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Customer Discussions > Classical Music forum

Heart of the 20th century -- rapid-fire game


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Showing 251-275 of 278 posts in this discussion
Posted on Jul 11, 2012 2:50:56 PM PDT
He's exactly who came to mind for me.

Posted on Jul 11, 2012 7:45:24 PM PDT
Kurt Weill wrote a couple of symphonies so???

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 11, 2012 8:02:49 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 11, 2012 8:03:18 PM PDT
MF says:
MZ

'No one born in 1860 can be considered a 20th century anything.'

By that logic, neither Messiaen nor Shostakovich can be considered post WW2 composers. Much of the significance of their ouevre of either is thus erased at a stroke. The historical resonances of the music they wrote after 1945 are not diminished by the fact that an important part of their adult lives passed prior to WW2. Numbers can exert a strange and not always benefical fascination upon our minds. 1945 is at least as significant a historical threshold as 1900: do not allow the roundness of a number to bewitch you.

Posted on Jul 11, 2012 9:02:41 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 11, 2012 9:09:23 PM PDT
Since not being killed in the prison camp, I submit, MF, that Messiaen surviving it can make that claim to being post WWII. If you had similarly claimed Mahler's prison camp was inside his own head, you might have sold me...but then again, there's no evidence he ever got out. ;-)

Good point, Ginn. But McCartney also has a couple "oratorios," no?

Posted on Jul 11, 2012 9:09:06 PM PDT
Mahlerian says:
More than half of Mahler's entire output was written between 1900 and 1911, and that's including juvenilia. He fairly qualifies as a 20th century composer as much as anybody.

Posted on Jul 11, 2012 9:12:08 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jul 11, 2012 9:20:53 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 11, 2012 9:17:34 PM PDT
Mahlerian says:
"By the same reasoning, Rachmaninov would be considered a 20th century composer only more so. But, as much as I love him, I just don't buy that either."

But why? That's what I don't get. Is Hans Pfitzner not a 20th century composer because he remained rooted in 19th century styles? If so, that only proves how arbitrary these classifications are.

Posted on Jul 11, 2012 9:21:03 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 11, 2012 9:24:52 PM PDT
By the same reasoning, Rachmaninov would be considered a 20th century composer only more so. But, as much as I love him, I just don't buy that either. The output of both is pretty firmly grounded in early personal & ethnomusical influences that were highly generative, quite contentedly, and never sizeably furthered.

Don't mean to imply they were slackers...both had significant second careers ;-) For each composition was on tap, not on top.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 11, 2012 9:23:28 PM PDT
KenOC says:
"More than half of Mahler's entire output was written between 1900 and 1911, and that's including juvenilia."

Mahler wrote juvenilia after age 40? No mean trick! But perhaps I misunderstand...

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 11, 2012 9:26:25 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 11, 2012 9:30:28 PM PDT
Mahlerian says:
More than half of Mahler's output was written between 1900 and 1911, and output is here clarified as including works prior to his musical maturity.

Happy?

MZ:

Are you saying that you can't see Mahler's style developing after 1900, or are you saying that you can't see his style being taken up by later composers and developed upon in the 20th century? I disagree either way, of course.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 11, 2012 9:37:12 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 11, 2012 9:38:31 PM PDT
KenOC says:
Mahlerian, I'm happy, or reasonably so, thanks! I was really a bit confused on first reading...

Posted on Jul 11, 2012 9:41:47 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 11, 2012 9:43:18 PM PDT
MF says:
MZ

You are missing my point and changing your argument. Chronological mathematics was your first argument, and I suggested that such mathematics is deceptive because it exaggerates the significance of round numbers: 40 years of life prior to one threshold is equivalent to 40 years prior to any other. Now you suggest Mahler and Rachmaniniv are spiritually (or musically) of the 19th century. I have addressed that argument elsewhere, and consider it, at the very least, highly questionable. By what criteria do you make this judgement. To be spiritually 'of the twentieth century' need not mean swimming with the flow of prominent 20th century tendencies. Other tendencies - such as the refusal to be identify with ideas of innovation and progress - were equally important but less visible. How are you, or I, or anyone, to determine what shall count as 'the 20th century' in spiritual or musical terms since it embraced such diversity of styles and cultural trajectories.

It seems to me spurious to suggest that a composer who is more self consciously innovative is thereby somehow more to be identified with the future such that one who is not is somehow anachronistic. Schoenberg's innovative sensibilities were the innovative sensibilities of the pre-WW1 period. Rachmaninov's conservative sensibilities were the conservative sensibilities of the same period. They are both contemporaneous expressions of the same historical circumstances and influences, but expressed in divergent ways. Chronologically, Rachmaninov is one year older; spiritually or musically neither is more nor less of the twentieth century. Conceivably. aesthetic prioroties might so much alter that it is Rachmaninov, not Schoenberg, who comes to be regarded as the more 'forward looking' and Schoenberg as the more 'dated'. However, even these terms reflect a linear conception of musical history that we would do well to reconsider.

Posted on Jul 11, 2012 9:46:20 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 11, 2012 9:47:46 PM PDT
I hear a musical style in Mahler & Rachmaninov forged by early influences that isn't significantly evolved into another voice until the final two works or so. In Mahler's case, I hear the same language that was forged around Knaben Wunderhorn solidly continuing into Das Lied. It becomes increasing rarified but it's the same language. I only hear something different in the 9th.

