Try reading Charles Bodman Rae's book on Lutoslawski and educate yourself as to what a skilled craftsman and structuralist he was.
He was certainly someone who did a great deal more than dabble with sound, use weak arguments or chuck a few notes together. That view is simply absurd.
I would employ a 'skilled craftsman and structuralist' to build a house, but if the architect was poor I wouldn't fancy selling it in 50 years time, no matter how 'hep' the architect was in his day. AND I don't need to read a book on Mozart or Beethoven to realise how great they were (and are). It is there in the music and I have ears, that's all I need. Einstein said 'imagination is more important than intelligence', a point a few 20th century composers needed to be aware of, and a few 21st century listeners too.
Yes and Lutoslawski had imagination too.
I take it you have listened then to Lutoslawski's music? And in particular the third?
If you don't like him that's fine, but it doesn't mean that he was not a skilled composer.
For me, Lutoslawski is much more worthwhile than some other avant-gardists of the last half-century or so. I judge them on musical grounds, and I like Lutoslawski where I can't grasp Stockhausen.
I like his music, not the fact that he was a 'hep-cat'! I think you are dismissing him with others 'en masse'.
Like I said on another thread, personally I rate highly the music of Poland post-war as some of the best in the 2nd half of the 20th Century - Penderecki, Panufnik, Gorecki and Lutosalwski. I also think highly of Gyorgy Ligeti too.
I'd rather have their music than Babbitt, Stockhausen, even Boulez..
Let's agree to disagree...
No, let's disagree to disagree, you are probably right. I'm not arguing with someone who uses the phrases 'hep-cat' and 'en masse' in one sentence. That is sooooo de rigueur in the 1950's post war scene maaaaaaaan.
Time wounds all heels.
Is it your time, yet, 'saurus?
What makes Shosti's (using Parla's stupid shortening) a "Masterwork"?
Can it be the clever, or not, use of other composers music?
Could it be that he was taking the piss, again?
Shostakovich was a dedicated communist (how you acquaint that with your illiberal views I don't, and do not wish, to know) but he loathed the stupid authoritarian regime he was forced to work under.
Unfortunately, for him, he had none of JS Mill's understanding that communism could only ever work (and he did not say "effectively" if my memory is correct) under a police state.
So that makes Shostakovich an anachronism, albeit a very enjoyable one.
Discuss (that doesn't mean you, Parla).
... The difference is that most of the other members name their strong positions and convictions as "opinions", while I refuse to use this term ...
Of course you do Parla. Because "opinions" suggest bases for argument and discussion whereas your pronouncements smack of papal bulls: infallible and irrefutable. As I say, self-defined omniscience.
You know a lot but you don't know everything. If ever our "chief of men"'s comment: "I beseech you in the bowels of Christ consider it possible you may be mistaken" applies to anyone, it applies to you. Go on, consider it occasionally. And shock us all.
I have been reading this thread and other related ones for some weeks and have mostly avoided commenting but I must enter the fray now and say that I simply do not understand this ongoing attack on Parla and on everything he writes.
Style is one thing, content another. Granted that anyone’s style can sometimes grate, and combine that with the difficulties inherent in describing attributes of music in words, it is hardly suprising that sometimes forum posters may inadequately express what they are trying to say, but time and again Parla addresses central issues that cannot be put aside in a couple of abusive sentences. Or so it seems to me.
In the posts immediately above, Parla is ridiculed for his comments that with great music it is necessary to do more than listen to the music:
“You have, through repeated listening, study, learning, etc to comprehend what is going on in the work, musically, aesthetically, artistically, to indulge in its nuances, connotations and any possible aspect of it. Through the gradual comprehension, you may start attaining the complexity, the inspirational forces, the actual qualities of the composition itself.”
I think this is what performers sometimes call ‘getting inside’ the music. Perhaps ‘necessary’ and ‘you have to’ are too strong; after all if you want Wagner as aural wallpaper, heaven forbid), no one can stop you. But that’s not the point. Perhaps too, it was unwise to use the word ‘attain’ but just read beyond that: The simple statement that the greatest works of art not only deserve but reward the greatest study is I believe not only profoundly true but worth pursuing by any lover of the arts. Certainly it has proved so for me: a continuing attempt to get closer to the great masterpieces has been a constant source of satisfaction: if the music is great enough, the more one puts in the more one gets out.
Continuing the same argument, in another thread, Parla is roundly chastised for suggesting that a listener to an opera (Martinu’s Greek Passion) should first read the novel on which it is based (Kanzantzanis: Christ Recrucified). Why? Of course you don’t have to! And you don’t have to read Shakespeare’s Othello before listening to Verdi’s Otello, or Sophocles Elektra before Richard Strauss’s. And so on. But surely it is rewarding to do so. Is this not Parla’s point?
Finally to VicJ’s ‘Parla dismissal’:
“What works is to wait for a logical absurdity - like self-destructing reissues, classical music as proof of the existence of god, or the objective criteria for greatness in music - wait for one of those - and then pursue it till he gives up.”
