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Just some questions for fun


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I'm just looking to tap into your opinions to broaden by musical tastes and experience.

1. Who are your top 3 composers of all time?   Provide one example of their work you feel embodies their greatness to you, a link is even better.

2. Who is one composer you feel is incredibly underrated?  Likewise provide one example of their work and if possible a link.

3. Who is one composer you feel is terribly overrated and why?

4. What original piece of yours do you think is your best work?  Provide a link and I will listen to it (no longer than 10 minutes) and comment on it (I guarantee this for the first 5 responses then will try to listen/comment on others as my time permits).

Thanks.

 

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Hi bkho, this'll be fun!

1. My top three in terms of my favourites to listen to are currently Bach, Ravel and Rachmaninoff (popular composers but that's my honest opinion!)

Bach: The 6th Partita

Ravel: I'm going to go a little more obscure and name Ma Mere L'Oye as a masterwork of precise construction!

Rachmaninoff: I couldn't not put the 3rd Concerto! (With the inimitable Horowitz)

Possibly not going to broaden your musical tastes, but there we go!

 

2. Underrated Composers. I'm going to drop in Korngold here, an interesting blend of late Romanticism and Modernist music.

The String Sextet, which I believe perfectly embodies his unmistakable style:

 

I'll also leave Moszkowski here, his Piano Concerto in E Major is a truly beautiful work (Pawlik's recording is the best).

 

 

3. Overrated Composers:

Haha I have lots of these! At the risk of offending certain forum members I won't mention Mozart (wrote the same piano concerto 19 times until they got interesting), Vivaldi (wrote the same concerto 600 times!), Chopin (was good for piano, rubbish at anything else i.e. about 4 other pieces that aren't solo piano) or Schumann (ineffective in many mediums).

So, Overrated Composer No. 1:

Liszt. Some of his works are good, but a huge number are empty technical fireworks just designed to impress uneducated audiences. While I'm all for writing music "for the masses", many of his pieces have no substance!

Overrated Composer No. 2:

Vaughan Williams. How many of his works are just sentimental mush which goes on for far too long? I agree with Copland on this one: "Listening to the fifth symphony of Ralph Vaughan Williams is like staring at a cow for 45 minutes." Ouch.

 

4. I'll leave this one for now, as my best works are not uploaded to this site. Many lie in a state of almost but not quite being finished. So, @bkho, do you have any works that you would like me to review?

 

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Thank you aMusicComposer for kicking things off with your thoughtful responses!

Bach would certainly make my top 3 as well, certainly one of the pillars of western music. 

Ravel is a composer I'll admit I do not know as well as I should, a composer I certainly respect as a genius, particularly as an orchestrator but never really gave his music the attention that I should have.  Thanks for sharing that beautiful four-hand piano piece as an example.

Rachmaninoff is a great composer, love his piano concertos and solo piano music; still haven't really gotten into his orchestral works.

Korngold - I'm only familiar with his film music and his violin concerto which actually I didn't really like it though the sextet you posted is interesting, never really thought of him as a chamber music composer.

Moszkowski, I've also recently discovered and starting liking his music, I agree he certainly should be performed more.  I do get the sense he is highly regarded among pianists.

Liszt - A number of years ago, I would have agreed with you wholeheartedly, but over time, I've changed my view on him completely.  His reputation as the embodiment of showy virtuosity likey Paganini to the to violin perhaps overshadows his merits as a composer.  When his music doesn't reflect pure virtuosity for virtuosity's sake, it is some of the best, like his Sonata in B minor.

Vaughn Williams, I can agree, never really cared for his music.

I hope some day to have a chance to hear some of your finished work!

You asked about reviewing a piece of mine, so I'll humbly take you up on that kind offer.  As a fellow Bach admirer, I'd be interested in what you might think about an organ fantasy I wrote a number of years ago inspired by Bach's music (as well as Mozart's organ music).

 

5 hours ago, aMusicComposer said:

Hi bkho, this'll be fun!

1. My top three in terms of my favourites to listen to are currently Bach, Ravel and Rachmaninoff (popular composers but that's my honest opinion!)

Bach: The 6th Partita

Ravel: I'm going to go a little more obscure and name Ma Mere L'Oye as a masterwork of precise construction!

Rachmaninoff: I couldn't not put the 3rd Concerto! (With the inimitable Horowitz)

 

Possibly not going to broaden your musical tastes, but there we go!

 

2. Underrated Composers. I'm going to drop in Korngold here, an interesting blend of late Romanticism and Modernist music.

The String Sextet, which I believe perfectly embodies his unmistakable style:

I'll also leave Moszkowski here, his Piano Concerto in E Major is a truly beautiful work (Pawlik's recording is the best).

