Classical Music Forum banner
121 - 137 of 137 Posts

· Registered
Joined
·
15,560 Posts
Sure there were composers highly thought of who have disappeared from our awareness. This is why those composers who have both been acknowledged during their lifetimes as well as sustaining the assessment of greatness across centuries, and among a wide audience is evidence of their greatness.

It doesn't matter what you or Wooddock (a fan of Wagner, who stylistic indulgences are well known)) think of the style of opera buffa, or the 18th century in general, it was the prevailing style of Mozart's time. And a style that Mozart mastered and brought to its apogee.

Your hypothetical arguments are nothing more than speculation based on your own biases. We know who the composers are that are widely considered great. And that judgment of history is not simply based on false indoctrination. Their music as survived because of its inherent quality as perceived by audiences across a long period of time.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
6,065 Posts
You misunderstand me. My point is that, these composers had "objective traits" that can be "evaluated subjectively" in terms of aesthetics. Depending on context and perspective, they can be thought to be either desirable or undesirable. For instance, Paisiello was a more successful opera composer than Mozart for a reason. Listen to, for instance,
(Il barbiere di Siviglia: Ma dov'eri tu, stordito)
The majority of the opera listeners of the 18th century had their own reasons for valuing Paisiello over Mozart, and they weren't "objectively incorrect" in their aesthetic preference/evaluation..
You seem unaware of how often you contradict yourself. In saying that ’Paisiello was a more successful opera composer for a reason‘ and then giving an example to support that premise, you are presenting what you believe is objective evidence. Or do you see this as someone likes a composer for subjective reasons and is trying to get someone else to subjectively like that composer also and objectivity has nothing to do with it. Which doesn’t make any sense.

Every time you present an example of a composer who you feel has been under appreciated and you present examples to support it, you are entering the territory of ‘objectivity’.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
2,446 Posts
re: my personal definition of "greatness" being one with a profound impact on the course of music and art, I do find the few cases of artists (in the post-Baroque period) who did have profound impacts but didn't gain a wide following today interesting. I think Gluck is probably the most important artist of the classical period who has almost nothing in the standard repitorie, but historians and musicologists might name a few others (La Monte Young?)
 

· Registered
Joined
·
8,037 Posts
You seem unaware of how often you contradict yourself. In saying that ’Paisiello was a more successful opera composer for a reason‘ and then giving an example to support that premise, you are presenting what you believe is objective evidence.
Paisiello was the most popular opera composer of the 18th century. This was the composer the people of Mozart's time chose. Mozart's 'Germanic' harmonic/orchestral style matched with his own tragic life story in a way that later appealed to some Romantics.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
6,065 Posts
Paisiello was the most popular opera composer of the 18th century. This was the composer the people of Mozart's time chose. Mozart's 'Germanic' harmonic/orchestral style matched with his own tragic life story in a way that later appealed to some Romantics.
Welcome to the world of presenting what is perceived as objective evidence to support a premise.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
2,266 Posts
Paisiello fitting a certain culture is no more objective evidence than Paisiello being the greatest we've ever seen write music like Paisiello. This is due to there being no inherent value tied to either requirement, one must input their own, the subjective preference within either an individual or average framework dictating what is more valuable, no objectivity ever alluded. Now, more to the point of these heirarchies, many like myself define greatness as correlated to critical opinions within a whole field and time, but what's important to compare is also the more valuable art and life commodities of those not focused within a specific field. For instance, in music, play something by Grieg and it will often receive better reception than something by Bach, because people aren't focusing into the field. Michael Jackson and this appreciation draws even higher. Arriving at technical greatness begs the question within its circle, what music has been most studied and focused on among music scholars? The term befits one group with many opinions, sometimes dubbed audiophiles, but in order to claim one of their criticisms integrably, you must actually understand and enjoy it. This is why appeal to authority is generally meaningless, a real critic may find much personal overlap with the others, and influence, and some whose brain works differently may not. No one more objective and less objective is establishing fact. But the most invested of these opinions will generally be most interesting to study compared to one merely assuming these people are correct, one who offers no personal analysis and feeling of their own. So if it's a competition of credibility that wishes to be sparred, hammeredklavier already wins the contest before it started. One can disagree with him, yeah okay, or one can put forth their own substantial critique of a music that others might consider.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
3,542 Posts
I don't equate my own taste with what composers have been judged great.

I recognize that Tchaikovsky's music has stood the test of time and he is widely considered among the greatest composers. But his music does not interest me.

In fact, I can say that the idea of greatness, for me, is completely irrelevant as to which composers interest me. But I am not ignorant of the fact that there has come down to us a group of "great" composers.
Very true. But consider exactly who you are referring to as "us" in your last sentence. Artistic greatness exists in specific cultural contexts. Without putting things in the relevant context, "greatness" means very little.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
15,560 Posts
Very true. But consider exactly who you are referring to as "us" in your last sentence. Artistic greatness exists in specific cultural contexts. Without putting things in the relevant context, "greatness" means very little.
Since we having this discussion about the classical music canon, and classical music audiences, conductors, musicians and orchestras on a classical music forum, the only relevant context is the classical music community, history, and repertory.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
7,129 Posts
re: my personal definition of "greatness" being one with a profound impact on the course of music and art, I do find the few cases of artists (in the post-Baroque period) who did have profound impacts but didn't gain a wide following today interesting. I think Gluck is probably the most important artist of the classical period who has almost nothing in the standard repitorie, but historians and musicologists might name a few others (La Monte Young?)
LOL.

