Words and Music: one art redeemed by the other!

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RE: Words and Music: one art redeemed by the other!

It is a simple analogy parla: equally as Mona Lisa (whose worth can only be derived from direct experience of it) so happens with music (whose worth can only be derived from direct experience of it)

RE: Words and Music: one art redeemed by the other!

Definitely, it is simple (analogy), but the basis (the grounds) of your thinking is quite questionable. You have already not answered my question above. So, here some more, based on your "analogy":

- So, Mona Lisa and the Mass in b minor (by Bach) have worth and value only for those who have seen or listened to them...or not?

- From the pianists I know, it seems that, from the greatest Piano Sonatas of  Beethoven, the no.28 (in A major, Op.101) is the least exposed to public and to recordings and in demand. So, do we have to consider that its worth is less than the others? Likewise, the 7th Violin Sonata, Op.30, no.1 (also in A). Is it a lesser work?

- Thanks to the recording industry and the quite a few specialist groups, plenty of new works come to the fore for the first time. Caccini's "Dolcissimo sospiro" is almost completely unknown and very rarely performed outside the circle of specialists and performers of this period of music. So, may I presume that this small vocal gem is a masterpiece only for this tiny minority of people?

- It is acknowledged (in quite a few reliable ways) that the Late String Quartets by Beethoven are his greatest and most important compositions. However, most of his Symphonies, Piano Concertos, the Violin Concerto and some Piano and Violin Sonatas are performed and recorded much more often than the String Quartets (thus, more people have the "direct experience" of them). May we assume that all these works are far more valuable than the Late String Quartets?

- Finally, dreadful popular artists enjoy an incredible degree of "direct experience" of their "music" all over the globe. So, pop music is far worthier than Classical Music, I suppose?..

Anyway, I still think you may confuse "popularity" with what you perceive and claim as "worth" and "value", but you may enlighten me further.

Parla

 

 

RE: Words and Music: one art redeemed by the other!

Chris, I don't believe I gave any "straight answers", at least in a vacuum. I gave some conclusions on the basis of some very good paradigms (as you admitted in the case of "die Forelle" and not only). Besides, I cannot see how we may examine different cases as "individual problems" and, much more, how this thread becomes "richer". More perplexed and complex, perhaps.

In any case, what I tried to say is that I have not found any musician, professor, performer, producer or even individual listeners and audiences I know that confessed that they appreciate any work of Classical Music on account of the texts, libretti or other extra-musical elements involved in the concerned work. Even in works of the closest connection of text and music (Wagner), none admitted that he/she either goes to the Opera theatre or buys the relevant CDs for the text only or predominantly. The opposite, quite often.

So, my suggestion was that I have no evidence that the text can redeem even the worse score while, quite often, we may witness the opposite.

Of course, I will be more than interested to find out that I may be wrong. So, of course, you may go ahead in your case by case research. I may follow accordingly.

Parla

RE: Words and Music: one art redeemed by the other!

Unnecessary questions, false assumptions, ungrounded guesswork...Tjh, you may guess where all these can lead. Two tips:

a) titles on any work of Music or visual Art are indicative, a sort of starting point of reference. They are not (and cannot be) utterly descriptive and, much more, exclusive.

b) whether the work is titled "La Mer" or "3 Movements", it is the same work. Audiences, musicians, scholars etc. are not going to have a different appreciation of the actual artistic outcome, based on or because of the title.

Parla

P.S.: Welcome back, passing by, dear Jane. I (and most probably most of us) will be more than interested to know your passing thoughts on this subject.

 

 

RE: Words and Music: one art redeemed by the other!

Parla, you have either failed or
refused to understand quite simple things and have produced some
really bizarre comments.

This is a thread for disscussing text
and music. You are very obviously not interested in this. So my
humble advise is this: if it is not your thing, don't say anything.

 

Anyway, see you all in a week

RE: Words and Music: one art redeemed by the other!

