Parla. It certainly sounds as though your weekend has been much more rewarding. I've seen pictures of the National Theatre and it looks fascinating. How are the acoustics?
You seem to be having no trouble using the internet this time: previously you were 'cut-off' for some time. Have things changed there?
I will try to write some more for the Lieder thread soon, and hope that you will have time to add to your comments.
Enjoy your trip!
Enjoy your concert Parla!
Sounds better than spaghetti and wine out in the back garden - which is me for tonight!
Not that I'm complaining!
Bravo Hugh: indeed what a match. Tagalie must have enjoyed it too, he hasn't been seen or heard of on any thread since before the game.
The game rather reminded me of this thread, one side stonewalling, the other trying to produce a result and becoming increasingly frustrated. I've given up, and I suspect Craig has too. With all respect, Chris, nothing in the past 25 pages convinces me that the objectivists have ceased confusing skill with greatness. As I said about 20 pages back, skill can be contributory, never sufficient. Yesterday's game provided a decent analogy: Arjen Robben, arguably the most skillful man on the pitch, running around like a clockwork mouse to no effect whatsoever. Admirable technique, zero impact.
Taking the comparison a step further, the objective side is reminding me strongly of TV sports pundits, who love to give retrospectives on the objective parameters for success in sports. Except that they'll redesign those 'ingredients for success' the next time round, when a whole different combination of events produces a whole different outcome. Proving nothing except that not only does greatness defy analysis, but also there are too many factors external to any formula that aims at comprehensiveness. As far as music is concerned, those factors have been detailed again and again by Vic, Craig and others.
I keep waiting for the objectivists to dive into examples of objective greatness, i.e. this piece of music is great because of a, b and c. You made a brave attempt with your Schubert example at the start of this debate, Chris, which I maintained only served to support the subectivists - a flattened chord in itself isn't great, it depends on the subjective reaction of the listener for effect. It was incorporated into Doppleganger with skill but the results are somewhat serendipitous - the listener, culture, performance are outside Schubert's control. Regardless, it was a thought-provoking example. They've been thin on the ground since. Parla referenced the Trout Quintet along similar lines to your Doppelganger quote, but I'm afraid I couldn't decipher what he was trying to say. The gist of Parla's arguments seem to always be that the world is so because Parla says so.
Your post #14 on page 32, Chris, contained an interesting point on comparison of works within a composer's oeuvre (Beethoven's 1 and 9) as opposed to between composers and over time. If there is fertile ground for objective reasoning, I believe it's here. I also support your belief that score analysis can do much to enhance our appreciation of a composer. But I still say we're acting like sports pundits when we do that, searching for the causes of a certain outcome and unfailingly coming up with only part of the story.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with spaghetti and wine in the back garden - depending on the weather, absence of wasps, what's on the spaghetti, and what wine's in the bottle. Eating out on the deck last night, we were visited by a mother bear with two youngsters. Always a sign it's time to take the meal indoors.
[Yesterday's game provided a decent analogy: Arjen Robben, arguably the most skillful man on the pitch, running around like a clockwork mouse to no effect whatsoever. Admirable technique, zero impact.
Bald headed men can't play football. This is why Rooney has had a hair transplant and Bobby Charlton combed his hair up and over the top from below his ears. Name one great bald headed footballer, you can't, they don't exist. This is an objective fact, white men can't jump and bald headed men can't play football. Samson knew a thing or two about hair, when Chelsea signed Arjen Robben he had hair, when we sold him he was as bald as a football, Roman Abramovich knows a thing about hair too. Arjen Robben could have worn a wig, he could have done it for the team, an afro would have looked good back in Holland too. But no, he is too selfish. That is why Chelsea are world champions and masters of the universe and Arjen Robben is back in Amsterdam, wearing cloggs and living in a windmill. Objective facts Arjen, you can't argue with them.
What was on the spaghetti was 'tonno a la marco!' In other words, a 'knock-up' dating back to student days: olive oil, onion, carrot, tin toms, tin tuna or two - hint of chilli, ground black pepper.. It still tastes good after all these years - though you should also try a little olive oil, onion, red pepper, tuna and cream with black and pink peppercorns. That one is known as 'tonno al la crema'.
A good artisan spaghetti of course. It's not the wasps here it's the midges, and it's not 2 or 3 wolves but the bonehead up the road and his two fighting dogs out for a walk in the alley between our garden and the allotments! Thankfully our wall is HIGH!
What can I say about the wine I had tonight? You know when it gets desperate and there's only one left?: Take a Lindemans el plonko, leave it for 7 years...and it becomes not just fortified but PORTIFIED! Thank God it was a synthetic cork, or the stench of oak would have put even me off!
Anelka, Henry shaved his head and was a better player for it, and if Charlton had a comb-over then he was, technically, bald, or was he the exception that proved the rule?
