difficult to say why he's wrong because it's his evaluation based on what matters to him.
 

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While you have clarified some of your position for me at the beginning of the post, the math-based analogy or metaphor lost me a bit. Fwiw, the reason I make it clear that I’m referencing the CP era, is to avoid the introduction of comparisons with other music genres eg. Parliament’s P-Funk or Justin Bieber.
I use the math because it's the only way for me to be explicit in my analysis of subjective/objective evaluations. I think the most important points are 1) evaluating particular factors (e.g. form, melody, innovation) will always be somewhat subjective because, for example, not everyone will agree on exactly how innovative a work is and 2) few will agree perfectly on how important the factors are relative to each other. I used P-Funk for fun, but I could have used any CP work and made a similar argument (uncertainty selecting factors, uncertainty evaluating factors, uncertainty weighting the factors). People will not all agree on these assessments. That makes the assessments subjective.

But the word ‘great’ as applied to composers has a more profound meaning based on the effect on the listeners, composers, musicologists over a long period of time involving comparisons with other composers, parameters of innovation and originality of harmony, counterpoint, use of available instruments etc. In this case, the evaluation of ‘greatness’ goes well beyond individual subjective feelings. Since the CP era resulted, over time, in a general blueprint for what listeners expected or were attracted to, I would posit that a level of objectivity in comparing the greatness of composers is possible. This doesn’t mean that everyone will agree exactly on the order of ‘greatness’, but there is a general consensus that is impressively consistent.
I agree with everything here except your term "level of objectivity." The listeners, composers, and musicologists still will differ in their assessments due to individual tastes, views, expertise, etc.. You are referring to a consensus that is not simply the voting of those without expert knowledge. The consensus is between those who have heard a lot of music, been exposed to writing and scholarship on aspects of music, discussed aspects of the music that appeals to them and others, and thought hard about what matters about the music to them and others. Basically, they ask, "What aspects of music affect us strongly? How do composers' works vary in the application of those aspects? How do composers' works which so many of us adore differ from other works?"

It is not an objective evaluation but rather a practical evaluation. They are essentially saying, "Composers A, B, and C wrote works that many of us greatly enjoy. Composers D, E, and F wrote many fewer works that many of us greatly enjoy. Anyone spending significant time listening to classical music and learning what others have learned will likely come to enjoy/appreciate the works of composers A, B, and C more than works of composers D, E, and F. Not only that, but we can give specific reasons why that is likely to be true." Personally, I think that's enormously valuable.
 

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Regardless of what exactly it means, that statement needs one heck of a defense.

The formulation "view all art as subjective" itself needs defense, but first it needs translation.

The creative powers required to produce the masterpieces of world art are not "subjective."

This ought to be obvious to everyone who appreciates music enough to be on this forum. But then it's eternally surprising what magnificent things are not obvious or appreciated.
Just as several of us have stated, I think you and I are using terms differently. My post above essentially defines (or perhaps describes in great detail) what I mean by subjective. Simply put, people use different methodologies to evaluate works of art (or actually anything in the world). In particular, people will assign differing importance to the factors that they use to evaluate works. There are other aspects of subjectivity in art evaluation as I discuss above. The result is a subjective evaluation.

I'm not sure what you mean by creative powers. If you mean brain modules, neural interconnectivity, and other relevant aspects that allow thinking, I would agree. These, in theory, could be described objectively. I'm actually not sure that everyone who appreciates music would find that obvious.
 

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My statement means that appreciating classical music will entail some appreciation of the fact that the human powers needed to create it are - objectively, if it need be said (and here it apparently does) - beyond the ordinary, and the more we appreciate the music's qualities the more impressive those powers will appear. It isn't a matter of 'describing' the powers, but of recognizing their unusual magnitude. In the case of the greatest composers, the magnitude should astonish us.
I agree completely.
 

