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What are the most profound works by your favorite composers?


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Showing 26-50 of 109 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 6, 2013 10:51:52 AM PST
KenOC says:
MRS says, "That was also his favorite composer Handel's intent as well, who once said that he composed to make men better. So, does music really have the power to make people better, more humane & moral, more graceful, & therefore less prone to annoyance, cruelty & anger? Or is it just a temporary effect, at best?"

Given the gradual accretion and increased availability of such music, then if the effect were permanent we would be growing better and better as people. Whether that is the case or not, I leave to your judgment!

Posted on Jan 6, 2013 11:15:17 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 6, 2013 11:21:50 AM PST
Well, I don't know if an 'increased availability' necessarily means that more people are listening to classical music today. It would depend on the statistics, I suppose, if they even exist, but one can hope. (Though I'm certainly not dismissing the positive effect of other kinds of music.)

On a related note, I remember the Brits put 'classical' music at certain crime-ridden tube stops years ago, and it significantly & successfully lowered the crime rates in those places. However, at the time I wondered if the perpetrators had not simply gone elsewhere to commit their crimes, being turned off by the music they heard.

Posted on Jan 6, 2013 11:18:17 AM PST
"So, does music really have the power to make people better, more humane & moral, more graceful, & therefore less prone to annoyance & anger? Or is it just a temporary effect, at best? (simpson)"

Yes, to the first question. When profoundly annoyed, pounding out the first page of Prokofiev's sixth sonata dissipates the emotion more than temporarily.

I'll have to remember that remedy the next time someone votes down Biber ;-)

Posted on Jan 6, 2013 11:25:11 AM PST
Dichterliebe says:
A profound piece of music reveals me to myself. In my experience, profundity isn't a feeling but a concept and so when something Schumann wrote makes me feel vulnerable, touching on something deep within, then the profundity isn't what is deep within but that Schumann could write something that connects with it, revealing it to me.

As for Chopin, the Polonaise-Fantaisie qualifies, as does perhaps the Ballade no. 4. Several of the mazurkas cut deeply, as do a few of the preludes, but I agree that Chopin's music, while profoundly beautiful, is not profound in the sense that it transcends the artistic process, i.e. the refinement of his art of composition. I am often transported while listening to Chopin but I don't consider this a measurement of profundity -- much music has a similar effect.

Posted on Jan 6, 2013 11:25:20 AM PST
KenOC says:
Depending on how you define "profound," this list from the recent "Transcendental Exaltations" game may apply.

1 - Beethoven: Piano Sonata #32 in C minor, Op. 111
2 - Bach: Goldberg Variations
3 - Bruckner: Symphony #9
4 - Schubert: String Quintet in C, D. 956
5 - Beethoven: String Quartet #15 in A minor, Op. 132
6 - Beethoven: String Quartet #14 in C# minor, Op. 131
7 - Mahler: Das Lied Von Der Erde
8 - Beethoven: String Quartet #13 in Bb major, Op. 130 (w/Grosse Fuge)
9 - Beethoven: Piano Sonata #30 in E major, Op. 109
10 - Schubert: Piano Sonata in Bb major, D. 960

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 6, 2013 11:44:26 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 6, 2013 12:28:14 PM PST
Mandryka says:
Pure music, music without a text, is a bit like non representational art, isn't it ? Late Mondrian, Barnett Newman's zip paintings, Islamic patterns. How can these art forms be profound? The answer to that should help us see what's going on with music.

Posted on Jan 6, 2013 1:17:15 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 6, 2013 1:18:36 PM PST
Skaynan says:
"Wagner was deeper than Verdi."

That's an unfair argument. It's like comparing apples and oranges. They were both deep in their own ways. Or to extend the argument, Wagner was "deeper" than practically anyone, but that statement is true only for one very particular kind of "deepness".

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 6, 2013 3:13:09 PM PST
John Ruggeri says:
Skaynan says:

"Wagner was deeper than Verdi."

