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Funnily enough, I can't remember a time when I was aware of music but NOT aware of Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart's reputation; we were taught about them as early as music classes in gradeschool.
Beethoven and Mozart, yes; but I wasn't aware of much Bach beyond the WTC. My piano teacher was more an admirer of Chopin and Beethoven. But again it will raise the question "why Bach, Beethoven and Mozart and not M. Haydn, Telemann and Hummel?"
John Donne was almost buried into obscurity until TS Eliot rescued him in the 20th century, largely due to the force of his own authority. What if TS Eliot had latched onto George Herbert instead?
In many ways the rediscovery of George Herbert was even more spectacular than that of Donne.
 

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Beethoven and Mozart, yes; but I wasn't aware of much Bach beyond the WTC. My piano teacher was more an admirer of Chopin and Beethoven. But again it will raise the question "why Bach, Beethoven and Mozart and not M. Haydn, Telemann and Hummel?"

In many ways the rediscovery of George Herbert was even more spectacular than that of Donne.
I think I've addressed your first question enough times by now and you know my position. As for Herbert and Donne, their rediscoveries were both indeed remarkable, but Herbert has nowhere near the reputation and popularity Donne does. Personally I think they were equals, with Herbert being a bit more refined and Donne being a bit more flamboyant. Donne makes a bigger first impression, but Herbert is a poet I appreciate more the older I get.
 

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Have I argued that as an objective fact? If so, where have I done that specifically?
Then, on what basis have you been promoting him as unfairly positioned behind other composers? You sure made it sound like you were presenting an objective argument, otherwise why post after post on the subject if it was really just off the top of your head?
 

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I don't disagree with art's ability to remain relevant after fashions fade because of its ability to appeal to fundamental aspects of human nature/experience....
This to me, is the whole point here, and the only reliable way to describe what 'profundity' is as applied to art. Note that "art's ability to remain relevant after fashions fade" is something that can only be observed empirically. There really is no other way to get at it. One could do ex post analysis of art that has passed the test of time and theorize as to why it has that timeless quality, and while many do such analysis, and it can be useful and illuminating, it can never be conclusive.
 

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Why haven't M. Haydn and Mozart been heard equally?
These might be adequate answers (or not):
"The fact that his music was not distributed very widely in his lifetime did not help, also the fact that he couldn’t be captured in the narrative of Vienna the musical capital pushed him to the margins.”
-Professor David Wyn Jones (interview-with-david-wyn-jones/)
"I think one of the reasons why he did not get as famous as his brother is that he never wanted his music printed. Joseph Haydn's works really disseminated throughout Europe via printing, and that's what lacks with Michael Haydn's music. And Michael Haydn stayed in Salzburg all the time, so he didn't have the same exposure."
-Dr. Eva Neumayr (YA2sTVyDNrA&t=16m44s)
 

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You have been someone promoting the ‘everything is subjective’ position.
My arguments are more subtle than that. I'll explain with another example. 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.
Captainnumber36: "his sugar gets too sweet after a while."
Xisten267: "everything too happy, pretty and fluffy in his music,"
Woodduck: "Don't feel bad. It isn't you. I sensed that about him from the start and have kept my distance. I find him a useful companion when I'm in the mood for skittles, but the scatology is wearing after a while."
 

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...As for Herbert and Donne, their rediscoveries were both indeed remarkable, but Herbert has nowhere near the reputation and popularity Donne does. ...
Well T. S. Eliot was an advocate for the Metaphysical poets in general, so in a sense he did "latch onto" him as well, along with Cowley and a couple of others. See Eliot's essay "The Metaphysical Poets". But this is neither here nor there really. Maybe a better juxtaposition would've been "What if T. S. Eliot had latched onto Dryden..."
 

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Well T. S. Eliot was an advocate for the Metaphysical poets in general, so in a sense he did "latch onto" him as well, along with Cowley and a couple of others. See Eliot's essay "The Metaphysical Poets". But this is neither here nor there really. Maybe a better juxtaposition would've been "What if T. S. Eliot had latched onto Dryden..."
I have read that essay, though it's been a while, but my memory is that Eliot was nowhere near as, let's say, enthusiastic about Herbert as he was with Donne; but Dryden might've been a better choice to better illustrate the point.
 

