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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
What are your preferences is classical music? What do you look for in classical music? What kind of elements do you value? And what kind of elements you find yourself avoiding?

How is your aesthetic position concerning CM built and constructed? What is your identity as a friend of classical music like?

The questions above are there just to help you get started. Please feel free in your expression.
 

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My preferences lean very heavily towards the Austro-Germanic repertoire, particularly in opera. This is something I'd like to expand but it's going to be a gradual process. I don't know if it's an identity per se, but it's at least a strong selection bias. It's a continual process of discovery and assimilation, so I know that with time and effort I will expand my horizons and preferences, and learn a lot more.

When it comes to interpretation, I try to be open-minded. If the performer has something to say, I'll hear it, even if it's unconventional or risky or controversial. Worst case, I don't like it and then I don't have to hear it again. I make a conscious effort to listen to a variety of interpretations; for pieces in the standard repertoire, I try not to listen to the same recording twice in a row.
 

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Honestly; I try to be as open-minded as possible. Years ago I was dead seat on certain repertoire, but that almost proved bad as I about burned myself out on all of that.

That said, I do have a preference for large orchestral textures and pieces that generally have large orchestras. That's not to say I won't listen to music from eras when the ensemble was smaller; it's just that my ears enjoy the full color of a large symphony orchestra.

Also on a personal bias; I adore any piece that include an organ playing alongside the orchestra. Think of pieces like Mahler's 2nd & 8th symphonies, Berlioz's Te Deum, Jongen's Symphonie Concertante, and various works by the likes of Widor, Guilmant, Dupre, and Poulenc. When the organ adds it's heavy sound to the orchestra; it's just pure bliss to me.
 

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I usually...

- dislike programmatic stuff - this is probably a mix of the fact that Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven were among my first strong interests in CM (and still are) and some books I read, also quite early on with 18 or so (e.g. Riezler's "Beethoven" who was a staunch defender of "absolute music").

- not much like the French, especially not their singing. ;)

- probably like the British even less...

- like Austro-german, also Italian and some Slavic

- don't care that much for "color","virtuosity", refined atmospheres, especially when I perceive this as "ends in themselves". E.g., I like Ravel and Debussy best in chamber and piano music when they are more "classicist" than "impressionist". I also don't like many late romantic/early modern "orchestral spectacular" pieces very much although this depends on the style/piece. But I quite understand Brahms mostly sticking with the "Beethoven orchestra".

- rather like sturdy, straightforward, bold music and this applies to some extent also to interpretations.

Of course, there are exceptions to all these, but as a rough guide, they apply.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
My classical music journey started with Bach, Chopin and Beethoven, as a piano youngster. All of those composers are rather concise in their expression. Add to that Sibelius and Brahms, whose works are also cornerstones in my musical world.

Maybe due to the concise expression and melodic, rhythmic and harmonic genius of the aforementioned 5 composers, I have grown rather strong preferences. I expect quality from whatever music I listen to. Maybe I have subconsciously attached the idea of quality to the style of the aforementioned composers. Luckily there is a lot of that kind of quality everywhere in classical music. So there is a lot for me to love.

But every once in a while there is music that is either somehow sprawling or all over the shop, and maybe not so inspired when it comes to melodies, rhythms and harmonies. I have problems with that kind of music, because I have "learnt from the best" and "expect the best". I am built like that. I cannot cope with mediocre or uninspired stuff because Bach, Chopin, Beethoven, Sibelius and Brahms were always inspired in their major work. They did not compose unless they were inspired. Period.

Then again I cannot categorically say that there would be a lot of classical music that I dislike. I like renaissance music, baroque, classicism, romanticism, modernism, contemporary... I like expressionism, impressionism, postmodernism... German, French, Italian, Russian, Austrian, Finnish, Polish... I do not dislike any specific compositional technique either. From Mozart to Tchaikovsky, from Ligeti to Boulez, from Schubert miniature songs to Bruckner symphonies -- I love it as long as it is inspired.

Well, I do not like Opera Buffa. Also, I do not like the "dance-like ironic and grotesque staccato hopping" part of neoclassicism although there is a lot to like in neoclassicism otherwise. Also I deeply dislike certain mediocre, uninspired and repetitive passages in Mahler´s later symphonies (6-9).

Maybe that´s me.
 

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My classical music journey started with Bach, Chopin and Beethoven, as a piano youngster. All of those composers are rather concise in their expression. Add to that Sibelius and Brahms, whose works are also cornerstones in my musical world.

Maybe due to the concise expression and melodic, rhythmic and harmonic genius of the aforementioned 5 composers, I have grown rather strong preferences. I expect quality from whatever music I listen to. Maybe I have subconsciously attached the idea of quality to the style of the aforementioned composers. Luckily there is a lot of that kind of quality everywhere in classical music. So there is a lot for me to love.

But every once in a while there is music that is either somehow sprawling or all over the shop, and maybe not so inspired when it comes to melodies, rhythms and harmonies. I have problems with that kind of music, because I have "learnt from the best" and "expect the best". I am built like that. I cannot cope with mediocre or uninspired stuff because Bach, Chopin, Beethoven, Sibelius and Brahms were always inspired in their major work. They did not compose unless they were inspired. Period.

