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My instinct is to say that profundity is seriously overrated.The serious and the tragic are, for reasons best known to the tragedians in particular, accorded greater importance than the smile and the laugh. Humour is just as valid a part of the human experience, but note how many comedians want to be "taken seriously"...literally.
What would this mean then?:
"Wagner is known for his music’s ability to transform, and Meistersinger fails in this respect. Since it is supposedly a comic opera -- in reality, it is far from comic, offering none of the chuckles of a Nozze di Figaro or L’elisir d’Amore -- Meistersinger doesn’t contain the raw emotional struggles of Tristan und Isolde or the psychological conflict of Die Walkure. If we could see some of the classic Wagnerian energy and drama in this opera, Meistersinger would certainly be better. Ironically, Meistersinger was composed between Tristan und Isolde and the finale to Der Ring des Nibelungen, two of the most powerful pieces of music ever written.
Wagner, with Meistersinger, was trying something different, testing his artistic abilities. As a writer of comedy, one must admit, Wagner is not sublime."
-Alkis Karmpaliotis (appreciateopera.org/post/ranking-richard-wagner-s-operas)
 

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There's nothing wrong with having biases - inevitably we all do - but this looks like a case of someone trying to endow his subjective preferences with objective reality.
again,
How exactly? For example, are these people, mikeh375, tdc, Kreisler jr, doing exactly what you describe, with Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Bach?

mikeh375: "I too think Mozart is overrated. Imv, he is too easy to listen to with 21stC hindsight and I feel that music these days has more traits worth exploring than immediacy of appeal. Don't shout at me though, I mean, I am an owner of the complete Phillips Edition. It's just that he is relegated these days to background whilst playing Scrabble in my household....uh oh.....sorry Mozart fans.
OK maybe that's too harsh when I think of his perfection and some of his glorious work, so I'll rescind a little....;) "

tdc: "I respect Haydn for his innovations and musical influence, but I would not rank him as a top ten composer, the only reason I rate him at all, is because of his inventiveness with form and because many others whose opinions I respect, do. I don't listen to his music, because I find it dull and with respect to dissonance, impotent. He uses dissonance, but not effectively in my view. It is like food without spice. His music strikes me as the kind of thing a man would write who has never himself experienced anything in life one could call 'deep' or 'profound'. It seems he resorts to humor, because there is nothing else of substance he has to say."

tdc: "Beethoven's sense of vertical harmony leaves me underwhelmed, so his longer musical paragraphs, although groundbreaking in form, don't help in redeeming his music for me. They actually make it worse.
For me it is like listening to someone who is chatty but doesn't have anything that meaningful to say. Or someone that is telling me a boring story, but they try to spice it up by being over dramatic.
I acknowledge his greatness, virtuosity and genius in form but that is how his music subjectively impacts me."

Kreisler jr: I grant all kinds of technical contrapuntal wizardry singling Bach out but I don't see how even a rather modest Telemann cantata like "Du aber Daniel gehe hin" or the choruses from the Passion section of Messiah (to stick with the best known, there are plenty of other examples) are not in the same range of expression and gravitas (or Schütz for music 100 years earlier). Of course, unlike inverted triple mirror fugues, "emotional depth" or gravitas are rather vague attributes.
 

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However, I would go so far as to suggest that art that successfully conveys profound ideas is far more likely to survive the era, the social and cultural context and the specific factual circumstances in which it was created. The word "classical", especially when applied to art, traditionally referred to the culture of ancient Greece and Rome.
Does Pachelbel's canon successfully convey profound ideas, justifying its popularity with the public today? Some people could say that (in the ending) it evokes nostalgia for the German Baroque in a level that even Bach or Handel doesn't, for instance. In the end, how much of its popularity is jusitified by its "profoundity" belongs in the realm of subjective opinion.
 

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Anyone can honestly think that, for instance; "Of course Mozart is damn good; it's just that all (the advantage) he has over his contemporaries is creaminess, which is good for all of us for sure", —having both an objective sense of seeing things ("Mozart is good"), and a subjective opinion ("it's all creaminess") at the same time.
Things can be and have qualities to be popular, but whether or not they're popular because they're superficially appealing, sentimental, or over the top, or have attractive concepts (eg. "avantgardists of their time", "tortured artists", "musical philosophers", "masters of universal laws of complexity/simplicity") etc, still depends on how each one of us perceives them.
 