Camaron, I can assure you that I have not "failed or refused to understand quite simple things". As for the "bizarre comments", well, that is your value judgement.

I simply responded to the title of the topic, i.e. whether one art can be redeemed by the other. I do not believe (since I have no evidence for the opposite) that Music needs texts, libretti etc. to be "redeemed". Having said that, I never refused the importance of the texts, etc. as extra-musical contributors to the final form of certain vocal genres (Opera, Choral Music, Lieder). If now the debate has been shifted to the mere relationship of text and music, then, we have, practically, a whole new topic, which is no controversial at all and can lead to some interesting research and even results.

Parla

RE: Words and Music: one art redeemed by the other!

Tjh, "if the composer has the ability to depict a visual image with sound", then, he does not need necessarily a specific title. The music says it all. Still, the whichever title would be indicative. However, if you make any research about what different listeners can identify in a programmatic or even so-called descriptive works, you will be astonished at the replies and descriptions. 

I still believe the title does not reflect the specific depiction of a visual picture, but works only as a guideline, inspiration, starting point, reference etc. In any case, I do not recall any listener, in all these years of dealing with people of music, to state that they appreciate "La Mer" because of the clear and brilliant depiction of the Sea. All those who love the work simply attributed their appreciation to the actual composition, namely the Music of Debussy. Each one of them had a different visualisation of "this Sea". Why not? They all built up their pictures and images, based not on the general title and the individual ones for each movement but on their own experiences, fears and desires concerning their relationship with the "Sea".

Much more in Beethoven's Pastorale, the last movement goes far beyond any descriptive title by the composer.

Parla

RE: Words and Music: one art redeemed by the other!

They are paid because they sing the score by Beethoven.

(To make it, once more clear, the Schiller's text adds significantly to the general artistic value of the Ninth, but not directly to the music of the composer. I know plenty of people all over the world who sing, hum etc. the main theme of Ninth's Finale, caring less what they sing, who is Schiller and so on, while they are always thrilled by the music).

Parla

RE: Words and Music: one art redeemed by the other!

No, Tjh, I always listen to the original score, unless it is a transcription of another great composer (e.g. by Liszt). To make myself clear, once more: I do appreciate the works as they are written and I love Choral/Vocal and Opera music. I just cannot see any musical value in the texts involved. As for the fate of the 9th, I'm afraid it is already quite ugly, if we consider that it is the official "anthem" of this thing called E.U. (awful renditions are to follow in perpetuity...).

The Suites from Carmen, etc. do not constitute a substitute or alternative to the original. However, they prove the direct power of the music, even without the necessary texts (particularly in the case of Carmen). To me, they do not even sound "sweet".

Concerning your last question on your penultimate post, please elaborate further.

Thanks for the intriguing exchanges, Tjh.

Parla

 

RE: Words and Music: one art redeemed by the other!

I'm not sure I follow some of the posts here (and certainly don't have the time to analyse them!) but surely the words and the music are, or should be, complimentary.  The balance between them can differ of course:

1) In Cosi (which I think Parla mentioned earlier) the story is extremely silly and really of little interest but the music is sublime.  The words are just scaffolding to hang the music on.

2) In Schubert's Erlkonig the underlying Goethe poem is a masterpiece in its own right but our understanding of it is surely enhanced by Schubert's music.  The words and the music are in some kind of balance.

3) In Bach's St Matthew's Passion (also mentioned earlier) the story is of course one of the most important in Western civilisation and it might be thought impossible to add to it.  However I see it every Good Friday at Symphony Hall here in Birmingham and, although I am an atheist, the moment when the chorale begins after the evangelist has sung "And Jesus cried aloud again and died" (or the equivalent in German) invariably brings a tear to my eye and a lump to my throat.  Again the music enhances the words.

4) In contrast in Palestrina I'm not really interested in the words.  Here it is the sheer beauty of the music that is important (to me).

I'm sure you can think of many more examples.

Chris

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