What happened to the REST of the classical composers?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Zane Charron, Jan 20, 2003.

  1. Zane Charron

    Zane Charron Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2000
    Messages:
    458
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    OK, we all know Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, and the 100 or so other composers out there from Medieval through 20th century, but what about all the other composers?

    Surely, like the Greats, there were probably thousands of composers writing music for the church/royalty/government across Europe during the last 500 or 600 years. So what happened to all their work? Was it simply not as inspired and lost to history?
     
  2. Hartwig Hanser

    Hartwig Hanser Second Unit

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 1998
    Messages:
    300
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    110
    There ist a lot of music out there, that is totally unknown, and a large part of it undeservedly so. Fortunately some companies have specialized in unearthing those treasures and banning them on CD, e.g. the German label cpo. There for example you can have in reference recordings Symphonies by people like Louise Farrenc (french early Romantic female composer), Ture Rangström (swedish late Romantic composer) or Kancheli (georgian living composer).

    But what are the reasons for being forgotten? Some music is of courso of inferior quality, but a lot is not, like the people mentionned. It may be the wrong nationality, the wrong gender, missing juicy details in the biography, or simple bad luck, like being at the wrong time in the wrong place and therefore being overshadowed by others.
     
  3. Seth_S

    Seth_S Second Unit

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2001
    Messages:
    335
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Zane Charron,

    There are numerous labels and ensembles that primarily just perform and record early music. American music stores simply don't keep much early music in stock because it tends to be a niche market.
     
  4. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 1999
    Messages:
    16,738
    Likes Received:
    129
    Trophy Points:
    0
    There's always the case of a composer's neglected music being "rediscovered" by a charismatic modern conductor. Look what Leonard Bernstein did for the music of Neilsen and Ives.

    For that matter, Gustav Mahler's music was on its way to obscurity until it was championed by such conductors as—again—Bernstein and, earlier, Bruno Walter.
     
  5. Seth_S

    Seth_S Second Unit

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2001
    Messages:
    335
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Jack Briggs,

    Not to start any kind of arguement, but what Bernstein did for Mahler has been blown way out of proportion. There's a November 4, 2001 NYTimes article about Lenny and Mahler (you'll need access to something like lexis-nexis to get the article without paying. The article documents Bernstein's important role and goes overboard with praise for him, but it also flat out says things like:

    It would be untrue to say that Bernstein put Mahler on the map, though his words sometimes gave that impression. Leopold Stokowski, Bruno Walter and Dimitri Mitropoulos had long championed Mahler in New York, and a parallel Mahler revival was in progress in Europe, spearheaded by John Barbirolli

    Though Bernstein liked to give the impression that he had single-handedly rescued Mahler from oblivion, he had stood on the shoulders of eminent Mahlerians since the early 1940's.

    Let's also not forget about other conductors who were performing Mahler before anyone knew who Lenny was: Jascha Horenstein, Rafael Kubelik, Bernard Haitink, Otto Klemperer, and Hermann Scherchen. I'll have to check my dates, but I think Kubelik was even first to record a complete cycle.

    As for other now famous neglected conductors, who would have ever thought that before WWII, the last 3 Dvorak symphonies were relatively unknown. George Szell deserves quite a bit of credit for bringing them into the concert hall along with Kubelik.
     
  6. John Watson

    John Watson Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2002
    Messages:
    1,937
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    What is classical music anyway? I kkep hearing about rock classics, and it seems there are even disco classics, and Mozart and Lizt were Elton Johns of their day?

    And as someone posts around here, 90% of everything is crap.[​IMG]
     
  7. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2001
    Messages:
    6,394
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Real Name:
    Lee
    You can find a lot of great baroque music on Harmonia Mundi, usually with great sonics.

    Also, Channel Classics and Dorian are superb. I particularly like Dorian's lute music with Paul Odette.

    Grammaphone magazine has been a reliable source of info for me over the years for less popular composers.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Seth_S

    Seth_S Second Unit

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2001
    Messages:
    335
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0


    Technically speaking, when people are talking about "classical music", unless they're talking about Haydn and Mozart (and Beethoven), the correct terminology is "Western Music".
     