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(Appreciate the response)

One man’s ‘practical evaluation’ is another man’s ‘objective evaluation’. :) Actually, I believe they are saying, among other measurable things, that Composers A, B and C composed works in a clever way never seen before and which were appreciated in a major way at the time and/or before long and continued to attract a broad cross-section from the target-rich environment over generations to the present. Take Mozart’s final operas starting with Idomeneo, for instance: People had never heard operas on this level before. Can one deny the presence of objective reasons why these operas created such a response/stir at the time and have continued to this day?
I believe your view and mine are very close. They might be essentially identical. I think we just choose to use different words because we think of the term, objective, somewhat differently. I would amend your last sentence to read something like "Can one deny the presence of historical and psychological reasons why these operas created such a response/stir at the time and have continued to this day?"

To me objective reasons are things like a gold 1 cm diameter sphere weighs more than an aluminum 1 cm diameter sphere because gold's density is 19.3 g/cm3 compared to aluminum's 2.7 g/cm3 or the Tesla won the drag race over the Porsche because the Tesla's electric motor generates significantly greater torque at low speeds than the Porsche's mechanical driveline. I don't see how anyone could compare a Mozart opera to a Wagner opera in the same manner. Yes, both are spectacular creations that boggle the mind, but the arguments used to speak about them are, in my view, fundamentally different than those used to compare weights of metal spheres.
 

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But this is clearly hopelessly unnuanced.
You quoted the first part of my post which tried to give a general statement of my view. The second part was, I believe, rather nuanced and detailed specifically in reference to evaluating music.

Every judgement made by a human is, to some extent, going to be subjective, by definition. Does this render all human judgements entirely subjective? Really?
The first sentence here apparently agrees with what I said. The second sentence contradicts my words, "if there are both subjective and objective components to an evaluation...". I believe some evaluations of music try to use some objective components.
 

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My friend, no rancor intended! :)

But despite all of the verbiage, despite the special pleading for some kind of transcendent trans-physical, quasi-mystical prolixity enveloping the objectivist view, it still boils down to who likes what. ...
SM, I still believe people are discussing different aspects of the process of valuation of composers or works. I think people are also using the terms subjective and objective differently. I'd like to try to describe 3 possible views made in this thread and ask you about them. I will try to be as clear and explicit as I think necessary; nevertheless, I may fail to be explicit or clear enough. If so, please ask me for clarification or suggest an improvement.

1) Individuals' enjoyment of various composers or works can have large variation, and we believe this variation is due to things like genetic differences, developmental history, and experiential history. Basically, tastes are subjective.

2) When evaluating composers or works (for example, when comparing one to another), one must determine a set of metrics, evaluate each composer or work on each metric, and determine how each metric is to be weighted in the overall evaluation. Though experts may substantially agree on which metrics to use and may not vary substantially in their evaluation of those metrics or in the weighting functions, all of these steps will lead to variation in the final assessment because each person brings at least a slightly different viewpoint to the valuation. In some cases, there could be significant variation even among experts. That variation is due to their subjective opinions on the metrics and weightings. Overall, such evaluations are fundamentally different from objective considerations such as, "Which ball is heavier?" In other words, this process is also subjective.

3) Those who have significant experience in learning about music, interact often with other knowledgeable people about music, and have vast listening experience (e.g. experts) can assess composers or works in a manner that can lead to a general consensus about those composers or works. Such a consensus is at least somewhat different than simple polling because it is based not just on personal tastes but, more importantly, on a collective determination of aspects of music considered important to those who have a long history of music appreciation. This expert consensus will almost certainly display vastly less uncertainty than mere polling, and it is a valuable addition to those interested in understanding the value of composers or works to the classical music community.

So, I assume you agree with #1 (and consider it obvious) and #2. You may even feel that the metrics utilized, the evaluation of metrics, and the weighting of metrics could vary enormously such that essentially any work or composer could be valued higher than any other (e.g. my funkiness or your stick figure examples). My real question is how you feel about #3. You likely would say that any such evaluation is still subjective, but would you agree that such a consensus has greater value than simple polling of many listeners? That such a consensus can help others discover music that likely will have a greater impact on them than music valued less highly? In other words, is the process described in #3 of greater value to the classical music community than #1?
 

