Astor Piazzolla : a great composer for all times?

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RE: Astor Piazzolla : a great composer for all times?

@ Parla: why don't you READ what people say before answering? I said that I heard 'The 4 Seasons' live in Budapest. I also said that I enjoyed the Barenboim CD, which contains short pieces without the eternal repetitions of the other work. And please don't put into my mouth judgements which I neither made or implied about Danny B.!

Adrian

RE: Astor Piazzolla : a great composer for all times?

Oh! Craig, you are one of a kind! You are so good in resorting to personal abuse as a rational way of communication and argumentation. Anyway, I cannot follow you in returning a series of "fine" adjectives to you (so far I have managed to avoid any attack against any member of the forum, despite any kind of blows I have received, even under the belt), but I will respond to wherever there is any sort of actual argumentation (even out of the topic) lies in your text:

You called, without any evidence, Piazzolla as an obscure and minor composer. Of course, in UK, he might be and, possibly, in some other countries in Europe (I have not visited all). However, if you dare to mention the same statement to any Argentinian or even any Latin American, you will see the difference...In my posts, I explained quite clearly the growing infuence and appeal of his music almost all over the world as well as in the recording industry. The point is that he is in a difficult crossover field of an actual "classical" and a true tango composer too.

As for the key issue of greatness, you claim, this time, that is "largely a matter of opinion (without bothering to prove it with any "logical" or "rational" explanation). However, this largely gives the impression that, even for a fraction, greatness is not only a matter of opinion. Which might lead us back to the point of the actual definition of the notion. And as I was taught by all my professors (at any stage of my education), definitions are not a matter of opinions!

The " his musical truth" means that the actual composer was true in what he defended, promoted and developed in his artistic production throughout his life, which, exactly, was the case of Piazzolla. That's why even people, living far away of his native land, feel his music as their own: because they see the genuine artistic development of a true nationalistic composer, as the vast majority of the classical composers.

You always claim victory over the issue that my arguments "lack validity or logical substance", as your negativity and negation of any position, statement or argument of mine has any basis of reasonal validation and logical resolution. You rely your whatever you may call as victory on the sole basis that you simply deny, dismiss, refuse to accept any argumentation on qualifying music, based on the actual musical features of the work or composer in question. However, even if you dismiss any objective way to qualify music, it doesn't mean that all music is "equal". Still, you have to prove, with valid and logical arguments, what you claim. I remember, in another thread, whenever I asked you to prove what you claim, you replied "I don't claim anything". If still that is the case, you cannot dismiss anything either!

You accuse me of not listening with "open mind" other music, so that I can find that there is music which is equal in quality and achievement as classical music, while I have, in quite a few occasions, mentioned I have listened for years extensively all the possible forms of pop, jazz, folk and many other sort of non classical music. Even now, I listen to quite a few other kind of music. So, am I "blind" or deaf to the equal quality and achievement? Besides, if we have this "open mind", why we have to find out that here is music which is equal in...; it can easily be even greater both in quality and achievement than classical music. So, we go back to the situation of the definition of greatness. It's not a matter of "open mind"; it's a matter of definition!

Since I don't think you will bother to come with any definition to this end, I will inform you that, what I learned in my years of education and experience in being exposed to Music and Art, greatness is defined by the impact of the actual work or composer's output on the specific Art, civilisation, the world and the people. So, just copntemplate what is the legacy of all these numerous songs of all forms of Pop or which specific improvisations of Jazz are going to mark our lives or, most importantly, the lives and civilisation of other countries and people in the planet. Since I was fortunate enough to travel almost constantly in quite a few parts of the globe, I can inform you that, outside the very occidental parts of what is known as Western countries, nobody (literally speaking) cares what is A day in the Life or A kind of Blue, but they still perform, in almost full houses, Mozart's Jupiter or Beethoven's Seventh or Schubert's Unfinished Symphony and many more, including Piazzolla's music! Besides, even in the most occidental parts of the Western world, who has the slightest idea or cares to even hear Velvet Underground, Vanilla Fudge, Iron Butterfly, Grand Funk, Captain Beefheart, even Frank Zappa? And if we still sing "Yesterday", "Imagine" or the "Bridge" or "Mamma mia" does it make any difference or is the exception to the rule?

Anyhow, your "philistine" greats you, Ceasar.

Parla

 

RE:

parla wrote:
As for the key issue of greatness, you claim, this time, that is "largely a matter of opinion (without bothering to prove it with any "logical" or "rational" explanation). However, this largely gives the impression that, even for a fraction, greatness is not only a matter of opinion. Which might lead us back to the point of the actual definition of the notion. And as I was taught by all my professors (at any stage of my education), definitions are not a matter of opinions!