That's an unfair argument. It's like comparing apples and oranges. They were both deep in their own ways. Or to extend the argument, Wagner was "deeper" than practically anyone, but that statement is true only for one very particular kind of "deepness".
==============
Skaynan I agree

Wagner's "Ride of the Walkures" is glorious cartoon music - much of Siegfried is also comical and early Verdi's "Va pensiero" chorus from Nabucco expresses profund sorrow and longing albeit with straightforward musical forms.

But if Wagner is your depth bomb type, for some Bruckner. Mahler and Richard Strauss might have even more depth.

BTW - all 5 composers have happily cost me time and gold.

Regards-John

Posted on Jan 6, 2013 4:10:57 PM PST
K.J. McGilp says:
Profundity is an important part of creation and art. Be it painting, writing, sculpting or music. I think it's a big reason why we listen to music. To be profoundly moved by it. To go beyond common everyday thought. Whether it is intellectual, emotional, spiritual or otherwise. It can be all of these rolled into one. When we read Mann, Blake, Joyce or Proust. When we listen to Bach, Beethoven or Mahler. When we go to a great museum of art. I feel we are all reaching out for affirmation, clarity and understanding to some degree, the deepest subjects that we as human beings wish to explore.
There are some wonderful posts in this and other threads related to this subject. I am honored to be able to put my two cents in amongst such thoughtful insights.

Posted on Jan 6, 2013 5:12:59 PM PST
Joe Anthony says:
The most profound work in all of classical music, IMO, is "Boris Godunov" by Mussorgsky.

I believe that Mussorgsky was so close to the Russian people; that his opera quite naturally tells the story of all of them, from the Czar on down to the peasants. Indeed, there is a certain authenticity about "Boris Godunov"; a raw sense of truth.

While "Boris" exists in many versions; including two by Mussorgsky; two re-orchestrations by Rimsky-Korsakov; and one re-orchestration by Shostakovich; my first introduction to "Boris" was a set of excerpts sung in Italian by Ezio Pinza who sang as "Boris" but also as "Pimen, the Monk". I was still a teenager at the time, but even in that bastardized version, I knew that I was in the presence of something great and "profound".

Posted on Jan 6, 2013 6:09:33 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 6, 2013 6:49:08 PM PST
Larkenfield says:
So, does music really have the power to make people better, more humane & moral, more graceful, & therefore less prone to annoyance, cruelty & anger? Or is it just a temporary effect, at best? (Mr. Simpson)
---
Not all, but for some listeners I'd definitely say yes, if the person is touched deeply enough where music is experienced as something more than escape or entertainment at the moment and then immediately forgotten. It's an ancient idea that goes back at least as far as Socrates and Emerson, and I would include in the definition of `profound' an experience intense enough to facilitate "a transformational or permanent change in the individual that alters his or her perceptions of life for the better".

"Is it not for this reason . . . that education in music is most sovereign, because more than anything else, rhythmia and harmonia find their way to the inmost soul and take strongest hold upon it, bringing with them and imparting grace, if one is rightly trained, and otherwise the contrary? And further, because omissions and the failure of beauty in things badly made or grown would be most quickly perceived by one who was properly educated in music, and so, feeling distaste rightly, he would praise beautiful things and take delight in them and receive them into his soul to foster its growth and become himself beautiful and good. The ugly he would rightly disapprove of and detest while still young and unable to grasp rational speech, but when reason came the man thus nurtured would be the first to give her welcome, for by this affinity he would know her." ―Socrates

"Music takes us out of the actual and whispers to us dim secrets that startle our wonder as to who we are, and for what, whence, and whereto." ―Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Men profess to be lovers of music, but for the most part they give no evidence in their opinions and lives that they have heard it." ―Henry David Thoreau

I believe these are three examples where the individuals are saying that the power of music was a positive force for good on their basic nature. But other than a few rare exceptions, I see no change whatsoever in most people - no greater patience, diplomacy or soul - including the ones who might even be considered connoisseurs but yet have perhaps experienced the music primarily as a means to an end for discussions, debates or intellectual exchanges rather than having been profoundly changed by it at what Socrates might call a deeper level of soul. I consider the accumulative effects of listening to music its greatest most profound power. ♬

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 6, 2013 7:52:02 PM PST
John Ruggeri says:
As a musical story of a life with triumphs and tragedies believe it or not
one of the most profound for me is NOT OPERATIC.

