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#1149533 - 03/05/06 01:29 PM Is it really possible to become a "famous" composer nowadays?
kcoul058 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/27/04
Posts: 972
Loc: UBC, Vancouver, Canada
In follow up to the other musico-philo-sophical thread that was coined when hearing yet another example of genius adhering to an earlier style than whatever style we are supposed to be in right now, that first question really seems to beg this question, above.

Whether in our own lives, or, especially actually, in posterity, does anyone think the classical musical environment of today really allows composers the opportunity for true fame? I'm trying to think of current famous composers, and any names I can think of, somehow I doubt they will be standing alongside Beethoven and others in X amt of years from now. It's not so much that they have not written quality work, it's just (IMHO) that the environment they have written their works in does not seem to inspire the creation of true "masterpieces", something has changed at some impossible to pinpoint time over the last however-many years that has pushed our musical language beyond the point where seemingly the masterpieces had the proper environment to be created within.

What is the last (composition date) masterpiece you can think of? And the one before, perhaps? If you keep tracing back, maybe it becomes easy to notice that as time moves forward from the "heyday" of masterpieces we now re-perform again and again, the amount of time between them seems to increase.

The only solution seems to be some sort of second renaissance, IMHO again, complete with doctrines, manifestos, whatever it takes to create a new environment that would allow new works to be supported by the inner musical circle and then presented to the outer circle of the music-enjoying public with as much "hype" as previous works did when classical music was much more popular overall. Excitement needs to be generated and studies into how and why the most people overall like certain styles of classical music more than others needs to be brought to attention. Sure, we must continue to progress from these points, the findings of these studies, but IMHO we must resolve to never leave touch with them.

Then perhaps we can generate the kind of environment that will spark the creativity of the potential musical geniuses who could then go on to become famous composers, ideally both during their lives AND in posterity.

Thoughts?

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#1149534 - 03/05/06 01:36 PM Re: Is it really possible to become a "famous" composer nowadays?
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
Well, there's Ligeti and Carter.
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#1149535 - 03/05/06 02:40 PM Re: Is it really possible to become a "famous" composer nowadays?
Heretic Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 150
lmao who's heard of Ligeti or Carter? I'm a super big classical enthusiast and music is my life and I have hardly heard of a single work of the latter and never even heard of the former...so that should tell you about the "fame" of those two names. I think kcoul is referring to true Beethovenian fame..

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#1149536 - 03/05/06 02:41 PM Re: Is it really possible to become a "famous" composer nowadays?
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5286
Loc: Philadelphia
Whether in our own lives, or, especially actually, in posterity, does anyone think the classical musical environment of today really allows composers the opportunity for true fame?[/b]
No. The famous composers of today all write for the screen. (John Williams, Howard Shore, Danny Elfman, et al)

But, if we started over with a "new" "classical" community, then I suppose it would be possible. The trouble is breaking the younger generations away from the older generations and doing something new while the older generations are still around to complain. ;\)
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#1149537 - 03/05/06 03:33 PM Re: Is it really possible to become a "famous" composer nowadays?
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
 Quote:
Originally posted by Heretic:
lmao who's heard of Ligeti or Carter? I'm a super big classical enthusiast and music is my life and I have hardly heard of a single work of the latter and never even heard of the former...so that should tell you about the "fame" of those two names. I think kcoul is referring to true Beethovenian fame.. [/b]
Until very recently (the last year), I had never heard of Medtner or Scriabin or Bartok or Scarlatti or Duteuilleux or Ives or Cowell or MacDowell or Massaein. These are all "big" composers, and I had never heard of them before.


How many composers could I name who composed before Bach? Not many. But that doesn't mean that there weren't any great composers who are in fact very famous in today's classical music world - it just means that I haven't heard of them yet.

How many classical composers could I name from the 1700's, aside from Haydn and Mozart and Boccherini? I only know the name Salieri from the movie about Mozart, but have never heard his music. Aside from the four of them (and maybe Beethoven), I don't think I could name any classical composers, probably because I don't listen to a lot of classical (late 1700s) music.

On the other hand, romantic composers - I love romantic music, and I listen to a lot of it, so I could tell you some music that I like by Schubert, Schumann, Grieg, Ravel, Debussy, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, Chopin, Liszt, Mendelssohn, Dvorak, Saint-Saens, Sibelius, Brahms, Wagner, Glinka, Smetena, Borodin, Enescu, Rimsky-Korsakov... (that's 20 great composers I listed from the romantic era, compared with 5 from the classical era - I don't think that's just because there were so many more great composers in the romantic era, do you?)


