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I love Bach because of the influence of the "received wisdom"
There's nothing wrong with that. Nobody has the right to criticize you for your aesthetic decisions. But have you been to various websites and seen people comment?:
"He was the only one who wrote in complex methods even after they declined in popularity, the kind of mindset every true artist should have!".
And there we have the "Bach myth". (By this, I'm not saying Bach is overrated in any way). It's much like the "Mozart myth" you discussed in other threads:
"His musical designs were so perfect, no one could match him. Everything he wrote in minor keys is so tragic, it is as if he's foretelling his early demise!"
There's nothing wrong with having admiration or respect for artists, but if the cultism is so strong it clouds our vision, and even entire history books are written based around the myths — it poses a bit of a problem (and I object to Fluteman's support for these things). Don't you think?
If you have a copy of Charles Rosen's <The Classical Style>, have a look at page 281, where he discusses Mozart's K.174 quintet; "The immediate model for this work is not at all Michael Haydn, as has been thought, much less Boccherini, but ..."
In this manner, he goes onto discuss Mozart's other quintets, how they were homage to a certain composer (other than Michael Haydn).
The closeness of chromatic language and stuff Mozart has with Michael, —Rosen does not mention.
MH287: watch?v=qIPffGnkaKU&t=3m33s (compare with K.515/i)
MH284: watch?v=ppTToo8lrMQ&t=6m6s (compare with K.465/i)
Each of Michael Haydn's quintets (MH187, MH189, MH367, MH411, MH412) predates Mozart's by several months ~ 1 year (MH367, the slow movement of which resembles that of K.465, predates it by months), but Rosen does not mention this either.
The relationship between the fugal final movements of MH287 and K.387 (both of which begin on 4-note patterns) the slow variation movements of both composers' A major quartets, MH299 and K.464, (+ a bunch of other things) —he does not mention.
Why? It's because Rosen did NOT know the stuff.
 

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I don't want to speak for someone else, but the general impression I get is that a subjective view of aesthetics does not hold that all art is necessarily equal in every possible frame of reference. Instead it holds that a) art has no inherent value that can be separated from some sort of frame of reference, b) frames of reference exist where it is possible to compare and assign values to different works of art, and c) whether or not one accepts or sees art in a given reference frame is very much up to them (meaning that even if works can be compared within a certain framing, the importance that one assigns to this frame is very much down to the listener's own aesthetic values)
Ironically, this is very much the approach of an author such as Charles Rosen, yet it gets him into hot water here at TC, and probably elsewhere too. For though he goes to great pains to establish a 'frame of reference', to use your terminology, having done that, he expresses his opinion as to which music is the greatest and which is not so great in no uncertain terms.

Rosen could have omitted or toned down some of his more sweeping opinions, for example, that since Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven were the greatest composers of the classical period, and since other composers of that period only did what those three did but not as well, only the music of those three composers need be considered in an analysis of the classical style. He could simply have written the rest of his book and edited that statement out.

In the end, opinions are always just opinions. Even having established his frame of reference, Rosen must subjectively prioritize the many skills involved in working within the classical style and subjectively attach more value to one composer's characteristic approach to certain problems than another's. Among other things. Still, his analysis is useful and illuminating. To the posters here who keep asking, "What is so great about Mozart?", it likely is the best possible answer.
 

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hammeredklavier said:
Unless you can prove "if they had their prime years around that time, they would have done things just as good or even better", it's essentially a useless debate in terms of "objective profundity" or whatever.
Well I can’t prove that if I had been trained on the piano at an earlier age I might have been a world-reknown pianist either so, again, your point escapes me.

Bottom line: These kinds of hypotheticals prove or even suggest absolutely nothing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #445 ·
"The question" in question is posed to someone who denies that any criteria exist by which anyone, including the artist, can determine levels of excellence in works of art. "The question" is not pointless.


The statement in bold above appears to be intended as the clearest you can make. Here it is:

"In a sense all art is equal in having no properties--measurable properties beyond mass, color, odor, duration, creator, date created, size, shape etc.--that can possibly be used to rank, grade, otherwise evaluate it other than by each individual perceiver or, through polling and clustering, or other pure assertion."

I don't know whether "in a sense" is intended as a qualifier to "all art is equal," which is what it would be in normal usage. It would imply that in some other sense, not all art is equal. But, letting that go, I will point out that nothing is evaluated "other than by each individual perceiver." Evaluation is the activity of a brain, and only individuals have brains. That leaves only one essential idea in your assertion, the idea of measurement. Your contention is that artistic value - quality or excellence - can't be measured - quantified in numbers - and therefore cannot exist outside the mind of the individual observer. The premise assumed by this requirement for physical measurement is that no value judgments of any kind, except those of simple physical utility ("this is better for this purpose than that") have any validity outside the mind of an individual, since values are not measurements of physical properties. As a thoroughgoing materialist, which you've said you are, you must believe that all value judgments, including moral judgments, rest finally upon personal feelings - tastes, sentiments, wishes, whims, etc., and that no objectively valid jusifications for them can or need be made.