Then again I cannot categorically say that there would be a lot of classical music that I dislike. I like renaissance music, baroque, classicism, romanticism, modernism, contemporary... I like expressionism, impressionism, postmodernism... German, French, Italian, Russian, Austrian, Finnish, Polish... I do not dislike any specific compositional technique either. From Mozart to Tchaikovsky, from Ligeti to Boulez, from Schubert miniature songs to Bruckner symphonies -- I love it as long as it is inspired.

Well, I do not like Opera Buffa. Also, I do not like the "dance-like ironic and grotesque staccato hopping" part of neoclassicism although there is a lot to like in neoclassicism otherwise. Also I deeply dislike certain mediocre, uninspired and repetitive passages in Mahler´s later symphonies (6-9).

Maybe that´s me.
I didn't think this way earlier, but now it seems to me that most of the sanctions on classical music come ultimately from political or religious positions, external or internal to myself. I need to be aware of what is coming from those directions. Otherwise, I don't like incompetent, ignorant, or cheap music (those are personal values to me).On the positive side, classical music from all eras, genres and styles can become preferred, if I approach different kinds of music with different assumptions or even "different ears."
 

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Eclectic.
Beethoven, then mainly 1850s-1960s, especially the piano and including jazz piano.
From the orchestra, yes, structure matters but I appreciate colour and harmonic complexity more.
Prefer Sibelius to Mahler, Rachmaninoff to Stravinsky, Bax to Brian, anything to Boulez.
Quite partial to a string 4tet, especially if the viola is allowed to get a word in.

Where does this come from? Haphazard exploration since my early teens. No musical family background, no musical training. Can't sing a note. Used to play piano a bit until arthritis set in. Never appreciated or saw the point of rock music.
And that's it. Untrained, unsophisticated, but I know what I like.
 

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My foremost interest in classical music are symphonies, then concertos, orchestral works in all its variety, chamber music, a big deal of solo piano music (except for works like "26 little preludes", "14 small pieces", "9 album leaves", and so on, I'm more of large-scale pieces like sonatas or variations), and choral works with orchestra. I'm not much into vocal music (Lieder, mélodies for voice(s) and piano) but there are some exceptions; some vocal music with orchestral accompaniment is of my taste, being the most clear example Canteloube's Chants d'Auvergne.

I enjoy many Baroque composers and works, some from the Renaissance (namely Monteverdi) and with no much interest in early music; I can't stand operas/choral works by Rameau, Lully and composers alike. Avant-garde music, cerebral, arid, dry, depressive stuff is far from my enjoyment, but there are exceptions, of course. Some works by the 2nd Viennese School draw my attention, but others leave me cold.

I prefer my music with definite themes/melodies where there is contrast between sections, strong development of ideas, music with lots of passion or wistfulness and powerful climaxes, satisfying endings, etc. If the work in question manages to make smile (or even laugh) or bring some tears to my eyes, they're instantly special.

Regarding recordings/performances, I have zero interest in old/mono recordings, HIP performances, recital discs, CDs featuring movements by different works; I tolerate live recordings if there is not much noise and applause at the end where people begin clapping before the work is over, how annoying!
 

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What a loaded question and with answers that could go on and on. But...my main preference is for orchestral music written roughly between 1850 and 1930 from composers who were concerned with beauty in their writing and knew how to get great sounds from an orchestra. Things I like: great tunes, beautiful harmony, rhythmic interest, colorful orchestration. Primarily symphonies. Anything from Chadwick to Elgar to Mahler to Saint-Saens to Rimsky-Korsakov and their sphere.
 

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I want music that soars nobly and majestically like the eagle, invigorates like the crisp air of cloudless winter mornings and feels as right and natural as the movement of water as it makes its way downstream. I don't want music that suggests dark, stuffy rooms that smell like sickness or music that seems to intentionally seek to create a feeling of unease and alienation, that sort of thing never fails to remind me of the clown in this Family Guy clip. I prefer vocal over non-vocal music, the concerto over the symphony. I like the harpsichord (as accompaniment) more than the piano.
 

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Romantic Audiophile, willing to explore and enjoy other periods.

My top 3 are Beethoven, Sibelius, and Brahms. Symphonies, concertos and quartets are my favored forms.

Today I'm listening to Shostakovitch and Hugo Alfvén.

My goals in listening are sheer sensual pleasure (that's the audiophile part) and intellectual/emotional escapism (that's the romantic part). Classical music does both of these better for me than any other type of music.
 

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I like fresh, new sounds that are well recorded. I find I lean toward the Icelandic artists, the sound which seems to also be in Holland, along with new English choral.
New releases by young or new artists rather than comparing hangered old conductors efforts endlessly. I never need to hear Karajan again, for example.
20th and 21th century works from America are another sweet spot. I am also a sucker for Early Music, recorded state of the art.
 