So it really depends on your experience. My teacher does not very much like 20th or 21st century music (he doesn't really like Prokofiev or Shostakovich or Bartok...) but he told me that he really does enjoy Ligeti's music. I have also seen Ligeti's name mentioned quite a bit here on this forum in "favorite composers" and "most difficult piano music" threads.
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#1149538 - 03/06/06 10:42 AM Re: Is it really possible to become a "famous" composer nowadays?
Steve Chandler Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 2702
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
Is it possible to be a famous composer nowadays? I think probably not. I know this opinion may not be shared by the likes of Joan Tower, Jennifer Higdon, John Adams, or John Corigliano, all of whom are very much respected living composers nowadays. Perhaps it helps to have a first name that begins with J? Fame implies a certain notoriety in popular culture and popular culture doesn't value classical music sufficiently to allow composers to attain any status approaching notoriety.

Of course there's always John Williams (there's that first name J again), but in films the music is subsidiary to the movie. I've heard a number of Williams' soundtracks and wonderful as the music is, I don't consider them full fledged pieces. I say that because they tend to start, stop, and change abruptly depending on the demands of the scene they underscore. But whether film music is really classical music is a debate for another time. Still I think I'd rather have an Oscar than a Grammy.

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#1149539 - 03/06/06 02:14 PM Re: Is it really possible to become a "famous" composer nowadays?
N.S. Canzano ^_^ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/06/06
Posts: 49
Loc: Livonia, MI
Ligeti and Carter are more infamous than famous. They are disgraces to music, and a giant spreading aural disease. It's the bird flu of the ear, their music. I honestly physically vomitted after hearing one of ligeti's quartets, and I had to leave hearing one of Carter's Cello Sonatas. Terrible. Disgusting.
_________________________
Nicola Saraceni Canzano

Student Composer

Lover of Music

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#1149540 - 03/06/06 04:48 PM Re: Is it really possible to become a "famous" composer nowadays?
Steve Chandler Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 2702
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
Well Nicola, we agree on Ligetti and Carter, though I prefer not to bash them as vociferously as you do. They are part of what made modern music unpopular. I refer to music that sounds like a horde of rats attacking a pile of musical instruments, random cacaphony. Heck I was listening to a Walter Piston Violin Concerto this morning in the car wondering why the guy seemed to refuse to let a tonal center just be, before going off in a different direction. This was not particularly dissonant music, but it seemd like the music modulated every bar (or more). There just wasn't enopugh time spent in any one tonal area for the change to register as anything significant.

So may I suggest the music of Ned Rorem, William Schumann, Samuel Barber, or for that matter any of the composers I mentioned in my earlier post in this thread.

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#1149541 - 03/06/06 08:06 PM Re: Is it really possible to become a "famous" composer nowadays?
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5286
Loc: Philadelphia
Still I think I'd rather have an Oscar than a Grammy.[/b]
I'm jealous you're in a position to be picky! :p ;\)

I consider John Williams' music to be complete. I mean, Tchaikovsky's 1st piano concerto goes all over the damn place, and doesn't even bring the first theme back...ever. So, I think there are ample examples in the classical world of this sort of thing. (Plus don't forget most movie scores seem to be written more like overtures, and then they adapt whatever parts they need to the screen.)

I would NOT consider John Williams' music "classical" at all. I think it would be an insult to both. I would go so far as to say people like John Williams are the modern-day Mozarts and Beethovens. ;\)
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#1149542 - 03/06/06 11:48 PM Re: Is it really possible to become a "famous" composer nowadays?
kcoul058 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/27/04
Posts: 972
Loc: UBC, Vancouver, Canada
 Quote:

But, if we started over with a "new" "classical" community, then I suppose it would be possible. The trouble is breaking the younger generations away from the older generations and doing something new while the older generations are still around to complain. ;\) [/QB]
I liked this reply best. This is my plan, I hope it works! ;\)

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#1149543 - 03/07/06 02:21 AM Re: Is it really possible to become a "famous" composer nowadays?
snap_apple Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/21/03
Posts: 710
 Quote:
Originally posted by Steve Chandler:
Of course there's always John Williams (there's that first name J again), but in films the music is subsidiary to the movie. I've heard a number of Williams' soundtracks and wonderful as the music is, I don't consider them full fledged pieces. I say that because they tend to start, stop, and change abruptly depending on the demands of the scene they underscore. But whether film music is really classical music is a debate for another time. Still I think I'd rather have an Oscar than a Grammy. [/b]
What about Opera? composers such as Verdi and Wagner who composerd primarly opera which underscores a story onstage.