This is a logically consistent position. If you can live by it, accepting all of its implications all of the time, congratulations. I know I can't, and I know that artists who create these magnificent works we all love can't. They actually think that their struggles to find the better note, color, line or word is in fact a struggle to find something better - something that makes their work more coherent and meaningful - not merely a way of making themselves feel better. But then a preference for coherence and meaningfulness is a value judgment, and since coherence and meaningfulness can't be physically measured...

The reason I suspect you of doublespeak is that you occasionally make a statement such as the one above: "This does not mean that all art is equal." What does that mean to you? In what "sense" are works of art not equal? You can't mean "not all art is equal in my personal judgment," since that's established and indisputable, and no one has raised an objection to it. Nor can it mean, "not all art is equal in reputation," for the same reasons. I recall a similar statement in another thread which seemed even more explicit in its apparent contradiction of your thoroughgoing subjectivism. Such statements inevitably raise doubts about your consistency. Is it possible that your views on art are more nuanced than you claim they are? Hope springs eternal... :)
On the level of the individual, all art is not equal--we all grade and rank and evaluate art as it suits us. Once outside the purview of the individual, all art is equal because it just is. Like planets just are. You can forget "in a sense."
 

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Discussion Starter · #446 ·
"Self-evidently good"? What on earth do you mean? Like Bach is "self-evidently great"? Since it's all just subjective personal opinion, and each opinion is valid, it's not really possible to antagonize, belittle or disrespect except in the eyes of those who aren't quite as enlightened about the validity of subjective votes. It's not "bad behavior"; it's voicing your equally valid opinion.
Okey Dokey. As you say. Lead horses to water, but......
 

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Discussion Starter · #447 ·
And there's no valid evidence that one isn't worse than another. I'm as free to think of your playlist as crap as I am free to think of my own as golden. And there's not a bit of evidence you can produce to contradict that. And it's a valid vote.
You may be getting the picture. Still looking for that reasoned exposition.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #449 ·
I don't believe this is what is being asserted - or, at least this is not what I believe.

An assertation that - oh, I dunno - Michael Haydn has had as much impact on the development of Western music, or as much repute as Beethoven is just factually wrong. That is the objective fact that is "in play". I think the subjective view does not state that an assertation that Michael Haydn was a "more major" composer than Beethoven is valid. Instead, the amount someone decides that they care about this fact when evaluating music is the question of subjective preference.

Lemme put it this way. If someone says Meyerbeer was a better composer than Wagner I'd put it down to personal preference. If someone said "Meyerbeer is a better composer than Wagner because his work is more enduringly popular" I'd ask what he's smoking.
The results of polling (popularity) are an objective fact. Mote people prefer Wagner over Meyerbeer. Once we say that, we have exhausted any further way of assessing "greatness".
 

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On the level of the individual, all art is not equal--we all grade and rank and evaluate art as it suits us. Once outside the purview of the individual, all art is equal because it just is. Like planets just are.
Planets are not created and structured in specific ways by human minds in order to represent life, embody values, and communicate ideas and emotions. Those things, which are what art is all about, are not things that "just are." They have to be achieved, and artists have to think and work and refine their perceptions and their craft in order to do them and be recognized for having done them. The implication of your thinking is, at best, that human beings have no ability to perceive whether the artist has done these things well or poorly - and, at worst, that there's really no such thing as doing them well or poorly.
 

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...As a thoroughgoing materialist, which you've said you are, you must believe that all value judgments, including moral judgments, rest finally upon personal feelings - tastes, sentiments, wishes, whims, etc., and that no objectively valid jusifications for them can or need be made.

This is a logically consistent position. If you can live by it, accepting all of its implications all of the time, congratulations. I know I can't, and I know that artists who create these magnificent works we all love can't. They actually think that their struggles to find the better note, color, line or word is in fact a struggle to find something better - something that makes their work more coherent and meaningful - not merely a way of making themselves feel better. But then a preference for coherence and meaningfulness is a value judgment, and since coherence and meaningfulness can't be physically measured...
...
:ROFLMAO: Bingo, and thus the need for "in a sense" qualifiers. And the appeals to "etiquette", "good behavior" and "respect".
 

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Discussion Starter · #452 ·
Here‘s my main message:
In the arts, once, for whatever reason, a blueprint or foundation for what attracts a sizable number of people, with all their various individual subjective persuasions, has been created, then there can be objective reasons why certain artists excel above others. Thus, in the CP era, we have blueprints including the sonata form with a theme and the development of a theme, orchestration with particular instruments that individually were developed and improved, solo compositions for piano, violin, cello etc., each with characteristics attractive to those drawn to the genre.

