My Approach to Classical

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My Approach to Classical

Postby Adagio Appassionato » Mon Dec 25, 2000 4:38 pm

My general approach to Classical Music to that of an emotional one. This is due to how my interest developed. It began with the music of Mozart leading me chronologically forward through Beethoven,Schubert,Mendelssohn,Schumann,Brahms,Tchaikovsky and presently Dvorak. I honestly have not progressed much further except for the occasional Adagio for Strings ala Samuel Barber & Aaron Copland's Fanfare...Etc. My whole point in this biopic is to present my background with my assessment of classical as a whole. And it is this: I have listened,absorbed,and studied nothing else for 5 years and I find that I am attracted to those composers that plumb the greatest depth emotionally. I also greatly respect those composers that can acheive the rare blending of broad genius (and) moving melodies. And that said, In my humble opinion the GREATEST COMPOSERS that ever were: BACH,MOZART and SCHUBERT. I give my "Dogged Determination in Spite of All Odds" award to BEETHOVEN. BACH was "the" father and master of counterpoint which even the great MOZART had difficulty in handling. MOZART was a master of all with the preceding exception but tended to stay within the bounds of the "classical" boundries. But, contrary to opinions offered on this BB, I SHUDDER to think of where MOZART was heading had he lived to 50 or 60. You must remember, in his last 5 to 7 years in Vienna, his music was increasingly accused of being "too harsh to the ears" and even BEETHOVEN acknowledged as much when examining scores of MOZART's music shortly after arriving in Vienna in 1792. SCHUBERT was,I think, as much or more a genius as BEETHOVEN.Yet, he was a misfortunate case of someone who did not have the drive or personality to succeed in making money from his art.<P>"And that's all I got to say about that."<P>I welcome any response to this.
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Re: My Approach to Classical

Postby Flowerboy » Mon Dec 25, 2000 4:48 pm

i strongly dissagree.<BR>My View on Classical music is whether or not i think the composer meant what he wrote. Did he write all he had to say in the piece? I believe all music must have a meaning to it relating to the music and his thoughts, and if it doesnt, well then, its nothing but a scribble, good scribble or not. MUSIC IS A FORM OF COMMUNICATION. The composer must communicate a message for the work to be successful, in the eye of the audience, and in the eye of the composer himself. Thats why Tchaikovsky ripped up alot of his music. Beethovens 5th symphony is a prime example. He communicated his thoughts in that work. The hard part of this is when you dont know what the composer means when you hear his work. If the audience doesnt know what to think of the work, then it has failed for the time being, until someone has figured out what he means. Sometimes there is no meaning at all. If you dont understand where im coming from or if you have any questions or contradictions, PLEASE reply. Can anyone guess my favorite 3 composers from what i wrote?
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Re: My Approach to Classical

Postby Luis » Tue Dec 26, 2000 12:56 am

Hi all! <P>Hmm… how interesting! I have been listening CM (and almost nothing but CM) for the same time as Adagio and I also took almost the same route! Though I’m now more attached to Mahler than to Dvorak (who was also an absolute genius too). Before CM I used to listen some heavy metal bands -which I think it was also the case of some other member here- such as Angra, Gamma Ray, Stratovarius, Yngwie Malmsteen and a band I still like: Rhapsody. About Beethoven, Mozart and Schubert, well, I also always wondered what would have happened if the last ones had lived more. They were surely more “gifted” than Beethoven, however that wouldn’t make them compose better music -well, in fact I think there is no possible way to determine why a music is better to another but don’t make me enter in this terrain here too (Serge, Michael, PDG and Leslie would know what I’m referring to Image- Anyway, I like to think about Mozart and Beethoven as two different kind of good students: Mozart as incredible bright one that with no big effort and knowing always the professor’s requests and likes, manage himself to obtain pretty good notes but not making and exceptional work (I LOVE Mozart anyway). And Beethoven, on the contrary, as a less gifted one that, despite of this and making an extraordinary effort and not caring the teacher’s wishes at all but instead always privileging “his own” interest on the eventual works, ends making something amazing; something that always exceeds what any teacher would had expected. And this too is applied about these student’s flaws. For example while Mozart cheated applying many times the same always-working formulas (not to mention when he presented to two different teachers the same work! (changing clarinet for flute for example), Beethoven didn’t care a damn sh… about deadlines when doing so would compromise the work as it would meant to be. <P>About Flowerboy’s favorite composers mmmm…1) Beethoven 2) Tchaikovsky 3) Mahler. Hey! That’s pretty much my taste too!: <BR>1) Beethoven<BR>------------------ The rest, which would be something like:<BR>2) Mozart<BR>3) Tchaikovsky <BR>4) Mahler<BR>------------------ The other rest (I deeply love them though)<BR>Dvorak, Brahms, Schubert, Bach, Handel, Mendelssohn, Rachmaninoff, Chopin, Bruckner and many more! <P><BR>I’d say I’m more moved if music has some profound meaning but I could enjoy -A LOT- “just the music” as it would be the case of many Mozart’s music.<BR><p>[This message has been edited by Luis (edited 12-26-2000).]
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Re: My Approach to Classical