Oh, boy!. When I sleep here, you are so active over there. So, I guess I have to respond to each one of you separately. First in the line is Chris:
The accoustics of the "Egg" are variable. There are different Halls for different purposes: Symphony Hall, Chamber Music, Theatre, Opera. I haven't attended concerts in all of them, so my view is limited to the Concert Hall for Symphonic Music, which is impressive enough but it doesn't match the effect of the building itself. The Chamber Music is much more comfortable, effective in the sound accoustics and warm in the communication of artist(s) and audience. However, the whole "thing" is a huge marvel of construction, outside and inside. Whether you like it or not is your subjective prerogative, but the construction (architecture, engineering, etc.) as such is an objective "miracle" (ha-ha).
I always have access to internet, except when I'm travelling, where I have to concentrate on...relaxing, particularly when I have some endless hours in the air...
As for your Lieder thread, I feel so disappointed that it didn't produce the necessary "discourse". Anyway, I'll come back with some more comments. I wonder where JKH is. He would definitely have plenty to say. (He may be on vacation too).
Second is Mark.
Since the thread has been deviated (for a while) to gastronomy (another very favourite "sport" of mine), I have to state loud and clear that there is nothing wrong with "spaghetti and wine". Despite I'm "bombarded" by the 14-16 course Chinese (haute) cuisine, whenever I come here, I always miss my beloved Italian dishes, including my rare but very favourite, namely "Pasta al limone" (Pasta with lemon sauce!).
Yesterday, we had to attend a Chinese glamorous wedding of a close family member, with all the glories of newly-rich Chinese standards (a red Ferrari for the groom and bride, a huge motorcade of black Mercedes, BMW and Lincoln, a huge 16 course lunch (!), ceremonial exctravaganza, etc.). The fact of the matter is that I didn't enjoy much of it, except the apparent (and for the moment) happiness of the young couple. When we came back home, I asked my wife to prepare some Chinese noodles, in the simplest form, to clean up my system.
Wine is not our favourite "sport", but, occasionally, an old good Chianti or a red "Great Wall" here can do it. However, an espresso marochino (an espresso macchiato with some chocolate on top) is always welcome.
I had some remarks on some of your points on the main subject of the deviation of this thread, but I guess I should not spoil the gastronomic detour, for the moment.
So, you have some thoughts for food, for the moment. Enjoy!
Finally, you old chap Tagalie.
I don't confuse "skill with greatness". I never claimed that the great composers have skills only. Their greatness relies on their understanding and further development of the "conventions" of music, something that requires more than mere skills. It needs study, research, deep knowledge of the rules of music, of the musical instruments, etc.
The analogy with the TV sport pundits is rather "unfair". None of us write or perform as "analyst" anywhere. Actually, there are no "official pundits" anywhere in the Classical Music field, except, somehow, in the Schools of Music, Conservatories, etc. only for those who want to study, research, become professional musicians, etc.
I could agree fully with your statement that "greatness defy analysis" (that's why "evidence" of any kind of external to music "logic" is redundant). However, then, yhou bring to the subject the "external factors" to "define" greatness and you made me "lost" again.
You are "unfair" if you claim that, at least me, I never brought examples of the key components of why a piece of music is great (because of a, b and c reasons). I have stated, on various threads and occasions, that there are three key components (of a composition), defining the greatness of a work: a) the structure (how the work has been constructed, which form has been used, in which way, etc.), b) the orchestration (the variety of instruments, the way these instruments have been used, showing how the composer had good knowledge of the limitations and the advantages of each instrument, etc.) and c) the harmonic language (the tonalities and the modulations used, the counterpoint, harmony, chromaticism, use of mediants or submediants, etc.). To name only the a, b and c, as you suggested.
As for the examples, except for Chris' example of the "flattened chord" in Schubert, I have mentioned the example from Schubert's "Trout" Quintet, which, apparently, you didn't get it. Before I go back to the "Trout", please kindly note that the "flattened chord" is not a trick or secret of composers to succeed, but a tool that they have to find where and how to use it. Schubert was such a great composer to know how and when to use it within the context of his Lied. That's why it works. It doesn't mean any composer can used it anywhere, in any context, and be musically effective or great. The impact to the audience (if, of course, they notice it) is irrelevant to the musical value of the work.