I see the "influence" argument as irrelevant. Saint-Saens may be considered conservative and surely his editing Rameau had an effect. But that doesn't make him Renaissance or Rameau 19th century.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 11, 2012 10:01:03 PM PDT
Mahlerian says:
Mahler's work is clearly divided into three periods, and the first four symphonies are quite different from his middle three, the first of which was written in the early 20th century. It is not simply a refinement of his language, but a very different musical approach on the most basic level.

Posted on Jul 11, 2012 10:05:50 PM PDT
MF says:
MZ

You are determined to understand musical history in progressive terms. I do not subsribe to this view and find it, as I suggest above, overly linear and narrow. However, even in these terms, Mahler can be considered an innovative and 'forward looking' composer whose musical sensibility had more relevance for 20th century audiences than it did for 19th century audiences.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 11, 2012 10:24:53 PM PDT
KenOC says:
MF, best argument so far. But still, as they say, "In Akron Bartok is atonal."

Posted on Jul 11, 2012 11:13:06 PM PDT
MF says:
Ken

Which of my three arguments do you consider 'the best so far'? If the last, where I concede to MZ his progressive premise, then it would seem that you agree with that premise.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 11, 2012 11:24:45 PM PDT
KenOC says:
Well MF, maybe a rethink is in order. I thought it was impressive that you said Mahler's music "had more relevance for 20th century audiences than it did for 19th century audiences." Well, on rethink, duh! He wrote it in the 20th century, so how could it have ANY relevance for 19th-century audiences??? Am I right or am I right?

--KenOC in Akron

Posted on Jul 11, 2012 11:41:52 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 11, 2012 11:42:49 PM PDT
MF says:
Ken

You and I seem doomed to disagree (I hope amicably). He wrote music in the 19th century that was listened to by 19th century audiences and 20th century audiences alike, and yet it would seem to have resonated more with 20th century audiences. If Mahler is understood, pace MZ, as a primarily 19th century composer then all of his music can be considerd as an extention of those works he wrote in the 19th century and that were heard by 19th century audiences. Even as I somewhat mechanically set down the terms of this explanation, I am struck by how needless it seems.

Posted on Jul 11, 2012 11:47:49 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 11, 2012 11:58:30 PM PDT
And I'd probably "refuse" to accept a specific counterargument, MF, if you'd done me the respect of actually offering one ;-) Passing "influence or sensibility" from other composers to audiences is just Mahlerian's once removed. Again, critics dismissing Rachmaninov to have 20th century audiences & later critics appreciate him subsequently doesn't make him a 20th century composer.

I don't know where this "progressive" notion came from but it wasn't from me. I've always intended to contrast earlier in time with later in time. After Messiaen was released, Turangalila was a summa of his earlier codified language. Later a new one was forged around birdsong. Do I think he "evolved" or his music progressed? No. In fact in large measure I think the later idiom was less successful, even less "progressive" than the first one. But there was a first vs second. For the most part, I don't hear that in Mahler.

Since I've repeatedly used the word "language" I'll try recasting this in linguistic terms. Latin and French are clearly related. But I see one belonging to an earlier century, one to later ones. I don't think, though the term is common in philology, that languages "evolve". Nor do I think French is more "progressive" than Latin. It just came later.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 11, 2012 11:56:24 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 11, 2012 11:57:19 PM PDT
KenOC says:
Well MF, aside from the silliness of trying to say some music is "19th century" in nature and some is "20th century"...if Mahler influenced Shostakovich, that's good enough for me! Peace!

(but he's still a 19th century composer...wait...I didn't say that!)

Posted on Jul 12, 2012 12:04:35 AM PDT
MF says:
MZ

I apologise for not offering a counter-argument to your remarks about 'influence or sensibility', but the terms were used advisedly in the first place. All I meant was that the two contemporaneous composers were as much 'of their time' as each other.

Ken

It was, in the first place (the 20th Century Symphonist thread) your 'silliness' not mine and that was why I took issue with it.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 12, 2012 12:08:16 AM PDT
KenOC says:
Wow, talk about a long memory! I barely remember the game -- but the message is received: Don't cross MF! Consider me warned.
Your reply to KenOC's post:
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Posted on Jul 12, 2012 12:39:29 AM PDT
"If Mahler is understood, pace MZ, as a primarily 19th century composer then all of his music can be considerd as an extention of those works he wrote in the 19th century and that were heard by 19th century audiences."

I don't understand "pace MZ" here? That sentence is pretty much exactly what I wrote prior, qualified with only the 9th seemed cast from a different cloth. The paragraph, though, hints that you don't agree with that assessment, but you don't say how / why and there's no counterargument or basis for discussion without it.

Twice you've set up positions I don't hold, MF, and then simply disagree with them summarily. I respect you enough to leave this at a difference of opinion re the core issue and hope the same is true for you.

Posted on Jul 12, 2012 3:23:39 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 12, 2012 3:30:56 AM PDT
MF says:
MZ

You are quite right to hold me to account for attributing to you positions you do not hold - I am sorry, and will try to avoid doing so in future. Without trying to excuse myself, I hope you will understand that it is an unfortunate consequence of conducting debates on a purely textual basis: we dont have the opportunity either to halt a person when they have misinterpreted our intent or to immediately try to clarify what we do intend.
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This discussion

Discussion in:  Classical Music forum
Participants:  14
Total posts:  278
Initial post:  Jul 7, 2012
Latest post:  Jul 12, 2012

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