Postby Michael » Tue Dec 26, 2000 8:47 am

I would completely disagree with the assertion that Beethoven was "less gifted" than Mozart and the others. A lot of myths have grown up about B and his method of composing, i.e. that he was a slow composer (I would say he was a perfectionist - he could compose very quickly when it was required - and his highly acclaimed improvisations were nothing but high-speed composition).<BR>Because his sketches and manuscripts are so messy with huge crossings-out and blots, the manuscripts of Mozart, in their pristine condition, are held up as examples of how that prodigy could do all his work in his head and faster - hence he is more "gifted".<BR>But when Mozart came to write string quartets, arguably the highest form of classical music, he ran into trouble and had to do some blotting and scratching himself, as his scores reveal.<BR>But, ultimately, whether one composes in one's head and then writes it, fully formed onto a lovely neat score, or whether one composes on dirty pieces of rain-soaked paper and then transfers them to dog-eared scores, these are just personal methods of composing, and what should count is the final result.<BR>Don't tell me that the man who wrote the Ninth Syphony, the Missa Solemnis, the last five quartets, the Hammerklavier Sonata ...<BR>was less "gifted" than Mozart or Bach or whoever!<P>Michael<BR>
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Re: My Approach to Classical

Postby Adagio Appassionato » Tue Dec 26, 2000 3:20 pm

People. People. People. I realize that I'm on BEETHOVEN.COM but...come on. I didn't realize that an opinion could be deadly. All that I'm saying is that BEETHOVEN wasn't as talented in creating melody as BACH,MOZART,and SCHUBERT. Granted, I think that BEETHOVEN was certainly the most admired composer, but I think that it is not only because of his compositions but also because of his demeaner towards his patrons. I mean, let's face it. We all like to identify with a no-nonsense guy with a confident swagger. And BEETHOVEN certainly fit that bill. And yes, I realize that many will cite my ignorance of BEETHOVEN and his intelligence. My take on BEETHOVEN is that he was a great composer that was shaped by the circumstances of "his" life, just as BACH,MOZART,and SCHUBERT were shaped by theirs. Given a better life with no deafness and marital fulfillment, who knows how BEETHOVEN's music would have turned out? Take MENDELSSOHN for example. It is well known that because of his easy and generally happy life, his music matured at 16 and advanced no further. Throw him a difficult life and perhaps he would have emulated or surpassed BEETHOVEN in depth and "inner meaning" within his music.(As BRAHMS tried and failed at.) And as for this talk of meaning in music, as some have pointed out earlier on this BB, I approach and appreciate most of Classical Music viewing it as "absolute music". Which I think even BEETHOVEN would not have had a problem with. Like him, I take the liberty to either listen while attempting to read his mind or "meaning", or not to. I DO realize that, yes, there are instances of "program music" with pre-conceived feelings attached, but even these I approach with caution. In summary let me say this: The absolute & enduring beauty of Classical Music lies in it's timelessness and every individual's right to their opinion of any seperate composer or their compositions.<p>[This message has been edited by Adagio Appassionato (edited 12-26-2000).]
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Re: My Approach to Classical