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I want to beg a moment's indulgence. I recognize and respect the fact that you're addressing Strange Magic specifically, and you may not want to respond to this interjection. But I think it's important to point out that your three approaches to evaluating the quality of musical works deal only with different degrees to which personal feelings - subjective opinions - about music can be informed by knowledge. You haven't allowed for the possibility of making statements about quality in music which are true independent of taste and opinion. The ultimate question is: can we say anything about the quality of a musical work which is not a mere opinion having no more validity than any other opinion? This is the rock-bottom issue. Do you have a reason for not at least alluding to it in your questions? Perhaps you're working up to asking about it? Might we expect its appearance as question number 4?

As I said, I don't expect a response, at least at this point. I just want to keep important issues in view. This is your conversation, and I'm capable, on occasion, of being patient. :)
No, by all means, you're free to inject thoughts into the discussion as always. I actually feel that #3 includes statements about quality in music which are truly independent of taste and opinion. I think #3 would be partly subjective and partly objective by my definitions. I intended my statement - "a collective determination of aspects of music considered important to those who have a long history of music appreciation" to refer to both opinion (I would not say mere opinion) and definitive statements about the music which would not be considered opinions. Obviously one could add a #4 which would include statements that were not opinions at all, but I believe that could limit the usefulness of such evaluations.

I think it's important to note that some in this discussion (myself included) are trying to understand evaluations of music that can lead to comparisons of composers or works. My sense is that you are less concerned or not concerned at all with comparisons between composers or works and really concerned with simply evaluating a work or composer by itself or herself such that the result is not so much a number that can be used to compare but rather a description of the work(s) that details how well those works were composed. The result is not a 93 but rather a very good composition or perhaps an excellent composition or even a superlative composition. To me, that goal is very different than trying to make comparisons. Also while I do find polling interesting and quite useful for me personally, I think your sense of evaluations are overall of more interest.
 

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I'm not too concerned with agreement, more with being able to get my point across. I think its important on forums like this for people simply just to say what's their opinion. It keeps the place diverse, and avoiding that echo chamber effect which is so pervasive online.

My personal take is that comparisons have to be worth making in the first place. Safe choices might be between contemporaries (e.g. Beethoven and Schubert), or things like genre (e.g. I've often come across this regarding keyboard works of different eras). If two things diverge to the extent that they're not worth comparing, I don't think its worth doing in the first place. After all, there's a lot of music in the roughly thousand years of western classical.

In terms of what I said before about the new musicology, my take on a lot of the comparisons made on this forum boils down to what I see as a key difference between modernism and postmodernism. My view is that the canon came out of modernism, and basically died with it.

Modernism was about competition, which was necessary for the development of the body of works between about 1750 and 1950 which still form the core repertoire of orchestras and opera companies. After the 1950's, postmodernism became more focused on contrast.

A good way to illustrate this shift is Jascha Heifetz's famous quote about the reason why he played modern music. The first version is all over the net, but I can't find a source:

"I occasionally play works by contemporary composers and for two reasons. First to discourage the composer from writing any more and secondly to remind myself how much I appreciate Beethoven."

I found a second version, similar to the above, but it has a source its likely to be what Heifetz actually said:

"Music by contemporary composers isn't worth the paper it's written on.
Contemporary composers can't write worthwhile music for the violin.
There's really only one composer of note, and that's Beethoven."
*

Heifetz's views where widespread during his time, which saw the peak and decline of modernism. More recent generations of musicians tend not to think like this or say these things.

Hilary Hahn, for example, has tended to make recordings coupling classics of the canon with either outliers or new works. A good example is her recording of Sibelius with Schoenberg (Heifetz said the latter was unplayable). Another recording like this which I have enjoyed is Francesco Tristano's coupling of piano music by Bach and Cage. Another I have heard is Alicia Weilerstein's Elgar and Carter concertos.

We no longer are where we where in the mid 20th century. Competition isn't necessary, contrast is enough. The same goes with the canon, yes it's there and inevitably acts as a reference point, but what constitutes classical music isn't limited to that.

* Swatridge, C., The Oxford Guide to Effective Argument and Critical Thinking, 2014, p. 14 (on Google Books).
Some here disparage the canon, but I've always found it useful for me. I hope modern and contemporary works start making their way into the canon although time is always necessary for a consensus to form so contemporary works will take more time.
 

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SM: I just have a few clarifying comments.