 

3. Overrated Composers:

Haha I have lots of these! At the risk of offending certain forum members I won't mention Mozart (wrote the same piano concerto 19 times until they got interesting), Vivaldi (wrote the same concerto 600 times!), Chopin (was good for piano, rubbish at anything else i.e. about 4 other pieces that aren't solo piano) or Schumann (ineffective in many mediums).

So, Overrated Composer No. 1:

Liszt. Some of his works are good, but a huge number are empty technical fireworks just designed to impress uneducated audiences. While I'm all for writing music "for the masses", many of his pieces have no substance!

Overrated Composer No. 2:

Vaughan Williams. How many of his works are just sentimental mush which goes on for far too long? I agree with Copland on this one: "Listening to the fifth symphony of Ralph Vaughan Williams is like staring at a cow for 45 minutes." Ouch.

 

4. I'll leave this one for now, as my best works are not uploaded to this site. Many lie in a state of almost but not quite being finished. So, @bkho, do you have any works that you would like me to review?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1a. Webern, "Five movements for string quartet, op. 5, no. 4": https://youtu.be/ELAKF8ZxDmg?t=378
I really like his ability to be super sparse, only using what he needs to get the job done. It's a quality that I think is super important. Sometimes it comes off as sparse or dead-sounding, but I'd argue his use of processes is the meaning in and of itself, even if it's not an affective one. 
1b. Kapustin, "Fugue in A minor, from Op. 82": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LaNT6P5x-tI
I still love Gershwin, but the level of control between classical and jazz Kapustin has is wonderful to me, and I think this is one of the fugues that really demonstrates that. He's capable of straddling the line between the two or going in either direction — it's wonderful.
1c. Schnittke, "Requiem, Agnus Dei": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-ybWVagNm4
Although this piece doesn't show it necessarily, Schnittke is probably one of the most viscerally poignant composers I know of and knows how to control timbre to the maximum to achieve this. His famous Concerto Grosso is a fantastic mix of all of those elements as well.

2. Revueltas, "La noche de los mayas: IV": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AtCVqO4WlsM
Seems to take a lot of disparate processes and find a way to blend them without too much trouble. A lot of his other pieces are often about creating cohesion from very separate ideas and I think it's incredibly admirable.

3. Brahms, "Symphony No. 4: I. Allegro non troppo": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_P2AzhECVJ8
I've always felt his MO was a little bit too... arbitrary? It's fine music, there's just a feeling like it's trying to put too much new stuff into a formula that doesn't need it. I particularly don't like this movement.

4. I'm not doing much writing anymore, but I'll throw this here as something I've written recently... just an exercise in melodic transformation and counterpoint, but I think it's nice despite how easy of a piece it is. 

Thanks for this!

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12 hours ago, bkho said:

When his music doesn't reflect pure virtuosity for virtuosity's sake, it is some of the best, like his Sonata in B minor

Indeed - works like that sonata and the Dante Sonata, Petroc Sonnets etc. are really great pieces. I do get the feeling that some of the more flashy pieces were composed... in a rush? They don't seem to have the same depth. Also, there is the general opinion in the piano community that the Transcendental and Paganini études are the be-all and end-all of piano music - when this then overshadows the scores of other great, difficult works for piano.

 

12 hours ago, bkho said:

Rachmaninoff is a great composer, love his piano concertos and solo piano music; still haven't really gotten into his orchestral works.

A lot of Rach's music is quite dense and heavy, which works well on the piano but isn't so effective in the orchestra. I do love his (popular) second symphony but other works such as the Symphonic Dances and Isle of the Dead I feel are missing the character of his solo piano music. As a pianist though, I still love him!

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1:

- I. Johann Sebastian Bach, in my view, was the greatest composer who ever lived. People often say his music is too formulaic and/or has very little emotional content, but I think his music is actually very emotional, maybe in a way that is different from how other composers express emotions. His divine harmonic structures and perfect proportion, not to mention contrapunctal mastery, contribute to make some of the most powerful music in the whole world. 

 

- II. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. He was more than a composer - he was an alchemist of sounds: he created a style and musical formula that seems to work in every genre of music, while also being some of the most deep and emotional music ever written. The level of finesse and attention to detail is unparalleled.

 

- III. Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. He created a perfect balance between the national schools in Russia and more general romanticism in Western Classical music. But, more importantly, his music is gloriously beautiful. His sense of melody and skill in orchestration and harmony ought to be studied for all of time.

