Hands up! Whose music do you really hate? A continuation...

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Hands up! Whose music do you really hate? A continuation...

In an article for Gramophone Online (read it here), reviewer Jeremy Nicholas puts his head above the parapet and reveals his musical blindspots - and also explores why so many people find this so hard to do. Is he right? And are there composers that you struggle to like?

RE: Hands up! Whose music do you really hate? A continuation...

This whole article is built on a stupid premise isn't it? All Jeremy Nicholas does is whinge about composers who write what you might describe as broadly 'modernist' music. More interesting questions are why these composers write like they do, and what does it say about JN's tastes that he doesn't 'get' Birtwistle, Boulez, Ligeti et al. These composers have obviously got under his skin because they make statements that are meaningful - no one can be bothered to hate music that has no meaning or weight because there's nothing to like or dislike. I suggest readers look at Stephen Hough's recent comments on Bach, who he has problems with, for a debate that is more nuanced and grown up.

RE: Hands up! Whose music do you really hate? A continuation...

Jeremy's article shouldn't be taken too seriously, I feel. After all most people discuss their personal likes and dislikes amongst themselves whether it be composers' music or football teams. For my own part, if I never heard another note of Mozart's music again it wouldn't bother me because I just don't like his music, I do acknowledge, of course, that he must have been a genius. One composer who I do think is vastly overrated is Mahler, all of his music to my ears sounds quite similar and everything I like about classical music suggests that I should indeed like his music, but alas I don't. I can't believe that Jeremy finds the English composer Frank Bridge overrated and dreary, I find his work intensley moving and I think I'm safe in saying that Jeremy is in the minority here, which brings me on to my last point. The name Frank Bridge coupled with Jeremy Nicholas struck a bit of a chord with me and after looking at last month's gramophone review of Bridge's Pf works Vol 3 on Somm, which was greeted very cooly; a rarity for a review of Bridge's music, I realised why. Who reviewed the disc, yes non other than Jeremy Nicholas! Who's idea was that then? What is the point of asking a critic to review a disc who has little or in this case no empathy with a composer's work whatsoever? It didn't tell Bridge's many admirers if this is a greater recording or performance than Jacobs, Wass, Stott, Parkin et al which surely is the point of a review isn't it? An oversight by the editor I feel, or was it mischievous?

RE: Hands up! Whose music do you really hate? A continuation...

Well. it's a very very unfortunate use of the word 'hate'.

Up here in Scotland we have recently seen a tabloid newspaper issue an apology over the use of the word in a headline.  And of course the Scottish Government is presently legistating against hatred (of the sectarian variey). And there's been plenty of hatred on show on English streets this summer.

Dislike? Yes. Strongly dislike? Yes. Can't stand? Yes. Hate? Don't think so.

Poor show Gramophone.

Reviewer out of touch with reality, and Gramophone in need of a good sub-editor.

RE: Hands up! Whose music do you really hate? A continuation...

I think political correctness in dealing with music is at least appalling, 20thcenturymuse.

The verb "hate" is O.K., in this case, because the article tries to identify what kind of music we might hate to listen to, despite we may recognize it as "great" or the composer as "genius" (as very pertinently Larry Branigan mentions his example with the music of Mozart). It brings to the fore the serious question that, on one hand, you may admit the greatness of a piece of music, but, on the other, you can always "interfere" your ideas,"taste" (very fashionable in Gramophone forums), experiences, mood and anything personal that can intervene between the work and yourself.

Normally, the trend in these forums seems to be : taste is everything! So, what we like (our taste) is "great" (of course great only to us, but almost none bothers to mention). At least, in the premises of this article, we may start having room to "hate" music, independently of its quality and, at he same time, we may wonder whether the music we try to "expel" is truly good, important, significant and so on. That's progress, whether you recognise it or not.

Parla

RE: Hands up! Whose music do you really hate? A continuation...

larry branigan wrote:

 What is the point of asking a critic to review a disc who has little or in this case no empathy with a composer's work whatsoever?

I couldn't agree more, and it's a point that has irked me ever since, eons ago, I heard a Building a Library survey of Rachmaninov's PC2, by somebody or other who professed himself to be a tad antipathetic towards Rachmaninov. So of course he picked some garbage version as his top choice. Although it doesn't quite fit here, I can't help recalling Stravinsky talking about critics of his word-splitting in Symphony of Psalms:

One hopes to worship God with a little art if one has any, and if one hasn't, and cannot recognize it in others, then one can at least burn a little incense.

If you don't get something, stand back and leave it to those who do.

RE: Hands up! Whose music do you really hate? A continuation...

I was glad to see someone having the courage to say that they did not care for the music of Mozart. I have found that when I say this the response is one of incomprehension at best or ridicule at worst. The implication is that you cannot be truly a music lover without adoring Mozart! Haydn is a different matter, however. Don't ask me to explain why I love his music and yet cannot really respond to Mozart. 

GWP

RE: Hands up! Whose music do you really hate? A continuation...

There is no need of any courage, GWP, to say you don't "like" Mozart as long as you recognize he is one of the 3-4 greatest pillars of Classical Music. The danger lies when you start degrading Mozart, because you don't like his music.

The funny thing is that Haydn you seem to appreciate (and like) more is pretty much connected with the style and qualities of Amadeus. Of course, Haydn leaned towards the great master-teacher rather than Mozart who was mostly the master-creator. We should not neglect that Mozart had composed the unique Six String Quartets dedicated to Haydn, which they reflect more than anything else the connection and the strong relationship of the two great Masters.

Parla

RE: Hands up! Whose music do you really hate? A continuation...

A silly article. I shan't be able to take seriously anything JN writes from now on.

Adrian

RE: Hands up! Whose music do you really hate? A continuation...

Hate? Simple. Anything that Parla "likes."

RE: Hands up! Whose music do you really hate? A continuation...

I'm afraid you will have hard time to identify what I "like", 20thcenturymuse, since this word is almost obsolete and "depasse" in my music book.

However, I will be very much interested in what you are supposed to like in music. (Do you believe in muses, by the way?).

Parla

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