I begin to grow restless at point #2 with your idea of agreed-upon metrics and looking at such metrics to determine how to evaluate music--my experience is that people listen to a new piece of music and then establish whether they like it and, if so, how much. Then, are we to assume that the usual CM listener, or any listener to any genre, then retroactively reviews in their mind why they like it and why therefore they ought to like it? I believe that few enter into hearing a piece of music wondering to themselves whether specific criteria are going to be met and how successfully. There is an ex post facto factor at work here that vitiates the, let's say, full and direct and unmoderated impact of the music. The specter of "Should I like this; is it good to like this?" perhaps makes its appearance. But overall I agree with your #2 though we reach the same conclusion by different paths.
I don't think the metrics for #2 are perfectly agreed upon, and in fact, I believe the variation in metrics introduces subjectivity. I do think experts will agree much more than amateurs on which metrics to use. I agree with you that most people do not have a set of metrics in mind before evaluating a work. They listen and, likely without considering metrics, make conclusions about the work.

Point #3 I think clearly brings forward the idea of a consensus of experts: "... a collective determination of aspects of music considered important to those who have a long history of music appreciation. This expert consensus will almost certainly display vastly less uncertainty than mere polling, and it is a valuable addition to those interested in understanding the value of composers or works to the classical music community." Polling does not bring forth uncertainty; it does the opposite by letting us know how many like what, who thinks the criteria are met, are they the right criteria, given the group polled.
When I say polling generates uncertainty, I simply mean that when people are asked to "grade" a work, they will give a spread in answers. That distribution will have a standard deviation that one can consider the uncertainty of the collective response.

My other argument, we recall, is whether excellence is an intrinsic, inherent property permeating an art object, or whether we imbue art objects with our own notions of its excellence, bringing our own net of associations to an otherwise inert body. I need not restate my views on that matter.
I agree. In a similar manner, the concept of a church is not inherent in the building itself, but rather the concept of church exists in people's minds and is applied to the building.
 

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But romanic church architecture differs from gothic church architecture and it is an objective fact. I long for the wider view. :)
Yes, but the point is that one can describe the differences without ever making reference to the concept of a church. One could describe in detail all types of buildings but a being unfamiliar with the concept of church (or associated concepts) would not be able to select those that are in fact churches.
 

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I think so too, but I suspect that the very notion of 'metrics' is what might be getting in the way of the discussion. If I get Woodduck right, the most important 'metrics' are those chosen by the artist. We should judge the quality of a work by comparing the output with the artist's chosen standards.
I remember asking my daughter (professional musician) how she evaluates a contemporary work given that there's little consensus on aspects of contemporary music. She said exactly what Woodduck mentioned. She tries to understand what the composer is trying to do and determines to what extent the composer was successful.
 

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I'm also not sure how you're excepting what you're describing from being essentially polling or tastes. It may not be PERSONAL taste, give that the taste is being shared communally among like-minded people, but communities are made up of individuals whose tastes converge with each other more so than others. We're all here because our tastes converge on the "likes classical music" and "likes to talk about classical music" Venn diagram. I'm also not sure what you mean by such a thing displaying "vastly less certainty..." less certainty about what? Maybe you mean "less variation?"
Yes, less variation. In a reply to SM I said, "When I say polling generates uncertainty, I simply mean that when people are asked to "grade" a work, they will give a spread in answers. That distribution will have a standard deviation that one can consider the uncertainty of the collective response." I think experts will have less variation.

To me, the value of paying attention to the people in group 3 largely stems from their ability to guide other like-minded people to music they may enjoy. It's fundamentally a search algorithm but in human form rather than in the kind of Bayesian math that's used in internet searches. Essentially what's happening is that if most similarly-minded people like/love X, and if you find that you share similar values with these people, there's a good probability you will like/love X too. Clearly this is the case in practice. Most who find classical music will find it via composers who are popular and frequently played, and they will be introduced to further composers that many/most other classical fans like and from there their own particular tastes (and experience/knowledge) will develop either in harmony or in contradiction to prevailing opinions and consensuses of both the masses and of the experts. I think this describes ALL of us. Anyone who 100% personally agrees with the consensus is either lying or suffering from Emperor's New Clothes syndrome; and anyone who 100% personally disagrees with the consensuses probably isn't a classical music fan at all!
I do view the value of experts giving a consensus view in practical terms as you say above. The most valuable asset toward my development of a love for classical music was Goulding's book, The 50 Greatest Composers..., precisely because it listed such a consensus about composers and their "greatest" works. I followed those suggestions and fell in love. If I had randomly explored composers or works, I doubt I would have continued to explore classical music in the way I did.
 

