Curious Dislikes

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Curious Dislikes

I love almost everything by Mozart. I love the symphonies, piano concertos, chamber music, mature operas, piano sonatas........everything, just about. But I really don't like the clarinet concerto or the clarinet quintet. (Though I do love the clarinet trio and usually like clarinet music.) I have listened to them countless times and on many celebrated recordings. I even played the quintet back when I still played the clarinet. But I just don't like them. More than this, I actually find them annoying and have trouble understanding what other people see in them. The quintet is dirgy and monotonous; the concerto just plain boring. The famous slow movement of the concerto seems contrived and sentimental and makes me groan with irritation - something that never, ever happens when I listen to Mozart.

Anyway, the merits of these particular pieces isn't what interests me. (I am not looking for people to defend them or recommend yet another recording.) What does interest me is the mysterious way our taste - in this case mine - opens the door to some pieces and keeps it firmly locked for others. Try as I might, I can't like these pieces and don't suppose I ever will. The door, which opens for so many others, remains locked.

My question, then, is this: Do you have trouble with a piece by a composer you otherwise love?

Just to be clear: (1) We have to be talking about a piece that is commonly held in high regard - nothing peripheral or marginal (no Beethoven Battle Symphonies); (2) You must have given these pieces a good listen over a reasonable period of time; and (3) You love or at least like almost everything else by this composer.

RE: Curious Dislikes

I can't think of any composer that I like everything they wrote. Some composers I like most things but not everything. Some composers I like about 50 - 50. Some, I like a few things and some composers I like only one work. Some composers I dislike totally and some composers I have not heard anything by. I would have thought the strangest position would be someone who liked everything a composer wrote. But I've got a problem with the organ, it completely ruins Janacek's mass. I'll forgive Janacek most things, but not his organ.

RE: Curious Dislikes

Eliza Frost wrote:

I love almost everything by Mozart. I love the symphonies, piano concertos, chamber music, mature operas, piano sonatas........everything, just about. But I really don't like the clarinet concerto or the clarinet quintet. (Though I do love the clarinet trio and usually like clarinet music.) I have listened to them countless times and on many celebrated recordings. I even played the quintet back when I still played the clarinet. But I just don't like them. More than this, I actually find them annoying and have trouble understanding what other people see in them. The quintet is dirgy and monotonous; the concerto just plain boring. The famous slow movement of the concerto seems contrived and sentimental and makes me groan with irritation - something that never, ever happens when I listen to Mozart.

Anyway, the merits of these particular pieces isn't what interests me. (I am not looking for people to defend them or recommend yet another recording.) What does interest me is the mysterious way our taste - in this case mine - opens the door to some pieces and keeps it firmly locked for others. Try as I might, I can't like these pieces and don't suppose I ever will. The door, which opens for so many others, remains locked.

My question, then, is this: Do you have trouble with a piece by a composer you otherwise love?

Just to be clear: (1) We have to be talking about a piece that is commonly held in high regard - nothing peripheral or marginal (no Beethoven Battle Symphonies); (2) You must have given these pieces a good listen over a reasonable period of time; and (3) You love or at least like almost everything else by this composer.

Interesting question Eliza. I'll have to give this some thought. For myself, sometimes too much exposure (as in too often heard over the radio) has sometimes made me dash to slam it (the radio) off. Same applies to one certain album used by local DJs to help raise money during fund raising times. 

May I ask, did you have to perform either of those two pieces many times? Also, do you like those formats for clarinet in general? BTW, for what it's worth, I enjoy the concerto (though haven't played it--the CD that is--in some time). I'll have to see whether or not I have a recording of the quintet. And yes, I do love Mozart.

BTW: Sorry, what did you mean by "Beethoven Battle"? Were you referring to Rattle's recordings of them? Don't know much about them (the recordings that is). Anyway, from what you seemed to be saying over all had to deal with the works not with any particular recordings of them.

Best wishes,

Petra

p.s. Am rather envious of you being able to play an instrument! Wish that I were so talented. :--( Hope that you still enjoy (and are able to) play your clarinet.

 

 

 

 

RE: Curious Dislikes

If I might step in here, Eliza is referring to a symphony that Beethoven wrote commemorating the Duke of Wellington's victory over Napoleon at the battle of Vitoria. It's known as the Battle Symphony or Wellington's Victory. It uses some British and French themes and is kind of enjoyable. Just forget Beethoven wrote it (and even made some money from it).

Bliss

RE: Curious Dislikes

Hugh

You're right, of course - it would be odd to like everything. I just wanted to close in on this one aspect, or application, of taste: the thing you probably should like - given all the other things you like; given the thoroughly characteristic nature of the piece - but don't. 

Don't know Janacek at all - not one single piece. Worth it?

RE: Curious Dislikes

Eliza Frost wrote:

Hugh

You're right, of course - it would be odd to like everything. I just wanted to close in on this one aspect, or application, of taste: the thing you probably should like - given all the other things you like; given the thoroughly characteristic nature of the piece - but don't. 

Don't know Janacek at all - not one single piece. Worth it?

Eliza,

If I might jump in here: Janacek is WONDERFUL! For me (and a number of others too). I love his string quartets, the Mass, Sinfonietta, and a number of other pieces. The quartets particularly as played by the (modern day) Talich quartet or Pavel Haas Quartet. I am very fond of Sir Charles Mackerras's recordings over the years (particularly recent ones on Supraphon--I'd be happy to provide more details) also Ancerl's on Supraphon (older ones but great).