It is this magnifcent musical story and it makes me near implode, explode and replode at every hearing. Please excuse my snobbery at such technical musical descriptions;-)

Strauss: Don Quixote (Rostropovich) with illustrations by Gustave Doré
Mstislav Rostropovich, Ulrich Koch, Herbert Von Karajan, Berliner Philharmoniker
01 - Don Quixote, Op. 35 Intro
02 - Don Quixote-Sancho Panza 6:25
03 - Departure, The Adventure With The Windmills 8:44
04 - The Battle With The Sheep 11:24
05 - Sancho's Wishes,Peculiarities Of Speech And Maxims 13:09
06 - The Adventure With The Procession of Penitents 21:47
07 - Don Quixote's Vigil During The Summer Night 23:44
08 - Dulcinea 27:54
09 - Don Quixote's Ride Through The Air 29:09
10 - The Trip On The Enchanted Boat 30:25
11 - The Attack On The Medicant Friars 32:16
12 - The Duel And Return Home 33:28
13 - Epilogue,Don Quixote's Mind Clears. Death Of Don

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqiauKYjC0Y

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 6, 2013 7:55:45 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 6, 2013 7:56:09 PM PST
John Ruggeri says:
Larkenfield says:

So, does music really have the power to make people better, more humane & moral, more graceful, & therefore less prone to annoyance, cruelty & anger? Or is it just a temporary effect, at best? (Mr. Simpson)
===========
Lark

With all due respect I have found no connection in my life on or off this thread between LOVE OF MUSIC and personal virtues or vices. Dem's is a mutual non-sequitur [SIC].

HAPPY NEW YEARS FRIEND--JOHN

Posted on Jan 6, 2013 8:54:58 PM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Nov 26, 2013 10:12:09 AM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 6, 2013 9:04:34 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 6, 2013 9:24:45 PM PST
KenOC says:
Present company excepted, of course.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 7, 2013 8:07:45 AM PST
Regarding the power of music as a positive force for good on their basic nature, Lark observes: "..Other than a few rare exceptions, I see no change whatsoever in most people - no greater patience, diplomacy or soul...".

But then Lark concludes on a very high plane: "I consider the accumulative effects of listening to music its greatest most profound power. ¢Ý".

I think you're onto something, Lark.

One of my wisest mentors once said to me: "As a rule, Angelo, people don't change". His observations were consistent with yours (and with mine too).

But maybe some of them---a few of them---do. You hold out for that possibility in your conclusion. With as much hope as I can muster, I agree. I don't think it happens with one hearing of the Eroica---or one reading of "Tintern Abbey".

But it does happen eventually. Actually, if we are to make it---it has to.

Many thanks,
Angelo

Posted on Jan 7, 2013 8:32:40 AM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Nov 26, 2013 10:12:09 AM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 7, 2013 9:36:58 AM PST
Mandryka says:
This is touching on something which I think is really important. Think of all those musicians who alligned themselves to Hitler, and yet could play The St Matthew Passion or Op 111 or Chopin's Etudes communicating deep humanity.

What does that mean?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 7, 2013 9:39:48 AM PST
March, I agree with you. I know people such as you describe.

You wrote: "I don't see any correlation between morality and taste". I don't see the correlation, either.

Lark had mentioned a few rare exceptions---people for whom "the power of music acts as a positive force for good on their most basic nature". Lark also thought that for the most part, people don't change. My long-ago mentor felt that way, too. As do I.

I was concurring with, and expanding a little on Lark's concluding observation: "I consider the accumulative effects of listening to music its greatest most profound power". I was thinking that those effects happen with the other arts as well. I was thinking that that power might possibly extend into good legislation, into sensitive reactions to human suffering. Granted, it's not a necessary connection. The one does not necessarily follow the other. But I would like it to...