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Though I don't totally object to the notion of attempting to understand the intentions of artists and judging whether they succeed or not, even that approach is fraught with difficulties. One difficulty is that we rarely have access to artistic intentions but are simply attempting to infer them from the work, and that gets into very complex and ambiguous issues of how that process happens and how reliable it is. I think it can be reliable to different extents, but it depends on a lot of factors.

Another difficulty is that I'm not convinced all artists even have conscious intentions, as opposed to simply be struck with inspiration(s) and then attempting to work that out via their craft. My own experience of writing poetry is that often lines or outlines of ideas will come to me and they will prose practical problems that I will have to solve in however I choose to render them. I am rarely conscious of all my intentions from the outset, but tend to discover much (if not most) of them working through it, and often any larger intentions are drowned out in the moment-to-moment work of what is similar to fitting together puzzle pieces.

A final difficulty is that even without the above there's no guaranteeing that even if the artist succeeds on the standard of achieving their intentions that they'll succeed in evoking or provoking in an audience anything remotely similar to what the piece provokes in them that drove them to create it. Clearly the artists' intentions are not all that matters or is relevant; just as relevant is how those intentions are rendered and how that rendering impacts and affects audiences. I would find that in any case an argument from artist intentions to be a poor counter to arguments that it doesn't move or affect an audience.
I don't disagree with anything you say. I think her view is that evaluating a work must start somewhere, and using a set of values/metrics/standards inappropriate to the artists goals seems problematic. Obviously, she could be mistaken in what she believes the composer is trying to accomplish. She has no problem with believing that the artist met their goals well but also feeling that the goals were fairly modest and that she doesn't respond positively to the work.
 

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Subjectively inferior to what? watch?v=v80s4yjSdQM&t=22m55s Mozart's 18th symphony? Tell me what you think of the average quality of both composers' symphonies? (You could be disagreeing for the sake of disagreeing just to win an argument. As soon as we do "tests" like [50 Unidentified Excerpts from Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach Keyboard Sonatas] on the music, we'll know if who's really familiar with the stuff, knows what he's talking about and who's not.)
You know the thing always said about Mozart; "I didn't appreciate Mozart (or a certain work of Mozart) at first, but after upon 20~30 repeated listenings, I started to..." Explain to me why we can't treat the other, forgotten composer in the same way? Are people who've spent only several hours at most listening to the other, forgotten composer "qualified" to make comments about the objective quality of his music? (Am I making/asking unreasonable claims/questions here?)
Also, remember you had repeatedly criticized the Alberti bass patterns in Mozart. The forgotten composer has far less of that (like Bach), maybe he's the composer for you! But have you really given the time and effort to find out?
And so far, no one has been able to refute:
I guess I'm not quite sure what you are arguing. If you believe that some of Michael Haydn's works are very good and could reasonably be considered to be better than some of Mozart's or Joseph Haydn's, I think that could certainly be. If you are comparing Michael Haydn's symphonies to all Mozart's including those he wrote at age 8, then I don't see the point. If you believe that people would view the works of Michael Haydn as of similar quality to those of Mozart if only they spent as much time listening to Haydn, I find that unlikely. Are you saying that if only the experts listened more to Haydn, then all the music courses, lectures, books, and concerts would change to reflect the fact that Haydn should be considered one of the top 3 (now 4) composers of all time? There's somehow been a massive conspiracy amongst those experts to purposely downgrade their public views of Haydn? Is that what you believe?

Or do you think Haydn is a bit underrated and if people listened to his works more, they would think more highly of him?
 