I’ll rephrase that: greatness, like any other matter of judgement in music (or any culture) is entirely a matter of taste and opinion. (There is a more complex argument based around Foucault’s theory of discourse, but I don’t imagine you’d be interested.) Of course definitions are not a matter of opinion, but the application of those definitions in specific cases is always a matter of opinion.

parla wrote:
The " his musical truth" means that the actual composer was true in what he defended, promoted and developed in his artistic production throughout his life, which, exactly, was the case of Piazzolla. That's why even people, living far away of his native land, feel his music as their own: because they see the genuine artistic development of a true nationalistic composer, as the vast majority of the classical composers.

As far as I can understand your characteristically badly expressed point, lots of people all over the world like composer A, therefore composer A shows musical truth. This is meaningless gibberish even by your standards. Lost of people living equally far away ‘feel as their own’ the music of Elvis Presley or the Beatles – do they show the same musical truth as your friend the musak tango king?

parla wrote:
You always claim victory over the issue that my arguments "lack validity or logical substance", as your negativity and negation of any position, statement or argument of mine has any basis of reasonal validation and logical resolution. You rely your whatever you may call as victory on the sole basis that you simply deny, dismiss, refuse to accept any argumentation on qualifying music, based on the actual musical features of the work or composer in question. However, even if you dismiss any objective way to qualify music, it doesn't mean that all music is "equal". Still, you have to prove, with valid and logical arguments, what you claim. I remember, in another thread, whenever I asked you to prove what you claim, you replied "I don't claim anything". If still that is the case, you cannot dismiss anything either!

Here we go again. The only thing I am claiming is that judgments of the quality of different pieces of music or different genres of music are purely value judgments - purely opinions.  I have never once said or suggested that all music is of equal quality. And why on earth should that prevent me from dismissing anything? When I read the sort of unadulterated guff that you pedal so much, I have as valid a right as anyone else to dismiss it as such.

parla wrote:
Since I don't think you will bother to come with any definition to this end, I will inform you that, what I learned in my years of education and experience in being exposed to Music and Art, greatness is defined by the impact of the actual work or composer's output on the specific Art, civilisation, the world and the people.

A typically meaningless remark. If we assume for the sake of argument that Beethoven’s Moonlight sonata is a great piece of music, what impact has it had on ‘civilisiation’? Ok so a lot of people have bought the record or heard it in concert, but I hardly see how civilisation has been affected beyond that. On the other hand the music produced by X Factor in all its manifestations throughout the western world really has affected civilisation if we consider the increased blurring between information, entertainment and advertising. (And it’s no surprise to see that Simon Cowell publicly endorsed the Tory party at the last election with all that that entails for increasing economic inequality in UK society.) Is that  great music in your book?

parla wrote:
And if we still sing "Yesterday", "Imagine" or the "Bridge" or "Mamma mia" does it make any difference or is the exception to the rule?

Anyhow, your "philistine" greats you, Ceasar.

An exception to what rule? I am beginning to think that your apparent inability to make any sense whatsoever is a deliberate ploy to disguise the fact that you know you are talking rubbish.

RE: Astor Piazzolla : a great composer for all times?

Yes, here we are again. Despite this time you tried to answer point by point my arguments, you cannot refrain from resorting to personal abusive language and attack as the spearhead of your argumentation or the final stroke. Anyway, I will overcome it once more. As for your response:

So, now you "rephrase" your initial statement, you refer to the "theory of discourse" and we add the notion of taste along with opinion. Much to my surprise, while definitions are not a matter of opinions, their application (on specific cases), is again a matter of opinion. Fair enough as statements. On which objective grounds, however?

Music has not been bulit, developed and thrived on opinions or taste, but on very specific rules and definitions. This is what we have been taught for years in the conservatories, in any performing venue and in any collaboration with fellow musicians. We have learned to pursue excellence beyond our or anybody else's opinion, but on the basis of the definitions of what is the perfect pitch, the best posssible tone, the observance of Harmony,  Counterpoint, etc. So, the application of the definition of Harmony didn't come as a matter of our opinion, as whether we like it to implement it or not, but as a "must" each time we have to perform (much more to compose) properly a piece of music. The same for the tone, etc. What we learned is that definitions in Classical Music at least, exist and are observed. We don't apply definitions. Even in any aspect of our life, whenever we refer to a notion or a word, their definitions exist and either we are aware of them (so we can observe and properly use them) or we are not (and we ignore them and have difficulty in communication).