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hammeredklavier said:
My arguments are more subtle than that. I'll explain with another example. 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 goodfor 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.
Captainnumber36: "his sugar gets too sweet after a while."
Xisten267: "everything too happy, pretty and fluffy in his music,"
Woodduck: "Don't feel bad. It isn't you. I sensed that about him from the start and have kept my distance. I find him a useful companion when I'm in the mood for skittles, but the scatology is wearing after a while."
When I see these kinds of responses, my response is ‘they don’t know their Mozart’. ‘Creaminess, sugar sweet, fluffy’: very profound criticism! (In keeping with the OP).

Btw, your response to dissident above infers objective evidence that Michael Haydn’s position was due to those factors mentioned and not due to inferiority of his music.
 

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I'm not trying to be iconoclastic; please listen to me
Why not, as long as the decision is subjective? For example, think of the kind of arguments the "Mozart partisans" resorted to in threads like <Greatest Ever Opera Composer> against Puccini, Verdi, Wagner (which I think were unfair); "he didn't write any bad work", "he was great with all genres", "all he wrote was perfect", as if Mozart was the only one who had these attributes objectively. But what if there was a forgotten contemporary of Mozart who can be just as deserving to be described by these attributes, depending on the subjective evaluation by each of us. The "tyranny of objectivity" has caused all kinds of harm even without many of us realizing.
This is also how I feel we must approach this whole thing; simply let each of us decide for ourselves how much value something has and "just leave it at that". What's the use of forcing other people "acknowledge the objective greatness of something?"; Glorifying (even further) stuff that has been glorified enough already? It would do more harm than good. It's 2022 now and there's still plenty of music by obscure composers we haven't heard yet since it's not recorded or performed. How can we be so sure of their "greatness", if we haven't given them equal amount of chance as the famous composers?
And I believe a large portion of "useless/pointless debates" on certain famous composers, for instance, "Mozart vs. Beethoven" (even though they can be thought to have little to do with each other artistically), has been waged on the premise or the mindset that they're objectively "summits of Western music".
 

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I think hammeredklavier is concerned, and not unjustly so, that so much of our artistic hierarchies, so to speak, are founded on the received wisdom of what art others before us liked. I think he has a point to some extent, as there's no doubt that, at the very least, Mozart's popularity means he we will be heard by far more people than M. Haydn ever will. If they were heard equally would their popularity shift? Would it shift without the received wisdom of authorities about Mozart being better? These aren't easy questions to answer, and are worth asking. I don't think hammered is trying to suggest you are somehow wrong for liking Mozart, he's just trying to get people to realize that other composers may be just as deserving of our attention, even based on our own aesthetic values, but we overlook them for reasons having nothing to do with the quality of their music.
I tell myself, I don't care whose name is on the score or when hearing a work I can't identify, but we are swayed by the mention of the name of a minor composer, for example. It's the same in any subject in which we have past experiences (good and bad).
The problem for me with M. Haydn is few keyboard works for tracing his development. If I can't explore and apply, I don't have enough time for it. It's the same with many many modern works, for me.
 

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IMO, one can’t prevent a convincing argument promoting one artist over another based on pure subjectivity. If the evaluation and comparison of composers is based totally on individual subjectivity then no argument can possibly stand up suggesting that one composer should have had a different standing relative to others. In short, you can’t have it both ways.

In the arts, some artists excel above others and objective reasons for it are not hard to find otherwise all artists might as well be called amateurs. Not considering Mozart and Beethoven, with a few others, to be at the summit of the CP era of western CM is at the very least an affectation.
 

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Science is built on the foundations of rationality and empiricism. I’ve asked this before: what other methods would you like to introduce towards knowing something? Personal experience is fine for knowing some things, like what I ate yesterday, but not for others because the limitations of human experience and perception.
Knowledge isn't first acquired by a "method," but by direct experience. Methods may be needed later, depending on the sort of knowledge we're talking about. My knowledge that I'm improving a piece of music I'm composing when I strike out my introductory bars and substitute something more in keeping with the overall point of the work doesn't rely on any "method." In the course of composing I'll do the same thing hundreds of times to make something that HAS a recognizable point, as opposed to something random, clumsy and self-negating. Your assertion that an artist is just doing what feels good and that no result has any more real merit or value than any other - after all, someone might prefer chaos to order - is, excuse my French, grotesque, inhuman, and dumb. But apparently that's where "rational" subjectivism lands you. If all values are equal and optional depending on whether we "feel" like holding them, then no art can be superior no matter what values it embodies or expresses.

