´We are all love lists¨

31 posts / 0 new
Last post
RE: ´We are all love lists¨

I´ve just read a post from a contributor to Martin Cullingford´s latest blog, where he says that after 38 years of unbroken purchase of Gramophone, he stopped his subscription because of this recent infatuation with lists. It´s uncanny how similar this post is to my own situation. For this reason I think you at Gramophone are taking liberties when you state that ´we all love lists´, as it is adamantly not the case.

RE: ´We are all love lists¨

dubrob wrote:

 For this reason I think you at Gramophone are taking liberties when you state that ´we all love lists´, as it is adamantly not the case.

I've got a little list - I've got a little list

Of society offenders who might well be underground,

And who never would be missed - who never would be missed!

Sounds, dub, like you and W.S. Gilbert are of like mind, about lists I mean, not society offenders. Or both.

 

RE: ´We are all love lists¨

The Editor states that the lists have been introduced as a fun way to have another kind of conversation about classical music. What does another kind of conversation about classical music mean exactly?, and why does everything have to be fun? What about people young or old who would like to learn more about classical music and would like to do so in a serious manner? Should they go to another place for that kind of conversation about classical music?, because from list after list they are going to learn nothing, nor receive any help or advice. Lists are what they see when they stand in the aisles of Tower Records, or flick through the pages of Amazon as I imagine is more to Gramophone´s liking.

The whole thing for me about lists is that they are anti conversation, and don´t telll you anything. If you look at the contributions posted on the Lists feature, there is nothing except more lists. It reads like the pages of a record catalogue, and is just as dull. There is no debate, just people saying I agree or I disagree, without any kind of interesting additions, great fun, indeed.

Lists make conversation impossibe because they basically work like this :

1. I state my subjective totally random opinion.

2. You agree wholeheartedly, conversation over or,

3. You disagree, conversation over, or which is more usual 

4. You disagree more vehemently, tell me my opinion is rubbish, that I am talking through my hat, you are not going to waste any more of your time listening to my codswallop, stand up, storm off and slam the door, conversation over, never to be resumed again.

I´m sorry there are only four points in my list, but I hope it was fun.

Lists are all part of this modern phenomenon of Sky News type soundbites without any content, because you think the people you are talking to don´t have the attention span or the brains to read anything longer than a paragraph, or lasts more than 30 se and is conds.

Anybody who is prepared to shell out for and is going to listen to an opera for example, is prepared to spend hours listening to it, reading the libretto, listening to it again, in order to understand and absorb it. Soundbites are useless and insulting to these people. They deserve better. I would imagine that people turn (or maybe they won´t if this keeps up)to Gramophone for something with a bit more substance and seriousness. Presenting a list of works without any detailed considered explanation as to why they are rated so, or higher than other works in the repertoire is utterly useless to anyone trying to get a grip on classical music, and I would contend more frustrating than it is fun.

More seriously to me is that this list culture is to the long term detriment of classical music as a whole. If this is the kind of way you are going to present classical music, we are going to end up with a situation where the only CD that gets bought will be, the 50 Greatest pieces of classical music, people will stop going to concerts because they only want to hear three minute bits, schools won´t see any point in teaching it, nor parents any sense in encouraging it anymore.

You may argue that you have other more detailed features, or the Collection section of the magazine for example, with which I won´t disagree, so why not just provide more of the same.

RE: ´We are all love lists¨

Strange that those who are so offended, if that is the right term, by lists have such a lot to say about them.

In actual fact it was hearing "soundbites" from operas that first aroused my interest. The "soundbites," of course, were the arias, choruses, etc.

I could list those excerpts that interested me the most as a teenager but I know how low an opinion you have of lists.

Incidentally, you are not the same person who finds Nielsen boring?

RE: ´We are all love lists¨

I don´t know what Nielsen has got to do with anything, but while I will admit that I struggle with Maskarade, I find his music in general as far from boring as you can get.

I´m not offended by lists, that´s just ridiculous, I am saddened by their ever increasing dominance of cultural debate. Also while I may have something to say about the concept of lists in general, I have absolutely no response to any particular list, which is the whole point of my argument, they are the opposite of stimulating open discussion, they are like people shouting at each other in some kind of Beckettian world without any dialogue, always with the understanding that my list is better than yours because you don´t know what you are talking about.

I love classical music, and I am intereseted in its long term future, and that of Gramophone, but recent trends such as the omnipresence of lists, reduction of quantity and quality of text and increase of photos, the obssession with youth, reduction of coverage of audio equipmient make me fear for its long term viability.

Gramophone has existed for 88 years, and this longevity is due mostly as I see it to its singular identity. Of course it has, like everything to survive, to adapt, but morphing into a copy of other music publications is not the same as keeping your singular proud identity whilst adapting to the current environmenrt. For example why a feature on the BBC Proms?, the BBC has it´s own music magazine, and is more than able to promote itself, what has this got to do with Gramophone?

It may be true that what Gramophone is doing is just adapting whilst keeping its identity, whereby I am talking nonsense. I am perfectly ready to believe this, and hope it is so, but it may also be possible that people involved in the day to day running of the magazine can lose a bit of perspective that long term customers have.

Lists for me undermine, for me, what Gramophone is about, and my original contention in starting this post was the presumptuous statement that everybody love lists or that anybody has the right to speak on behalf of others, because this just isn´t true.

RE: ´We are all love lists¨

 

Hi Dubrob!