Postby shostakovich » Tue Dec 26, 2000 7:19 pm

I'm impressed with the progress of Adagio in just 5 years, and the similar path taken by Luis. <BR> I see both sides as valid in the controversy of whether Beethoven or Mozart was the more gifted. I appreciate the passion about music of all respondents. My own emotions get stirred when I see Schubert linked with the big names. Outside of the Unfinished (whose authorship I question) and Ave Maria (immortal melody), I just can not see him as major league. Assuming the flaw is my own, what should I be looking/listening for?<P>Now a few notes on the above letters. I guess Flowerboy's 3 favorites are Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky. But Luis may have him better pegged. <P>Adagio and Flowerboy, your criteria made me think of Charles Ives. He took "dogged determination" to heroic proportions, but his music does not communicate to many (based on my experience in concert and radio listening). <P>Luis, when "hi-fi" was in its infancy the name of Alberto Ginastera came onto the recording scene with Estancia and Panambi. His Variaciones Concertantes also made a little splash. Since then only Estancia, particularly for the final "malambo", seems to find its way onto recordings. Can you tell me how Ginastera is regarded in Argentina now? Thanks.<P>I've read in the past that a big criticism of Mendelssohn is that he had no obstacles. I guess that's still a criticism, but I'm particularly happy he was able to carry on in spite of a blessed life. My favorite concert overture of all is The Hebrides. The movie Breaking Away also benefitted from the sunny Italian Symphony. Another take on his life of relative ease is that he had to make a SPECIAL effort to produce anything worthwhile because there was nothing else driving him but his need to follow music. Looking forward to more commentaries for this topic.
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Re: My Approach to Classical

Postby Luis » Wed Dec 27, 2000 5:49 pm

<B>To Adagio Appassionato, and to Michael </B><BR>That Mozart Bach and Schubert were more gifted to easily create melody I can’t deny at all. That’s just -but just that- what I was referring to! But, according to my likes, what Beethoven makes with simple melodies (with variations, orchestration and climates management) is much more enjoyable that any of the best melodies of Ba, S or M. Hence, I DO AGREE with Michael that B was indeed a perfectionist and a master of improvisation/variation and that what ultimately counts is the final result! (and Beethoven’s final results are TO ME much more satisfying than those of any other composer! -you already know that Michael! Image-) <P><B> To Shostakovich </B><P>Believe it or not I know Ginastera (the most recognized CM argentine composer) on name only. I’m afraid the problem might be that I’m not the most indicating person to tell you how is he regarded in Argentina now. Despite of the relatively little time I’m listening CM, I’m not very connected with it’s world apart from the Internet. I have no CM tradition in my family nor friends who listen CM. The only thing I can tell you is that on the three radio stations I know that here in Buenos Aires play only CM, his oeuvre is not diffused at all. Not also on CD shops. But, let’s do this, I’ll listen to him and I’ll later tell you what I think about how, in my opinion, he mixed CM with our “urban” tango and “rural” folklore. Here, these are two genres that are not frequently shared by the same people that listens classical music. Despite of some people who likes Piazzolla (a very original tango composer not very liked, if not abhorred, by tango purists) the connection to our rural folklore is extremely uncommon. <BR>
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Re: My Approach to Classical

Postby Flowerboy » Wed Dec 27, 2000 8:12 pm

My Favorite 2 composers are Beethoven and Mahler, but i also love Brahms, Tchaikovsky, and Dvorak. I think Mozart is okay, but his music just didnt have what it takes to make me feel all tingly and excited when conducting and he never made me cry. When i conduct Sibelius' Finlandia, at the coda part, my whole body goes numb and tingly. Its almost like -bear with me- having an orgasm. (i dont really have one-just a comparison). The same thing with Beethoven's Egmont overture at the end, and Mahler No.1 last movement at the ending. Another good ending i like is Tchai's No.6 movt. 3. Im learning now, as a youngster (im 18) that everyone has their tastes in music, and that no one will ever have any room to put one composer over the other. Because each composer wrote what he wanted (some did it a little better than others) and thats what makes a composer. They composed because they wanted to. They had that urge to just sit down and communicate their thoughts with music. Thats what counts in music, and thats what should be appreciated. I just happen to like the big, exciting endings and climaxes that sends the shivvers down my spine. I try to write sometimes, and what comes to my mind is weird, almost non-melodic - a mix between Prokofiev and Mahler. Thats how i would describe myself. I like erratic music. I like big brassy music. i like music that has a lot of build up and lots of potential energy - unlike most mozart. I like music that forms pictures. I like music that makes me cry. I like the music that tells me what he was thinking about. When i conduct music, i try to imagine myself as the composer. I like Beethoven and Mahler and Tchaikovsky the best. They had good charecters and had very creative minds and the drive to write. All these things count the most in music. I guess i could sum it up in a sentence. THE MUSIC IS A REFLECTION OF THE COMPOSER HIMSELF. remember that when you listen to music again. <BR>Thanks for hearing me out.<BR>Flowerboy
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Re: My Approach to Classical