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Are you sure there's a difference?
Of course there is a difference. Why is Pachelbel's canon more popular than a lot of Bach, even after all the "propaganda".
We don't know objectively how much of that has been solidified through (intentional or unintentional) "propaganda" in our culture. It's up to each of us to decide subjectively. — I'm not saying Bach, Mozart, Beethoven don't deserve their fame today, but
If we were educated from youth that a fair amount of things Bach did was the work of a typical "church kapellmeister" (I'm not saying it is), and chorales by composers far lesser-known today than Bach were used in teaching instead of Bach's, in all harmonization sessions, over a long period of time, how would it have affected the "consensus" in these matters?
What if we were taught to think like Kreisler jr about Bach, "the usual methods of Bach were things he resorted to to hide his (alleged) 'weakness' in dramatic music (compared to his contemporaries)"?
 

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you could make the case that the Air from the third Bach orchestral suite is even more popular.

Pachelbel - Canon In D Major. Best version. (uploaded on Jan 26, 2008)
74,073,931 views youtube.com/watch?v=NlprozGcs80
Canon in D (Pachelbel's Canon) - Cello & Piano [BEST WEDDING VERSION] (uploaded on Jun 18, 2019)
58,403,735 views youtube.com/watch?v=Ptk_1Dc2iPY
Trans-Siberian Orchestra - Christmas Canon (Official Music Video) [HD] (uploaded on Oct 26, 2009)
39,869,806 views youtube.com/watch?v=4cP26ndrmtg
Pachelbel - Canon in D (Best Piano Version) (uploaded on Jun 4, 2011)
38,556,817 views youtube.com/watch?v=rNsgHMklBW0
pachelbel's Canon in D--Soothing music(the best version) (uploaded on Jul 3, 2007)
33,533,820 views youtube.com/watch?v=hOA-2hl1Vbc
Canon In D | Pachelbel's Canon | 1 Hour Version (uploaded on Apr 26, 2013)
25,641,997 views youtube.com/watch?v=qVn2YGvIv0w

and there are more...
(+there are also rock versions like "Canon Rock - Jerry C cover by Laura Lace", which has over 100 million views)

Air - Johann Sebastian Bach (uploaded on Jan 25, 2010)
74,878,302 views youtube.com/watch?v=rrVDATvUitA
バッハ「G線上のアリア」 Bach "Air on G String"
23,939,523 views youtube.com/watch?v=thQWqRDZj7E
David Garrett - AIR (Johann Sebastian Bach). (uploaded on Oct 14, 2011)
12,066,292 views youtube.com/watch?v=x1ByRGNIpFA
Bach, Air ("on the G string", string orchestra) (uploaded on Feb 26, 2009)
10,505,531 views youtube.com/watch?v=E2j-frfK-yg

(only 4 videos with 10mil+ views and that's it.)
 

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Now let's look at the Art of the Fugue; why is it not as popular as Pachelbel's canon? Because people have failed to grasp the complexity of the Bach? Or because the Pachelbel has inherent qualities to move more people than the Bach? Or — because the Bach is simply "academicism/pedanticism" passed as profundity? (I'm not saying it is. I'm just posing a question.)
it depends on your subjective opinion what groups you include in within your subjective definition of "unwashed masses". For example, it's up to you how you view people (including "casual listeners" that vastly outnumber us) who only listen to Mozart and believe everything said by the so-called "experts" word for word (eg. "only Mozart wrote dissonant harmony like the K.465 quartet in his time")
 

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I don't think most of the people who've enjoyed it are aware of the "propaganda" you're talking about, but the popularization of pieces of music nowadays is just a variant of the standard propaganda technique of telling people that something is great - or true - until they're brainwashed into believing it.
For example;
Well a lot of it predates Amadeus, and in fact you could say Amadeus was a symptom of it. Also Beethoven's biography had been embroidered with plenty of half-truths and apocrypha as well. The thing is "the tragic" has hung over Mozart since his early death, and so (for example) everything in a minor key is of course full of foreboding and desolation...like the 40th symphony.
"One of the many unfortunate legacies of nineteenth-century biographical writing is the excessive focus on the Wunderkind Mozart and the Incomparable Genius Mozart." an-interview-with-david-wyn-jones/
 

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You were talking about Bach propaganda.
Go through this: critique-musicale.com/bachen.htm
"It appears that many recent Music History books, and even dictionaries, generally respecting the objectivity of scientific books introduce as Pavlovian reflex about Bach judgments of value. The terms sublime, genial, wonderful, marvellous are used even though they are generally not used for Vivaldi and most other composers."
 