What about ballet in which the music underscores a dance and story on stage?

Think of film scores as just a new form of drama/music.

By the way I had the fortune to attend the "Lord of the Rings: A Symphony in 6 movements" by Howard Shore. The piece was enormously effective as a concert work and sold out the house all 5 showings the day tickets went on sale.

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#1149544 - 03/07/06 03:12 AM Re: Is it really possible to become a "famous" composer nowadays?
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5286
Loc: Philadelphia
By the way I had the fortune to attend the "Lord of the Rings: A Symphony in 6 movements" by Howard Shore. The piece was enormously effective as a concert work and sold out the house all 5 showings the day tickets went on sale. [/b]
Let me just take the time now to impart the many ways in which you suck.... :p I am soooo jealous. Where was the concert?
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#1149545 - 03/07/06 04:08 AM Re: Is it really possible to become a "famous" composer nowadays?
snap_apple Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/21/03
Posts: 710
Seattle and Howard Shore conducted it.

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#1149546 - 03/07/06 05:39 AM Re: Is it really possible to become a "famous" composer nowadays?
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5286
Loc: Philadelphia
Ah, yes...I would've had to start hitch-hiking about a month before the concert to get there on-time. Too bad he isn't doing it (that I know of) on the east coast anytime soon. \:\(

Let me live vicariously through you...how good was it? \:\)
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#1149547 - 03/07/06 04:21 PM Re: Is it really possible to become a "famous" composer nowadays?
Steve Chandler Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 2702
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
 Quote:
Originally posted by Derulux:
By the way I had the fortune to attend the "Lord of the Rings: A Symphony in 6 movements" by Howard Shore. The piece was enormously effective as a concert work and sold out the house all 5 showings the day tickets went on sale. [/b]
Let me just take the time now to impart the many ways in which you suck.... :p I am soooo jealous. Where was the concert? [/b]
Well, I will accept this opportunity to say you can be jealous of me as well. I frankly didn't find the music as engaging, it was long, not just a little long, it was like long, long, long, long, long, how long was it it? long.

It was well performed and there was some great singing from choirs and soloists, but overall the experience would have been more effective with a closer correllation to the story. The drawings used to animate the story were suboptimal.

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#1149548 - 03/07/06 10:47 PM Re: Is it really possible to become a "famous" composer nowadays?
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5286
Loc: Philadelphia
Hmm...maybe they'll put deleted measures back into the audio CD release to make it even longer? :p ;\)

(Still jealous anyway. ;\) )
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#1149549 - 03/08/06 01:46 AM Re: Is it really possible to become a "famous" composer nowadays?
snap_apple Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/21/03
Posts: 710
be jealous...I loved it.

It was restructured to fit a concert piece so that lets say (if you are familar with the soundtrack) "the fields of pelennor" and "the end of all things" were put together so that the music followed a structure unified more to itself rather then to the movie. It was sub-divided into 6 movements from 3 large movements (the 3 movies) and edited well.

Shore concieved the piece as an "Opera" to the movie. He said he pictured the orchestra as in the "pit" and the movie was the opera on stage. He concieved the piece in 3 acts...like the movie..but one full piece. This is why you here so many related musical aspects that evolve and reflect through out all 3 films.

My honest opinion from analyzing the work and hearing it many times is that it is truly a 21st century masterpiece. Everything from the brilliant orchestration and use of folk instruments to the over 50 motives which evolve and grow through out. The performance I attened had a great energy that came out of the Choir, the soloists, the 200 piece orchestra and Shore himself conducting.

My opinion is that it will be another 50 years until film scores start to become reconized as a serious art work. Events like this (the concert) help establish these works as serious.

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#1149550 - 03/08/06 02:10 PM Re: Is it really possible to become a "famous" composer nowadays?
Johnny-Boy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/06
Posts: 661
Loc: PA
I think it's possible to become a famous composer (ala the Greats) today. But we won't know for sure for a century or two. Their music has to withstand the test of time first.

Never miss an opportunity to share your music with others.[/b]
"Captured in Eternity"
http://www.artistcollaboration.com/~johnny-boy/WMA-CAPTURED-INSTR.wma
_________________________
Stop analyzing; just compose the damn thing!

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