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11-10-2021 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,966
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 1
Post ID: 26524
Reply to: 26524
Prokofiev
Why are so much don't like him. Sitting tonight at second violin concerto beautifully played by  Stefan Jackiw and just really really don't like his music. Brahms 4 going to be in the second part of the concert, I will be recovering. Amy is playing...


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
11-11-2021 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,407
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 2
Post ID: 26527
Reply to: 26524
The "Voices" of the Orchestra
I also have problems with Prokofiev, like having noisy, intrusive neighbors' sounds flying around while I'm trying to do something else. I do have what I think is a good version of his VC2, but I forget which dead Russian violinist was lead. I'll try to dig it out. I hope Brahms 4 was restorative. I really love and appreciate that symphony; it has some great moments. Prokofiev is one of several composers I hope to understand better once my own New Folly speakers are integrated. 

Paul S
01-14-2022 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
steverino
Posts 347
Joined on 05-23-2009

Post #: 3
Post ID: 26675
Reply to: 26524
A chacun son gout
People are not required to like or dislike anything. I guess the question you raise would require some additional info to answer. Some people have Austro German music as their reference and therefore don't really like styles which are at variance, for example Russian or French. Some people like 19th C music but not 20th C music. I think if you like Tchaikovsky then there might be some Prokofiev one could like such as his ballets, Cinderella, Romeo and Juliet, the Stone Flower or the Symphonies 6 and 7. But Prokofiev also had a 20th C spikiness so one would have to like 20th C music to like the Violin Concertos or some of the earlier symphonies, his opera Love For 3 Oranges etc. Do you also dislike Shostakovich?
01-14-2022 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,407
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 4
Post ID: 26676
Reply to: 26675
Finally "Getting" Something
Sure, Steve, there are various"schools" of Music, and many examples to choose from. We seem to have our preferences, and some music I may never warm up to, although, as I read your post, I was transported back to my childhood, as Peter and the Wolf began to play in my head. I have used several "techniques" over time to try to understand new-to-me music, including "working my way in" to a given genre or ouvre by finding works I do like, and then trying to expand from there. I have even modified my hi-fi system so I could listen to and hear new-to-me, "under-appreciated" music better. As I have hinted, I'm currently (still...) slogging away on new speakers, with just this in mind.  Romy has told us that he has "political issues" with some Soviet composers. I currently find some 20th Century compositions to be "discursive", as I am unable to make the pieces into a coherent whole. Mea culpa. Again, I am happy to find a remedy for this, if I can.

Paul S
01-14-2022 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
steverino
Posts 347
Joined on 05-23-2009

Post #: 5
Post ID: 26677
Reply to: 26676
Music styles
Paul,  20th C classical music wasn't that popular when it was new except in vocal works. The few exceptions either had some rhythmic or melodically memorable aspect. What I mean is that people can accept something more novel and complicated when they have words or stage action to hang onto. Listen carefully to movie soundtracks - they are often quite modern sounding but you don't notice because you are concentrating on the visual images and dialogue. Obvious examples are Richard Strauss operas Elektra and Salome although less well known opera composers like Schreker, Korngold and Zemlinsky were also popular in Europe in the early decades.

The issue is that it is quite difficult to write longer pieces of instrumental music that hold the attention. In early music they developed isorhythm and cantus firmus tenor parts which provide very clear organization but it was non harmonic. Rossini or Mozart could write a three hour opera but no one can write a compelling 3 hour concerto or symphony. But some methods are more effective than others. The use of chromatic leading tone harmonies did enable the creation of very slow music that didn't fall apart but after 60 years from 1860 or so, by the 1920s every possible combination had been used over and over. So composers felt forced to use different organizational methods that have proved much less  effective. So the question becomes what is your tolerance for more discursive structurally ambiguous music? The evidence is that a relatively small proportion of people enjoy that kind of less obvious structure.

Regarding sonics and modern music your point about the hifi system is quite perceptive. The nature of 20th C with its more complex harmonies does stress the recording process even before the playback system is involved. Most conventionally harmonic classical music has all kinds of octave doubling so that when the recording process thins out the harmonic overtones there is quite a bit of harmonic fullness left. With 20th C music though that is less true.  I often find a big difference on how it sounds in the concert hall versus the playback system. The only suggestion I can make other than what you suggest is to try listening in the nearfield to these works at a slightly lower volume.
01-14-2022 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,407
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 6
Post ID: 26678
Reply to: 26677
Big vs. Small Works
I sometimes listen to a little DX radio with crappy headphones, but not much of the "difficult" modern music gets aired around here. I may have some Schoenberg LPs that I never listen to, really can't talk about. What I often hear is along the lines of Saint-Saen, or Elgar, which I like better live than from recordings. Same with Hindemith. Not to be sneezed at, I think, is the "sonic quality" of a good FM broadcast, which seems to allow me to get the most from just about anything I hear played over it. Still, I remember hearing almost nothing but tired-sounding, discursive music on the stations I could pick up when I lived in Venice (LA), many years ago. For Bruckner, I am "going Big", to get the sort of LF and dynamics that seem necessary to "carry" the Music.