Leaving aside for now the God debate (in which logical absurdities seem never to be the prerogative of one side), let me just touch briefly on Parla’s assertion that there are objective criteria for assessing greatness in music. Better perhaps though to start with Vic’s statement that such an assertion is logically absurd.
So, there are no objective criteria for assessing greatness in music.You don’t specify why music (or Classical music) should be singled out for this statement. I don’t know of any reason either.
So, there are no objective criteria for assessing greatness in any work of art. Perhaps you meant this. But then, why should the arts be singled out for this statement. Any ‘knowledge’ we have based on our own observations, not just about works of art but about the world around us, is susceptible to the same criticism you offer for music.
So, there are no objective criteria for assessing knowledge acquired through our personal observations. Of course, there is a school of philosophy that believes that objective knowledge is not possible, but I’m not sure that that is what you meant to say Vic. And even if you did, I would contend that it is not reasonable to argue that anyone who disagrees is guilty of a logical absurdity.
In the discussion which led to this outburst Parla attempted the difficult task of describing what it is that we look for in great music. That this was incomplete and contentious is hardly surprising in view of the complexity of the subject. Nevertheless, rereading it, I don’t find anything ‘absurd’. And he is not alone in trying to define the characteristics of ‘classical’ music. I would pursue it further here but this post has already become very long (sorry) so I will stop without giving it the attention I believe it deserves
I fully expect disagreement on this, but please remember; the post, not the poster!
I think you'll find Hugh that I used the two phrases in two sentences, not one!
Chris - as someone who does willingly enter into dialogue with Parla, I think you misunderstood my comment about reading the novel. What Parla said was that Martinu's opera did not serve the original novel nor the scope of it, in response to my evident enthusiasm for it. This I interpreted as meaning that I am somehow 'wrong' to like the opera because it does not (in Parla's opinion) serve the book. Hence my comment, because I do not see why I should have to read the book before enjoying the opera. It might as you say enhance an understanding of it, but as you also say it is not a pre-requisite.
OK Mark, I take your point. I greatly enjoy Martinu's opera too, but I do think though that this is one of those cases where the libretto (or rather its source) is greater than the opera. Inevitably though, there will be differences of opinion on that.
Take La Traviata, the book La Dame aux Camelias is better than the libretto of the Opera. But it is a minor book and a great opera. Although one should or may encourage you to seek out the other, they are seperate works of art and should be seen as such.
Well, well, well. The thread is on fire! Mark versus Hugh (this "let's disagree to disagree is something, Hugh). And c hris johnson trying to comprehend me in a fair manner, probably ready to cause the inevitable storm. Before it bursts, I may humbly thank you Chris for your most kind understanding (and not only).
Since this is the post no.100 on this way led astray thread, may I make a shift to the main topic, by recommending the series of ARS PRODUCTION on the "Forgotten Treasures" (to cover only the section on the "forgotten" masterworks), which has already reached the Vol.10! A great array of very interesting and exciting forgotten works by various composers of late 18th and early 19th century are involved, in stunning state of the art SACD recordings.
Hugh, you came with a very valid point with "La Traviata". I'm in full agreement with your post.
My argument on Martinu's Opera (The Greek Passion) was not which work of Art is better, but, whether the musical work serves a very substantive, almost totally philosophical and ideological (and practically not religious) book, where the plot is of minimal interest compared to the complex subject and the controversial treatment by Kazantzakis. Martinu's endeavour to such a heavy task seems to fail to cover all the aspects of the controversy, focusing mostly on the exploitation of the plot, as any good Opera composer would do.
"La Traviata", on the other hand, while the libretto is inferior to the book, the Opera serves quite well the spirit and even the letter of a rather straightforward matter.
And what about Shakespeare's Othello and Verdi's Otello? One of the greatest of all plays, and one of the greatest operas. Perhaps you have to deliberately look out Dumas' or Kazantsanis' texts and you can ignore them if you wish, but it is difficult to listen to Verdi without having Shakespeare in mind. And then the superb libretto Boito made of the play for Verdi (and then for Falstaff)! Here surely, Verdi has been inpired to even greater heights by the quality of the source material (play + libretto).
As far as the Martinu is concerned Mark, the problem for me is that having read the novel first, the opera seems to be more shallow. I agree with Parla here. Perhaps I'd have enjoyed the opera more if I hadn't known the novel. As to the opera itself, I suppose I'm in the middle here: not so enthusiastic as Mark, but more than you, Parla! But I was lucky enough to hear Mackerras conduct it, and that must help.
Have you ever had the misfortune to sit through a performance of Dumas fils play?
No, I thought not.
I did, many years ago, in English with Elisabeth Sellars as La Dame.
It's tosh, difficult, even, to see it "of its time."
Piave might have been accused of many things but making a viable libretto out of this stuff was no mean achievement and, I will state unequivocally, an improvement. After all it's Piave's lines that stick in the memory aided, of course, by the genius of Verdi's music!
So he has got what he has always craved: a defender.
May I politely suggest you spend a little time going over his other posts and see if you still wish to defend him.
All you have done, sadly, is give him further encouragement.