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I have some favorite genres in different periods, like motets and madrigals from late renaissance, instrumental music from late baroque, piano concertos by Mozart and early romantics, string quartets by Haydn, Mozart & Beethoven and some similar composers, symphonies by everyone...and no opera, but I can listen to that as well. So far I'm pretty traditional, but I have many modern composers I like too, from Shostakovich to Stockhausen, Britten to Nono, Thorvaldsdottir to Denisov and back to Taneyev. I'm sorry to say I don't listen to Wagner or Satie and many US composers...wait...ZAPPA!
 

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I cannot cope with mediocre or uninspired stuff because Bach, Chopin, Beethoven, Sibelius and Brahms were always inspired in their major work. They did not compose unless they were inspired. Period.
Howabout in their minor work? What do you think is the least inspired cantata by Bach, for example?

Also I deeply dislike certain mediocre, uninspired and repetitive passages in Mahler´s later symphonies (6-9).
any specific examples of such passages do you have in mind? I'm just curious what is it specifically that you would go so far as to deem "mediocre".
 

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My main interest in classical music stems from the 19th and 20th Centuries with some 21st Century composers making it into my listening from time to time. I'm less interested in earlier classical music (i. e. Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque and Classical Eras --- although I do like Haydn a lot). Anyway, I listen to all genres nowadays, but I'd say I probably favor orchestral, chamber, instrumental (especially solo piano music), vocal works (song cycles, cantatas, oratorios, etc.) and some opera the most. In terms of favorite composers, I'm not even going to bother listing them all. One can see my posts in the 'Listening' thread and get a good idea of the composers I tend to favor.
 

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any specific examples of such passages do you have in mind? I'm just curious what is it specifically that you would go so far as to deem "mediocre".
There are one or even two longish threads started by Waehnen in the orchestral music section, both have "Mahler" in the title and should be findable. In short, almost nobody else there could really understand what he didn't like about the particular movements he disliked...
 

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Symphonies, chamber music, solo piano are my favorite genres. I have a bit of the audiophile in me and look for sonic excellence in recordings. For this reason I don't listen to many of the highly-touted "classic" recordings by conductors who recorded in the 50s or 60s - there is so much top-quality stuff recorded in top-notch sound. A Beethoven symphony is an example of a perfect form music takes for me. As a piano player, I also have a very soft spot for solo piano music. The Holy Trinity of solo piano (and I include the more general keyboard term here) is Bach, Beethoven and Chopin. The Holy Trinity of symphonic music is Beethoven, Brahms and Sibelius.

I am baffled about the high regard opera is held in the classical world; I have never been able to sit through a whole opera without being bored for long stretches.
 

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I wouldn't and couldn't limit or isolate myself to an era, genre, style or approach. Perhaps I started like a lot of people with the larger names and giants of the canon; which I still listen to, some more than others. I had musical training so I got lots of music sent my way of all types, depending on the tutor.
Very early admiration for Haydn's, then Mozart's quartets and it might well be my most listened to form over time. Never much cared for symphonies, though later I listened to a lot more when I discovered they don't all sound like Beethoven's (and can't really anyway). As a teen I liked melancholic music such as Chopin's minor key piano music, but also keyboard music by C.P.E. Bach, Couperin (François), Handel. I'd say my biggest first love was impressionism, then neoclassicism and various pianistic composers like Scriabin. These two have never left me and I still get excited listening to it. I also like both the pre- and post-Schola Cantorum Satie works and Les Six. Mid-20s I finally cracked Schoenberg and then other less conventional composers.

From then on it would just be a long list of: I like this....I like that. I don't have a strict field of listening and I'll try almost anything and usually find something in I like. I hold to the idea that you don't have to do things like 'pick a composer' or era and then suck up every last drop from it. There are some composers where I only like one or a few works. Or some where one of their works I find abysmal, but like many others. I don't always seek out a composer's entire oeuvre all the time, though I have investigated the entire works of some. I'm hot and cold with regard to vocal music; some of it I like a lot such as renaissance and early baroque works (especially Italian), but grand opera not as much.

I don't know that I want specific things from music, but I'm cognisant that art tranquillises and masks the sometimes empty mundanity of existence. I like the feeling of having communicated or shared with the composer, and other listeners, a feeling that was 'in' or triggered by the music. No words or explanations, just pure experience. I like that.
 

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My musical performance experience is with recorders, traversos, crumhorns, and shawms, and I have always listened to a lot of Medieval, Renaissance, and early Baroque music in all forms (instrumental and vocal, sacred and secular). I have always liked to try to copy performances by masters like Frans Brüggen, you know, listening to a recording while reading the sheet music, then playing the piece over and over. Not much now as I don't belong to a collegium musicum or such anymore.

What has happened over the course of my life is that I get interested in certain composers, periods, musical instruments, etc., for various reasons (friends, listening to the radio, random) and then listen to my current interest for a few months or years, but I never stop being interested in the music I liked earlier. My memories of places and people are triggered by music and I always remember where I heard pieces of music for the first time, or tended to listen to them a lot. CM has always accompanied me through my adventures in life.
 
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