As for the "musical truth", Elvis and Beatles didn't defend, promote and develop any national form of music. They made an extended temporary fame with pleasant songs that, in some cases, can be used even today as a little more than background music (music hall, restaurants with some second rate singers, etc.). Piazzolla's music has the effect of those musicians who are accepted as great national composers. For the Argentinians, he is their pride and national treasure. That's why musicians of the calibre of Barenboim, Kremer, Accardo and the rest I have already mentioned, plus a lot of unsung heroes almost all over the world perform his music (which, despite you have very little knowledge of it, you called it muzak so easily...anyhow).

So, as for the "equal quality", we resolve the issue. There is music which is greater than other, but it is purely a value judgement, an opinion (and taste) to say which is what. So, tomorrow, if somebody wish to say that his taste (whatever it might mean) and, therefore, his opinion (whatever might be implied) make him claim that Madona's songs are a greater music than Mozart's Symphonies is as valid as anybody's view. Very convenient indeed! Fortunately, I can assure you it doesn't apply but only in some forums like this one.

I am at this moment in Beijing, which I visit frequently due to the fact that my wife is Chinese. The people of China are very proud of their traditions, including their national music. However, the way they observe Classical Music is beyond any expectation. Amazing Concert Halls, plenty of performers of any kind, hundreds of conductors, everyday programs on national television, etc. There is an utmost respect, dedication and observance of any rule, tradition and definition of this music. At the same time, they admit that their traditional music, though great for them, has a limited scope compared to Classical and they performed it in special places for those who are interested (like Beijing Opera, which many younger people cannot comprehend and, subsequently, stand). The same I have noticed in every major country in Asia as well as in Africa, where, to my utmost surprise, they show an extreme eagerness to establish Classical Music over their own traditional music forms.

Regarding X Factor's music, I simply have to ignore its ephemeral impact that might have probably in UK and in some parts of the States, since, anywhere else (including here in China) is considered as bad entertainment only, but it is tolerated since it gives some additional jobs and big bucks to some people in the business.

It's not the Moonlight Sonata that marked our civilisation but the output of Beethoven's music as well as the other classic composers. Anywhere, either here in Asia or in Africa, there is an unbelievably great demand of the scores of Bach, Haydn, Mozart etc. Their music is heard in national television, in concert halls, performers go abroad in order to come back and teach their own people this music. Particularly, in Africa those who get a scholarship and succeed in their studies in Europe or in US, when they return, they are treated as "national heroes". That's the impact of Great music and of Great composers accross the Globe and in a considerable time framework.

Anyway, it's quite late here. At the end of the day people might show some more understanding...Who knows?

Parla

RE: Astor Piazzolla : a great composer for all times?

parla wrote:

At the end of the day people might show some more understanding...

Parla

         ... and just enjoy being on holiday without the need to expend hundreds of words in endless argument with anyone who has the temerity to disagree with them.   Honestly!  Some people!  If only they could see what this lack of understanding exposes them to, eh, Parla?  But there you go.  That's some people for you.

Vic.

RE: Astor Piazzolla : a great composer for all times?

Imagine what his postcards home are like.

Pause for thought.

RE: Astor Piazzolla : a great composer for all times?

Caballe, I didn't labelled Piazzolla as a great composer. There is already a question mark there, inviting views about the opposite, provided that they are developed and they are not mere opinions of an inexplicable taste. Greatness is not needed to give any validity to just any composer of anytime; it is needed to reward those who contributed more than others to the development of the Classical Music. So, it's your prerogative to dislike or even detest Beethoven, but you have to recognise his role and significance in the field.

Parla,

I acknowledge there is a question mark in the subject. I suppose I should ask you now that you have had several responses if you regard Piazzolla as worthy to join the ranks of what are generally regarded as great composers. I would be surprised if you do however much you express support for the quality of his music. I have listened to various compositions by this composer over the years on radio broadcasts and have three works of his on disc. The longest work I have by him is his so called tango opera, Maria de Buenos Aires. It is certainly an unusual piece of work in the field of opera, if it can be regarded as such, and some of it is approachable and appealing. Although it is not inordinately long, repeated listening reveals considerable purple passages if you are familiar with that phrase. My initial enthusiasm for the piece wanes somewhat after about forty five minutes as I don't think Piazzolla's unique sound world maintains interest. There is only so much tango rhythm one can take in one listening session I think. I feel the same about other pieces I have heard by him.

On to your next comment. How does one reward a composer who has contributed more than others to the development of classical music when the majority of them have long since departed from this mortal coil? Their names may be remembered and their work performed and revered long after they are gone. Their descendants may benefit financially and in other ways but we can never know for certain what the deceased composers reward is. Even if there is a different state of conciousness after death we won't know until or unless we experience it for ourselves if our previous mortality has any relevance.