As I've said, when logic takes you to an absurd conclusion, there's a problem with your premises. The trouble is, you seem not to recognize an absurd conclusion when you reach it.

[The triumph of Wagner over Meyerbeer] has to do with the different potential of their different works to appeal to the different subjectivities that interact with them. Obviously, Wagner’s had much more potential to appeal to many more on a deeper level that’s kept him relevant for as long as he’s been relevant; this is still all within the realm of certain subjectivities being primed to respond to Wagner in that way, which doesn’t negate Wagner’s ability in appealing to those subjectivities (these two factors are co-dependent). Still, Wagner didn’t have the skill to appeal to all human subjectivities, either in his own time or across time. Meyerbeer had even less ability to appeal to as many as Wagner did, though perhaps he had more to appeal to the subjectivities of his own time. To go pragmatic, why must we go farther than this? What is to be gained by doing so and trying to announce that Wagner is somehow objectively better? He’s better in the ability to appeal to more people across time than Meyerbeer; yes, but that is, fundamentally (I’m sorry) a poll. It wouldn’t delegitimize anyone who actually thought Meyerbeer to be better for appealing to their own subjectivity.
Yanking this out of the ivory tower and bringing it down here where people speak normally, Wagner's art quite obviously has more to say about and to human beings than Meyerbeer's does. If you don't think that that (among other things) makes it greater art, and Wagner a greater artist, suit yourself.

You can claim this all you want but you have not demonstrated a difference. All I see are two people claiming truth with no objective means of epistemically supporting themselves. Also, if you don’t care what most religious people claim—and I assume you don’t care because you’d argue they can’t support the claim that their experiences point to any objective truth—then why should anyone care about what you claim as truth?
So you really see no difference in truth value between the claim that Haydn was a better composer than Benjamin Franklin (he wrote string quartets too) and the claim that the world was created in six days and then drowned in a forty-day downpour, from which a pair of every single species on the planet was rescued in a wooden boat?

The problem with the latter belief is that it's obviously nonsensical. It contradicts our experience of the way the world works. Most religious ideas do. It's almost a requirement.

Absolutely romance novels tell us something about the human condition.
That's why I can't wait to read my next one. But it has to have Fabio on the cover.

Moby Dick and Crime & Punishment tell us plenty too, but I’m not sure they tell us more or less than romance novels and Harry Potter; the major difference is that the latter aren’t TRYING to tell us anything,
So that's what distinguishes Nora Roberts from Herman Melville and Feodor Dostoevsky? I guess I'll have to take your word for it. Maybe someone else here has spent enough time with romance novels to show me their unsuspected depths and extraordinary aesthetic qualities.

It seems a rather rational assertion that the art that speaks most profoundly to the most universal aspects of the human condition would also be the art that appeals to the most humans. How else would you even determine such a thing?
My statement was: "Romance novels appeal to more people than Moby Dick and Crime and Punishment. Do they tell us more about the 'human condition' ? What is the human condition, anyway? Whose condition are we talking about? Yours? Mine? Donald Trump's?"

I'd say that the most universal aspects of the human condition are the ones we share with worms, warblers and wombats, plus some minimal level of rationality that may or may not function well. Not a very inspiring collection of traits for art to speak "profoundly" to. It's what I meant when I said, in response to your elevation of the great unwashed, "So the 'human condition' means whatever takes us along the path of least resistance for the least common denominator." Who cares if more people have read books with Fabio on the cover than ones with a white whale? I don't know those people, and I don't need to know them and what aspects of the "human condition" their soft porn speaks to. I was drawn to classical music as a child because it appealed to the most exciting aspects of my own "human condition" - aspects like a growing aesthetic perception and an active imagination - that the stuff other kids were listening to seemed not to touch. I enjoyed silly popular songs too, like other kids, but I damn well knew the difference. I knew that some aspects of the "human condition" were universal, but as potentialities in us, and that great art could be both an expression and embodiment of them and a challenge to develop them further.