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Why not? The Mozart works don't deserve "special treatment" just cause they were written by him when he was 8. Again, I don't have to indulge in any idolatry about Mozart to admire his music.
I don't think this is a question of special treatment or idolatry. Einstein is viewed as perhaps the greatest physicist ever and vastly better than I am. However, I'm rather confident that I am a much better physicist than Einstein was when he was 8 or 15. Comparing my works to Einstein's when he was young would make little sense. I was also a much better basketball player (in high school) than Michael Jordan when he was 8, but again, comparing our abilities at those times makes little sense.

How they subjectively view the forgotten composer (only after having spent as much time and effort to the forgotten composer as Mozart) is up to them. I just question the validity of the rationale; "Mozart can require dozens of listenings to be fully appreciated, but the forgotten composer does not."
I'm the kind of person who pays careful attention even to stuff like Missa brevis K.194, for instance, and also what can be seen as the equivalents in the other, forgotten composer. I don't consider people who say things like "Whatever.. I don't care for this and that genre in these composers.." to have what it takes to properly judge the relative objective merit in these composers. It doesn't matter how many of these people there are. What's important to me is whether or not they have the proper mindset. Hence why I said:

Otherwise, they could be seen as cherry-picking; trying to pass off what's popular and what they favor in these composers as "objective greatness". I don't pretend I never do, but at least I can say that I try my best (give the effort) to see things fairly.
I understand that you feel people should listen more to the works of some composers before passing judgment. Fair enough. I suspect that experts of the Classical era have heard enough of both M. Haydn and Mozart to make reasonable comparisons.

Not really. But I think it's better we stop do rankings, except to share what we appreciate subjectively. Rather than arguing lofty, but futile ideas such as "objective greatness", spend the time in actual music appreciation, and talks of why we appreciate.
Some feel that ranking is fun, others find the results very interesting, and others find rankings a useful tool to find potentially enjoyable music or composers. I see no reason to stop ranking. I have been involved in many of TC's "ranking" projects (usually described as recommendations rather than ranking), and as far as I know, I have never seen a participant say that the results are objective. I'm also happy that many TC members do enjoy discussing music appreciation and describing why they enjoy works or composers.
 

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Why would that matter from the perspective of pure music appreciation? If Mozart had only 15 years of "mature period", he only had 15 years, nothing we do can change that history and the resulting "product", which is his work.
I guess if you wish to compare mature composers music to that of children's music, that's fine. I just don't think others will take that comparison as meaningful.

He didn't write the same music as that forgotten composer; I don't think people who can't pass "tests" on the music should pretend to know enough to refute this objectively.
I don't understand what you mean here. I'm assuming you are still referring to M. Haydn whom I doubt anyone on TC has forgotten. Is there anyone who would say Mozart and M. Haydn wrote the same music? I will say that I love the idea of requiring people to pass "tests" on music before they can comment in any manner on such topics (just to be clear - I'm being sarcastic).
 

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You're saying that still doesn't affect anyone's impression of his overall published ouevre? What do you think about this:
I'm not sure what you mean, but I think people generally consider a composer's best or at least better works when considering how good or important a composer is. I doubt many think of Mozart's earlier symphonies when they evaluate his overall status.

It's safe to say he's pretty much "forgotten". I have never seen a single ranking by anyone with his name in the list, on TC or everywhere else. And when you ask people about Mozart's contemporaries, names like Salieri, Gluck, Boccherini are what you'll usually get.
Well, I know of a ranking with M. Haydn.

There is still an attitude in the classical music community; "I'm closing my ears, lalalala, I don't care what the forgotten composer wrote, he was always absolutely worse than Mozart in whatever he did." When it comes to Mozart, trying to have serious discussions on "objective greatness" while forgetting all this (rediscovering-michael-haydn-an-interview-with-david-wyn-jones/) doesn't seem right to me. It's at least worth asking the question, how much consideration and effort have we given.

I'm not sure if you're bothered by those who view Mozart as objectively greater than M. Haydn or simply those who feel Mozart is greater than M. Haydn. I do believe most here would not refer to objective greatness.

And it's not just Haydn, there are still things we haven't discovered yet; there could be so many unknowns, uncertainties. I find it disturbing when people pretend like there are none of these things.
I find many on TC who feel they have much to discover in classical music. There may be some who think there are no new discoveries, but I suspect they are rare.
 
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