  9. John Watson

    John Watson Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2002
    Messages:
    1,937
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I'm glad Hank Williams qualifies [​IMG]
     
  10. Seth_S

    Seth_S Second Unit

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2001
    Messages:
    335
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I didn't know Hank composed in the Western European tradition.
     
  11. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 1999
    Messages:
    16,738
    Likes Received:
    129
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Some critics and musicologists prefer the phrase "serious music," given that there was a "classical" period (between the Rococco and Romantic periods). But, then, lovers of popular music end up being offended when they hear the term.
     
  12. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 1998
    Messages:
    9,115
    Likes Received:
    395
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Boise, ID
    Real Name:
    Dennis
    I prefer the term "art music" when in doubt. But then again what do I know.

    There wasn't that big a division between classical music and popular music until about 100 years ago. Mozart considered his opera to be pop music for the masses. Bach wrote cantatas about peasants (the "white trash" of the day) and about coffee drinking. Beethoven wrote "rage over a lost penny" and Wellington's Victory, both pop stalwarts. I think when Stravinski, Bartok, Schoenberg, Webern, Ives, et al. started composing the average person was turned off, causing a steady demand for "popular music".
     
  13. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 1999
    Messages:
    16,738
    Likes Received:
    129
    Trophy Points:
    0
    In other words, atonalism and serial music aren't quite the crowd pleasers that a Rachmaninoff concerto or symphony are.
     
  14. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2000
    Messages:
    3,998
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    When I was a music student at UNT (then NTSU), the phrase "legitimate music" was still current in reference to so-called classical music... and this at the school with the first and the finest (IMO) jazz program in the country (not to mention the world and the known universe)! [​IMG]
     
  15. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 1999
    Messages:
    16,738
    Likes Received:
    129
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Seth: What do you think of Solti's take on Mahler? I love speaking with Mahler fanatics! JB

    (Also, George Szell was good for Shostakovich in this country.)
     
  16. Zane Charron

    Zane Charron Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2000
    Messages:
    458
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I find it very hard to believe that "classical" music was the pop music of it's day.

    As far as I know (which isn't very far), classical music has alway been upper class/high society music, performed in concert halls and private residences in Europe and America. Did the scores get sold and new, possibly stripped-down arrangements made for the public, like designer fashions trickle down to Walmarts today? It's my understanding that "pop" music was rather folky/peasant music found in pubs and in the homes and such places.
     
  17. Justin Doring

    Justin Doring Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 1999
    Messages:
    1,467
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I continue to use the term "classical," despite its confusion with the Classical Period, because other terms are even worse: "Western" music is actually all music in the Western tradition, and that includes, rock, pop, jazz, country, folk, rap, etc., and "concert," "serious," and "art" music does not simply apply to classical music. Labels are tricky things.

    Classical music as we know it was never for the masses. Religious music was written for performance in church, but those in attendance were hardly peasants or the working class. Secular music was generally commissioned by a titled or, later, wealthy family and heard in their presence along with their friends. The Romantic Period was really the first time that a larger and more diverse audience heard classical music, but this audience generally consisted of the middle class. Of course the middle class back then is quite different from what we think of as the middle class today: they were basically just as wealthy as the aristocracy, but didn't have the title to go along with their wealth.

    The folk music that truly was the music for the masses began to be displaced by or incorporated into ragtime, jazz, big band, country, rock, pop, rap, etc. during the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century. Of course classical composers have, throughout history, incorporated folk music into their compositions countless times.

    Film scores are the closest the masses have ever come to actually hearing classical music on a large scale, but even this is debatable, as one could argue that since very few people actually listen to film scores divorced from the film, the masses are merely exposed to classical music and do not actually listen to it as music proper. (As a digression, albeit a fitting one, I'm currently listening to Bruce Broughton's final cue from Young Sherlock Holmes that plays after the end credits have ceased. Here Broughton is simultaneously writing music for the masses, as he's supporting the film, and also for the few that actually get the Mahler Fourth reference, a symphony about the joys and pains of childhood as well as the journey ahead.) Of course today with radio, television, recorded media, and concerts nearly everyone can listen to classical music if they choose. Of course very few people actually do so, so classical music remains far from being music for the masses.
     

Share This Page