Postby shostakovich » Thu Dec 28, 2000 12:36 am

Hi again Luis. I'll be looking for your take on Ginastera when you get to him.<P>Flowerboy, based on your delight with exhilarating endings (Mahler #1, Pathetique part 3, Finlandia, Egmont), I recommend Ginastera's Estancia to you, too. Check it out in a library first just in case, but the last dance is up your alley. Also mystery composer's little hit. You mention Prokofiev. Have you heard the Scythian Suite? <BR>You've talked several times about conducting. Whom do you conduct?<BR>Shos
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Re: My Approach to Classical

Postby Flowerboy » Thu Dec 28, 2000 1:26 am

Hey Shos.<BR>Im 18 yo and going to college for music soon. I wanna major in Music Education to teach, but my true passion lies in conducting. I would love if i had what it takes to be a composer and create my own music, but it comes very difficult to me. Therefore, i conduct. I know i have what it takes to conduct - you can see me at work conducting through the aisles (making sure no ones watching me) to the music in my head. I go over a piece time and again, just to make sure im doing it right. Sometimes, when im conducting a huge climax, if i screw up or think i should do it differently, i rewind the cd back a little to do it over. Thats how determined i am to do it right. I know sometimes i get carried away when i jump in the air and fall down through the floor, or sometimes i grip my baton so hard it might break. I have to use my Diskman and headphones, becuase my stereo is too loud for my family to handle it. My headphones frequently fall off my head, so i wear my santa clause hat over it tight so it wont fall off. One time i got so much into it, i fell down on the floor and i couldnt get up. My sister knows ive been conducting when she sees me literally crawling down the stairs panting "Water, Water, Water". im not kidding. So i think conducting is the way for me. I admire Mahler alot because he was a very good Maestro. I hope to attain the post of the NY Philharmonic. Man, theyve got to get a real conductor over there - not someone who points, smiles, and points again. Then makes a weird move with his hand. Then points. Then Smiles. (Kurt Mazur). LOLOL! I have a CD with Itzak Perlman playing Mendelssohn Violin Concerto, and Prokofiev Violinkonzert #2 in G. I like them both, but the latter is very odd sounding, but in a nice way. Ever hear Bartok? i have Menuin playing his V Concerto, and it sounds very rustic - like the music of barbarian hordes.<BR>Just some of my thoughts-<BR>Flowerboy (Brandon)<BR>
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Re: My Approach to Classical

Postby Flowerboy » Thu Dec 28, 2000 1:32 am

By the way, to add to these thoughts....<BR>I conduct just about anything i think is good. i dont like doing concertos though unless i have the score. I got a recording of Rach's Rhapsody paganini, and my friends dad let me borrow the score. I learned it in like 2 weeks, but without the score, ill never had been able to have done it.<BR>Also- does anyone know where is a good school to go for Conducting? <P>Thanks again,<BR>Flowerboy<BR>(Brandon)<BR>
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Re: My Approach to Classical

Postby Peter » Thu Dec 28, 2000 7:28 am

Hi all,<P>This is a fascinating subject ("Who was greater? Why? How? etc."), & of course no point of view can ever be the last word on the matter. My own thought processes resolve around the difference in meaning between "better" & "greater". Even those who don`t particularly like Beethoven generally accept him to be the greatest composer, whereas I love Beethoven, so his greatness has extra significance for me. If I ask myself, "What`s his best symphony?", the answer`s easy - the 6th. Why? Because it`s my favourite, & I need no other reason; but if I ask myself, "What`s his greatest symphony?", the answer again is easy - the 9th. Why? Because it paved the way for a new, expansive direction in music, it has come to represent liberty & free speech, & it was the summation of his orchestral writing.<P>I accept that Mozart was a great composer because of his legendary status, but I don`t hear greatness in his music, & not for the want of trying (!). For me, his best music is very good, but that`s it. On the other hand though, Beethoven idolized Mozart, so this complicates things still further. What if Mozart had lived another 20 years? What if Beethoven hadn`t gone deaf? Even more tantalising: What if their careers had run parallel? There are a million unanswerable questions, but ultimately, I think, opinion & discussion can only help determine "better"; "greater" has much further-reaching ramifications.<P>SHOS:<P>I am surprised that you don`t hear greatness in Schubert - after Beethoven, he is my favourite composer. His music is so wonderful that I really don`t know where to begin! Also, I`m out of time, & must go. I`ll come back to Schubert later..........
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Re: My Approach to Classical