Do give them a shot. If you're wary about spending any money yet, try a local library (or inter-library loan) or check around on youTube. He has his own distinctive sound world which I find fascinating and thrilling.

Best wishes,

Petra

EDIT: I wish that I could see when someone had posted a new post before I clicked reply! Anyway, happy that you are still enjoying the piano! See, you're even more talented than I first thought [TWO instruments!!]. ;-)

 

 

RE: Curious Dislikes

Janacek, apart from the works mentioned above, composed some fantastic operas. Kata Kabanova is excellent but the Cunning little vixen is an absolute masterpiece.

RE: Curious Dislikes

Eliza,

a p.s. to the above. You might wish to try his piano music first (since you obviously enjoy the piano). There's a great CD (2-fer) with Rudolf Firkusny which has Janacek's works for piano. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Janacek-Piano-Leo-Jan-ek/dp/B000001GXO/ref=sr_1_...

It's considered "a classic" as far as Janacek goes.

I also love (and he is very well-respected by others) recordings of Janacek by Ivan Moravec. I first ran into his recordings about a half-dozen (? maybe less?) years ago--wish that I had "discovered" him sooner! Also wish that I had stumbled across Janacek earlier--that was also a "recentish discovery". Well, life is for the learning and exploring!

Let us know if you decide to explore Janacek's works and what you think of them.

Petra

 

RE: Curious Dislikes

Hugh,

Whose recordings of the non-operatic works do you enjoy?

Note: I'm enjoying exploring his operas.

Best, P.

p.s. Eliza: one work that hasn't (yet?) clicked for me is his (Janacek's) "Diary of One Who Disappeared". Perhaps a different version might work for me? I borrowed one from my local library featuring Ian Bostridge. 

 

 

RE: Curious Dislikes

Eliza, I believe the premises of your question are wrong. If everything is a matter of taste, then, there is no question. You are free to "like" or "dislike" anything, no matter how great, superb or sublime the work in question is. However, the real issue is how you may appreciate the musical work. What can you identify in the actual composition and how far you can follow the musical development and structure of it.

If you follow the process of the "appreciation" of Mozart's Clarinet Concerto and Quintet, at the end of the day, you may even "like" them, since they are anything one might wish (and beyond) from this combination of instrumental forces. The slow movements of both works are some of the most sublime examples in music-making, in the most superb way of writing and sustaining a divine melody. However, no matter what I may say, you have to discover it yourself.

In Classical Music, the issue of what we like or not is almost irrelevant. The actual question is what is the work all about. The closer you come to the answer, then, the rewards may come in abundance.

Parla

RE: Curious Dislikes

Petra01 wrote:

Hugh,

Whose recordings of the non-operatic works do you enjoy?

The Firkusny,  as has already been mentioned. The Prazak quartets reading of the two quartets. Abaddo in the sinfonietta. Isserlis/Mustonen in Pohadka. Tetzlaff in the violin concerto. Iona Brown in the Idyll and Suite. The Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet in Mladi. I could bore you all night but do try the Vixen in English with Lillian Watson. EMI.

RE: Curious Dislikes

I feel almost ashamed to admit this,but my *blind spot* is, with the exception of the last, no.32, the Beethoven piano sonatas! All the striving and struggle is great in the symphonies and quartets,even the piano concertos.With the piano sonatas it gets on my nerves.
Keep returning to them - but it's no good.I am a lost cause,admit defeat, and listen to Schubert.

RE: Curious Dislikes

I'd not seen that Dudley Moore parody, Eliza.  It is brilliant, and not least because to do it requires an exceptional understanding of the music being parodied.

This thread has possibilities, but with due respect, when you write "The [Mozart] quintet is dirgy and monotonous; the concerto [is] just plain boring." that's nothing to do with blind spots: you're saying it's Mozart's fault.  Well, you must expect some ripostes to that!

Chris

Chris A.Gnostic

RE: Curious Dislikes

Chris

I only mean that that is how it seems to me..........Not claiming them as "facts". As it is Mozart, I am sure the fault lies with me.

RE: Curious Dislikes

Curious that Huge Arse doesn't like the organ in the Glagolithic Mass. I think it is the best thing about that work. As for Mozart, Eliza's adjectives "annoying", "monotonous" and "just plain boring" are those I would use to describe most of his work! Give me the thrills and spills of the 18th century Nino Rota (aka Joseph Haydn) any day!!

RE: Curious Dislikes

If the "fault lies with you", what do we have to debate here? Our problems, whichever they are, cannot become issues for general discussion.

By the way, I am not "flat wrong", since even this notion of "taste" cannot be like a "blind date". Knowledge, education and further investigation guide us to learn to appreciate and, eventually experience the pleasures of the object of Art (even of Life). The way you (and quite a few others) describe what you "like" is like a "symptom" or "accidental reaction". What it happens with me is that I enjoy (more and in a better way) what I may comprehend (further). The more I can get into it, the more I can "enjoy" it. Of course, there is always the "entertaining" side of any Art, where the auteur wishes to please us with various means, but, even in this case, to acknowledge (to identify and recognise) the fact that the work functions in this way, it is a further consolidation of what you may simply like.

The difference with the "alien or the computer which could manage that" is that, whenever we humans can manage to follow the process of appreciation, we can be more enlightened and guided to what we are about to face.

By the way, I "love, find myself moved, experience joy and feel glad to be alive", because I know why I enjoy (or not) this object of Art/Music.

Parla

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