Going back to the "Trout": The fourth movement is in D major. It's a variations movement on the well-known Lied of Schubert with the same title. In the first three variations, Schubert moves rather conservatively in terms of modulations or chromaticism. In the fourth variation, he moves to the bold minor mode (d minor) to give the dramatic effect to the movement. While till then, in the Classic tradition, he had to come back to the tonal (D major) and finish with the final variation, Schubert decides to take the risk to break with tradition (without rejecting it), by introducing a new (slow and almost poignant) variation in the unexpected and quite remote key of B flat! However, the amazing (musically speaking) thing is how he could go back to D major to close the movement. Then, the very young composer shows his inventivenss and creativity, by using a series of very subtle and smooth modulations that, within this penultimate variation, lead us back to the tonal and last variation. This is not a "trick" that can be repeated or learned or used. It works in this particular score, because of Schubert's scope and perspective of the whole work. If we notice it, we simply haved to identify and...admire it. Whether we like it or not is another story, irrelevant to the musical value of the "Trout" Quintet.
As for Beethoven's Ninth versus the First, I gave recently the example that, taking the First Movement of both Symphonies, one (who knows to read or to follow scores) can clearly notice that the Ninth's is a fully and most boldy and creatively developed Sonata Form, while the First's is a conventional (though excellent) use of the Sonata Form. If we take the orchestration, we may notice the same differences: conventional though excellent versus an inventive, almost audacious and very powerful one in the Ninth.
So, there is something to work on, Tagalie.
I could agree fully with your statement that "greatness defy analysis" (that's why "evidence" of any kind of external to music "logic" is redundant).
You claim the greatness of some music is a fact. Facts require evidence. That's what makes them facts.
What is "music logic"?
I have stated, on various threads and occasions, that there
are three key components (of a composition), defining the greatness of a
work: a) the structure ... , b) the orchestration ... and c) the harmonic language ... . (my emphasis)
"Defining the greatness". How is structure, orchestration and harmonic language "a definition of greatness"?
Once again, logic-defying nonsense.
Now Vic, here's a suggestion. This discussion between you and me is not giving you or me any satisfaction, nor I daresay anyone else either.
The discussion with Mark, Parla, Craig and myself was interesting because although our views differ we each have each tried to write about what we believe, what we are for rather than what we are against, if you like.
You have engaged in some interesting exchanges with Mark and Craig (and others) on subjective and objective aspects in the appreciation of music.
On the issue of greatness (in music) as an objective fact, you have completely failed to address or acknowledge their arguments.
To claim common ground on both, when it only applies to one suggests either that you are unaware of the difference between them, or a willful refusal to engage.
I repeat: You have written nothing that indicates how objective greatness in music can be proven.
As you have claimed to have done so, please indicate where.
And, in passing, this is not about my, your or anyone's "satisfaction". It is about taking responsibility for statements you have made, or give support for.
One final reply Vic:
I have written repeatedly that objective greatness in music cannot be proven. Just go back to the beginning of our discussion if you don't believe it.
We can never prove that we have objective knowledge based on our sensible observations. If I could prove otherwise I'd be famous.
Vic, you don't wast your time. Apparently, you have enough to spare.
So, you need evidence. Always evidence outside of what is music. The Music "logic" is the logic a composer has to follow to construct his work and a performer to identify what he/she has to perform. That's the key of any evidence you need.
In the same vein, you cannot comprehend how structure, orchestration and harmonic language can define the greatness of a work of music. It's obvious you don't know (to read or follow a score of) music. So, these words do not mean anything specific, tangible to you. I'm not surprised. It has been evident long time ago. I'm not sure if you can recognise the difference between the construction of a mansion or a cathedral compare to a hut or a chapel (structure). I cannot figure out if you can accept the difference in the quality of the material used (orchestration). I'm not sure if the refined details in the construction finishing, like angles, columns, porticos, etc. (harmonic language) can play any role in comprehending how components of any Art can define the greatness within it and of it.
The other day, a friend of mine and professional musician told me: "Almost everyday, we may identify new scores that remain untapped, never heard or performed". Slowly, gradually, some of us may present them in public, one day. Till then, these works are what? If they expect any audience to give them any "title" or "qualification", they have to wait for long or forever. So, do they exist? If yes, what is their musical position/value? We listen, perform and record only a handful of the existing and the untapped repertory. However, when we (the musicians) see the score, we know what is great and what is less than that or indifferent, etc. For us, there is only the score and us, as performers. For all the others (audience, listeners, radio or tv programmes, magazines, etc.) music can be anything they wish to perceive, even if they can read or follow a score, as long as they will never go too far to find out what is to perform professionally a work of music.
So, maybe, Vic, we may accept that, as listeners, we are allowed to perceive whatever is convenient to us. And if you wish to think that you (or any you) give any qualification to the value of the work, in your mind, this can always be true. Things may change, if you ever decide to get into the music-making process, when you come face to face with the score and, much worse, you have to...perform it. Fortunately, for you, this day will never come.
We can't prove gravity Vic, but we all feel pretty save in believing in it. Gravity is an elemental force just like Beethoven. Whoever denies Beethoven denies gravity. Madness lies that way Vic, madness I tells yer. he he he, he he he.