Postby shostakovich » Thu Dec 28, 2000 12:03 pm

Some people finish college still not knowing what they want to be. You, Flowerboy, don't have that problem. I once read a description of a conducting style. I know I have the article SOMEWHERE, but damned if I can find it now to quote. Anyway, this conductor, jumped, stomped, and flailed his arms about. I thought it was a description of Bernstein over the edge. You'll never guess who this "mystery conductor" was. ------------- it was Beethoven. Maybe animated conducting style goes with the initial B, Brandon. B is also one of my own initials. I waved my arms vigorously to celebrate a new room full of hi-fi equipment. I ended up with a pinched nerve in my neck. Make sure you have good health insurance. <P> As to school for conducting, there must be many, including your state university. Although I have no personal knowledge to evaluate schools, I would suggest the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, because its long time director, Howard Hanson, was an excellent conductor, composer (try his second symphony and the suite from Merry Mount), educator, and human being.<P> To answer a few other remarks, Bartok seems to have been a man with 2 extremes: the folklorist(short selections, easy to take) and the modernist (longer works, off-putting, but very highly regarded). His Concerto for Orchestra is gripping for its power and the circumstances under which it was written. Since you are crazy about Mahler, I wonder if you've seen the movie, Mahler. It's on video. Finally, Kurt Masur's technique is designed to keep attention on the music and not the conductor. Or he doesn't have very good health insurance. Shos<P>Peter, I like your distinction between best (subjective) and greatest (objective). Among the Beethoven symphonies, I enjoy the 7th best, but also regard the 9th as greatest for exactly your reasons. Mozart's greatness is assured, and doesn't depend on our likes. I'm with you on that. At the time he died there was nothing of note by Beethoven, so he was the most evolved composer before 1800. Only Bach, Handel, and Haydn share the spotlight with him. There's a certain purity in Mozart's music that is hard to find after 1800. In part one can account for that in the limited size of the classical orchestra. Size and sound effects that catch our attention today were not available to him. Considering the time, I find the Jupiter Symphony astounding, and one of my favorite symphonies today. I like several other of his symphonies and concertos in part, but the Jupiter strikes me as much more satisfying. I'm actually playing devil's advocate here, because Mozart is way down on my general enjoyment list. And still I would hate to give up the Figaro and Magic Flute overtures or the "parts" of symphonies and concertos. <P>As I think of it, Schubert is a few notches ahead of Mozart for me. I would hate to give up the Unfinished(?), symphonies 2, 3, 4, and a couple of overtures. Please do return to Schubert and why you rank him in a class with Beethoven. Shos
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Re: My Approach to Classical