Thus we have a scenario under which one can see objective reasons why the works of Bach, Beethoven and Mozart stood out. This can be particular excellence in the various subsets of symphonies, concertos, sonatas, opera (Mozart and Beethoven, though opera not so much for the latter) or in one particular subset such as opera (Wagner). Of course, it’s a little more complex than that.
If by "objective reasons":, you mean a consensus within a cluster, then, yes, it is an objective fact that the consensus' criteria have been met (when they have). No problem with that; in fact it is at the heart of my observations about the establishment of greatness, profundity, whatever, in the arts..
 

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The results of polling (popularity) are an objective fact. Most people prefer Wagner over Meyerbeer. Once we say that, we have exhausted any further way of assessing "greatness".
That is absolutely... let's see...hmmm... Let's go with "apalling." But it really is what someone must say when their only way of judging art is with their taste buds.

I advise avoiding the collective "we." If you, individually, have so little understanding of music, opera, drama, philosophy, psychology, and whatever else distinguishes the brilliant, thoughtful, original, rich, resonant and influential art of Wagner from the confections of Meyerbeer, as to be unable to tell, or at least sense on some level, that the former is a far greater artist than the latter, just say so and leave the rest of humanity out of it. Not that the rest of humanity cares what you think of it as it fills opera houses for Tristan but can't find a performance of Le Prophete to fill houses for.
 

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have you gone to various websites and seen people comment?
For instance, have a look at the article <I Believe in Mozart: Symphony No. 41 in C Major> 2013/03/18/i-believe-in-mozart-symphony-41-in-c-major/

"I'm back baby!"

We have been constantly "educated" (or "brainwashed" depending on how you look at it) in this way. "Thank Bach only, and no one else."
What if we had been educated from childhood about, for instance, the complex organ works of Johann Ludwig Krebs and nothing about Bach? Would things have been the same? (I'm just asking).
 

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hammeredklavier said:
What if we had been educated from childhood about, for instance, the complex organ works of Johann Ludwig Krebs and nothing about Bach? Would things have been the same? (I'm just asking).
Why weren't we educated from childhood by Krebs and not by Bach? You're always framing this as if it's some accident or else some mysterious influence somewhere arbitrarily picked Bach for who knows what reason.
 

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...
We have been constantly "educated" (or "brainwashed" depending on how you look at it) in this way. "Thank Bach only, and no one else."
What if we had been educated from childhood about, for instance, the complex organ works of Johann Ludwig Krebs and nothing about Bach? Would things have been the same? (I'm just asking).
By the way I think I can put my finger exactly on the difference between Bach and that selection there. I only listened for a few minutes, but that selection to me is static. It's sort of "blocky" with the repetition of small units, while in Bach there is a sense of linear, forward progress and development. Compare that with
 

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I only listened for a few minutes, but that selection to me is static. It's sort of "blocky" with the repetition of small units, while in Bach there is a sense of linear, forward progress and development.
That's because the Haydn utilizes archaic expressions in its Classical framework (and they only last 2 minutes; everything resolves before it gets "too excessive"). I'm not sure Bach even has that sort of "non-metric" stuff. Your opinion is subjective of course, just like Kreisler jr's on Bach. Bach lacks gradations of dynamics, changes of rhythm, "development sections", due to the idiom he worked with. Listen to the Dies irae, which I posted earlier.
 

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Your opinion is subjective of course, just like Kreisler jr's on Bach.
Or Denk's on the Goldbergs: "The first flaw of this masterpiece is a doozy. The piece is eighty minutes long, and mostly in G major. Just think about that for a minute. Then (without a bathroom break) think very similar thoughts for 79 more minutes, winding around the same basic themes, and then you will have some idea of what it's like to experience—you might even say survive—the Goldbergs. Let's not delude ourselves. No amount of artistry and inspiration (sorry Glenn, not even you) can make you forget that you are hearing 80 minutes of G major; it's like trying not to notice Mount Everest. Not only is it G major, but it is always, (nauseatingly?) the same sequence of harmonies within G major. This is more than a compositional roadblock; it's essentially a recipe for monotony and failure. The Goldbergs are a fool's errand attempted by the greatest genius of all time." Why I Hate The 'Goldberg Variations'
 

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Discussion Starter · #459 ·
That's right. Retreat into squibdom. :D
My bad! I confess to giving into lobbing back..But it is, you will admit, frustrating to engage with someone who offers no coherent and carefully explicated position but merely snipes away at the views of others and must be corrected periodically. But such is life on the Internet. :rolleyes:
 
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