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2: I think the Russian-Soviet composer Nikolai Myaskovsky (1881-1950) is one of the most underrated composers in recent memory. Though a prominent figure in the Soviet music scene (and even important in the United States for a while), Myaskovsky fell into obscurity after he was denounced, along with a lot of other Soviet composers, in 1948 by the Communist Party for contradictory reasons relating to his musical style. There were other factors which have contributed to his obscurity, including the Cold War, his relatively conservative and Romantic style appearing so late in a world whose classical music academia was mostly dominated by modernists, and an overall overshadowing by more modernistic composers like Shostakovich and Prokofiev. Thankfully, the admiration of several conductors and musicians has helped prevent his music from becoming completely unknown and unperformed, most notably Evgeny Svetlanov, who embarked on a massive project to record all 27 (yes, 27) of his symphonies, and most of his other orchestral pieces; also, his music does still occasionally receive performances in Russia.

One of his best shorter pieces, in my opinion, is his Symphony no. 21 in F-sharp minor, a 18-minute long single-movement work composed in an ABA from, with the B section being a fully fleshed out sonata. It is not only a formal and orchestrational marvel, but a musical one as well, with the A theme being especially passionate and heart-rendering: 

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3: I personally find Dmitri Shostakovich to be overrated. Aside from my personal dislike of his musical style (too much dissonance, subversion of expectations, and sarcasm for my taste), I also take issue with the fact that his reputation leaves almost no room for so many other Soviet composers to shine in the spotlight (exceptions being Prokofiev and Khachaturian), and who have been pretty much lying in the dust due to the Cold War; some examples include: the aforementioned Myaskovsky, Anatoly Alexandrov (check out his Symphony-Concerto aka the Piano Concerto), Reinhold Gliere (Symphony no. 2), Vissarion Shebalin (String Quartet no. 5 or Piano Trio), Alexander Goedicke (Horn Concerto), Evgeny Svetlanov (Piano Concerto or Kalina Krasnaya), Fikret Amirov (Double Concerto), Gotfrid Hasanov (Piano Concerto), Boris Lyatoshynsky (Ukrainian Quintet), Viktor Kosenko (Passacaglia), and Vasyl Barvinsky (Variations for Piano Sextet), who had an absolutely tragic biography. Of course, there are many others, but these are just some of the more talented people I can think of off the top of my head.

There are a number of other composers who I find overrated, just like I find so many other composers to be underrated, but I think this one is the big name for me.

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4: I think my best piece under 10 minutes so far is my Lacrimosa for piano quartet, Op. 11. 

 

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On 4/6/2021 at 11:06 AM, bkho said:

I'm just looking to tap into your opinions to broaden by musical tastes and experience.

1. Who are your top 3 composers of all time?   Provide one example of their work you feel embodies their greatness to you, a link is even better.

2. Who is one composer you feel is incredibly underrated?  Likewise provide one example of their work and if possible a link.

3. Who is one composer you feel is terribly overrated and why?

4. What original piece of yours do you think is your best work?  Provide a link and I will listen to it (no longer than 10 minutes) and comment on it (I guarantee this for the first 5 responses then will try to listen/comment on others as my time permits).

Thanks.

 

 

1. Tchaikovsky, Koji Kondo, Max Martin

2. Yanni

3. Mahler.

Listening to him actually makes you dumber.

https://www.arep.at/article/13091-mozart-sharpens-and-mahler-degrades-the-word-memory-trace

4. I always have to say my most recent thing.

 

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  • 3 months later...

1. Who are your top 3 composers of all time?   Provide one example of their work you feel embodies their greatness to you, a link is even better.

I don't think there is a "best composer", but the 3 that I mostly enjoy is Beethoven, Bach and vivaldi, I'm a pretty simple boy

By beethoven I love apassionata:

By bach Bwv 914: 

 

By vivaldi: concerto 4 violins in B minor, a lot of people say he wrote the same concerto over and over again, and it's true, all of his works are very similiar, but that doesn't make his music les enjoyable, I find the beauty of repetion in his work without being to monotomous.

2. Who is one composer you feel is incredibly underrated?  Likewise provide one example of their work and if possible a link.

I don't think he is incredibly underrated, but locatelli most of the time gets shadowed by paganini, I don't understant why, there would not be any paganini without locatelli:

3. Who is one composer you feel is terribly overrated and why?

Mozart, I'm tired of hearing "listening to mozart makes your smarter", "plants grow faster and healthier with mozart music", I mean, he is a great composer but is stupidly overrated by the media and non musicians.

4. What original piece of yours do you think is your best work?  Provide a link and I will listen to it (no longer than 10 minutes) and comment on it (I guarantee this for the first 5 responses then will try to listen/comment on others as my time permits).

Sincerily IDK, I'm pretty amateur, but when I wrote my first sonata I felt like a master composer xD, and even if it was one of my first compositions (second one to be precise) I think is pretty good.

 

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