Postby serge urtizberea » Mon Jan 01, 2001 9:22 pm

One of the things that used to interest me when I was younger was the general assertion that Mozart was the greatest composer of the Western world. This opinion was repeated more or less often enough in various media to influence those who had no direct exposure to c.m. that Mozart was indeed the greatest composer. If I would ask a stranger (whether s/he knew c.m. or not) now who they believed was the greatest composer, I'd fully expect them to say Mozart-- not necessarily because they know what they're talking about, but more likely because they've heard nothing different growing up (I talk, though, of people my age; early 20s). <P>So here I am at age 12 or so, wondering why Mozart was the greatest composer. I listen to his stuff, and it's not bad (at the time), but at the same time I don't think it's good enough to rank him at the very top. What is the general reason behind putting Mozart at the top? Because he could write more pieces per year than any other composer I'm aware of? Because he was precocious enough to compose at age 3? <BR>Mozart is a great composer, but in my reserved opinion not the greatest. The ability to claim Mozart the greatest because he could write at age 3 and write more voluminously than anyone else is the same as claiming a guy who could build with Lego at age 3 and ended up putting up 650 buildings in the subsequent 33 years is automatically greater than Frank Lloyd Wright or Mies van der Rohe who weren't as fast out of the gate or nearly as productive.<BR>But maybe Mozart's fame derives from his operatic output. Or maybe from his ability to compose a pretty melody. Whatever the true reason(s), it actually makes no difference. The true guage of greatness lies in quality, not quantity. This guage is not a personal construct; it is the way the world has worked since the dawn of civilization. Quality of product is what maintains the standard of human endeavor. So in this regard, perhaps we should try and see how Mozart's musical output ranks qualitatively against any other composer's. <P>The starter of this thread gets no rebuttal from me. It was a personal view he (?) was stating, nothing more, and I fully respect anyone who can defend their view so long as they don't degrade your own. But I do disagree with him. Here's why...<P>Mozart's prodigous output represents music from every category of c.m. available to him. He wrote just under 30 p. concertos, 41 symphonies, (16? 17? more?) operas, divertimenti, ... and works for almost every imaginable combination of instruments. If you're a bassoonist, clarinetist, oboist, trumpetist, organist, cellist... you can be pretty confident to find a piece tailored for you by M. But exactly how much of his output is actually good? How much of it is worth hearing? How many pieces of his can you listen to before you start thinking he's almost repeating himself? Mozart wrote 41 symphonies, but maybe 4 or 5 are actually played, and only 2 or 3 of those are actually imbued with deep meaning. Beethoven only wrote a paltry nine symphonies but, by God, you'll be hard-pressed to find a good symphony orchestra that hasn't worked repeatedly through the whole cycle. Berlioz wrote two, just two!, symphonies, but they (esp. the first) are performed at least as, if not more, often than M.'s. We shouldn't even start discussing the Brahms four, or the Schumann four, or the Tchaikovsky six...<P>Mozart wrote 27 p. concertos, I think, but only a handful are ever performed. Beethoven wrote just five, Brahms wrote two, Schumann just ONE... all of which are more popular and just as often, if not more, recorded than that M. handful.<P>My point is that with Mozart, you tend to get a lot of quantity, but relatively little quality. Can this be proved or disproved? Not really, since we're talking about opinion. Why should I entertain this idea of mine? Because I look at what's been said over the years about composers' music, what has been performed, what's been recorded, and how often. And what I see is that most of Beethoven gets performed and recorded on a regular basis. I see a lot of Chopin get recorded and earn a reputation for dexterity and imbued feeling. I see a general love of all things Bach for his polyphony, counterpoint, and general mathematical-ness of his music. What I don't see is Mozart being claimed as really anything other than a good melodist and a good opera writer. To tell the truth, I don't ever get the idea of Mozart really innovating music-- or, I should perhaps say, I don't hear of his innovations because all I hear of are everyone else's. <P>Mozart wrote a good melody. So did Schubert. So did Dvorak. So did Beethoven, despite what everyone else seems to think. Melodies alone, though, will not make a composer great. Composers like Dvorak are capable of including many different melodies in the same work, but it is the ability to go farther that separates the gifted melodist from the gifted COMPOSER. The ability to take a melody, whether short like Ludwig's or long like Schubert's, and take it as far as it can go is not something a 3-yr. old prodigy can do. It is something that requires time, effort, and intelligence to do. It is relatively easy to write a melody, but a hell of a lot more work to make that melody speak in entirely different voices and elicit entirely different reactions and emotions. Did Mozart have the ability to do just that: take a melody and run with it? Not nearly as much as Beethoven did. In fact, to me, not nearly as much as many composers did. Mozart was not the best composer in that regard.<P>Perhaps you'd care to learn, if you haven't already, why I think Ludwig is naturally the greatest. There is one thing that Beethoven had that separates him from almost every other composer: strong and pervasive emotion. Beethoven was a Sag, but he should've been a Pisces or something; I swear he must've had an emotional chemistry akin to bipolar disorder. He'd fly off the handle in rage and then beg forgiveness after. He'd yell, he'd laugh raucously, he didn't often bother to temper his actions or reactions, and he was strongly influenced both as a kid and adult by emotional cues that led to everything from heartstring-tugging mash notes to suicide letters to years of legal battles in an effort to sever the ties between a child and his birth mother. In short, Beethoven was an emotional mess. It is because he was an emotional mess that he wrote such hauntingly beautiful, mesmerizingly forceful, or innately deep music. Ludwig was the first human being who relied on the human emotional state to compose. He composed as a strongly self-identified individual who knew that he was as good as he set out to be.<P>And what music he would compose! The human emotions were truly captured for the first time in score. Love, anger, despair, fear, yearning, contentment... Beethoven experienced it all, and let the world hear of it. But his music wasn't the homicide-fantasy ravings of an opium addict (did anyone say 'Berlioz'?) or the God-on-Earth self-glorifying pretty-boy delusions of a hateful narcissist (can anyone say 'Wagner'?). His music was grounded because I'm sure this is how Ludwig was able to stay in control of himself. We who are able to listen to Beethoven and actually UNDERSTAND him when we do are instantly the better for it. The human nature of our existence-- the love, the fear, the jealously, the rage, the anger, the contentment...-- cannot be denied permission to show itself. We stop being 'human' when we refuse to humor our emotions. When we lsiten to Beethoven, we can hear the composer humoring his emotions and, sometimes, we can follow along with our own personal version. The passing of a close relative or pet will elicit reactions that could be mirrored when listening to Beethoven. The joys of falling in love, or the deep wistfulness of good times past and good friends gone can be mirrored when listening to Beethoven. In fact, to make such associations between the composer and listener is like having an empathetic ear to talk to. But with Mozart, I hear none of this. I experience no real effort in Mozart to make music meaningful. I don't know if it's because I'm not trying hard enough or it's just not there.<P>There's a really nice part in the movie Immortal Beloved when Countess Erdody (I. Rossellini) is weeping over the death of her son. Beethoven (G. Oldman), who in the movie becomes closely acquainted with her, comes by to see her and you can tell he feels her pain. Instead of offering maudlin sentimentalies, he says to her that they'll speak in music. The piece the two of them play is his 'Ghost' trio; a perfectly despaired, nobly saddened work that expresses their feelings in a more subtle and personal way than words likely would have. Instead of listening to predictable and forced words, you listen to their duet and know precisely how they feel. While this never happened in real life, it doesn't matter because we can look beyond it and see what the POINT was.<P>I think one of the hardest things to do is try to make a reader able to visualize things as personal and ephemeral as the specific emotions and conditions in which they exist by words alone. I'm trying to make a case for Ludwig's greatness by claiming that of all the composers that have ever lived, none was able to make music speak of the human condition better than Beethoven. He made music NOBLE. He made it possible to relate to the art of music on an entirely new level. Surely that is reason enough to grant him the alpha-dog status he so honestly deserves.
serge urtizberea
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Re: My Approach to Classical