And I think it happens only to a few people---and that's not necessarily a negative thing. We don't all react similarly to the same stimuli. My hope was (and remains) that the power of art will act as as a positive force. But no, I don't see any correlation between morality and taste.

I suspect we're on the same page, all three of us. If it doesn't seem that way, blame my post.

Very best,
Angelo

Posted on Jan 7, 2013 9:57:23 AM PST
[Deleted by the author on Jan 9, 2013 11:46:13 AM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 7, 2013 10:05:49 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 7, 2013 12:25:17 PM PST
Mandryka, I don't have an answer. For years I refused to listen to German wartime recordings. I refused to visit Germany and Austria. I didn't know how to deal with this. How could anybody (I thought) cooperate with the Nazis?

I think the German and Austrian wartime musicians (and toolmakers, accountants, bakers, consulting engineers---all of them) did what they had to do. I think they saw that they could not afford to consider what was happening to the condemned ones: Jews, gays, mentally-challenged people, political dissidents. If they did consider it, they would soon be treated as dissidents themselves. That is an intolerable position, and---other than overt cooperation, which is a different issue---denial may have been the only survival tactic that worked. Those with the already-existing ability to deny such evil, or to disengage from such evil, survived. Those that could not, didn't survive.

I try and try to put myself in their place. It's 1942, say. You live in Berlin and you are a toolmaker, or you play in the BPO second-violins section. You have children. Escape from the Nazis is not an option. You can't get out. And if you object to Nazi policies, you---and doubtless your family---will simply disappear. What is the moral thing to do? Go on supervising the manufacture of tank treads or torpedo warheads? Go on playing Beethoven?

I finally saw that the Nazis were gone, or the few surviving ones were in nursing homes. Only then did I feel that I could visit Vienna and Berlin. I have no problem with the people of Germany and Austria today. It's the 1933-1945 Nazis that I could not bear to encounter. For me, then, it became a perpetrator thing.

But I cannot imagine how those musicians must have felt. The two options they had---speak out and be killed, or remain silent and survive---were both unacceptable options. My guess is that the only solution was to pretend not to notice. Would we have done differently? Who can say?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 7, 2013 11:12:36 AM PST
KenOC says:
I would add: People mostly adopt the values that prevail where they are. How many of us, growing up and living in Austria or Germany in the 1920s and 1930s, would REALLY feel any different from the people of that time? Or act differently? Of course it's very pleasant and self-flattering to feel morally superior...

Posted on Jan 7, 2013 11:19:24 AM PST
Yet there were some very prominent German conductors that defiantly chose not to join the Nazi Party--such as Eugen Jochum and Hans Knappertsbusch. This decision cost Knappertsbusch dearly career-wise, but Jochum remained unscathed, as far as I know.

Posted on Jan 7, 2013 11:22:54 AM PST
Dichterliebe says:
I suppose that because Germany and Austria have contributed so much to Western European culture and especially to art music that when considering incomprehensible behavior, the Nazi regime is the go-to perpetrator. I remember reading about several Nazi officials who traveled to Japan during the war in the hopes of forming a possible alliance. They were appalled at what they saw the Imperial Army doing, especially to the Chinese. I don't know if they were ignorant to their own worst atrocities (highly doubtful) or if Japan was actually worse. However, it is interesting (to me, at least) how the two nations have dealt with their war records. It's also interesting that in conversations of this nature (in forums of all types), Soviet Russia is rarely mentioned, nor the Khmer Rouge, Angola, Cuba, etc.

Posted on Jan 7, 2013 12:58:02 PM PST
Joe Anthony says:
re: "What are the most profound works by your favorite composers?"

I can't say that Frederic Rzewski is one of my favorite composers because I only know him by one work, "The People United Will Never Be Defeated"; but I've come to think of that work as quite profound. Indeed, I listened to Yuji Takahashi's interpretation so many time on YouTube that I finally sent away for it; which was difficult because that particular recording was hard to find.

"The People" seems to have a quality about it that is quite expansive in that seems to speak out to the world's oppressed people. There's an inner passion to it that follows along the lines of Beethoven's 9th in that it calls out for a kind of universal brotherhood/sisterhood.
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