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Any experience is more than enough. It's why I try so hard to be nice, painful though the effort can be.
It also pains me we disagree on topics like this. But I always do care about how you feel, and respect your views. Btw, I've always liked how you're passionate, insightful, inspiring in various topics (for instance, whenever you talk of your lifelong passion for an artist). It's just that there are some things we discuss that constantly disturb me and make me question; "Are we indulging in idolatry (with certain artists), rather than healthy admiration (for them)?" Please try to understand.
 

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It's also good to agree that Mozart and Wagner were F-ing geniuses.
Sure, but even if you honestly think
Woodduck: "I only listen to Mozart when I'm in the mood for Mozartkugeln, but the Mozartkugeln can be too sickeningly sugary sweet sometimes."
Me: "Brutal."
I'll always understand.


It appears that Chopin, Brahms, Wagner, Tchaikovsky and many others, people who seemed to agree on little else, agreed with the estimates of Mozart which were to become that "unfortunate legacy."
We don't know everything. Neither did those guys. Depending on what we discover, anything can happen. We could even come to the conclusions; "It seems the things we've admired about Mozart weren't really that special after all." "At least Haydn didn't write fluff like Cosi fan tutte, I'll root for him instead."

Some of those guys were either way too focused on Mozart or knew little else other than Mozart (when it comes to the late 18th century), it's questionable if they always made the right judgments on his music (in terms of certain specific elements). They could have been "unfortunate legacy" that has done disservice to one (or possibly more) of his contemporaries (It's what David Wyn Jones is saying with that sentence in that article).

Chopin at the end of his life told Delacroix how Mozart was singular in working with harmony and counterpoint. Brahms at the end of his life wrote to Heuberger about Mozart's "innovation" with use of dissonance. Wagner, according to Cosima, said that Mozart was a great Chromatiker.
I think there's a reason why Schubert (who admired Haydn since his days as a chorister in Vienna), Bruckner (who knew Haydn's liturgical music at Sankt Florian, along with Aumann's), and Weber (who studied with Haydn whenever he and his family returned to Salzburg) did not make comments like those.
Not the best examples, but you get the point-
the harmonic "profundity" of the slow movement (starting at 3:25)-
 

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History's verdict is what it is.
What is it exactly though? Let's face the inconvenient truth; in the end, it's all about popularity. Again, a certain member in the past made a good point by posting the following in another thread (something for us to think about):

"All of the factors contributing to greatness are interrelated and dependent on each other. For example, one factor mentioned above is the tradition of received wisdom: belief in A's greatness has been passed down from generation to generation, reinforced by music textbooks and concert performances and internet forums, while belief in B's greatness has not. Another factor mentioned above is the test of time: A seems greater than B because the former's music has survived till today while the latter's has not. But these two factors are mutually reinforcing: if music textbooks have chapters on A but not B, then of course the former is going to have a leg up on the latter when it comes to the test of time. Conversely, if A's music is still performed today while B's is not, then of course music textbooks are going to have chapters on the former but not the latter. Likewise, another factor that has been mentioned is influence: A has demonstrably had a lasting influence on later composers, even today, while B has not. This is also inherently connected to the above factors: since A appears in textbooks and is more widely performed than B, then of course he is going to have a greater influence on later composers than B will.

In other words, the concept of greatness is a complex and circular system. By this point in time it's also a self-sustaining one, precisely because of the circularity. After all, this system is basically what we call a canon, and it is the very purpose of a canon to be self-perpetuating. As I wrote about in another thread some years ago, it is difficult to imagine any canonical composer being removed from the cycle and losing their canonical status, and it's difficult to imagine any non-canonical composer being inserted into the cycle and acquiring canonical status. I don't think the canon was always closed, and I don't want to think it is now, but if I'm being honest with myself then I have to think realistically that it is."
 

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My ears and brain tell me that Don Giovanni is far superior to Haydn's Man in the Moon, and that the former will be a repertory staple approximately forever while the latter will remain a pleasant curiosity worth an occasional mounting (but definitely worth recording, as are many works unlikely to make it in the concert hall or opera house).
I see what you're saying, but if I think like that, I still end up arriving at disturbing conclusions (what seem to me like "an elephant in the room", based on what I've observed). Any late 18th century composer/work can be thought to be objectively better/equal/worse than another, for instance? On what grounds do we think Mozart is guaranteed to win that contest in all aspects objectively? And by what criteria are we judging? The composers' sense in harmony and sophistication of counterpoint?
For example - Haydn, a composer even lesser-known than Boccherini not many people care about, wrote
Christus factus est, MH38 (1761) OLAK5uy_nMi5KOC_1JKTnHcO9E88D4UBlaVtEweq8&index=13
as his (roughly) "38th" work,
Missa sanctae Crucis MH56 (1762) Nbr83TnFL-g&list=PLBSULQah5VycDjSqGgwApQL4iyR8aaQR3
as his (roughly) "56th" work,
symphony No.4 in B flat MH62 (1763), (which would later have an influence on Mozart's 25th in terms of the mood changes and structure of the slow movement) watch?v=w-t1JKs_L3U&t=10m53s
as his (roughly) "62nd" work,
the quintet from the singspiel 'Die Hochzeit auf der Alm' MH107 (1768) youtube.com/watch?v=M2SHuHCivRI
as his (roughly) "107th" work,
and so on..