Postby Flowerboy » Mon Jan 01, 2001 10:51 pm

i agree with you, but remember - each composer wrote with what he knew how and what was in his heart. Surely you cannot discriminate a composer on how he was born, genetics, circumstances in life, and so on.<BR>i hope you can understand what i mean. I also believe (dont rag on me for this) that Mahler was like Beethoven, but a more modern form - kind of like an advancement of Beethoven, but not as good. Beethoven innovated, and Mahler followed his musical appreciation. I believe Beethoven is the best composer but thats because i like him the best. i like mozart, but not NEARLY as much as Beethoven or other composers who innovated their thoughts in a more noble way (like MAHLER for instance).
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Re: My Approach to Classical

Postby shostakovich » Tue Jan 02, 2001 2:31 am

Good to hear from you again, Serge. I liked the analogy with the architects, and pretty much echo your feelings on Mozart. There are plenty of people who would be willing to call him "the Greatest", some for solid musical reasons and some from having seen Amadeus. When I "can't see why so-and-so is so highly regarded" (and there are lots of so-and-sos for me), I have to remind myself that it's that I CAN'T UNDERSTAND why they are are ranked so well, which is different from claiming they ARE overrated. So, Serge, you have lots of company when questioning Mozart's place. And Mozart-o-philes have their valid reasons, too. From reading letters in the bulletin board it seems only one guy's #1 ranking is not questioned. So fitting for Beethoven.com.<BR>Shos.
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