Best regards,
Paul S
01-15-2022 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,966
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 7
Post ID: 26680
Reply to: 26675
Me too...
 steverino wrote:
People are not required to like or dislike anything. I guess the question you raise would require some additional info to answer. Some people have Austro German music as their reference and therefore don't really like styles which are at variance, for example Russian or French. Some people like 19th C music but not 20th C music. I think if you like Tchaikovsky then there might be some Prokofiev one could like such as his ballets, Cinderella, Romeo and Juliet, the Stone Flower or the Symphonies 6 and 7. But Prokofiev also had a 20th C spikiness so one would have to like 20th C music to like the Violin Concertos or some of the earlier symphonies, his opera Love For 3 Oranges etc. Do you also dislike Shostakovich?
Yes, I very much don't like Shostakovich too. It is all about self-deprecated vulgarity and even though I completely understand where he was coming from I am not a huge fan of this expressionism. Of course there are work in both of them which pretty much free from that, like Shostakovich piano music for instance. But with the rest of it I have the same feeling of "expectation of vulgarity". It's really oppresses me. It's like to listen good orchestra with horrible let's say horn section. When you listen and each second wait is that horns going to slide got nowhere, pretty much what BSO was on the end 0f 200s. It was so predictable and soft on time that I was actually laughing when I did it. Each freaking concert. Shostakovich is the same. Unquestionable super talented person but like an alarm clock here and there he never forget to squirt some demonstrable ugliness. Perhaps I am overly sensitive to it because it's very much remind me my ugliness and me. One way or another I tend to not like it...


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
01-15-2022 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
steverino
Posts 347
Joined on 05-23-2009

Post #: 8
Post ID: 26681
Reply to: 26680
Lifestyles of the rich and vulgar
The subject of vulgarity in art gets confused with bad taste and satire, so I am not sure which exactly you mean. For example Mahler seems to me to have many instances of bad taste and satire but seldom any significant vulgarity. Tchaikovsky not so much satire but bad taste and vulgarity occasionally  Prokofiev extremely and bitingly satirical not so much vulgar or in bad taste. Bartok seems fairly similar to Prokofiev. Shostakovich had all three. Rimsky and Glazunov did not have satire, vulgarity or bad taste. But Prokofiev could write music that was not at all satirical so I would think that even people with a 19th C bias could appreciate those. So I guess Rimsky and Glazunov would be OK with you at least in terms of not being objectionably vulgar or even have bad taste or satire.

01-16-2022 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,966
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 9
Post ID: 26682
Reply to: 26681
Mahler has plenty of vulgarity in my view
 steverino wrote:
The subject of vulgarity in art gets confused with bad taste and satire, so I am not sure which exactly you mean.
I meant what Brahms did not have.


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
01-16-2022 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
steverino
Posts 347
Joined on 05-23-2009

Post #: 10
Post ID: 26683
Reply to: 26682
Yeah Brahms was vulgar personally but not his music
Nor was he prone to bad taste or even satire. I have never been a big Brahms fan but his musical propriety has integrity.
01-16-2022 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,407
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 11
Post ID: 26684
Reply to: 26683
Music/Composition vs. Composer vs. Performance/Performer
I hate when I'm listening to think of the composers, or performers themselves, in cases where their personal lives or politics were (are) vulgar, or even abhorant. Plenty of examples,  unfortunately. As for Brahms, we have discussed here that not all performers or performances make the most of the compositions. And this might apply to any number of composers, that one seldom hears their compositions rendered at their best. Back to the "20th C" notions, it seems like the conductor, at least, has to have a viable sense of "different" Music, itself. Where Mahler is concerned, there are huge demands on the orchestra, arguably disperportional to best results (think of inefficient speakers...).


Paul S
01-16-2022 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
rowuk


Germany
Posts 408
Joined on 07-05-2012

Post #: 12
Post ID: 26685
Reply to: 26680
Shostakovitch was written for animal brass players
I enjoy performing Shostakovitch much more than listening to someone else play it. It gets the testosterone going…


Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.
01-16-2022 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,966
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 13
Post ID: 26686
Reply to: 26685
I do not know, it is just me
It is like a person I know who absolutely hate listening Wagner, but she is a musician and she absolutely adore Wagner only when she plays it. It is funy is that you mentioned testosterone in context of Shostakovich. I typically call him a composer with the stepped upon testicles. In the west he commonly popularized as a tormented tortured figure but in reality it was not. He was the most celebrated the most prominent composer in the Soviet Union. Still it is not justified his almost sarcastic vulgarity. But I never was able to watch the Clockwork Orange more than 5 minutes without a desire to puke


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
01-16-2022 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
steverino
Posts 347
Joined on 05-23-2009

Post #: 14
Post ID: 26687
Reply to: 26684
Adequacy of performance
 Paul S wrote:
As for Brahms, we have discussed here that not all performers or performances make the most of the compositions. And this might apply to any number of composers, that one seldom hears their compositions rendered at their best. Back to the "20th C" notions, it seems like the conductor, at least, has to have a viable sense of "different" Music, itself.


Paul S

Certainly a minimum adequacy of  performance is necessary to assess or enjoy a composition. I believe though that Brahms lived late enough that we had a direct tradition well into the recorded music era almost up to CDs. So I wouldn't worry that Brahms music recordings are performed very far from what he would have heard. The big difference obviously would be technical proficiency which is higher today. As for modern music composers learned the lesson of performer vagaries even by 1900. The specificity of the orchestration indications becomes much greater around that time. Again the principal problems are now overcome by the greater technical proficiency of performers. It is Beethoven and earlier where we are at sea in terms of knowing what the style of performance was outside of a few bits of knowledge from books of the time.
01-16-2022 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,407
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 15
Post ID: 26688
Reply to: 26687
Sea Change
Steve, thanks for the scholarly perspective. I am happy to have recordings, including multiple iterations of some works, so I can listen to and even compare various performances, since it seems there is always room for variations. Regarding early music, I am certainly not an authority, but I get that we just don't know. As far as more modern music, notation is not the only thing that's changed, but instruments, assignments, and playing styles have changed over time. These differences are easy to hear when comparing old recordings to newer ones, and never mind the "pre-valve" horns Brahms wrote for. Although I am curious, and I remain interested, I don't spend a lot of time worrying about "historical authenticity", and I am always up for virtuosity.

Back to Russian Moderns, I am simply ignorant.



Best regards,
Paul S
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