You see what I'm saying?
People talk about how Mozart never wrote any "bad work". But (as far as harmony and counterpoint are concerned) this Haydn guy seems to have gone even farther by never writing any "bad or immature work". Here's a guy who seems to have had a grip on counterpoint from his earliest opuses (in the 1760s), and consistently kept or went above that level of "quality" in some 800 works that followed (up until 1805), many of which have not been recorded yet.
By comparison, it could be thought that Mozart really had only about 15 years of "mature period". Some day, when all of Haydn's works are recorded, it could may be shown that Mozart cannot beat Haydn in terms of average level of quality of works, a legitimate criterion of "artistic achievement".
What are the "Mozart equivalents" of the arias of the serenata, Endimione MH186 (1776) -maybe the arias of Litaniae K.243 or Il re Pastore K.208?
Which one is more "profound", if we're trying to judge things fairly?
 

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I would guess that what the masses prefer is considered less impressive because of the idea that a work must sacrifice complexity & variety for the sake of appealing to the lowest common denominator.
How can you explain the "phenomenon" of Pachelbel's canon and the Art of the Fugue, which I talked about earlier.

For people who value complexity & variety above all else, I don't think it's unfair for them to consider that what the masses prefer, in general (especially in our current environment where everything is commercialized), will not meet their standards. That's not to say that everything that appeals to the masses is (according to their standards) low quality. Only that there is a tendency for it to be so.
Or maybe we are "nerdy little circles" having fetish for music hundreds of years old, and they're the normal ones. You say "to prefer", but how much a "life & death" situation it is varies depending on the context and who says it. If a person outside of our nerdy circles says; "Even if music never existed, it wouldn't bother me much, I don't think it's really that essential for human life. On the fundamental level, it's really just a form of entertainment glorified as art. I'm not bothered by pop music I hear in public places." (See Fbjim's comment in another thread: "When I listen to Brahms 4 because I love Brahms 4, and want to enjoy listening to Brahms 4: is that an act of entertainment, or an act of logic?") Does it have less significant meaning than the things we say in our nerdy circles?

Music is too essential to human life to be long captured by idolatry.
Why must anyone be into some kind of music? Music isn't essential to human life. How much important it is varies depending on the individual. Some don't really care for any music in their lives.
 

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Are there cultures without music? I haven't heard of any. Most humans, in my experience, love music of some kind, and in most cultures I know of it has a prominent place and a variety of functions. We seem to be built to make and enjoy music.
The same can be said about sports, for instance. How are we any different from the otakus who say "How would life have been without Neon Genesis Evangelion". Just like them, we're closed in our own nerdy little circles, unable to understand why the rest of the world doesn't care for the Art of the Fugue.
 

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I seem to recall suggesting some reasons, several posts back. Guess you didn't care for them. My advice: stop struggling with it.
I do care for your views, and I respect them, Friend Woodduck. I'm serious. I'll go through them again, in case I missed anything.

Popular art is almost always explicitly about something, namely the concerns, events, fashions and sensibilities of its time. That's one reason why it tends to be - though it needn't be - more time-bound, more ephemeral.
“Listen to the pieces, usually also in minor, where you can hear a contained smoldering prefiguring the romantic era”. Those excerpts do indeed exist, but they actually are the most convincing passages of the fact that the emperor has no clothes, as Mozart always follows them with silly kid-stuff. It is like topping off a fresh-herb flavored veal scallopine with Ready Whip." -Arnold Rosner (sequenza21.com/rosner.html)
^^^ The baroquey stuff in K608 is great, but then you have that "Little Maria Therese Breaking her Fast with Mozartkugeln" at about 3 minutes in, which lacks only a glass harmonica to make my teeth ache. It's as if Mozart felt he had to reassure his audience that he would not lose them in a Gothic labyrinth in which their enlightened sensibilities would be darkened for all eternity. The poor things.
 
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