Back in the late 1970s, as a music major, we had to take Music History, and you'd have thought that Glück was the most important composer of all time, not just the Classical Period.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
2,446 Posts
Since we having this discussion about the classical music canon, and classical music audiences, conductors, musicians and orchestras on a classical music forum, the only relevant context is the classical music community, history, and repertory.
Those are entirely different contexts, "community, history and repertoire" are not a single context and more contexts exist.

Not to mention that attempts to use "community reputation" as a criterion are vulnerable to attempts to exclude certain listeners from the community, so as to discount their opinions.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
8,037 Posts
Their music as survived because of its inherent quality as perceived by audiences across a long period of time.
There were many composers who didn't have their music printed/published in their time. Much of it is still in manuscript form to this day. There's no substantive "consensus" formed on them cause they never had the opportunity, and exposure of their work to the public (even to the academia) has been and is still limited to this day.
On the other hand, there's this, for example (I recommend the book; it also discusses a bit of the 19th century reception of Palestrina, Handel, Mozart, etc) - www.jstor.org/stable/10.7722/j.ctt155j3qq
I'm not trying to argue any composer is overrated in any way in this thread. I'm just saying there are more complex elements and forces at work, who becomes popular and who doesn't.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
beethoven studied under hayden said schauffler in his bio of the great LVB-n,haiden did not expend much effort for me' ludvig was a bad speller,,' me and haiden,,chicken dinner and wine ten Krone'
beethovens skill on the piano,at improvising,never found an equal,,,his abilities functioning under the duress of deafness throughout his adult life,thos F kelly wrote a book of 'first performances' in citing the performance of the ninth, and last ,in vienna,,at the thundering conclusion,the final FF chords in the chorale,at the ending measure,,the maestro was still beating time,as the audience behind him were on their feet wildly applauding,,which he could not hear,soprano caroline unger walked up to him tuggin on his sleeve spinning him around to see the people on their feet,how great it would have been to be there.
such talent,with the evil deafness always there,adds to his legend,,in the way of historical impact close and far away the ninth ode to joy was sung in a tokio outdoor stadium by a thousand singers,both germany and japan had to be pounded into their senses,before this could happen,,suprise than the US 8th airforce, now pile on boys
 

· Registered
Joined
·
15,560 Posts
I'm not trying to argue any composer is overrated in any way in this thread. I'm just saying there are more complex elements and forces at work, who becomes popular and who doesn't.
It doesn't matter to me one bit why one composer's music survived and the music of countless others hasn't. As far as I am concerned the generally accepted lists of the "great composers" exists, and is there for anyone to access. I also believe that all of the composers on these lists are great, to the extent a determination can be made in that regard. Whether or not there are missing names of unknown composers does not interest me.

But the only thing that is important to me is listening to and sometimes studying the music that excites my mind and soul, no matter if its composer is considered great, or over- or under-rated.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
The objective fact that across decades, even centuries, these same composers have been performed by professional orchestras for audiences, i.e. they paid to hear their music.
distance from predecessors, often their fellows, E a revolutionary,,scuberts ninth the great, or schumanns manfred overture,the 2nd symphony,
must gave proven terribly hard for string players of their day,lighter woods precise and stronger longer lasting strings which stay in tune,,lighter veneers for the wood finished cellos violins,,made them easier to play
 

· Registered
Joined
·
3,542 Posts
If people stopped using the word "great" so loosely, that would be great. :)
As I keep saying, context is all. For example, Bernstein's score for West Side Story is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest in the American Broadway musical theater tradition. Is it "classical music"? One could argue that it is, but what West Side Story most definitely is not is opera, in the sense of the 19th century European grand opera tradition of Weber, Rossini, Bizet, Donizetti, Verdi, Wagner, Gonoud, Massenet, Puccini, Strauss, et al.

It gets confusing, since Bernstein was keenly aware of and influenced by that European grand opera tradition, as well as by the classical symphonies of Mozart and Beethoven, Stravinsky's modernism, American jazz of the 1920s, 30s, and 40s, the American Broadway musical tradition that had been going strong since the mid-19th century, and many other things. But with West Side Story, the idea was to create a hit Broadway musical, and that was the dominant tradition reflected in the music, lyrics and everything else. In fact, it became a major influence on that tradition, having a profound effect on Broadway musicals in the 60s, 70s and beyond. In that context, no doubt it is great music, even if it is a long way down in the classical hit parade, or not in it at all.

To analyze music clearly, we always need first to ask: What musical and more broadly cultural tradition or traditions does the music come from? What style is it in? What were the particular composer's individual artistic characteristics, skills, methods, and choices in the context of those traditions and styles? Even within the traditional European classical music canon, there are profound differences between the style of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, and that of Debussy and Ravel. But there are also important similarities that tie them together, and that are partly or entirely absent once one ventures beyond that canon.

So, yes, there is little point in using the term "greatness" loosely.
 
121 - 137 of 137 Posts
Top