I think a lot of us are suspicious of lists because we have grown up with 'top tens' and 'top twenties' etc...in the field of popular music. I used to find it exciting about the age of ten when Marc Bolan or David Bowie or Roxy Music were 'top' of the charts - and I still like those artists. BUT we know that in popular culture lists serve commercial purposes. I once heard the rumour that some of the big record companies used to buy back thousands of their own records to 'jump start' the single getting into the charts, the idea obviously being that once in the charts the record would generate its own sales. Blatantly commercial idea.

Another problem is that top tens etc...are both inclusive and exclusive. They try to make us feel that what is included is worthy, and what is excluded must be for a reason. But then our critical faculties quite rightly say why isn't such and such in there? It should be!

Top tens and co. have a very clear gradation - and also try to make us think that what is number 1 must be better in the general consensus of opinion than number 7. In a way it is madness. As Gyorgi Ligeti said, it is very important to be 'in the egg'. He was of course being ironic...some composers want to be trendy and fashionable...and probably the critics are at fault more so than the composers. Where is Stockhausen now? Once the darling of the avant-garde?

I think that other types of lists though can be useful. We have all come across 'suggested reading lists' in our time. If I were looking now into Baroque or Romantic music, say, I would probably I have to admit look for such a list. But thee and me Dubrob know that lists are uncomfortably close to canons. And me and thee like to search out the more 'obscure' composers.I did my undergarduate course in English at Uni of London back in the early 80's. Who was on a '19th Century novelist' list - all male except for the Brontes and George Eliot. I don't know if it has changed.You know, I don't think I read a single 19th C. woman poet - it was all Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Browning, Shelley, Keats and Tennyson.

If a friend said I want to start listening to serious music, write me out a suggested listening list, I would see that, not as fun, but as a serious challenge, dare I say it, to partly 'educate' or 'inform' that friend. We would probably all disagree on such a list (and it would not be numbered, rest assured! I might say, well explore music which has a strong pictorial content, like Mussorgsky's Pictures, or Saint-Seans' Carnival, or Mendelsohn's Hebrides overture, and 'build up' to the larger symphonies of Beethoven, Bruckner or Mahler, to the more 'absolute' music, but that's just my view.

Best wishes

Partsong

Fraz Jo - disapntd. Bn ringin this grl al week. No ansr...looks lke she changed her mnd. O well...Ldwg...

RE: ´We are all love lists¨

I fully agree Partsong when you say that lists serve commercial purposes. I think it is frankly disgusting that you can´t see a disc mentioned anywhere on this website without Amazon in blue letters after it. As if the whole purpose of recommending or discussing the disc is to get it sold in as many units as possible. Every library I know has a well stocked selection of classical music, and that is exactly how I got to know it, as I was unemployed at the time, and buying records, or later CDs was out of the question, as I am sure it is for young people, or anyone with meagre funds today. There are many ways to hear music other than buying a copy from Amazon, and what sells or doesn´t should be of absolutely no interest to Gramophone. It merits or lack of should be purely musical, not commercial.

 

RE: ´We are all love lists¨

Dubrob, I'm afraid I disagree that it is "disgusting" that we link to retailers for recordings that are mentioned on this website. Gramophone has always been about encouraging people to hear fine recordings and if this can be done easily and directly on the web via links, why not? The links are there because the recordings have been deemed worth hearing (and those judgements have absolutely nothing to do with any commercial considerations) – it can sometimes take some time to track them down and we're happy to go to that trouble for our readers. And if it means that the relevant labels sell more of those recordings, well, more power to them. It means they'll have more money to record more for us to enjoy... 

 

All the best,

James

RE: ´We are all love lists¨

If ever there was an argument for argument's sake, this is it. 

(The list question, I mean, not the Amazon links.  There's a real issue there, perhaps).

But to make huge philosophical points about a bit of harmless and light-hearted trivia smacks to this reader of seeking evidence for the end of civilisation as we know it.  Again.

Vic.

RE: ´We are all love lists¨

Thanks for the reply James. I can agree that Gramophone has always been about encouraging people to hear fine recordings, but by these new links you are not encouraging people to hear, but to buy, which is a very different thing, and there are no links to retailers, there is only one, Amazon. So I will ask two straightforward questions, why Amazon, and why only Amazon?

Your explanation that you do this because it can take some time to track recordings down, and you are happy to go to that trouble for the sake of your readers, well. Finding a recording involves writing the name, pressing return, and maybe scrolling down a page, it couldn´t be easier, and I say that as someone with extremely limited computer knowhow. The idea that your new Amazon link is to help people find things easier out of a sense of benevolence towards your readers I find hard to swallow, and the idea that you think I or anyone else gulllble enough to swallow this as an explanation I find harder to swallow, and could perfectly understand if anybody found it persoally insulting to their intelligence.

That said I am willing to accept that your explanation is genuine, and I think we can resolve any confusion if you answer the following question with a straightforward yes or no. Does Gramophone receive any kind of payment or financial incentive for placing Amazon links after recommended recordings, or any commission or payment for recordings bought on Amazon via said links?

All the Best

 

Pages

Log in or register to post comments

Gramophone Subscriptions

From£67/year

Gramophone Print

Gramophone Print

no Digital Edition
no Digital Archive
no Reviews Database
no Events & Offers
From£67/year
Subscribe
From£67/year

Gramophone Reviews

Gramophone Reviews

no Print Edition
no Digital Edition
no Digital Archive
no Events & Offers
From£67/year
Subscribe
From£67/year

Gramophone Digital Edition

Gramophone Digital Edition

no Print Edition
no Reviews Database
no Events & Offers
From£67/year
Subscribe

If you are a library, university or other organisation that would be interested in an institutional subscription to Gramophone please click here for further information.

© MA Business and Leisure Ltd. 2019