I still know the difference between Fabio and Moby Dick, and the difference between Meyerbeer and Wagner, and the difference between art that speaks profoundly and perceptively and art that tickles the surface of life or wallows in its refuse like a pig. There's room for art at all levels of depth - we need easy fun as well as spiritual enrichment - but we need to keep our perceptions and our values in order. Spare me your exaltation of the man in the street and his unassailable subjective values and exquisite artistic tastes. People are shooting each other in the street, waving QAnon placards, trying to overturn elections, and gunning for women who think they own their own bodies. Is there art that "speaks profoundly" to those aspects of the "human condition"? Roll over, Beethoven.
 

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Discussion Starter · #318 ·
@Woodduck: Your pipe organ example differs from my concept of awe and grandeur of a natural extra-human object (huge mountains, etc.) in scale, I would suggest. A large machine making a big noise is the same idea of hearing a loud train whistle when one is least expecting it, or jumping up at the surprise in the Surprise symphony. That difference in scale and in knowing or guessing or assuming that the big noise was of human origin is enough to separate the profound from the sublime.
Woodduck: "It's a bit like saying science can help us discover what is true, but it can't tell us that we should care about truth. I would also suggest that axiomatic systems are outside the purview of science, including math and logic."
A) you are correct in that science can asymptotically approach truth better than any other system or method yet devised, but you are correct also in science not telling us whether we should care what is true--we must make certain assumptions such as is the planet worth saving (and us with it), should people do unto others as they would have done unto themselves, etc. But science, better again than any other method, can supply the data and the tools to effect ameliorative change or maintain a desirable stasis.
B) As a full materialist, I hold that everything is composed of matter and also of the forces (often particles) that interact within matter or through the space occupied by matter. Art is matter, photons, sound waves, psychological effects, neurochemistry--all fit subjects for scientific investigation. Things such as logic and mathematics exist in brains and not out in space, and Kurt Godel showed that mathematics itself cannot be proven to be consistent using the tools of the system itself--it requires an outside introduction of certain axioms to make it work, and these come from the human brain and are thus open to study. Empiricism. Actually we may agree on much of the material in your posts and mine, with only the caveat that I avoid any sort of transcendentalism seeking to exist above and beyond matter. To thus exceed the chains of having to actually exist, even as brain chemicals and the firing of neurons, puts us into a world where literally "anything goes".
 

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Discussion Starter · #319 ·
In reading the various posts, it becomes ever more clear that many do not grasp my fundamental position that all esthetics are personal. I liberate completely the individual's ability to enjoy, loathe, admire, grade, rank any and all art. This does not mean that all art is equal; it means that the individual controls the grading and ranking to suit his/her own requirements. People are equal in their right, validity, freedom, to hold fast to those things that are important to them as art and the experience of art. Whether one chooses to follow the guidance of another or of a cluster or of critics is a matter of individual choice--we all actually thus pick and choose--it cannot be denied. What is non-demonstrable is that some art is greater than some other art merely by the fact that a consensus, a cluster, an authority figure says so. Art just is; we endow it as individuals with qualities and properties beyond those clearly and universally measurable.
 

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Btw, your response to dissident above infers objective evidence that Michael Haydn’s position was due to those factors mentioned and not due to inferiority of his music.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, Schubert, Bruckner, Weber, etc, thought that Michael Haydn was unmatchable in liturgical music and songs; (with all things such as variety, quantity, quality considered). Mozart died leaving some masterpieces from his Salzburg years, (including a sketchy requiem from his late years), in this field. Try moving outside of boundaries of idolatry and you'll see a lot more than you do now.
The attitude "I'm not interested in delving deeper into 18th century Classicism; I'm just interested in what's popular today" should not be passed as "insight" in these matters.
I guess there's no point discussing X with people who've listened to X's music only a couple of hours. They don't know the stuff, but pretend that they do. If given blind tests, they won't pass any of them. Relying on received wisdom is all they can do.
 
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