As for Beethoven, I have the highest regard for his Piano Concerto No 5, Moonlight & Pathetique sonatas and Symphonies 3, 5, 7 & 9. Many other compositions by him bore me rigid I'm afraid and I have by no means heard anything approaching his complete output. For sure, the same is true of other composers and I can't count the number of times I have heard or read the same thing said about Brahms. Life is short enough and I would rather spend it listening to what I enjoy now I am in my sixth decade. That does not mean I have stopped seeking out new music to listen to as like you and other forum members, I know I spend more than I should on acquiring recordings old and new. I realise as collectors of recorded music we all struggle to maintain a proportionate balance in listening to tried and tested favourites and new recordings of familiar and unfamiliar works.

RE: Astor Piazzolla : a great composer for all times?

Vic, thanks a lot for your kind understanding and words of wisdom. What many of our fellow members have not yet recognised is my commitment to these forum(s) and to them.

Mark, when you "check out" Piazzolla's music, we may debate his role in Music and the comparison with Part and other minimalists.

Caballe, I am extremely thankful for your second very thoughtful and thorough contribution. My remarks to some points:

All the contributions to the point for Piazzolla reveal that the posters have either limited or quite limited knowledge of his music. Actually, when I decided to initiate this thread, I wanted to verify my perception that in UK - and in to some extent in Germany - Piazzolla is not well known or appreciated. Fortunately, Artemis Quartet has devoted a first UK CD on his music.

So, yes, I still believe he belongs to the ranks of the great 20th century composers, on the basis of the very artistic development of his national tradition to a level that it was unthinkable before. Structurally his music is viable, reachable and at the same time rather complex. Musically, some of his melodies (Oblivion, Addios Nonino, Invierno Porteno) along with some of his songs are of a divine beauty (I don't think many classical composers have written a more powerful, moving and musically so flowing hymn as the second theme of Addios Nonino, the piece he composed for his departed father).

As for the greatness issue, regardless of the fact that most (if not all) of the classical composers have departed, we recognise their works mostly, not them, necessarily. Or through their works, we recognise them as well. By this recognition, we set the standards, which we have to respect, attain and develop further.

For Beethoven, I have only to tell you that the greatest surprise I had was when I started listening to his most neglected or disregarded works, like his Bagatelles or some unknown or less played Piano or Violin Sonatas. Then, I appreciated his unique greatness. Just try his Piano Sonata, op. 90 in e minor. Then, his String Quartets are his unreachable legacy, greater than anything else he has composed. Despite I fully respect your seniority wisdom and the lack of the luxury of time, I truly urge you to give a try; it's a life changing musical (and beyond) experience! For some (I admit mostly musicians), it's simply the essence of music!

With best wishes for a truly Happy New Year,

Parla

RE: Astor Piazzolla : a great composer for all times?

parla wrote:

Vic, thanks a lot for your kind understanding and words of wisdom. What many of our fellow members have not yet recognised is my commitment to these forum(s) and to them.

 

Parla

Oh dear Parla!  Now I am confused.  Have you missed my irony or am I missing yours?

To be absolutely clear, I believe the criticism you are attracting here is entirely justified, and for the reasons your critics state, and as I have stated elsewhere - on too many occasions to count!   While I admire your passion for the subject, your seeming obsessive and blinkered absolutism feels more appropriate to fundamentalist religion than to the art of music.  In the kind of exchanges we are having here it is difficult to avoid the personal sometimes, and I am sure that in real life you are a good and warm man.  But whether from personal, cultural or linguistic reasons, you come across exactly as CraigM states elsewhere.  It might appear arrogant of me to say so but I really think you should give serious consideration to how you are perceived and that all criticism cannot be a misunderstanding of your position.

I will quote once again the wonderful Jacob Bronowski (who was himself quoting from Cromwell): "I beseech you in the bowels of Christ, consider it possible you may be mistaken".  

"Consider it possible".

Vic.

 

RE: Astor Piazzolla : a great composer for all times?

Atonal wrote:
Imagine what his postcards home are like.

Dear All,

We – the whole family, "including" Miss Understanding – having "a" Wonderful time visiting places Where the Master once "stood". Have touched "hem" of Garment.

Sun, sand and – well, you know – the "Score", but fear we may have had a bit too much of the Great, not the grain, and consumed rather more Piazzolla than one should have at one sitting.

Wish you "were" Here

Yours, in absolute certainty

parla

Audio Editor, Gramophone

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